RE: RP service providers in Universities

From: Phil Dickens (
Date: Thu May 03 2001 - 15:10:16 EEST

Having run a University 'bureau' at Nottingham I became convinced that this
was something that we should not be doing. I agree with the bureau people in
that we can undercut them quite easily. Many machines have been purchased on
the back of research applications or various European monies. We do not have
the pay back problem.
Running a bureau in a University also causes conflicts because there are
demands for teaching, research, technology transfer and commercial work.
When we set up our Rapid Manufacturing Consortium at De Montfort University
and got all the equipment I was happy not to have to do bureau work. I agree
that we should be concentrating on teaching, research and technology
transfer .
P.S. Doing commercial work is also very demanding so maybe the moral
argument was not the main reason but avoiding hard work was!

Prof. P. M. Dickens
Dept. of Engineering & Technology
De Montfort University
The Gateway
England LE1 9BH

Tel: +44 (0)116 257 7689
Fax: +44 (0)116 257 7025
Mobile: +44 (0)7768 827039

-----Original Message-----
From: Chris Sutcliffe []
Sent: 02 May 2001 09:40
To: rpml (E-mail)
Subject: RP service providers in Universities

Dear List
In my opinion universities should only be involved in
To a lesser extent Technology transfer
If a company can't see the advantage of using RP or doesn't give RP high
enough budgetary priority to pay commercial rates then RP is either not
applicable or they need education.
Some wise companies have seized on this opportunity and are combining their
need for RP with their need for education. they are doing this by joining
consortia within universities where they get access to both. A clever use
of resource if you ask me and a service which the university sector is
ideally placed to exploit.
I think that there are few commercial service providers who would be able,
or are prepared to offer a prototyping service, an accredited course and do
research in the future of the technology (remember where SLS was first
If you put all this together and don't just look at the fact that service
providers may loose a small percentage of their business to Universities
then you see that Universities have a role to play in the development of RP
as a whole.
I entirely agree that universities should not be subsidising the commercial
work of companies but that is not to say that they should not be selling
time on their machines.
Best Regards

Dr. Chris Sutcliffe
Rapid and Micro Manufacturing Research
The University of Liverpool
Department of Engineering
Ashton Building
Brownlow Hill
L69 3GL

Tel. (0151) 794 4316
Fax. (0151) 794 4675
Mobile (0151) 794 7729


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