Generative processes Additive manufacturing causes new synergies to emerge

Editor: Eric Culp

The German Machine Tool Builders’ Association (VDW) and Messe Erfurt want to meld, step-by-step, their exhibitions, which are Metav and Rapid-Tech and Fab-Con 3D, journalist Walter Frick reports.

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Lightweight structure: generatively produced model of a human hand.
Lightweight structure: generatively produced model of a human hand.
(Image: Fraunhofer-IPA)

The long-term strategic partnership between Germany’s machine tool builders and show organiser Messe Erfurt bore its first fruits at March’s Metav 2014 fair in Dusseldorf, Germany. This is all part of the task of the VDW, according to MD Wilfried Schäfer. “As a leading industrial association, we have the task of preparing our companies optimally for new developments.”

Related: Metal additive manufacturing to gain ground in die and mould

Finding the correct partner to bring in new technologies

One way is to link up with someone working with cutting-edge technology. “The cooperation with the Messe Erfurt in the area of generative production fulfils this aspiration. Within the framework of our collaboration, we want to achieve mutual strengthening and further development of the exhibition projects of both partners. With the new competences, we are augmenting the Metav as part of the future.” Wieland Kniffka, MD Messe Erfurt GmbH, said: “[We have] the only exhibition location that not only reflects the industrial utilisation of generative production technology, but also addresses as a target group the private users and parties interested in 3D printing. We can exercise this competence in partnership with the VDW.”

The Erfurt fair boss explained how future exhibitors will profit from this “intermeshing”. “From 2014, we will jointly establish alternating event formats at our two locations, while retaining the independent brands Rapid-Tech and Fab-Con 3D. The first field in the future co-operation is that of medical technology, the central focus of the Rapid-Tech in Erfurt. This cooperation in the segment of generative production offers exhibitors a range of advantages [to] thus reach new target groups, meet an international specialist public and have international media resonance.”

More trade contacts mean more business

Furthermore, a comprehensive congress programme is expected to create more transfer of knowledge between users and research, according to Kniffka. In addition, ne noted that the cooperation will ensure the strengthening of both event brands. In his view, the VDW, as the key association in machine tool construction, “naturally brings with it into the ‘marriage’, besides its sector know-how, a dowry comprising a huge amount of competence in exhibition and event organisation at home and abroad. Our exhibitors profit, for example, from the comprehensive marketing and visitor advertising skills of the VDW and Metav.” The partners expect high-value contact opportunities via print and online channels. “Thanks to its members and its international networking, the VDW opens up access to international markets.”

The background to the strategic partnership is the entry of generative manufacturing technology into mass production. What began as rapid prototyping has developed in several evolutionary steps to today’s additive manufacturing. In Germany, the Rapid-Tech fair has been reflecting this thematic complex comprehensively for more than a decade – know-how that was available to exhibitors at the Metav 2014 in Düsseldorf.

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