3D and 4D printing have now become established in industry and research, as drivers of development, sources of inspiration, enablers, and solutions for mass customisation and service on demand. Additive manufacturing itself was an innovation from the very start. A means to an end, for the development of better and entirely new, innovative products. And it is constantly apparent that the potential is far from being exhausted.

Ecologically, economically and socially sustainable AM products, self-supporting and support-free design, mobile, modular and intelligently networked power components: there are many ideas about what should be made by printer in the future. But what sounds simple quickly becomes complicated when it comes to the details. Designers and developers will no longer be able to do without looking at entire system levels, and as a next step, also designing them.

In addition to additive manufacturing per se, the process of innovation itself is becoming increasingly innovative. At the same time, the technocentric focus is becoming less and less important. In its stead, a new culture and a systematic art of innovation is emerging that is both multi-layered and multifaceted, and allows a fluid transition from the prototype to the series-produced product. That is why the focus this year is above all on interactions within the innovation process, and on the back-and-forth between individual functions and protagonists working towards a shared goal.

The innovation strategy should show what is already possible and what applications are still part of the vision, how end-to-end process chains can be made digital and consistent, or what the requirements are of the production process and the product itself. As part of the competition, the participants tackle the challenge of identifying useful, end-to-end solutions for 3D and 4D printing. In addition to a hybrid production functionality, the aim is also to create a guiding idea for the additive manufacturing and production of tomorrow.

In addition to the design itself and innovation, the panel will also assess the benefit in terms of usefulness, economy and aesthetics. We once again encourage entrants to also consider methods and materials that have not yet become established, are still the subject of research or are yet to be invented.

The purmundus challenge assesses the submitted product ideas and arrives at a pre-selection. The finalists will be presented at a special exhibition at the Formnext trade fair from 16 to 19 November 2021 in Frankfurt. The international panel will choose the winners of the purmundus challenge and present them with their awards at the trade fair on 18 November 2021. In addition to money the winners will also receive appealing prizes. A prize for the “people’s choice”, voted for over the course of the fair by visitors to Formnext 2021, completes the purmundus challenge.

Deadline for submissions is on 22 September 2021.

Partner 2021



Jury 2021

Christoph Behling - Christoph Behling Design Ltd.
Prof. Richard Bibb - Loughborough University
Isabelle Fröhlich - Volkswagen AG
Tilla Goldberg - Ippolito Fleitz Group
James Helliwell - hyperTunnel Limited
Dr. Alexander Hildebrandt - Festo AG & Co. KG
Frank Kleemann - Freelance industrial designer
Andreas Pany - Ernst Strassacker GmbH & Co. KG
Prof. Dali Sun - Beijing University of Technology
Graham Tromans - G P Tromans Associates
Dr. Clara Usma - Deakin University