Smithers Rapra attended EUPOC (21st-25th May – Gargnano, Lake Garda, Italy)

The main objective of this year’s EUPOC was to focus on the most recent developments within the areas of additive manufacturing. These included: experimental aspects, chemical and physical modelling, materials and part properties, among others. Various techniques for additive manufacturing deposition were discussed: Selective Laser Sintering (SLS), Direct Laser Sintering (DLS), Inkjet Printing, Additive Layer Manufacturing (ALM). In all, the speakers provided a well-rounded global perspective on novel research for both: techniques and materials used within this field. Most presentations concluded by highlighting the challenges that are yet to be faced. On the latter, it was inevitable to acknowledge the need for the maturity and establishment of testing criteria and standards when testing a rapid-prototyped final product.

PREVIEW was invited as a participant in the poster session. This session, was less focused on the additive manufacturing side, and it was thought as a space for discussion and conversation around polymer materials. In fact, the theme of the posters was varied and well balanced, with entries ranging from instrumentation companies (e.g. Malvern showcasing a new low molecular weight multi-detector GPC system), to European projects with defined targets (e.g. Bio4self –fibre based materials for non-clothing applications-, and PREVIEW). Monday’s session was by far the most popular, and PREVIEW’s posters had around a total of 25 visitors (out of the 100 participants) who actively listened and questioned about the project. The vast majority of these visitors were of mainly informative nature, without posing many questions and having only general curiosity in the posters. Nevertheless, a couple of visitors did show particular interest in the following areas:

1) A company that does compressive moulding, was particularly interested in knowing whether the system could be transferred to this type of manufacturing technique, as he too recognised the need of monitoring process parameters. He provided his business card for future communication.

2) Peter Olmsted, Director of the Institute for Soft Matter Synthesis and Metrology at the Georgetown University, was particularly interested in the Wi-Fi communication network. His idea, had to do with using sensors strategically positioned in contact with the cone and plate, or parallel plate surface inside a rheometer to extract real-time information of the viscoelastic behaviour of polymer melts. He wanted to know whether this was feasible to achieve using Wi-Fi communication.

3) A third attendee suggested extrapolating the use of intelligent machine systems for medical diagnosis purposes, e.g. access to patients’ profiles and medications doses, to make more efficient the medical service for on-a-regular-basis patients.