AMUG organizers relocate conference to Orlando on COVID-19 safety grounds 

The Additive Manufacturing Users Group (AMUG) has announced that it has rescheduled its annual conference to Orlando in May next year. 

Although the exhibition will still be held in-person, AMUG has opted to move it to Florida’s Hilton Orlando hotel, where it’s anticipated that the risk of catching COVID-19 will be lower. The revised plans, which are still subject to change, potentially enable a larger-scale event to take place at a new date of May 2nd to May 6th 2021. 

“Our goal is to provide an in-person event, in a safe manner, to facilitate the exchange of information in the way that differentiates the AMUG Conference from all others,” said Carl Dekker, President of AMUG. “The AMUG Board is committed to planning for an in-person event and will continue to monitor the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Attendees are welcomed to the St. Louis Union Station Hotel for AMUG 2018. Photo by Michael Petch.
AMUG has relocated and rescheduled it’s conference so that it can be held in-person and on a larger scale. Photo by Michael Petch.

Additive innovation on show at AMUG

The AMUG conference is a staple of the 3D printing calendar and a place where experts and leaders from across AM come together and share their insights and ideas. Usually the conference includes high-profile keynote speakers, training opportunities and additive awards that recognize the year’s achievements. 

Unfortunately the 2020 edition was postponed in March due to COVID-19 but the rescheduled event still offers the prospect of enjoying the same activities at a later date. Additionally, many firms have opted to launch their latest products at AMUG in the past, and next year’s event could still see the release of some tantalising tech. 

Even though AMUG has been postponed into mid-2021, the group has confirmed that each of its contributors are applying their 2020 commitments to the revised show. Consequently, once the conference does take place, attendees can expect to see the same program of exhibitors that were promised in AMUG’s original format.  

The 2020 AMUG DINOs. Photos via AMUG.
The AMUG DINOs are usually one of the highlights of the show (this year’s winners’ pictures). Photos via AMUG.

AMUG moves to Orlando for 2021

AMUG is far from the first event to be affected by COVID-19, and faced with projections showing the disease’s threat in 2021, its organizers have chosen to act. Given that the group is committed to holding the show in a physical format, it has therefore been forced to relocate to a more spacious venue, hence Florida. 

The Hilton Orlando offers 249,000 sq. ft. of meeting space, meaning that even with social distancing rules, the property can accommodate a full-scale conference. AMUG is also working with an industry consultant as well as state authorities, to take all the safety precautions needed to make the exhibition a success. 

In terms of event participation, AMUG’s board is currently putting together a new plan for the socially-distanced event. As a result, because the conference already has 70 committed sponsors and 100 exhibitors, AMUG has opted to place any new commercial applicants on a waiting list while it calculates its new capacity. 

Conversely, the event’s supporting programs are still proceeding as normal. The group has issued an open ‘call-for-speakers,’ and its Agenda Committee is selecting orators for its available slots. AMUG’s scholarship program is also open, while its users group is now accepting nominations for its prestigious DINO Awards

Conference registration has been temporarily paused and will reopen on January 6th 2021. Interested parties can visit the AMUG website for further details on participation, plus the organization has pledged to provide a detailed safety FAQ once sign-ups have re-opened. 

AMUG 2021 will now be held at the Hilton in Orlando (pictured) where social distancing guidelines can be more carefully observed. Image via AMUG.
AMUG 2021 will now be held at the Hilton in Orlando (pictured) where social distancing guidelines can be more carefully observed. Image via AMUG.

3D printing’s COVID-hit industry events

The pandemic has largely put the additive industry’s exhibitions on hold this year, but organizers have often taken vastly different approaches to rescheduling their shows.  

IMTS 2020 had to be cancelled in June after the state of Illinois banned public events from being held due to the spread of COVID-19. The AMT board set up the IMTS Spark and Network live streams in place of the regular show, at which attendees could attend training or networking sessions. 

Similarly, Messe Frankfurt decided that holding Formnext in a physical format was impossible in September, and rescheduled it in the form of Formnext Connect. More than 2,000 representatives from 203 exhibitors showcased their products at the virtual conference, leading organizers to deem the show a success.

Although most industry events have been cancelled or reformatted this year, a minority are sticking firmly to the principle that in-person shows are best. Formnext Forum Tokyo was held in a physical format in October, while Formnext + PM South China has been pushed back into September 2021 so that it can do the same. 

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Featured image shows the Hilton Orlando, the hotel which is now due to stage AMUG 2021. Image via AMUG.