»The future of industrial manufacturing«
Text and Photos: Thomas Masuch - 05/12/2018
The industrialization of the AM industry is making significant progress at Formnext
»At Formnext, we touch the future of industrial manufacturing«, confirmed Ilaria Guiccardini, Marketing Director of Roboze, an Italian manufacturer of 3D printers, in November in Frankfurt. The entire industry had developed, as had the visitors who visited Roboze's stand. »They already knew our products and ask for concrete solutions.«
Guiccardini's statements are exemplary for the development of the entire additive manufacturing industry and the world's most important industry trade fair, Formnext. An industry that years ago was still strongly influenced by a large number of innovative start-ups is becoming more and more mature and is focusing more and more on concrete business.
»It is not just a question of whether to meet at Formnext, but when. It goes without saying to be at Formnext.«
The number of applications is growing just as fast as the number of technical possibilities. Manufacturers and users cannot afford to miss technological development. For Kristian Arntz, managing director of ACAM Aachen Center for Additive Manufacturing, it is not just a »question of whether to meet at Formnext, but when. It goes without saying to be at Formnext.«
For industrial 3D printer manufacturers, business means more than bringing better and faster machines to market every year: At Formnext, for example, the focus was on holistic solutions, new materials and quality assurance. The manufacturers of industrial 3D printers now have special production knowledge to convince users from all over the world of their products.
Ilaria Guiccardini, Marketing Director at Roboze. Photo: Thomas Masuch / Zikomm.
Roboze focuses on 3D printing of particularly hard and demanding plastic parts. Photo: Thomas Masuch / Zikomm.
Roboze offers 3D printers on which extremely hard plastic parts can be produced. Photo: Thomas Masuch / Zikomm.
Rick Chin (left) and Rick Fulop, both co-founders of Desktop Metal, were excited about Formnext 2018. Photo: Thomas Masuch / Zikomm.
Kristian Arntz, managing director of ACAM Aachen Center for Additive Manufacturing. Photo: Thomas Masuch / Zikomm.
AM parts for the Aviation Industry: GE presented at Formnext its power door opening system (PDOS) bracket, used on GE Aviation’s GEnx-2B commercial airline engines. Photo: Thomas Masuch / Zikomm.
Motorsport, Aviation, Tooling
Roboze, for example, focuses on 3D printing of particularly hard and demanding plastic parts. This requires not only the right material, but also a functioning process in which the plastic used harmonizes well with the machine. Ideally, users can then replace metal parts with lighter plastic parts. And this is interesting, for example, in motorsport, in aviation or in tooling.
The fact that new technologies come onto the market every year makes the additive manufacturing industry more lively than almost any other industrial sector. This was also evident at Formnext: with 26,919 visitors from all over the world, Formnext achieved a record result. The leading trade fair for additives manufacturing also set a new record for the number of exhibitors with 632. The dynamic growth of Formnext is set to continue in the coming year. The fair, which was almost bursting at the seams in 2018, is moving to Halls 11 and 12 in Frankfurt. For the first time a partner country, the USA, will also be represented at Formnext.
»The place to be«
»Every year, Formnext is getting better than the year before. It is the place to be«, praised, for example, Rick Fulop, CEO and co-founder of the US company Desktop Metal. Every year, the world's elite of additive manufacturers meet at Formnext. Leading global companies show their innovations in Frankfurt every year. This year, major AM companies such as 3D Systems, Arburg, DMG Mori, EOS, GE Additive, Renishaw, Siemens, Stratasys and Trumpf are clearly moving in the direction of industrialization. In addition to faster production and new applications, automation and integration into Industry 4.0 were on the innovation agenda.
In addition to manufacturers of 3D printing systems for metal or plastic processes, more and more companies from the entire process chain presented themselves - from software for efficient design to parts cleaning and metrology technology in post-processing. These include numerous companies that actually come from other industrial sectors and have discovered additive manufacturing for themselves. These include test laboratories, manufacturers of cleaning systems and suppliers of adhesives. These companies have often developed special solutions for additive manufacturing and will find suitable users from all over the world at Formnext.
In addition to renowned companies, pioneering start-ups still play an important role at Formnext. Every year, the Start-up Challenge is held, where young companies present their innovations. Quite a few of them can already be found a few years later as a mature company at the trade fair and on the market.