From: eschl (eschl@ikp2.uni-stuttgart.de)
Date: Tue Apr 18 2000 - 09:10:33 EEST

another report on the SME fare

Johannes Eschl
IKP, Institut fuer Kunststoffkunde und Kunststoffpruefung, Universitaet
Boeblingerstr. 78E, D-70199 Stuttgart
Tel.: (+49) 0711 / 641 23 06 Fax :  (+49) 0711 / 641 22 64
E-Mail : eschl@ikp2.uni-stuttgart.de
WWW:     http://www.ikp2.uni-stuttgart.de/RP_IKP

attached mail follows:

In This Special Edition:

Internet editor Suzanne Bilyeu reports from the floor of the
Rapid Prototyping & Manufacturing Conference.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Sponsor Message

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While checking out the solutions, also register for the "Do-It-Digital"
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"Let Your Ideas Take Shape" was the theme of the eighth annual
Rapid Prototyping & Manufacturing Conference and Exposition, held
April 11-13 at Chicago's Donald E. Stevens (formerly the Rosemont)
Convention Center. The event was sponsored by the Society of
Manufacturing Engineers (SME) and the Rapid Prototyping Association of
SME (RPA/SME). More than 120 companies presented the latest technology
and processes to optimize product development and accelerate
manufacturing. A hot topic at conference sessions and on the show floor
was the increasing role of the Internet in the rapid prototyping

Spatial Inc., Boulder, CO, announced Bits2Parts.com
( http://www.nasatech.com/cgi-bin/c.pl?4-17A2 ), a Web-based service
focused on streamlining the quotation, communication, and data flow
between manufacturers and rapid prototyping (RP) service providers.
Bits2Parts.com will join 3Dshare.com as part of PlanetCAD, Spatial's
Web division that offers Internet-based tools designed to streamline
the digital manufacturing supply chain.

According to Spatial, Bits2Parts.com will provide private, online,
personalized work areas for manufacturers to quickly and easily manage
the Request for Quotation (RFQ) process, submit RFQs to RP service
bureaus, and upload 3D CAD models for rapid transmission. The site
offers a common, comprehensive RFQ form designed to remove ambiguities
and deliver complete job specifications.

Bits2Parts.com is already supported by several industry partners known
as anchor members: Caterpillar Inc., Cummins Engine Co.,
General Pattern, Express Pattern, Eagle Design & Technology Inc.,
ARRK Product Development Group, Prototech Engineering, Soligen,
and Accelerated Technologies Inc.

Quickparts.com Inc. of Huntsville, AL
( http://www.nasatech.com/cgi-bin/c.pl?4-17A3 )announced that customers
can now use its QuickQuote feature to instantly quote and purchase
custom-manufactured investment casting patterns online.
QuickQuote automatically analyzes a user's custom CAD geometry on the
Web site. It reads the customer's solid model, automatically orients
the part geometry for the best quality output for the chosen
technology, and instantly produces a binding price quotation.

QuickParts.com also announced this week that more than 1,000 Instant
Quotes totaling over $1 million have been processed and presented to
customers since the site went live in January.

The Z402C 3D Color Printer from Z Corporation, Somerville, MA,
creates multi-colored 3D physical models from 3D CAD data.
During the show, Z Corp. demonstrated a fully functional prototype
with software that accepts either VRML files or color slice data,
and prints parts with up to 8 colors. With additional software work,
the company said, this palette can be expanded to 6 million colors.

The printer contains the components of Z Corp.'s standard Z402 System,
plus a special software interface and a conversion kit that enables the
Z402C to operate either in color or monochrome mode. In color mode, the
system prints parts in color but operates more slowly than the Z402 by
approximately a factor of three. In monochrome mode, the printer
operates at regular speed. The conversion procedure takes about 15
minutes. Z Corp. expects to have all elements of the new system in
production by this summer.

For more info, visit ( http://www.nasatech.com/cgi-bin/c.pl?4-17A4 ).

Sales of rapid prototyping machines surged to a record high in 1999,
according to a new report from Wohlers Associates Inc.
( http://www.nasatech.com/cgi-bin/c.pl?4-17A5 ).
The growth in unit sales for 1999 was significant in light of the poor
results and overall decline experienced in 1998.

According to the "Wohlers Report 2000," 23 system manufacturers
worldwide sold 1,195 RP systems in 1999, compared with 981 in the
previous year.

"This represents an increase of 22 percent and a cumulative total of
nearly 5,500 machine installations in 53 countries," said industry
consultant Terry Wohlers, president of Wohlers Associates.
"These machines produced a staggering 2.3 million models and prototype
parts last year."

Follow Suzanne's complete coverage of the
Rapid Prototyping & Manufacturing Conference online at
( http://www.nasatech.com/cgi-bin/c.pl?4-17A6 ), the official Web site
of Rapid Product Development (RPD) magazine. New from the publishers
of NASA Tech Briefs, RPD Online is a completely digital publication
with 24-7 updates on CAD, FEA, modeling, and rapid prototyping tools
that are helping engineers to develop better products faster and
compress time to market.

Send your comments for the INSIDER to joe@abptuf.org .

Please let your colleagues know they too can receive the INSIDER free
of charge by completing the short form on the NASA Tech Briefs web site
-- http://www.nasatech.com . Thanks!

For information on how your company can sponsor future editions of the
INSIDER, e-mail billh@abptuf.org .

Copyright 2000 Associated Business Publications Intl.

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