Practically innovative


The Rapid.Tech trade fair in Erfurt focussed on special applications

“Over 1100 congress members and visitors use this year’s trade fair for rapid technology in Erfurt as an opportunity to gain information about additive manufacturing”, reports Johann Fuchsgruber, Managing Director of Messe Erfurt. In doing so, the special trade fair pursued its continuous track record. In addition to the stands from 57 exhibiting companies, the User Conference, the Designer Day, and in particular the integrated “medical technology” and “rapid prototyping in dental technology” congresses attracted many interested visitors to the Exhibition Centre. At the same time, the Mitteldeutsche Kunststofftag organized by PolymerMat e.V. Kunststoffcluster Thüringen also held a professional debate.

The speakers included renowned experts in the medical technical application field such as Prof. Dr. Hans-Florian Zeilhofer from Universitätsspital Basel and Hans Keller from Aesculap AG. The imparted theoretical expertise was practically supplemented on-site at the trade exhibition. In addition to renowned companies in the generative manufacturing industry, companies especially from the dental technology and medical technology sectors also invited numerous universities and design centres to exchange information and knowledge. Of particular interest here were the models consistently produced using additive manufacturing, such as customised climbing shoes, footprint personalised flip-flops or the miniature bust of Queen Nefertiti produced from original data. The trade fair also held host to the alphacam exhibiting company, marking its premiere in Central Germany. Alphacom is marketing the first office suitable HP Designjet 3D Printer, only available since April 2010. With it, the transformation for generative production processes from the special to the mass market could succeed. Never before was it possible for design engineers, developers, engineers, designers and architects to produce economical 3D printer models even for the office, thus greatly increasing the efficiency of design and development processes.

There is also no shortage when it comes to the next generation of generative ideas. Awarded for the fourth time, the first prize of the STUDENT DESIGN AWARD for Rapid Manufacturing was won by Alexander Rempel from Darmstadt University of Applied Sciences for his “Bildwechsel” object. This showcased a new interpretation of a timer with a minimalistic form and moving picture. The second prize stayed in Thüringen and went to Leonhard Oschütz from the Bauhaus University Weimar. Oschütz developed “Kinematics”, a construction game for building moveable und interactive objects. Third place was given to Inga Schöneboom from Coburg University of Applied Sciences for her swimming goggles with an integrated MP3 player. In total, 40 students took place in the nationwide competition supported by the Stiftung für Technologie, Innovation und Forschung Thüringen (STIFT) and the Messe Erfurt. The next trade fair and User Conference for Rapid Technology will take place in Erfurt from 24th to 25th May 2011.