We all know what our respective companies can do but when it comes to Additive Manufacturing and advancing the technology, it is important to every once in a while step outside the box and take a look at the big picture.
Which is why together with Berlin Partner for Business and Economy (big thank you to David Hampel, Markus Facklam, Magdalena Radkowski & Sybille Weimann) and with support from the Berlin Business Office, USA, as well as the German American Chamber of Commerce, we organised a Tech-Journey to New York and Boston as well as the participation in an AM event at the US East Coast at the beginning of February 2023.
The delegation was a mix of Berlin/Brandenburg based companies as well as members of the MGA-community with strong ties to the region due to their work within the network.
Our trip started on a Monday in New York and after mastering the NY subway (yes, we did see a rat or two) we arrived at the Brookly Navy Yard for the first company visits and gained insights into the workings of US startups.
At the Yard and within the NewLab facilities one can find an atmosphere providing inspiration and room for growth for multiple amazing ideas. Many of the tenants of the area use AM in different ways: they for example develop important software for quality assurance for the production process (Nanotronics), they print clay to develop the sustainable cities of the future or design Cobod systems with AM (Terreform ONE) or produce for example more patient-friendly dosage systems for drugs (10XBeta Venture Studio).
While our IAM Hub in Berlin is aiming to be as inspirational as the Brooklyn Navy Yard, gaining insight into the working StartUp Hub in New York has definitely given us a lot to think about. One of the many questions we take home: how can we get more funding for AM projects or more support from the government in general for our industry?
Monday night 3DPrint.com hosted an amazing pre-event night at the Brooklyn Nets Basketball home – the Barkley Arena. Thanks again for this experience of true American sport and show, where the home team put up a great fight but was in the end defeated by the slightly superior LA Clippers.
Tuesday and Wednesday we spend at the Additive Manufacturing Strategies, New York City’s only 3D printing trade show, hosted by 3DPrint.com in a beautiful venue in Manhattan. John Meckler, Joris Peels and Lawrence Gasman welcomed our delegation with open arms, and we were treated to inspiring speeches and great networking opportunities – not just at the Bavarian Night hosted by AM Ventures with Pretzels and Beer.
Berlin Partner hosted their own AMBER session, showcasing the opportunities that Berlin offers to startups and AM companies and also gave our delegation members the chance to present themselves on stage to the guests of the trade show. Learn more
MGA was the sponsor of the first ever TRANSPORTATION vertical at the AMS hosting keynotes from members of our delegation on the different modes of transportation:
- Railway: Helge Schneevogt, DB
- Approval in Rail: Max Kunkel, Siemens
- Seafaring (Defence): Sascha Hartig, German Navy
- Automotive: Jürgen Jenner, Mann + Hummel – as part of a panel together with Cora Leibig from Chromatic 3D
Also part of the transportation vertical were keynotes from the NASA (Paul Gradl) and Boeing – rounding off the topic with aerospace and space transportation.
What are we taking home from the AMS?
- 10 percent of rail parts today can be 3D printed,
- NASA is going big with large metal parts,
- AM possibilities are nearly endless and far from exhausted,
- Recycling of material is very much in demand,
- AI can become a key factor for success,
- Investors are still very interested in the technology.
On Wednesday night we boarded a train to Boston (interesting experience using the AMTRAK, we still do appreciate the European Railways 😉) to continue experiencing as much as possible.
Thursday was all about metal printing which is why a bus took us a little way out of Boston to VulcanForms (where we were welcomed by Martin C. Feldmann, their Co-Founder, President & CEO and amazingly enough a graduate of the RWTH Aachen) and then on to DesktopMetal (meeting Tyler Harrington and Thomas Nogueira).
What truly fascinated our delegation was the sheer amount of money that the US spends on defence. In the year 2022 the Department of Defence had a budget of $ 1.64 Trillion (source: https://www.usaspending.gov/agency/department-of-defense?fy=2022). It therefore comes as no surprise that a lot of AM startups and companies are involved in the defence (or aerospace) sector in the US. The question is: do the European companies want a piece of that pie or are we concentrating on more peaceful sectors of the industry?
What else are we taking home? There are a lot of great ideas on how to make AM more sustainable for example by printing sustainable materials such as wood, or by making supply chains more sustainable by sending out smaller parts that can be enlarged on site (check out printed foam for that one). In order for the industry to be able to compete with other production technologies, we need to find that certain edge and be able to perfect it!
In the evening of our second night in Boston the German Consul General Boston, Dr. Sonja Kreibich, hosted our delegation at a networking event with the goal of connecting the delegation with interested parties from the Boston area. Thanks to Victoria Kaeser & Susanne Johnson for organising the event and for welcoming every member of the delegation on stage for their elevator pitches. We were happy to meet close to 70 people that night!
On the last day of our TechJourney we went back to school and visited the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences as well as the renowned Harvard campus before our last stop on our route at the Formlabs location in Boston.
All in all we spend 5 days packed with company visits, networking and stage time and left the US East Coast with a clearer picture of what the AM community in New York and Boston is like. There is a lot that we can learn from them, but there is also a lot that they can learn from us and if we keep up the exchange that we started during that time, our industry can greatly benefit from the cooperation!
Thanks to the members of our delegation for being amazing travelling companions:
- 1000Kelvin GmbH – Dr. Katharina Eissing & Dr. Omar Fergani
- Photon Laser Manufacturing GmbH – Uriel Elliesen
- DB Fahrzeuginstandhaltung GmbH – Helge Schneevogt
- XERION BERLIN LABORATORIES GmbH – Uwe Lohse
- Siemens Mobility GmbH – Maximilian Kunkel
- yoona.ai – Anna Franziska Michel
- Fraunhofer IPK – Tobias Neuwald
- FEHRMANN Tech Group – Mahendran Reddy
- Breuninger Management – Hans-Alfred Breuninger
- Navy Command of the German Navy – Sascha Hartig
- MANN+HUMMEL – Jürgen Jenner
- Berlin Partner – David Hampel & Markus Facklam
- Mobility goes Additive e.V. – Stefanie Brickwede & Berit Timmich
We are already planning the next TechJourney – stay tuned for updates!
If you have an idea for another TechJourney, please don’t hesitate to contact us!