The Capital of the Free World saw a 3D printing related event this year in the form of the first Whitehouse MakerFaire in June. Now, Stratasys – one of the leaders for additive manufacturing technologies in industry, and via MakerBot, prosumer 3D printing ― has hosted an insightful event for Capitol Hill opinion leaders. One of the main topics of conversation emphasised how additive manufacturing can move the US (and global) economy forward by changing the way companies bring products to market through on-demand production of parts and tools.
There have been many reports regarding how 3D printing can make a real and positive difference to the economy of nations, by bringing jobs back to post-industrial economies, increasing the efficiency of supply chain logistics and increasing overall competitiveness for companies. There are opinions for and against the particular minutiae of the individual variables that contribute to this, such as energy efficiency, availability of materials and costing over long production runs, but overall the hype of 3D printing – and the reactionary counter-hype – has not blinkered the real potential of the technology set for economic, ecological and societal good.
At the event, which took place on Capitol Hill last week, Stratasys executives and 3D printing experts shared their insights with over a hundred congressional staff, administrators and relevant trade association members. Stratasys blogged that the event enabled a much deeper understanding of the technology, how it is being used today across a wide and increasing variety of sectors to bring products to market quicker and more cheaply via the ever increasingly technical efficiency of rapid prototyping and additive manufacturing for end-use products.
Attendees of the event were also able to see actual demonstrations of a variety of Stratasys 3D printers from the Fortus and Objet Connex range. They were able to see many of the parts on display that demonstrated the variety of manufacturing applications such as prototyping and production parts, fixtures and tooling that are being used by manufacturers today.