Re: market saturation

From: C.McArdle (
Date: Mon May 26 1997 - 20:46:18 EEST

Yakov wrote:

> (C.McArdle) wrote:
>>The capacity available out there
>>is excess relative to demand.
>Hasn't this always been the case with RP? I've been in the business for
>almost 7 years and have yet to see people waiting in line to get RP
>machines or services.

The more reliable sign of overcapacity is falling prices.

You articulate the challenge, below:

>[snip]Šaside from actually convincing the client to go with you and not
>with someone else, you also have to effect a cultural change in his way of
>thinking about how products are manufactured.

This is true. How do-able that is depends on whether the
technology/service you offer can actually accomplish anything in that
direction, from the point of view of the market.

I can tell you from experience that "effecting a cultural change" is
difficult unless there are pretty overwhelming advantages to changing.
Right now, based on what people are saying about technical limits and
pricing, it looks as though there are not enough overwhelming advantages
for most people, to allow for demand that stays ahead of _existing_

>Thus, unlike more established
>sectors, we are CREATING our market as we progress in it.


>[snip] At this
>point I suspect "market saturation" is a convenient label for a washed-out
>sales force unable to think of anything interesting to say, but maybe I'm

Well, perhaps. But it may also be that there isn't much interesting left
to say, at this point.

Al Hastbacka's post on the subject - that opens with market saturation is
nonsense - goes on to refute himself in the same post. The points he goes
on to make mean _everything_ . In order for the state of the art to move
forward, several significant developments need to occur.

You can be sure that as those things evolve, new performance demands will
be placed on the existing technologies - i.e., producing facsimile products
will be marginally interesting, but being able to produce, say, the tooling
to produce real products might be very interesting (provided there are real
advantages in terms of time and money or - the grail - new products that
customers will buy, and are to some extent impossible with conventional
methods). Until the new developments occur, even this most committed and
optimistic champion has limited prospects for major growth.

If, as appears to be happening at DTM, the sales and development functions
get closely linked, then you will see the kind of expansion everyone
expects from this family of technologies. I doubt anyone disagrees that
there is a clear structural superiority to "build" models as opposed to
"material subtraction" models of manufacturing - _provided_ you can get to
the end of the production process. Which is not yet possible.

The hurdles are best defined in terms of real benefits to real companies in
terms of real products for which their customers will pay real money. That
is what drives development beyond the theoretical research and early
process development stage.

Best regards,

C. McArdle

203.853.4971 (facsimile)

124 Rowayton Woods Drive
Norwalk, CT 06854-3938

"Technology will allow us to be whatever we are already, only more so."

-- Arno Penzias

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