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The Manufacturer Annual Leaders Conference – NEC

24 November 2016 ...

What is the connection between terms like: Industry 4.0, collaboration, Catapult, Additive Manufacturing and the latest industrial revolution?

At first glance they are diverse and unconnected, until you know that these, amongst others, were key buzzwords used at: The Manufacturer’s Annual Leadership Conference held at the NEC on the 1st and 2nd November.

These terms swam around delegates as they grappled with the opportunities of the latest industrial revolution. This revolution, known as Industry 4.0 rotates around the complexities of improving production processes, reducing waste, big data and the need to secure high-skill jobs. Delegates were asked to contemplate the new growth potential offered by the “Überisation” of their processes, whereby a “pay to play” model replaces capex and bringing items on to companies’ balance sheets.

On the first day, podium speakers quickly identified that Additive Manufacturing (AM) is part of a production strategy that offers one of the potential ‘big wins’ for British Manufacturers in Industry 4.0. As part of the emphasis on this, Ian Halliday CEO of 3T RPD was a key speaker, together with other colleagues, in the AM industry at the conference’s 3D Thinking panel. This panel directly discussed how AM could be employed as part of manufacturer’s key production processes rather than being simply confined to rapid prototyping (RP).

Ian’s presentation combined examples from leading companies already using AM in their production process such as GE and Nike. Ian also discussed examples from 3T RPD’s own client portfolio such as BAE Systems. He showed that AM production is already here with AM parts already being used to make items as diverse as the soles of running shoes, satellite, jet-engine and aircraft parts.

At the end of the presentation Ian made 5 key points that all companies thinking about incorporating, either metal or plastic, AM into their manufacturing processes should consider. These are:

  1. Is AM an appropriate manufacturing process for their products.
  2. Manufacturers may need to amend their current systems to accommodate AM.
  3. Manufacturers should select someone to be the AM champion for their company.
  4. Secure your supply chain – High quality, consistent suppliers like 3T RPD are in high demand.
  5. Assess what AM can actually do for you and don’t get side tracked by the breadth of possibilities that AM provides.

Ian’s presentation was very well received. It developed into a lively question and answer session led by the panel’s moderator and where all the speakers were able to expand on what they had discussed as they made their presentations.

You can see and hear Ian’s full presentation here.

Note: The acoustics in the hall were very poor, best listened to with earphones

If you are interested in discussing how 3T RPD could meet your AM needs, please feel free to call us on +44 (0) 1635 580284 or email us

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