Czech & Slovak Conference Focuses on the Use of 3D Printing in Industry


At the beginning of June 2017, LES Czech Republic and Slovakia organized its traditional one-day conference, for the second time hosted by MSD IT in Prague. The main theme of the whole day was 3D printing and its application in industrial production.

After the welcome and introductory speech by Vojtěch Chloupek, president of LES Czech Republic and Slovakia, Tomáš Michálek, co-founder of MakersLab (a 3D print workshop located in Prague), talked about the current technologies in additive manufacturing and their practical use. He also mentioned the various
licensing models for 3D printing, including those under the Creative Commons principles.

The specifics of industrial 3D printing in the Czech Republic were then discussed by Ivan Hrbková from EY. She emphasized that 3D printing clearly reduces production costs and increases competitiveness and therefore gains popularity among Czech businesses, especially in automotive and aerospace industries.
This stems from a survey recently conducted by EY among the major Czech manufacturing companies. While the current application of additive manufacturing technology seems to be mainly in research & development (especially for prototyping), with 73% of respondents saying that they already use 3d printing technology in this phase, it was interesting to see that 22% of the surveyed companies already use this technology in manufacture of final products, while 64% plan to do so within five years at the most.

Hana Kubickova from UPrint 3D of the Science and Technology Park of the Palacký University in Olomouc then introduced various case studies of 3D prints realized within the cooperation between the university center and the commercial sphere. She also compared the different print materials, from classic plastics,
through paper and photopolymer to metal, probably the most usable in the industry at the moment. Next behind the speaker’s table was Veronika Harrison of cotu s.r.o. who showcased a number of products made with additive technology and also provided a practical demonstration of printing on a 3D printer. In
her presentation, she advocated use of the technology not only for the production of prototypes and mockups (eg. for marketing purposes), but also for the production of finished products.

Taking the legal perspective on the topic, Jan Bárta focused on copyright law aspects of 3D printing, including the potential legal risks in the various phases of the process from the idea to the post-production of the finished product.

The event ended with a fascinating insight into the use of 3D printing in the pharmaceutical and healthcare sector which was provided by Marc Durante, 3D Print Lead at MSD (Merck in the US), who presented via a videoconference. He described the numerous possibilities of additive manufacturing in Life Sciences. As a short case study, he described how this technology can be deployed to produce modern removable and practically invisible dental braces. Marc also mentioned the possible future use of 3D printing, for example in food production.

At the end of the day, conference participants had the opportunity to network and exchange experiences during the traditional “glass of wine” sponsored by INVENTIA. Many of them also enjoyed a showcase of 3D printing capabilites kindly provided by Peter Halak of MSD IT.

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