Every November for the past four years, international players from across the additive manufacturing industry have come together to showcase what is current at the Formnext trade show in Frankfurt, Germany. As the industry has grown, year after year, so too has the industry event. This year, for the fifth edition of Formnext, the event is expecting its biggest show yet, with more than 740 exhibitors already registered.
Though the event does not take place for another six weeks, Formnext organizers have already seen a significant increase in the number of participants compared to last year—which itself surpassed previous years. Looking at numbers, the event has seen a 17% increase in registered exhibitors from this time last year. Thankfully, with a 35% larger exhibition floor area (over 50,000 square meters), the international AM event can handle the influx.
This year, Formnext will welcome 285 new exhibitors from 29 countries. Out of the new registered companies, 65% are from outside of Germany, hailing from China, the United States, the UK, Italy, France, Spain and the Netherlands, among others. In total, 34 countries will be represented at the event.
“With a wide range of solutions as well as established and completely new special topics, Formnext 2019 once again represents the global benchmark for additive manufacturing and modern industrial production,” commented Sascha F. Wenzler, Vice President of Mesago Messe Frankfurt GmbH.
Big and small
The 3D printing event is somewhat unique in its capacity to bring together the largest companies in the additive world (and even manufacturing world) as well as smaller companies or niche startups. On the side of the global AM elite, companies such as 3D Systems, Siemens, Stratasys, SLM Solutions, EOS, EnvisionTEC, HP, Formlabs, Carbon, Desktop Metal, Materialise, Prodways and more will be presenting their products and solutions.
Global companies that have found inroads into the AM industry will also be represented, including Bosch Rexroth, Covestro, Evonik, Mitsubishi, Thyssenkrupp Materials, 3M Advanced Materials and Xerox. Numerous other small and medium-sized businesses will also be presenting their product offerings as well as a number of startups—five of which will be supported by the Formnext Start-Up Challenge.
One of the key focuses of this year’s event, according to Formnext organizers, will be plastics. The renewed interest in 3D printing plastics is in large part thanks to advancements in production methods, machine performance and material availability. With large chemical companies turning their focus to the development of AM materials, we are seeing an increase in high-temperature and composite materials suitable for industrial applications. New post-processing techniques and approaches are also unlocking new uses for polymer-based AM.
Partners and events
This year, Formnext is bringing on the United States as an official partner. This will entail the presence of such American players as 3D Systems, Carbon, Desktop Metal, ExOne, HP and Markforged, as well as a program of supporting events at the U.S. Pavilion. Representatives from AMUG, AMT, ASME and U.S. Commercial Service will also be present. Finally, the partnership with the U.S. will be celebrated with a “Special US Day” on November 20, 2019 and an AMUG-sponsored closing reception.
Other annual events will take place as usual, including the shared booth, additive4Industry user case area, the Start-Up Challenge, the purmundus challenge and the AM4U platform. Formnext will also be hosting the BE-AM Symposium in collaboration with the Technical University Darmstadt, which will focus on AM in the construction and architecture sectors. The symposium will also be complemented by a presentation of various 3D printing applications in the construction industry.
Two other new features of Formnext 2019 which attendees can get excited for are a User Case Area PIM/MIM/CIM in collaboration with PIM International. The special focus will function as an interface between AM and modern mass production and showcase over 100 parts produced using metal injection molding (MIM), ceramic injection molding (CIM) and powder injection molding (PIM). The goal of this particular user case area will be to show the potential of these technologies for mass production of precision parts.
The second new feature is Formnext TV, which will comprise of showing user films before the event and daily coverage throughout it. With just six weeks left until the industry’s big event, participants and attendees can prepare for a ton of exciting AM-related content. If you can’t see it all, don’t worry. The 3dpbm team will be on hand covering all the biggest announcements and trends.