The UAE’s New 3D Printing Conference: A Report from the Ground at AM Conclave

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The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is making its mark as a frontrunner in additive manufacturing (AM) in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. With a focus on the construction industry, numerous ongoing projects have caught the attention of many. As the interest in AM technology continues to grow in the Middle East, so does the number of conferences dedicated to it. The recent debut of AM Conclave, organized by AM Chronicle, aimed to showcase the latest developments in AM technology, both locally and internationally.

As an avid follower of AM news, I couldn’t resist attending the conference, which took place in the capital emirate of Abu Dhabi. While Dubai often steals the spotlight when it comes to construction 3D printing projects, it was evident that Abu Dhabi is the hub for research-focused activities and 3D printing innovation in the UAE. Naturally, the capital emirate proved to be the ideal location for an AM conference.

On the first day of the conference, I arrived at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC), eager to explore the air-conditioned halls and escape the scorching 40°C heat outside. The expo showcased representatives from international players like EOS, Caracol, Stratasys, ADDiTEC, Markforged, and Phillips Corporation. While not every company had a dedicated office in the UAE, many had a strong presence in the region through resellers or service agreements. Several vendors were particularly interested in expanding their footprint in the UAE and found the conference to be a valuable opportunity for networking and gaining insights into the local market.

Alongside international exhibitors, prominent local entities from Abu Dhabi also participated in the expo. This included Immensa, boasting the world’s largest robotic plastic printing system, the Technology Innovation Institute, and Epitum, a local industrial 3D printer manufacturer. The conference showcased numerous physical examples of printed objects, including a range of aerospike and rocket engine bodies.

One exhibitor that caught my attention was ADDiTEC, who showcased parts printed using their liquid metal printing (LMP) technology, acquired from Xerox. Their LMP technology uses a metal wire feedstock that is heated until molten and then jetted onto the part using magnetohydrodynamics. What makes this process stand out is that the printed part does not need to be cut from the build plate, unlike other metal printing processes. According to a representative at the conference, the printed part simply pops off the build plate, much like an FDM print. This feature alone could significantly reduce post-processing costs associated with metal printing.

In addition to the expo, the conference kicked off with a presentation by the Technology Innovation Institute (TII) on their newly developed aluminum alloy powder named AMALLOY. Designed for LPBF systems, AMALLOY is notable for its high strength and high-temperature resistance.

Markus Glasser from EOS also delivered an engaging presentation on sustainable product design through additive manufacturing. Glasser showcased the Airbus A380’s latch shaft redesign, which led to significant reductions in cost, weight, and carbon emissions. The emphasis was on a digital production lifecycle that enables efficient tracking from concept to production, facilitating the identification of environmental impacts.

Another highlight of the conference was the advancements in autonomous water vessel manufacturing by UAE-based company Al Seer Marine. Their innovative 3D printed eco-water taxi, “Sukoon,” demonstrated the possibilities of AM in the marine industry.

The conference concluded with a delegate’s tour of Al Seer Marine’s factory, where they witnessed the world’s largest robotic large-scale AM operation. The facility showcased the Mega II 3D printer, developed by CEAD Group. With a pellet extrusion process, this printer has the capability to create composite parts up to 36 meters long, 4 meters wide, and 3 meters high.

As I left the AM Conclave conference, I couldn’t help but feel inspired by the incredible progress being made in the field of additive manufacturing in the UAE. The passion, innovation, and dedication displayed by both international and local participants showcased the UAE’s potential as a leader in AM technology. It is evident that the future holds great promise for the UAE’s additive manufacturing industry, and I eagerly await to witness the groundbreaking developments to come.

Seer Marine, a company known for its groundbreaking 3D printed surface vessel, has once again made headlines. This time, they showcased their expertise in maritime engineering at the AM Conclave. With projects like the Sukoon water taxi on display, it was clear that Seer Marine is focused on revolutionizing the industry.

The AM Conclave proved to be a successful inaugural conference, attracting a diverse mix of industry professionals, academics, and potential clients. It served as a platform for companies to showcase their products and services, and for experts to exchange ideas and form connections.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has set its sights on becoming a leader in additive manufacturing (AM) in the region. The AM Conclave, held in Abu Dhabi, is well-positioned to contribute to this goal. As 3D printing continues to grow in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, it will be fascinating to see how the conference evolves.

Abu Dhabi, in particular, is expected to be a breeding ground for interesting and innovative AM-themed stories in the years to come. As developments unfold, it is important to stay informed and up-to-date on all the latest news from the 3D printing industry. Additionally, keeping an eye out for information and offers from third party vendors can provide valuable insights and opportunities in this rapidly advancing field.

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