When Southfield’s SME convenes its 29th annual RAPID + TCT event at Cobo Center in Detroit May 20-23, its growth over three decades will be as apparent as the expansion of the 3-D printing technology on which it focuses.
In its first year, the conference attracted a mere 50 attendees to Troy. There were no exhibitors. This year, between 6,000 and 7,000 people and more than 400 exhibitors are expected to gather in the Motor City to network and learn about the latest advancements in 3-D printing, also known as additive manufacturing.
Since its inception, the event has taken place in many cities around the country. Last year, it was in Fort Worth, Texas. Next year it moves across the country to Anaheim, Calif.
This year, exhibitor companies are planning at least 20 new product, material, technology advancement, or new machine announcements during the course of the three-day event.
“We’re seeing a lot more activity planned with our exhibitors because we have the automakers here,” says Maria Conrado, senior event manager at SME. “There’s so much opportunity here in Detroit, not only with the manufacturing industry that’s here but an opportunity to showcase the city. This is a fantastic location to have this event. We’re able to do a lot of outreach with groups and advisors who are based here in in the region.”
One event highlight will be the 3-D in the D City Scape display, which will be made up of 3-D printed models that select exhibitors have been asked to produce of famous Detroit landmarks.
Other highlights will include keynote presentations by Bill Taylor, an entrepreneur, author, and co-founder of Fast Company magazine; Naomi Murray, director of advanced operations and additive technology solutions at Kalamazoo medical technology firm Stryker; and Dominik Rietzel, head of non-metal additive manufacturing at BMW Group.
There also will be 125 presentations, eight workshops, and three networking receptions.
“At SME, we pride ourselves on providing opportunities for industry professionals to connect, learn, and advance their businesses,” explains Sandra Bouckley, CEO and executive director of SME. “For nearly 30 years, RAPID + TCT has served as a springboard for high-level decisionmakers to invest in technologies driving manufacturing into the future,” “We are thrilled to welcome 7,000 such leaders from around the world to our home in Detroit.”
Among the companies and organizations expected to participate in this year’s RAPID + TCT are GM, Ford, FCA US, Google, Amazon, Nike, Microsoft, NASA, Target, and others.
For more information and to register for RAPID + TCT, visit https://rapid3devent.com. SME was originally formed as the Society of Manufacturing Engineers.