RAPID 2016 – The Preeminent Event for 3D Printing, Scanning, and Additive Manufacturing


SME’s RAPID is one of the longest-running and well-respected industry forums for additive manufacturing and 3D scanning. This year RAPID will be held 16-19th May at the Orange County Convention Center, Orlando, Florida, and will mark the 26th anniversary for the conference and exposition.

RAPID Conference & Exposition
Orange County Convention Center
16-19th May, 2016
Orlando, Florida USA

We caught up with Maria Conrado, RAPID Event Manager to gain insight about this year’s RAPID in an exclusive AMazing® Q&A conversation.


AMazing®: Maria, thank you for your participation. Based upon RAPID’s 2015 post show report, attendance was the highest in history; 31% higher than in 2014. What do you attribute to the growing increase in attendance? Do you anticipate the trend will continue?

Maria Conrado: First of all, we appreciate you giving us the opportunity to share the RAPID experience. Much of the event growth we are seeing is attributable to the advancements of the technology. Additive manufacturing is assisting manufacturers on both the design and production sides. More and more companies are looking at additive manufacturing as a tool to improve their overall process. Based on this, we believe that the trend of acceptance and curiosity will continue. These companies will find what they’re looking for and more at RAPID.

AMazing®: That is great news! Along those same lines, the 2015 post show report highlighted 75% of attendees were new to RAPID, with 47% new users. Were you surprised by the number of new attendees to RAPID 2015? And that almost half were new users? What features will RAPID 2016 offer to accommodate new and more experienced users of additive technologies?


Maria Conrado: No surprises, based on the increased adoption of additive manufacturing. Attendees know that RAPID is the event that will answer all of their questions.

This year we are going to help attendees get the most out of RAPID by identifying each of the conference presentations as novice, intermediate, or expert. Our show floor tours, which premiered at RAPID 2015, will still focus on the new user, and we are also planning to add targeted tours for our more advanced users.

Finally, based on the statistics you mentioned in the earlier question, we are developing a three-hour tutorial for those who are brand new and aren’t even familiar with the terminology. We believe that RAPID is able to educate all levels of users: novice, intermediate, and expert, through our conference presentations, show floor activities, and attendee networking.

AMazing®Last year’s “Innovation Auditions” submissions at RAPID included DigiFabster, Next Paradigm 3-D Printing, LPW Technology Ltd., Mcor Technologies Ltd., Impossible Objects LLC, Materialise, JK Lasers, Airwolf 3D and CIDEAS Inc. As a competition that highlights innovation, what do you believe the presentation of these technologies foretells about the future of the additive manufacturing industry?

Maria Conrado: I think it’s quite telling of the constant developments and advances we see in additive manufacturing. The “Innovation Auditions” were developed to give companies an opportunity to showcase these new advances and receive feedback from our expert panel.

AMazing®What strategies, hints and tips would you offer attendees to RAPID 2016 to help explore the rich, diverse network of leading experts and industries?

Maria Conrado: I would advise attendees to make the most out of RAPID 2016. Download the mobile app, which will be available one month before the event, and plan your time at RAPID 2016. Each year we strive to add features to the event to further broaden the experience for our attendees, and this year will be no different. Everyone involved in the technology should plan on attending – users of the technology will have opportunity to learn, explore, and network more in one place than anywhere else.

This concludes our interview. Thank you very much Maria for your participation. We are very appreciative of the opportunity to learn about this year’s RAPID Conference & Exposition.


About Maria Conrado
Maria Conrado is the Event Manager for RAPID at SME. She has been a manufacturing event manager in the industry for more than 20 years. Maria received her education from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

For over 25 years, the 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 3D printing, scanning and additive manufacturing, RAPID attracts buyers, sellers and end-users of design, prototyping, tooling and direct digital technologies to the preeminent event for discovery, innovation and networking. RAPID 2016 will take place in Orlando, FL from May 16-19. For more information, please visit rapid3devent.com.

About SME
SME connects all those who are passionate about making things that improve our world. As a non-profit organization, SME has served practitioners, companies, educators, governments 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 the advancement of manufacturing by addressing both knowledge and skill needs for the industry. Follow @SME_MFG on Twitter or facebook.com/SMEmfg.

Maria Conrado

Event Manager

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