By Todd Grimm
President, T.A. Grimm & Associates
RAPID + TCT Event Advisor
You can rest assured that you held a great event when both the exhibitors and attendees offered thanks and words of praise. That is exactly what I heard throughout RAPID + TCT 2022, and in the week that followed. Congratulations to all for hosting a fantastic conference and trade show that had me saying “Wow!”
On the opening day, I was asked to put words to ‘elevating the experience’ as I spoke from the main stage. I was a bit apprehensive about doing this since that was a rather bold claim. But by the end of the first day, I felt that the team had indeed taken this event to the next level by elevating the experience well above those from the previous 30+ years.
SME and The TCT Group pulled out all the stops for the 2022 edition of the event. A strong lineup of presentation topics; check. Experts and thought leaders spearheading the conversations; check. Nearly 400 exhibitors with worthy solutions; check.
The program and content were robust, but what crystalized the elevated experience was the Tuesday-evening AM Industry Celebration. Thousands gathered for food, entertainment, and conversation. This celebration took the extravaganza to the next level. The tone was set before the celebration began when a drumline paraded through the show floor, acting as a pied piper leading all to the gathering.
Regrettably, I cannot attest to the quality of the presentations because I had to dedicate my time to the discovery of new companies, products, and solutions on the show floor. However, I heard many positive comments from my fellow advisors and attendees. What I did get to partake in were the keynotes by Barbara Humpton, Brian Baughman, and Caralynn Collens, which were exceptional, inspiring, and thought-provoking.
Exhibitors had plenty of new, interesting solutions on display on the show floor. There were new companies that had just emerged from stealth mode, new AM approaches, new materials, and new takes on every aspect of the AM ecosystem. The exhibitors had you covered whether looking for alternative solutions in printers, software, materials, post processing, or inspection.
I will be covering the new, interesting things that I discovered in a post-event video. This is in conjunction with my pre-event sneak peek video that was distributed before RAPID + TCT 2022. Before viewing the videos, please note that they are not all-encompassing. Although I dedicated my free time to the show floor, I did not have enough time to stop by every booth!
An exceptional event is meaningless if few walked into the Huntington Place convention center. I am pleased to say that AM practitioners turned out in droves to consume all that RAPID + TCT offered. Fresh faces and old pros were onsite to see and hear the latest in AM. While I know the final audited attendance numbers are not out yet, from firsthand observation, I feel that attendance was near or over the highest numbers in previous years.
Yes, RAPID + TCT benefitted from the exuberance associated with a return to a full-fledged event—for many, this was their first event since 2019—but that excitement could only take the event so far. The amped-up energy levels were served well by a program that delivered, in terms of content, wares on display, and hospitality. Thanks to the efforts and investment of SME and TCT, plus countless advisors, presenters, and contributors, expectations of a post-pandemic event were far exceeded.
Now it is time to digest all that we discovered at RAPID + TCT 2022 and put it to use so that we can take AM to the next level as individuals, as companies, and as an industry.