Purmundus challenge 2021 focuses on innovation in progress

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Held since 2012 by German rapid prototyping firm Cirp GmbH, the purmundus challenge is an annual competition that invites designers and engineers from across the globe to participate in a theme-based 3D printing design contest. 

The competition seeks to bring together a wide array of ideas, creative products, and innovative projects, with awards going to the best product design in keeping with the contest’s current theme.

With submissions for the purmundus challenge 2021 now open, this year’s theme is “innovation in progress”. A pre-selection of finalists chosen from the entrants will head to this year’s Formnext, the 3D printing industry’s leading European trade show, from 16-19 November 2021 in Frankfurt, where the winners will be selected by an international panel.

The purmundus challenge is open for submissions. Photo via purmundus challenge.
The purmundus challenge is open for submissions. Photo via purmundus challenge.

Innovation is becoming “increasingly innovative”

In accordance with the theme for 2021, applicants are asked to incorporate into their submissions a useful, end-to-end workflow for 3D and 4D printing while also creating, “a guiding idea for the additive manufacturing and production of tomorrow.” 

Looking to identify useful, end-to-end innovations for 3D and 4D printing, the theme represents a significant focus on multi-faceted innovation that allows a fluid transition from prototyping to series production of 3D printed products.

Within their innovation strategy, the judges are looking for entrants to consider that, “the process of innovation itself is becoming increasingly innovative. At the same time, the technocentric focus is becoming less and less important. In its stead, a new culture and a systematic art of innovation is emerging that is both multi-layered and multifaceted, and allows a fluid transition from the prototype to the series-produced product.

“That is why the focus this year is above all on interactions within the innovation process, and on the back-and-forth between individual functions and protagonists working towards a shared goal.”

As such, submissions should highlight what is already possible and what applications are still part of the vision of their innovation strategy, how end-to-end process chains can be made digital and consistent, or what the requirements are of the production process and the product itself.

The contest is once again encouraging entrants to contemplate methods and materials that are yet to be established, are still undergoing research, or are still to be invented. 

The tender invitation states: “All common 3D and 4D printing processes may be used to produce the entries. They mustn’t simply be dogmatically produced any old way. Here, they can conceivably merge 3D and 4D printing with other semi-finished and other production methods or implement indirect process chains.”

The competition entries will be assessed using nine different criteria, namely design, degree of innovation, relation to announcement, appropriateness of design for 3D or 4D printing, potential in comparison to conventional production, economic potential, societal potential, relevance, and user experience.

Moorehuhn Bike won first prize in the Purmundus Challenge 2020 at Formnext Connect. Photo via Huhn Cycles.
The Moorehuhn Bike won first prize in the purmundus challenge 2020 at Formnext Connect. Photo via Huhn Cycles.

Previous purmundus challenge victors

The theme of last year’s purmundus challenge competition was “geometry and material in harmony”, with a particular focus on material efficiency, reusability, and recycling.

Last year’s winners include additive manufactured mountain bike producer Huhn Cycles, which scooped up first place with its 3D printed Moorhun Bike. The Moorhun bike was applauded for its, “innovative use of additive manufacturing for the right reasons,” and for providing an example of how 3D printing can be combined with conventional manufacturing techniques to create a desirable, high-performance product.

Claiming second place in the competition was HKK Bionics with its bionic hand orthotic, the Exomotion Hand One, designed as a functional assistive device for everyday tasks to restore the gripping function of paralyzed hands. Announced in third place was a recyclable 3D printed sneaker from 3D printed footwear designer Svet Abjo.

HKK Bionics' Exomotion Hand One bionic hand orthosis, which can be best described as a "motorized glove". Image via Formnext Connect.
HKK Bionics’ Exomotion Hand One bionic hand orthosis, which can be best described as a “motorized glove”. Image via Formnext Connect.

For the 2021 purmundus challenge, the submitted designs will be assessed by an international jury of professionals hailing from Volkswagen AG, Loughborough University, Beijing University of Technology, Deakin University, and hyperTunnel, among others. 

The contest is offering a total prize money of €6,000, with the winner receiving €3,000, runner-up securing €2,000, and third place receiving €1,000. The first three award winners will also be gifted access to the Altair Inspire Studio software for simulation-based d design throughout the product development process.

The Newcomer Prize will be awarded for the second time in 2021, after making its debut last year when awarded to Yejun Fu from the Victoria University of Wellington for her project investigating bio-based responsive materials to transition 3D printing to 4D printing.

The award ceremony to honor the winners will take place during the Formnext 2021 on 18th November 2021. The deadline for submissions is on 22nd September 2021, with finalists notified on 6th October.

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Featured image shows the purmundus challenge is open for submissions. Photo via purmundus challenge.