Materialise Innovation Forum Major Success

Leuven (BELGIUM), October 14th, 2008. Materialise NV, world leader in software development for the Additive Manufacturing (AM) industry, successfully organized the second edition of the Materialise Innovation Forum at the Provinciehuis in Leuven, Belgium on September 17th and 18th, 2008. The conference attracted many attendees from around the globe. During two days these professionals from the AM and Computer Aided Engineering (CAE) industry were immersed in the developments and challenges the industry is faced with, as well as state-of-the-art solutions that will help to shape the future. On the occasion of Magics’ 15th anniversary, this Forum was also the perfect opportunity to announce the winners of the Materialise Pyramid Awards and to pay tribute to a number of pioneering Magics users.

On September 17th the Materialise Innovation Forum started off with a keynote presentation by David Flynn, President of the USA based service bureau Express Pattern, Inc., who set out his view on innovation, the evolution of AM and of the related customer expectations. He pointed out that Materialise’ software solutions are essential to Express Pattern’s ability to give its customers’ ideas tangible form. After the presentations by the Gold sponsors the conference split up in three parallel sessions. Attendees could switch between sessions and were invited to attend the presentation they were most interested in. On this first conference day a choice could be made between the Magics International Summit, a session on ‘Additive Fabrication of Metal Parts’ and one on ‘Geometry Preparation for CAE’. With about 150 attendees and over 30 lecturers, coming from as far as India and the USA, the conference can be called a tremendous success. A lot of the attendees were interested in the lectures about metal technologies, making that session very popular. During the presentations by Iain Todd of the University of Sheffield, Richard Hague from Loughborough University and others, every seat was taken, forcing a few people to even stand upright.

The stands of the sponsors attracted a lot of attention from the attendees, creating a unique atmosphere during the breaks with a lively interaction between sponsors and visitors. At the end of the first conference day the three sessions fused together for the announcement of the winners of the Materialise Pyramid Awards. With these awards Materialise wants to praise the most innovative applications of its Magics and 3-matic software. Six of the papers that had been sent in were selected to win prizes, ranging from 2,000 Euro, over 1,000 Euro to an .MGX desin lamp. The winners that were present were called on stage to receive their prize. Every winner also received a trophy, resembling the three dimensional pyramid that is used as a logo for the awards, either made using stereolithography or laser sintering techniques.

In the evening, after a full day of lectures, busses took the attendees to the venue where the dinner was held. The setting for the evening event was the beautiful ballroom of the Royal Colonial Palace near Brussels that dates back to the 19th century. During the reception, Wim Michiels, Vice-President for Materialise Software, paid tribute to a number of Magics customers that have been with Materialise since the very beginning. The reason for the celebration of these customers is the 15th anniversary of Magics this year. The true Magics pioneers, which were invited to the Materialise Innovation Forum as VIP guests, were thanked for their loyalty and each received a certificate and a warm applause.

On the second conference day attendees again had a variety of sessions to choose from. They could attend the Magics International Summit, followed by software training in the afternoon, or the sessions on ‘Challenges and Solutions in Additive Fabrication for Architecture’, ‘Materials for Additive Fabrication’, or ‘Software Needs for Additive Manufacturing’. As on the first day, one session in particular seemed to be very popular. The presentations about architectural applications of additive fabrication were attended by a lot of people. Knowing Xavier De Kestelier from Foster+Partners, Evan Douglis from Pratt Institute and Jeremy Ficca from Carnegie Mellon University were speakers, the popularity of this session needs no further explanation.

For the session on ‘Materials for Additive Fabrication’ Materialise had invited a wide array of material suppliers to come and discuss their latest developments regarding materials. Each having 15 minutes, DSM Somos, Objet, Arcam, Stratasys, Huntsman and 3D Systems together gave a state-of-the-art overview of what’s currently available on the market as well as what can be expected for the future. During the full day session on ‘Software Needs for Additive Manufacturing’ the challenges for AM were addressed, while also offering several solutions to optimize and automate the entire AM process. Some of these solutions were presented by David Flynn who discussed the implementation of Materialise’ Magics e-RP and e-Stage software in Express Pattern’s daily operations. Other topics such as design automation and forward engineering were discussed by speakers from Phonak, Prodintec and EOS, amongst others.

Later in the afternoon all attendees were invited to take the bus to Materialise for a guided tour throughout Materialise’ production facilities. Once arrived, guides from Materialise’ Industrial Services division took different groups of people for a tour along the impressive set of machines, including Materialise’ unique Mammoth machines. The guided tours took about an hour and at that time the Materialise Innovation Forum had almost come to an end. While everyone was invited to have a drink at the reception, a closing speech was given by Fried Vancrean, CEO of Materialise. This really put an end to a successful two day conference. “These past two days have clearly illustrated the innovative software solutions Materialise can provide, but also provided a broader overview of the latest developments in the AM and CAE industry”, says Wim Michiels, Vice-President for Materialise Software, looking back at the conference. “By bringing such an impressive group of speakers, attendees and sponsors together to discuss such high quality topics, we have been able to stress the importance of pushing innovation in our industry to a higher level.”

About Materialise

With its headquarters in Leuven, Belgium and branches all over the world, the Materialise Group is best known for its activities in the field of rapid industrial and medical prototyping. Apart from having the largest capacity of rapid prototyping equipment in Europe, Materialise enjoys a worldwide reputation as provider of innovative software solutions. As such, Materialise has acquired the position of market leader for 3D printing and Digital CAD software in addition to being a major player in medical and dental image processing and surgery simulation. Its medical and dental products are used worldwide by renowned hospitals, research institutes and clinicians. The group has several subsidiaries in Europe, Asia and the USA, and employs over 700 people in its 4 divisions.

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