Coronavirus: which 3D printing events have been postponed?
Events around additive manufacturing – trade fairs, conferences, meetups, maker faires – are important events for the sector allowing many players and users to exchange and discover the latest market trends and technologies. With the worldwide spread of the coronavirus, COVID-19 virus to be more precise, 3D printing events have been deeply affected and many have had to be postponed or even cancelled all over the world. We were able to talk to some of the organisers of these world events to find out what the consequences of such a decision would be.
TCT Asia was one of the first 3D printing exhibitions to be postponed. It was originally scheduled to take place in Shanghai from February 19 to 21 and was expected to bring together more than 200 exhibitors and 10,000 visitors from 20 different countries. Another Chinese show that was postponed was Asiamold, which was scheduled to take place from February 26 to 28. New dates have been announced for TCT Asia, now scheduled to take place between 8-10 July 2020. As for Asiamold, new dates for the fairs will be announced in due course.
Empty booths at DMS
One event that shows the consequences of running an event despite the coronavirus is the Design Engineering & Manufacturing Solutions Expo, also known as DMS, which took place in Tokyo. The show is considered one of the largest additive manufacturing exhibitions in the world. We spoke to Peter Rogers, APAC Product Specialist for Additive Manufacturing at Autodesk, who told us the event was extremely disappointing: “This year’s DMS was an incredible flop. Large numbers of companies cancelled their exhibits, and for those that didn’t cancel, a majority were unmanned booths. It was quite disappointing to see considering it is usually quite a good event that brings in a number of strong leads. Tentative numbers from Reed Exhibitions Japan (the organizer) had attendee numbers hovering around 8,000-10,000 total over the 3 days, down from 88,000+ in 2018.”
Peter Rogers is confident that the virus will cause more events to be cancelled in the future, or possibly broadcast online, however that it will not jeopardise the growth of the additive manufacturing industry in the long term. He also notes that the virus continues to demonstrate the flexibility of the technology: “The manufacturing flexibility that AM can offer is of huge value to companies that need to pivot to offer new services, and this has been very well done by companies like BYD, Sinopec and Foxconn who have reconfigured production lines to assist with mask, disinfectant and protective goggles to help cover the increasing demand. AM can offer flexibility and help companies to be more reactive to situations like these.”
Many events are postponed because of the coronavirus
3D printing events that are not cancelled because of the coronavirus are often postponed. One of the postponed events is JEC World, one of the world’s leading trade fairs for the composites industry, which was originally scheduled to take place in Paris from March 3 to 5. We had the opportunity to ask Eric Pierrejean, CEO of the JEC Group, some questions about the impact of the virus on the show. He told us: “The postponement of an international exhibition can be the result of a decision by national or local authorities, as is currently the case in France for events with more than 5000 participants. The spread of the coronavirus in countries playing an important role in the composites sector, such as the China, South Korea and Italy, and the increase in travel restrictions from authorities, but also from companies attending the event, encouraged us to discuss with key players in the sector to assess the situation. Within this context, we took the decision with the full support of the main players, to the postpone the show.”
JEC World has been postponed to May, Eric Pierrejean explains: “We wanted to plan the show early enough to allow the entire industry to resume its activities and benefit from the positive effects of the show, and so far this has been a wise decision as most of the participating companies have confirmed their participation in May.”
Some events are still maintained
On March 1, AMUG President Carl Dekker announced in an official press release that AMUG would take place in Chicago on March 22-26 as planned: “At this time, no federal restrictions are in place to prevent meetings and travel in the United States. We understand concerns about COVID-19 are top of mind. Please note that The Additive Users Group Board is taking appropriate precautions and is consulting the latest guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and local public health authorities.”
Moreover, Advanced Factories in Barcelona, Spain is also running as scheduled from the 3rd to the 5th of March. Rapid + TCT, one of the biggest shows in the additive manufacturing sector, is also maintained in April. We do not know how the spread of the coronavirus will develop in the coming weeks and month, so it’s hard to make predictions. 3D printing events around the world are facing uncertainty whatever decision they take – we will have to wait and see how the shows that are maintained turn out!
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