Sergiy Palamarchuk/Dreamstime and Bob Vavra
Trade show floor with MD&M West logo and inset photo of AM panel

3D on the Verge of a Breakthrough

April 14, 2022
As MD&M West continues, an essential facet of additive manufacturing gets its place in the spotlight.

While a large amount of the focus in additive manufacturing is about the machines and materials, speakers at the panel discussion on “The Promise of Additive Manufacturing for Production” at the MD&M West trade show in Anaheim on April 13 said there also should be focus on how to gain and maintain control of the 3D printing network.

“It’s not just a hardware solution. You need to have very good on control with your software,” said Matt Karesh of Velo 3D during the panel presentation. “Repeatability, scalability enables true production—not just with a single machine, but in a distributed supply chain.”

The vision of an 3D printing system integrated not just with production but also with supply chain management is part of the promise of additive manufacturing. As speakers noted, the reality of current systems is still a distance from fully realizing that promise.

“The challenge is convincing people [3D printing] is real,” said Matt Sand of 3DEO. “There have been so many hype cycles to the industry. The important messages is that is it really happening this time. We’re on the precipice of a big breakthrough.”

Added Tim Heller of Stratasys, “Additive doesn’t change the supply chain—it’s a piece of the puzzle.“ 

“Best in 10 Years”

The success of any trade event is subjective, but the combination of great California weather and a lot of pent-up manufacturing enthusiasm helped MD&M West and the other associated trade events in Anaheim achieve its two basic goals. The show both was well-attended and helped engage attendees and vendors in face-to-face discussions again. One vendor went as far as to say it was “the best show in 10 years.”

The trade show traffic remained steady throughout the show’s second day, which featured more panel discussions and seminars as well as in-booth production demonstrations.

Mobility on the Move

Bosch Rexroth showcased several working systems demos, including the MP1000R Autonomous Mobile Robot (AMR). The MP1000R is able to navigate autonomously in highly dynamic environments without additional infrastructure. The MP1000R is a flexible and scalable solution which can replace manual forklifts and tuggers in manufacturing spaces, leading to improved efficiency and helping to protect workers from potential injury.

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