Tampere business region takes the fast lane for building special competences in industrial 3D printing. How this all started and what is going on right now?
In October 2012 innovation company ideascout Ltd invited Finnish SMEs to co-create new opportunities that are based on the emerging 3D printing business. Altogether 30 companies co-created practical insights and an action plan and so a systematic development process started. Somewhere along the next steps a vision for strong local competence concentration emerged and this led to numerous multidisciplinary development, training and investment activities.
Event by event, meeting by meeting, larger population engaged in and got inspired by the opportunities. After field studies and opportunity exploration a special competence and community development activity – 3D Printing Academy – was executed in 2015 by ideascout and funded by local development organisations, such Pirkanmaan Liitto (Council of Tampere region) and Tredea (Tampere Region Economic Development Agency). This led to the creation of a 3D printing community of 600 members. The key event was the first local 3D printing conference in 2015 with over 300 participants. Big numbers for a relatively small business region!
In May 2016 the situation is extremely fascinating. Tampere business region has established high quality training activities on 3D printing with local universities and other organisations and investments are in place for getting high quality equipment. The first Finnish 3D printing cafe, 3DCrush, is running, local 3D printer manufacturing has started (Prenta) and several top level additive manufacturing research activities have been initiated. Dealers for industrial 3D printers provide machines for companies. A special opportunity is also found in the training of former Nokia and Microsoft professionals to be the next generation 3D printing practitioners. Just to give some examples.
The Vision is very much alive in front of our eyes and the industrial revolution is becoming reality. This year will show the new big steps toward industrial 3D printing in Finland. One of the steps is 3DSTEP conference that takes place in Tampere city in October 4-5, 2016.
We welcome you to experience, see and feel the winds of change. www.3dstep.fi WELCOME!
– Pekka Ketola, ideascout Ltd / 3DSTEP –
This article was originally published in 3DSTEP Event blog in May 2016.