Formnext 2023 Recap: Highlights from Day Three


I’m exhilarated by the trade show experience. Reconnecting with old acquaintances and forming new relationships has been an incredible journey. The major developments in this domain are sparking exciting opportunities. The positive feedback received regarding the leads and conversations generated has amplified my enthusiasm. Other progressions witnessed have my mind buzzing with fresh prospects.


In the past, our performance with elastomeric materials was not satisfactory. The recent improvements are encouraging, and numerous promising products are on the horizon. This year, we’ve noticed significant strides in flexible materials. Formlabs has introduced new flexible materials, inclusive of a silicone material. Henkel has launched high-performance materials that are strikingly impressive. The Loctite 3D IND5714 is designed to be resilient and resistant to tearing. The HP Brooks shoe sole offers superb comfort. BASF’s elastomeric TPUs for sintering and material extrusion are truly remarkable. All the sintering companies carry elastomeric materials either from Lubrizol, BASF or others. Inkbit has released a new TEPU 50 A shore elastomeric material. Evonik’s TPA, in my opinion, is absolutely extraordinary. Stratasys is offering a P3 stretch material from BASF for elastomeric prototype creation. EOS has the ball and the Digital Foam. There’s a wide array of elastomeric applications available ranging from gloves to seats, helmets, and sports equipment. Chromatic and Rapid Liquid Print are creating incredible parts via Viscotec/new chemistry technique and FRESH-like printing into a gel method. The sector of elastomeric application has greatly expanded in recent years. The potential business cases that these can uncover are fascinating. Elastomers have captured my interest this year, beating all other material families. The amalgamation of custom fit, custom geometry, and 3D printing is absolutely thrilling.


Everyone has now discovered the new frontier: connectors. An excellent application of 3D printing technology. Many were privately able to profit significantly from this knowledge before it went mainstream. The long delivery periods and myriad variations of specific shapes in high mix and low volume connectors posed significant challenges for companies. Timely delivery and supply chain complications were frequent issues. Specific and high-end connectors abound, which is a plus for us. Unfortunately, we’ve lost the unique selling point of lauding the connector application to our clients since it’s become common knowledge. I’m particularly fond of the connectors above by Stratasys. It’s delightful to see ESD safe and various FR materials being developed for this market.


The Zaxe Z3S looks sleek and appealing. You’d entirely miss its potential by merely giving it a fleeting glance. It boasts notable features such as Hi Win rails, Core XY, Klipper, and high flow, all currently in vogue in the desktop market. It appears to be a worthy combination in this device. Although I haven’t had the opportunity to test run the device, this Turkish start-up has a product that has everything a business 3D printer should have. And for approximately $4000, it’s reasonably priced. It has PEI build sheets and a robust steel chassis. With an enclosed chamber and HEPA, it almost fulfills many companies’ wish lists. This evolved, innovative machine is something I wish to see more of. I noticed on many other stalls how machines that once seemed unstable or pointless have found their niche and improved.

Evolve Additive has, for years, silently been producing some of the most refined and detailed polymer components. While they’re still not of high volume, the quality is impressive. The company exhibited new efficiencies and moved a step closer to making more manufacturing parts feasible. It remains one of the most user-friendly companies, and with a partnership with Alphacam, it should gain considerable momentum.

There are lots of deals happening, lots of alliances forming again as well. We’re seeing a lot of continuous or gradual improvements. Now with some of them we can see possible futures in combat helmets as well as golf clubs and car seats. Whereas am still worried about the old way of doing things through selling machines not products I am completely over the moon due to all the nascent applications and gradual improvements being shown.

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