Impression exhibitor (c)Messe Erfurt_Christian Seeling

From all-electric Ferraris to lightweight façade nodes and successful “big game hunters”

Exciting talks, innovative presentations, prestigious awards and new partnerships kick off the 19th Rapid.Tech 3D

Exciting conference talks, innovative exhibitor presentations, prestigious awards and the launch of an international partnership featured on the first day of Rapid.Tech 3D 2023. Guests dived straight into the high-emotion world of vehicle construction courtesy of the very first keynote speaker at the specialist conference, Franco Pinna, who took the audience along on Ferrari’s journey into the future of mobility. The head of innovation and advanced technologies at the Italian racing and sports car manufacturer named electrification and sustainability as important cornerstones. Ferrari plans to put its first all-electric model on the road from 2025. As of 2023, 40 per cent of its vehicles are expected to be fully electric, a further 40 per cent hybrid, and the remaining 20 per cent powered by internal combustion engines—all models still humming with typical Ferrari spirit. Additive manufacturing (AM) is an essential building block in this strategy. At the moment, the Italian vehicle manufacturer uses AM primarily in prototype construction and for spare parts production in the classic car segment. In the future, additive manufacturing is set to open the door to more lightweight construction with simultaneous integration of parts and function, which, Pinna pointed out, calls for optimised design, larger and faster machines, and less expensive material.

Optimisation is also what drives Diehl’s AM projects. Development engineer Anja Rupprecht and Structural Materials Division team leader Markus Bähr from Diehl Defence were up next in the second keynote of the day, reporting on how a wide range of AM options are implemented in different areas, from research to series production. AM is used in different ways in the Group’s Metal, Control, Metering, Aviation and Defence divisions. Diehl formed a team of experts in 2014 to pursue optimised additive manufacturing. This Group platform is used to exchange knowledge and experience as well as to provide training on best practices, trends and developments. As a result, the company can ensure autonomous and flexible working as well as structured action in AM.

An impressive medley at the exhibitor stands

The diversity and flexibility of AM also shines through at the stands manned by 93 exhibitors in total. AIM3D, a company based in Rostock, Germany, is presenting a multi-material printer that enables the 3D printing of metal- and ceramic-filled plastic granules. Stratasys provides information on new resin and powder bed-based technologies, among other things. Leipzig University of Applied Sciences (HTWK Leipzig) and the Laser Institute of Mittweida University of Applied Sciences are presenting a façade node additively manufactured from coarse steel, a construction element that is significantly more economical to produce than conventional aluminium nodes. FIT is showing additively manufactured furniture made from bio-based plastics at its stand.

Trade visitors also discussed new AM developments and applications in the Mobility, Innovations in AM, and Science forums. For the first time, the programme also included a “Meet the AM Experts” session, in which special topics were discussed in small interactive groups. On the opening day, these topics included the platform economy and new business models with AM at the centre.

Big Five Award presented

Developing and establishing innovative and economical AM solutions requires staying power, a willingness to take risks, and a high level of sophistication. People whose formative contributions have revealed precisely such characteristics—similar to those required to hunt the five large animal species of lion, leopard, rhino, elephant and water buffalo—have been honoured with the Big Five Award since 2017. This year, for the first time, the award was presented during Rapid.Tech 3D. Toolcraft manager Christoph Hauck received the accolade.

Cooperation with India

The first evening of the event will be dedicated to India. Thuringia's German-Indian Round Table (GIRT) network will be welcoming a delegation from Coimbatore at Messe Erfurt. AMTech Expo, India’s largest business networking platform for AM, and Rapid.Tech 3D are poised to sign a multi-year cooperation agreement.

What to expect on day two of Rapid.Tech 3D

Highlights of the second day (10 May) include keynotes by Swiss automotive designer Frank Rinderknecht from Rinspeed and Shell manager Jurjen Meeuwissen on 3D printing for catalysts in chemical and energy applications. Chemistry and medicine take centre stage in the specialist programme, with the Chemistry & Process Engineering Forum taking place for the first time, as well as the well-established Medicine Forum. The forums Design and Software & Processes will also be welcoming visitors, and the Science Forum is likewise going ahead once again.

In the afternoon, guests can look forward to the award ceremony for the international 3D Pioneers Challenge. In 2023, submissions came in from 29 countries across five continents. 43 made it to the final round in Erfurt after voting by the 32-strong jury.

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