State of the Industry

From: Terry T. Wohlers (
Date: Wed Apr 28 1999 - 18:17:47 EEST

Hello everyone,

It was a pleasure to meet many of you last week in Chicago. I hope the
RP&M '99 conference and exposition met your expectations. I was impressed
at how well SME's Linda Johnson, Marina Shara, and Wendy Horen organized
and ran the event. I am sure that Lori Hastie (their boss) had a hand in
it too. They kept smiling through the week while keeping most everyone on
track and answering an overwhelming number of questions. This is not easy
to do. Kudos also to the RPA/SME board and staff for their contribution to

If you missed the RPML gathering/reception, you missed a good one. I want
to extend my personal thanks to Rafael Santillan Ortega, Elaine Hunt, and
others for initiating it; to Elaine for her creativity in designing the
RMPL logo; to Materialise for covering the cost of the room; and to
Materialise, Time-Compression Technologies, and Digibotics for sharing the
cost of the food and beverages. This was very kind of these individuals
and companies.

It was brought to my attention that one or more of you might have questions
about the sources of information used to develop Rapid Prototyping &
Tooling State of the Industry: 1999 Worldwide Progress Report. First, I
appreciate very much those of you that have posted positive and encouraging
comments. Supporting one another will help us to build the bridge across
the chasm and develop the technology and its application beyond where it is
today. Please recognize that most of the RPML dialogue has focused on the
eight-page Executive Summary and oral report - not the 221-page report. It
has not yet been published.

Many individuals and companies from around the world were involved in this
project. As many as 21 individuals, many of whom I consider experts in
their respective areas, contributed directly to the report. They are
(listed alphabetically): Beverly Beckert, Alain Bernard, Mike Brag, William
Brown, Andy Christensen, Deon de Beer, Todd Grimm, Berndt Holmer, Elaine
Hunt, Masato Imamura, and Allan Lightman. Also contributing were Bent
Mieritz, Tom Mueller, Bruce Okkema, Bene Padovani, David Prawel, Geoff
Smith-Moritz, David Tait, David Wimpenny, Yongnian Yan, and Millan Yeung.
Twelve of these individuals are from the U.S. and one each is from Brazil,
Canada, China, Denmark, England, France, Japan, South Africa, and Sweden.
Some of them contributed more than others and I tried to point this out in
the acknowledgements page of the report. It has been a privilege to work
with these fine individuals and I am grateful to them for their cooperation
and support.

In addition to receiving contributions from these 21 individuals, I held
countless discussions in person and by phone with others. Last year, I was
given the opportunity to attend many industrial events and meet formally
and informally with organizations at more than 20 locations outside of
Colorado. Example visits were to France, Finland, Germany, Japan, mainland
China, and Sweden. I did not track the total number of phone conversations
related to the data collection and analysis work.

Product sales figures came from the RP system manufacturers in the U.S.,
Japan, Europe, Israel, Singapore, and China. As for the service bureau
numbers in the report, we have developed and used a methodology that
enables us to estimate the total revenues generated by RP service bureaus.
David Tait of ARRK Product Development Group and Geoff Smith-Moritz of the
Rapid Prototyping Report have been particularly helpful with these
estimates. Forecasts in the report are based on recent sales trends,
anticipated demand, and other factors that influence growth. In the
"Industries Being Served" and "Applications" sections of the report, 54
system manufacturers and service bureaus provided data based on knowledge
of their customers.

I hope this has answered some of your questions. I encourage any of you to
comment on the report privately or publicly after you have read it. The
table of contents is available at If you have
any questions, please feel free to contact me directly.


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

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