1st day at SME Rapid [Long Beach – USA]
The first day had a little downside as the initial plan was to attend the tour to Northrop Grumman to see the F/A-18 Line and the Composite Center. However, unfortunately attending the tour was permitted to U.S. citizens only. Instead, I went to the medical workshop “Regulatory & Quality Systems Considerations for 3D Printed Medical Devices”. I wouldn’t have thought that a presentation by FDA could be interesting. However, it actually was as Dr. Matthew Di Prima explained how FDA is handling devices manufactured with AM. To my surprise, I met Professor Xinhua Wu in a coffee break. Professor Wu from Monash University is also from Melbourne, where she started a spin-off called AMAERO Engineering. This spin-off handles the commercial requests from aeronautical industry. AMAERO Engineering is operating equipment from EOS, TRUMPF and one only three commercial available CONCEPT LASER 1000R X-Line systems.
The first day ended with the Materialise welcome reception with drinks at the poolside. It was a nice opportunity to network. I saw a lot of familiar faces, what showed me that the industry is still small even if it is growing its revenue at such crazy speed:
Scott Dunham, Senior Analyst SmarTech Markets Publishing, addressed this trend in his presentation. The AM industry has quadrupled in the last five years and the predictions for the next five years scopes an identical growths. The slide with the headline “Quantifying an Explosion” pointed out the fact that the growths predictions for the sales number of metal AM machines for 2014 were exceeded by 27% to a total growth of 89%.