Jul 10, 2017 | By Julia

As part of its third annual Additive Manufacturing European Conference this past weekend in Brussels, the European Association of Machine Tool Industries (CECIMO) is pushing EU policy makers to see the bigger picture of 3D printing in Europe. Organized by CECIMO and co-hosted by members of the European Parliament Brando Benifei (S&D), Anthea McIntyre (ECR) and Cora van Nieuwenhuizen (ALDE), the Conference highlighted where the EU is currently excelling in industrial additive manufacturing, and addressed the existing challenges for its widespread adoption in Europe.

A 20-page document titled the “European Additive Manufacturing Strategy” has also been released in the wake of Conference proceedings, providing an overview of CECIMO’s input and lobbying the EU to support 3D printing research and education.

“The European advanced manufacturing industry has maintained over time a global leading position, and it can be considered a gem of the European economy. With the rise of additive manufacturing (AM) technologies on the shop floor, industry entered a new round of innovation,” writes CECIMO Director General Filip Geerts.

But Geerts also warns policymakers not to take this success for granted. “If Europe aims to remain a leader on advanced manufacturing production,” he continues, “it will need to succeed in the global race to industrialise additive manufacturing.” Geerts also notes that 3D printer producers and application sectors alike are currently competing with global leaders such as the US, China, and Japan.

Throughout the 20-page CECIMO Strategy, topics ranging from education and standards to cybersecurity, safety, and global trade are all addressed. In general, the core message is “more is more,” but with better focus needed.

In terms of education, this means sharing curriculums, creating fab-labs, providing 3D printing courses at all levels, and better funding and financing so educational institutions can purchase and implement 3D printing equipment and properly train students.

Standards and patenting are key issues in the CECIMO Strategy as well. With patenting a costly process in Europe, bolstered by an increasing turn towards open source production, maintaining ownership over a design is tricky to say the least. The Strategy thus recommends policymakers to push for greater legal certainty and better enforcement of the current regulatory framework. Similarly, the document advocates that standards be created and strengthened through specialized technical committees and standardization bodies, with a particular emphasis on implementation in developing countries.

Other cornerstones of the Strategy include recommendations for increased funding to innovative startups, the importance of cybersecurity and minimizing cyber-attacks, and a push for standardization of 3D printing tech (whether desktop or industrial systems) for health and safety reasons. Lastly, the CECIMO document emphasizes the importance of global trade in additive manufacturing as a catalyst for growth.

To read the European Additive Manufacturing Strategy in full, click here.

 

 

Posted in 3D Printer Company

 

 

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