TCT Magazine publisher RapidNews, arguably the most comprehensive media covering industrial 3D printing today, inducted five of the men who had the most significant impact in bringing this industry to life into its 3D Printing Hall of Fame. The first five TCT Hall of Fame inductees are:
- Adrian Bowyer – Founder of the RepRap Project
- Scott Crump – Inventor of Fused Deposition Modelling
- Chuck Hull – Inventor of Stereolithography Process
- Hans Langer – Founder of EOS
- Fried Vancraen – Founder of Materialise
Hall-of-Fame inductee nominees were first selected by the TCT Expert Advisory Board, themselves experts and innovators from across the globe. The Expert Advisory Board is a panel of 25 rapid technology industry analysts, experts, inventors, material scientists, users, journalists and academics.
The nominees were submitted to TCT magazine readers and the global 3D printing community, who then voted for the five individuals they believed to have made the most significant impact toward either inventing or developing the key technologies that have driven the additive manufacturing industry. These are the people whose names will be remembered for marking the dawn of the digital manufacturing age.
Where It All Began
World-renowned inventor Chuck Hull, the man responsible for 3D Printing, had been inducted into the United States National Inventors Hall of Fame for inventing SLA in 2014. The first 3D printer prototype was built way back the year 1984.
Chuck Hull realized that if you pointed a highly focused UV light at a “photopolymer”, the material would instantly turn solid wherever the light would touch. If you did this repeatedly, layer by layer, you could “print” a physical 3D object into existence.
Chuck Hull co-founded and ran for two decades 3D Systems, a global integrated solutions 3D Printing company specializing in 3D printers, print materials, and 3D Imaging solutions and customization software. Today, after a number of acquisitions, the company sells 3D printers based on 7 different major technologies and it is the second largest public 3D printing company by yearly revenues.
Aside from inventing 3D Printing, Chuck Hull, registered more than 60 U.S. Patents as well as other patents around the world in the fields of ion optics and rapid prototyping.
A Tech Star
Stratasys Co-founder and Chief Technology Officer, Scott Crump was also inducted to the TCT Hall of Fame. Scott Crump invented the technology known as FDM or Fused Deposition Modeling, patented it 1989, and founded Stratasys, Inc with his wife Lisa. Mr. Crump was CEO of the company for 25 years until the company’s merger with Objet Ltd. in 2012. Crump is currently Chief Innovation Officer, sits on the Stratasys Board of Directors, and is Chairman of the Stratasys Executive Committee.
“I am honored and humbled to be chosen from among the list of prestigious nominees and inducted to the inaugural Hall of Fame awards,” said Mr. Crump. “Each nominee is a pioneer with an illustrious contribution toward building this industry. Although the industry is 30 years old, I believe we’re just at the beginning of a Golden Age of manufacturing, with significant opportunities in production of prototypes, manufacturing tools and end products. There’s enormous potential in applications for aerospace, automotive and healthcare, just to name a few. AM is allowing for the next Industrial Revolution.”
Stratasys technologies, services and strategic expertise are changing the way everyday objects are imagined, designed, and manufactured. Production parts built on Stratasys 3D printing solutions have found their way into critical applications across the globe and even the heavens, including NASA satellites, ULA rockets, Airbus aircraft, ACIST Medical devices, Volvo factory production tools, McLaren and Penske race cars, and innumerable others.
3D at Your Service
Another inductee was Fried Vancraen, founder and CEO of Materialise, one of the largest 3D printing service bureaus (running over 150 industrial 3D printers based on different technologies) and a leading 3D printing software provider. Vancraen was one of the first persons to imagine the possibilities in terms of mass customization and on-demand manufacturing that 3D printing could offer.
“First of all, I want to congratulate my fellow inductees: Adrian, Chuck, Hans, and Scott. They have made fantastic contributions to the development and creative deployment of additive manufacturing. Thanks to Materialise’s backbone positioning, we have been able to work with each of them through partnerships, co-creations and many fruitful collaborations. The most important thing I’ve learnt in my 27 years in this industry is that, if we want to use 3D printing to truly change the world for the better, we can never go it alone. Which is why the five people honored last night should be seen not as outstanding individuals, but as representatives of a great community that has achieved great things together.”
Fried founded Materialise in 1990, with a mission to use the then-nascent 3D printing technology to drive product development that results in a better and healthier world. Right from the outset, Fried saw three main challenges – making better software, creating a quality 3D-printing service, and realizing the potential for medical applications.
Throughout the following decades, Materialise has been working to overcome all these challenges, always there to move the industry forward, always there to push the boundaries of what is possible. Strong partnerships and collaborations, as well as an uncompromising ambition to create 3D printing applications that are meaningful, have remained at the core of Materialise’s business ever since.
In addition to Fried’s induction to the TCT Hall of Fame, Materialise has also won the coveted Industrial Product Application 2017 award for its co-creation work with Philips Lighting on the reinvention of tools for its light bulb production lines. The first two results of the collaboration, a bracket and a vacuum suction gripper, are saving Philips €89,000 per year, as well as reducing lead times for the tools from weeks to days.
Welcome to the Machine
Dr. Hans J. Langer, who founded EOS in 1989, after a successful start in the laser industry. The company has since become one of the leading innovators in the space, spanning both polymer and metal industrial 3D printing processes. Dr. Langer is also active in the leadership of a portfolio of more than 10 companies, and has been driving developments across technologies, including pioneering metal laser melting and additive manufacturing.
Since the late 1980’s, Hans Langer has been at the forefront of the 3D printing industry, continuing to innovate as this technology becomes more mainstream. It was recently announced that he will stay on as Executive Chairman of the EOS Group, following Dr. Adrian Keppler’s appointment as CEO of EOS GmbH. Dr. Langer’s focus will be on the direction of the EOS Group as whole, managing the strategic expansion and development of its global operations.
“It is an honour to be recognised as one of the leaders in 3D printing, and I am delighted to be inducted into the TCT Hall of Fame. This induction is testament to the fantastic team I have had around me at EOS, and the talented group of people I’ve been lucky to work with over the last 30 years or so. Since the late 1980’s, I’ve been looking at ways to further this industry and show the potential of the technology on a grand scale, and EOS has allowed me to grow and develop beyond what I even thought was possible,” said Dr Langer.
EOS has been advancing its commitment to the next industrial revolution through many software, hardware, and business announcements in 2017 already.
3D Printing for All
Finally, Adrian Bowyer, inventor of RepRap, was also inducted. Bowyer is an English engineer and mathematician, formerly an academic at the University of Bath. Born in 1952 in London, he joined the Mathematics Department at the University of Bath in 1977. Shortly thereafter he received a doctorate from Imperial College London for research in friction-induced vibration. Whilst working in the Mathematics Department he invented (at the same time as David Watson) the algorithm for computing Voronoi diagrams that bear their names (the Bowyer–Watson algorithm).
He then spent twenty-two years as a lecturer then senior lecturer in the Mechanical Engineering Department at the University of Bath. He retired from academic life in 2012, though he is still a director of the company RepRap Ltd. He invented the RepRap Project, based on an open-source self-replicating 3D printer, giving rise to affordable 3D printing and jumpstarting the age of digital, additive manufacturing
More to Come
Nominees also included:
Scott Crump, Inventor of Fused Deposition Modeling
Phill Dickens, AM researcher, consultant and educator
Carl Deckard, Inventor of Selective Laser Sintering
Hans Langer, Founder of EOS
Fried Vancraen, Founder of Materialise
Graham Tromans, Veteran applications specialist and educator
Adrian Bowyer, Founder of the RepRap Project
Greg Morris, Process pioneer and application specialist
Terry Wohlers, AM consultant, analyst, author and speaker
Chuck Hull, Inventor of Stereolithography