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VDMA AM to present industrial use of Additive Manufacturing at Formnext 2019

Formnext 2019 starts on 19th of November. When the leading international trade fair for additive production technologies opens its doors at the Frankfurt Exhibition Centre, the 150 member companies of the Additive Manufacturing Association (AG AM) in the VDMA will make up a large proportion of the 740 registered exhibitors from 34 nations. But the presence of AG AM goes far beyond the trade fair stands of its member companies. 

“We have been involved since 2017 in a conceptual partnership with formnext and this year we will be represented at the fair with a User Case Area, a joint stand and an interesting lecture programme (AM4U),” explains Dr. Markus Heering, Managing Director of the VDMA’s Additive Manufacturing Working Group.

Formnext: an indispensable meeting place and marketplace for the AM industry 

According to Heering, formnext has established itself as the leading trade fair for the global AM industry since its premiere five years ago. “Its sustained, dynamic growth with around 35 percent more exhibition space and 17 percent more exhibitors than in the previous year demonstrates the industry’s need for a central meeting point and marketplace for all players along the additive process chain. Especially against the background of the increasing industrial significance of AM processes, which was recently clearly confirmed by a survey of AM AG members, the formnext is indispensable as a crystallization point where suppliers, users and technical innovations come together. “Our working group with its 150 member companies – including numerous pioneers of industrial application – has a lot to contribute to this,” emphasizes Heering. 

Interactive User Case Area uses 50 AM exhibits to show added value.

Successful industrial AM applications will be the focus of the User Case Area, to which more than 30 companies will contribute exhibits each (Hall 12.0, E42). The spectrum ranges from additively manufactured bronze bearings for hydroelectric power plants to highly complex adapters and distributors for hydraulic and pneumatic systems to dual-channel heat exchangers that can be quickly and precisely converted into complicated tube-in-pipe designs using the 3D hybrid process with different materials. These four examples are already based on four completely different additive manufacturing technologies – from sand casting with additive casting molds to laser deposition welding and hybrid processes to fused deposition molding (FDM). 

“Our approximately 50 exhibits cover a wide variety of AM technology. In the User Case Area visitors can inform themselves per tablet about the processes and materials used and the added value of the additive components,” explains Rainer Gebhardt, Project Manager of AG AM at VDMA. In addition to the astonishing industrial AM solutions, another focus of the exhibition is on the topic of training and further education. A university spin-off will demonstrate concrete approaches based on a component that is actually being developed. Festo AG will also be demonstrating a real application: It will be printing spare parts at the stand on the basis of cloud data.

Joint stand highlights many aspects of the AM process chain

Eight member companies of AG AM will design a joint stand at formnext 2019 (Hall 12.0, E51). These include medium-sized suppliers of linear and drive technology for AM systems such as Harmonic Drive, Mannesmann or Schneeberger as well as Festo AG as a leading supplier of control and automation technology. On the user side, innoCast GmbH, which uses additive molds for sand and investment casting of prototypes and small batches, and Prototec, a manufacturing service provider, are represented. Kasto as a post-processing specialist and Hans Weber Maschinenfabrik as a plant manufacturer for CNC-controlled plastic direct extrusion with portal systems round off the joint appearance. 

“We offer small and medium-sized member companies in particular, some of which have other industry focal points, a low-cost, uncomplicated entry into formnext with our joint stand,” says Gebhardt. Dr. Thomas Bettermann, Managing Director of innoCast GmbH, appreciates this: “Thanks to the joint stand of AG AM, we can participate in formnext as a smaller company without huge planning effort – and hopefully attract many trade visitors to us,” he explains.