Held from 7 to 9 March in Veldhoven, the Netherlands, the 2017 issue of RapidPro drew leading organisations and speakers to the expo and parallel conference.
Many people present – both exhibitors and visitors – expressed the clear interest in seeing the 3D printing of metals becoming more established in OEM manufacturing facilities, as well as in moving from only using 3D printing for prototyping to additively manufacturing end parts and products.
At the stand of Nextstep3D for example Marc den Held (pictured in the header image on the left) let slip an interesting development: “We are seeing how users are genuinely keen to make the step up from 3D model making to producing real parts but are hesitant as they sometimes lack a proper understanding of one or more of the steps involved. That’s why nextstep3D is finalising a plan that will assist such customers as they look to integrate 3D printing in production.” Marc also provided a comprehensive update on the use of robotic systems.
At the Materialise stand Account Manager Sofie Claes provided lots of information on all of Materialise’s product and service offerings. One of the topics she is especially passionate about is product re-engineering. Giving an example, she indicated a metal assembly consisting of two parts bonded together. Each part had been machined to create channels which, when the two halves were assembled, would align to form ducts. “The client turned to us because the assembly was prone to breakages and replacements could take up to six weeks to manufacture,” Sofie tells. We redesigned the assembly and were able to offer the client a lighter, more durable component that is available within ten working days.”
A full retrospect will appear in the upcoming edition of 3D fab+print magazine.