In a message dated 00-02-21 09:07:45 EST, you write:
Very interesting and a great job gathering and posting the page. Despite
all of the examples the you have found I believe that my comments are valid.
As much as I love the RP industry I could never with a clear conches sell
the processes as "Rapid Manufacturing" or "Direct Manufacturing". There are
still way too many stumbling blocks to overcome: accuracy, consistency,
speed, repeatability, limits on feature size....Just to name a few!
I would have to agree that if we speak about the existing limitations of the
technology that you're right. Today's equipment will never provide a direct,
generalized manufacturing means.
However, there are definitely applications for which those limitations aren't
significant. Layered manufacturing techniques have resulted in the founding
of several companies that use the technology to solve specific problems.
Erkut's example of Therics is a good one, another is Specific Surface Corp.
This company makes big ceramic filters for power plants using 3DP. Another
is Pure Fluid Magic. They make (made?) customized IC probe connectors using
high res SLA.
So I think that what we are witnessing is that RP technology is very slowly
moving into manufacturing applications that take advantage of its positive
characteristics, or where nothing else will do the job. There may be more
applications like this than we realize. I'm aware of a couple of large
potential ones that I can't discuss, so I suspect other people are as well.
It doesn't happen overnight, but once technology is introduced to solve a
problem, it becomes more refined with time and use. It then becomes a
solution that is more widely applicable to other problems. At some point, a
fortuitous development or linkage occurs and the technology blossoms and
But it takes sooo long....
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