Two minutes to make a set of dentures, a little longer to produce a custom pair of shoes—such performance speed is the result of a technology called rapid prototyping (prototipazione rapida) that started to develop in Italy in the 1980s and has reached very high quality standards in recent years. Senaf S.r.l., the organizer of Mec-Spe 2008, the international exhibition of skilled mechanics, is promoting this still cutting-edge technology as a highlight and prime attraction of the next edition of its Mec-Spe fair, which takes place in Parma April 3–5.
Although the rapid prototyping (RP) technique was used at first only to make prototypes that manifested the designer’s ideas, now it is used even for the production of finished and custom products. The newest and most advanced systems in this technology area will be on exhibit at Mec-Spe. The simplicity and ease of use of RP machines, together with the short times required to make finished products and the better quality of construction materials available for forming them, opens up a wide range of application fields that encompasses consumer goods, automotive parts, and biomedical devices, plus many things in between.
Senaf’s director, Giorgio Verga, is encouraging exhibiting companies that make or employ this technology to show visitors to Mec-Spe family of trade fairs how it can transform production methods in various industries, especially for applications that are completely new.
As before, Senaf will be laying out a “town of skilled mechanics” that consists of six districts in the most important fields of mechanical industry. These districts are represented by the co-located trade fairs Mec-Spe, Eurostampi (for mould and die making), Subfornitura, Control Italy, Motek Italy, and PlastixExpo. They will feature a Rapid Prototyping Boulevard and 31 other boulevards, along with four technology squares, in an arrangement that has proven effective at promoting the collective exhibition area as a reproduction of the production chain.