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 - Kris Binon, General Director Flam3D
“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.
Flam3D vzw is the independent platform for all stakeholders active in 3D printing and Additive Manufacturing in Flanders. As a not-for-profit organisation representing over 70 Companies and Research Institutes in Flanders (Belgium), our goal is to promote all aspects of 3D printing and facilitate and support the creation new value chains.
30 Flemish companies and research institutions are currently putting the last hand to ‘Family of the Future’, a demonstration project on 3D-printing. The results of the cooperation will be presented on November 8 during the Prototyping 2017 trade fair in Kortrijk, Belgium and on November 14 at Formnext in Frankfurt, Germany. Materialise CEO Fried Vancraen will highlight the importance of co-creation at both occasions.
Under the moniker “Family of the Future,” these organizations collaborate on the realization of three virtual persons that consist of more than 90 3D-printed components. The participants try to visualize how 3D printing will be used in the context of the family (but also the factory) of the future. The development of the project is being managed by the Flemish cluster association for 3D printing, Flam3D. “Despite all the hype surrounding it, 3D printing is still relatively unknown for many businesses, and they’re missing out on opportunities because of this,” explains Kris Binon, General Director of Flam3D. “Maybe because the designation ‘3D-printing’ is somewhat misleading? At least 15 different techniques of 3D-printing exist already.”
For this reason, the participating organizations will also attempt to provide an overview of existing 3D-printing technologies and how these can provide real added value across a wide range of sectors. The collaboration will therefore give an overview of many different techniques. “We want to inspire companies in a creative way: by demonstrating the technologies in a recognizable setting,” explains Pieter Machtelinckx, Communications Manager at Flam3D. “We especially hope that visitors will be inspired and learn something about the technology.”
While 3D printing is touted too often as the production technology of the future, many companies aren’t aware of the current possibilities the technology has to offer. “A lot of parts we’re going to show are actually already produced on a daily basis. However, the slogan ‘the future is now’ was already taken, ” Binon blinks.
Despite all the hype surrounding it, 3D printing is still relatively unknown for many businesses, and they’re missing out on opportunities because of this - Kris Binon, General Director Flam3D
At the base of the project lies a unique feature of the Flemish 3D-print ecosystem: the strong network with close links between different organizations. As an organization, in order to build up a competitive advantage, knowledge is becoming increasingly important.
Yet, the exponential increase in data and information makes it impossible for a single organization to collect or manage all the required knowledge. “Organizations that realize this, are working together to achieve more. By bringing the strengths of different organizations together through co-creation, value gets added to the final product. Besides, Flanders is still an top-innovation region when it comes to 3D-printing and co-creation,” Kris Binon states. This certainly appears true with regards to co-creation: a cooperation of this scale is rarely seen in any sector.
The project will be showcased for the first time on November 8 at the Prototyping trade fair in Kortrijk where Materialise CEO Fried Vancraen will, amongst others, initiate the launch and networking event. The international premiere will follow a week later with a press conference on November 15th at Formnext in Frankfurt, the largest 3D print exhibition in Europe. The concept will then continue to travel for a year along various technology events, trade fairs and schools with the purpose of spreading knowledge on 3D-printing.
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