While most of us consider 3D printing as relatively new, the RAPID show — considered one of the preeminent events for 3D printing, scanning, and additive manufacturing — celebrated their 25th anniversary May 18-21 at the Long Beach Convention Center. As in past shows, this year’s edition lived up to it’s billing as the most comprehensive display of 3D technology, expertise and innovation in the world.
As with most shows like this, the companies and technologies exhibited spanned the widest possible array. Here are a few highlights that caught our eye in 3D printing:
- HP’s Multi Jet Fusion printers are being touted as bringing technology to market that will truly revolutionize 3D printing over the next 12 to 18 months — and we agree. Early reports from HP indicate the printers will be up to 10 times faster while also reducing cost of ownership by reducing both energy consumption and waste. Further, the printers will be able to deliver finished products from multiple liquid agents and are projected to be more accurate and deliver pieces with more uniform strength in all three axis directions.
- Across the board, I found the improvements in direct metal printing to be impressive. This not only improves capabilities for printed prototypes of metal parts, it also opens up new possibilities in a number of industries, including aerospace, medical and healthcare and other markets that require highly accurate complex metal parts. Clearly, this industry is just beginning to really take off.
- The professional grade 3D printers from EnvisionTEC also caught my eye. This company, with operations in Germany and the U.S., has been a long-time leader in 3D printing and filed it’s first patent in 1999 and today serves companies in a broad range of industries, including jewelry, automotive, dental, medical, sporting goods, aerospace and consumer packaged goods. Who knows — maybe an EnvisionTEC printer will join the rest of the Avid 3D Printing team here in Loveland soon?
- Finally, Terry Wohlers Keynote talk on the State of the Industry was very insightful and encouraging regarding the future of additive manufacturing. He mentioned a growth rate of approximately 35% for 2014 and an expectation for similar growth for 2015.
You can read more about the RAPID event here — or drop a question in the comments. I’m happy to discuss the show!