The joy of real interaction: TCT Live 2009

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While the world is moving through the digital age, where information is passed at the speed of light (or at least, whatever your broadband rating is), the design and engineering field remains an often tactile industry. While the core of design, simulation and manufacturing preparation is done digitally, the tactile response from holdinf a product, a prototype or a final manufactured part is something very hard to replicate. Today, we have a huge range of technologies available to assist with making the design process more efficient and less reliant on the physical prototype. Conversely, never before have we seen so much activity in the rapid prototyping space. new machines, new processes, new materials all contribute to giving those engaged in product development the tools they need. Held at the Ricoh Arena in Coventry, TCT Live presents a unique opportunity in these times, to go and see these technologies in action.

Over two days, you can feel the sample parts, see how the machines operate, find new service providers and to discuss the potential for your business with the 100+ organisations exhibiting there. With the various conference streams and seminars running alongside the event (which are now free to attend), it’s not often that you’ll find so much in a single venue. DEVELOP3D will be there for the two days, so if you want to meet up, get in touch and we’ll see you there.

The big news for this year is that the conference is free, whereas previous years saw a charge applied. As an organisation with an interest in proliferating information to assist with product development, DEVELOP3D sees this as a fantastic move by the team. With delegates from over 20 countries, this years brings a huge range of topics, from design and engineering, through aerospace, automotive and autosport, but also into consumer realms, medical and sportswear. In specifics, this year’s line at the TCT Conference includes keynote presentation is from the rather delightfully named Ian Risk, VP of & Head of Airbus UK’s Innovation Works. Another one we’re looking forward to is former EOS employee, Volker Junior, now a partner in Junior & Tacke, a new organisation set-up to explore where rapid manufacturing and digital design techniques can be used in high-performance sports. He’ll be talking about how competitive advantage was achieved for his clients at the Bejing games.

The second day’s highlights include Bryan Cioffi of legendary shoe manufacturer, Converse, talking about how the company has upgraded its design and development process to a 100% digital creation workflow.


Running in paralell with the main TCT Conference, the Micro Manfuacturing Technology Conference is also taking place for its second year. This years agenda has been expanded to run over the two days allowing a broader range of topics to be discussed. A variety of topics relevant to all manufacturing sectors will be covered — from a state of the industry overview to in-depth discussions on micro moulding, micro milling, micro EDM and assembly.

If you’re not going to make it for the conference sessions or can’t devote a full day, the event also has three additional seminar theatres that will house a range of short, bite sized presentations, perfect for filling in knowledge gaps or getting the low down on the latest technologies. 2009 will see the return of the successful Technology for Jewellery Seminar, which will take designers through the full design-to-market cycle, from effective use of CAD (computer aided design), to prototyping models, casting, micro cutting, milling and welding. Also returning is the ever-popular “Rapid Fundamentals” Introductory sessions, presented by industry expert Graham Tromans, who will give newcomers to ‘rapid’ technologies an overview of what’s available and how to access them.

New for 2009 is the introduction of four new seminars: Inspection, Digitizing and Metrology Seminar; CAD/CAM/CAE stream; RP&M in Architecture; and Digital Manufacturing and Materials for Dentistry. These seminars will highlight the technological breakthroughs in these sectors with case studies and demonstrations.

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