RE: [rp-ml] International Terminology Standards

From: ARNELL, Steve <>
Date: Tue Jan 13 2009 - 14:22:42 EET

Greetings and best wishes... from an outsider, but an avid reader of the rp-ml.
I'm enjoying this debate but am wondering, what exactly defines this "Industry" of yours? What's unique about it? Is it....
Direct Digital?
It's certainly about fabricating or manufacturing things...but for me I don't care how this is achieved, as long as it's QUICK and FIT FOR PURPOSE.
Right now I can upload a CAD model of a plastic part to a supplier, via the internet, who gets it made and back to me next day in the real material, but using conventional subtractive machining. They use automated software throughout : quoting,CNC cut path generation driven directly from the model, order processing and invoicing. Parts are also more accurate and robust than most additive processes.
So do they lie outside your industry as competitors?.. or do they form part of it? ...In which case, choose your moniker carefully.
The future is hard to predict. As stated before, "layered" may be complimented with "voxel additive" processes, so that term may be best avoided. I can see the possibility of parts being built directly using a number of different processes in one machine... additive, subtractive and maybe forming. Would this form part of your "industry"?
Just a thought...

Steve Arnell

Engineering Design

Crown Technology

Crown Packaging UK PLC

Downsview Road



OX12 9BP


Tel +44(0)1235402791

Fax +44(0)1235402317

PS - IMHO... I quite like "RAPID DIGITAL FABRICATION" ... From CAD to Part QUICKLY! (and thanks to the hard working guys behind the rp-ml for providing a splendid forum)


        From: [] On Behalf Of Voja Petrovic
        Sent: 12 January 2009 15:27
        Subject: RV: [rp-ml] International Terminology Standards

        Hello to everyone and best wishes for 2009!


        I belong to AIMME, a RTD Institute situated in Valencia, Spain. Our Product Engineering department has a long tradition of activities with additive technologies (SLA, FDM, DLP, Laser Cusing and, promptly we will incorporate EBM). Inspired by this subject, we had a debate on which is the most adequate term.


        Based on experience we have had with our customers and partners on basis of which we think that the most appropriate term would be DIRECT ADDITIVE FABRICATION.


        Why is so?


        DIRECT: the part is fabricated directly from the electronic file, without steps such as mould making, CNC programming or similar.

        ADDITIVE: We may say that there are three types of manufacturing processes: subtractive processes, which includes milling, drilling, grinding, etc; forming processes, such as stamping, deep drawing, bending, etc and additive processes where we can include additive fabrication.


        We think that '3D Printing' may cause some misinterpretation. First of all, if we can say that the concept of FDM is a kind of printing, for SLM or EBM, we couldn't completely agree. On the other hand, people not familiarized with additive technologies can take it as something not so serious. We have already had bad experience with this term as well as with 'Rapid Prototyping'. Our possible clients sometimes underestimate the properties of parts obtained by additive technologies, believing that they can only serve as prototypes. For example, metallic parts done by laser of EBM are completely functional and ready-to-use with full mechanical properties. Yet, although the most 'picturesque' term that anyone could understand, most of the people cannot imagine that something 'printed' can withstand serious functional loads in-use.


        Additionaly, we believe that the term 'LAYER' is a bit restrictive. We agree that the most of actual technologies are layer-by-layer processes. Yet, in the imminent future there may be serious attempts to change this concept in order to increase productivity or machine performance. That is why it is not a good idea to limit ourselves to the layer concept. Also, the term 'RAPID' is a bit tricky and, in our opinion, a question for a much wider debate.


        Warm greetings from AIMME Product Engineering Dept!



Vojislav Petrovic
Unidad de Ingeniería de Producto
Parque Tecnológico, Avda. Leonardo Da Vinci, 38
Tel. +34 96 131 85 59 - Fax +34 96 136 61 45 -



        De: [] En nombre de Terry Wohlers
        Enviado el: lunes, 12 de enero de 2009 0:57
        Para: RP-ML
        Asunto: *SPAM*: 09.8/4.0 - Fw: [rp-ml] International Terminology Standards


        In keeping with the rules of the rp-ml, I am reporting the results of the input on terminology. Twenty-five individuals provided their thoughts, either by sending them to this list or to me privately. I asked for clarification on a few of them. The 25 responses represent nine countries around the world. Sixteen are from North America, six from Europe, and one each from the Middle East and Asia. The following 13 unique terms were offered. The number at the left represents the frequency of each term.


        10 - 3D printing

        2 - additive fabrication

        2 - layered manufacturing

        2 - additive manufacturing

        2 - rapid manufacturing

        1 - layered freeforming
        1 - part growing

        1 - freeform fabrication

        1 - layer-based manufacturing

        1 - RP

        1 - rapid additive manufacturing

        1 - grown parts


        As you can see, our industry is not in total agreement when it comes to terminology. It's all over the place. One conclusion, however, is that "rapid prototyping" is not going to be the catch-all term in the future. It barely made the list. Forty percent favored "3D printing," with all others carrying little weight.


        If you have not yet provided an opinion, it's not too late. Send your preference to the list or to me, and if I receive several, I will do a second round of reporting.


        I hope this exercise has reopened the discussion and caused some of us to think more deeply about the terminology we use to communicate to the world. I believe it shows that we may face some terminology challenges this week at the ASTM meeting. I look forward to continuing this discussion in Philadelphia.


        Thank you for your contributions!








        ----- Original Message -----

        From: Terry Wohlers <>

        To: RP-ML <>

        Sent: Wednesday, January 07, 2009 9:15 AM

        Subject: [rp-ml] International Terminology Standards




        First, I'd like to wish everyone a Happy New Year and hope that it is filled with peace and happiness.


        Next week, ASTM is hosting an organizational meeting to discuss industry standards and I hope you can attend. Details are at The use of terminology will be a part of these discussions. Over the past several years, I've put a lot of thought into the terms that we use in our industry and have come to the conclusion that there's no right or wrong terms, although some are better than others at communicating our thoughts. In preparation for next week's meeting, I'd like to initiate some discussion on the subject. I will share ideas, and hopefully some consensus, from the members of this list.


        For many years, "rapid prototyping (RP)" has been a popular term, and rightly so because prototyping has been the most popular application of additive fabrication (AF) technology. However, it is one of many applications as AF expands into new areas and industries. Consequently, a growing number of people are using terms such as "additive fabrication" or "additive manufacturing" when referring to the group of processes (e.g., fused deposition modeling, 3DP from Z Corp., laser sintering, etc.) that build parts layer by layer. Stratasys and 3D Systems have adopted the term "additive fabrication" as a catch-all term, although I cannot say whether it has become an official corporate standard at either company. Maybe. The mainstream press-when our industry is lucky enough to get included in it-uses "3D printing" most frequently. Among industry insiders, 3D printing refers to a group of AF processes that are relatively low cost, easy to use, and office friendly. Some think of the process from Z Corp. when hearing this term. Others may think of PolyJet from Objet Geometries.


        AF processes are being used for a range of applications including concept design and modeling, fit and function testing, patterns for castings, and mold and die tooling. They are also used for fixture and assembly tools, custom and replacement part manufacturing, special edition products, short-run production, and series manufacturing. Prototyping is one of many applications and that's why "RP" is no longer suitable in most instances as a catch-all term. In fact, many companies resist the idea of using a prototyping method for part manufacturing, so using this term could stifle AF's transition to manufacturing applications.


        The term "additive manufacturing" is fine, although because manufacturing is an application and not a technology, I believe it is plagued with problems, similar to "rapid prototyping." Consider, for example, this sentence: "My company is using additive manufacturing for manufacturing." It's confusing. Now, consider this: "My company is using solid freeform fabrication for manufacturing." Much cleaner. I'm not suggesting that we use "solid freeform fabrication;" I'm using it here to illustrate a point. I believe it works much better when the catch-all term does not include the name of an application. That way it can be used cleanly for all applications of the technology.


        Since 2005 I've used the catch-all term "additive fabrication" in our company's publications, presentations, and communications. It's not perfect, but it works. In the future, I truly believe that "3D printing" will become the most popular term. When I'm describing AF technology to a relative or someone I'm seated next to on an airplane, I use 3D printing because there's a better chance that he/she will understand what I'm saying. It's simple and easy to say. I prefer it over alternatives, but 3D printing currently means something else to many people in our industry. This is likely to change. An estimated 74% of all systems sold in 2007 were classified as a 3D printer and each year this percentage increases.


        If we were to let nature take its course, which term do you think would become the most popular in 5-7 years? In other words, which catch-all term do you feel has the greatest chance for success as AF works its way more deeply into both technical and consumer markets. Answering this question will help guide our thinking next week.



        Terry Wohlers
        Wohlers Associates, Inc.
        OakRidge Business Park
        1511 River Oak Drive
        Fort Collins, Colorado 80525 USA
        Fax 970-225-2027 <> <>



CONFIDENTIALITY NOTICE The information contained in this e-mail is intended only for the confidential use of the above named recipient. If you are not the intended recipient or person responsible for delivering it to the intended recipient, you have received this communication in error and must not distribute or copy it. Please accept the sender's apologies, notify the sender immediately by return e-mail and delete this communication. Thank you.

Received on Tue Jan 13 14:26:28 2009

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.8 : Thu Jan 07 2010 - 08:26:36 EET