Trade fair trio for cutting-edge technology


Erfurt will be a Mecca of 3D printing

From 14 to 17 May 2014, 130 exhibitors from Europe and elsewhere will be presenting the entire world of 3D printing at Messe Erfurt. A trio of quality trade fairs will be looking to the future of industry, with Rapid.Tech, FabCon 3.D and, for the first time, the top event for the traditional graphics industry “Print Cocktail”. The trade fairs are accompanied by specialist programmes featuring 80 scientists, practitioners and trend analysts from ten countries, who will explain the latest findings, trends and applications for additive processes in industry and for 3D printing in the private sector to newcomers, experts and consumers alike. At the specialist event Erfurt Print Cocktail, which will be held in the Glass Hall at Messe Erfurt, major companies from the graphics industry – including market and sector leaders such as Ricoh, Xerox and EPSON – will explore the potential of 3D printing for their sector.

“Additive manufacturing processes such as 3D printing are becoming ever more relevant across multiple industries and are playing an increasingly important part in production and in the private sector. This is creating an enormous demand for information, as well as for an exchange of experiences and discussion,” explained Wieland Kniffka, Head of Messe Erfurt. “Our new trade fair trio is setting standards here, with its mix of think tank, knowledge transfer and an exhibition geared toward practical applications,” Kniffka added.

Rapid.Tech: Where newcomers and industry experts meet

With its focus on application and 78 well known exhibitors from three countries (Belgium, Germany and France), the eleventh Rapid.Tech will once again offer newcomers and experts, researchers and users the opportunity for extensive knowledge transfer. The established specialist forums on "Air Travel", "Medical Technology" and "CAD/CAM and Rapid Prototyping in Dental Technology", as well as the "New Technologies" user conference and the design engineer day, all offer a perfect platform for the exchange of information by traditional means. A total of 65 lectures by speakers from 10 countries (Germany, Denmark, United Kingdom, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Austria, Portugal, Switzerland and Spain) will share information on the latest findings and trends in additive processes.

FabCon 3.D: 3D printing for creatives

FabCon 3.D is Germany's first professional consumer fair for this trending field, and will take place from 15 to 17 May. The fair includes representation from 33 manufacturers of 3D printers, suppliers of filament and 3D scanners, and providers of 3D printing services from Germany, the Netherlands, Austria and the US. The event is designed both for those with an interest in 3D printing in their personal life, and for the creative industries and semi-professional users such as designers, artists, architects, fashion designers and model makers. There is also a focus on schools and universities. The combination with Rapid.Tech at the “Industrial Day” on 15 May will give fans and industry experts a chance to engage in “cross-border” dialogue and provide insights into the latest developments in the consumer market as well as for industry. The FabCon 3.D Business Conference on 15 and 16 May is devoted to current developments in the sector. Topics include “3D print sector meets industry”, “Starting a business in the 3D print sector” and “Materials in 3D printing”, as well as various case studies in the areas of copyright, architecture, 3D scanning, sustainability, jewellery design and education.

Erfurt Print Cocktail: 2D meets 3D

On 14 and 15 May, there will be a high-profile addition to Erfurt's 3D print family: Ring grafischer Fachhändler (Ring of Graphics Trade Specialists) – the trade association for specialist suppliers, IT system providers and consultants in the fields of digital printing, pre-press proofing, large-format printing, colour management, pre-press and photography for more than 25 years – is latching onto the Rapid.Tech and FabCon 3.D trade fairs with its specialist event Erfurt Print Cocktail. In the Glass Hall at Messe Erfurt, 19 exhibitors – including the major market and sector leaders such as Ricoh, Xerox and EPSON – as well as trade visitors from a further 100 firms in the traditional graphics industry will be exploring the potential of 3D printing for their sector.

“Teach the Fabby” with MakerBot

As part of FabCon 3.D, Messe Erfurt has been running a school competition on the topic of “3D printing”. Around 600 schools in Thuringia, Saxony and Saxony-Anhalt were asked to present their ideas for the trade fair mascot “Fabby” – a 3D-printed mini robot – in visual form. The latest 3D printers and scanners as well as the REPLICATOR FOR SCHOOL teaching set from global market leader in 3D printing, MakerBot (USA), are awaiting the winners. The prizes have been provided by the European marketing partner of MakerBot, Hafner's Büro.

Prize for young talent

The coveted STUDENT DESIGN & ENGINEERING AWARD for rapid manufacturing will be presented at Rapid.Tech for the eighth time. Submissions are welcomed from students on any design, architecture, technical design, mechanical engineering or other technical course and from young designers who have graduated in the last two years. A panel of top-class judges will choose the 2014 winner from 18 selected entries. The award gives the participants a unique opportunity to garner interest from industry and develop contacts.

Ten-minute millionaire?

Under the title “Start-up meets millionaire”, the 3D print fair FabCon 3.D will give ten start-up companies the opportunity to present their innovative business ideas to investors. In two exclusive “speed-dating” rounds, each lasting 10 minutes, the entrepreneurs must convince potential investors from the fields of research, development and industry of the worth of their projects. The best start-up will also receive the FabCon 3.D Start-Up Award at the fair. Those taking part in the competition are also entitled to present their product or service within the FabCon 3.D Start-Up Area.

Background: double-digit growth in this billion dollar market

Fans and industry experts agree: there is no stopping the 3D printing revolution. US market research company Canalys has forecast that the global market for 3D printers, including printing services and consumables, will reach a volume of 16.2 billion dollars by 2018. That would mean an average annual growth of just under 46 per cent. The market researchers are predicting worldwide sales of 3.8 billion dollars for the current year, with 1.3 billion dollars of this generated by sales of 3D printers. A significant part of this is down to global market leader MakerBot from New York: the company has sold around 44,000 3D printers since the start of 2009. MakerBot's current estimated market share in 3D printers is around 25 per cent.

(*Canalys market study: