An event a day … keeps an Editor updated on AM

tct_birmingham_2017

It has been a busy week for professionals involved in additive manufacturing, as well as plastics and polymers. Yours truly visited three events in three days and traveled 1,750 kilometers for this purpose (walking distances at venues not included; my shoemaker will be rubbing his hands…).

AM at TCT and Interplas

Events are a great way to finally meet in person with the people you already ‘e-met’ with on LinkedIn or via email, as well as for catching up with ‘old’ friends that you met with at previous events. The yearly TCT show, this year together with Interplas, is one of the ‘must attend’ events and it’s always a treat.

Unfortunately I missed the TCT press conference that Louise Barker so kindly invited me for due to a delayed flight. However, the delay led to interesting conversations at the gate that provided good starting points for later meet-ups since it turned out about half of the travelers was attending at least one of the events at the NEC.

room_with_view
My hotel was located in Paradise Circus, which is more circus than Paradise these days due to reconstruction of the area. Slept like a log though.

After a long day (getting out of bed at 5 AM will never be fun), I made the mistake to grab a cab to my hotel in Paradise Circus. I again realised why I always prefer staying at a hotel near the venue but everything around the NEC was already fully booked when I was making travel arrangements months ago. The hotel in Paradise Circus was reasonably priced and I booked it because I figured it should take about twenty minutes tops to get there, which is probably correct when you’re not caught up in traffic jams, which of course you always are.

After sleeping surprisingly well, I figured I should give public transportation a try. And what do you know, the commute by train was much shorter and with a pricing of less than 10% of what the taxi had cost me, I say I found a winner for upcoming travels.

Meetings and meet-ups

rizeWhen I attend events I Always like to do a combination of appointments, or meetings and leave some time ‘unfilled’ for spontaneous meet-ups as a result of strolling the fairgrounds and starting a conversation whenever I spot something interesting.

Julie Reece from Rize was so kind to personally invite me to stop by and we set an appointment. At their stand I got a live demonstration of the ingenious Rize One and lots of information from Eugene Giller, Rize’s Founder and President (more info will follow soon).

personal_wind_turbineAnd when I took a turn to the right after this very nice meeting, I was intrigued by the colourful object at the stand of Produced(in)3D, where  Founder and CEO Robert Dekan explained what it was that I was looking at: an additively manufactured personal wind turbine.

“Do you have a garden?” Robert asked. “A balcony then?” he continued when I shook my head. Unfortunately the answer was again negative.  We agreed I should really move houses so I can build my personal energy system and he gave me a miniature version of the turbine to put on my desk for the time being.

interplas
At Interplas I had a few very interesting conversations and was astouned by the speed of technical developments. Innovation is something the organisers of Interplas also value highly, as demonstrated in the Innovation Award. Entries for the Interplas 2020 Innovation Award are now accepted.

AM at the ‘Kunststoffenbeurs’ (plastics and polymers event)

This year, right after visiting TCT and Interplas, I attended the Kunststoffenbeurs in Veldhoven, near Eindhoven (The Netherlands) for the first time and I was amazed with the size of it; I had to do some digging to get to the companies that are involved in 3D printing…

kunststoffenbeurs
Don’t be fooled by the cuteness of this façade; it is only the entrance toward hall after hall with a total of over 200 exhibitors.

Organised yearly by Mikrocentrum in The Netherlands, the ‘Kunststoffenbeurs‘ (plastics and polymers fair) attracts mainly visitors from Belgium, France, Germany, and of course The Netherlands.

I attended since I received a very nice invitation and because I see an increase in 3D companies exhibiting here and at other events for plastics professionals, like at K in Düsseldorf, the world’s leading trade fair for plastics and rubber, as well as at interplastica.

At the Kunststoffenbeurs there weren’t many companies that use AM but I had very nice conversations with the ones that do and also enjoyed talking to plastics professionals who have chosen not to work with 3D printing (yet). These talks provided me with some insights that I couldn’t have gained by only focusing on the benefits of implementing AM.

3D printing plastics and metal

realpartsMike de Winter, Director of RP2 B.V. (Real Parts / Rapid Production) was so kind to patiently explain what it is that they do, which is quite a lot!

Their customers reach out to them for architectural models, functional prototypes, rapid prototyping, 3D printing, and small series production in both plastic and metal.

amitekAnd the Amitek stand I met with Alex van der Zouw, again a wonderful person to talk to who it seemed could go on for hours talking about additive manufacturing.

In addition to the explanation about how Amitek helps clients in the whole process from design to production, I especially enjoyed the anecdotes about how he already used AM years and years ago for personal use. Unfortunately Alex preferred not to be photographed but maybe you can soon read blog posts about how he used 3D printing to finish a rabbit run in the garden and replace obsolete parts in his camper.

Next week I AM at the office

Next week I will stay in the office – well, mainly – preparing travels I will make later this year, such as to formnext in Frankfurt. And – amongst many other things – for next week I aim at completing the programme for the AM Seminar that 3D fab+print organise at MEDICA / COMPAMED 2017 on Monday, November 13. The speakers will soon be announced; subscribe to the newsletter and stay tuned …