The year 2023 has been a significant one for the world of Additive Manufacturing, with a notable surge in interest from politicians and investors as well as promising Use Cases on the horizon. In the past 12 months, not only have we welcomed 21 new members into our network (see list below), but we also enlarged our Working Group portfolio and kept up with current projects in existing Working and Focus Groups.
Wanna know what happened in our Working Groups? Here is a little insight:
- Ecological Sustainability published a short comprehensive overview of the critical dimensions of environmental sustainability in AM. We urge everyone to delve into this valuable paper. Find it here…
- Mobility Materials Mobility Materials underwent a major restructuring, with the departure of its leader Tina Schlingmann, breaking up the old Focus Groups and focusing on new projects on both material sides, polymers and metals. Those projects deal with (re)defining polymer data sheets for AM and standardize necessary testing and the topic of wire-DED. Learn about the group here…
- Analyses & Processing, a new Focus Group under the umbrella of Medical Materials, started their work in 2023. The Groups goal is to establish a set of methods that will give us data on the reuse of materials that have gone through a printing process, especially regarding medical devices. Sustainability at its best! Learn more here
- Hospitals kicked off a major project: an international multicentre study, examining the non-inferiority of the open-source software “3D Slicer” compared to approved medical devices. Learn more here
- Veterinary, the newest endeavour of the Medical Division, expands our horizon from human medicine over to the care of our beloved animals and pets. Now, the Group is for example dealing with materials suited for dental prostheses for horses. Learn more here
- Construction was kicked off at the end of June and focuses on different applications of Additive Manufacturing in the construction industry. From printing houses to manufacturing shells to save materials – we focus on everything necessary to ingrate AM into this traditional industry. Learn more here
- AM has made significant inroads into the defence sector, gaining prominence in various discussions. Our Working Group Defense, that we kicked-off in November, serves as a neutral platform, allowing for informative discussions about projects and funding programs related to AM in the defence sector. Learn more
If we are not pushing the discussions and projects in our Working Groups, we are far from sitting idly: during the past twelve months we actively participated in various events, cultivated new cooperations and worked closely with existing partners to raise the standing of Additive Manufacturing and its benefits to the industry.
Here is a short overview of our activities:
- At the beginning of February, we defied temperatures too far below zero (-15°C) to be comfortable and began our TechJourney to New York and Boston. Together with “Berlin Partner für Wirtschaft und Technologie” we lead a delegation of Berlin based companies as well as our members. Together we visited multiple companies and institutions in the two American cities. One of the highlights was attending the AM Strategies hosted by our partners from 3DPrint.com with inspiring speeches and panel discussions. Find out more here
- It is important to educate future generations about the benefits and possibilities of AM – that is why in spring of 2023, we welcomed three student interns from local schools to our Berlin offices. The goal was for them to gain insights into the intricacies of our international network and to take the first steps into becoming 3D printing enthusiasts. During their two-week internship, our Berlin based members BigRep and formlabs graciously provided them access to their production sites, offering a comprehensive look into their operations. The three students between the ages of 14 and 15 were excited and eager to learn and were at the end of their stay able to print their very first self-designed part. We look forward to further education a generation of Additive Natives. Learn more
- Our support for the next generations also includes the MGA/VDI Student Competition. This is an international and interdisciplinary competition on 3D printing for university students on all aspects of Additive Manufacturing and digitization. More than 60 students from multiple universities and various departments and courses of study joined us and our partners for the three-day hackathon-like competition in Düsseldorf. We will of course do that again this year! Learn more about last year here or join us this year here.
- At our IAM (Industrial Additive Manufacturing) Hub in Berlin, we aim to showcase as many different technologies of Additive Manufacturing as possible to as many people as possible – from politicians to international delegations and students of all ages, everyone is welcome to look at both printers and printed parts. Thanks to our member Chromatic 3D Materials, we added the printing of elastomers to our printer farm. They provided us with their RX-Flow 3500® machine, that can print rubber like parts at speed using two component printing. Learn more Would you like to showcase your technology? Contact us now!
- One of the largest meetings for Users of AM is the Additive Manufacturing Users Group (AMUG) annual event in Chicago – and we were of course on site to learn about the latest trends and developments of our industry from an international perspective. Our Managing Director Stefanie Brickwede even presented on stage with Ole von Seelen from our member Trinckle. The AMUG is the perfect place to be when looking to be (re-)inspired by AM – we will of course be there again in 2024.
- Internationally we also attended the AM Conclave in Abu Dhabi, where we strengthened our partnership with AM Chronicle. The conference aims to unite the Additive Manufacturing ecosystem of the Middle East on one platform including Government, Users, Software Providers, Hardware, Material Manufacturers, Research Institutes and Standards & Certification Bodies. Learn more.
- Our partners from IPM are one of the key event providers in the field of Additive Manufacturing: last year we joined them for the AM Forum in July, the RAILWAY Forum in September and the AM MEDICAL DAYS (as co-initiators) in December. All those events provided us with important insights into the different industries utilizing the power of AM: from integrating AM into the design of new trains to printing breast implants, the possibilities are nearly endless. Come and join us at the AM Forum 2024 on March 20 & 21
- We were also at the Open House of the German Bundestag (House of Representatives) with a small booth showing an audience of politicians as well as interested members of the public how amazing AM can be. The event was the perfect opportunity to meet the right members of the German government as well as members of the opposition to tell them about the needs of our industry. As a next step we will welcome those politicians in our IAM Hub to make sure to gain political support for 3D printing.
- Where else were we in 2023?
- At the rapid.tech3D we met a lot of our friends and as members of the jury of course attended the award ceremony of the 3D Pioneers Challenge , honouring the most innovative new ideas and pioneers.
- At the European Military Additive Manufacturing Symposium we met both military representatives and military suppliers. At the event supported by the European Defence Agency we gained important insights into a very secretive industry for our newest Working Group.
- At the Formnext, the most important AM trade fair, we were amazed to see the latest developments in materials and machines as well as join the jury of the Formnext Start-Up Challenge and sign an MoU with CanadaMakes , Canada’s premier AM network. In this partnership, we aim to drive international collaboration by leveraging shared competencies, network and foster close cooperation.
- At the LightCon in Hannover our friends from Composites United (where we also hold a seat in their committee) and we were thrilled to see the developments in both design and materials for lightweight constructions and components. AM and lightweight are a match made in heaven and at the Hannover Fair 2024 we aim to further explore the possibilities.
- Exploring new industries for our network, we encountered the MARILIGHT initiative, a network for lightweight solutions in the maritime sector. Noticing our many common goals, we kicked off our partnership at their annual meeting in May. We look forward to pushing AM in for example ship building.
Other than visiting events, joining juries, and cultivating partnerships, we also joined multiple initiatives or were a part of bodies. Our positions other than the ones already mentioned were:
- Member of the strategical advisory board of the Technology Transfer Program Lightweight of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action
- Member of the board of trustees of the Fraunhofer IAPT in Hamburg
- Co-Initiator and member of the board of AMBER (Additive Manufacturing Berlin Brandenburg)
- Member of the board of the ULTRAGrain project (aims to create a customised fine-grained microstructure (“grading”) in wire and powder-based laser cladding, which promises to improve the mechanical properties and corrosion resistance of many engineering alloys)
- Member of the board of HEALTH CAPITAL cluster
- Member of the funded KISS (AI-supported Rapid Supply Network) Project aimed to create an AI-based semantic platform to accelerate the establishment of value networks.
- Member of the funded DigiZug3D Project with the goal of mapping and digitalising the approval process in the rail sector
But of course, our highlight of 2023 was our MGA Annual Meeting and Women in AM Summit at the end of September in Berlin. Not only did we have amazing weather with the last truly warm late summer days of the year, but we also welcomed inspiring pioneers providing insights into Defence, Railway, Fashion, Design and so much more… And we enjoyed an outdoor evening event with 3D printed pasta, salmon, and burgers. Our Working Groups presented their projects and outcomes of the past month and reshaped our Advisory Board: thank you to Steffen Kuhn and Klaus Roeser for their valuable contributions as members of the board and a warm welcome to Dominic Duda and Marc Fette, whom we look forward to working with. Learn more here
Unfortunately, at the end of 2023 we received the sad news that our former Chairman of the Executive Board, Gorden Falk, passed away suddenly after short illness. We remember a personality of great motivation and drive as well as an unforgettable supporter of Additive Manufacturing on the track and beyond. In him, we have lost a colleague who was held in high esteem both personally and professionally and who always supported and accompanied 3D printing and our network.
But even with that sad news, we have had a busy year adapting to the dynamic landscape. For the coming year we listened to your wishes and concerns, evaluated our questionnaire (that some of you filled out at or after the Annual Meeting), and will among others focus on the following projects in 2024:
- A TechJourney to South Africa—buoyed by the success of last year’s expedition, we aspire to explore more international markets and cultures. Would you like to participate? Contact us now!
- The initiation of a new Focus Group, Dental—participate in the kick-off to shape its specific content. Learn more here…
- We will re-evaluate the focuses of our Working Groups to adjust to the current market needs. If there are any topics we are missing in our portfolio, please let us know! Next up we invite all interested parties to the next Defence and Construction meetings – for more information contact Sven Fritzsche
- Political Engineering: together with other influential institutions from the additive world, we aim to put 3D Printing on every politician’s agenda to ensure funding and support for our technology!
We cannot wait to see what the next year has in store for the Additive industries and our network.
We look forward to boosting AM with you!
New Members 2023 :
Trabtech Medikal İleri Teknolojiler A.Ş
BioMed Center Innovation GmbH
German Emirati Institute
Smart Zavod UA LLC
DMFG Solutions GmbH