Next month is the annual Additive Manufacturing User Group (AMUG) conference, this year held in the Windy City of Chicago.
The event, which takes place from March 22-26, is said to be quite valuable to participants as they can swap stories about additive manufacturing in addition to listening to any of the very numerous presentations by industry experts.
It’s one of the few places one can literally bump into other 3D print and additive manufacturing practitioners in large numbers that you aren’t already working beside. While we like to think additive manufacturing has grown significantly, and it has, it still isn’t pervasive.
It’s common for someone to be in this field but have few, if any, others nearby using the technology. Thus it’s frequently difficult to learn new ideas beyond reading and taking training from the manufacturers. AMUG offers an opportunity to rub shoulders with plenty of others in the same spot.
AMUG’s motto is “FOR USERS – BY USERS”, and that reinforces the notion of getting practitioners together.
That’s great, but there’s apparently been an issue with the event in recent years: costs have risen, as the growing membership has demanded use of larger facilities. Not wanting to burden individual attendees with these extra costs, AMUG apparently opted to invite vendors to the proceedings, and their sponsorship dollars help float the event.
Now this happens: when vendors are provided the opportunity to present to potential clients they often like to attract attention by making splashy announcements of one kind or another. This happens at every major trade show, and in particular the larger events.
The problem is that because this is a “user-focused” event, in which some vendors are invited, there is no corresponding invitation for journalists to attend.
We cannot attend. Nor can other journalists who might wish to attend.
Thus we cannot properly report on any announcements made by vendors at the event. In fact, the lack of journalists means the announcements will get rather poor media coverage, which is definitely not what the vendors want to see.
Unfortunately, many vendors are not aware of this situation and earnestly announce the latest and greatest thing, only to discover too late that there’s nobody there to report on it.
My advice to 3D print vendors is to avoid making announcements of any magnitude at AMUG. Save them and your precious marketing dollars for another event.