Springboards for sustainable value creation

New business models with 3D printing will be a focus topic in the Software & Processes Forum at Rapid.Tech 3D 2023

Additive manufacturing has now established itself as more than just an almost indispensable production tool. It also creates scope for the development of new digital business models that support sustainable value creation. At the same time, an increasing number of new digital solutions that make the complexities of additive manufacturing easier to navigate are emerging. “A great deal of development work is currently under way in these areas, which is why they will be the focus topics in this year’s Software & Processes Forum at Rapid.Tech 3D,” say Dr Guido Adam of DMG MORI ADDITIVE and Dr Martin Holland of Prostep. The two AM experts are overseeing the content of the forum, which will take place on 10 May 2023, the second day of the Rapid.Tech 3D specialist conference.

Quick answers to the most common FAQs about 3D printing

Is the part printable? And if so, how much will it cost? These questions are probably the two that come up most frequently in relation to 3D printing. The team at 3D Spark finds quick answers to these questions. Ruben Meuth, co-founder and co-CEO of the Hamburg-based start-up, will present the business model behind it in his talk. A spin-off of Fraunhofer IAPT, 3D Spark has developed a software solution that helps to answer manufacturing queries in a significantly shorter time. Thanks to software automation, employees in sales or design gain time that they can devote to their actual work. “Our goal is to pinpoint the most economical, fastest and most sustainable way to produce a technical component. Our current focus is on 3D printing. Benchmark calculations are available for milling and injection moulding, and soon for forming as well,” explains Meuth.

In his talk, the engineering manager will examine the “giants and dwarves in the railway industry”. This is a reference to customers such as international rail vehicle manufacturer Alstom and Miniatur Wunderland Hamburg, the world’s largest model railway. 3D Spark supports both companies in optimising the production of completely different components in terms of process and material selection as well as the costs of 3D printing. The project with Alstom succeeded in cutting costs by around 1.8 million euros by autumn 2022. The target for 2023 is to save five million euros. “We’re on a good path here,” says Meuth.

The partners in the AddiMap project are also committed to increasing the economic efficiency of additive processes. Johannes Eckstein, managing director of NuCOS GmbH, will report on the goals and potential applications of this B2B ecosystem for all players in the additive manufacturing environment. AddiMap focuses on LPBF printing, the most common process in the field of metallic 3D printing. The platform will provide materials, parameters, data and services to accelerate the industrialisation and democratisation of metal 3D printing. The marketplace facilitates the trade of optimised process parameters, for example, to obtain a faster build rate. Interested companies have the option to buy data or to offer verified parameters they have developed themselves for sale. This can eliminate the need for expensive test prints at the buyer’s end to determine the optimal process parameters, and providers of process parameters can monetise their experience.

The next level in AM: end-to-end processes

Innovative software solutions are also contributing to the creation of additive chains that are digitalised and automated from end to end. The forum will also shed light on how to move away from siloed solutions and stand-alone manufacturing steps. Uwe Schulmeister from toolcraft AG will discuss how this next level in AM can be shaped in his talk with the same title. Schulmeister is the additive manufacturing division manager at the specialist in high-end metallic 3D-printed components. His talk will place a special emphasis on the practical relevance of digitalisation and automation in the additive process.

End-to-end processes also require end-to-end control. Dr Bernhard Wiedemann, director of business development at Carl Zeiss Industrielle Messtechnik GmbH, and Dr Claus Hermannstädter, head of additive manufacturing technology at the metrology specialist, will address the challenges for automated defect analysis in industrial applications in their talk. They will present in-process monitoring for laser powder bed fusion, an innovative technology for powder bed analysis during and after the printing process. It enables in-situ verification of the powder bed quality based on imaging and defect statistics instead of testing the parts after the build process.

The Software & Processes trade forum is part of the Rapid.Tech 3D specialist conference. Each day will open with high-profile keynotes from renowned experts in the automotive, aviation and defence industries. The three-day programme from 9 to 11 May 2023 will also offer insights into the latest AM applications and developments in the Mobility, Medicine, Aviation, Design, Innovations in AM and Science trade forums. AM topics ranging from chemistry & Process Engineering technology to post-processing and quality assurance will be discussed in dedicated trade forums for the first time.

More information on how to take part in the event is available at: https://www.rapidtech-3d.de/konferenz/tickets/

The conference and exhibitor areas of Rapid.Tech 3D 2023 will focus on India’s 3D printing expertise, among other things. A wide range of preparations are currently under way for Indo-German meetings and a joint Indian stand in Erfurt.

Information on special show areas such as the Additive Area or the Start-up Area is available at


Over 2,500 trade visitors from 18 countries flocked to Rapid.Tech 3D 2022 in Erfurt. They learned about new products and services in additive manufacturing from 97 exhibitors from eleven countries, including the US, the United Kingdom, Austria and Switzerland. Visitors were delighted with the conference programme, which featured ground-breaking keynote addresses and trade forums offering in-depth presentations. Delegate numbers were higher in comparison to the last in-person conference in 2019.

Further information: www.rapidtech-3d.com