The 3D printing and additive manufacturing (AM) industry has always felt like it’s on the verge of something big, only to face setbacks. Just when it’s about to make significant strides, unexpected hurdles arise, setting it back. Formnext Forum Austin 2023 hinted at the possibility of a year filled with uninterrupted progress in the 3D printing world. In this blog post, we’ll explore the key takeaways from this event and why 2024 might be a pivotal year for the industry.
Formnext Forum’s choice of Austin for its inaugural event reflects the journey of the AM sector itself—full of fits and starts. Interestingly, the event will not return to Austin in the coming years; instead, it will move to Chicago in 2024 and 2025. This shift mirrors the industry’s history, adapting and evolving based on the available choices and conditions at hand.
Much like the AM industry, which has had to navigate through challenges, including the choice of event location, Formnext Forum Austin faced logistical hurdles due to its timing and location. But, it’s also a testament to the resilience of the industry and its ability to adapt.
Formnext Forum Austin proved to be a unique and social experience for attendees. Despite the scorching Texas heat and outdoor gatherings, participants found themselves enjoying the camaraderie. It was more like an indoor company barbecue with presentations, fostering connections and relationships within the AM community.
The significance of 2024 as a turning point for the AM industry became apparent during the event. Several developments, including Apple’s confirmation of using 3D printing for the Apple Watch Ultra, signaled a shift. This move towards using AM for consumer electronics suggests that the industry is on the brink of significant changes.
While 2024 holds promise, the AM sector faces two major challenges—workforce development and cybersecurity. The need for a skilled workforce in the manufacturing sector is greater than ever, and cybersecurity is essential for the industry’s growth.
To overcome these challenges, collaboration is crucial. Industry players, including 3D printing OEMs, need to work together towards a common goal. Samuel Manning from Markforged emphasized the importance of unity within the sector, paving the way for future success.
Formnext Forum Austin 2023 offered a glimpse into an exciting and unpredictable future for the 3D printing and additive manufacturing industry. While challenges lie ahead, the spirit of collaboration and the resilience of the AM community provides hope for a year of unprecedented progress in 2024 and beyond. The journey may have been filled with ups and downs, but it’s clear that the industry is on the cusp of something transformative.
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