Filip Geerts, Director General of CECIMO: “Our association is working to improve the competitiveness of the European 3Dprinting industry and to maintain its leading position in the world”

A wide range of companies provide specific services within the 3D printing industry but beyond these companies, there are associations whose aim is to support them. They literally play the role of facilitator at a European level, create consensus or implement change in favor of the industry.

CECIMO is one of these players whose aim is to represent the interests of the Machine Tool industries. The 3D printing technology being part of its activities, the association recently signed a partnership with EPMA, the European Powder Metallurgy Association to develop additive manufacturing (AM) through diversified actions.

Today, Filip Geerts, the Director General of CECIMO, explains us the role of CECIMO and its actions within the industry. #OpinionoftheWeek

Tell us more about CECIMO

CECIMO is the European Association for the machine tool industries. It covers 98% of total Machine Tool production in Europe and about 36% worldwide. Additive manufacturing is one of the technologies we represent at a European level. CECIMO aims to promote the sector and to provide a good social and economic environment to companies which are doing business in Europe. In that sense, we represent manufacturing companies for hybrid machine tools and all the players in the additive manufacturing value chain: design, software equipment, services, materials (polymers, metals, ceramic). We cover aspects of the B2B as well as B2C markets.

As far as 3D printing is concerned, CECIMO influences the regulations in favor of the 3D printing industry, and therefore, contributes to get 3D printing technologies into the mainstream industry.

CECIMO’s network is composed of 350 leading actors from all sort of materials for AM applications and from segments like software development and machine manufacturing, post-processing and final machine end-use. We also involve top universities, training institutes, legal firms, R&D centres, distributors and many other European entities, heavily focused on AM. Everybody who is interested to join our activities is most welcomed to contact CECIMO.

How and why 3D printing has been placed at the heart of CECIMO’s actions?

3D printing has always been part of our activities. The truth is that with the increasing adoption of 3D printing, new companies have been created, enhancing therefore the positioning of this technology on the market. Moreover, 3D printing was mostly used for prototyping and now we are trying to push the technology forward as the mainstream production.

What led to the partnership with EPMA?

As a lobby, our aim is to cover the total value chain of the market, which includes machinery and materials.

EPMA and CECIMO share this same vision however, EPMA is specialized in powder metallurgy. Their aim is to promote and represent the European powder metallurgy industry within Europe, and ours is to promote the machine tool; therefore, by standing together, we can go further and achieve many more in this regard.

What will be the first action that CECIMO and EPMA will launch?

For now, the aim is not to launch a set of actions within the industry. We aim to promote this sector at a European level. We may for instance reply and push EU-funded innovation projects forward.

What do you think of additive manufacturing (AM) in general?

In my opinion, AM is not going to replace a new way of producing. We believe, additive manufacturing is a complementary technology to traditional manufacturing techniques. That’s why the hybrid machine which combines both the conventional technique and the 3D printing technique will be the most convenient machine to use since it will meet the demand of users in different ways.

What’s the place of Belgium in the 3D printing industry?

It should be noticed that we are working at a European level. We represent the common interests of the Machine Tool Industries globally.

However, at a national level, there are a few national associations such as Sirris and Agoria, and companies such as Materialise that are embedded in CECIMO.

Your last word?

CECIMO is protecting the interest of the Additive Manufacturing sector at a European level by improving policy and regulatory initiatives and by promoting all the players in the AM value chain. From skills to energy, we make our voice heard in the European policy-making circles and we guarantee that the EU legislator is well aware of the concerns and interest of European AM players.

 

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