Dear friends and colleagues, with some delay I provide to your attention a brief overview of Formnext 2018, the leading global trade fair, dedicated to additive manufacturing and industrial 3D printing, which took place in mid-November 2018 in Germany at Frankfurt am Main Exhibition Center.
The size of the trade show is still modest but total area, number of visitors and participants are increasing by about 25 % a year.
In 2018 it was 632 exhibitors on 37,231 sq.m., with 26,919 visitors from 32 countries.
The exhibition is the leading 3D platform where all type of 3D activities are presented: Additive manufacturing / Design / Prototyping / 3D Pre-Printing / After Printing Treatment / Quality Management / Tool and Die Making / Training and Qualification / Research and Development / R&D / 3D Organizations and Publishing Companies for the most of market segments: Automotive / Aviation and Aerospace / Construction and Architecture / Health Care & Dental / Electronic Engineering & Electronic / Medical / Packaging / Watches and Jewellery / Others
We have to admit that from year to year a number of 3D users among world leading companies is increasing, today in the list are: Adidas, Airbus, Apple, Audi, Bayer, BMW, Bosch, Daimler, DHL, Ford, Henkel, Hilti, Hitachi, Honda, Jaguar Landrover, Kuka, Lego, Leica, L-Oreal, Lufthansa, Mercedes-Benz, Mitsubishi, Opel, P&G Manufacturing, Philips, Porsche, Rolls-Royce, ThyssenKrupp, Toyota and many other firms and corporations.
The leading 3D manufacturers as 3D Systems, Arburg, BigRep, EOS, GE Additive, HP, Multec, Renishaw, Stratasys, Trumpf, Voxeljet, XYZPrinting and MakerBot presented numerous world premieres.
In this review on Formnext 2018 show I also would like to point out the major trends in additive technologies:
NEW MATERIALS, INCLUDING COMPOSITE ONES
PEEK, Nylon, Ultem, Polyjet, ceramics, Alumite, composite materials - every year we see new materials + more and more 3D printers using them. At Formnext 2018 there were more than 20 printer manufacturers, already working with composite additive materials, which is about 3 times more than during last two years.
I also review a situation with 3D materials is Russia – we have number of local Chemistry industries engaged in manufacturing of 3D materials, which made good job during last couple of years.
3D PRINTING SPEED INCREASING
Next to Carbon, the 3D printer with the highest continuous printing speed, this year several competitors appeared. Obviously because printing speed in 3D is one of the key characteristics, especially for manufacturing and prototyping.
According to my knowledge there are not yet any high-speed continuous 3D printers in Russia or CIS countries.
DEVELOPMENT OF 3D METAL PRINTING
New trend is much higher speed metal 3D printing compare to SLM based on Electron Beam Melting and Selective Melting. 3D printers - refractory and hard for additive manufacturing materials as Tangsten, copper, others
We have in Russia couple of SLM printer manufacturers but they just start developing the products.
3D PRINTING AUTOMATIZATION
We see more robotic 3D printing system with automation loading, unloading and post-treatment to speed up 3D printing process.
Here Russia is only at the initial stage.
INCREASING NUMBER AND QUALITY OF 3D SERVICE BUREAUS
Some of 3D service bureaus in Europe and USA got an extraordinary experience and competences in different market segments (aerospace, dental, implants - medical, automotive and others)
In Russia and CIS we have a lot of small 3D service bureaus but in general we are about 2-3 years behind Europe / USA in this business.
INCREASING NUMBER OF 3D PRINTERS START-UPS
Every year we see setting up of a number of new 3D start-ups with great ideas, materials and 3D printers. Some of them come to Formnext for the business development, which is great and allow 3D industry to develop quite fast.
We see most of 3D start-ups in USA, China and EC.
FURTHER DEVELOPMENT OF MIM (METAL INJECTION MOULDING)
Seeing MIM 3D printers development is clear indication that this technology is suitable for number of market sectors.
3D SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT
3D SW today allow users to know in advance / prior to printing more and more Data, which allow to reduce 3D printing cycle, increase printing quality, better plan production process.
Russian SW companies slowly step into the area.
3D PARTS SURFACE TREATMENT
It is quite an important aspect for all parts and materials. From year to a year we see new products and equipment for surface treatment - including chemistry, electrochemical processes, sand jets and other staff.
COLOR 3D PRINTING
Particularly important for medical business, pre-operation planning, souvenirs and prototyping area.
The leaders in the area are the leading manufacturers.
CHINA 3D ACTIVITIES
Number of Chinese 3D printers and systems manufacturers finally come into European market.
In Russia and CIS they were already for several years and are improving their positions year after year.
More players, more precise systems, China made scanners, which became quite reliable and attractive.
Some Russian-made 3D scanners are already sold in Europe.
TABLE TOP PROFESSIONAL PRINTERS
MakerBot Method started a new era of table top 3D printers with the printing characteristics of professional 3D scanners.
I believe the trend will be followed by number of other 3D printer manufacturers shortly.
Brief resume Formnext 2018
There was no revolution in 3D World this year but additive technologies are one of the fast growing market segments, which rapidly change mind of modern engineers, designers, doctors and other specialists and allow them to improve and develop manufacturing of many items. Today 3D plays one of the key roles in 4.0 industrial revolution in all market segments, we can imagine.
We continue to follow the further development of additive manufacturing.