Review of Formnext 2016

Last week we saw the monumental formnext exhibition and conference take place in Frankfurt, arguably the best 3D printing event in Europe! An array of exhibitors and guests attended the four-day-long event, including top 3D printer manufacturers, European policy-decision makers, leading adopters from the US and APAC, in addition to academics and research experts.

There were many reasons for attending formnext for example to launch new products, to see and discuss the latest 3D printing technology, to meet new and old partners in the industry, and to learn and discover more about AM potential from thought leaders.  Ultimately, however, our attendance and for many others was underpinned by the sentiment that formnext presented the perfect opportunity to meet and engage with all the people who are passionate about the industry and in enabling the industrial revolution  in AM through discussion and cooperation.

Organised by Messago, the event was immaculately arranged: the exhibition hall, the conference space, the restaurant areas, and the fantastic exhibitor’s party were all organised to detail, ensuring a smooth-running, productive and fun event to be a part of. In particular, team Alexander Daniels Global would like to say a special thank you to Christoph Stueker and Thomas Rosen, both individuals who ensured that we were prepared for our exclusive speaker session on Thursday afternoon.

For the full three days that our team were at formnext, it was not only beneficial but also very enjoyable. It was an opportunity and occasion to meet our existing clients, taking the time to sit down with them for a coffee to understand developments in the industry, the future plans of their respective companies, and how we could assist them in achieving their strategic goals and overcoming talent challenges.

Furthermore, it was a chance for innovative companies to approach us to explore our knowledge and potential to be a talent partner, which lent itself to some superb introductory insights and new prosperous client relationships. We also generated an abundance of interest in our ability to lead observation and understanding in AM training as well as our expertise to establish and maintain an AM education platform. The biggest day for our team and one of the greatest highlights of the event was on Thursday, when we presented our exclusive research about talent and skills in AM.We spoke extensively under a short time frame about:

  1. The challenges that the AM industry has related to talent and the reasons behind it
  2. Salaries and hiring trends in AM
  3. The kind of profile that the AM industry requires from a soft and hard skills perspective
  4. A solution that any company in AM could implement in order to ensure success in hiring, training and retaining AM professionals

The aim of our presentation was not only to give insight but also to stimulate thoughts and ideas, to encourage attendees to reflect on their own hiring operations and strategy- especially since talent is an aspect of the industry which requires attention, and although on the agenda and radar of many 3D printing corporates, it has not been openly and meaningfully discussed. Inevitably, our research resonated with the entire conference speaker room as the team were inundated with questions and queries about our research following the end of our speaker session.

Other highlights of the exhibition for the team included the excellent live demonstration of HP’s newest Jet Fusion Printer, and spectacular insight into EnvisionTec’s sandcasting in Robotics. It was interesting to note that many Asian businesses with new technologies in both metal and plastics and material companies launched at the event in a bid to penetrate the more diverse and mature European AM Market.

To top off the entire experience at formnext this year, the team attended the exhibitor’s party on Thursday night. It was a fantastic chance to chat to other attendees in a more informal manner! Having a dance and a good (few) drinks was the perfect finish to three busy days!

Despite the event actually lasting four days the time spent there was in some ways limiting, purely due to the overwhelming amount of things to see and talk about, covering the entire exhibition. Nevertheless, team Alexander Daniels Global made the most of the three days they were there, fully booked with meetings, chats, introductions, and squeezing in time to explore the exhibition itself before our Keynote speaker session.

This year it was clear that the exhibition was more popular than ever, the number of exhibitors and guests exceeding figures from last year. Undoubtedly, the success of this year’s event will create greater interest further afield, bolstering next year’s numbers! In the coming 12 months there will be many exciting projects and new developments for the 3D printing sector and Alexander Daniels Global. We can’t wait for formnext to come around next year!


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