Beijing's very first World 3D Printing Technology Alliance Conference, which ran from May 29th – 31st, proved to be exceptional.
The interest in 3D printing and its future impact on manufacturing currently being shown in China has led to significant funding being provided by the Chinese Government - not only at national level, but also from local governments who have been matched-funding developments.
This has led to the forming of the China 3D Printing Technology Industry Alliance, of which some 40 companies are already members. The main reason for the forming of the Alliance is the planning of 10 regional Technology Centres to provide industries with the facilities to understand how these technologies could impact their business, with the relevant systems in place in-house to support this. The centres will also provide an education programme providing further support. A centre in Nanjing has already been approved and during the conference the signing of an agreement took place for the second planned centre in Qingdao.
Last month's conference took place at the World China Hotel in Beijing attracting more than 600 delegates, including 120 attendees from the media, 30 investors and 100 academics. The remaining delegates represented industries at the pioneering conference.
The countries represented came from China, Taiwan, the USA, the UK, Belgium, Germany, France, Malaysia and Singapore, with other countries also present.
Among the industries involved were aerospace, bio-medical, cultural and innovation along with materials, while the conference had extensive media coverage with the CCTV24 television channel being present during the whole of the conference for the Chinese news channels.
Interestingly, during the period of the conference, 3D printing related stock rose between four and five per cent.
There was also a small exhibition located in the conference area, which saw many of the smaller, desktop-sized 3D printer models on show, but also included exhibits from ExOne, Renishaw, SLM Solutions and other larger machine suppliers.
Dr Lou Jun, Head of the Asian Manufacturing Association, said he expects revenues form services and products to grow to $1.6 billion (£1 billion, €1.2 billion) in China alone over the next three years, and sees the market expanding by double this again in the coming years.
The second World 3D Printing Technology Alliance Conference is scheduled to take place in May 2014.