This year’s Additive Manufacturing Strategies business and networking summit was fantastic. I know I’m biased, but I really loved the event and had an amazing time. First off, it’s always nice to go to New York, where we dined at delicious restaurants, had nights out on the town, and were even able to visit the Met with a small group.
Somehow, New York just made the event all the more special. The setting of the show was intimate, presenting majestic views of the city while I and the other attendees were able to network over fine food and refreshments. Meanwhile, the on-site staff was fantastic and made everything run like clockwork. We also had a great Women in 3D Printing event and a Networking Reception with Bavarian Beer & Pretzels brought to us by AM Ventures. These events both contributed to letting everyone mix and meet people that they normally have not.
Everything in Moderation
After having done this for six years, AMS has been fortunate enough to connect with a cadre of very experienced moderators, who were key to ensuring that panel discussions were in-depth but not arcane, exciting but not too contentious. A number of them went out of their way to research the panelists themselves. Some tried to escape the confines of the panel discussion itself by livening it up and avoiding the pitfalls of too much consensus.
I and the AMS team try hard to find good panelists and moderators and we were so happy to see the quality go through the roof this year. Whereas we do sometimes see people who are too sales-y at events, panelists at AMS provided a breath of fresh air by remaining focused on being good 3D printing citizens by sharing accurate knowledge.
I’d really like to thank our excellent moderators, Sarah Goehrke, Stephen Butkow, Elizabeth Henry, Mark Burnhamm, Tali Rosman, Ryan Hayford, Davide Sher, Kristin Mulherin, Mike Vasquez, Tyler Benster, Michael Molitch-Hou, Debbie Holton, Lawrence Gasman, Todd Grimm, John Barnes, Stephan Mansour, Tuan TranPham and Brian Dow.
From the Medical 3D Printing Space to Space 3D Printing
In addition to the panels, there were a number of excellent solo presentations. Presenters seemed to think more as thought leaders than lead generators. Keynotes maintained more substance than your average sales pitch. For instance, Velo3D CEO Benny Buller presented his vision for breaking down barriers to create a more prosperous AM ecosystem, while Mark Douglass, business development manager at Lincoln Electric Additive Solutions, showed off some truly immense parts (much bigger than a person) that really demonstrated to me the potential of WAAM, particularly in oil and gas. Ben Ferrar, Vice President and General Manager at Carpenter Additive, always gives good presentations showcasing the metal market and its opportunities and his talk at this year’s AMS was no different.
AMS was able to present solid sessions on medical and dental 3D printing. This included Lauralyn McDaniel, who has been speaking at AMS for a few years and always offers deep insight into medical 3D printing and regulation. President of Formlabs Healthcare Guillaume Bailliard was a new face for many, so it was impactful to hear about his company’s plans for medical 3D printing. I really love DWS´s dental solutions and the new flexible materials it offers, so it was nice to see them explained by CTO Maurizio Costabeber.
A special feature of this year’s transportation session was the presence of members of Mobility goes Additive (MGA). Helge Schneevogt, Application Engineer & Technology Manager of AM at Deutsche Bahn, provided some very concrete examples of a variety of parts working for rail, while Siemens´ Maximilian Kunkel completed that picture with a presentation on his own work. MGA Director and Head of AM at Deutsche Bahn Stefanie Brickwede is a real force for change in Additive and I urge everyone serious about manufacturing to join her organization. I really didn’t expect Sascha Hartig, a Lieutenant Commander of the Deutsche Marines, to be as funny as he was, while also showcasing how improvisational and expedient solutions can make a big difference in the seafaring world.Transportation extended beyond MGA to include work from Morf3D’s Ivan Madera, Boeing’s Russ Cochran, and NASA’s Paul Gradl, who gave an enlightening talk on how NASA learns from its own failures, illustrating the pitfalls and possibilities of additive.
These are just a small selection of the wonderful talks from the event. If I didn’t mention a specific presentation, I may have been running around and meeting people during it. Sorry! We also saw a lot of audience participation. What I especially liked was that attendees asked questions to gain information out of curiosity and not to show off.
Like AMUG, but for Business
One opinion I heard at the event was that “AMS is like AMUG, but for the business part of the industry.” In other words, the show is less deeply technical than AMUG, but offers the same kind of “for the community, by the community” focus that AMUG has. Instead, it is focused more on the economics, strategy, and business of the AM industry. For AMS to be described in that way is a rare honor indeed.
Most attendees were industry folk and it really felt like we were talking at our level about things important to us. A smattering of financial folk from investment funds, family offices, banks and private equity funds did lead to interesting financially minded discussions and talks. We also had some newly minted entrepreneurs launching or about to launch businesses in 3D printing. Thanks to the event, these individuals were able to get in touch with angel, seed and later-round investors, as well. It really seemed like AMS could be an effective platform for every portion of the investment arena. We also saw some analysts take a deep drink at the 3D printing water-fountain, which is good for us all.
The Power of 3D Printing Serendipity
What I really enjoyed most of all was the power of serendipity. I connected with four startup founders that I’d never met, two founders from firms I’d never even heard of, and a ton of other people I was previously unacquainted with, including analysts, recruiters, and other industry members. I’ve still got weeks of calls lined up with a wide variety of individuals. For instance, I’m going to talk to an engineering firm about its 3D printing implementation, a startup about its fundraising, another startup about its launch.
There are eight people I want to interview and I’ve now got a great deal of new ideas to think about. I’m writing seven articles inspired by conversations I had at AMS. I’ve got more contacts and deeper relationships. AMS was super helpful for me and I hope that it was as helpful for you as well. Let’s do this again in 2024.
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