Share your vision! The 3D Printing Association continues “I AM 2017” campaign at TCT & Personalize 2016

Last June, 3DPA launched a campaign to invite stakeholders to share their priority agenda for advancement of additive manufacturing in Europe for the coming year(s). The feedback that 3DPA has been receiving since then is helping to shape the future of the association.

The campaign continues till after TCT & Personalize 2016, but here is a sample of the input received so far from the campaign and follow-up discussions:
• The business-to-consumer market is beyond the hype. The notion that every household will have its own 3D printer is subject to revision. As one observer put it: “By the time you have printed your own coffee cup to serve your visitors, they have long gone home”.
• 3D Printing should move from being ‘esoteric’ to becoming mainstream. As another respondent was quoted: “Every household will only invest $1500 if there are a number of objects that can be easily (plug and play) printed and which are needed in the home and that provide an ROI in a 6-9-month period.”
• In the current transition phase, there is a hybrid state of business-to-business applications.
• On the one hand, new and creative start-ups are coming and going, as the driving force behind materials and technology innovation. On the other hand, established players are working hard to create a sustainable business model. Several of them have established their own B2B communities and networks connecting thousands of users to co-develop, improve and market their proprietary solutions.
• One respondent said: “In our opinion, the up-to-date AM is at the top of its own overrated expectations. In spite of the fact that many customers consider the AM methods as ‘breaking through’ and crucial for the new technological revolution (technological system), their influence in terms of the world-wide manufacture is so far insignificant. The development of scalable, high-speed methods (..) requires new original decisions. (…) For a great number of materials and the AT processes large-scale studies are required (..).”
• “Against this background, firstly, standards are required to industrialise AM by creating a common vocabulary and facilitate process and material qualifications and certification.”
• “The second priority, but of equal importance”, this respondent continues, “must be education. Integrating AM/3DP in pre-university education as part of an experiential learning curriculum spanning engineering, mathematics, history and the sciences is not only an opportunity to engage young learners in a non-traditional manner but will also be where the next great ideas come from.”

The ‘I AM 2017’ campaign closes on 1 October, after TCT & Personalize 2016 in Birmingham. To share your input, go to this link. We look forward to your contribution to the debate!

Last year, The 3D Printing Association held an on-line survey to assess stakeholder input about the viability and priorities for an independent, member driven organization for 3D printing in Europe. The outcome of this survey can be obtained via this link.

The 3D Printing Association will be exhibiting at TCT & Personalize 2016, stand F51.

The World of 3D Printing and Additive Manufacturing – a newcomer’s observations

Two years ago, I became interested in a new phenomenon called ‘3D printing’. Having worked for international trade associations in printing and packaging since the 1990, I noticed that several of my associations’ members had started to explore the potential of 3D printing, both for their own processes and product development, as for commercial market opportunities.

Last year, I was invited by Ian Ferguson to join the Advisory Board of the 3D Printing Association, to help the organisation to develop into a member driven association serving common business needs of a rapidly emerging industry. And now, since June, it is our company’s challenge to take 3DPA to the next level. 

Additive manufacturing, which I have learned is the conventional business term, has been described as ‘the third industrial revolution’, ‘manufacturing re-invented’, or other adjectives referring to its ‘disruptive’ potential. With compound annual growth rates in excess of 25%, 3D printing is expected to have ten-folded its economic value globally between 2010 and 2020, to more than US$ 20 billion.

The technology has penetrated a variety of sectors ranging from automotive and aerospace, industrial and consumer products, medical and dental services, architecture and construction, the academic world as well as the arts and fashion community. In these sectors, 3D printing has proven its value as vehicle for designing, prototyping, tooling, moulding, casting, testing, presenting and researching products in unlimited and customised shapes and varieties.

The 3D printing world connects the best of different worlds. As a relative newcomer to the world of Additive Manufacturing, I herewith share some of my observations during the journey so far:

  • It applies 2D printing and coating technology to create 3D shapes
  • It is a family of manufacturing processes that has penetrated all sorts of product chains
  • It is the liaison between mass production and mass customisation
  • It challenges the concept of protected intellectual property in an ‘open source collaborative environment
  • It allows physical products to be transferred in digital form, as files, via the internet
  • It connects the established, corporate culture of industrial manufacturing with the dynamic, entrepreneurial, start-up spirit of a new generation of designers and pioneers that have grown up in the digital world
  • It enables local manufacturing in a connected global business environment not bothered by geographic or national boundaries.

In this hybrid environment, various platforms have been created to inform, exhibit or engage stakeholders as a vehicle for industry progress and individual benefit. In Europe, until recently, an independent, member driven industry platform connecting the different stakeholders to jointly work on common interests and objectives such as advocacy, creation of standards, promotion, education, R&D etc. was lacking.

At the beginning of 2015, 3DPA and Lejeune conducted an international internet survey, which gave us a good insight in possible wishes and needs among (potential) members. At a European stakeholder summit in Amsterdam held last February, the survey findings were validated and the first outlines of a European B2B association, its mission, vision, goals, objectives, structure and governance were defined.

The next challenge now is to create a critical mass. In this process, stakeholders from the AM business community are not only a target of member recruitment, they are especially invited to become part of the association’s programme and deliverables!!

Find out more on stand 1020 at Additive Manufacturing Europe in Amsterdam, or later shows this year. Or surf to to share your outlook and expectations for 2017.

Jules Lejeune, The 3D Printing Association

The Hague, June 2016

The 3D Printing Association moves to the next level

LEJEUNE Association Management of The Hague (NL) and The 3D Printing Association (UK) have reached agreement on the transfer of the organisation. Previously managed by its founder and membership director Ian Ferguson, the organisation’s ‘intellectual property’ will be carried forward as independent international B2B trade association under a new legal entity with its seat in The Netherlands.

-3DPA_pic_for_.net_1-680x425On behalf of the 3D Printing Association, Membership Director Ian Ferguson comments: “The 3D Printing Association was founded to fulfil the need for a virtual platform to connect the international 3D printing community against the background of a rapidly evolving technology. Now, 3 years later, the network counts close to 100 members: individuals, SMEs and also some corporate representatives from over 20 countries world-wide. Through our newsletter and social media we reach out to a broader audience. With the growing maturity of the 3D printing eco-system, it is time to move to the next level and create a new professional, member driven association that represents the business interest of Additive Manufacturing and promotes it as a reliable, secure and compliant technology. I am confident that Lejeune Association Management, with their track record in building and maintaining international industry associations, will be able to facilitate this development.“

On behalf of Lejeune Association Management, Managing Director Jules Lejeune adds: “We are grateful to Ian Ferguson and his family for the pioneering work that they have undertaken over the past three years, and I admire the passion, energy and personal effort that Ian has put into the development of the organisation. Last year we were invited to conduct a wide-ranging on-line survey to assess the future needs and expectations of the sector and this confirmed the need for an independent association acting as the voice of the industry, and offering a networking, communication and collaboration platform to connect the B2B community in Europe. Early this year we had the pleasure to moderate the 3DPA stakeholder summit in Amsterdam to validate the outcomes of the survey, and based on the output of that meeting we are now working on a roadmap for the new association, which we expect to launch in the second half of this year.”

The new association in establishment will be present at Additive Manufacturing Europe 2016 in Amsterdam (28-30 June 2016).