Last week, there was only one place to be for the 3D printing industry: the Materialise World Summit. A two-day event hosted in Brussels by Materialise, it invited attendees to think beyond together about the future of 3D Printing. So what did we learn and what were the key takeaways?
5. The hype for 3D Printing is over and the future for Additive Manufacturing is bright
The buzz about 3D Printing was inescapable a few years ago. But the hype is slowly dying down and leaving room for 3D Printing to move onto more serious things. As was evident at the summit, large traditional manufacturing companies such as GE and Siemens are also adopting the technology – to great results.
4. 3D printing technology is mature enough to go into real manufacturing environments, as well as hospitals
From real consumer products to aerospace parts 3D printed in titanium, the quality of 3D-printed production is now mature enough to be applied in a variety of industries. Even in an environment as regulated as a hospital, 3D Printing is offering new treatment options and possibilities which have the capacity to change lives.
3. Progress is being made to put a legal and regulatory framework in place for 3D Printing
As with any new technology, there is no precedent to refer to when regulating quality or placing it within a legal framework. In high-risk environments such as a hospital, 3D-printed models not only need regulatory approval to guarantee they pose no risk to patients, but must be factored into insurance models as well. As the technology matures, this framework is getting increasingly established, both in healthcare and in complex manufacturing environments.
2. The applications for 3D Printing are becoming increasingly diverse
One of the wonderful things about 3D Printing is that its applications are quite literally endless – as the MWS showed, it can be used for anything from customized eyewear to a 3D-printed gas turbine blade, to a patient-specific hip implant. And with each new co-creation, more industries and more applications get explored.
1. Collaboration is key to further accelerate the adoption of the technology
Perhaps the most important takeaway from the summit was the need for collaboration. If 3D Printing is to truly become accessible to all, the 3D printing industry needs to work together with experts in other fields in order to accelerate its adoption. Whether it’s through a co-creation with lens experts Hoya, or through a hospital working together with a university or regulatory body to make the technology accessible to patients – innovation is made possible through an exchange of ideas and knowledge.