evolution of RP market

From: Alain BERNARD (alain.bernard@cran.u-nancy.fr)
Date: Tue Apr 27 1999 - 21:52:47 EEST


Dear All,

first, I have some very good news about RP&M, and Olivier De Witte, who was
the representative of AFPR, told me that the exhibition and the conferences
was very interesting. He also sent me a RPML logo. Good work ! I hope the
meeting was successfull and that many of yours could meet.

After reading some email on the evolution of RP market, and more especially
machine market, I would like to make some comments.
I think that machines sold three years ago was less rapid than today, and
that there is also a growth of the volume of parts produced on the
machines. If you see the figures presented by Terry, there are about 50
machines (around the world) less than last year... for about 1000 machines
sold.
My opinion is that the applications are increasing, and that many people
are using RP, especially for rapid tooling, rapid manufacturing, and due to
the development of new materials, like ceramics and metallic composites.
In France, we have decided to extend our possibilities of contact with
professionnal associations, in order to understand the needs of more
technical fields, and make new people test and integrate
layer-manufacturing and rapid tooling and manufacturing. For exemple, not
so many engineers are trained on RP and we also try to extend the RP and RT
applications in education, in order for the students to understand what is
today the integrated product development, when using both numerical
simulation and rapid product development processes.

Well, do not forget that new technologies like Z-Corp or Optoform are
working 10 to 20 times faster than the fisrt layer manufacturing machines.
Is the prototype (parts and molds or tools) is growing faster than the
speed of the machines ?
I know that companies have less time to develop their products, and the
numer of prototypes is less than ten to twenty years ago. Of course,
virtual modeling and simulation make it possible to validate different
performances, instead of manufacturing and testing a physical prototype.
But, I think that if there are improvements on material use, we are going
to see a growth on RP.
Perhaps, it is time for people from research lab to put on the market some
new technologies.

This is my feeling.

Best Regards,

Prof. A. BERNARD
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Prof. Alain BERNARD Tel : + 33 (0)3 83 91 27 29
Professeur des Universites + 33 (0)3 83 91 20 09
CRAN ESA CNRS 7039 Fax : + 33 (0)3 83 91 23 90
UHP Nancy I - ESIAL
BP n 239, 54506 - VANDOEUVRE Cedex - FRANCE
e-mail : alain.bernard@cran.u-nancy.fr http://www.cran.u-nancy.fr
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