Trade shows change over the years, as trends, economic crises and technological developments come and go, but few undergo the kind of metamorphosis that Euromold has gone through. Not only has the show changed cities—after over 20 years in Frankfurt, the show has moved to Düsseldorf, and was held, not as tradition dictates in December, but in September. Yet what’s really striking about this year’s Euromold is its size. Back in, say 2009, the show boasted more than 1500 exhibitors. There were a mere 453 in Düsseldorf, spread across two halls of the vast fairgrounds that make up the Messe Düsseldorf. And of these exhibitors, fully one-third—33.4%—are active in additive manufacturing/3D printing, compared with only 26.8% for the mold- and toolmaking industry, from which the show takes its name.
In other words, it’s now official: Helped along by the new, strategic partnership with consulting firm Wohlers Associates and the Society for Manufacturing Engineers (both of which are based in the United States), Euromold is reinventing itself as the leading fair and conference in Europe for additive manufacturing, industrial design, moldmaking and tooling and product development. Hall 16 was where most of the 3D printing displays were, and it was also the busier of the two halls. And despite the fact that a number of the names that had been there last year, such as EOS and Stratasys, were not there this year, the turnout was fairly good.
This year, too, there was more of a sense of where additive manufacturing and 3D printing are headed. More and more, industrial applications are coming within reach. “As the materials that are suitable for 3D printing become more sophisticated, the applications will, too,” said Wildrik van der Weiden, Business Development Manager EMEA of filament manufacturer Polymaker (Utrecht, Netherlands). “Our company recently launched a polycarbonate filament called Polymaker PC-Plus, which we developed in collaboration with Covestro. Before, people would say, there are so few technical components that are 3D printed, because the material just wasn’t available. This material opens doors for applications that simply were not possible before with desktop printers. Since the launch of Polymaker PC-Plus, we have been getting a lot of interest from, for example, the automotive industry.”