DEARBORN (WWJ) — The SME, formerly known as the Society of Manufacturing Engineers, says its 2014 Rapid Conference and Exposition shows the rising interest in 3-D printing — what SME calls “additive manufacturing” — with the largest exhibit floor in the show’s 24-year history, along with a record number of presentations.

The industry’s longest-standing event, set for June 9-12 at Detroit’s Cobo Center, has added four additional topic areas to the previous nine; 20 new presentations for a total of 95; and new, hands-on demos and activities. Registration for the conference or just the exhibition floor is now open at

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“There has been a huge boom in interest in 3D printing over the course of the last year, especially from a consumer and new business perspective,” said Maria Conrado, event manager at SME, the producers of the event. “At Rapid 2014, we’re going to connect industry experts and early adopters with new, fresh-thinking partners to impact and grow the future of our industry.”

A significant focus at this year’s conference is on the innovation and growth of additive manufacturing as it pertains to the medical and dental industries. The medical and dental speaking track will focus on the growth in use and scope throughout both industries, such as prototyping, bio-modeling and anatomical modeling, and direct production of implantable metal implants or scaffolds for tissue engineering.

“3D printing plays a critical role in the medical industry — it is used for surgical planning and is now being used to manufacture medical devices including 3D-printed airway splints that have been implanted to save infants’ lives,” said Glenn E. Green, associate professor of pediatric otolaryngology at the University of Michigan. “At Rapid 2014, we’re going to further explorer current 3D-printed tools and future possibilities that will allow us to better all of our lives.”

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Over the course of two and a half days, 13 topic areas will be available to conference attendees, including the following new sessions:
* Economic and Business Considerations — Engage in strategies for evaluating what is right for your application.
* Automated Post Finishing of Parts — Learn how automated post finishing of additive manufacturing parts will lower costs and allow users to further explore into mainstream manufacturing production numbers and applications.
* Product Design and Machine Design Considerations Using Additive Manufacturing — Hear from the designers that are incorporating new design techniques that are blowing away old “subtraction” thinking.
* Materials for Additive Manufacturing Applications — Examine case studies and research and development activities that continue to advance the applications of additive manufacturing and 3D printing.

These new sessions join standard Rapid sessions such as 3D Scanning and Imaging, Additive Manufacturing R&D, Applications for Transportation, Casting, Direct Write Printed Materials and Electronics, Equipping the Additive Manufacturing Workforce, Final Part Production and Innovative Applications.

Additionally, the Rapid show floor is designed to optimize interactions among attendees and exhibitors, and this year it will be offering new demos and activities.

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The Rapid 2014 Conference & Exposition is co-located with The Big M manufacturing show and the International Manufacturing Research Conference.