Re: market saturation

From: Don Wilde (
Date: Fri May 23 1997 - 19:24:45 EEST

Yakov wrote......
>> I fail to understand how 2500 or so RP unit sales
>>worldwide can represent a saturated market.

>I too have a problem understanding how 2500 unit sales represent a
>saturated market.... but when you factor in the lack of RP penetration
>into a business then I can see such happening. Very few companies have
>targeted this technology as a critical tool for the 21st century. Until
>this happens ....the market may sag deeply.

>>Are people tired of plastic
>>prototypes? Do they now only want the real thing rapidly?

>Disenchanted maybe a better word. We have faithfully waited for the real
>(promised) thing...which is what we wanted in the first place.... People
>are tired of slow developments and lack of support. When they are made to
>feel that THEY are responsible for "their" machine problems and how dare
>they want more.... yes they get worn down. I am tired of lasers dying
>every few months. Would I still be a computer user if my hard drive died
>every month or so....I doubt it. Would I trade for a totally different
> a heartbeat!

>When RP becomes a personal productivity tool it will saturate the market
>(millions of units) but will the players be the current vendors.....I
>seriously doubt it. Remember a serious statement made to a user
>community about 75 years ago....."they can have any color they want as long
>as it's black." History now shows how the users felt about that
>attitude......Hi, Elaine -
  You hit the nail on the head. Present systems are far too expensive and cranky. Perfect example of a parallel
situation is personal computers. Who remembers IMSAI? Altair? Sinclair?
  I, as a Soligen employee watching our business grow RAPIDLY, would say to Yakov that most people are not
willing to put up with the grief of RP for the return it provides. Many of the large automotive companies who
bought their own in-house RP equipment are switching to the use of our service despite massive investment
otherwise. No, the RP market is not saturated, but the $quarter-million-plus, unreliable, imperfect, oversold
market DEFINITELY IS. I'm not saying our equipment is better. It's even more finicky than 3D's OR DTM's. What
IS better is our business plan. We know our machines and we make them perform fabulously, and we factor the
grief into our prices. Our customers just get their castings on time, in spec, and on budget. Why should they
need to learn HOW we do it? That's a waste of their time and money.
  Eventually, somebody will make a machine that's as spotlessly clean as a Star Trek replicator. Then we will
see market growth. Until then, real people in real companies that care about schedules and budgets will buy a
service (whether plastic or metal casting), not a technology demonstration. And yes, 2500 is enough to supply
enough prototyping service bureaus around to fill the real needs of industrial customers, until the price comes
down and the ease-of-use goes way up.

  oooOOO O O O o * * *  *   *   *
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 V_=_=_DW ===--- Don Wilde [] [ ]

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