euspen (the European Society for Precision Engineering and Nanotechnology) in conjunction with the American Society of Precision Engineering (ASPE) will soon be hosting its 6th in a series of Special Interest Group meetings on Advancing Precision in Additive Manufacturing (AM). This year, the SIG will be held on 16-18 September 2019, in the Ecole Centrale de Nantes, Nantes, France.

AM/3D Printing is today making concerted strides as a manufacturing technology, but as it makes the transition to a factory floor technology, a focus on precision and verifiable repeatability is fundamental. With this in mind, the SIG focuses on some core central issues such as how to design in AM for precision, what can be done when designing and characterizing AM machines to promote precision, the need for standards to make precision verifiable, and metrology concerns. In addition, the SIG will take a look at what can really be achieved in terms of dimensional accuracy and surface finish in AM, and how to integrate the technology into a holistic manufacturing process.

Since the then called disruptive technology of rapid prototyping entered the industrial scene over thirty years ago now, additive manufacturing (AM) or 3D printing technologies (as they are more normally referred to today), have evolved from brittle but highly innovative prototyping tools to medium (and in sopme instances mass) production technologies. When moving to real production, precision is the absolute key.

With genuinely unique advantages such as being agnostic to complexity, requiring no costly tooling, and having the ability to promote mass customization, additive technologies also come with certain limitations, which means that for any given application, trade-offs must always be considered — both between AM processes and between AM and traditional techniques.

The most basic and obvious differentiating factor with AM is that it is an “additive” process, which makes it a radically different manufacturing method, building parts up in layers at the sub mm scale.  But of paramount importance when considering and/or using AM is the fact that this technology set has never — and can never — exist in isolation. The digital input and physical output from AM systems can prove to be as complex and demanding as the systems themselves and are vital to successful adoption and achievement of precision.

Thus, the simultaneous maturation of the ecosystem around the hardware platforms has resulted in more powerful system software, as well as vastly extended design and scanning input capabilities together with a much wider pallet of materials that can be more reliably utilized on the machines. Most notably, in recent years, the proposition of more capable and all-encompassing file formats such as the AMF and the formation of a consortium of leading global software and 3D printing companies to develop an open 3MF [3D Manufacturing Format] is raising the bar on usability. These ecosystem developments are driving an increasing emphasis on end-to-end manufacturing solutions with AM — solutions that include 3D data generation, materials and automated finishing requirements as well as in-process monitoring and quality control.

The joint euspen / ASPE SIG will give delegates a real insight into just how precise, just how practical, just how competitive and compelling a technology AM is when measured against the exacting precision goals required in real manufacturing scenarios. It will also shine a light on all the ground-breaking work that is being undertaken to embed AM on the factory floor more and more over the coming years.

The local hosts and organising committee for SIG are Prof. Alain Bernard from Ecole Centrale de Nantes; Dr David Bue Pedersen from Technical University of Denmark; Prof. Richard Leach from University of Nottingham;  and Dr John Taylor from University of North Carolina at Charlotte. The AM SIG meeting chair is Prof. Richard Leach from University of Nottingham, and Dr John Taylor from University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

To find out more about the event please visit, or contact Dishi Phillips Business Development Manager at euspen on t. +44 (0)1234 754023 e.