Generic “industry” conferences usually are boring. They are interesting only for those directly linked to the particular subject being discussed and even for them it is mostly an obligation to stay up to date, rather than passion and personal interest. The best thing about the 3D printing industry is that conferences on Additive Manufacturing (AM) are anything but boring in my experience or that of the people I speak to at them.
They invariably bring together speakers who are at the forefront of the technology, who talk about how the AM / 3D printing revolution is going to change every and any industry sector, how it is going to cut costs by up to 90%, how it will make the impossible possible and how it will help make the World a better place by delocalizing production and reducing pollution and waste.
When the medical industry is involved the excitement around 3D printing touches new heights and many analysts predict that the global market for 3D printing in medical applications is going to grow from $354.5 million in 2012 to $965.5 million by 2019, at a 15.4% compound annual growth rate.
Today AM already allows for successful printing of prosthetics, dental work and hearing aids, made from plastic or other biocompatible materials, tailored to a specific patient. 3D printed models are helping to simplify complex surgeries like never before and new technology is beginning to enable us to print blood vessels, skin, organ tissue and even embryonic stem cells.
All this and more will be discussed at the upcoming Additive Manufacturing: Medical and Healthcare conference to be held in Boston (MA) next May 19th. Through the contribution of many high profile speakers directly involved in the medical industry, participants will find out about what – and how long – it will take for 3D printing technologies to become mainstream in providing new, advanced, tailored-made and affordable healthcare practices.
The conference, organized by the International Quality and Productivity Center (IQPC), will bring together top university researchers and AM / 3D printing service providers to discuss the latest insights on the future of AM technology, specifically within the medical and healthcare field.
If your concern is how the all-powerful FDA will regulate AM materials and technologies you will be able to hear from Dr. Steven Pollack, Director of the Office of Science and Engineering Laboratories. Or from omni-present (especially when it comes to AM adoption) General Electric, through a presentation by Herb Caloud, Development Engineer at GE Healthcare on biofabrication.
There will be speakers with experiences in hospital practices such as Dr. Tarig Rahman, Head of Pediatric Research and Engineering at Nemours Hospital, or in medical research such as Dr. Roger Narayan and Dr. Adam Feinberg, both Professors of Biomedical Engineering respectively at North Carolina State University and Carnegie Mellon University. Dr. Narayan will speak about the cost advantages of AM in medical devices while Dr. Feinberg will discuss the embedding of electronics in medical 3D printing and the need for conductive materials.
Speakers who have already confirmed their presence also include William Murray, of the Medical Device Innovation Consortium, who will talk about improving the bio-printing process, as well as top engineers from Stryker Corporation and Teleflex, both large OEM providers for the medical and healthcare industries.
As alway for this type of event the attendance ticket (unless you are one of the speakers that is) is not cheap. However, considered the life-or-death importance and the business potential of the subjects being discussed, it can hardly be considered overpriced: $900 dollars for full price, but discounts do apply for early birds and groups.
Although business conferences on 3D printing have been flourishing all over the world, this is the first time an event of this scope concerns the adoption of AM specifically in the medical industry. Many more are likely to follow to help shine a light on all that is happening in medical and biological AM. Who knows, maybe they will even make a TV series about it. The drama is all there!