28/11/2013 - Progress in Plastics: 3D Printing: Socio-economic driver and ecological bliss or pitfall


28 Nov 2013

Fablab Brussels, Erasmushogeschool Brussel - gebouw B, Nijverheidskaai 170, 1070 Brussel

Part of project: 

Additive manufacturing or 3D-printing is said to have the potential to transform the manufacturing industry and the economy. It could challenge the mass production model of manufacturing, and redistribute jobs around the world. It could bring significant environmental benefits, by removing the need to transport bulky goods around the world, and enabling new, sustainably sourced materials. Yet there is a challenging role that both businesses and government must play before 3D printing reaches a mass market like setting new standards in materials, competition and intellectual property to guarantee a sustainable infrastructure and an ecological bliss.



Session chair: Stijn De Mil (Fablab, EhB)

13.30-14.00: Registration, coffee
14.00-14.10: Welcome
14.10-14.40: Karel Van Acker (Plan C): 3D Printing & Sustainability
14.40-15.30: David Webber (PA Europe - Strategy Consulting and Public Affairs): 3D-Printing - Is Regulation Coming? 
15.30-15.50: Coffee & tea break
15.50-16.30: Nick Ervinck (artist): Challenging the possibilities of the technology
16.30-17.00: Björn Coene (KU Leuven): IP Issues
17.00-17:30: Closing discussion



Bios / Slides

Karel Van Acker is senior lecturer in sustainable materials and processes, coordinator of the Leuven Materials Research Centre at KU Leuven and Promotor-Coordinator of the policy research centre Sustainable Materials Management. He chairs the Flemish Transition Network on Sustainable Materials Management and is involved in numerous projects on sustainability assessments of material life cycles, ranging from CFRP to biobased plastics, and on urban mining and the valorisation of residues. He graduated as M.Sc. in materials engineering and obtained a PhD degree in materials science, both from KU Leuven. After his PhD (1996), he worked during several years in industry as manager of a materials and mechanical testing laboratory and at the Flemish Institute for Technological Research. He joined KU Leuven at the end of 2005.


David Webber is currently the Senior Partner of PA Europe – a Brussels based public affairs, strategic communication and lobbying agency. David Webber is also responsible for the media and political relations of the EU Brussels office, bringing him in to daily contact with policy-makers and other stakeholders on a wide variety of issues. Experienced with over 20 years of consultancy and client relationship management he has a sound knowledge and understanding of the processes of public affairs (information analysis, strategic input, policy development and lobbying) as well as a developed knowledge of the both the UK and European institutions, decision-making process and European policies. His interests include new technologies and their policy implications and has been actively involved in various innovative food, energy, transport and digital technologies. With a background in European politics and environmental science he has also been responsible for the international parliamentary network GLOBE (Global Legislators for a Balanced Environment). In this function David Webber worked closely with environmentally conscious politicians across the planet on sustainable development policy and has worked in Moscow, Brussels, London, Tokyo and Washington.

Presentation abstract: 3D Printing – Is Regulation Coming?
Is regulation coming? The simple answer is: YES. The only real question is when and what? 3D printing has been in the public spotlight for a few years now with both good and examples of its potential. While 3D printing is currently hyped to some extent, it is clear that it will have a significant impact on the economy and society. This development will give rise to a number of expected regulatory challenges, such as IPR, illegal use (3D printed guns), legal responsibility, standards, materials, health and safety, sustainability, ethics, health systems, skills and training, etc. For all of these challenges it is essential that policy makers and politicians in Europe understand what 3D printing entails; what it can mean for society and what its economic potential is.

Fostering a cross-pollination between the digital and the physical, young Belgian artist Nick Ervinck explores the boundaries between various media. Studio Nick Ervinck – which was founded in 2003 as a design/research practice – applies tools and techniques from New Media, in order to explore the aesthetic potential of sculpture, 3D prints, animation, installation, architecture and design.
Nick Ervinck’s work has been included in numerous group shows, nationally as well as internationally. His work has been exhibited at MOCA Shanghai, MARTa Herford, SMAK Gent, Ron Man,dos Amsterdam and Telic Art Exchange Los Angeles/Berlin.
Nick Ervinck was always fascinated by how art has developed due to new materials and techniques. Somewhat dissapointed at contemporary sculpture and its lack of renewal, he turned towards architecture, applied sciences and new media, in order to elaborate a new language, and to compose forms and designs that were unthinkable in all those years before. At the same time (art)history is an important source of inspiration. As a result his artworks are always situated between reality and virtuality, history and futurism.

Björn Coene is a legal researcher at the Interdisciplinary Centre for Law & ICT (ICRI), KU Leuven, and iMinds. He is specialized in intellectual property law. He obtained his experience as a scholar with the Research Foundation – Flanders (FWO) and as a researcher at the University of Ghent. Also he performed research at the Max Planck Institute for Intellectual Property and Competition Law in Munich. He currently writes a doctoral thesis concerning ‘The desirability of the investment protection schemes offered by the sui generis intellectual property rights concerning chips, computer programs and databases’.