May 25, 2011

Wilfried Vancraen (CEO Materialise) Wins RTAM/SME Industry Achievement Award

Wilfried Vancraen was selected to receive this prestigious award by the RTAM/SME Industry Achievement Award Subcommittee in recognition of his exceptional contributions and accomplishments in the Rapid Technologies & Additive Manufacturing industry.

A pioneer in his industry, Wilfried (Fried) Vancraen has been developing breakthroughs in the medical and industrial applications of Additive Manufacturing (AM) at Materialise for more than 20 years. From the very beginning, Fried has concentrated on researching and developing solutions for the transfer of data to AM machines. Today, there is an entire range of market leading software solutions offered by Materialise for use in the industrial and medical applications of AM. Software developed at Materialise has allowed the company, and many others like it, get more out of the AM process and has pushed for the adoption of AM technologies in a growing range of fields.

Fried also pioneered several major applications in the AM sector including stereolithographic medical models, colored stereolithographic medical models, perforated support structures, RapidFit Fixtures, surgical guides for oral and orthopaedic surgeons, and automated hearing aid design. Furthermore, as he strongly values the growth of the industry as a whole, he has long offered solutions developed at Materialise to others for the benefit of the entire AM industry.

The award nomination, submitted by Colleen Wivell (Director of Materialise USA) focused on two initiatives Fried has recently undertaken: the launch of the i.materialise website and the creation of the Additive Manufacturing Branding Initiative (AMBI).

In 2010, Materialise launched a new consumer website called i.materialise, which allows consumers to express themselves by turning their ideas into 3D reality. The website empowers consumers to create designs that enrich their lives and enables them to share their sense of beauty with the people around them by adding unique touches to their environment. With this service, Materialise brings twenty years of experience with high-quality 3D printing within everyone's reach. The i.materialise effort is a revolutionary push towards a global understanding and love for 3D printing.

Also in 2010, Fried gave Additive Manufacturing another boost by uniting the industry leaders through the creation of the Additive Manufacturing Branding Initiative (AMBI). This initiative was introduced in May of last year, when Materialise hosted the first "CEO Summit" at the RAPID show. During this meeting, Fried inspired the CEO's of the major OEMs and material providers with his vision to unite the industry with the intension of growing the market rather than fighting for market share.

After EuroMold in December 2010, eleven companies committed to the effort (3D Systems Corporation, CONCEPT Laser GmbH, DSM, envisionTEC, EOS, Materialise, Objet, ReaLizer, Stratasys, voxeljet technology GmbH, and Z Corporation). Today, the members gathered again to hear a presentation by the true agency (formally thepubagency, Belgium) with ideas for a PR campaign to increase the awareness of Additive Manufacturing. In the next few weeks, the AMBI group will be voting on the plan for moving forward with this effort.

Fried is truly a pioneer and an influential leader whose visionary solutions play an integral role in the growth and profitability of the AM industry. He is dedicated to the Materialise mission to “innovate product development resulting in a better and healthier world through software and hardware infrastructure and in-depth knowledge of additive manufacturing.” It is this mission that has inspired the breakthroughs and innovations for which he is being recognized. It is exciting that he has won this award and has been acknowledged for his achievements.