Yesterday, I was talking with Skyforge founder Andrew Walker (more on his project next week) and we agreed that, perhaps even more so than for the US and Asia, 3D printing is a huge opportunity for Europe to, once again, raise up and lead in manufacturing innovation. That claim, based on Europe’s strong tradition of high-end, custom and luxury goods (especially in automotive and aerospace), however, somewhat clashes with the Old Continent’s slowness in passing legislation to support such innovation.
While initiatives such as America Makes immediately embraced all 3D printing in the US, with full support from the President himself and his office, European institutions have been slower and less convinced in manifesting their support. Yet something may finally be moving in the right direction, starting with the upcoming CECIMO Additive Manufacturing European Conference, set to take place at the European Parliament in Brussels next June 23rd.
CECIMO is the European Association of the Machine Tool Industries and it brings together 15 national associations, representing some 1.500 industrial enterprises in Europe. The CECIMO AM conference has been organized with the support of one of our contributors, Giorgio Magistrelli, Additive Manufacturing Manager at CECIMO, who has also secured the media partnership with 3DPI.
The conference program currently sees opening speeches by CECIMO President Jean Camille Uring, and Reinhard Bütikofer, Member of the European Parliament. Other keynote speakers in the first session include Dr. Ing. Bernhard Langefeld, Principal at Roland Berger Strategy Consultants, on the theme of opportunities and challenges for the European industry in AM. Peter Sanders, who is in charge of Emerging Technologies & Concepts at Airbus, in Germany , will speak on the chances and challenges for future industrial production through AM.
Ms. Clara de la Torre, Director, Key Enabling Technologies Directorate, DG RTD/D, European Commission, will introduce the second session, a panel focused on “Business and regulatory framework conditions in Europe: identifying the drivers for market uptake”. The panel will see contributions from some of the first session speakers, including Mr. Sanders from Airbus, and other participants such as Mr. Martin Schäfer, – Project Manager, Research & Technology Center, Siemens AG, and Mr. Stefan Ritt, Head of Global Marketing and Communications at SLM Solutions.
Registration for the conference is free so, if you are planning a trip to Europe’s capital in the near future, you might want to take this opportunity to see first hand what the European Parliament looks like from the inside and, perhaps more importantly, what European policy makers intend to do about fully exploiting the opportunities that AM is opening up to manufacturers.