• Highlighted: 3D printing at drupa next year, pictured is Abe Weiszberger of Stick on Signs with Massivit printed promo
    Highlighted: 3D printing at drupa next year, pictured is Abe Weiszberger of Stick on Signs with Massivit printed promo

Next year's mega trade show drupa will see an increased presence for 3D printing, or as the German manufacturers association VDMA correctly calls it, additive manufacturing.

For the first time the VDMA will be responsible for the content design and implementation of the ten-day lecture programme. A total of 80 specialist lectures are planned, which will be spread over two distinct two-hour blocks every day.

At the last drupa and at next year's 3D printing is one of the six highlights in the trade show programme. In addition to its own exhibition area, drupa 2020 will dedicate a touchpoint, 3D fab+print, to what it says is “this future technology.”

For many in the commercial print world, the only commonality between 3D printing and commercial printing is the name. However, companies like Israeli based Massivit, distributed here by Stick-on-Signs and Graphic Art Mart, are developing systems for commercial print applications, particularly in POS.

At drupa next year the 3D focus will be on applications in printing and paper machine construction as well as applications for media and packaging. The spectrum will range from additive-manufactured machine components to prototyping, or on-demand spare parts supply for printing presses, to the use of additive processes to manufacture individual advertising products and unusual packaging solutions. "Since our trade fair appearance at drupa 2016 met with a positive response, it made sense to expand our commitment at drupa 2020 and contribute our know-how," explains Dr Markus Heering, managing director of the VDMA Additive Manufacturing Association and of the VDMA Printing and Paper Technology Association.

In the five years of its existence, the VDMA 3D working group has grown to around 150 members. These include leading suppliers of AM production technology for processing metals and plastics; suppliers of components, software, automation technology and materials; as well as industrial users from various industries, and leading research institutes. "Many of our members have been pioneers in industrial 3D printing for many years. They bring with them concentrated practical and theoretical know-how that we want to show visitors at touchpoint 3D fab+print," says Heering.

Rainer Gebhardt is the project leader of the working group and will be responsible for the content planning of the conference. "It is important for us to pick up the drupa visitors where they are in additive manufacturing," he says. For this reason, introductory lectures on both technical processes within additive process chains, and insights into current and future applications in the printing, packaging and media industries, are planned. "Additive design and manufacturing create scope for creativity in many industries. From this point of view, the technology also fits in perfectly with drupa," stresses Gebhardt.

Thanks to its broad membership spectrum, which includes traditional drupa exhibitors, users from many other industries and leading international researchers, the working group is able to offer the highest thematic diversity under its own steam.
Gebhardt is also inviting drupa exhibitors to address the working group with their own lecture topics. "We are open to suggestions and will find opportunities in the ten-day program to provide a forum for AM applications from the traditional print and packaging industry," he emphasizes. A broad mix of topics is important to him so that the journey to Düsseldorf is worthwhile both for experts and for all those who are just beginning to get an idea of the potential of 3D printing in the printing and media industry.

Düsseldorf will once again be the epicentre of the global printing, media and packaging industry. More than 250,000 visitors, 1,800 exhibitors, and just as many journalists from 180 countries will flock to drupa, the world's leading trade fair for the printing, media and packaging industry, to learn about the latest trends and technologies in the world of printing and packaging.

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