To CES, Or Not?

By on December 14th, 2018 in Event

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 The theme image for CES 2019 [Source: CES]
The theme image for CES 2019 [Source: CES]

In a few weeks the annual Consumer Electronics Show will take place in Las Vegas.

Our team won’t be present at the event for the first time since 2012. In the years 2013-2016 CES was in fact a terrific event to search for 3D printing solutions. One year the number of 3D printing exhibitors reached close to 150, if I recall correctly.

Since then, however, the participation of 3D printing firms has dropped significantly as the interest in the topic by consumers (the general theme of the show) has waned since 2015, as we discussed here and here.

You’ll notice in CES 2019’s flagship image above they include elements representing a number of emerging technologies, such as drones, self-driving cars, fitness trackers, tablets, audio equipment, robots, games and smart devices. But no 3D printing element appears.

Our decision was to not attend the 2019 version because there simply aren’t enough 3D printing vendors present to warrant the expense of sending people there, at least in our case.

 Tentative floor map for the 3D printing exhibitors at CES 2019 [Source: CES]
Tentative floor map for the 3D printing exhibitors at CES 2019 [Source: CES]

But does this mean there are NO 3D printing exhibitors at CES 2019? According to the CES floor map, shown above, there are a little over 20 exhibitors scheduled to appear, most notably: Formlabs, XYZprinting, Markforged, Airwolf 3D, Sisma and materials producer Polymaker, along with a number of other Asian firms looking for North American exposure.

What drives these companies to exhibit at CES? Airwolf 3D’s Eva Wolf explained:

“Airwolf 3D has had a great year and January is our favorite time. We love CES because the event is full of positive anticipation for the new year. It’s an opportunity to get together with competitors in Las Vegas, see what the others are up to and to catch up with friends. This year however, it seems that we will have less familiar faces in the booths at CES. Nevertheless, it’s a great place to network and to show off our latest developments.”

For some companies, an appearance at the Consumer Electronics Show does make sense. One angle that you might not have considered is that many of the attendees are other exhibitors – who are very frequently manufacturers of products. These manufacturers may benefit from the use of 3D printing technology, and thus they would be able to see some options present at the show.

While we’re not attending CES 2019, we’re hoping to get updates on any interesting announcements that might occur during the event.


By Kerry Stevenson

Kerry Stevenson, aka "General Fabb" has written over 8,000 stories on 3D printing at Fabbaloo since he launched the venture in 2007, with an intention to promote and grow the incredible technology of 3D printing across the world. So far, it seems to be working!