In a symbolic nod to the former manufacturing hub of the United States and the origins of the convention itself, the RAPID Conference & Exposition will be holding RAPID 2014 in the city of Detroit, Michigan. The event, dubbed by the event’s founder, the Society for Manufacturing Engineers (SME), as “the additive manufacturing/3D printing industry’s longest-running and most well-respected event” will take place in the Motor City’s renovated Cobo Center from June 10-12 of next year and they’ve already begun building their line-up.
As would be expected, the exhibitor list is far from complete, but already includes such big names as: Materialise USA, Mcor, Motorola, ExOne, Optomec and Renishaw, among others. Due to the nature of the event, with its long tradition in the field of 3D printing, it should draw many already familiar with the technology, with RAPID event manager Maria Conrado saying, “RAPID draws a highly technical and keenly focused audience that comes back year after year to connect, educate and advance the industry. We’re excited to build on the success of RAPID 2013 and continue to provide the additive manufacturing community with the gathering place it needs to sustain its growth.”
SME is in the process of accepting abstracts so, if you think you’ve got an innovative 3D printing story or application, you can submit an abstract for your own presentation here. According to the organisation, presenting to the RAPID crowd offers a number of opportunities such as: “48% are Business Owners, Corporate Executives/Managers or Product Designers, 77% influence equipment purchase decisions in their organization, 76% visit RAPID to evaluate additive manufacturing technologies and 50% to evaluate 3D scanning.” And, if you present “a technical paper that features a successful and innovative application of rapid technologies and additive manufacturing” you’ve got a chance of winning the Dick Aubin Distinguished Paper Award, which, as far as I can tell, does not come with a cash prize.
Alongside the event, there will be two other conferences co-located at Detroit’s Cobo Center, THE BIG M and International Manufacturing Research Conference. As both additional conventions will be devoted to manufacturing more generally, the combination of all three events taking place in the same area is likely to draw even larger audiences than each one individually. Perhaps all of this manufacturing-related activity in the area, spurred by the growth of 3D printing, will give the SME a chance to help revitalize the economy for the city, which recent filed for Chapter 9 Bankruptcy.