While the media is getting to grips with the potential of 3D printing and its applications, the big companies have had their research and development teams applying the technology for some time.
Rolls-Royce, BAE Systems, EADS - all of the world's household-name engineering giants have been using additive manufacturing systems to build complex structures, aircraft and vehicles for years, which is where Dominik Rietzel, Technical Integration expert within the BMW Group Rapid Technology Group team in Munich, comes in.
TCT Show + Personalize has a strong industrial background and many experts see this side of the 3D printing world as the most exciting in terms of advancement and harnessing the technology's true potential by making components that would otherwise be unachievable without advanced additive manufacturing systems. And the technology is evolving every day, a fact Rietzel is eager to celebrate when he steps behind the microphone in September.
More to be done
"It is important to show that [additive manufacturing] technologies are still limited, but they give society big chances to change the way of manufacturing," he stated.
"For me, the fundamental understanding of all aspects of part generation in the major additive manufacturing technologies like laser sintering and laser melting is not fully achieved yet, and I think that more interdisciplinary work needs to be done, with the goal being to simulate the entire production process."
This is something the BMW Group's technology research team in Munich is trying to achieve, as its Bavarian headquarters is a constant hive of investigation into everything from alternative power train and energy management concepts, driver assistance, communication technologies and safety, supported by a fleet of research departments based worldwide.
As such, Rietzel has revealed the topic he has chosen for his presentation at TCT Show is his specialist subject - additive manufacturing in automobile series production.
"I will talk about what knowledge is needed for stable processes and what the current limitations are for technologies like laser sintering," he stated, adding that TCT Show is a good place for presenting this subject matter.
"The British additive manufacturing scene is very strong by means of research and also transferring this basic knowledge on engineering concerns. This is why I believe TCT Show is a special and heterogeneous platform."
He added: "Meetings like this one are always important to bring research, product development and engineering together to create synergy effects and transfer knowledge."
As well as looking at the additive manufacturing industry in relation to automobile production as it stands, Rietzel will be focusing his talk on the future of this side of the automotive engineering market.
"It is important for me to focus on the trend and effects that arise from hyping up a technology that is still limited in some areas and where a lot of knowledge is relevant concerning material, processing and data handling to manufacture a good product," he said.
He admitted the hype surrounding additive manufacturing in the mainstream media has concerned him to an extent, but as long as companies do not neglect investing time and money in research and development then the technology will continue to impress.
Rietzel is also quite open to sharing the wealth of knowledge as the technology continues to find its feet - a view shared by many of the expert's contemporaries.
"The scene is small," he admitted, "I think open collaboration is more productive in such a new technology than competition."
He also suggested that he would be bringing this positive attitude towards having a unified additive manufacturing industry with him to TCT Show, where he is looking forward to sharing information about the projects he has personally been involved in at the BMW Group Rapid Technology Group.
"We work on many different things that are of interest to us. One project I would like to share in my presentation is, for example, the use of TPU (thermoplastic polyurethane) materials. With this, one of our BMW PhD students Stefan Ziegelmeier investigated different TPU materials in recent years together with the University of Nottingham.
"My main focus will be on polymers, but of course there are many exciting topics on the metal side to cover as well."
Dominik Rietzel will be taking to the stage at TCT Show + Personalize next month, while the industrial additive manufacturing giants of the world will be well represented on the show floor.