"Revolution" underway as 3D printers work their way into the market
TORONTO—Though Canada’s traditional manufacturing sector dominated the first day of the Canadian Manufacturing Technology Show, with the auto sector and Linamar’s Linda Hasenfratz taking centre stage, day two demonstrated the enormous shift underway in the industry.
The RAPID Canada Conference kicked off Sept. 29, with players from the additive manufacturing, or 3D printing field, becoming the focus of attention both on the keynote stage and on the CMTS show floor.
“3D printing keeps advancing at an astonishing rate right now,” Daniel Stolyarov, CEO of Graphene 3D Labs, said in an interview. “Everywhere people claim that sooner or later it will replace every manufacturing capability.”
“It’s not going to replace complete manufacturing, but it should be capable of doing pretty much everything,” Stolyarov added. He would take to the CMTS stage to deliver a presentation on high performance polymers and composite materials later in the day.
If sheer numbers are any indication, it’s hard to argue the 3D printing revolution is not already well underway. A huge number of additive manufacturing companies have set up shop at this year’s manufacturing bonanza, taking over most of an entire hall.
And for those who still think 3D printing is only useful for producing somewhat misshapen children’s toys, the capabilities and the ingenuity behind the emerging industry segment is difficult to overstate. A wide range of companies, Graphene 3D Labs among them, are even working to 3D-print high-value products such as batteries and moving machine parts, taking aim at a number of multi-billion dollar industries. Touting low price points, remarkably quick turnaround time and high reliability, Stolyarov thinks it’s only a matter of time before the market reaches a tipping point.
“The advantage is huge. If you can teach 3D printing how to build the things, you don’t need to assemble them, you just 3D print them,” he said.
Beyond the swelling ranks of additive manufacturers, the usual suspects were on the floor day two as well, demonstrating the latest breakthroughs in everything from automation to giant industrial fans.
CMTS continues tomorrow, Sept. 30, before wrapping up Oct. 1.