For enthusiasts of rapid prototyping and 3D printing, this year’s SolidWorks World was a mega event. This immensely popular rapid prototyping conference drew an enthusiastic crowd together where the participants were eager to share their knowledge of 3D printing and design. According to CEO and Vice Chairman of Dassault Systemes Bernard Charles, there is a lot more to come especially in the field of 3D printing. Other attendees too, like Charles, were super enthusiastic about rapid prototyping technologies.
This year, a large number of rapid prototyping companies brought in their exhibits to be displayed at the venue. In the morning, there was a high spirited General Session followed by an entire day full of product launches, announcements, press conferences and interviews. The conversations all around were centered on the very latest in 3D printing technology and live demonstrations were everywhere.
The General Session
The high voltage program of the day began with the General Session in the morning which introduced the executives and organizers from SolidWorks. The session also introduced esteemed guests who brought with them unique first hand experiences and case studies of using the software in their respective companies. Many of these uses included rapid prototyping. The panel speakers included Illusion Projects Inc CEO Tim Clothier, Justin Flom- magician and Jason Silva- the host of two popular shows Shots of Awe and Brain Games. One of the most entertaining sessions was definitely the customer mash-up titled ‘engineering in concert’ which hosted PRS Guitars Managing General Partner Paul Reed Smith, R&D Engineer of the same company Jonathan Wasserman and none other than Mark Tremonti- the celebrated guitarist of Creed and Alter Bridge. Along with these guests, Tracey Wilson- the master of ceremonies and executives from Dassault Systemes conversed with many users about the amazing ways that SolidWorks can be put to use.
This two hour long session in the morning focused mainly on future possibilities of the software and the many established case studies of what can be possible as humanity begins to embrace rapid prototyping and 3D printing.
Rush at the Partner Pavilion
Later in the morning, excited attendees of SWW17 rushed into the Partner Pavilion as it opened its doors, mainly heading towards the exhibit hall. Some of the world renowned brands of rapid prototyping showed off their exhibits that the attendees watched with awe.
For the fans of Stratasys, SWW17 was a great platform to view their products and solutions first hand and talk directly to the executives of the celebrated name. There was a press conference in which the executives of the company introduced a new product that targets the rapid prototyping consumer base. This latest end-to-end solution will be part of the F123 Series. The product features an innate interface, fast material changeovers and a process of collaborative creation. 3D printers included in the F123 series are the F370, F270 and F170 units which are supported by GrabCAD Print software. Stratasys believes that this series is proof that they have been listening to their clients and have added their much requested technologies accordingly.
According to Stratasys President in the Americas Rich Garrity, the company has noticed that their clients demand a one-stop solution for rapid prototyping. Stratasys believes that there remain significant opportunities for additive manufacturing in the much-required rapid prototyping applications. Hence the new printer line has been designed specifically for how their customers work in their respective fields.
The booth that housed Rize was one of the main destinations to check out for rapid prototyping enthusiasts. Their recent release of the Rize One 3D printer will save users the cost, material and time for quality printing on their desktop. According to Rize CEO Frank Marangell, post processing happens to be the ‘dirty little secret’ of rapid prototyping; yet it does not have to be that way. The Rize One is a desktop unit because a lot of the post processing work can be eliminated. This design was specifically made for office use as it is low on noise and has no VOCs. Hence, it is truly an industrial quality product for the office.
The team working for Rize is only fifteen member strong, yet they hold more than twenty rapid prototyping and 3D printing patents. Their Rize One has already been shipped to the beta customers as of now, yet there is no reason not to look forward to the future prospects of the company. The company is now targeting rubberized parts, smoothing, end user parts, full color printing and other such developments that targets the market between rapid prototyping and manufacturing in low volumes. Marangell believes that it is an interesting time for the rapid prototyping industry.
Nano Dimension and FATHOM
Ceramic 3D printing technology has been making waves in the various rapid prototyping circles, and the company that has really been moving forward with it is Nano Dimension. In collaboration with their partner FATHOM, their booth was set up at the Partner Pavillion with some impressive projects. CBO of Nano Dimension Simon Fried said that the company is busy building up their team as the launch of their new ceramic technology approaches. At the moment, they are playing the strengths of their technology because Inkjet is very well suited for different multi-material creations beyond ceramic.
Upon request and financial backing of the Israel Innovation Authority, the company developed ceramic 3D printing technology using Inkjet. Fried is hopeful about its use in the field of aerospace and in future, for the rapid prototyping and 3D printing of electronics. If electronics are needed in space, it is best to have them printed on ceramics rather than polymers, according to Fried.
From this company, their Director of Products and Services Jason Wright and Director of Marketing Michelle Stansbury explained how they have been working towards better rapid prototyping opportunities. SolidProfessor happens to be a learning based company which has introduced some new technical certificates. These certificates by SolidProfessor work as an incentive for learners to continue their training with the help of experts on the subject matter. Their platform has been immensely popular among independent hobbyists who would like to take their rapid prototyping and 3D printing skills to the next level. Wright believes that certification is very important as recognition of one’s skills. It may be that someone possesses the necessary skills, but having them certified by subject matter experts attaches a certain professional value to it.
The first day at SWW17 was busy because of exclusive press tours of the Partner Pavilion to showcase organizations that have been directly benefitted from the use of SolidWorks. Companies like Furrion and Freight Farms, for example, have created a Prosthesis robot for desert mech racing. After that, there was an evening of networking that brought together the heavyweight names from the executive pool, renowned analysts from SWW and its Platinum Partners, along with the press.
The next day too was turbo charged with interviews, press conferences, releases, presentations and even more networking as the sharing of information about rapid prototyping continued in full swing.
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