Rapid.Tech 2015: An Industry-Specific Approach for Additive Manufacturing and 3D Printing Involving Automotive, Aerospace, Dentistry, Medical Technology and Toolmaking


Messe Erfurt’s Rapid.Tech is one of Europe’s leading international events in the field of additive technologies. This year the conference and trade fair will feature several new events designed to cover a range of key initiatives and hot topics critical to business success. In tandem with Rapid.Tech, Messe Erfurt will host FaBCon 3.D; a visitor trade fair for semi-professionals and prosumers.

June 10-11, 2015
Erfurt, Thuringia Germany

We caught up with Wieland Kniffka, Managing Director of Messe Erfurt to gain his insight about Rapid.Tech 2015 in an exclusive AMazing® Q&A conversation.


AMazing®: Wieland, thank you for your participation. Rapid.Tech 2015 marks the 11th anniversary for the conference and trade fair. What makes Rapid.Tech successful? What sets it apart from other conferences involved in the field of additive manufacturing and 3D printing? How will Rapid.Tech 2015 differ from previous events?

Wieland_Kniffka, CEO (Photo courtesy of Messe Erfurt Gmbh)

Wieland Kniffka, Managing Director of Messe Erfurt  (Photo courtesy of Messe Erfurt GmbH)

Wieland: Having first tested the market with Rapid.Tech eleven years ago, we can safely call ourselves pioneers in the field of additive technologies.

We take an industry-specific approach to the topic – both scientifically and practically – focusing primarily on the areas of automotive and aerospace engineering, dentistry, medical technology and toolmaking, and covering all the key aspects including machines, materials, design and use. This focus on particular industries and aspects means we can deliver specialist knowledge and a sector overview unparalleled within Germany.

AMazing®: The additive manufacturing industry is rapidly evolving with more machines, materials and improved processes. What topics are generally of greater interest to experienced users of additive technologies?

Wieland: All forecasts point to rapid growth: 3D printing, in the broadest sense of the term, remains a technology that will impact significantly on our future. Additive technologies are making inroads into more and more industries. Regardless of whether you call it the third industrial revolution or Industry 4.0, additive technologies are set to turn many more industries upside down.

No other field of technology is developing as rapidly and successfully as additive manufacturing (AM) and 3D printing. Additive manufacturing has been successfully applied in manufacturing in a range of industries. It would be hard to name a sector that does not have great hopes that additive processes will allow them to produce products faster and more cost-effectively, with greater customisation and less intensive use of resources. However, this necessarily entails changes to established manufacturing and distribution structures, which in turn generates an enormous demand for information, as well as for an exchange of experiences and discussion.

Image courtesy of Messe Erfurt GmbH

Rapid.Tech Conference Session  (Image courtesy of Messe Erfurt GmbH)

Over a range of sessions, the two-day user conference will receive reports from long-standing users of additive manufacturing processes on their experiences of implementing the technologies in series production.

Other subjects on the agenda include business models for the practical application of additive manufacturing in industry, and sourcing specialist staff for AM – and providing them with the training and continued professional development they need. The conference will also look at materials, machines and processes for the additive manufacturing of plastic parts and extremely complex metal components, presenting examples including next-generation industrial 3D printing systems and a revolutionary precision inkjet technology.

AMazing®: Rapid.Tech will feature a new forum, “Vision 3D”.  What makes this forum a “can’t-miss” opportunity for attendees and exhibitors that are new to additive manufacturing?

Wieland: The forward-thinking “Vision 3D” will make its début. This will not only cover future concepts and wide-ranging debates, but will also present promising applications and visionary approaches for additive manufacturing by practical examples.

The Keynote Session at Rapid.Tech 2015 in Erfurt will feature top speakers and hot topics under the title “Vision 3D”. Messe Erfurt has announced the first talks, which will present innovative developments in the fields of software, jewellery design, fashion and lifestyle.

Microsoft manager Adrian Lannin (USA) will give insights into how Windows’ extensive support for 3D printing is affecting additive manufacturing in existing and emerging market segments. Frank Cooper (Birmingham City University School of Jewellery, GB) will focus on the direct metal laser melting (DMLM) of precious metals. US designer Francis Bitonti will describe the radical change triggered by the “displacing” technology of 3D printing in the fashion and lifestyle industry.

Visitors are guaranteed a concise overview with the Keynote Pass “Vision 3D”, which the trade fair management is offering for the first time in 2015. It grants pass holders entry to the five keynote presentations and the specialist trade fair on that day. The pass and all other trade fair and conference tickets are available online now: ww.rapidtech.de/startseite/tagungen/preise-tagung.html.

Image courtesy of Messe Erfurt GmbH

Messe Erfurt Congress Center  (Image courtesy of Messe Erfurt GmbH)

AMazing®: This year Rapid.Tech will host the Fraunhofer Additive Manufacturing Alliance forum dedicated to the practical, scientific aspect of additive manufacturing. What can attendees expect to gain by attending the forum?

Wieland: The first day of Rapid.Tech will include insights from GENERATIV, the Fraunhofer Additive Manufacturing Alliance Forum, into innovative applications of additive technologies. The programme for the first session features speakers on subjects such as the selective laser melting of bioresorbable implants, EBM (electron beam melting) of titanium-aluminium for automotive applications, and the additive manufacturing of ceramic and ceramic-metal composites. The second series of presentations will address the question “Additive manufacturing – fit for production?”.

The presentations will cover topics such as using additive methods in conjunction with other manufacturing technologies and the possibilities afforded by combining intelligent processes.

AMazing®: Will there be any special sessions or events at Rapid.Tech to help businesses with commercialization of additive technologies?

Wieland: Messe Erfurt and Enterprise Europe Network Thuringia organise international cooperation matchmaking event Rapid.Contact

The aim of the cooperation matchmaking event Rapid.Contact, organised by Messe Erfurt and the Erfurt Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Industrie- und Handelskammer Erfurt, IHK Erfurt) through the Enterprise Europe Network Thuringia (EEN), is to strengthen networking amongst the roughly 4,000 trade visitors, conference participants and exhibitors in the run-up to the trade fair and during the event.

Rapid.Contact provides an ideal opportunity for companies, institutions, researchers and investors who are active in the fields of rapid prototyping and additive manufacturing to make the right contacts and to initiate cross-border cooperation projects.

Interested parties can register prior to the event, create an online profile to present themselves, their company and their technology and then select their meeting partners. The EEN and Messe Erfurt will assist participants in registering, creating a cooperation profile and booking suitable meeting times.

Registered participants can make initial contacts, plan partnerships or discuss project ideas at the trade fair itself in 20-minute meetings in the rooms set aside for the cooperation matchmaking event.

Participation in the cooperation matchmaking event Rapid.Contact is free of charge and is open to visitors/conference participants and exhibitors who have registered in advance.

Register and create your cooperation profile now at: https://www.b2match.eu/rapidcontact2015

AMazing®: As reported early this year, two prominent additive manufacturing sources, Arcam AB and Concept Laser GmbH, joined the advisory board of the Erfurt conference and trade fair for additive manufacturing. How will the addition of these technology leaders help shape Rapid.Tech?

Wieland: Swedish firm Arcam AB and global market leader Concept Laser GmbH (Germany) have added their considerable expertise to the Rapid.Tech advisory board.

Arcam AB is a pioneer in the field of electron beam melting. The company develops, produces and markets machines and systems for the additive manufacturing of metals using the patented electron beam melting (EBM) process. Arcam AB operates primarily in USA, Italy, China and the United Kingdom, specialising in the fields of aerospace and orthopaedic implants. Its customers include Boeing, Airbus and NASA.

Image courtesy of Concept Laser GmbH

Medical product additively manufactured from metal powder.  (Image courtesy of Concept Laser GmbH)

Concept Laser GmbH is considered to be a pioneer in the field of laser melting technology. It is the world’s leading manufacturer of industrial laser systems for the production of components from metal powder using the LaserCUSING® additive layer manufacturing process. Concept Laser is primarily active in the aerospace, automotive, dental and medical industries as well as in jewellery and mould making.

The commitment of both companies strengthens Rapid.Tech’s profile as an international platform for market leaders and innovators in the field of additive manufacturing. It also reinforces our expertise in the fields of aerospace and medical technology. Their familiarity – and pioneering work – with the electron beam melting and laser melting processes has enabled us to add a further two innovative technologies to our portfolio.

AMazing®: Rapid.Tech Erfurt recently announced plans to expand the conference program and accompanying exhibition to Great Britain and Switzerland. What can we expect to see from Rapid.Tech in these important markets?

Wieland: Our advisory has decided to expand Rapid.Tech Erfurt and to continue to make the conference programme and accompanying exhibition more international. The initial focus of the internationalisation strategy will be Great Britain, which, along with Germany, is one of the most important markets for additive manufacturing. We have opened our first office abroad to provide support for exhibitors and promote the event to visitors. I see great potential here for Messe Erfurt. Great Britain is one of the trailblazers when it comes to additive manufacturing. The consumer-oriented 3D printing market alone is currently estimated to be worth 3.5 billion Euros.

In September 2015, we will use our trade fair platform “Rapid.Area” to bring the topic of additive technologies to the most important medical technology trade fair in Switzerland, the Swiss Medtech Expo at Messe Luzern. With this strategy, Rapid.Tech will continue to benefit from being an international hotspot for research and industrial applications.

This concludes our interview. Thank you very much Wieland for your participation. We are inspired and very appreciative of the opportunity to learn about Messe Erfurt GmbH and this year’s Rapid.Tech Conference & Exposition and beyond.


About Wieland Kniffka
Born in Bremen, Wieland Kniffka graduated in communications management in March 1995. He has been working in the trade fair industry for almost 18 years, during which time he has served as project manager for K.O.M.M.A. Bremen, as a department head reporting to the manager of Leipziger Messe, and as managing director of K & R MESSE in Karlsruhe and H & K MESSE in Stuttgart. Wieland Kniffka signed a five-year contract as CEO of Messe Erfurt GmbH in 2011, formally taking up this post on 1 December 2011.

AM_Messe-Erfurt_RapidTech_4cAbout Rapid.Tech
On 10 and 11 June 2015, Erfurt is expected to host 160 exhibitors and around 4,000 participants from 20 countries. Rapid.Tech – the specialist trade fair and user conference for additive manufacturing – is devoted to the industrial use of 3D printing in fields such as machine-tool and automotive manufacturing, aerospace engineering, dentistry and medical technology. For eleven years it has been one of the most important European information events in the field of additive technologies. The third FabCon 3.D trade fair for semi-professional users and ‘prosumers’ in 3D printing will be held parallel to Rapid.Tech.

In the heart of Germany: Messe Erfurt as the Mecca of 3D Printing
With its three key events Messe Erfurt is covering the whole range of the megatrends Additive Manufacturing and 3D Printing. The Trade Fair and User’s Conference for Rapid Technology Rapid.Tech has been dealing with the industrial usage of 3D Printing since eleven years, i.e. such as in the machine-tool and automotive industries, aerospace engineering and in dentistry and medical technology. This combined convention and trade fair is one of the most important European information events on additive technologies. On 10th and 11th June 2015 160 exhibitors and about 3,600 participants from 20 countries are expected in Erfurt. Parallel to Rapid.Tech Messe Erfurt will also host the third FabCon 3.D – Germany’s first fair for semiprofessional users and prosumers in the field of 3D Printing. Alongside a high-quality fair, the 3D Printing Conference has established itself as an international expert forum in record time. With the mobile trade fair platform Rapid.Area Messe Erfurt brings its competence in the field of Additive Manufacturing to central industrial marketplaces like Moulding Expo Stuttgart in May 2015 and the most important medical technology fair of Switzerland “Swiss Med Tech Expo” in Lucerne (autumn 2015).

About Messe Erfurt

  • Messe Erfurt – a desirable location in the centre of Germany
  • Sustainable, easy to reach, strong in service

As the second largest trade fair location in the new federal states, Messe Erfurt GmbH has established itself as a forum for companies and consumers in the centre of Germany. Each year, around 200 events take place here, drawing over 7,000 exhibitors and some 600,000 visitors. Messe Erfurt has 25,070 square metres of covered exhibition space and 21,600 square meters of open air space. For event organisers, exhibitors and visitors, the Messe Erfurt site offers multi-purpose halls, separate conference rooms at the adjacent Congress Center, plenty of parking, excellent transport connections and a full range of services provided at the highest level of quality.

2017 will see the beginning of a new era for Erfurt’s exhibition centre: that’s when the new Inter City Express (ICE) rail hub will go into operation, enabling Erfurt and its exhibition centre to make the most of its advantageous location in the heart of Germany, for the benefit of its customers. As a result, no German metropolitan area will be more than three hours from Erfurt – even Leipzig Halle Airport will be only 45 minutes away – meaning event organisers, trade fair participants and conference attendees from Germany and abroad will be able to reach Messe Erfurt quickly and conveniently.

Erfurt’s central location and ease of access are turning it into an increasingly popular centre for conferences and conventions. A sustainable business strategy also guarantees that trade fairs, conferences, concerts and events will be held in a way that conserves resources – not least due to the sustainable use of 100 per cent green energy. Messe Erfurt has been Green Globe certified since the summer of 2014. www.messe-erfurt.de

Wieland Kniffka
+49 361 400-1000

Messe Erfurt
Gothaer Straße 34
99094 Erfurt, Germany
Telephone +49 361 400-0
Telefax +49 361 400-1111
Email info(at)messe-erfurt.de

Project management Rapid.Tech
Diana Keucher
Phone +49 361 400-1730
[email protected]

Project management
FabCon 3.D

Marcus Lutterberg
Phone +49 0361 400-1810
[email protected]

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