Automated, scalable, distributed: insights into the future of additive manufacturing from 3D printing pioneer Scott Crump


Visitor interest high and steady at Rapid.Tech + FabCon 3.D in Erfurt

Visitors to Rapid.Tech + FabCon 3.D gained insights into the future of additive manufacturing on the second day (6 June 2018) of the international trade fair and conference for additive technologies. Messe Erfurt had secured Scott Crump, the American 3D printing pioneer, to speak on the subject. The inventor of Fused Deposition Modelling (FDM) technology, a process now used in 90 per cent of all 3D printers worldwide, he co-founded Stratasys and is now the company’s Chief Innovation Officer. In his keynote speech, he took the audience on a journey from his first 3D-printed part, a toy frog for his daughter, through the development of the first prototype and industrial applications, to the prospect of automated scalable additive manufacturing provided via cloud-based solutions to diverse locations throughout the world.

Stratasys is working to develop infrastructure that will enable high-quality parts to be 3D-printed reliably, consistently, in any quantity, with any amount of variance and from a range of different materials. The key tasks, as Scott Crump sees it, are to combine 3D printing solutions optimally with the opportunities offered by automation and Industry 4.0 (which will in the long term also include the post-processing of parts) and further development of materials. These will, he says, make additive processes even faster, more reproducible and more cost-effective and ensure they have series production capability.

Stratasys was one of the first companies to introduce industrial additive manufacturing and has worked primarily with the automotive and aviation industries to advance the process. With over 200,000 installed 3D printers worldwide, some 45,000 of which are for commercial applications, the company ranks amongst the market leaders.

Specific applications for 3D printing were on display in exhibition hall 2. As on the first day, over 200 exhibitors welcomed visitors to their stands, where discussions continued almost non-stop. A number of mechanical engineering firms that have recently branched out into additive manufacturing as an additional business area and were first-time exhibitors, were delighted with the reception they received from trade visitors. One such firm is Bosch Rexroth, The drive and control technology specialist presenting automation solutions for additive manufacturing. Metrom, which manufactures parallel kinematic multi-axis processing machines, caused quite a stir on site with its operational five-axis system combining subtractive and additive processes in a single mobile machine.

The various forums at the Rapid.Tech specialist conference were as high-calibre as ever. Current industrial applications and the latest research results from a number of industries were presented at the Users Conference and at the AM Science, 3D-Printed Electronics & Functionality and 3D Metal Printing forums. The revamped Medical, Dental and Orthopaedic Technology forum focused on 3D printing in the medical field and will continue tomorrow (7 June 2018) as will the Users Conference and the AM Science forum.

The final day of the 15th Rapid.Tech + FabCon 3.D will start with a keynote speech by Christoph Wangenheim from GE company Baker Hughes, looking at additive manufacturing’s potential for the oil and gas industry, and will also include the Aviation forum. The 3D Printing Conference will continue with a
keynote speech by Gijs van der Velden from MX3D, who will present his project for an additively manufactured metal bridge in Amsterdam.


You can download this press information here.


Pictures of the 2nd trade show day:

Keynote speaker Scott Crump (Stratasys)

Press talk with Scott Crump

Press talk with Scott Crump (in the picture on the left side Messe Erfurt CEO Michael Kynast)

Trade show I

Trade show II

Trade show III

Trade show IV

Trade show V