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Formnext 2016 in review : the future was here

Formnext 2016 in review : the future was here

FORMNEXT, at the heart of additive manufacturing

The second edition of Formnext was bound to be a success. The event has become a global trade fair for all the manufacturers involved and has clearly taken the lead, yet successfully held for many years by Euromold. All that what the world of additive manufacturing regards as key players, including pioneers from the 1980s and AMUG representatives, were present. 

It is still quite difficult for customers looking for solutions to make an informed opinion and work their way through so many innovations. Various remarks : few international visitors, a trade fair very much focused on metal and polymer, very strong presence of powder manufacturers, no allusion to counseling or training, little bio-, food-, or build- printing...

GE’s comforting presence

GE additive and its future 10 000 printers set the tone, strengthened by the acquisition of Concept Laser and our partner ARCAM ; South Korea was very well represented, China, usually rather discreet was never too far, as evidenced by the presence of FARSOON on the booth of LSS, leaders such as SLM Solutions are growing, as demonstrated by their magnificent booth, their SLM125HL [and the presentation of new control systems in Process LPM (real-time control of laser power) and MPM (real-time control of molten pool)], SLM 280 HL, and the latest updates of the SLM500HL. French companies were well represented with organizations such as Prodways, 3D Ceram, AddUp, Beam as well as… ours ! Quiet but strong, HP pursues its chosen course with an enormous booth, some presented their "disruptive" innovation such as X JET with their new metal process, LEAPFROG with the new BOLT… B9Creator or Cubicon, and Ricoh with the new Ricoh AM S5500P, one of the few open machines on the market capable to work PP, besides PA.

A trade show of professionals

Optomec was a new exhibitor and 3D Sim perfecting its expertise in terms of simulation software, not far from Dassault Systèmes and our partner, Autodesk. Multistation was the only one to speak about engineering with its new turnkey solution MAM Institute as well as second-hand machines with the Multistation Second Life platform, which, for the sake of permanent confidentiality, has during the fair, consistently been working in a market going through extensive questioning, maturation and mutation. The one and unique SolidScape machine in the fair was on our booth !

A cautious market ?

Implicitly, the exhibition attuned itself to an industry where the cursor oscillates between customization prototyping and serial production. But which one is the image of the other ? Isn’t the future paved with false certainties ? And all the machine manufacturers keep asking the same unrelenting question : will the market grow sufficiently to absorb a plethoric offer, an ever increasing number of competitors ? What is the path of success for my market ? Industry consultant Terry Wohlers, a genuine guru in the sector, was smiling knowingly in the alleys of the exhibition because only he knows the answer !


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