Last week’s Spain-held events have been marked by a growing interest from companies outside the Basque community, a focus on R&D projects and the need to tap into “different skills and competences”

A week that attracted almost 45% professionals outside the Basque Autonomous Community

Addit3D, the Spain-dedicated 3D printing event closed its doors on Friday 17.06.2022. The event was held as part of the 31st edition of the BIEMH-International Machine Tool Biennia which welcomed over 35 000 visitors from 52 countries, 1 400 exhibitors from 28 countries and over 3,400 machines, products, services and new products.

As a reminder, Addit3D itself featured almost 230 products, services and innovations and over 100 AM companies from 15 countries. For the set of industry events that were held last week, it was a key moment for the entire sector.

Xabier Basañez, General Manager of the Bilbao Exhibition Centre, described the entire fair as “satisfactory and successful” at a press conference, held in presence of several key personalities including: José Pérez Berdud, President of AFM Cluster; Xabier Ortueta, general manager of AFM Cluster; José Ignacio Ortiz from Urbina, president of AIMHE; and Thais Basañez Allende, event manager of the BIEMH.

Xabier Basañez reviewed a week of “intense activity” that has meant the “reunion” edition: “after four long and hard-working years, this week we have demonstrated the industrial potential of this country“.

The BIEMH was especially visited by national visitors from all the Autonomous Communities, but mainly from Catalonia, Navarre, Castilla-León, Madrid, Cantabria and Valencia. The International market accounts for 5% of attendees with professionals coming from Portugal, Germany, Italy, France, Argentina, the Netherlands, Belgium, Mexico, the United Kingdom, India, the USA, Colombia, Finland, Switzerland and Turkey, among others.

The sectors of greatest interest were process automation and manufacturing, accessories for machine tools, tools, components for machine tools, additive manufacturing and 3D printing, machine tools by removal, handling of parts and tools and digitalisation.

AM in particular…

Image: Prima Additive – Dental application

As far as AM is concerned, let’s remind that the AM-dedicated show is organized by ADDIMAT, the Spanish Association of Additive Manufacturing and 3D Technologies.

Like TCT3Sixty in the UK, or 3D Print Congress & Exhibition in France, the show remains very local marked by a massive presence of resellers and AM companies that are looking to take a leap into the Spanish 3D printing market.

While some well established companies like Prima Additive, Renishaw and Addvance Manufacturing Technologies exhibited at BIEMH and not directly in the Addit3D space (certainly to reach potential new users who were interested in new manufacturing processes in general), our interest focused on the presence of companies we have never seen before. One of them is SAMYLABS. Founded in 2016, the Basque company designs, manufactures and commercializes metal 3D printers with laser beam powder fusion technology. Located in the BIC Ezkerraldea business development center in Barakaldo, Bizkaia, Amador Garcia, Felix Torre and Jon Martínez, the founding team of the company, ambition to make metal 3D printing more affordable for SMEs, training centers and universities.

Another company that is relatively “shy” that was present is InnovatiQ. Supported by Arburg,we first met the company at Formnext 2021. Known for the development of Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF) technology solutions, the company increasingly raises interest with its Liquid Additive Manufacturing (LAM) process, a process that can print liquids such as liquid silicone rubber (LSR).

InnovatiQ’s booth at Addit3D

For well-known companies present in the industry – companies like Roboze, Smart Materials, and Omni3D; it seems that the stake remains the same: providing solutions to the needs of an industrial world in transition hence the continuous change in processes and business models to overcome challenges related to production chains, ecological transition, digitalisation, and new skills.

While looking at the Spanish market specifically, addressing this stake requires to invest a lot in R&D projects. That’s anyway what marked private Technology Center Lortek’s presence on the show.

 Lortek is working on a variety of technologies, both bonding technology and additive manufacturing. First committed to welding from the beginning, over the years, the team’s growing knowledge of laser welding processes has sparked their curiosity about other technologies.  In this vein, the company showcased on the show several parts and solutions they can deliver with different AM technologies. Interestingly, for those made via WAAM – wired arc additive manufacturing, a technology that we currently found trending, the company describes the process as ideal for large parts but “not always complex parts”.

On another note, while we noted the absence of major material producers such as BASF, Evonik, Solvay, or Sandvik, to name a few, one thing we’ll keep in mind is the need to tap into “different skills and competences” hence the launch of the Women in Industry (WIN) programme.

The Women in Industry (WIN) programme

We don’t want to stand back and see what happens. We want to act now. And that is why we are here today, to talk, debate and share, at the conferences, talks and round tables on ‘BIEMH TV and Learn’,” said Ana Andueza, president of Professional Women’s Network Bilbao.

The programme, a joint initiative of AFM, BEC and PWN Bilbao, ambitions to raise awareness of the importance of shared leadership and to broaden the debate about the need to enhance the presence of women in the industry.

According to José Pérez Berdud, the president of AFM – Advanced Manufacturing Technologies, “historically, women have always played an important role in industry, and there are abundant records of their contribution in various sectors. This is an undeniable fact, but it is also true that their visibility and recognition have always been very scarce, if not non-existent. Although we have made an interesting journey as a sector, it is no less true that there is still a long way to go to normalize.”

Ultimately, the programme seeks to offer proposals that make evident the importance of gender balance in the industrial sector and that’s something we are looking forward to witnessing.

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