3D printing has come as far in Australia as warranting standalone expos and conferences, and this year there are not one but two trade shows dedicated to the technology.
“We had a really great response from the 2013 expo and we’ve decided to move it from Mackay to Townsville this year,” the event co-ordinator for 3D Printing Expo, Mark Allen, told Manufacturers’ Monthly.
Debuting last year in Mackay and billing itself as Australia’s first-ever exhibition dedicated to the technology, 3D Printing Expo has moved to Townsville, though will feature many of the same experts from last year’s event on May 1.
“The reason that we’ve decided to move it to Townsville is it’s the centre for a lot of manufacturing, higher education, defence, mining and medical. It’s a hub for a lot of those things,” explained Allen.
Speakers announced so far for Townsville include Professor Milan Brandt from RMIT, CSIRO titanium additive manufacturing expert John Barnes, and Dr Mark Hodge, CEO of the Defence Materials Technology Centre.
Last year the expo gained attention for its discussions on mining applications, but according to Allen the scope will be broad, citing Townsville’s university, hospital, defence sector, as well as the local mining services.
“So it just made sense to move it to Townsville with all of those industries so clustered together,” he said.
Also aiming to help with the task of educating the current and potential market for 3D printing technologies is the Inside 3D Printing Conference series.
Run by Mediabistro (formerly WebMediaBrands), the expo debuted in New York’s Javits Center in April last year, being followed by instalments at San Jose and Chicago before branching out internationally into Singapore in October.
In December, the NASDAQ-listed Mediabistro announced that the Inside 3D Printing Conference & Expo (as well as Maker Summit and Pavillion) would make its way to Australia, with a two-day event at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre.
What’s driven the decision to bring the conference to our fair shores?
“Australia has shown substantial interest in the 3D printing industry,” Mediabistro CEO Alan M. Meckler told Manufacturers’ Monthly in an email interview.
“Australia and New Zealand are perfect markets for this important new show and the technology that is bringing a paradigm shift in manufacturing.”
Partnering with Sydney-based Expertise Events, the business-to-business event will feature international and Australian-based speakers and experts. A keynote speaker hasn’t yet been named, but Terry Wohlers – founder of Wohlers Associates and world-renowned authority on the 3D printing industry – as well as other industry leaders have previously featured.
“For the individual, the conference offers eye-opening opportunities for new careers, investments or hobby use,” offered Meckler.
“For business professionals, the show offers great industry leads and exposure.”
And for Mediabistro, the company hopes it will help continue the success the company has experienced since deciding to include 3D printing trade shows among its offerings.
“It has been positive for our stock valuation,” said Meckler. “We are a public company and our stock price rose 56% last year.”
The interest in 3D printing in Australia and over the rest of the globe, including at trade shows, is clearly on the way up.
One of the categories creating the most interest at this month’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas was 3D printing.
According to the CEO, there were 28 3D printing booths, more than three times as many as in 2013.
Wohler’s company’s much-watched annual Wohlers Report hasn’t been released for 2014 yet, but at last check, the global 3D printing industry was growing at a compounded annual growth rate of 28.6 per cent.
And in Australia, the home-grown 3D Printing Expo and the soon-to-visit Inside 3D Printing Expo expect to play their role in educating a fast-growing market.
“It’s exploding,” said Allen.
“The scope of the industry is just so broad and getting bigger all the time. So there’s a great need for this sort of thing, it’s been proven.”
Inside 3D Printing Conference: http://www.mediabistro.com/inside3dprinting/?c=i3dphlelmb
3D Printing Expo: http://3dprintingexpo.org/
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