The third edition of the Additive Manufacturing European Conference (AMEC) took place in the European Parliament on 7 June 2017, bringing together 100 participants from the AM industry, authorities and academia. This document aggregates the main TAKEAWAYS discussed during this event.
Europe has a deep expertise in additive manufacturing (AM). However, new competitors emerge on the world’s stage and in order to remain a competitive leader in AM, EU authorities must accelerate their support actions. One of these actions must be the integration of AM into the existing production environments. It should be treated as complementary to conventional industrial processes.
The uptake of industrial AM needs also a more efficient approach to standards’ development; common standards are a boost for today industry. The conference highlighted as well the short supply of AM competences, a joint approach must be the way forward in the skills field.
Regards education, one should not underestimate the added value of re-training existing workers. Key for the deployment of additive methods in Europe is not only teaching AM skills in the educational context, but also re-focusing skills of existing workers.
Furthermore, EU investments on software solutions and expertise are essential to maintain competitiveness. Software development is necessary for the further industrialization of AM in Europe. In terms of expertise, digital capabilities were recognized as fundamental to accelerate the adoption of additive techniques on Europe’s factory floors.
Lastly, EU research funding must be put at disposal of AM, a technology where Europe enjoys a prominent position. Filip Geerts, CECIMO Director General, saw in EU research tools a way to tackle outstanding AM issues such as part quality. He noted that "we have to think strategically about AM when we elaborate FP9, the multiannual research programme that will replace Horizon 2020".