Formnext Connect 2020 is playing out much differently than in previous years, but there is still much to look do and see. The free event, which features many of the world’s leading and most innovative additive manufacturing players, kicked off on November 10, 2020 and is brought an exciting lineup to the (virtual) table.
Though it has had to adapt to the online space this year due to COVID-19 restrictions, Formnext Connect still has the same spirit as previous years: namely, it is driven by the content and innovations of AM players. As Sascha F. Wenzler, Vice President of Formnext at Mesago Messe Frankfurt GmbH, said: “We’ve had a great deal of success with our concept of showcasing real industrial applications all along the process chain. We’re now going to take Formnext into the virtual realm with an extensive main stage program and a variety of individual sessions.”
For many in the industry, the camaraderie of in-person Formnext will be missed, however, the event’s organizers put in a real effort to recreate that experience online through its intelligent matchmaking feature. Notably, the matchmaking offering will extend beyond the three-day event, until the end of December, giving participants time to really make connections and communicate.
At the heart of the three-day event is the Formnext main stage, which hosts panel discussions about the use of AM in key sectors, like mechanical engineering, aerospace, medical and automotive. Among those participating in these talks are industry leaders like Airbus, AMT, Audi, Siemens, VW, MAG Medical, Ottobock, Continental, KSB and Schaeffler.
In addition to ongoing talks and panels on the main stage, Formnext Connect attendees also enjoy a host of other supporting content, including topic-specific sessions, expert talks, roundtable events and more. In true Formnext fashion, the online event also hosts the Formnext Start-Up Challenge and the purmundus challenge.
What’s on the agenda?
There is a lot to discover at the upcoming Formnext Connect online event: here’s what is on the agenda.
Thursday, November 12 [link to events schedule]
Focus: Asia-Pacific, Tooling
Scheduled to coincide with the Asia-Pacific timezone, November 12th will focus on the Chinese and Asia-Pacific AM markets, bringing together industry experts from many countries to discuss current developments and opportunities. Formnext’s final day will also focus on tooling and mold-making (with insights from VDWF).
Throughout the three-day event, guests can tune in to Discover3Dprinting seminars, which have been tailored to those entering the industrial AM space, as well as the VDMA-hosted Additive Manufacturing Working Group, which will demonstrate real-world AM applications and cover the topic “AM for Industry – From Manual Work to Industrial Production.”
Morning presentation highlights for today include newly renamed metal AM material companies TANIOBIS and Alloyed discussing how to push the limits in biomedical and aerospace applications, ExOne presenting its new binder jet 3D printing capabilities via the recently introduced NanoFuse Particulate Binders and Massivit discussing how to digitalize tooling for composite materials manufacturing with its large format, fast and affordable AM technology. Metal powder firm Tekna is also going to present its plasma atomized powder offering.
With two separate talks, Evonik will present two very different products: INFINAM photopolymers for industrial manufacturing and the PMMA material system for strong and large industrial parts using casting and binder jetting technology.
In the afternoon the focus is again on material and material-hardware collaborations with INTAMSYS Technology GmbH and VICTREX discussing near-isotropic printing with high-performance polymers such as Victrex’s new PAEK. Also the afternoon, another material giant, BASF, is going to discuss how it is enabling cost-efficient mass-scale AM with photopolymers via its internal Forward AM branch and partnering with Photocentric. The morning closes with AM-Flow presenting its industry 4.0 automation solutions for 3D printing factories. The day concludes with the replays of some of the most relevant previous discussions and talks.
Highlights from November 11
Focus: Medical, Automotive, Construction, Standards
On the second day of Formnext, organizers presented a discussion about 3D printing in the automotive industry with representatives from Continental Engineering Service and Audi. Attendees can also visit the User Case Area, where mechanical engineering applications for AM were highlighted, and Ottobock and the MGA Medical Network explored the medical AM sphere.
November 11 will also included the BE-AM Symposium focused on construction and architecture, as well as the AM Standards Forum, which was organized in cooperation with the U.S. Commercial Service. Attendees tuned into the purmundus challenge awards ceremony to see the cutting edge of 3D and 4D printing design. Finally, the global AM market focus of the day was on Israel.
In the experts’ sessions, the morning started with a presentation of 4D_Additive software and Stephan Zeidler, Senior Global and Key Accounts Director, GE Additive Germany GmbH presenting the case for cost-efficiency and productivity for volume hip cup production using the proven Arcam Q10 EBM systems.
The morning continued with an overview from Stratasys on novel manufacturing trends for Industry 4.0 and another interesting session where German RepRap presented its technology for 3D components made of liquid (silicone) materials, with the goal of understanding if it is mostly hype or a real game-changer in additive manufacturing. Later in the morning, XJet‘s Dror Danai explored the role of Isreal in AM as a “hidden champion and a start-up nation”. More technology presentations included hardware firms such as Trumpf, Innstek and Arburg. Material companies BASF and Evonik also discussed their own approach to AM services and processes.
In the afternoon, Autodesk‘s AM director Alexander Oster presented the Autodesk Machine Control Framework. INTAMSYS‘ Bart Leferink discussed the benefits of using high-performance polymers to replace metal parts. The afternoon of presentations included two companies that are playing a very relevant role in expanding the 3D printing market into consumer products (and not only): DyeMansion co-founder Felix Ewald and Kai Witter will present their digital, sustainable and connected approach to industrial post-processing 4.0. LuxCreo‘s Michael Strohecker presented the company’s efforts, as Carbon’s most credible competitor, in transforming LCD & DLP printing with cloud technologies.
Come one, come all
Bearing in mind that an online offering is very different to a week-long in-person exhibition, Formnext has gone for full accessibility this year: the three-day event is free. Participation in the accompanying TCT Conference @ Formnext Connect will also be free with registration.
As people from all over the globe will be tuning in, Formnext organizers have also planned to accommodate various timezones: the November 11th session will feature sessions to reflect time zones from the American continent, while November 12th sessions will be timed to accommodate those in the Asia-Pacific region.
If you haven’t yet, register for Formnext Connect now! All you need come November 10 to access the world of AM is your ticket and a computer.
This article was published in collaboration with Formnext.