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Todd Grimm TCT 2012
Todd Grimm speaking at TCT Show + Personalize 2012
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Todd Grimm at TCT Show + Personalize 2012
Industry expert Todd Grimm dispels some of the myths surrounding 3d printing. For all those caught up in the mainstream media hype it is essential viewing.
As the 3D printing industry swells under the glare of the media spotlight, all of a sudden, everybody's got an opinion. But when the occasion calls for an expert on additive manufacturing and its industrial applications - not just a talking head - then there is one professional TCT will turn to time and time again.
Todd Grimm is a TCT Show + Personalize stalwart and long-time friend of and contributor to TCT Magazine, so readers will be pleased to learn that the Founder and President of Kentucky-based TA Grimm & Associates is making a return to the event at the Birmingham NEC this September.
As well as running a successful business, the industry champion is an advisor for other additive manufacturing companies and is a professional commentator - both behind the podium and in print - on the subject.
Bringing 3D printing back down to earth
Grimm revealed to TCT Magazine that the Show means a great deal to him as an active member of the growing 3D printing industry in the US and internationally.
"I am honoured when TCT extends an offer to speak. The invitation is never expected nor taken for granted," he graciously stated, adding that this feeling of honour plays an important role in his participation, as being asked to take to the stage alongside "high-calibre speakers" means a lot to the professional.
So, what can TCT attendees expect from Grimm this year and how is his presentation going to differ from his previous appearances behind the podium? It seems the expert will be drawing on a familiar theme that seems to be emerging among the vast majority of TCT Show speakers - expectation management.
"This year I will build on my past TCT presentations that attempt to set realistic perceptions for attendees," Grimm explained, adding that he wants to try to "reinterpret the bold claims of major disruptions and revolutions into practical, actionable ideas".
"Basically, I intend to extract the core of those claims - the real elements - and create enthusiasm, interest and action around them."
The notion of keeping 3D printing's feet on the ground - as well as maintaining expectations when discussing its applications and developments - is something of a prickly issue for the industry. Numerous experts have said lately that they do not believe the way the media represents 3D printing and additive manufacturing demonstrates the technology to Joe Public particularly well.
Grimm's opinion of the way the media portrays 3D printing is in tune with his peers, as he agrees current coverage does not accurately reflect the capabilities of the technology and its applications.
"I do not believe that the media, in general, is delivering an accurate portrayal [of 3D printing]. The common theme being there are big changes in the near term supported by an astonishing application," he said.
Grimm noted that the term "revolution" is often used in the mainstream media as it fumbles with the 3D printing zeitgeist. Indeed, there has been a flurry of headline-grabbing proclamations that do not necessarily represent the best of what additive manufacturing can do, ignoring matters such as time and effort completely.
A deeper discussion
One of the reasons why Grimm is more than happy to speak at TCT Show is because he believes events like this are what drives industry growth, because while reading about 3D printing and additive manufacturing is all well and good - a face-to-face dialogue yields more results.
"Events like TCT got the industry to where it is today," Grimm remarked. "Having a focused event allows interested parties to discover what the technology is really about and what is possible. Moving forward, the role will be as crucial to the industry's success."
He added: "While there are many new shows and publications with a 3D printing spin, TCT is managed by those that are intimate with the industry and is attended by seasoned veterans. This means that it is a source of discussion at a level deeper than most others."
When Grimm steps off the stage, he will transform into just a regular attendee - albeit one that is more likely to be recognised. Indeed, the expert says the things your average TCT-goer does at the show are the things he cannot wait for; like reconnecting with the 3D printing community both from the UK, Europe and further afield. He says he is looking forward to being reunited with his colleagues and acquaintances, as well as meeting some of the new people on the scene.
He is also keen to check out the new applications and technology as well as use the opportunity to network and tap into the industry developments that he finds most exciting - even if some of the sector does not.
"What gets me most excited is what many would find boring," Grimm admitted.
He noted that matters including adopting a strong, incremental progression towards a "bright future" for the industry pique his interest.
"You won't read about it because it doesn't carry an attention-grabbing headline, but this progress is what really lays the groundwork for the future," he stated.
"In the same vein," the expert conceded, "I get really excited by boring applications - ones that have practical value to many and that don't have high risk, high reward tied to them."
Of course, Grimm may well poke fun at his own fanaticism for the industry, but this interest in the less sexy developments, and in particular those that do not carry high risk, are what has made him the successful businessman he is today. This is not an achievement to be sniffed at.
Grimm's thirty minutes on stage at TCT will be enlightening for start-ups and established industry players alike, and those keen to get the chance to hear the industry mainstay speak can register for free at the TCT Show website.