Legal and Regulatory

CECIMO calls for “innovation-friendly” 3D printing regulation at AMEC

CECIMO, the association of machine tool and manufacturing technologies, has urged Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) to legislate in a way that encourages 3D printing innovation. 

During the recently-held AM European Conference (AMEC), CECIMO led a debate on how 3D printing can alleviate COVID-induced supply chain disruption. While participants agreed that further funding was needed to aid the industry’s digitization drive, CECIMO re-iterated the case for uniform AM-related regulation. 

The Chair of CECIMO’s AM Working Group and GM at Renishaw Stewart Lane, opened by calling on MEPs to be progressive with their policy. ”It’s important to use legislation to enable the best use of technologies such as AM, for example bringing manufacturing back to Europe, and keep an innovation-friendly regulatory framework,” he said. 

This year’s edition of AMEC had to be held virtually due to COVID-19 restrictions, preventing CECIMO from meeting the MEPS in person as in previous years. Photo via CECIMO.

CECIMO’s drive for 3D printing standards 

CECIMO represents machine tool associations from 15 European countries, including around 1,500 industrial enterprises, of which the majority are SMEs. The organization speaks for 98 percent of European tool production, and 35 percent of the global total, lending it substantial influence in the regulation of EU manufacturing. 

Advancing additive technologies is a core part of CECIMO’s remit, and the group released its first 3D printing report in 2017, calling for improved facilities in schools. The organization has since partnered with the EPMA to advance AM’s adoption in Europe, and established a new committee, allowing it to work with EU leaders. 

In addition to increasing the industrial uptake of 3D printing, CECIMO has sought clarification on behalf of its members on the industry’s legal standards. During U.S-EU negotiations, the group has supported the EU’s initial progress towards tariff-free trade, and urged it not to “burden the sector with unnecessary regulation.”

CECIMO has always maintained that the best way to drive European growth within 3D printing, is to draft legislation that introduces a widely-accepted qualification and training system. As a result, it’s unsurprising that the organization has continued to push for more unified regulation at this year’s AMEC conference. 

CE certification in Europe graphic. Image via CECIMO
CECIMO has encouraged EU policymakers to introduce set 3D printing standards, that will allow the industry to flourish. Image via CECIMO.

Debating AM’s future at AMEC 2020 

AMEC is the only conference in Europe that allows the leaders of industrial firms to talk directly to EU officials about 3D printing regulation. CECIMO has chaired the event since 2015, and this year’s edition focused on how the global difficulties sourcing healthcare parts, could be a wake-up call for other industries too.

Those companies operating in the energy and automotive sectors were identified as being most at risk of disruption, and AM was heralded by attendees as a potential solution. The discussions, moderated by the European Policy Centre’s Fabian Zuleeg, were split into two sessions: one for policy, and another for industry. 

In the policy section, MEP Michael Bloss highlighted 3D printing’s green potential, while fellow MEP Susana Perez stressed its importance within industrial areas. CECIMO then kicked off the industry’s debate by emphasizing the need to make the European market competitive, and proposed extra funding to help SMEs adopt AM. 

Isinnova’s Christian Fracassi agreed, saying that: “3D printing enables a global sharing economy cutting production costs and supply chain restrictions.” Similarly, Ultimaker’s Paul Heidens argued that localized production, fabricating spare parts and the prospect of on-site repairs would be a “game changer” for 3D printing. 

Elsewhere, Mariel Diaz of Triditive urged companies to embrace the adoption of digital inventories, and Shell’s Angeline Goh highlighted AM’s spare part potential in the energy sector. CECIMO’s Director General Filip Geerts concluded by calling for financial support to be given to those firms seeking to digitize their supply chains. 

The EU’s broader 3D printing projects 

CECIMO strives to keep 3D printing at the top of the EU’s agenda, but the governing body already funds several projects via its subsidiaries, that utilize the technology in innovative ways. 

Post-processing company DyeMansion has been chosen by the European Innovation Council (EIC) to help the EU fulfill its climate goals. The company has been awarded funding to expand on the applications of its eco-friendly VaporFuse Surfacing technology. 

AMable, which is part of the broader EU Horizon 2020 program, has issued a project call for €300,000 in funding to SMEs in the 3D printing industry. The scheme is designed to allow applicants to experiment with fabricating functional products. 

Elsewhere, the European Defence Agency (EDA) has run a 3D printing lab at its European Tactical Airlift Centre (ETAC). The organization is evaluating the potential of using additive technologies within its military operations

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Featured image shows Florian Feucht, Head of Additive Manufacturing Application and Sales at DMG MORI/Realizer during AMEC discussions in 2018. Photo via CECIMO.

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