Rapid Manufacturing, also know as direct, digital, generative manufacture or additive fabrication, is one of the most exciting emergent technologies available to mass customize today. RM uses 3D Computer Aided Design (CAD) data to directly 'print' or 'grow' parts in a variety of polymeric, metallic, ceramic and organic materials. When fully implemented, it allows almost unlimited variety at no extra variable cost. Old paradigms of optimizing between switching and inventory cost will go away. While the potential of these technologies have been discussed since years, only very recently a larger scale of commercial application has begun.
The most exciting application of rapid manufacturing, in my perspective, is its enabling role for user manufacturing (previous postings on the topic). A new generation of rather cheap machines is coming to the market now promise to replicate the development we had in the printing industry: Form large printing presses to large laser printing systems to the desktop printer. The same may happen to manufacturing. From large centralized factories to decentralized plants to a factory on your desk.
The International Conference on Rapid Manufacturing (RM) is the world's only conferences focused on this trend. Organized by some core members of our mass customization community, the Rapid Manufacturing Group at Loughborough University in the UK, the conference focuses solely on the application of 'end use parts', made using additive layer manufacturing technologies.
The past events have been attended by over 150 delegates and speakers from around the world. The event provides a two day showcase of invited speakers, including the very best in both academic RM research activity and commercial RM applications. The event also plays host to a parallel technology and materials exhibition supported by leading RM systems vendors exclusively for conference delegates.
The program is divided in an academic and a business stream. Topics presented in the business track include:
- Developing a business case for customized RM
- RM for the home based market
- Ultrasonic Consolidation
- Developing intellectual property in RM product
- Pushing the boundaries of RM consumer products
- The socio-economic benefits of RM
- DMLS for high performance RM applications
- Quality management in RM using non destructive testing
The conference further will cover process and materials issues, design opportunities, management and organizational issues and industrial applications, making the conference of relevance to engineers, designers and business managers, as well as academics and researchers and RM materials and system developers.
For more information, registration, and the full program, please go to http://www.rm-conference.com/index.htm