SME’s RAPID conference is one of the longest-running industry forums for additive manufacturing, with RAPID 2014 on schedule to feature the largest exhibit floor in RAPID history.
We connected with Debbie Holton of SME to gain some insight about the industry forum and upcoming RAPID 2014 conference, Detroit, MI, USA, June 9-12, 2014.
AMazing®: Thank you for your participation. This must be an exciting time as RAPID 2014 approaches, June 9-12th. Since RAPID’s inception, how has the conference evolved over the years?
Debbie Holton: RAPID continues to be the authority on 3D printing, scanning and additive manufacturing. The event is entering its 24th year and participation has already exceeded years past making this our largest RAPID event to date. The conference is internationally regarded as bringing experts and cutting edge topics to the forefront of industry.
AMazing®: Technical advances are always fascinating and a critical aspect for a thriving industry. Are there any presentations generating pre-conference buzz?
Debbie Holton: We have some exciting keynote speakers this year including Jason Lopes with Legacy Effects who will discuss 3D printing and its use in Hollywood. There will also be a Surgical Applications of Bioresorbable 3D-printed Medical Devices presentation by University of Michigan staff that were involved in the recent 3D printing of a trachea tube for a child.
AMazing®: We understand a new interactive display called Innovation Exchange will be featured for the first time. What is the Innovation Exchange and what will it offer attendees? Are there any other new features?
Debbie Holton: We have a couple of new features…the Innovation Exchange will give attendees an opportunity to see up close some of the larger applications, such as a 3D printed car, Hollywood special effects, musical instruments and a race car. We are also featuring a 3D Playground, where attendees can adjust parameters on 3D printed wind turbine blades to affect speed or view sheet metal forming over an additive manufactured tool.
AMazing®: SME will hold its 11th annual mentoring program, Bright Minds Mentor Program. What is the purpose of the program and how does it function?
Debbie Holton: Bright Minds is a program that connects industry mentors with local high school students at the event. Students are able to view the exhibits while learning about the technology.
AMazing®: What opportunities does SME offer toward gaining additive manufacturing education, training and development for those individuals that are not able to attend RAPID 2014?
Debbie Holton: SME offers a multitude of opportunities…we have the Additive Manufacturing Certificate Program (a review course and exam that test foundational knowledge); the Additive Manufacturing Resource Center which travels to many SME events outside of RAPID – it features 3D printed products and fundamental presentations; Training that can be developed for specific organizations; as well as a new event in Toronto this fall – RAPID for the Canadian audience.
AMazing®: Finally, what sets RAPID apart from other conferences? What will RAPID look like in three years?
Debbie Holton: What sets RAPID apart is that those who have been involved in the technology from the early stages are committed and invested in this event. RAPID is regarded as the resource for entry level through advanced participants. Nowhere else can you have a conversation with individuals directly involved in the evolution of the industry or those who are creating its future.
This concludes our interview. Debbie, thank you very much for your participation. We are inspired and very appreciative of the opportunity to learn about SME’s RAPID conference.
About Debbie Holton
Debbie Holton is interim managing director of industry and technology. Holton, a 22-year veteran at SME, brings a forward-thinking vision and an expansive strategic and technical understanding of the manufacturing sector and such key industries as aerospace, defense, medical, energy and transportation. Holton leads the group that produces and coordinates more than 20 manufacturing tradeshows and related conferences throughout the United States, Canada and Mexico. Additionally, she collaborates with major manufacturers, suppliers and leading industry organizations in identifying key manufacturing challenges and convening the vast SME network of members and technical experts to develop potential solutions. From 2012-13, Holton served as the NAMII acting deputy director of technology transition. She is a University of Michigan graduate. Member Since 2005.
For nearly 25 years, RAPID Conference & Exposition, produced by SME, has defined the crucial role of additive manufacturing and empowered the establishment of an industry that continues to conceive, test, improve and manufacture new products at a faster, more cost-efficient pace. As the leader and authority figure in additive manufacturing, RAPID attracts buyers, sellers and end-users of design, prototyping, tooling and direct digital technologies to a world-class event for discovery, innovation and networking. For more information, please visit sme.org/rapid.
SME connects all those who are passionate about making things that improve our world. As a nonprofit organization, SME has served practitioners, companies, educators, government and communities across the manufacturing spectrum for more than 80 years. Through its strategic areas of events, media, membership, training and development, and the SME Education Foundation, SME is uniquely dedicated to advancing manufacturing by addressing both knowledge and skill needs for industry. At SME, we are making the future. Together.
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