Setting up the highest number of advanced digital manufacturing exhibits in the UK all under one umbrella, the TCT Show is a big event for the 3D printing industry. The exhibits and presentations discuss the latest creative endeavours this burgeoning industry has to offer. Countless visitors attend the event, mingling with over 10,000 enthusiastic manufacturers, designers, business leaders, early adopters, innovators and investors.
This year’s TCT show took place last week, from 24th to 26th September. Here, we’ve narrowed down the TCT Show 2019’s biggest highlights.
3D Printers & Materials
EnvisionTEC brought in their latest Perfactory P4K DLP series and their Envision One printer. The P4K series utilizes a high resolution 4M pixel projector together with AI to deliver high accuracy and improved surface finishes. They also showed off new materials for both tooling and the digital dentistry market.
Stratasys brought in their F120 3D Printer, showing its capabilities. The company also showed how 3D printing is making an impact within the aircraft interiors market. They offered use cases in customized cabins, even presenting a life-size business class pod to highlight the possibilities.
Other companies included Photocentric with its Liquid Crystal Magna 3D printer and Zortrax debuting the Endureal printer (as we previously covered) among others. 3D Systems also threw its hat in the ring with five new materials for its Figure 4 platform, all with different industrial applications.
Some software platforms managed to turn heads during the show. New York-based nTopology’s software, the nTop Platform, comprizes a range of tools, including print preparation, simulation and topology optimization. The combination allows engineers to leverage complex geometries, quickly iterate on designs and automate common modeling operations. The software targets the entire engineering workflow, enabling users to create lighter, higher-performing parts with functional requirements built right in.
OxMet also brought in its proprietary “Alloys by Design” software platform, along with all new a range of high-performance nickel, titanium and aluminium alloys. This program allows for the development of new alloys and alloy powders for a wide range of industrial and medical 3D printing applications. OxMet’s approach leverages large-scale computational calculations to search new compositional ranges and find optimal solutions for each alloy.
Industry Highlights & Forecasts
The TCT show 2019 brought in some new insights for the 3D printing industry. Among the usual topics was discussions about disruption in additive manufacturing and the continued climbs in the automotive industry. However, there were some notable new topics showing newly discovered areas that 3D printing can find a home in. One example of the latter is a topic we previously outlined: The UK’s rail line using 3D printing to produce replacement parts.
Similarly, major conglomerates like Siemens presented their findings in design for AM applications. Particularly, the company discussed multi-physics topology optimisation framework proposed to handle the coupling structural/thermal/flow requirements and complexities for gas turbines, automobiles and aerospace applications.
All in all, the technology is showing further signs of growth, particularly in industries that require on-demand and short-run production. Though, future forecasts predict this will not always remain the case.
The TCT Show also hosted a lot of future predictions for the growth of AM from a variety of sources, most notably Professor D’Aveni. His seminar forecasted that 3D printing will go on to encourage companies to enhance economies of scope rather than economies of scale, thus encouraging much wider diversification by firms. This may result in the rise of pan-industrial firms that can no longer be identified by current industry boundaries.
We’ll have to wait and see if these come to fruition in the next few years, but for now the industry seems strong.