Driving Innovation


Fair and Convention for Rapid Technology in Erfurt

A few weeks ago, additive manufacturing made the breakthrough from the specialist market to the mass market, with the introduction of the first office-suitable HP Designjet 3D printer. Prof. Dr. Andreas Gebhardt of CP – Centrum für Prototypenbau GmbH, Erkelenz, is convinced of this. The importance now possessed by the so-called rapid technologies is currently being demonstrated at the Rapid.Tech trade fair in Erfurt.

This year, 57 exhibitors and 347 conference participants are taking part in the trade fair and user’s conference for rapid technologies, which is now already being held for the seventh time. In addition, two integrated conventions are devoted to the special applications typical of this field of technology. The 1st congress “Medical Technology” and the 2nd congress “Rapid Prototyping in Dental Technology” thus make clear the growing importance of individual production technology. Implantation operations are digitally visualised in advance and even precisely planned by means of 3D-modelling. Using 3D real-time navigation, the 3D-data is projected directly onto the respective place on the patient’s body during the intervention, so that the surgeon always has an accurate view of the operating field. For the patient these technologies mean safer treatment and better quality of life. “Now, operations are possible – and even minimally invasive – that would have been inconceivable before”, reports Prof. Hans-Florian Zeilhofer of the University Hospital Basel. During Rapid.Tech, together with numerous other experts in various fields, he is discussing the driving innovative force of rapid technologies. Interaction between theory and practice is achieved easily on site. The participants in the fair hall can experience the practical implementation of the theoretical knowledge that they have acquired in the workshops and lectures. The HP Designjet 3D printer, marketed by the company alphacam, can also be seen here, for the first time in “eastern Germany”. Also, once again, the STUDENT DESIGN AWARD for Rapid Manufacturing will be given, with 6,000 Euro in prizes, aimed at up-and-coming designers. Over 40 students from all over Germany have submitted their work. The five best ideas have been produced and can be seen during the fair. Design king Christopher E. Bangle will be announcing the winner of the first prize in this competition, initiated by the Stiftung für Technologie, Innovation und Forschung Thüringen (STIFT, Foundation for Technology, Innovation and Research, Thuringia) and Messe (trade fair) Erfurt, in the framework of today’s evening event.