30 companies and research institutes cooperate on 3D print project ‘Family of the Future’

30 companies and research institutes cooperate on 3D print project ‘Family of the Future’

Under the umbrella of Flam3D, the Flemish cluster association for 3D printing, 30 Flemish companies and research institutes started collaborating on the ‘Family of the Future’. This project will be a demonstration case aimed at clarifying most 3D printing technologies, and how these can add real value across a wide range of sectors.

The reason behind this unique business collaboration has to do with the current state of the Additive Manufacturing market. 3D printing isn’t a hollow hype anymore, but can offer added value for many real-world applications. However, in the past, too much attention has been focused on the attractiveness of the production technology, while many companies aren’t aware of the true possibilities the technology has to offer.

The ‘Family of the Future’-project aims to change that. Where Additive Manufacturing used to be synonymous with plastic parts and prototyping, 3D printing is effectively being used for series production today. The period when 3D printing was too expensive or too slow for industrial production is over. The largest customers are situated in the aviation, automotive and medical industry.

With ‘Family of the Future’, members of Flam3D want to inspire other companies and research institutions. ‘Family of the Future’ will demonstrate how more than 90 printed components can be deployed in the context of the family – but also the ‘factory’ – of the future. The project will therefore exhibit a wide range of techniques: from printed electronics to printed components in metal and ceramic materials.

The region of Flanders in Belgium has always been particularly active in high added-value, quality products and services. When it comes to innovation in 3D printing, Flanders shows it’s at the world’s top even beyond the technical level: with this unique sectoral cooperation, the Flemish 3D printing organizations also show that they are a step ahead of foreign competition. An intense cooperation between companies and research institutions of this scale is almost unseen in any sector. The participating organizations together represent a large part of the market, and their bundled expertise aims to emphasize one of the unique advantages of Flemish landscape: the strong network with close ties between different organizations.

“Co-creation adds value: what Additive Manufacturing really needs for the future, is cooperation. Beyond the hype, there’s a world in which we must work together – both in- and outside the Additive Manufacturing ecosystem. A solution to a specific problem is rarely to be found within one single company,” explains Kris Binon, General Director of Flam3D.

The project will be presented for the first time on November 8 at the Prototyping expo in Kortrijk, Belgium. The international premiere will follow a week later November 14 at the Formnext fair in Frankfurt, Germany.

Family of the Future is a joint project by 30 of the leading companies and research institutions active in the Flemish 3D printing industry: 3iD, AMT-Titastar, Aqtor!, Arteveldehogeschool, CADskills, Centexbel, DeltaRocket, DSM Somos, ESMA, Formando, GC Europe, Howest, KU Leuven, LCV, Materialise, Raytech, Renishaw, Ricoh, RS Print, Seido Systems, Sirris, Tenco DDM, Thomas More, Twikit, UC Leuven-Limburg, UGent, UHasselt, Velleman, VUB and Vives.