I have long despaired at the caricature of 3D printing in the media, although must concede that the ever growing public and media interest has helped fuel industrial curiosity and taken us to where we are today, at the very cusp of widespread technology adoption and implementation of additive manufacturing technologies. This goes way beyond the early industry players who, like ourselves, shared the ambition for the future of additive manufacturing as a viable and tangible technology to produce robust and safe end-use parts.
Within our own research we have sought to drive the field into new areas, from the single material manufacturing techniques towards ‘multi-ink’ printing – from simple, passive structural parts to truly multifunctional components. This requires fresh contemplation and acknowledgement that the development of new materials, which are tailored for additive manufacturing processes and applications, is just as important as the advances in AM process technology itself. This is in addition to the need to have robust design and simulation tools with which to drive the processes and deliver the materials to where we need them to be.
The mission of our International Conference on Additive Manufacturing and 3D Printing has always been distinct and unambiguous; to provide the environment for researchers and industrialists both old and new, as innovators and implementers of the technology, to foster the future of additive manufacturing. As we continue to build upon the success of previous years we hope that our enduring dedication to provide this forum, in the familiar surroundings of the Nottingham Belfry Hotel, will help shape the direction of the additive manufacturing research and implementation agenda for the future.