Tuesday evening once again saw a group of 3D printing enthusiasts from Materialise dressing to impress and heading to Brussels, this time to celebrate the launch of the Flam3D platform at an event held at the Flemish parliament, with the support of Flanders Innovation & Entrepreneurship. Kicking off the evening with a talk about the history of 3D Printing in Flanders from 1990 to today was Materialise’s own Executive Vice President of Production, Bart Van der Schueren. To illustrate the staying power of this technology, Bart actually brought with him one of the first pieces he printed at Materialise more than 25 years ago – yellowed with age, but still going strong. Joining him on the stage were Stijn Lambrechts from Sirris, Kris Binon, the general director of Flam3D and Philippe Muyters, the Flemish Minister of Work, Economy, Innovation and Sports.
The recurring theme throughout all of the evening’s presentations was the power of collaboration – collaboration between players within the 3D printing industry, collaboration with universities and research centers, collaboration with experts in other industries…the list goes on. This belief in power of collaboration is one we strongly subscribe to at Materialise. In fact, our entire approach towards co-creation is based on the idea that it when expertise is shared in a collaborative process, truly great things can happen! I was a personal fan of the evening’s gift for attendees, itself the result of a collaboration between Twikit (for the design and customization) and Materialise (for the manufacturing) – customized wine/champagne glass markers! You can be sure that I will bring mine to a party or two in the future as it is inevitable that 3D printing enters conversations involving me, and it is always useful to have an example of the technology on hand.
The Flam3D platform — short for Flanders Additive Manufacturing and 3D printing Ecosystem — has been established by Flemish companies and research institutions active in 3D Printing, who share a common goal of encouraging collaboration between the various actors in the sector. The founding partners include, but are not limited to, the University of Leuven, Tenco DDM, Ghent University, Vamac, and of course, Materialise. Flam3D will organize activities for the public and for educational institutions, as well as act as an umbrella organization that communicates with the government.