AMTC Chiefs Congregating in Aachen in October

By Rachel Park

The fourth iteration of the AMTC conference is taking place in Aachen (Germany) from 12-14 October 2021. As we ease out of 18 months of global restrictions necessitated by the pandemic, the AMTC has been planned and is being executed as a hybrid event. A maximum of 200 people will gather in person in Aachen, while the majority of attendees can do so virtually via a state-of-the-art virtual conference platform.

I am honoured to have been invited to attend in person, to again conduct a series of camera interviews on site, and as a result this will be my first international travel commitment since Formnext 2019. It feels exciting, the anticipation of mixing with real people again at an Additive Manufacturing event.

The tagline all over the AMTC website and marketing materials reads that it is an “influential C-level conference on Additive Manufacturing.” Let’s break that down. I’ll start with a confession, when I first saw it, I wasn’t sure what a C-level conference was, so I had to look it up and then felt rather foolish. As soon as you see it explained it becomes obvious, but I’m going with “there is no such thing as a stupid question,” so thanks Google, for the answer.

For anyone in the same boat as I was, the “C” stands for all those Chief ‘X’ officers — CEO/COO/CTO/CFO/CRO etc. So that would be Executive / Operating / Technology / Financial / Revenue, which are the immediate ones that spring to mind, although I’m sure I’ve missed some out. Running through the speaker list though, it’s not just Chiefs, there are also quite a few “Head of’s”, “Leader of’s”, Presidents and VP’s too!

They’re the leaders and influencers within their organisations and the AMTC hosts have done a great job of bringing a whole lot of Additive Manufacturing Chiefs together to influence the conference content. How much they influence you, though, depends on how involved you want to get in the conference itself. What cannot be overstated, from my own experience, is that the AMTC is a great opportunity for sourcing a wide range of high-level information — whether you are already involved with Additive Manufacturing or looking to get involved. I’m even more enthusiastic than I was before to be interviewing some of these Chiefs. The results of the interviews will be freely available after the event – so you can judge for yourselves.

Having been renamed the AMTC Conference for 2021 (previously the MTC Conference), you may be forgiven for thinking the AM in AMTC is for Additive Manufacturing. Not so. Indeed, the full name of the conference is the Advanced Manufacturing Technology Conference.

The key drivers of the AMTC are to raise awareness, create curiosity and provide inspiration. Ideas are great, and the AMTC will spark ideas, but then take them to the next level in a way that makes them real and demonstrate how ideas can be achieved in real life — at the business end. To this end the exchange of knowledge across the whole value chain is the central premise and the AMTC provides a key network for that — whether in person or virtually. The opportunities for making invaluable connections and building new business relationships at this event is immense.

Once again, the AMTC will be hosted by Oerlikon together with RWTH Aachen University and the Technical University of Munich. These organisations work collaboratively bringing together some of the most advanced centres of excellence for Additive Manufacturing in Germany, both in terms of R&D and business execution. The platinum partners for the event are Siemens and Siemens Energy — that German connection is strong, but makes a great deal of sense. And there’s more, with Audi, Boeing, Trumpf and McKinsey operating as Gold members. A whole host of Silver supporters for the event contribute a more international aspect. Although the standout here has to be the support of Formnext, the next big event on the calendar, post-AMTC, also in Germany. This is alongside companies such as the Aachen Centre for AM, DMG Mori, EDB Singapore, EMPA, EOS, GF, HZG Group, Linde, Skoltech, SLM Solutions, Solukon and TUV SUD. Media support for the AMTC is also strong, coming from Metal AM, 3dbpm, 3Dnatives and NZZ.

So what do you have to look forward to in terms of content?

Well, the first evening of the event (12th October) will see the return of the Start-Up evening. I attended this in 2019 and it really works in a couple of key ways. Notably it provides real insight into ideas that are breaking through into the AM sector and this year, seven start-ups will be pitching, headlined by keynote presentations from Frank Herzog and Frank Thelen. Second, the start-up evening provides inspiration and shows how success can be achieved. A stand-out presentation on the agenda this year will be given by Felix Ewald, the CEO of DyeMansion, when he will talk about the “Scale-up of a Start-up.” DyeMansion is an eye-catching firm that has developed, commercialised and successfully delivered automated post-processing systems for polymer 3D printed parts. The company’s culture is well on its way to achieving legendary status (which seems like a weird thing to say about a start-up in transition — but if you’ve ever been to one of its Formnext parties or seen Pia interviewed in the press, you’ll get where I’m coming from with that.)

The start-up night is run in collaboration with Freigeist, UnternehmerTUM, RWTH Innovations and AM Ventures, the latter of which provides funding for start-ups with good ideas in the AM sector. Obviously AMV gets a platform, and so they should. This time around, Arno Held, CEO at AMV has titled his presentation “Blasts from the Past.” Can’t wait to see what that’s all about.

The middle day of the event is a full and dedicated day of presentations and break-out sessions. Attendees – in person or online – can curate the day to suit themselves and their particular areas of interest.

Topics and themes are varied and include:

  • A Status Quo Analysis of Additive Manufacturing
  • A presentation from the World Economic Forum discussing its latest white paper on the industrialisation of AM
  • International Norms and Standards: What`s missing?
  • New Material Solutions: Overview and recent developments
  • Educating AM: How to enable engineers?
  • A series of case studies, with a real focus on knowledge sharing
  • Interdisciplinary System Solutions: Collaboration along the value chain
  • Reproducibility: Success Factors for scaling up.

On the final day of the AMTC, a fascinating range of interactive workshops will be hosted virtually. These workshops will provide invaluable insight into successfully implemented Additive Manufacturing projects and business models.

Registration for the AMTC is open now, and virtual attendance is free of charge. It really is an opportunity not to be missed. Why not join in?

It would also be extremely remiss not to mention that the AMTC is being hosted in collaboration with the AMGTA & Wi3DP. These two organisations go well beyond the technologies themselves and focus intelligently and forthrightly with fundamental global issues and how they pertain to the Additive Manufacturing sector. I will be taking a closer look at both of these vitally important issues in my next article.