Packed out conference.
TCT Asia Conference Room
As the inaugural TCT Asia + Personalise draws to a close it's time to reflect on what three days of 3D printing in Shanghai looks like. I the first instance it looks busy — all three days achieved the high expectations we (TCT and VNU Exhibitions Asia) had for the event. From the first queues outside on day one the flow of visitors to the CECIS was relentless with both the exhibition floor and conference sessions exceptionally well attended.
By the time 9am rolled around on the first day and the opening speaker was due on stage the conference theatre was... Well, it was a bit thin. 20 minutes later (and 20 minutes late) it was packed. A first lesson in running an event in China learned!
With the panic dissipating David Zhong and Daben Mao of VNU Exhibitions and Rapid News' Duncan wood made the introductory remarks before introducing Yang Haicheng of the China Aerospace, Science and Technology Corporation.
With simultaneous translation in action (both from Chinese to English and English to Chinese) the main stage switched effortlessly between local and western speakers through the day.
The first of the executive keynotes came from the CEO of MakerBot, Jonathan Jaglom who delivered his first presentation in the position. Despite being only 12 days into his current tenure Jaglom is a 10-year veteran of the 3D printing industry and spoke eloquently and with deep understanding of the market and the Makerbot mission. Each new slide was greeted with cacophony of synthesised shutter sounds as smartphones and tablets were raised aloft.
Next on stage was Materialise's CEO Wilfried Vancraen with his now signature nonsense-free analysis. With over two decades at the helm of one of the broadest companies in the market Vancraen is entitled to an opinion or two, especially when they're grounded in logic and common sense. His presentation on 'Killer Apps' was inspired by his talk for TCT at International CES in Las Vegas.
The third and final executive speaker, Mr Guo Ge of Tiertime, added a local opinion to the mix but with the same positive message for the future of 3D printing globally.
The afternoon sessions were very well attended with speakers from Northwestern Polytechnical University, SLM Solutions and GE Global Research amongst the speakers in the Direct Manufacturing and Aerospace track.
In the Industrial RP Technology for Moulding and Automotive track Graham Tromans, Renishaw's Ralph Mayer and Shen Weidong from Volkswagen addressed some of the pressing issues in the adoption and deployment of 3D printing as an aid to — and catalyst for — traditional manufacturing.
Professor Xu Zhilei, a veteran industrial and mechanical designer with a passion for 3D printing kicked off day two with a fascinating look at how he believes additive technologies could revolutionise the Chinese economy as well as exploration of the potential for micro- and nano-scale 3D printing. Professor Xu brought 40 years experience as a leading designer in China to bear.
The day progressed with Stratasys, Hunan Farsoon, Mcor Technologies and 3D Systems on the stage discussing colour, manufacturing integration and more. The braod range of opinions from both East and West were united around central themes of real manufacturing, a steady growth curve and continued optimism for the industry globally.
The afternoon streams of Medical & Dental, and Creative & Design were amongst the best attended (which is to say standing-room only!) demonstrating the breadth of interest from the attendees. In addition Materialise's own conference streams, with a biomedical focus, were reportedly at capacity too.
Overall the experience has been extremely positive. The TCT team has enjoyed Shanghai and it's hospitality with more exploring on the agenda for Sunday. We're planning on coming back year-on-year and will certainly return in 2016... though the next edition could look a little different.