It’s the moment we’ve all been waiting for – today is the day when the Materialise World Summit 2017 kicked off, and what a start! In case you missed out, here is an overview of the highlights from Day One.
Lunch with Freddie, the 3D-Printed Skeleton
Lunch is an event of which the importance should never be underestimated. In a nice change of scene, attendees were able to walk around the exhibition hall and hear some of the smaller presentations from sponsors on the product stage. It was a great opportunity to see and learn about what other 3D printing companies were doing, as well as meeting some fascinating people! One guest in particular caught everyone’s eye – Freddie, the 3D-printed skeleton.
Visitors could also try out Hoya's Yuniku scanner, which scans your face and allows opticians to create a perfect set of eyewear tailored to your anatomy and lifestyle. Our sponsors were also present with booths featuring their technology - Hoet, Showpad, HP and BASF among others were all present.
The Additive Manufacturing Session
Stefaan Motte opened the Additive Manufacturing summit with a call to the industry to recognize where true innovation lies. "Innovation is important, we need to innovate more: but it's not the core challenge," he said. "What is? The digital supply chain. Looking beyond software and machines but to the applications where 3D technology needs to live. Designing a surgical guide for a perfect fit doesn't make it a success. The success lies in reaching out to the hospital in the first place."
Taking up the subject of innovation in design, multi-award winning design entrepreneur Benjamin Hubert spoke about the experiences that led to the development of the GO wheelchair. The subject was echoed in the very final seminar of the day by Philippe Laufer, the man behind CATIA, when he pointed out that consumers no longer want to buy products, but to buy experiences, a realization that has led to Dassault Systemes' creation of the 3DExperience.
Volker Hammes, Managing Director of BASF, discussed how chemistry-enabled AM offers solutions for the future. With an animated audience interaction, with lots of curiosity surrounding Polyamide 6 applications in AM, he paved the way for Andre Walter's talk on advanced material technology in the aircraft industry, from his perspective as Head of Plant at Airbus. Continuing the theme of aerospace applications in AM, Marta Garcia-Cosio from Atos explained how co-engineering with Materialise led to the creation of a titanium satellite insert that has the potential to save tens of thousands of dollars upon each satellite launch.
The Healthcare Session
Meanwhile, the Healthcare session had also been inspiring and informing a completely different audience. Vice President of Materialise Medical Brigitte de Vet opened the Healthcare session after lunch, inviting the audience to think about 3D Printing in healthcare and emphasizing the need to focus on outcome, not on the technology itself.
The first half of the session was characterized by presentations on the implementation of 3D Printing in a hospital environment, with great examples from Dr. Chen Ching Kit, Dr. Philipp Brantner and Dr. Aalpen A. Patel. Each of these speakers is involved in a working 3D print lab in their hospital, and they shared their tips for setting up your own 3D print lab - namely, start small, define your stakeholders and make sure your prints are of high enough quality.
The innovations these hospitals are making in healthcare are admirable examples, but there are practical issues which must be addressed as well. During the second part of the afternoon, the talks in the Healthcare session focused on the business, legal and societal aspects to the integration of the technology. Philip Tack from the University of Ghent looked at 3D Printing from an economic perspective, and raised the important point that healthcare must also be economically viable. Next up was Michael Barthold from Depuy-Synthès. He demonstrated that for device companies, 3D Printing is a technology with fantastic potential, but evidence is paramount and there needs to be a proper regulatory framework in place before it really takes hold.
The key takeaways were that it is clear that surgeons and hospitals are convinced about the benefits of Medical 3D Printing - the difficulty lies in implementing the technology within a hospital workflow, and making it cost-effective. A key part of implementing the technology is also convincing hospital management of its worth, and for that a hard body of research is necessary.
Dinner, Drinks and a Show
Before we knew it, it was time for the evening event. Set in the Concert Noble, the evening entertainment was provided by our very own executives, who proved their comedy chops with a show that involved dancing, music and... surprises.
Announced earlier during the conference, the Materialiser 0.1. would be the biggest announcement from Materialise to date. Was it a new software product? New 3D printing technology? A new material? All our audience knew was that it ran on time alone. So amidst dramatic background music, Fried Vancraen and Peter Leys opened up the box containing the Materialiser 0.1. The box was empty - the big reveal was that the greatest tool any company could make use of was collaboration with partners and fellow innovators.