I interpret your posting here to be something of a reiteration of your letter to the NASUG executive committee back in February of last year when you requested that we open the NASUG to anyone interested. Below I have pasted the text of my response to you at that time, and the group still holds this position. I intend to make copies of these available to the users next week, so this is a good introduction.
I encourage you to reread the letter. I feel that I addressed your concerns adequately. The issue of whether or not a monopoly exists in this industry is totally independent of the existence of a users group. It is in no way a barrier to market entry for your products. Get your machines out there, demonstrate their superiority, and let there be no doubt.
Take care Albert,
- Rob Connelly
1998 3DSNASUG Chairman
Albert C. Young, Jr. P.E.
Chairman and CEO
8550 Lee Highway, Suite 650
Fairfax, VA 22031
I am writing to you in response to your letter to the Executive Committee of the North American Stereolithography Users Group (NASUG) dated February 11, 1997. Your letter resulted in much discussion among the members of the NASUG Executive Committee as well as among the users at our annual meeting this past week. We understand your concerns, and as you said, in the spirit of cooperation we felt it best to try to clear up any misunderstandings.
The origins of the NASUG, dated back to the mid-80,s, are rooted in the need for users of 3D Systems, Inc. Stereolithography equipment to share their experiences with one another and with 3D itself in order to positively affect the development of the hardware and software. Following is an excerpt from our charter under the section entitled &Purpose and Objectives.8
&The Users Group was established as a non-profit organization to
encourage and coordinate technical information exchange between users and
to provide communication to 3D Systems, Inc., on hardware and software
As you are well aware, in order to optimize a device as rich in technological content as a stereolithography machine requires scrutiny of the finest details. And of course every manufacturer has devised different means for incorporating the technology in hardware and software such that the details of one manufacturer,s equipment are completely meaningless to users of another,
s. Discussion at the NASUG meetings occurs at the level of these very details more often than not, such that very little of benefit would be gained from attendance by a user of another stereolithography technology. Furthermore, the mere presence of 3D Systems, technological competitors at the meetings would strangle the open communications between the users and 3D in such a way as to render the exercise worthless for either party.
Which leads to your discovery of what is perhaps the greatest misconception regarding the NASUG. Contrary to what the name implies, the NASUG was never intended to be a users group for the stereolithography industry, rather for 3D Systems stereolithography equipment which was the extent of the industry at the time of its creation. To clear up the misconception the members of the NASUG voted at our business meeting on February 19 to rename the group to the &
3D Systems, North American Stereolithography Users Group.8 This was done not only to clarify our own mission but to make the name of &Stereolithography Users Group8 available for an industry users group, should one be formed, as you appropriately pointed out.
I sincerely hope that this dialog has helped to enlighten all of us, as we are all indeed members of the same exciting industry. As fellow stereolithography users we wish AAROFLEX the best in its technology development and industry penetration. It perhaps goes without saying that we recommend you assist your own users in the establishment of a hardware-specific users group. It could be argued that a great deal of 3D Systems, success in the marketplace was derived from its support and involvement with the 3DSNASUG.
Best wishes to AAROFLEX and its users. We welcome you to the stereolithography industry. Please do not hesitate to contact me or any of the members of the Executive Committee of the 3DSNASUG if you would like further information regarding the operations of our group.
Robert I. Connelly
Becton Dickinson & Co.
Chairman, 3D Systems, NASUG
aaroflex @ aaroflex.com 02/26/98 09:28 AM
To: rp-ml <rp-ml @ bart.lpt.fi> @ INTERNET
cc: Subject: Monopoly?
February 24, 1998
Is a monopoly good for you?
Do you remember when AT&T held a monopoly on the telephone industry? You either did it their way, or no way at all. Once the monopoly was
broken up, rates began to fall and technology rapidly advanced for the
benefit of the users. During this time many new fortunes were made
within this industry. The industry providers became customer oriented
and AT&T began to say "Thank you for using AT&T."
Do you remember the tag lines on parts before the AOM was incorporated
into the stereolithography process? Do you remember the old dip and
dunk with the doctor blade before positive flow application from above
was introduced into stereolithography? You may be surprised that both
of these advancements were first introduced on the Solid Imager(TM) and
then adapted by others in the industry. Many other advancements in the
industry were first featured on the Solid Imager(TM); however, the
credit for these accomplishments has been suppressed by competition
desiring to monopolize the market for only their benefit.
Isn't it true that a users group is to advance the technology and to
provide a superior product and service to the users? The industry
should be opened up to all providers for the benefit and advancement of
the total industry. Do you wish to have a choice or do you wish to be
dictated to by a monopoly?
I know where I stand.
Albert C. Young, Jr., P.E.
CEO, AAROFLEX, Inc.
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