Additive Manufacturing Forum has been initiated by Airbus, Deutsche Bahn, Stratasys, 3yourmind and Mobility goes Additive. The European conference and exhibition that took place last week on March 14th and 15th aimed at connecting players of the industry with OEMs and other companies that might take advantage of additive manufacturing. The overall purpose is to enrich the participants with insights and knowledge that will help them make strategic decisions in the implementation of AM.
Key facts: this year, 857 participants were present at the conference, they followed the innovations of 97 exhibitors and attended 47 sessions that range from digital manufacturing to legal aspects of the industry. Although the event welcomed a bunch of international companies, we note the fact that a great number of sessions were presented in German.
In general, sessions brought out an interesting perspective on key issues that remain critical for the industry and how to overcome them: the future of digital manufacturing, where are we with stable Series Production in AM?, Automated Construction instead of Manual Design, How we optimize Additive Materials for our Customers…However, what was even more impressive and striking was the possibility to participate in topics that are very closed to our reality: Human Spare Parts. Will we become Cyborgs? – a presentation from Dr. Cora Lüders-Theuerkauf – Medical Goes Additive.
Although the title is more in the realm of science-fiction, the session laid emphasis on the reality of today and the possibility to use 3D Printing in one of the most vital fields: medicine.
3D Printing has revolutionized the medical sector and has literally produced a few “miracles” for disability groups: customized implants, 3D Printed models for operational preparation, various types of prostheses (breast, limb, hand, ear, etc.) However, a few challenges remain at the technical and legal levels.
At the technical level, one notes that a few applications still raise barriers in terms of materials, AM processes and tissue engineering. In fact, these issues are complex as they require further researches to discover the most compatible solutions with the human body and the ones that will create the least damages to the latter.
Moreover, another truth is that the progress in science should go well in line with the legislation that frames it. Therefore, a solution might seem perfect for human beings and yet raises an array of barriers that questions its legitimacy.
That’s also why conferences like the AM forum stands for: to be able to update our knowledge on what should be done and what shouldn’t be done regarding this technology.
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