RP meeting in Chicago

From: Elaine Hunt (ehunt@ces.clemson.edu)
Date: Mon Apr 17 2000 - 19:40:54 EEST

Well...........it's over and we are all getting back home to digest what we
saw and heard.

While Marshall covered some of the major items at the exhibits, I'd like to
comment on the event as a whole. As a long time participant I could have
been disappointed if I had only one industry to serve since participation
at the conference was down and the amount of user type presentations was
almost non-existent. I was forced to use face to face encounters to learn
the new stuff and how well individual industries are faring with the
technologies. Also if I had not spent considerable time at the exhibits I
would not have been able to see those who were not at the conference.

I am concerned that travel budgets have been cut by a large variety of
companies and since this is the top RP&M event where are do they expect to
get their information. I question if the Internet will ever replace the
presentations and conversations. Some reasons I heard for cutbacks were
along the line that this was a party rather than a learning
experience. This is interesting in that most managers would never see a
golf game as a party yet tons of business deals are completed in this
manner. I guess I will party on without a lot of you. Too bad.

Also there were comments about the buy-outs, management changes, and other
business pressures that has led to users not being able to communicate how
they use the technologies. Overall this can be extremely bad for the
industry since the user community has driven this technology to where it is
today. Some how we still miss educating management in the benefits of the
technology as well as in being apart of the RP&M community.

I offered to write a personal check for the OBJET but they refused my
offer. It is a nice machine considering it is an Alpha and first
generation system. I remember the olden days and if this machine develops
as well as others have then how do you spell success?
$$$$$$$$$$$$ Instead of about 5500+ in the world today, Terry may report
15,000 next year. Especially after seeing the color Z-Corp system. You
wanted to stay and watch the entire part being made...like the old days of
watching the laser draw. Now if and when they can produce color where the
user defines color and they have winner for lots of reasons. My grand kids
will make tons of POKEMONS more reasonably than the cards! Flexible too!

It seems that the RP competition is here and how this will effect machine
sales only time will tell. When I see a machine that can ultimately replace
my SLA250 and I can buy one for what upkeep on that system is alone you can
picture an upgrade machine each year even for educational
institutions. And with color.........that's progress!

If you attended the conference you heard about METALS. These technologies
are progressing along very nicely and I learn of one new company. I was
fascinated by the Japanese work on Incremental Forming of Sheet Metal and
see this as a great development. I am not sure when it will be
available. Also they presented some work on HPM using a micro-spindle at
50,000rpm. Look at WWW.inces.co.jp for more information. Also they
presented E-Darts system at 38K, Liquid Crystal Projection System being
developed at RIKEN and a system that uses the DMD Mirror system of Texas
Instruments. The RIKEN system may have used the TI stuff.

I also found a mini injection-molding machine in either a one or two ounce
size. Priced at $15-17k these systems are very interesting for many
reasons. Contact: 440-564-7210. The system was in Joe Frantz booth.

Overall I brought home tons of good information that I would have not
learned sitting at home. This morning I sat down with a group of local
industry and after sharing all this new stuff came up with several projects
to accomplish. Was it worth my time and sore feet? Now how did I spell
success? $$$$$ That is what local and global industry need to save.

See you in Cincinnati next year. And I am first on the bus to Hasbro! Got
that reservation Cindy?

Partying on!

Opinions, suggestions, and other controversial matter VOID where prohibited.
Elaine T. Hunt, Director elaine.hunt@ces.clemson.edu
Laboratory to Advance Industrial Prototyping
Clemson University 206 Fluor Daniel Bldg.
Clemson, SC 29634-0925
864-656-0321 (voice) 864-656-4435 (fax)

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