Touchpoint 3D fab+print magic at drupa 2016

Now that drupa 2016 is behind us (May 31st – June 10th , Düsseldorf, Germany), we can look back on this year’s event as being quite exceptional on a large number of fronts, and particularly with regard to the role of the 3D fab+print touchpoint there.

Drupa is certainly without doubt one of the world’s biggest and most important trade fairs for print and cross-media solutions. The show statistics speak for themselves:

  • 1837 exhibitors from 54 countries;
  • more than 347,700 visitors from 188 countries;
  • more than 75% of all visitors were executives in a decisive and/or co-decisive capacity when it comes to capital expenditure in their companies;
  • 54% of visitors came to drupa with investment intentions;
  • 29% placed orders at drupa;
  • 30% of visitors were planning to place orders soon after drupa;
  • 60% of visitors found new suppliers at the event.

The percentage of visitors for the 2016 event was 16% up on those attending the show in 2012 with 76% of all visitors coming from outside Germany. After Germany the leading European countries were Italy, France, The Netherlands, and the UK. 5% of all visitors came from India, and 3% from China.

Moreover, this year saw somewhat of a repositioning of drupa with its focus on future themes with a strong growth potential – such as 3D printing, functional printing or packaging printing.

So too the success at the touchpoint stand at drupa in Hall 7a where the dual lecture theme was: what is happening in the world of 3D printing at present with particular reference to the 2D printing and packaging industries?, and how can companies take up and combine 3D technology and innovations into their 2D printing and packaging industries to make themselves even more successful? Between June 1st and June 9th 3D fab+print organized a series of seventy-five short lectures spread over nine days (June 1st – June 9th). The list of companies participating was notable: Aviv3D, Blueprinter, Caldera, Canon, Doob, Cohausz & Florack, DWF, Gartner, HP,  Krause – DiMaTec, the IEEE-ISTO Working Group, Massivit, and SDD/AMR Europe.  On the first day of lectures alone, 502 people stopped at some point of the day to listen in, take part, and/or ask questions. In total at the end of the event more than 3450 visitors to drupa had stopped off to listen and pick up some knowledge at the touchpoint presentation area-  quite an unprecedented number considering this is a first time event.

The major theme of the touchpoint has been has two-fold: firstly, what is happening in the world of 3D printing at the moment with particularly reference to the 2D printing and packaging industries?, and secondly, how can companies take up and combine 3D technology and innovations into their printing and packaging industries to make themselves even more successful than they are now?

All the presentations were short around 15–20 minutes – explaining clearly, and mostly through examples, how 3D printing could best be put to advantage in2D printing businesses. Presentations were not the only thing taking place at the touchpoint: SDD/AMR Europe also provided workshops in 3D design and printing. What made participation even more interesting to participants at these workshops was that those who took part also gained the opportunity to win a 3D printer. If becoming the owner of a 3Ddimensional model of yourself was your thing then it was possible to order one at the Doob stand where there were always a large collection of visitors milling around. In addition, the law firms Cohausz & Florack and DWF took time to look at and explain some of the legal issues involved  3D printing such as: the Benefits and Legal Challenges of 3D Printing, Intellectual Property Rights, Imitation of Products, Licensing, User-Generated Content, and Technological Standards, etc.

Judging from the reception of the audience there was a clear need for this type of forum with companies particularly eager to delve into the possibilities of combining 3D printing technology into their businesses. This is certainly not surprising since the profit margins to made from the use of 3D technology at the moment are high. Undoubtedly, this will change considerably in a few years’ time as more and more companies get on to the bandwagon.

Finally, work without play makes jack a dull boy. The touchpoint sprang in to fill this gap and provided some interesting network gatherings where visitors could come along and  chat to the touchpoint partners about their businesses in a relaxed social atmosphere over a  drink and a snack! All in all the touchpoint proved to be a resounding first-time success. In four years’ time judging from the impact in 2016, additive manufacturing will be very big at drupa 2020.

See photo retrospect on the 3D fab+print Facebook page.