In a move that could have been predicted, the organizers of TCT 3Sixty 2020 have decided to cancel the event.
Instead, they will continue planning for TCT 3Sixty 2021, which will take place 29 June – 01 July 2021. TCT says:
“Given the unprecedented circumstances we find ourselves in as a result of the global Coronavirus pandemic, Rapid News Group has decided that, in order to minimise the risks to visitors and exhibitors and to provide the best possible platform for both exhibitors and visitors, TCT 3Sixty will now take place 29 June – 01 July 2021.”
The 2020 event, originally scheduled for 29 September through 01 October of this year, was to be the debut of the reformed annual UK-based 3D print event previously known as TCT Show.
Why reform the show? After being the leading trade show for the 3D printing world for many years, they evidently felt pressure from upstart shows like Formnext, which has grown exponentially in recent years. The TCT organizers felt a refresh was due and this new format was to first appear later this year. Now, we’ll have to wait a year to see the new style.
But what, exactly, is the new format? Trade shows, as far as I’ve experienced, are more-or-less the same wherever you go, albeit with different sizes, exhibitors and attendees. TCT is a bit mysterious with their description of the new TCT 3Sixty format:
“This new mission goes beyond simply raising awareness and adoption. It is one focused on developing a real understanding across industry of the potential of additive manufacturing and 3D printing technology, this deeper 360-degree understanding will increase adoption at all levels of design, engineering and manufacturing.
A focus on real-world applications and realistic outlooks aligned with the complete range of technology on the show floor will create an innovative event experience with networking opportunities, practical takeaways and highly focused content for prospective users and existing users alike.”
I got the impression the new event would include more interactivity and focus on educational aspects of the technology, according to whispers I heard at last year’s final TCT Show in Birmingham, UK.
In all, I believe TCT’s move here to be quite sensible, given the situation. They no doubt observed a drop-off in companies exhibiting due to unexpected budget constraints, and travel restrictions and apprehensions likely leading to diminished attendance. Those factors could easily tip an event over to an infeasible state, and thus it’s wise to simply postpone things until the following year.
What’s perhaps more ominous is the date of TCT 3Sixty 2020: late September. This is perhaps the latest major 3D print event we’ve seen cancelled due to COVID-19 concerns. This suggests that the cold shadow over 3D print tradeshows that began in March now stretches all the way to October.
Next up for a decision will no doubt be Formnext, by far the world’s largest annual exhibition of 3D print and additive manufacturing technologies. This year the event was expected to come close to, or even exceed 1,000 exhibitors, making it the largest ever 3D print event in history. As of early April, Formnext 2020 had 559 registered exhibitors and high hopes for carrying on with the event. But with the cancellation of TCT 3Sixty, which was to take place only a few weeks prior to Formnext, one must think the Formnext organizers are having some serious discussions, as they no doubt are feeling the same effects as TCT 3Sixty.