Working without boundaries

Design Forum at Rapid.Tech 3D 2023 will harness powerful international expertise to bridge the gap between additive design and additive manufacturing

Additive and digital technologies open up ways of achieving completely new freedom in product design. They also make it possible to produce new developments in new ways. “Bridging the gap between additive design and additive manufacturing is the focus of this year’s Design Forum. Innovative companies worldwide are driving this topic forwards. We are delighted that experts from internationally renowned companies will be coming to Erfurt to speak, present new developments and applications and, above all, engage in a direct dialogue with the expert audience at Rapid.Tech 3D,” says Dr Stephan Beyer, co-founder and co-managing director of innovation company nFrontier, who prepared the content of the forum. 

Algorithmic design – the next generation of design software

nTopology [KS1] has made a name for itself among experts with algorithmic product design. Bradley R. Rothenberg, the company’s co-founder and CEO, will speak about this “design without boundaries” in Erfurt. The US company has developed the next generation of engineering design tools for additive manufacturing. The generative design software enables computer-aided modelling in a unified environment. Engineers can create highly complex designs for innovative manufacturing processes, simultaneously considering design, simulation and manufacturing for rapid optimisation.

Automating design processes with digital assistance systems

Companies today face the challenge of developing increasingly complex, higher-performance products in ever-shorter innovation cycles. This results in high staff costs. Researchers from the Digital Additive Production (DAP) department at RWTH Aachen University are remedying this situation with intelligent digital assistance systems. “Our approach is to partially automate design processes and thereby create the conditions for the efficient development of new products,” says Dr Stephan Ziegler, chief engineer in the DAP department. He will be speaking on this topic and presenting examples of cooperations with industry partners. “Among other things, we are currently working on more compact and more powerful electric motors, which are needed for an ever-growing number of different applications as electric mobility advances. Another area of focus is the hydrogen economy. Here we’re working on flexible combustion systems that enable the use of green hydrogen,” explains Dr Ziegler, adding: “We can quickly turn the designs we have created digitally into a real product using 3D printing, and the product can then be tested or used directly.”

Using machine learning to create processes with repeat accuracy

Helio Additive focuses on the scalability of industrial 3D printing. Founded in China, the company is now based in Delaware in the US and has institutional investors from Germany and the Netherlands. Founder and CEO David Hartmann will demonstrate how the complexity of the 3D printing process can be solved by making better physics-based decisions. Harnessing machine learning is one of the ways that Helio Additive improves the repeatability of additive processes.

Alexander Herking from aPriori Technologies will shed light on the interaction between product design and sustainability. Eighty per cent of a subsequent product’s environmental impact is already determined at an early stage in the development process. aPriori’s digital platforms make it possible to measure metrics such as the carbon footprints of products and arrive at ways of reducing them without losing sight of profitability.

The Design 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, Innovations in AM, Software & Processes, and Science trade forums. AM topics ranging from chemistry & Process Engineering 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:

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: