An April Additive Manufacturing Odyssey: RAPID + TCT 2018

The Rapid + TCT 2018 conference and trade show, produced by SME, took place April 23-26 in Ft. Worth, TX, with a focus on closing the 3D printing knowledge gap and accelerating the adoption of additive manufacturing.

Before the April 24 keynote, Michael Grieves, the executive director of the Center for Advanced Manufacturing and Innovative Design and a professor at the Florida Institute of Technology, introduced one effort to close that gap: the ITEAM (Independent Technical Evaluation of Additive Manufacturing) Consortium.

“The ITEAM mission is the creation and operation of an analysis platform—a dynamic repository of equipment and material capabilities to evaluate the ‘can I make it, should I make it’ questions … the technical and business issues that are going to drive additive manufacturing,” he said. “We want to engage feedback from actual user experience to close the gap between theoretical—what people think is going to happen—and actual performance.”

The SME platform is being developed and tested by the ITEAM consortium in collaboration with Grieves, GM and other major industry users in automotive and aerospace. It is developing a methodology called SAM-CT (size, accuracy and materials + economic evaluation of cost and throughput) to help would-be additive manufacturing users identify when and where the technology would be suitable.

On the people side of the knowledge gap, Stratasys and a consortium of colleges and universities announced a new industry certification program in North America just before RAPID that is intended to enable students to prove their additive manufacturing workforce readiness. Learn more about the certification program here.

Behind the stage curtain where Grieves presented his RAPID address, more than 300 exhibiting companies were ready to explain how their products and services would advance the additive manufacturing efforts of the 6,000+ attendees.

« »