On Tuesday May 20th, I had the opportunity to accompany two colleagues from our headquarters to the 3D Printing Seminar in Coventry, UK, hosted by our colleagues from the Materialise UK office. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from the event, but what I learned in the end was that the system manufacturers want to focus on what is possible today. I put an emphasis on today because there is a lot of speculation of what 3D Printing may bring in the future, say for example 20 years down the line, but this seminar really focused on what is now possible with 3D Printing. The role of software in this process should not be overlooked, and Materialise’s software Streamics is a solution for today’s world to connect the entire 3D Printing workflow and grow their business.
Upon arriving at the Manufacturing Technology Center (MTC), I was not surprised that inside such a state-of-the-art building there is such interesting research. The goal of the MTC is to bridge the gap between the great manufacturing ideas that come out of UK universities and the adoption of these techniques in industry and turn them into commercially viable solutions. Manufacturing technology manager at the MTC, Professor David Wimpenny, mentioned during a brief introduction to MTC, “We don’t want to make paperweights; we want to make parts that work,” and this idea is at MTC’s very core.
This venue set the stage for the day with presenters from some of the most important players in the 3D Printing industry, namely Tri-Tech 3D (Stratasys), Arcam, EOS, ES Technology (Concept Laser) and Renishaw, to give their take on how the industry should behave today to achieve great things in the future. Luke Ambrose, software sales manager from our UK office gave an introduction about Materialise. During his presentation, he went over our business structure and how Materialise truly excels where 3D Printing knowledge, engineering and software overlap. He also emphasized how this knowledge in AM enabled Materialise to create a Software Platform for the 3D Printing industry. Offering a portfolio of solutions that can bring nearly all possible applications and different data formats to the vast range of existing 3D printers and vice versa.
Later in the morning, Karel Brans, Materialise’s strategic partnerships manager for the software division, followed up with Luke’s presentation by going more in-depth about the software competence of Materialise. He focused specifically on Streamics automation and control system and how this software helps to streamline your production processes and manage all data and resources involved, allowing you to better manage and further expand 3D Printing activities and businesses. In addition Materialise counts numerous collaborations with different system manufacturers to develop build processors which enable efficient communication and better integration of Streamics with their system.
Click through the gallery below to see what the other speakers presented! [su_slider source="media: 660,657,658,656,659" limit="5" height="400" pages="no" mousewheel="no" autoplay="4000" class="white-su"]
The audience, while quite diverse in terms of job roles and institutions, were enthusiastic about the event. Daniel Eyers, an attendee and lecturer at Cardiff University came to the seminar to learn more about the software side of 3D Printing and see how Streamics supports a manufacturing environment. When discussing the event, he said, “The seminar was a great opportunity to meet with leading technology providers, industrialists, and academics to discuss the latest developments in 3D Printing. The organization was fantastic, and the venue superb – I was really pleased to attend the event.”
For me personally, the seminar was a great place to hear other voices in the industry and hear others experiences with 3D Printing. It was exciting to hear what others have been able to do with 3D Printing: from multicolor and metal printing to integrated functionality and the creation of porous and lattice structures, etc. Indeed it will be interesting to see where the industry is going in the future, but where 3D Printing is today is also very exciting.