The UK’s annual showcase of 3D technologies for product development, manufacturing and engineering closed its doors in late September to rave reviews from visitors and exhibitors alike. TCT Show, which took place for the 21st time in 2016, featured a plethora of world-class speakers, global technology releases and multiple European and UK debuts for new 3D technologies and their applications. The event once again drew the global 3D tech world’s focus, with 20% of the 8,000+ attendees arriving from more than 40 countries to see 250 exhibiting companies from 24 countries.
New technologies draw the crowds
From the minute the doors opened the hall buzzed with activity as visitors flooded in to see for the first time technologies from Carbon, RPS, HP, Admatec, Trumpf and more. The thirst for knowledge ensured that every development was given a hearing. This enthusiasm poured over to the TCT Show Conference, where hundreds of attendees were able to hear about state-of-the art developments in 3D tech from Airbus, Thales, 3M, DARPA, and Siemens. One of the most powerful sessions — both demonstrating the power of the technologies on display at TCT Show and the power of the show itself — came from Sutrue and the Royal Brompton Hospital.
In 2015 the team behind Sutrue presented their concept on the Main Stage and explored the exhibition where they discovered the technology that would push their life-saving project to the next level. By the 2016 event, the team were about to conduct the first heart surgery using the devices that 3D printing had helped them develop.
The return of the TCT Start Up Zone and Inspex
Returning for the second year, the TCT Start Up Zone gave international 3D technology start ups a platform to present to the global stage. Each of the 16 companies were able to give their ‘elevator pitch’ to a packed auditorium — including the judges for the TCT Start Up Zone Award. The eventual winners, Laykanics, pitched an educational initiative with desktop 3D printing at its heart. Advertising in the TCT portfolio and consulting from leading AM expert, Todd Grimm, accompanied their cash prize.
The increasing focus on the inspection and metrology needs of the advanced manufacturing industries were reflected on the show floor and Tech Stage with the relaunch of the Inspex brand at TCT Show. Leading inspection companies such as Olympus, Nikon, FARO, Autodesk and EuroPac exhibited under the Inspex banner, with plans to enhance this feature further in 2017.
Positioned for growth
During the event, organisers Rapid News, announced that from 2017 the show floor would be an impressive 30% larger and the event would span three days from 2017 onwards. This increased capacity will allow the popular Inspired Minds education programme to return, provide space for a larger Start Up Zone and bring for the first time three free-to-attend conference stages to the show floor. Exhibition space for TCT 2017 is already over 50% sold, which is true testament to the success of the 2016 event.
With the increasing influence of the 3D tech industry, the organisers also announced the TCT Annual Awards, which will be the global black-tie event that recognises the important contributions of this innovative community on the lives and businesses of the wider community.
Duncan Wood, COO Rapid News Publications, owner of the TCT Group, said: “The overwhelming feeling from the floor is one of increased quality as the hype around 3D printing fades resulting in increasing numbers of buyers on the show floor. Many exhibitors are reporting that they did business directly on their stands, and this coupled with our exciting announcements for 2017 ensures TCT is set to remain as the hub of our global event operations and extremely important to everything we do internationally.”
TCT Show 2017 takes place 26–28 September 2017, Hall 3, NEC, Birmingham, UK.