In spite of considerable press coverage and increasing use, 3D printing technology is still a mystery to many businesses. A new project hopes to change that.
The Family of the Future project is a venture from the Flemish Cluster Association for 3D Printing, Flam3D, has participation from no less than 30 Flemish companies and institutions, including such notables as: Renishaw, Ricoh, Twikit, Velleman, and of course, Materialise, one of the largest 3D print services in the world.
Here is their description of the project:
Family of the Future is a collaborative project by 30 organizations that are part of the Flam3D-network. Flam3D is a not-for-profit organisation representing over 70 Companies and Research Institutes in Flanders, Belgium. Our goal is to promote all aspects of 3D-printing and facilitate and support the creation of new value chains.
The wide breadth of their participants will permit use of multiple 3D printing and modeling technologies, in an effort to demonstrate what is indeed possible with 3D printing. Their hope is to inspire businesses and individuals to make more ingenious uses of the technology towards building the businesses of the future.
One demonstration they’ve recently been working on is a 3D printed replica of three humans. These replicas will include more than 90 3D printed parts, representing different body components. The experience of the participants in the project can be explained to businesses in order to make them understand more directly what 3D printing can do and what it takes to complete a 3D print-related project.
One may be skeptical about this approach, but it seems to me to be a slightly different way of executing the “demonstration centre” concept. That’s something that many larger 3D printing companies have been doing; building a centre where they can SHOW people exactly what is possible.
This is a critical function for 3D printing, as there are thousands of businesses who simply don’t know what to do, and whether it even applies to their business. They may be misinformed by an old analysis of the technology, which may now be entirely out of date due to the progress of technology.
Initiatives such as the Family of the Future are a good thing that should be done everywhere.