Achieve enormous effects with additive manufacturing (AM)


Rapid.Tech 2012 focuses on technology and business

Newcomers and experts will meet for the ninth time from 8 to 9 May at the Rapid.Tech congress exhibition in Erfurt to discuss or to become acquainted with the latest results, trends and applications of generative manufacturing technology. The exhibition management is once again expecting about 1,200 participants and 60 exhibitors. Since 2004 Rapid.Tech has evolved as a leading venue for the cross-sectional technology – additive manufacturing (AM) – which is rapidly developing in many sectors. “Rapid.Tech combines efficient theory and practice as well as technology with business”, says exhibition manager Wieland Kniffka. “It is finding a response throughout Germany as a trendsetter.”

The 2012 event also informs horizontally and vertically: on the one hand, the possibilities of AM in selected industries will be scrutinised in the Aviation, Medical Technology and Dental Technology trade forums. On the other hand, it deals with the entire manufacturing process, starting from strategies and including design, materials as well as machinery. The keynote speech in the congress programme deals with market opportunities and business models of future-oriented technology. In order to facilitate access for newcomers and to bring them to a level of knowledge with “insiders”, an overview event will be held on the day before the Rapid.Tech (7 May) with the Pre-Session: the necessary fundamentals of additive manufacturing will be clearly conveyed in models and components in two 2-hours sessions.

Develop business models with additive manufacturing

The keynote speaker at this year’s Rapid.Tech, Dr. Phil Reeves (Econolyst Ltd.), sets an important theme at the very beginning that will accompany the speakers and visitors through the entire congress with his lecture entitled “The business drivers to additive manufacturing – stimulating technology adoption”. It concerns the analysis of “market pull” and “technology push”, and their interactions under the influence of overriding economic, social and ecological factors. Professor Dr. Andreas Gebhardt, Rapid.Tech expert consultant: “The development of rapid prototyping into additive manufacturing has already prospered quite widely in technical terms. Now it concerns bringing the process into the markets and developing suitable business markets for this purpose.”

Understand the deeper layers of AM: User’s Conference 2012

Layer construction methods with their varying prerequisites, characteristics and possibilities are well known. Now it increasingly depends on exploring the various facets of digital reproducibility and developing criteria for marketable production. This year’s User’s Conference places a great emphasis on reproducibility as a component and the associated high demands on process quality, starting with the simulation and the observation in the process. If serious defects only surface during the examination of the finished work piece, this automatically equates to a reject rate of 100 per cent. The claim with regard to additive manufacturing is that an equally good result is achieved on any machine at any point in time. The User’s Conference will examine the quality of surfaces, materials as well as procedures and processes under this aspect.

Design Engineers Day 2012: adopted from nature

Only if the design engineer is very familiar with the tools with which products will be manufactured can he develop the respectively optimal design concept. The design engineer is closer than ever to the manufacturing processes with the digital manufacturing processes utilised in generative process. This requires particular knowledge of technologies from him. Generative processes also provide unique freedoms in the design of components. This year the Design Engineers Day will focus on bionic approaches. Professor Dr. Thomas Seul, who together with Professor Dr. Frank Beneke is responsible for the agenda of the Design Engineers Day, explains the thematic framework of this year’s Design Engineers Day: “We look at nature’s methods and strategies with the goal of adopting suitable design possibilities. They result in technical products which would not be possible with conventional processes.” The Design Engineers Day starts on 9 May with a presentation by Prof. Dr. Bernd Hill on “Applied bionics in systematic product development processes”. As a result, participants can gain practical experiences in the eponymous workshop that the speaker offers in the afternoon.

Uninterrupted process sequence: CAD/CAM in dental technology

This Rapid.Tech trade forum provides a scientifically well-founded and realistic insight into possibilities and advantages of generative processes. “Milling was yesterday – rapid manufacturing is the technology of the hour!”, says Antonius Köster, leader of the trade forum “CAD/CAM and Rapid Prototyping in Dental Technology”. The dissemination of generative processes is leading to new business models and value-added chains in dental technology. The use of additive processes requires a comprehensive examination of the technologies and the interplay of materials, machines and finishing. Among other things, the lectures involve questions such as which processes and machines are suitable for which size of enterprise: small laboratory, milling centre or industrial dimension. In addition: What can the materials reproduce? What does the precision look like? And what can possibly be introduced into the models in terms of additional “intelligence”? Because additive manufacturing processes are still more expensive than the classical plaster model in terms of materials and investments, higher-level strategies and aspects must be taken into consideration during the application of AM. This also includes less tool wear, a higher aesthetic quality and shortened treatment times in the dentist’s chair. In the meantime, the digitalisation in dental technology provides a highly differentiated range of applications, from intraoral scan to digital print.

AM on the road to new worlds: Aviation 2012 trade forum

“Production directly from the CAD file by means of additive manufacturing processes can lead to products which are not only lighter, but they also have a substantially higher functionality. In particular, the design can be implemented in a load-capable manner so that material is only where forces also have an effect – an unbeatable advantage of additive manufacturing”, says Dr. Eric Klemp, leader of the Aviation trade forum. Peter Hoffmann from Boeing will open the programme this year. In the keynote session he will introduce the company’s aerospace business strategy and illustrate the role of additive manufacturing in an innovative industry. The following lectures of the two-day event will present many other new approaches. Dr. Dieter Schwarze (SLM Solutions GmbH) will explain new technological and economic advantages for small batch production through selective laser melting. This involves the introduction of a new dual beam technology with which the machine’s performance is substantially enhanced through the laser’s increase in performance and melting effect.
Markus Oeding (Stükerjürgen Aerospace Composites GmbH & Co. KG) will address the topic of qualification and certification, which is becoming increasingly important for the aerospace industry. In his lecture he will cover the requirements with regard to the qualification of FDM parts from a practical point of view. Based on the evaluation of already implemented and current space programmes, Jürgen K. von der Lippe (vdlconsult / GoSpace) will deal with the – future – possibilities of embedding AM in the concepts of spare parts supply “on the way to Mars”. Marina Wall (Heinz Nixdorf Institute) will also address the future of additive manufacturing. Opportunities and risks for the utilisation of additive manufacturing processes will be ascertained, ideas for future products developed and requirements for direct manufacturing will be derived on the basis of future scenarios.

Model life: Medical Technology 2012 trade forum

“The unique opportunities which generative manufacturing processes provide in order to be able to manufacture absolutely individual implants from digitally obtained data is an enormous advance, not only for orthopaedics”, states trade forum leader Ralf Schumacher. But the new creative scopes also permit previously unknown characteristics of medical devices. The trade forum’s lectures reflect the current state of research and practice. This particularly concerns the internal and external structures of implants: dealing with 3D slice images, reconstruction methods, (bio) materials and their processing. Another important focus deals with the regulatory approval of generatively manufactured medical devices. The lectures given on this topic will thrash out what is to be fundamentally taken into account in this connection and which regulatory requirements products made by means of AM must meet.

Further information, the programme of events and registration documents are available for download at

Barbara Kraushaar
Project manager
T: 0361 400 1750
F: 0361 400 1111

Press contact
Thomas Tenzler
T: 0361 400 1500