Strategizing 3D Printing Event ROI: AM Marketing Budgets and Exhibits

By on June 2nd, 2023 in Corporate, news

Tags: , , ,

IMTS 2022 [Source: / Sarah Goehrke]

Strategies for when, where, and how to exhibit 3D printing for manufacturers.

With the world recovering from pandemic but remaining wary of macroeconomic pressures, we stand at an interesting crossroads. The “new normal” includes lingering side effects from the last few years – among them, Zoom fatigue and the natural human desire to return to in-person events.

Trade shows and exhibits have long been a major part of manufacturing business strategies, offering a valued venue to connect with partners and customers. But in mid-2023, with layoffs running rife and budgets tightening, how do advanced technology industries like 3D printing / additive manufacturing (AM) appropriately calculate an event strategy?

What is the ROI on exhibiting, attending, or forgoing industry events today?

Additive Manufacturing’s Big Events

These three questions lay the groundwork for strategizing: What, when and where are the major tradeshows for additive manufacturing?

In large part, the AM event calendar is grouped into two seasons: spring and autumn. The largest events tend to be in North America and Europe, with the single largest event on the AM calendar, Formnext, hosted in Frankfurt, Germany each November. Formnext has undeniably accumulated the greatest number of attendees, exhibitors and pure square footage dedicated to additive manufacturing.

Formnext 2022 [Source: / Sarah Goehrke]

Here’s a handy reference for the most popular AM-relevant and AM-adjacent events:

FormnextNovemberFrankfurt, Germany
IMTSEvery other SeptemberChicago, IL, US
AMUGSpringChicago, IL, US
Rapid.TechSpringErfurt, Germany
TCT 3SixtySpringBirmingham, UK
Construct3DSummerNYC, NY, US
Develop3D LiveSeptemberCoventry, UK
America Makes MMXSummerUS
SpaceAMSummerLeicester, UK
European Military Additive Manufacturing SymposiumOctoberBonn, Germany
Motorsport AMOctoberCranfield, UK
AM Medical DaysNovemberBerlin, Germany
CESJanuaryLas Vegas, NV, US
Formnext Forum AustinSeptemberAustin, TX, US
TCT AsiaShanghai, China
International Congress on 3D Printing (Additive Manufacturing) and Digital IndustryOctoberIstanbul, Turkiye and online

Some events are massive on their own merit, like RAPID + TCT in the US, and focus entirely dedicated to AM. Others are huge in terms of square footage but have only a small – if growing – percentage of that floorspace devoted to AM. IMTS is the most notable here, though the even larger CES has also previously housed some points of interest for 3D printer exhibitors.

At the other end of the spectrum, relatively smaller 3D printing workshops, additive manufacturing conferences, 3D printing expos, and learning opportunities abound.

Some, like Construct3D, appeal to primarily academic audiences. Others, like Develop3D Live, are shorter in duration and cover additional advanced manufacturing technologies.

Still others, like America Makes MMX member events, focus on government and defense, with other areas of application focus featured at aptly-named events like SpaceAM, European Military Additive Manufacturing Symposium, Motorsport AM; and AM Medical Days.

Wider-focused events can be hit-or-miss for success. CES, for example, held each January in Las Vegas, NV, US, was a hot spot for desktop 3D printers around 2015 but today has seen the number of 3D printer OEMs and market participants dwindle substantially. IMTS, in contrast, is seeing more AM exhibitors each show as the industrial focus of 3D printing grows.

International expansion is also all but inevitable for successful events, with the likes of Formnext extending to the US with the new Formnext Forum Austin beginning this year, while TCT Asia takes proven programming to Shanghai, China. Hybrid events also remain popular: for example, this October’s 7th International Congress on 3D Printing (Additive Manufacturing) and Digital Industry is taking place both in Istanbul, Turkey and online.

These and many other local, travelling, and associated industry events keep 3D printing on the move for exhibition, learning, and business opportunities.

Read the rest of this story at

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!

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *