SOUTHFIELD, Mich., March 16, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- SME, the producers of the additive manufacturing showcase RAPID + TCT, announced today that they have postponed the 2020 exposition and conference to April 2021 in Chicago, due to the global COVID-19 pandemic. RAPID + TCT is North America's largest and most influential additive manufacturing event. The postponement comes only after extensive efforts to identify viable alternatives to present the event this year.
"While SME takes great pride in producing the RAPID + TCT event, we are also very aware that it belongs to the additive manufacturing community," said Steve Prahalis, Chief Operating Officer of SME and its Vice President of Events. "The health and safety of our community is paramount, of course. But since RAPID + TCT is an event that represents the community as a whole, in the past week we have actively consulted our community partners, our exhibitors, and advisors. The commitment to RAPID + TCT was overwhelming; most of our partners and exhibitors enthusiastically reiterated their intention to join us in Anaheim and reminded us of their commitment to the event if we were able to find an alternative date. Unfortunately, we were not able to find a workable and safe option."
More than 400 exhibiting companies and in excess of 10,000 attendees, conference delegates, speakers, sponsors, and industry staff were anticipated at RAPID + TCT 2020, which was slated to take place at the Anaheim Convention Center from April 20-23. RAPID + TCT's annual importance to the additive manufacturing industry, as well as its unique charge as a community-driven event, made the decision to postpone the event all the more challenging. Over the last week, the dramatic increase in the severity of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States made the April dates extremely unlikely. Even so, event organizers continued to work to identify options for presenting the event at some point in 2020.
"In unprecedented and extremely fast-moving circumstances, we actively participated in and supported the difficult decision to postpone this important event," said Duncan Wood, CEO Rapid News Publications Ltd. "We are all aware that this decision will require industry professionals, exhibitors, partners, and visitors from around the world to reschedule their attendance, which will have an impact on their organizations as it will for SME and Rapid News Group. We are grateful that given the current situation the international community has showed great understanding and supported our collective decision, and we look forward to a successful 2021 event in Chicago."
For many in the additive manufacturing community, RAPID + TCT represents not only significant investment but the year's primary opportunity to educate, inform, and advance the additive manufacturing industry and to develop and nurture business opportunities. This drove the collective efforts to find alternatives for the 2020 event.
Prahalis said that SME, Rapid News Publications Ltd, and their community advisors engaged in intense discussions over the past two weeks, particularly escalating in the past few days, to identify alternative venues and dates to present a 2020 exposition. Ultimately, however, given the uncertain nature of the pandemic's length and severity, they recognized that there were no options that would both work operationally and assure the safety of the additive manufacturing community.
"This is a very difficult time for everyone, and I believe that SME has made a prudent and sensible decision," said Zach Simkin, President of Senvol and Chair of SME's Additive Manufacturing Community. "Although the additive manufacturing community was very much looking forward to coming together this April and to celebrate RAPID + TCT event's 30th anniversary, as part of the decision-making process I can say first-hand that we all felt, unequivocally, that safety must come first. When it becomes safe again to convene, we all look forward to coming together to celebrate the next edition."
RAPID + TCT 2021 is scheduled for April 26-29, 2021 at the McCormick Place in Chicago, and Prahalis said that SME and its advisory community were committed to making next year's event the most compelling version of the event in its history.
SME is a nonprofit, mission-driven organization that has served the manufacturing industry for nearly 90 years. For more than 30 years, SME has played a key role convening leaders in additive manufacturing to accelerate the adoption and support the advancement of the technology. From producing the first additive manufacturing industry-focused event in 1990, partnering with ASTM to establish the F42 Standards Committee in 2009, and collaborating with America Makes to develop an additive certification program in 2018, SME has and will continue to be devoted to the success of this industry by partnering with like-minded organizations.
About Rapid News Publications Ltd & The TCT Group
Established in 1992, Rapid News Publications Ltd, the owner of the TCT Group, has been a leading authority in additive manufacturing, 3D printing, design and engineering technology for over 25 years. The group's events and media products now deliver business-critical insights, intelligence and inspiration across Europe, North America and Asia. The TCT Group mission is to accelerate the adoption of additive manufacturing and 3D printing technologies that power innovation in the design-to-manufacturing process chain. The TCT Group (www.thetctgroup.com) is owned by Rapid News Publications Ltd (www.rapidnews.com) a member of the AEO (Association of Event Organisers) and BPA Worldwide.