RE: Wohler's Executive Summary

From: Karl Denton (
Date: Tue Apr 27 1999 - 19:21:36 EEST


First of all I am NOT questioning Terry's sources as he has never given
anyone a clue as to who they are! Nor has he given anyone a clue as to how
he arrives at the numbers. The purpose of my email was to question the
validity of his numbers and yes his projections, it seems that over the
years there has been a major difference in the numbers that Terry has
reported and reality. These emails are NOT a personal attack on Terry, I
have always had a high level of respect for his work and dedication to this
industry, I do believe that it is time to ask these questions. If we never
questioned the validity of the things around us where would we be?
As for what I got out of the executive summary... I read the entire summary
and I stand behind me initial statements. It in MY opinion reads like an
obituary for this industry that we all enjoy. I commented about this in my
original email because it seems that in this report (at least the executive
summary) Terry has gone to the other extreme. In past reports Terry has
published growth rates that simply could never have been achieved and now in
this report he says that we are in a "rough spot" as you state and yet all
of the information, contacts, emails (from even this thread) indicate that
with the exception of Compression and Plynetics/Express the industry in
doing well. I guess what I'm saying in all of this, is if we are to use
Terry's report as "the industry bible" as MANY do it should be rooted more
in reality.
This industry should NOT be tracked or analyzed based on SB's they are an
industry onto them selves and have diluted their RP existence with many
other services that no longer rely on RP equipment. They close for MANY
other reasons other then a lull in an industry as is the case with at least
Plynetics/Express. The statement that was quoted in my original email
applies MORE to the SB's then the rest of the industry, as the fundamental
use of an RP machine can not change in that it produces parts (whether that
part is a part or a tool to make parts). An RP service bureau can now exist
and flourish without ever having purchased or even know about RP equipment.
I stand by my original email and am still curious how the data is collected
and who is asked the questions, since my original email I have received
about 100 responses both public and private and the majority, are asking the
same thing!
On the subject of CAD/Solid modeling being "the fuel that stimulates RP
sales" I could not disagree more. I have worked for large corporations and
small and for us to equate sales of CAD to sales of RP equipment is
dangerous at best! For this to actually happen the price of RP equipment
will have to drop by a substantial margin and that does not seem likely.
The manufacturers of equipment need to realize that although CAD/Solid
modeling may be the enabler the high price IS the inhibitor! CNC is
regaining ground originally lost to RP equipment and the lower price tag of
that equipment makes it much more appealing.

By the way, Terry if you're out there I would be more then happy to send
you a copy of the responses that I received.

Karl R. Denton
Advanced Technology Consultants LLC
4778 Greenview Ct.
Commerce Twp., MI 48382
Phone: 248-363-1478
Cell: 248-789-6410
Pager: 248-523-3318
Fax: 248-363-7488

Helping you excel through the use of Advanced Technologies

-----Original Message-----
From: [] On Behalf Of
Todd Grimm
Sent: Tuesday, April 27, 1999 9:04 AM
Subject: Wohler's Executive Summary

I promote RP as a facilitator of clear, concise communications. Without
RP, or another form of physical model, poor communications that lead to
errors, mistakes and flaws are more likely to occur. It appears that we
need the same tool for our verbal and written communications. It seems,
with regards to the Wohler's report, we have a failure to communicate.

I am especially concerned with the questioning of Terry's thoroughness
and the quality of his sources. This question was posed by an
individual that did not comprehend the full executive summary nor attend
the presentation at the RP&M conference. The report does state, "The
rapid prototyping industry is questioning the future of its
technology." But it also states, "It is not unusual for a technology to
experience rapid growth from purchases by early adopters, only to be
followed by a decline. RP has reached this period of slowed growth."
It continues, "CAD solid modeling, the fuel that stimulates RP sales,
has begun its dramatic growth phase...With this growth, RP will have
many new opportunities for sales of systems and services."

Out of context, it could seem that Terry has forecast the demise of the
industry. In full context, he indicates that we are in a rough spot,
but it is one that can be bridged. When this "chasm" is bridged, a
tremendous volume of RP activity will occur.

As a service bureau, we question the future of the industry every day.
If we did not, we could be caught off guard. I would be surprised if
any of the RPMLers have not questioned RPs future sometime in the past
12 months. What technologies will survive? What companies will
survive? What new technology, that compliments or obsoletes RP, is
waiting in the wings? So many questions. To few answers. As a true
test of your faith in the RP industry, would you invest some of your
nest egg in any of the RP manufacturers? If not, you probably have
lingering doubt about the future and what its path will be.

RP is here to stay (I believe). Why hasn't it taken off? What is
holding it back? These are the questions that Terry is addressing so
that each of us may gain insight that helps us to chart a strong and
true course.

Todd A. Grimm
Director of Marketing
Accelerated Technologies Inc.
Phone: 606-334-3875
Fax: 606-586-0404

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