Rapid.Area début at METAV 2014 a complete success
Rapid.Area, organised by Messe Erfurt, was one of the highlights of this year's METAV from 11-15 March in Düsseldorf. Well-known exhibitors of Erfurt-based Rapid.Tech presented the current potential of rapid technologies, including two worldwide firsts. Interest in additive manufacturing (AM) solutions among METAV trade visitors far outpaced the expectations of exhibitors and resulted in a large number of interesting contacts and concrete enquiries.
The Rapid.Area of Erfurt-based Rapid.Tech, in line with a cooperative partnership between the German Machine Tool Builders' Association (VDW) and Messe Erfurt, has for the first time added the "Additive manufacturing" segment to the METAV International Trade Fair for Manufacturing Technology and Automation. The goal of this strategic alliance is to widen the range of conventional manufacturing technologies to include additive manufacturing processes, which are making ever deeper inroads into mass production. The cooperative partners seem to have hit the mark with this goal.
Highly interested visitors and very happy exhibitors
The eight Rapid.Area exhibitors recorded a high level of interest among newcomers as well as specialists. "It was a very good idea to bring Rapid.Tech to METAV by way of the Rapid.Area. Here, we were able to bring the topic of rapid prototyping and additive manufacturing to the attention of many potential new customers, from various sectors of industry, whom we would otherwise never reach. This resulted in lots of interesting contacts, so our participation has definitely paid off", reported Oliver Herrmann, Sales, RTC Rapid Technologies GmbH. The company presented its Objet 500 Connex3, which is the world's first 3D printer for colour prototypes with various multi-material combinations. Increasing component complexity and the resulting high costs of manufacturing using conventional technologies have contributed to a significant increase in the level of interest in additive manufacturing processes. Hans Kemeny, Marketing, SLM Solutions GmbH had this to say: "We have spoken with a number of contract manufacturers here at the trade fair who are interested in learning how they can grow and become more competitive by using additive processes. As a result, we see growing demand for additive manufacturing process systems. Presenting Rapid.Tech here and spreading the word about it is a very interesting approach that we will continue to pursue". Another Rapid.Area visitor magnet was the "Lasertec 65 Additive Manufacturing" concept study by Sauer Lasertec GmbH, a DMG Mori Seiki AG company. This hybrid solution is the first to combine additive laser cladding and a full-fledged 5-axis milling machine in one system.
In addition to products for professional applications, Rapid.Area also offered solutions for semi-professional applications in research and instruction. Messe Erfurt addresses this segment with the FabCon 3.D Personal Fabrication Convention, which is being held this year for the second time.
"The Rapid.Area at METAV 2014 gave all visitors an initial, qualified impression of additive manufacturing processes. The popularity among visitors and the highly positive feedback from exhibitors show that the topic has been well received in the metal industry. In just less than two months in Erfurt, then, Rapid.Tech will provide a well-founded overview of the current potential and future prospects of additive manufacturing", summarised Messe Erfurt Director Wieland Kniffka. Dr Wilfried Schäfer of VDW added: "This positive feedback bolsters VDW in its cooperative strategy with Messe Erfurt, whereby it plans to integrate Rapid.Tech and FabCon 3.D into METAV starting in 2016".
Around 130 exhibitors will be presenting new and further developments in the areas of additive manufacturing processes and 3D printing at the 11th Rapid.Tech, Specialist Trade Fair and User Conference for Rapid Technologies, from 14-15 May 2014 and at FabCon 3.D (15-17 May) in Erfurt. With over 60 simultaneously translated (German <> English) presentations at the "New Technologies" user conference as well as a design engineer day and specialised forums for aerospace, medical and dental technology, Rapid.Tech facilitates intensive and extensive knowledge transfer and dialogue between and among newcomers, experts, researchers and users.
More information about Rapid.Tech and FabCon 3.D, including the programme for the user conference, design engineer day and specialised forums can be found at www.rapidtech.de.