Perspective from Far Away: India.
As far as Educational Inst. Vs. Private companies
offering RP services, here is a perspective from
India. India has RP installed base of around 30, 70%
of them being FDM systems. There are only 3 private
companies offering RP services. However, there are at
least 10 educational and/or Government funded
organizations offering RP services. As is the case in
rest of the world, private service bureaus have to pay
for themselves, employ full time staff for functioning
etc. However, as is the case everywhere, educational
institutes / government organizations do not have to
worry about the “Return on Investment” or other
business related “profit/loss” making issues. In
India, the educational institutes offer RP services at
rates just sufficient to cover material costs + AMC
costs. This practice severely undermines the ability
of private service bureaus to survive. The
educational institutes offer RP services in the name
of “technology transfer”. I truly do not believe that
taking a STL file from customer and starting a FDM or
SLA system to build the part can be constituted as
“technology transfer” after 13 years of RP’s
commercialization, especially if it is done repeatedly
for same customer. To make matters worse, the
educational institutes in India compete “openly” for
RP services by providing “Quotes” and even going to
the extent of negotiating on “quotes” when the
customer informs them that the customer has a lower
quote from some other organizations (private SB or
another educational institution). This can hardly be
described as “education” or “technology transfer”.
Even when quality and/or delivery schedule from
educational institutes are less than adequate, the
customer is tempted to continue sourcing RP services
from educational institutes purely for “cost reasons”.
What is shocking further is that the educational
institutes providing such services are the "pillars"
of Indian Higher Education a. la. the MITs of India.
Instead of developing and doing high end R&D into RP,
as they are meant to do, they engage in such so called
Unfortunately, the Indian Private SBs (3 of them) are
having to bear the brunt of this unfair (and possibly
illegal and immoral) competition in India.
Furthermore, this situation has led to slower
propagation of RP&T technology in India, especially
when it is emerging as a major destination for
Engineering Design and Analysis for many of the major
That was my 2 cents (or 2 paise) worth from India.
--- denis bonnenfant <firstname.lastname@example.org>
> In the RP department of our school, we are using DTM
> and soliscape
> technologies for educationnal and technology
> transfer purposes. Our
> philosophy is to never compete with SB : we use it
> to demonstrate the
> capabilities of the differents processes, never to
> produce industrial
> quality parts (changing scale, producing just one
> part of an assembly...).
> Our service is almost free (in fact helped with
> state subsidies).
> But we have a big problem : Even if we are
> continuously advertising their
> technologies with our activities for now five years,
> we are considered by RP
> manufacturers (especially DTM europe) like normal
> customers, with no special
> discounts for maintenance, upgrades and materials.
> So we are confrounted with a dilemna : acting like a
> service bureau and
> keeping our equipment up to date with the
> extraodinary (in educationnal
> sense!)expensive maintenance and upgrade costs, or
> letting our equipment as
> is, with no maintenance except custom made repairs,
> and using it in
> conditions farther and farther from the true
> industrial process.
> An alternative way may be to use the machines for
> research purpose : but it
> is not really compatible with educationnal training
> in mechanical design and
> engineering, as we need a machine configured to use
> standard materials in a
> classic end user way.
> Any software vendor has special educationnal
> programs, with very cheap
> licences and generally free upgrades, and this is in
> his interest to have
> students trained on his products. Why RP
> manufacturers not ? Do they prefer
> immediate profits rather than long term investment ?
> Or is the educationnal
> market so big that it is crucial to make money on it
> Denis Bonnenfant
> Dept Microtechniques
> Lycée Diderot
> 61 rue david d'Angers
> 75019 Paris
> For more information about the rp-ml, see
Mukesh Agarwala, Ph.D.
3D Product Development
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