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RAPID + TCT Postponed to 2021


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SME, the producers of the additive manufacturing showcase RAPID + TCT, has 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,” says Steve Prahalis, COO of SME and its VP 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,” says 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 says 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,” says 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.

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