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Solvay is launching an international competition challenging students to print the best possible 3D parts using one of its highest performing polymers. By holding this contest, Solvay aims to promote a new way of managing innovation in a strategic market.
The Additive Manufacturing Cup (AM Cup) that Solvay is launching this fall is the first of its kind for the Group. Solvay’s Specialty Polymers Global Business Unit (GBU) is reaching out to university students around the world and challenging them to 3D-print two objects with the highest possible precision, quality, and performance. Teams have until late October to apply, and the winner will be announced in March 2018.
But why target the student population here rather than, say, specialized startups? The choice is not coincidental. “Additive manufacturing is a technology where the worlds of manufacturing and digital meet,” explains Christophe Schramm, Manager of New Technologies at Solvay Specialty Polymers who is behind the whole project. “It’s a technology that will transform many industries in the coming decades, so we wanted to target the people who will be in charge ten to twenty years from now.” What’s more, such a competition has a lot to offer to students: practically applying their theoretical knowledge, adding a prestigious achievement to their résumé, and enhancing their opportunities of turning their passion into a vocation.
The project also comprises a strong objective of innovation promotion, which made it all the more logical to reach out to the younger generations. “We looked at different options around the idea of open innovation such as crowdsourcing or hackathons, and decided on a student competition because students are dynamic and generally more prone to radical innovation”, explains Amaury de Francquen, Project Manager for the AM Cup.