NAMII, the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute, awarded on August 2012, and driven by the National Center for Defense Manufacturing and Machining (NCDMM), had an interesting booth at the 2013 RAPID Conference and Exposition, at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in Pittsburgh, Pa.
There were several white boards where attendees could post thoughts, ideas, needs, concerns, and issues, giving the representatives of NAMII a lot of information on what NAMII could do for this industry.
Noted Ed Morris, NAMII Director, “With RAPID, we had the extraordinary opportunity to engage with the additive manufacturing and 3D printing community and acquire direct input from them on the needs of our industry. Attendees continually recognized the innovative, out-of-the-box approach that we took at RAPID in our efforts to foster an environment to collaborate and capture the voice of our community. For those RAPID attendees that joined the conversation and engaged with NAMII, they left RAPID with a solid understanding of our mission, but more importantly, a sense of satisfaction and excitement knowing they provided direct input to empower NAMII. We asked attendees to ‘join the conversation’ and help NAMII ‘shape the future’ and they surpassed our requests. The insight we gained was invaluable and will be used to formulate a very timely, accurate, and forward-looking technology investment plan — a National Additive Manufacturing Roadmap.”
Noted Debbie Holton, SME Director of North American Events and Industry Strategy, “NAMII’s participation in RAPID 2013 added energy and momentum. By engaging the thousands of additive manufacturing experts, stakeholders, and ‘newbies’ who attended RAPID, NAMII garnered valuable feedback and industry insight. Additionally, the keynote address, featuring NAMII’s Ed Morris, Brett Lambert, and Mike Molnar, was standing room only with more than 900 delegates anxious to hear how they can engage with NAMII. SME is proud to be a founding member of NAMII and to see this growth ‘live’ at our definitive additive manufacturing event.”
According to SME, RAPID 2013 broke past attendance records with more than 2,500 attendees, almost doubling last year’s attendance and reflecting the widespread excitement about 3D printing and additive manufacturing.
As for the level of interaction the NAMII team had with RAPID attendees, Jennifer Chase Fielding, Ph.D., NAMII Program Manager and Deputy Program Manager, Defense-wide Manufacturing Science and Technology, Manufacturing Technology Division at Air Force Research Laboratory AFRL/RXMS adds that the NAMII set a high standard.
“NAMII, along with its strategic partners MAYA Design and AoT, created an amazing and captivating experience that was unprecedented for the RAPID audience,” said Dr. Fielding. “The RAPID event enabled NAMII to make a splash as an innovative, collaborative, and technically leading organization to our stakeholders.”
Rob Gorham, NAMII Deputy Director for Technology Development, concurs with Dr. Fielding.
“This year’s RAPID event was not my first time attending the exposition,” said Mr. Gorham. “I perceived that this year was different in that the crowd seemed far more engaged and enthusiastic. In regard to the dynamic nature of the NAMII exhibit, I had numerous attendees say that we flipped the conference on its head by 180-degrees with our booth design and our unwavering efforts to actively solicit feedback and input. I think attendees understood that sharing their insight with NAMII on the day-to-day decisions they make within the additive manufacturing industry, they had the ability to directly contribute to and impact our industry and the next-generation of additive manufacturing and 3D printing technologies.”
Darrell Wallace, Ph.D., NAMII Deputy Director of Workforce and Educational Outreach, also emphasized the importance of drawing on the collective knowledge base at RAPID.
“RAPID represented an opportunity to engage with individuals from widely varying backgrounds and perspectives on additive manufacturing,” added Dr. Wallace. “NAMII, working to bring together those perspectives, was able to leverage the event to facilitate some creative ideation exercises that captured inputs of those broad perspectives on important issues in additive manufacturing — perspectives that will determine NAMII’s future objectives.”
For Bill Macy, NAMII Deputy Director of Technology Transition, the introduction of NAMII’s non-traditional booth and socialization process to the RAPID attendees proved to be very exciting.
“It was both interesting and exciting to introduce our socialization process to the RAPID audience,” explains Mr. Macy. “It was just fascinating to watch the transformation as RAPID attendees initially reacted to the white walls in the booth and participate in conversations with us on day one to how the interactions and conversations evolved as they realized they were shaping the outcome. The NAMII booth walls began to fill with ideas as conversations became more engaging. Moreover, I had nothing but positive comments on our approach. They understood that NAMII had put forth a vision on how to shape the future of our industry and they were eager to collaborate with NAMII to see that vision realized.”
In summarizing NAMII’s role at RAPID 2013, Ralph Resnick, NCDMM President and Executive Director, and NAMII Founding Director, stated “There’s no question that NAMII’s debut at RAPID was tremendously successful. The NAMII exhibit was the epicenter of dynamic interaction and collaboration. It was very rewarding to watch the additive manufacturing and 3D printing community seize NAMII’s vision. With NAMII leading and fostering this unprecedented level of industry collaboration, the additive manufacturing sector will revolutionize the U.S. manufacturing industry.”
The accolades from RAPID attendees have been steadily pouring in and underscore the success NAMII achieved at RAPID.
“I have attended SME’s RAPID event since the mid-1990s and this year’s event held in Pittsburgh was without a doubt the most invigorating I have witnessed,” said Jim Williams, President and Chief Executive Officer of 3D Systems/Paramount Industries. “Many of the additive manufacturing technical break-out sessions were standing room only. The buzz in the exhibit hall was everywhere, but none more evident than at NAMII’s booth. NAMII challenged and inspired the attendants to envision and roadmap the future of additive manufacturing. Kudos to the RAPID and NAMII teams for an excellent event!”
Lisa Camp, Associate Dean of Strategic Initiatives for the Case School of Engineering at Case Western Reserve University, added “The integration of NAMII into RAPID was fantastic. With NAMII being so new, the conference provided an opportunity for incredible engagement with existing additive manufacturing and 3D printing companies, as well as companies exploring the technology. This is very important as NAMII works to create an Institute of value to the community. Additionally by having the regional NAMII research universities highlighted at the conference, we were able to listen and learn even more about what industry needs to push additive manufacturing forward into mainstream manufacturing as there are a number of hurdles that we can overcome by working together. We are glad we attended RAPID 2013.”
“NAMII did a great job at RAPID and the NAMII team deserves a huge round of applause for all of their work,” said Kelly Visconti, Technology Manager – Advanced Manufacturing Office for the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy at the U.S. Department of Energy. “I thought the NAMII booth was a creative and engaging space. I look forward to NAMII sharing the output from the booth, the workshops, and other engagement activities.”