Advances in 3D technology from 3D printing to materials science are driving amazing growth for the manufacturing industry and many others. According to Wohlers Report 2017, 97 manufacturers produced and sold additive manufacturing systems in 2016, up from 62 in 2015. The industry achieved worldwide revenues of $6.063 billion in 2016.
Earlier this month, the TEAMM Network met the day before RAPID + TCT 2017 started. As people arrived in Pittsburgh to meet at one of the largest 3D printing events in the world, we gathered to talk about how technician education continues to change as well as how community colleges across the nation are preparing students for careers in the fast-growing additive manufacturing world. Naturally, the conversations continued as various experts from the TEAMM Network later spent time wandering the show floor.
While there were many innovations and inventions announced at this year’s show, here are a few of the big items:
— Stratasys made several big announcements, including its strategic partnership with Desktop Metal, as well as a continuous build platform that offers a modular bank of printers that can operate with very little help from an operator. You can check it out here.
–HP made numerous announcements around its Jet Fusion 3D Printer which is impressive, to say the least. Seriously impressive.
Many desktop 3D printing leaders were there:
–Ultimaker showcasing its new and elegant Ultimaker 3 printer.
–The well-known and highly-rated MakerGear team was demonstrating its newest MakerGear M3.
—Lulzbot had an active booth due to its ever-popular and easy-to-use TAZ printers, including its newest TAZ 6 and the Lulzbot Mini cranking away on fun projects.
—Desktop Metal wowed the crowd with its innovative, and many say revolutionary, new metal 3D printer. It has a Studio System and a Production System.
–SmarTech Publishing had a booth where you could peruse one of their many reports, including a metals report showing almost $1B in revenues.
—Impossible Objects (materials science experts)
—CMU NextManufacturing Center had a presence to share the many cool things they are doing.
As you can see from this short list alone, there are a ton of great companies showcasing exactly how 3D printing and related 3D tech is keeping the manufacturing industry on its toes. TEAMM Network members were excited to be in the midst of this event packed with almost 350 exhibitors — and the big opportunity they represent for additive manufacturing technicians coming out of college programs.
–An earlier version of this post appeared on Forbes.