Rapid+TCT 2024 Recap: Market Adjustments and Emerging Technologies

By on July 1st, 2024 in Event, news

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Rapid+TCT 2024 in Los Angeles [Source: Fabbaloo]

Last week we attended Rapid+TCT in Los Angeles, and let me tell you all about our experience. 

As usual, the conference was well-organized, and took place at the convention center in downtown LA. The highlight was the show floor, where some 400ish exhibitors showed off their products and services. In addition, there were quite number of short presentations on a wide variety of topics. 

For us, and other attendees, one of the major benefits was the opportunity to network with colleagues from around the world. We were able to meet with many established companies as well as some new startups, some exposed to public eyes for the very first time. 

It’s also an opportunity for 3D print companies to directly interact with each other to catch up on the competition. We observed many company representatives, including major CEOs, prowling through competing stands. In at least one case we saw they had removed their name tags for anonymity when doing so. 

Over the next few weeks we’ll be publishing stories about our findings in some detail. However, today I’d like to discuss some overall trends we observed. 

Scene at Rapid+TCT 2024 in Los Angeles [Source: Fabbaloo]

The number of exhibitors seemed to be a bit smaller than previous years, when the event hovered around 500ish exhibitors. Some of this is due to the downturn in investment in the industry, and some is also due to companies being acquired. For example, Digital Metal is now part of Markforged, and Essentium is part of Nexa3D.

I haven’t seen the attendance numbers yet, but it felt just a bit less busy than usual. It may be that manufacturers are cutting back on expenses, which would be reflected in attendance figures. 

There were substantially fewer major product announcements than you’d expect to hear at a major event of this type. Some of that is due to the pandemic, during which R&D expenses were cut. Because of that, some companies have not as much to announce now because they hadn’t been developing new products. There’s also the shutdown of investment money, which obviously will affect the introduction of new products.

While there weren’t many major announcements, the number of announcements was similar to typical levels. The difference was that the content of the announcements were of less importance. Companies announced “a new material”, “openings sales in <distant country>” or “we have a new board member!” News, yes, but not always of major interest.

What did we see that was interesting? There were a few new 3D printers, a couple of intriguing new materials, and a very interesting finishing system concept that we’d never seen previously. We’ll talk about all of these in coming days. 

Was it worth attending? Absolutely! There are very few events in the year where you can gain an extremely broad perspective of the 3D print industry, with the ability to speak directly with the participants. 

Via Rapid+TCT

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!