So this year, even more than other years, I am really looking forward to attending the International Conference on Additive Manufacturing, organized by the Additive Manufacturing Research Group (AMRG) at Loughborough University (soon to be Nottingham) and Econolyst. This is because it will provide the perfect opportunity to get a firmer handle on the migration of Professor Hague and his team from Loughborough to Nottingham University and what that means, as well as getting to attend a full day of what looks like a very impressive two-day line up of speakers.
Being responsible for the TCT Live conference programme for more years than I care to remember, I, more than most, fully appreciate the considerable time, immense effort (not to mention powers of persuasion) that it takes to arrive at an eye-catching programme that attracts delegates and provides original and engaging content about 3D printing and Additive Manufacturing. (The TCT programme FINALLY went live yesterday btw, but I’ll get to that in a future post, this one is all about my other favourite conference.)
Taking place 10th-11th July, this year sees the venue moving to The Belfry at Nottingham. This change in venue is completely unrelated to the relocation of Professor Hague’s research team, apparently, rather it is the result of the Loughborough university facilities that usually accommodate the AM conference being used for national teams in the run up to the Olympics. A happy coincidence though, I think, as it almost precisely coincides with the actual relocation. The physical move of the team and the conference also symbolizes a shift in focus of the research — as I mentioned in a previous blog post in April.
Talking to Phil Reeves of Econolyst about the move and the refocus, I asked about the new name and branding and why, in the run up to the conference, there had been no change in the marketing material or on the website. He intimated that all the new material is ready and waiting but they are keeping it under wraps for now. It will all be revealed at the conference. Rather annoying, from a personal point of view, but clever and assured. This approach ensures that there is no opportunity for confusion in the run up to the well-established conference in 2012, with a full year for the impact of the new organization to establish itself and for the dust to settle.
Anyway, I should probably get to the conference content, and I have to say, it looks good. Unable to go for the two days, I had to pick a day, and it was mightily hard to choose when faced with the line-up.
With Neri Oxman and Assa Ashuach opening up the first day, the delegates are going to get a fantastic insight into the marriage of design and 3D printing from two of the leading and most impressive individuals in this field. After coffee the subject matter turns to medical — from the earliest days of additive tech — the medical field has been able to generate some of the most interesting (and life-improving) applications and I am certain this session will prove enlightening. Other sessions over the two days will home in on the latest industrial applications of 3D printing for prototyping and manufacturing applications. Toyata and Boeing are the highlights here. But what fascinates me is that this conference, traditionally the focus of R&D in AM, is also extending its outlook to include 3D printing for the consumer, with presentations from Alice Taylor of Makielab and Frank Cooper of the JIIC (consumers do like jewellery!).
The new research and new developments are still very much in evidence, however, with conference sessions dedicated to Processes and Materials Innovations as well as multi-functional 3D printing. Finally, the conference will be rounded up with a session called Progress & Promise, and will look at some of the funding opportunities available for companies that develop or take up additive tech.
As I said, very VERY difficult to decide which day, but I have opted for Day 1 — 10th July. I look forward to catching up with other delegates on that day, in person. If you’re not going, I would highly recommend you double-check your diary. It’s a good one to make time for!