Rapid Technology users and experts met in Erfurt


STIFT design prize awarded for the first time

With 60 exhibitors and more than 700 visitors, including 250 conference participants, the fourth Rapid.Tech Trade Fair and User Conference can draw a positive balance. “If you consider the fact that only approx. 130 companies in Germany have positioned themselves as providers of exclusively rapid services to date and a mere 1,000 rapid machines are actually in use, the response to our Fair is outstanding”, summarises Johann Fuchsgruber, whereby the Chairman of the Board at Messe Erfurt AG is more than aware of the complexity of this specialist issue. Expertise pertaining to generative methods by means of which computer data is used to manufacture useful 3-D components and prototypes made of plastic or metal is generally still very sparse. Even if modern medical technology, the aviation industry or automobile construction are inconceivable without Rapid Technology. This was also reiterated by Tillmann Paul from Toyota Motorsport GmbH in his opening speech: “We produce 5-6 vehicles a year for which Rapid Manufacturing components are indispensable.” The trend represented by this technology which evolved twenty years ago is towards increasingly specialised applications such as in the production of individual hearing aids and dental bridges. Surface design is an optimisation area and generative methods are obliged to acquire more market volume in order to continue to assert themselves. Furthermore, this gives rise to a general consensus among experts who regard the Rapid.Tech as promoting practical solutions to practical problems. “It’s less about product presentations as exchanging information and experience between machine manufacturers, designers and users”, is how Prof. Dr. Andreas Gebhardt from Aachen Technical College describes the intention pursued by the Trade Fair. Nor did this exchange of experience come too short:: for the first time, 26 Polish representatives of science and business and students from all over Germany and neighbouring countries were also in attendance. One particular motivation was experienced by the winners of the Design Competition initiated conjointly with Stiftung für Technologie, Innovation und Forschung Thüringen (STIFT) which was awarded to three students yesterday evening by Economics Minister Jürgen Reinholz. The winning products – a designer lamp, a running shoe and a prosthetic leg – will be produced with the assistance of renowned companies. And there’s every reason to look forward to future developments in Rapid Technology with initial solutions to be offered by the next Rapid.Tech on 27 and 28 May 2008.