Event review

3D solutions at Formnext 2019

| Author / Editor: Ahlam Rais / Ahlam Rais

At Formnext 2019, most of the exhibiting companies were from China, USA, the UK, Italy, France, Spain, and the Netherlands.
At Formnext 2019, most of the exhibiting companies were from China, USA, the UK, Italy, France, Spain, and the Netherlands. (Source: Mesago/Mathias Kutt)

The 5th edition of Formnext was bigger and better than all its previous shows. Comprising of four hall levels, the trade fair welcomed industry players from around the world and showcased some of the most innovative and state-of-the-art additive manufacturing technologies in the sector.

Spread across an area of 53,039 sq m, Formnext – the additive manufacturing show recently concluded in Germany. The four day event which began from November 19 attracted 852 exhibitors and hosted 34,532 visitors from across the globe. Most of the exhibiting companies were from China, USA, the UK, Italy, France, Spain, and the Netherlands.

Innovations @Formnext 2019

Industry leaders in the 3D printing space such as 3D Systems, DMG Mori, GE Additive, HP, Renishaw, Siemens, SLM Solutions, Stratasys, Trumpf, and many others showcased numerous new innovations and solutions at the trade fair. Most of the companies exhibited solutions related to metal additive manufacturing. One of the most innovative technologies displayed at the show was 6K’s plasma system which is used to create metallic powders from used powders or defective metal parts. Metal alloys can also be developed via this process.

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In addition to this, Solvay also launched the Solef PVDF filament which is used to offer resistance to solvents, UVs and oxidation in the chemical, semiconductor and oil and gas industries. The well-known company, Arkema also announced its collaboration with Kimya on PEKK, known for its high mechanical and thermal resistance, as well as PEBA-S, for applications requiring light weight, good energy return and low temperature resistance properties such as the sports sector.

Interestingly, there were also a significant number of exhibitors that showcased solutions in ceramic additive manufacturing. For example, the 3DCeram firm introduced its new machine which is capable of producing large finished parts. This area of expertise is yet to catch up on the global stage although it has a lot of potential. Apart from these, there were many other stunning technologies displayed at the event.

The USA connection

This year’s exhibition also witnessed the presence of a dedicated USA pavilion. The country is Formnext’s first ever partner country and around 50 plus US exhibitors exhibited their solutions at the show. In fact, the organisers of the trade fair, Mesago Messe Frankfurt have revealed that the participation of US exhibitors in this year’s edition grew by almost 40 % as compared to 2018. Also, the number of US visitors grew by 25 %.

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Winners of the purmundus challenge

Like every year, the purmundus challenge was also held at Formnext 2019. The challenge recognises products of the future in 3D and 4D printing. This year, seven winners of the purmundus challenge were felicitated with gold trophies.

The first prize was awarded to the ‘Stealth Key’ project by Dr. Alejandro Ojeda from UrbanAlps. Using the Stealth Technology, Ojeda created a physical key and cylinder system in which the code is neatly hidden under robust, narrow projections. As the key cannot be scanned, it offers maximum security and works independently of digital systems.

The second prize was bagged by Nicole Hone from Victoria University of Wellington for her ‘Hydrophytes - 4D Printing’. The hydrophytes are a series of five futuristic aquatic plants and show an innovative approach to organic movement design using multimaterial 4D printing. With the added dimension of time in 4D printing, the designer's role extends to choreographing the performance of objects.

Dr. Paul Schüler and Andreas Krüger from CellCore received the third prize for their monolithic combustion chamber of a rocket engine. The core element of the demonstration piece is the functionally optimised lattice structure integrated into the chamber wall, which in addition to the necessary stability also offers cooling possibilities through efficient execution.

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Byron Blakey-Milner’s 3D printed mountain bike frame from NMU ECO-CAR won the audience award while the Simulation Driven Design award was received by Gabriel Boutin from KUPOL for his individualised motorcycle helmet KUPOL R1-0.

Also, Andreas Henneberg from Diehl Aviation Laupheim accepted the ‘Special Mention’ award for his 3D printed aircraft interior component ‘Curtain Comfort Header’. Lastly, Andrea Toulouse from the University of Stuttgart was awarded the ‘Innovation Prize’ for her unique exploration of endoscopic printing.

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