Quantum leaps in medicine and other innovations through additive manufacturing

25.06.2019

3D printing world gathers until 27 June 2019 for 16th Rapid.Tech + FabCon 3.D in Erfurt

(Erfurt, 25 June 2019). The world of 3D printing is back in Erfurt today for the 16th Rapid.Tech + FabCon 3.D. Over 175 exhibitors from Germany and around Europe will be in town until 27 June this year, showcasing the latest developments in 3D printing in sectors ranging from car manufacturing to dentistry. Running alongside the exhibition are the high-calibre Rapid.Tech specialist conference, the 3D Printing Conference and an array of events to promote networking and help attendees share their knowledge and experience. “This year we are offering visitors and exhibitors three different ways of exchanging information and connecting with each other on user-related issues, with a focus on networking in addition to the conference and exhibition themes. The ongoing popularity of Germany’s longest standing 3D printing trade fair is all the motivation we need to keep adapting our concept to meet changing requirements. One example of this is the event app, being offered for the first time this year, and which visitors and exhibitors can use to keep up-to-date with what’s going on at the exhibition,” explains Michael Kynast, CEO of Messe Erfurt GmbH.
 
For advisory board chairman Michael Eichmann, Manager at Stratasys, the event’s outstanding reputation across Europe is evidenced by the ever growing number of submissions for the 100 or so conference talks. “Here too, we are constantly fine-tuning our content to reflect developments in additive manufacturing. While the first year was dominated by issues relating to prototype building and small series, the focus has increasingly shifted to industrialisation. New topics on the programme this year therefore include software integration, regulation and standards, and early training in 3D printing.”

In his opening address, keynote speaker Prof. Dr. Majeed Rana discussed the medical advances made possible by additive technologies in the last five years. The Chief Physician and Vice Director of the Department of Oral, Maxillofacial and Plastic Facial Surgery at Düsseldorf University Hospital talked about the use of computer-assisted surgery for the microvascular reconstruction of facial bones. Additive processes can be used to remedy defects in the jaw and facial area caused by accidents or tumours, usually in a single operation. “CAD software and 3D printing are key aids for surgeons. Using these tools, surgeons can plan an operation down the minutest detail, and customise the necessary implants to each patient. A tool that enables them to identify the patient’s individual circumstances with the utmost safety and precision, and then perform the reconstruction required. Conventional methods require surgeons to rely to a much greater extent on so-called average values and their own experience,” explained Prof. Dr. Rana.

The exhibition also gives visitors the opportunity to take a closer look at innovations in medicine. These include the fastest 3D printer for tooth implants, presented by Trumpf, a 3D-printed cranial model for surgical preparation by Stratasys, and the first miniature heart to be printed using human cells, unveiled by University of Tel Aviv/Israel researchers in Erfurt as part of the international 3D Pioneers Challenge design competition.
Exhibitors are also presenting the latest developments in software and data processing, from materials, processes and machines through to post-processing and quality assurance services across the entire additive chain, which are in demand in industries such as the automotive industry, aviation and aeronautics, energy and engineering.

The eight international finalists competing to be named 2019 Start-Up of the Year also demonstrated that the additive manufacturing sector still has plenty of innovative ideas up its sleeve. And the winner was Glassomer, a spin-off of the NeptunLab at Freiburg University. The team developed novel materials (known as glassomers), making it possible to 3D print glass for the very first time. Second place went to Darmstadt Graphics Group for an intelligent software solution for the automated optimisation of 3D models, which can compress huge files in a matter of seconds, without compromising on visual quality. British start-up FabPub took third prize for its universal construction machine Polibot. FabPub supports communities by giving them access to digital manufacturing and production time tools, with access to experts in the field.
Prize money totalling EUR 14,000 was awarded.

Rapid.Tech + FabCon 3.D is set to continue tomorrow (26 June 2019). Ulli Klenk from Siemens Power Generation Services will open the second day of the event with a keynote address on the industrialisation of additive manufacturing processes, using turbine production as an example.
Making their début at the event are the Education Forum, which looks at how 3D printing can be introduced at an early stage in schools and training, and the Software & Processes Forum. The agenda also includes the Contract Additive Manufacturing, AM Science, and Tool, Mould and Fixture Making Forums, and a session hosted by the Fraunhofer Additive Manufacturing Alliance. The 3D Printing Conference will also continue.

A highlight of tomorrow’s evening programme will be the 3D Pioneers Challenge awards ceremony for most innovative design idea.

 
Further information: www.rapidtech-fabcon.com

 

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