Industrializing 3D printing, one of the major disrupting technologies of our times, for a competitive and sustainable economy. As application areas rapidly expand from prototyping towards direct parts production, its transformative impact is being revealed in all areas of manufacturing: product design, production, supply chain organization, services and skills. The world’s economic powers are competing for leadership in such ground-breaking technologies that will define the future of industry and help improve living standards for the society. Nevertheless, there are still various technical barriers to overcome before additive manufacturing (AM) technologies can be fully operationalized in industrial production.
With this technology come numerous questions. This conference will focus on how the full-scale industrialisation of AM could be achieved in a rapid and cost-effective manner, and how this process could help create the highest value for the economy and society. Expert speakers will stimulate a public debate geared at exploring the multiple dimensions of AM. How can AM contribute to a competitive and sustainable economy together with the creation of highly skilled jobs? How is Europe positioned in the global technology race? What are European capabilities in research, innovation and production? What are the standardisation and regulatory needs? What kind of investments and policies are needed? What role can the EU, national government and regional authorities play in this respect? What is the impact of AM on the machine tools sector?
Session I The state of the art in additive manufacturing, areas of application and opportunities for industrial competitiveness and sustainability
Additive manufacturing (AM) is derived from rapid prototyping, a technology invented in the 1980s and used to improve the time-to-market of new product designs. Recently, advances in the capabilities of AM machines have enabled to increase their speed and precision whilst driving down costs, which gave leeway to the use of AM technologies in a wider range of fields. Whilst “3D printing” (referring to desktop machines intended for maker communities) allow individuals to produce personalized accessories and designs, ‘’additive manufacturing’’ (the name coined in industry) enable multiple industries to generate concept models, precision and functional prototypes, master patterns and moulds for tooling, and real end-use parts. The forerunner industries using AM include aerospace, automotive, medical and machinery and tooling. Advantages of AM technologies lie in freedom of design, mass customization, reduced environmental impact, decentralized and on-demand manufacturing, tooling costs’ reduction, drastic improvements in time-to-market, weight reduction, waste elimination and energy efficiency. AM allows industries to create value in markets across the globe by using virtual supply chains without being physically present, therefore it offers an important potential to drive reindustrialization in developed economies.
In this session, speakers coming from industry, the research community and standardisation organisations will tackle the following questions:
- What are the application areas for additive manufacturing (AM)? To what extent will AM replace or complement conventional production processes?
- What is the state of the art for AM technologies today? Which production capabilities does AM offer?
- How does AM disrupt industrial production, business models and the organisation of supply chains?
- What are the advantages offered by AM for industrial competitiveness and sustainability?
- What are the technical challenges facing the full market uptake of AM? What is the role of regulation and standardisation in overcoming challenges?
Session II PANEL – Business and regulatory framework conditions in Europe: identifying the drivers for market uptake
Additive manufacturing (AM), due to its disruptive potential has attracted the attention of policy-makers in governments across the world. AM can actually lead to a dramatic transformation in industrial value chains of multiple industries and to a reshuffling of the players who drive industrial value creation. AM is evolving at an unprecedented pace. There is no doubt that the real impact of AM in industrial applications will only be revealed when technical barriers are overcome, but how do we get to that point rapidly but surely? AM integrates a series of technologies cutting across disciplines. Substantial private and public resources must be invested in a coordinated manner to accelerate its market uptake. To that end, it is essential to bring together all stakeholders concerned (equipment manufacturers, service suppliers, OEMs, academia, authorities) and stimulate them to work towards well-defined targets. Government policies, regulations and standards are instrumental to create a framework accelerating the development and commercialization of emerging technologies while ensuring that they create the highest value for economy and the society. Europe has a strong interest in competing for global leadership in this technology, considering the political ambitions announced at the level of the EU and national governments as regards the role of industry in the future economy.
In this session, a selection of high profile speakers from the EU institutions, national governments, academia and think tanks will debate how AM can help improve industrial competitiveness, value creation and sustainability in Europe as well as the role of policy in this respect.
- What are the needs regarding research and development in the field of additive manufacturing (AM)? How can policies and research funding programmes help AM-driven innovations cross the valley of death?
- Which investments are needed in ICT infrastructure and standards to support the development of AM supply chains?
- How to ensure a growth-enhancing regulatory framework for AM in the field of health, safety and environment? How to tackle the issues of liability?
- How to protect intellectual property rights and the confidentiality of business-sensitive information in an increasingly digitized manufacturing environment?
- How could AM be devised to boost the competitiveness of SMEs and foster start-ups, contributing to regional development?