Robots, Cars, and the Deep Blue Sea: European CONVERGE 2017 Inspires with Presentations & Expo Pieces

Whoever could not attend CONVERGE 2017 in Essen, Germany last week missed a truly incredible conference! From start to finish, the day was packed with content exemplifying the convergence of design and technology

From getting a glimpse of what the Sagrada Famìlia in Barcelona will look like in 2026, to robots that nurture mushrooms, CONVERGE 2017 in Europe offered fascinating insights into the product development of the future. The event kicked off on Monday, October 16 with an evening welcome reception that gave a hint of what was to come.

Lightweight in the Limelight

The highlight of the exhibition area and most eagerly awaited by attendees was the 3i-PRINT Caddy Youngtimer. It was due to arrive at the show at 3PM in the afternoon, but traffic was so heavy around Essen that it couldn’t make its entrance until 7:30 pm when the event had already started! But as they say – the best is always late – the Caddy entered with a big splash and drew everyone in. Immediately gathering around the vehicle, all attendees wanted to take a first look at its 3D printed front-end. 3i-PRINT is a joint project by Altair, APWORKS, csi entwicklungstechnik, EOS GmbH, GERG, and Heraeus. “The 3i-PRINT project impressively shows what is possible in vehicle body design combining state-of-the-art simulation software, innovative materials, and additive manufacturing as a modern manufacturing technology,” says Mirko Bromberger, Marketing Director of Altair Germany.

The possibilities are immense thanks to simulation-driven design and the creative design freedom offered by 3D printing. The front-end structure of the 3i-PRINT Caddy is a true ‘lightweight’ design and offers various functionally integrated components, such as passive and active cooling of the electric powertrain. In addition, the front-end structure was also optimized with regards to structural and crash performance.

Top of the Top: Expo Pieces

The 3i-PRINT project was just the beginning of the exhibition area. With the Amazone Rocker Arm, Ruag’s 3D printed satellite antenna bracket, Space IL’s moonlander, exhibition pieces from the Purmundus Challenge, several bikes, furniture pieces, a 3D printed VR Headset designed and made by Turi Cacciatore, and many different 3D printed objects and prototypes, the exhibition gave an outstanding impression of modern product development and design.

Nature Rules: Rich Program with Highlights Galore

Tuesday morning started with Jeff Brennan, Altair’s Chief Marketing Officer, taking the stage and his welcome presentation outlining the day’s agenda. Design inspired by nature was one of the most popular topics and a major theme of the day. Presentations from Zaha Hadid, Sagrada Famìlia, Faraone, and Stephan Henrich Robotikdesign und Architektur showed the potential of simulation and topology optimization in modern architecture by using nature and bionics as inspiration for new buildings, furniture, and related products.

Additional inspirational presentations came from thyssenkrupp Elevators, PROTIQ, and TU Dresden. Whether you are developing a ropeless elevator that goes sideways, new tools for injection molding, or a new type of joint support for sports, every demonstration showed how a simulation-driven design process and the use of modern development tools can be utilized to create any type of product.

Deep Insights in Thrilling Master Classes

The afternoon was dedicated to two Master Classes – one focused on “Design for Style and Function” and the second on the “Making-of the 3i-PRINT project”.

The first Master Class, hosted by Turi Cacciatore of Turi Cacciatore Design, presented an outstanding design project at the intersection of virtual reality and 3D printing. It provided a step-by-step explanation of the development process of the 3D printed, fully customizable VR head set. From an overview of the design process to a live demo of Evolve and rendering techniques the Master Class taught attendees all they needed to know to get started with innovative design projects.

The second Master Class, presented by csi entwicklungstechnik and APWORKS showed how to leverage the potential of modern manufacturing methods with the application of new development tools and techniques. Going beyond structural mechanics and lightweight design considerations, the class showed how crucial it is to identify economic solutions that can create profitable business with additive manufacturing. 3i-PRINT is a joint project of csi entwicklungstechnik, Altair, APWorks, EOS, GERG, and Heraeus.

In the closing session, attendees heard two more exciting keynote presentations. The first keynote was given by solidThinking’s marketing director Chad Zamler, who showed Altair’s platform for product development in the cloud: Inspire Unlimited. All attendees were invited to try the beta version of Inspire Unlimited for free. The final keynote of the day came from Sebastian Möller, ELiSE Alfred Wegener Institut, who presented how the Institut is inspired by nature looking at oceanic life forms that are perfectly adapted to their environment.

Europe’s CONVERGE event once again proved how important the use of modern design, processes, and development tools are to keep up with the latest innovations in product creation. The conference brought together exceptional design experts and true industry leaders to bring an incredible experience for conference attendees. The bar has been set high for the next CONVERGE conference! But as the spectrum of possibilities is almost infinite in design and technology, we are already looking forward to what our customers and industry professionals will create next time.


Charlotte Hartmann
Charlotte Hartmann

About Charlotte Hartmann

Charlotte is the Web and Content Marketing Coordinator for Altair Germany, which includes organizing web based events, managing the web presence of physical events and Altair Germany's social media presence. She has been with Altair since 2015 and studied Cultural Studies, Knowledge Management and Logistics in Magdeburg in Northern Germany.