Bart Kooijmans4

Brand new fair 'AM for Production' brings additive manufacturing to the manufacturing industry

Additive Manufacturing (AM) is breaking into the high-tech manufacturing supply chain. The layer-by-layer technology, originated in the early 1980s, has been growing rapidly in recent years. The number of companies embracing this production technology is rising as better machines, materials and software are available. Therefore, Mikrocentrum organizes on March 29 and 30 the first edition of an annual fair in the Brabanthallen in 's Hertogenbosch: AM for Production. The industrialization of AM takes center stage there. "Leading parties from the Benelux meet here. Together we bring AM to high-tech and manufacturing production," says program manager Bart Kooijmans.

AM has made great leaps in development in recent years and has grown into a fully-fledged production technology. Not only have great strides been made in terms of material use, accuracy and quality. The areas of application are also enormous. Such developments have ensured a large growth in sales on Dutch soil. As a result, the global market is expected to grow by 20.8% annually from 2022 to 2030.

AM for Production therefore offers an extensive program of exhibitors, excursions, lectures and networking opportunities. Companies and experts in the field share the latest knowledge there annually, and industry demonstrates the applicability of the technology.

Because of the high efficiency with which products are made with the technology, combined with sustainability aspects such as less waste of material, AM deserves a stage, according to Kooijmans. "The possibilities of additive manufacturing are enormous, just think of applications in the medical world or in the automotive industry. Applying the technology on a large scale is closer than many people think. By organizing this event, we are putting the sector on the map."

An extensive program

Exhibitors at the event will demonstrate how high-quality end products can be manufactured. "Software developers, machine builders, service providers, peripheral equipment suppliers and raw materials: We bring together all relevant parties from the entire Benelux ecosystem," Kooijmans continues. "This will give applicators a total overview of what is needed for a successful introduction of this technology alongside their existing lines."

Lectures from figureheads in the field will also take place. In addition, industry associations, such as Flam3D, and educational institutions with a connection to the field will be present.

Relevant to conventional industry

While AM is an innovative technology, it is certainly also relevant to the conventional manufacturing industry, Kooijmans assures. "AM is ready to be integrated into existing factory infrastructures. By combining the technique with conventional techniques, manufacturers achieve an even better end product faster. Moreover, some of today's product designs can only be manufactured with AM at all. We must ensure that we do not fall behind international competitors."

Excursion

In addition to a broad on-site program, visitors will have the unique opportunity to go on field trips to various production facilities in the Netherlands. "Visitors can take a look at the factory of the future, so to speak," says Kooijmans. Shuttle buses will take visitors to Brainport Industries Campus (BIC) Eindhoven, among other locations, where AM will be demonstrated in a practical environment. Several companies at the BIC and have pooled their facilities there to create a hands-on environment, such as AM flow, Additive Industries and K3D.

A boost

Kooijmans hopes the fair will boost the entire AM ecosystem. "I am convinced that AM belongs to the future and that many visitors will eventually consider using the technology. In five years we will then be able to say that with AM for Production we have taken the first steps to achieve a breakthrough in the production chain."

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