Developing the Future


Rapid.Tech 2011: Innovative Trade Fair with Generative Production Processes

From 24th to 25th May, the rapid technology experts will meet again for the eighth time in Erfurt for an exchange about the latest trends and the possibilities offered by generative production processes. The conference programme reflects the extraordinary dynamic of the comprehensive technology. With the first specialist "aviation" forum, the spectrum of the event will expand to a further sector this year. In the scope of the Rapid.Tech specialist trade fair, the user conference, the specialist forums "CAD/CAM and Rapid Prototyping in “dental technology", "medical technology", "aviation" and the designer day will provide an up-to-date overview about the status and the development of the production of prototypes and about the direct production of end products and their components.

An elephant trunk and a digital snore protection device

The specialist advisor of the Rapid.Tech 2011, Prof. Dr. Andreas Gebhardt, is particularly looking forward to the keynote speaker, the internationally renowned Prof. Dr.-Ing. Jürgen Gausemeier: "Professor Gausemeier is able to light up complex topics in great depth better than almost anyone else with regard to information technology and data technology, product development and production technology. We are eagerly awaiting his presentation about strategic product and technology planning".
One of the highlights of the user conference is the presentation of a sensitive robot arm, produced following the prototype of the elephant trunk. This development received the German Future Prize 2010. The cleverly devised construction of the bionic handling assistant enables sophisticated and fluid movements. The individual structural elements of the flexible arm are generatively manufactured. Thus the synthetic trunk is particularly light and soft. The components of the high-tech trunk were developed layer by layer from fine polyamide powder using the construction data. "A laser beam smelted the powder in a targeted way at the specified points. In principle, everything functions like a printer, but in 3D“, explains Andrzej Grzesiak from the Fraunhofer IPA who will present the project as part of the user conference. The "third hand" can be used anywhere where people require mechanical support: as a harvester in farming, in the packaging of fragile goods or in garages, in rehabilitation or in the household. The current developments in generative production will be considered at the two day user conference. Focal points will include new approaches and materials as well as new processes and trends. The assurance and optimisation of quality in the production process and its cost effectiveness will also be covered, as well as the combination of additive manufacturing with moulding techniques and certain secondary processes.

The production of digital snore prevention devices is explained by Jörg Bressem in the dental technology specialist forum: "The aim is to produce devices precisely manufactured following the individual given factors which are comfortable and long-lasting and are within the price range of conventionally manufactured products.“

Reduced unit costs in the production of medical implants thanks to generative production is also an important topic in the specialist forum "medical technology". It also presents the new functions of endoprotheses and general new applications of generative production processes.

The innovative aerospace sector will have its own forum at the Rapid.Tech for the first time this year. The experts will address modifications and applications from the machine manufacturer's perspective. In another topic area, the user's perspective is given centre stage. Practical examples, the topic of "additive production technology for driving mechanisms and structures“ and an advance look at future trends and developments concerning the specialist "aviation" forum.

The improved precision, the optimised component quality and the greatly enhanced range of materials make the direct production using generative processes interesting for more and more sectors. This year's Rapid.Tech displays this development and offers both "old hands“ and newcomers many opportunities to expand their knowledge and contacts. For non-specialists and newcomers, a pre-session "Introduction to Generative Production Technology“ will be held on 23th May for the first time this year, to make entry into the conference programme and understanding the exhibits easier.

With the 5TH STUDENT DESIGN AWARD for Rapid Manufacturing worth a total of 6,000 Euros, the next generation will have the chance to enjoy the limelight through creative handling with generative production processes. In addition to the prize money, the prospect of coming into contact with renowned designers and constructors from various branches is also enticing.

The Rapid.Tech Trade Fair and User Conference programme including the Designer Day, the specialist forums and information about the STUDENT DESIGN AWARD can be downloaded via the internet from