Fabbaloo’s RAPID+TCT 2023 Recap: Insights and Industry Trends

By on May 8th, 2023 in Event, news

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Welcome sign for RAPID+TCT 2023 [Source: Fabbaloo]

Our team spent last week in Chicago at the annual RAPID+TCT event, where there were approximately 450 exhibitors.

The event took place at McCormick Place, one of the world’s largest exhibition halls. While it’s not yet known precisely how many attendees were present, we observed significant traffic on all days of the event.

We spoke to dozens of companies at the event, which covered additive manufacturing and related technologies. So, look out for a long series of stories on our findings in the coming days and weeks.

General Observations and Industry Implications

Before diving into specific stories from RAPID+TCT, let’s provide some general observations about the event and its implications on the industry.

The good news is that there were plenty of exhibitors and attendees, in spite of economic concerns. Some industries are still trying to recover, while others are making heavy and increasing use of additive manufacturing approaches.

We noticed multiple smaller niche areas where a technology provider had identified very profitable applications for their specific equipment. It seems that this could be a way for deeper penetration of the technology into the industry, a kind of slow absorption that will take time. Once a company uses the technology for one application, it’s very likely they will discover or invent more uses.

Surprises and Disappointments at RAPID+TCT

We were very surprised by the sheer size of many exhibitor stands, as there were many significantly larger than previous years. In many cases, the booth size approached the level we’ve seen at Formnext, the world’s largest AM trade show. That said, some companies still showed up with a fold-out table and tablecloth; some told us they won’t be doing that again.

One very surprising finding was the almost complete lack of product announcements. There were virtually no new 3D printers announced, and the few announcements seen often related to automation or software angles. In some cases, new materials had been qualified for use, but that’s about it.

The Future of 3D Printing Industry Events

Women in 3D Printing had their first dedicated stand, and from all accounts, it was quite successful. Participants told us many people dropped by to ask questions about how to increase diversity in their respective companies and how to support the movement. We anticipate the group will continue to use this approach at future events.

Most exhibitors we spoke with indicated they had fruitful conversations with prospects, and there were even rumors of several large sales taking place at the show. One told us they had gathered 120 leads on the first day of the show.

RAPID+TCT 2023 was a successful event, although it’s pretty clear the industry is still bruised from the pandemic. The trajectory is still upwards, however, and that’s a very positive sign.


By Kerry Stevenson

Kerry Stevenson, aka "General Fabb" has written over 8,000 stories on 3D printing at Fabbaloo since he launched the venture in 2007, with an intention to promote and grow the incredible technology of 3D printing across the world. So far, it seems to be working!

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