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Press Release

RAPID + TCT 2021: North America's Largest & Most Influential Additive Manufacturing Event Celebrates Successful Return to In-Person Events in Chicago

(CHICAGO, Oct. 12, 2021) — On September 13-15 at McCormick Place, SME and the Rapid News Group welcomed the additive manufacturing community back for another successful installment of the industry’s most innovative and influential event, RAPID + TCT 2021. The 30th edition of the three-day event featured the latest in 3D-printing technology from the industry’s leading product and service providers, a full schedule of speakers including three keynote presentations and 11 thought-leadership panels and much more. SME Executive Director and CEO Robert Willig made the announcement.

Robert Willig, Executive Director & CEO of SME

“RAPID + TCT 2021 was a success on so many levels,” said Willig. “Having met incredible logistical challenges over the last 18 months, our team put in tremendous work to ensure this event would exceed the expectations of exhibitors, sponsors, delegates and attendees. The speakers, educational sessions and products that were on display at RAPID + TCT were of the highest quality you’ll find anywhere in the AM industry. We are thrilled to have welcomed more than 1,000 first-time attendees to the event as we reconvened the community, in-person to kickstart the collaboration and connection on which our industry thrives. We look forward to experiencing the next level of innovation in Detroit in 2022.”

RAPID + TCT 2021 drew over 6,000 participants — in-person and virtually through the RAPID + TCT Live Digital Experience—from 49 states and 37 countries. This year’s event signaled a new wave of users with 35% of the audience being new to adopting additive manufacturing technologies. For the first time ever, RAPID + TCT Live Digital Experience showcased livestreaming of all keynotes and thought-leadership panels. Visitors and delegates were able to connect with more than 265 exhibiting companies on the show floor.

The RAPID + TCT 2021 conference featured three AM tracks and one medical AM track focused on Evaluation, Adoption and Optimization. Over the course of three days, presentations were delivered by leading industry AM and Medical AM experts from industry, government, academia, and the medical arena to assist conference delegates with navigating their AM journey. There were 850 conference delegates in attendance.

Dr. Melissa Orme, VP of Additive Manufacturing at The Boeing Company, kicked off the show as the first keynote speaker. Dr. Orme discussed the challenges and opportunities on the horizon for the AM industry—including scale, product differentiation, Industry 4.0, industrialization, and people and training.

Also on the first day, conference organizers announced David K. Leigh, PhD, CTO for Additive Manufacturing at 3D Systems, Inc., as the winner of SME’s AM Industry Achievement Award. Established in 2008, the award was developed by SME’s AM Community to recognize an individual, team or company for outstanding accomplishments that have had significant impact within AM, or in any industry through the application of AM technologies. Leigh is recognized for building successful culture and systems at printing service houses and founding companies that broadened the market and audience for AM technology. The full list of winners of the 2021 Additive Manufacturing Community Awards can be found on the RAPID + TCT website.

The show’s second keynote speaker, Terry Wohlers, principal of Wohlers Associates, focused his address on industry expansion, innovation, competition, and the pandemic. Mark Wehde, chair of Mayo Clinic Engineering, delivered the show’s third and final keynote address discussing the myriad of ways technology is changing healthcare—including the advancing role of AM, artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), robotics, advanced analytics and more.


On the show floor, several key AM companies had their products on display, including industry titans 3D Systems, Desktop Metal, EOS, Markforged, SLM Solutions, Materalise, Stratasys and many more. Exhibitors showcased their latest technologies, materials and processes, giving attendees an exclusive, hands-on look at the best the AM industry has to offer. Key decision-makers from a variety of industries converged on RAPID + TCT 2021, including those in automotive, aircraft/aerospace, defense, electronics, industrial and commercial, machinery, medical/surgical/dental, research & development, consumer products and consulting/engineering.

A highlight of this year’s event was the annual SME Education Foundation Student Summit. The Summit delivers student-centric programming designed to provide high-school students with an introduction to manufacturing. More than 150 students from 10 schools across the country participated in the program, which included a keynote address from Jesse Roitenberg, America education manager at Stratasys, and special guest speaker, Sarah Rimini, program director of Radiology’s 3D Lab at Geisinger. Students also joined in on a hands-on autonomous vehicle competition that focused on STEM learning.

RAPID + TCT 2022 will take place May 17-19, 2022, at the TCF Center in Detroit, Michigan. To learn more about the event visit

For more than 30 years, SME and RAPID have defined the crucial role of additive manufacturing and empowered the establishment of an industry that continues to conceive, test, improve and manufacture new products at a faster, more cost-efficient pace. In 2017, the two industry leaders in 3D technology events, SME and The TCT Group, partnered to produce the annual RAPID + TCT event. For users and suppliers alike, the event is the premier destination for those who provide technology and for those who need to understand, explore and adopt 3D printing, additive manufacturing, 3D scanning, CAD/CAE, metrology and inspection technologies. For more information, visit, follow @RAPID_Event on Twitter or on LinkedIn.

About SME
SME connects manufacturing professionals, academia and communities, sharing knowledge and resources to build inspired, educated and prosperous manufacturers and enterprises. With nearly 90 years of experience and expertise in events, media, membership, training and development, and also through the SME Education Foundation, SME is committed to promoting manufacturing technology, developing a skilled workforce and attracting future generations to advance manufacturing. Learn more at, follow @SME_MFG on Twitter or