The TCT Show is a platform that moves 3D printing and additive manufacturing technologies forward by holding conferences and trade shows to share ideas.
It takes place in major cities all over the globe and brings related-firms, research institutes and organizations together. South Korea successfully held TCT@MATOF 2017 several days ago, and is gearing up to hold TCT@KOREA 2018 next year.
This past November 1st and 2nd, the TCT@MATOF 2017 was held in Changwon, South Korea. The show was affiliated with the 2017 Korea International Technology Fair&Conference. TCT@MATOF 2017 attracted around 150 attendees with 18 speakers from the USA, China, Germany and Korea. Each presentation lasted for half an hour and they went on all day long, until dinner time. More about the show can be found here.
It all started with a keynote speech by Dr. Mincheol Kang from 3D Printing Research Organization. He briefed the audience on current AM progress, both in the world, and Korea by giving some figures. Some of his summaries are as follows.
- Sales of metal AM systems have increased steadily. In 2012, the number of units sold was 202, 51 in 2014 and was 957 in 2016.
- Total revenue of AM materials is 903.0 million USD. Photopolymer for SLA takes up 40% of the total, plastic powder for SLS takes up 25%, filaments for FDM takes up 21% and metals for either DED or PBF takes up 14%.
The amount of Investment from the Korea Government for AM R&D has been 2,897,000 USD in 2013, 14,270,000 USD in 2014, 34,273,000 USD in 2015 and 39,986,000 USD in 2016 respectively.
After a general review of the current state of the market, speakers discussed deeper subjects such as material developments, industrial applications, and hybrid machines.
One thing to pay attention to is that the show took place in Changwon, one of the biggest industrial cities in Korea. Changwon is home to a number of factories for large Korean conglomerates. With this as an opportunity to share knowledge, researchers from Hanwha Techwin, Doosan Heavy Industry and Construction, Hyundai Motors, and Hyundai Wia were invited as speakers. Some talked about the metal 3D printers that they are working on and some talked about the future possibilities in the industrial sectors.
Dr. Seungkwon Seol from the Korea Electro technology Research Institute, KERI in Changwon, was also a speaker at the show. KERI is a government-funded research institute specializing in R&D on electro technology.
Dr. Seungkwon Seol has received constant attention from media for 3D printing with carbon nano tubes and nano-particles. With the technology, he explained that people might be able to print 3D objects with excellent electronic features. This means that pre-existing inks for printed electronics can be used in 3D printers with a bit of tweaking. He added that commercialization in the printed electronics sector will come soon, if applicable ink materials are developed and diversified.
Moreover, there are several 3D printing companies in Changwon. One representative 3D printing company is Daegun Tech. The company was a sponsor of the TCT@MATOF 2017, with their booth right in front of the information desk. Having other lines of business, Daegun Tech jumped into 3D printing in 2013 and moved a decent amount of personal ‘MyD’ series 3D printers at home and abroad. They are now attempting to expand into industrial printers, as KERI has transferred what Dr. Seungkwon has worked on, the technology of 3D nano ink and 3D printing tech with high-precision based on the ink, to them.
Overall, the show was full of useful information and seemed professionally organized with giveaways, refreshments and interpretations. According to a staff member at the show, TCT@MATOF 2017 was more or less a trial-run for the next year’s TCT@Korea 2018, which is expected to be a solo trade show for AM and 3D technologies only and also, much bigger.