Euromold 2013 – Day 1 Report by Rachel Park
A bleary-eyed start to the day (at 2.45 am) soon turned around with the help of caffeine — in copious amounts — and I landed in Frankfurt on time and ready to pound Hall 11 of the city’s vast exhibition centre on the opening day of this year’s Euromold event.
Just on the off-chance that anyone is not familiar with Euromold, it is Europe’s largest annual manufacturing, mould-making and product development event. It is now also the biggest exhibition on the 3D printing calendar, with the whole of Hall 11 dedicated to 3D printing and associated 3D technologies. The big 3DP vendors really go to town at Euromold and traditionally save all their big new announcements for this show. For someone like me it’s a must-attend. I tried to do it in 18 hours last year. That didn’t go so well. This year I’m here for three full days of 3D printing news, launches, speculation and gossip!
Walking into the entrance of Hall 11 this year and vistitors were greeted by a host of entry level machines — across a spot that was taken up the the Cubify café last year. It was constantly busy here through the day, but I managed to make my first port of call to Leapfrog, and I got to see a Xeed up close (BIG) and meet Saswitha de Kok, which was nice. Also got to meet the guys from colorFabb and see some parts 3D printed with the new wooden material they released recently. Reporting huge growth and upscaling of production to meet demand, Sander Strijbos is a full-on enthusiast and obviously loving every minute of the new venture.
Stopped by to see Colin Cater of ES Technology, who was on the Concept Laser stand. Some BIG parts there. Reports from the company are of steady growth and lots of industry interest. The growth was to be a reoccurring theme across the day — sometimes steady, sometimes ridiculously full-on, but it’s all about a growing industry.
Next stop was Andy Allshorn — Andy’s new company 3D-Parts Ltd was announced today, but when I got to his stand he had another surprise up his sleeve! Andy’s longevity in the industry and comprehensive understanding of the stereolithography process is, quite literally, second to none. He has now, with some serious backing, developed a Retrofit Service that can give a whole new life to older SL machines that have been rendered redundant. And then some! The retrofit service is currently only for SLA 250 machines but there are plans to change that. What the retrofit service does is turn an SLA 250 into a faster, more accurate 3D printer that is both easier to use and easier to maintain courtesy of a build processor and machine control software from Materialise. The retrofit also permits the use of any resin, with, get this, both high resolution and high speed modes, which can be applied simultaneously — in the same build. What that means is that you can build low-res models on one side of the chamber and high res models on the other — or anything inbetween.
I met with Arnaud Guedou of Prodways — the company Mike introduced us to a couple of weeks back — and this company, in its new and old guise, has been operating under the radar. Intentionally, Arnaud told me. Until now. Now they’re ready to shout from the roof tops. And well they might. What they’ve got here is a big machine, with some original tech and some equally big claims. I am convinced that this is original — a combination of DLP and UVA LEDs to produce large (or many), high resolution parts — at speed. To give you an idea, Arnaud told me that a single small part would take about 45 minutes to build on a ‘traditional’ DLP 3D printer. On the Prodways system, they can print 500 of the same part, in one go, in one hour!! The aim is naturally, industrial applications. They have had a lot of interest from the dental industry in particular. This is definitely one to take a look at / keep an eye on. They have started big but will down size, there are smaller platforms to be added to the portfolio I understand.
I met with Claudia from EOS who introduced me to the BIG additions to EOS’ metal and plastic machine portfolio, ahead of the press conference later in the afternoon. Mike will fill in all the details on these very soon, he’s been briefed.
Similarly with the voxeljet launch, Mcor Update and Stratasys product announcement. All of which deserve more in-depth coverage than I can give here. Needless to say, lovely to catch up with all the relevant marketing people.
Stratasys’ press conference was largely about reporting on the last 12 months of consolidation. That I totally buy, actually; it is all coming together extremely well, growth of 20% in that same year, 2 Objet 1000’s installed in Europe under beta conditions, with 2 due to land in the US imminently and growth in terms of facilities and people. Commercial availability will follow. Big support of Makerbot — who, by the way, in contrast to a tiny stand at the back of the hall last year — were in a feature spot at the front on a massive stand. That support was showing clearly — and it was certainly much more than words.