RAPID + TCT 2021: America’s most prominent 3D printing event makes its comeback

The nominations for the 2021 3D Printing Industry Awards are now open. Who do you think should make the shortlists for this year’s show? Have your say now. 

It’s now less than four weeks until the return of the RAPID+TCT trade show, and 3D Printing Industry has got the inside scoop on what to expect from the 2021 edition of the leading additive manufacturing event in North America. 

This year’s RAPID + TCT is set to mark the show’s 30th anniversary by hosting more than 250 exhibitors plus 20 panels and presentations, and keynote speeches from leaders at the Mayo Clinic, Boeing, and Wohlers Associates. Scheduled to take place in Chicago, the event will be held in person, giving attendees a long-overdue chance to catch up and exchange ideas from September 13-15, 2021. 

“Looking back over the past year and a half, the world saw firsthand how additive manufacturing created solutions that immediately impacted human lives,” said Bob Willig, Executive Director and CEO of SME. “The AM industry is poised for significant expansion and growth in the next few years, which is why it’s so important that we convene in person to best leverage this momentum.” 

The SME Zone at the RAPID + TCT trade show.
RAPID + TCT 2021 is set to feature an ‘SME Zone.’ Photo via SME.

RAPID+TCT’s in-person return

Backed by SME and the Rapid News Group, this year’s show is set to feature educational content and marketing opportunities, as well as insights from some of the industry’s preeminent thought leaders. 

Boeing’s VP, Melissa Orme, will open the show’s first day at 9:00 a.m, with a keynote on the challenges and opportunities for 3D printing in the aerospace sector. Ahead of the event, Orme has highlighted that 3D printing is most effective when creating “differentiating products with improved performance” rather than a substitute for traditional production. 

On day three of the show, the Chair of the Mayo Clinic’s Division of Engineering, Mark Wehde, intends to explore how additive manufacturing can revolutionize patient care. In particular, Wehde is set to cover advances towards ‘Healthcare 4.0,’ such as distributed healthcare models and new medical artificial intelligence (AI)-based technologies. 

Finally, between Wehde and Orme’s presentations on day two, industry stalwart and President of Wohlers Associates, Terry Wohlers, has also agreed to address attendees. In his keynote, Wohlers will explore some of his firm’s latest research results to gain a “greater perspective on the past, and better understanding the future.”

Keynote speakers aside, the event’s participants have the opportunity to take part in interactive panels as well. Panel leaders include Todd Grimm, Nic Sabo, Jerone Anderson, and Callie Zawaski. Guests will include Desktop Metal’s Adeola Olubamiji, Fast Radius’ Lou Rassey, GE Additive’s Amber Andreaco, and many more. 

A graphic showing nine companies that are set to present at RAPID + TCT.
RAPID + TCT has more than 250 confirmed exhibitors in addition to 20 presenters and panelists. Image via SME.

Exploring the ‘SME ZONE’

Away from the main stage, much of the action at RAPID + TCT is set to take place at the ‘SME ZONE,’ which is designed to act as a focal point for the event’s main attractions. In addition to hosting a ‘Theater’ for discussions with medical, aerospace, automotive, and materials experts, the area will include a ‘Start-up Zone,’ as well as talks from the AMGTA, America Makes, and the SME’s other partners. 

On the conference’s first day, SME also intends to use the space to reveal the winners of its Additive Manufacturing Community Awards, including categories recognizing the best industry achievement, technological advancements, and student engineers in the sector, with the latter set to benefit from a summit exploring how best to get into manufacturing. 

Outside the SME ZONE, the broader RAPID + TCT show will host an education offering too, around the core themes of ‘evaluation,’ ‘adoption’ and ‘optimization.’ Designed to help those companies seeking to adopt 3D printing for the first time, the event is scheduled to include a cross-industry advisory team, which will help new adopters assess their needs and optimize initial part results. 

The McCormick Place Conference Center in Chicago Illinois.
The McCormick Place Conference Center in Chicago Illinois. Image via SME.

RAPID’s agenda and exhibitors

Running from 9:00 am each day, the show’s main stage is set to host more than just the keynote speakers, and will also include panels covering everything from supply chain opportunities and end-use cases, to U.S. Department of Defense projects, with panelists like Ford’s Ellen Lee and Hexcel’s Regina Pynn contributing to discussions.  

In terms of exhibitors, the trade show floor promises to be filled with the industry’s biggest names, including the likes of 3D Systems, Stratasys, EOS, and many more, allowing attendees the chance to engage with suppliers and manufacturers face-to-face, network, and establish partnerships that could last well beyond the duration of the event itself. 

Scheduled to run at the 150,000 sq. ft McCormick Place Conference Center in Chicago, Illinois, from September 13-15, 2021, RAPID + TCT 2021 is expected to attract more than 5,000 industry professionals. 

Those interested in attending can register now via the event’s dedicated website. While in-person expo tickets start at just $100, parties unable to travel will be able to catch the ‘RAPID + TCT Live!’ digital experience for free via the show’s app, through which they will be able to engage in presentations, panels and networking during the exhibition. 

The nominations for the 2021 3D Printing Industry Awards are now open. Who do you think should make the shortlists for this year’s show? Have your say now. 

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Featured image shows the ‘SME Zone’ at the RAPID + TCT trade show. Photo via SME.