Pandemic Precautions Take Out The Spring 3D Printing Calendar

By on March 16th, 2020 in Event

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RAPID + TCT 2019 [Image: Fabbaloo]

RAPID + TCT 2019 [Image: Fabbaloo]

The spring 3D printing calendar is usually filled with travel to major trade shows, conferences, and events — but not for 2020.

We’ve been following the global announcements for some time now, as the spread of coronavirus and attempts to forestall cases of the resulting COVID-19 illness have led to massive measures around the world. Today another titan of the industry’s calendar has taken the step to call off for this year.

RAPID + TCT is off for 2020.

The official announcement states:

“We have continued to work to identify options for presenting the event at some point in 2020, but despite these considerable endeavors, we were forced to make a difficult choice. Given the volatile nature of the COVID-19 pandemic’s length and severity in the United States, we recognized that there were no 2020 options that would both work operationally and assure the safety of the additive manufacturing community.”

RAPID + TCT Postponed

Citing the prioritization of the “health, safety and wellness” of everyone involved in the event, organizers have called off this year’s show — which was to be its 30th anniversary event.

The decision impacts 400+ companies and more than 10,000 individuals.

While many events have postponed until later in the year, the RAPID + TCT team were unable to work out an alternative 2020 date. The calendar is naturally getting more crowded for the second half of this year as so many events are already normally scheduled and more have been added in from already pushed back events. While some were apparently still prepared to continue on as planned next month, the (prudent) decision was ultimately made to not hold the event this year.

“The commitment to RAPID + TCT was overwhelming; most of our partners and exhibitors enthusiastically reiterated their intention to join us in Anaheim and reminded us of their commitment to the event if we were able to find an alternative date,” said Steve Prahalis, Chief Operating Officer of SME and its Vice President of Events. “Unfortunately, we were not able to find a workable and safe option.”

The next edition of RAPID + TCT will thus take place in April 2021 in Chicago.

“In unprecedented and extremely fast-moving circumstances, we actively participated in and supported the difficult decision to postpone this important event. We are all aware that this decision will require industry professionals, exhibitors, partners, and visitors from around the world to reschedule their attendance, which will have an impact on their organizations as it will for SME and Rapid News Group,” said Duncan Wood, CEO Rapid News Publications Ltd. “We are grateful that given the current situation the international community has showed great understanding and supported our collective decision, and we look forward to a successful 2021 event in Chicago.”

Postponed, Not Cancelled

Like other announcements before it, the RAPID + TCT announcement notes that the event has been “postponed.”

The next edition of the annual event is taking place as originally scheduled in 2021; doesn’t that mean that the 2020 event has simply been cancelled?

Wording is important here, as cancellation and postponement can mean different things from the business perspective. Cancelled events often mean that full reimbursements of all registration, exhibition, and other fees already collected. Postponing can mean that such fees can be held to be applied to later usage.

Thus it seems — from our understanding — that many registered exhibitors can continue to plan on the next event. Just now that next event is next year, rather than next month.

This is not a blanket statement applicable across the board for every event; attendees and exhibitors will need to check with each event for which they were registered for that particular circumstance and handling. We just wanted to clear up some of the language being used.

3D Printing Events Impacted

RAPID + TCT joins many other events in 3D printing to make the call to call off this year.

Whether postponed, cancelled, digitized, or continuing on with the possibility of significantly smaller turnout, events in 3D printing currently have difficult decisions to face.

We’ve been wondering whether the show would go on; while Kerry and Marney are cancelling their travel and lodging for Anaheim, I hadn’t actually booked mine yet. It looks like Team Fabbaloo is pretty well grounded while the impacts of global pandemic continue. We will all continue to follow our local areas’ recommendations, which currently include a good amount of social isolation.

We send our best wishes to those in the industry for, above all, good health. We hope to see a return to normal as soon as is possible. And until then — we’ll see you virtually.


By Sarah Goehrke

Sarah Goehrke is a Special Correspondent for Fabbaloo, via a partnership with Additive Integrity LLC. Focused on the 3D printing industry since 2014, she strives to bring grounded and on-the-ground insights to the 3D printing industry. Sarah served as Fabbaloo's Managing Editor from 2018-2021 and remains active in the industry through Women in 3D Printing and other work.