33rd RAPID + TCT drew thousands to Chicago’s McCormick Place, featured 400 exhibitors, Bright Minds Student Summit, keynote panels and more
CHICAGO, (May 22, 2023) - SME and the Rapid News Group welcomed thousands of members of the Additive Manufacturing (AM) community back for another successful installment of the industry’s largest and most influential event, RAPID + TCT 2023, which took place May 2 - 4 at McCormick Place in Chicago. The three-day event featured daily keynote presentations including an AM industry panel led by some of the most recognized names in the AM community; 400 exhibitors from around the world; the Bright Minds Student Summit where 300 students and 65 educators met with AM leaders and were given free guided tours of the show floor; the event’s first-ever AM Pitchfest where entrepreneurs, start-ups and academic spin-offs presented emerging tech to a panel of judges; as well as several panel presentations across numerous fields including healthcare, defense, consumer goods and more.
From the Netherlands to California, attendees from 48 states and 34 countries attended both in-person and virtually through the RAPID + TCT digital experience. Additionally, the Main Stage theater featured several presentation panels through industry partners and SME technical communities.
“The show floor was electric and bustling with thousands of members of the AM community networking, learning, and truly celebrating the impact of 3D printing technology,” SME Executive Director and CEO Robert ‘Bob’ Willig said. “From seasoned industry experts with decades of experience to new high school students receiving exciting, hands-on experience in the world of manufacturing, RAPID + TCT 2023 offered valuable insight and networking opportunities for all. As AM tech continues to advance, we look forward to continuing this annual conference, and helping manufacturers, engineers and innovators across the world take AM beyond its current limits and help find new solutions and applications with this ever-evolving technology.”
For over 30 years, the RAPID + TCT Conference has brought together some of the most influential industry figures to share their expert knowledge on the latest in design-to-manufacturing innovation. The annual conference provides a thought-provoking platform for newcomers and experienced visitors alike, with an educational program that encompasses technological advancements, business-critical insights, cutting-edge applications and new academic research in AM.
Throughout the three-day event, more than 160 leading AM experts presented technical panels, and each day kicked off with keynote presentations delivered by some of the industry’s best, providing insight into AM applications already in existence across a wide range of industries, as well as thoughts on what the future holds as the technology continues to change.
Bright Minds Student Summit
Seeking to inspire the next generation’s workforce, the SME Education Foundation hosted the Bright Minds Student Summit at RAPID + TCT 2023, bringing together 300 area highschoolers and 65 educators for to give students their first taste of manufacturing through keynote speakers, hands-on competitions, tech demonstrations and a guided tour of the show floor. Participating schools included East High School, Fenton High School, Harry D. Jacobs High School, Homewood-Flossmoor High School, Milwaukee Lutheran High School, Palmyra/Eagle Middle & High School, Prosser Career Academy, Proviso West High School, Technology Center of DuPage and Wheeling High School.
RAPID + TCT 2023 marked the first iteration of the AM Pitchfest, an opportunity for entrepreneurs, start-ups and academic spin-offs with emerging tech, products and applications an opportunity to present their latest AM innovations to a panel of judges comprise of industry leaders, media and the AM community within a five-minute timeframe.
ColorForge of Peoria, Illinois won the AM Pitchfest with its presentation on personalized, customized high-mix, high-volume cosmetic manufacturing. The runner-up was Lightspeed Concepts Inc of Albion, Michigan, with its presentation on a sustainable 3D sand printer for metal casting.
Additional participants included 3D Architect, AM Ultrasonics, Azure Printed Homes, B-JETTING LLC, T3DP, Ulendo Technologies Inc, Vitriform 3D and Vitro3D.
AM Industry Awards
RAPID + TCT 2023 featured the SME AM Industry Awards, recognizing outstanding accomplishments that have had significant impact in the industry.
The AM Industry Achievement Award was established in 2008 by SME’s AM community to recognize achievements that have been implemented or deployed in a commercial/industrial environment. Winners are selected with consideration for the scope and scale of benefits realized and the potential future of their work will have on the AM industry. This year’s winner is Jeff DeGrange, COO of Impossible Objects Inc, for his contributions over a distinguished career for significantly advancing AM in aviation and across a broad range of industries.
The AM Startup Award is designed to showcase young companies that have developed a new AM technology or application that solves an existing problem or utilizes a unique approach. This year’s winner is Mantle of San Francisco with its TrueShape™ technology and P2X material.
RAPID + TCT 2023 additionally featured the Aubin AM Case Study Award and the Digital Manufacturing Challenge. View a complete list of award recipients.
Each day of RAPID + TCT 2023 began with keynote speaker presentations including:
- Kevin Czinger, founder, lead inventor and CEO of Divergent Technologies discussing building and scaling an industrial digital manufacturing system.
- Omar Mireles, Additive Manufacturing R&D engineer at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, detailing AM applications in space, past, present and future.
- An industry outlook keynote panel taking a deep dive into the state and future of AM. This panel featured Terry Wohlers, head of Advisory Services and Market Intelligence at ASTM International; Bob Willig, SME Executive Director and CEO; Chris Ciuca, VP of Programs at SAE International; and Jeff DeGrange, the winner of the 2023 AM Industry Achievement Award and CCO of Impossible Objects Inc.
In the exhibit hall, AM companies from all over had products and machines on display, including 3D Systems, ADDiTEC, EOS, Formlabs, HP, Massivit, nTopology, Nexa3D, Quantica, Slice Engineering, Stratasys, Thermwood and many more. Exhibitors showcased new technologies, materials, processes and software solutions, giving attendees an exclusive, hands-on look at the best the AM industry has to offer. Enthusiasts across verticals were in attendance, representing industries such as automotive, aircraft/aerospace, construction, defense, electronics, industrial and commercial, machinery, medical/surgical/dental, R&D, consumer products and consulting/engineering.
About RAPID + TCT
For more than 30 years, SME and RAPID have defined the crucial role of additive manufacturing and empowered the establishment of an industry that continues to conceive, test, improve and manufacture new products at a faster, more cost-efficient pace. In 2017, the two industry leaders in 3D technology events, SME and The TCT Group, partnered to produce the annual RAPID + TCT event. For users and suppliers alike, the event is the premier destination for those who provide technology and for those who need to understand, explore and adopt 3D printing, additive manufacturing, 3D scanning, CAD/CAE, metrology and inspection technologies. For more information, visit rapid3devent.com, follow @RAPID_Event on Twitter or on LinkedIn.
About Rapid News Publications Ltd & The TCT Group
Rapid News Publications Ltd, the owner of the TCT Group, has been a leading authority in additive manufacturing, 3D printing, design and engineering technology for 30 years. A rich mix of live events and all-encompassing media portfolio enables TCT to deliver business-critical intelligence, connecting the additive community across Europe, North America and Asia. The TCT Group (thetctgroup.com) is owned by Rapid News Publications Ltd (rapidnews.com) a member of the AEO (Association of Event Organizers) and BPA Worldwide.