Flam3D's ‘Family of the Future’ 3D printing project nears completion

The hand of one of the figures featuring full-color 3D printed components supplied by SEIDO and Stratasys

Flam3D—a Belgium-based non-profit organization representing Flemish companies and research institutes in the additive manufacturing (AM) industry—has announced that its ‘Family of the Future’ 3D printing project is nearing completion.

Family of the Future launched on August 1, 2017, and 30 Flam3D members1 are participating. It involves the creation of three figures—namely a man, woman and child—that between them comprise more than 90 3D printed components. The participants thus intend to illustrate how 3D printing can be deployed in the context of the family, as well as the factory, of the future.

The project aims to showcase the capabilities of the different 3D printing technologies and, as such, incorporates ceramic, electronic, plastic and metal components for use in a significant number of industry-specific applications. Each of the figures has an industrial, medical or personal focus. The industrial figure, for example, features ‘raw-looking’ components such as compressed air tubes, gears and sprockets.

Flam3D is responsible for managing the development of Family of the Future. The idea is said to have originated as a result of the general consensus that 3D printing is ‘still relatively unknown’ and companies are ‘missing out on opportunities’ to improve their products.

Furthermore, Flam3D believes that 3D printing is too often referred to as ‘the production technology of the future’ and not enough effort is being made to educate companies on the extent of its capabilities in the present. A lot of the components featured are therefore already produced on a daily basis.  

At the heart of the project lies the concept of drawing on the strengths of multiple organizations through co-creation and thus adding value to the final product. The Flemish 3D printing ecosystem is said to be strong on account of the close links forged and knowledge shared between different organizations. Knowledge is becoming increasingly important for organizations looking to gain a competitive advantage.

Family of the Future will be presented for the first time at Prototyping in Kortrijk, Belgium, on November 8, and again at Formnext in Frankfurt, Germany, on November 15. On both occasions, Fried Vancraen, the chief executive officer (CEO) of Materialise, a project participant, has been selected to officially introduce the project and highlight the emphasis on co-creation.

The project will then continue to travel for a year, making appearances at other technology trade fairs and events as well as schools; its prime objective being to spread 3D printing knowledge.

‘We want to inspire companies in a creative way, by demonstrating the technologies in a recognizable setting,’ explained Pieter Machtelinckx, communications manager at Flam3D. ‘We especially hope that visitors will be inspired and learn something about the technology.’

Websites: www.flam3d.be/?lang=en and www.familyofthefuture.eu

1 Family of the Future participants are 3iD, AMT-Titastar, Aqtor!, Arteveldehogeschool, CADskills, Centexbel, DeltaRocket, DSM Somos, ESMA, Formando, GC Europe, Howest, KU Leuven, LCV, Materialise, Raytech, Renishaw, Ricoh, RS Print, Seido Systems, Sirris, Tenco DDM, Thomas More, Twikit, UC Leuven-Limburg, UGent, UHasselt, Velleman, VUB and Vives.