The Complete 3D Printing Conference was held on 25 March in London. Bit by Bit researcher Dominik Deradjat gives his summary of the event, which included presentations from a diverse range of perspectives.
Phil Reeves, MD and Principle Consultant at Econolyst, opened the conference with two presentations on the landscape of additive manufacturing. In his first session, he focused on the industrial manufacturing sector, providing an overview of additive manufacturing and elaborating on business drivers and technology adoption. In particular, cases and application in the medical, automotive and aeronautics sector were presented.
Then in his second session, Phil discussed the consumer 3D printing landscape, its commercial ecosystem and the dominant companies in the sector. He identified growth opportunities and limitations, offering a realistic and fact-driven evaluation of the current and future achievements in areas affected by additive manufacturing. In contrast to overenthusiastic expectations that can be encountered with the topic of 3D-printing, this presentation was refreshingly objective and grounded in reality.
Scott Dunham of Photizo Group provided a detailed overview of 3D printing vendors including financial results and a market assessment. Leading companies such as 3D Systems, Stratasys, ExOne and Voxeljet were evaluated and compared.
Cydni Tetro of 3DPLUS.Me described 3D printing strategies for merchandise and retail, elaborating on the importance and role of customisation and technical opportunities additive manufacturing offers. She stressed that the adaptation of additive manufacturing is still in an early stage and that technical issues such as colour and finishing still have to be addressed when considering implementation for merchandise.
Other presentations included Will Harvey’s case study of how IBM and Ogilvy implemented 3D printing for the real-time production of souvenir trophies at Wimbledon 2013, and product designer Assa Ashuach’s ideas for creating businesses in additive manufacturing.
Towards the end of the conference, Chris Higgins and Vann Pearce of Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe gave an introduction and overview of patent issues in 3D printing. Additive manufacturing has created grey areas in IP as existing laws do not capture the novel mechanics of how objects created from data files function. Future legal disputes and regulatory changes will have to be observed to provide clarity in some legal areas.
The closing speaker Andrew Dawood, a specialist in periodontics and prosthodontics, talked about how additive manufacturing contributes to his medical practice. Specific cases in which the technology realised customised implants or allowed the physical creation of models for visualisation and preparation for surgeries underlines the importance of 3D printing and the impact that it’s having in the medical sector.
The next 3D Printshow in London will take place in September 2014, exact dates to be determined.