Re: [rp-ml] International Terminology Standards

From: Berndt Holmer <>
Date: Fri Jan 16 2009 - 16:50:56 EET

Hello List,

Very well structured, Klas! As you make it perfectly clear, there are (at least) two separate needs to be met, terminology for technical-scientific use and a popular name for everyday use.

For the first need, the name to be used is something which should be possible to be decided upon by the people that are part of or influence standard bodies, i.e. the technical-scientific society, and should be appropriate from different aspects and valid over time. You have argued well for your case, Klas. I use my rp-ml vote to support your proposal, Additive Manufacturing.

As for the second need: If we compare with the situation when Du Pont launched nylon in 1938, they were bringing to market a new product for the general public, with superior properties that everyone could appreciate immediately. It had a short name, meaning nothing but easy to remember - of course it caught on, as most people, really most people, started to use the name being a part of the denomination of everyday products. Are we in the same situation with our technology? I don´t think so... This second-need name is not likely to be one that a Standards Committee has agreed on after long discusssions but rather a term which is getting increasingly used by people of the trade, who influence journals' articles and so on - or maybe, if someone someday brings to market the Christmas-Gift-of-the-Year that everyone HAS to have at home (the Home-Fabber or whatever it will be called), the name of that product will conquer?

Still, presuming that the name for the second need actually can be influenced, I think that 3D Printing is sufficiently descriptive and, although not correct for all technologies, an efficient expression for general talk. After all a resurrected Gutenberg wouldn't recognize an inkjet - 2D printing also incorporates strange anímals.

Best regards
Berndt Holmer

Swerea IVF AB

Brinellvägen 68
SE-100 44 Stockholm | Sweden
Phone +46 8-21 31 74 | Mobile +46 70-780 62 15 | Fax +46 8-20 22 27 |

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Hello everyone,

To those of you with little time and/or patience:
For reasons stated below I support "Additive Manufacturing" as a general technical term for the processes and "Additive Manufacturing Technologies"
as a general technical term (family name) for the process technologies.

Those of you with more time and patience, please continue reading...

This last round in the terminology discussion has brought up a number of interesting and relevant points. However, I believe that we might need to make a distinction between a precise technical terminology, used for example in academics and for international standards, and a more popular terminology for everyday conversation. Terminology for academics and international standards must be precise, unambiguous and all-inclusive for its topic, while the popular terminology can be more or less anything that is generally understood by people with basic knowledge in the area. This separation is not uncommon and functions nicely in a number of technology areas. (For example: in everyday use most people prefer to use the term "Teflon" instead of the more technically correct "Polytetrafluorethylene"
or the abbreviation PTFE.) The popular terminology will, as Adrian and others on several occasions has pointed out, be (or perhaps is already) defined by those who communicate the technology to the wider parts of society outside our community, and may very well be based on trade names and/or abbreviations, meanwhile the precise technical terminology must be defined by us in the professional community as a means for communicate more profound and detailed understanding of the technology, as is needed for an international standard or writing scientific papers. (However in the present situation, we do not presently seem to have any problems understanding each other within our community even with today's several different "not really defined but active" terminologies.) Still it is desirable, even if not necessary, that in the future the different terminologies are kept as close and compatible with each other as possible.

Since it is the important and urgent issue of international standardization that brought this discussion to life this time, it is the precise technical terminology that is most in need of definition and also most within our control to define, I believe that it is there we should focus our attention this time.

In order for the terminology to be precise and inclusive it has to focus on what makes this technology unique compared to other technologies; what is characteristic of this technology. To me the most significant characteristic of our technology area is that it shapes tangible artifacts by successive addition of raw materials. It is also quite clear that the process used for this materials addition will determine which materials that can be used, and in addition to this, that the properties of the final part will be determined not only by what material is added but also by the process parameters that are used to control the process step and phase transformation that fuses the raw material to the part. Thus I support to include "Additive" (or something else that high-light this critical and determining step of the technology) to be a part of the precise technical term as a "family name" for this technology, (-or group of technologies, if you prefer).

"Additive" is inclusive for all processes in this technology area, but further precision is needed if the terminology is to be definitive. In the invitation for participation in the standardization the term "Additive Manufacturing" is predominately used, whereas Terry and other heavy weight names, (such as for example Ed Grenda), have supported "Additive Fabrication". After consulting a number of dictionaries (English is not my first language, perhaps obvious for the patient reader that has come this far), I still have to support "Additive Manufacturing" as the more precise and inclusive term;

Manufacture comes from Latin manu factum "made by hand" (The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Word Origins), -or manu "by hand" + factus "made"
(The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language) which also defines Manufacturing as "To make or process a product or raw material into a finished product especially in large quantities or by industrial machines." Oxford Concise Dictionary defines manufacture as "bring material into form fit for use, produce (articles) by labour or by machinery especially in large scale." Webster's New 20th Century Dictionary defines manufacture as 1) the making of goods and articles by hand or especially by machinery often in a large scale and with division of labour. 2) Anything made or manufactured product. 3) The making of something in anyway especially when regarded as merely mechanical.
Manufacturing is defined as 1) "employed in the making of goods; a manufacturing company" 2) "relating to manufacture; manufacturing interests."

Fabrication is defined by the Oxford Concise Dictionary as "1) construct, manufacture, especially production in final shape from semi-finished metal stock. 2) invent (story) forge (document)." Webster's defines fabrication as "a making, framing, from (Latin) fabricato to make." 1) A fabricating or being fabricated construction, manufacture. 2) What is fabricated or manufactured especially a falsehood or forgery."

The term "manu-" hand, clearly implies that "manufacturing" produces tangible objects, whereas "fabrication" not necessarily do so. (It would be a long shot, but from these definitions it would seem that even writing a novel could be described as "additive fabrication", but only the actual printing of the book could be called "manufacturing".) It is also seem so me that "manufacturing" does not necessarily have to be end use goods in large quantities (even if it is a common usage of the term), prototype and small scale manufacturing is also possible according to these definitions, especially if it uses industrial and/or automatic machines, -which is typical of our technology area.

Terry argues that "manufacturing" is an application and not a technology, but so is "fabrication" since it apparently in the relevant meaning can be used synonymous with "manufacturing". Really, both the terms "Additive Manufacturing" and "Additive Fabrication" are descriptive for a family of processes and it would require the addition of "-technology" to define the technologies for these processes. -And to me the term "Additive Manufacturing Technology" is the most precise and all-inclusive term to define this topic.

Several have supported using the term "Layer-" or "Layered-" but as others have pointed out that this term is rather restrictive and would exclude not only historical processes such as BPM as well as possible future developments, but also prominent present technologies such as LENS (from
Optomec) DMD (from POM) and Laser Consolidation (from Accufusion) and other similar processes that not necessarily adds the materials layer by layer.
Likewise, 3D printing may be an excellent analogy to describe what these technologies are doing to the layman, (I often use it myself,) but neither Stereolithography, (selective) laser sintering, extrusion of melted filaments (FDM), or micro welding of metal powders have any likeness to traditional printing technologies. As a general term in a technical terminology 3D printing is too restrictive and misleading.

The time I have spent on bringing information of Additive Manufacturing Technology to industry and other people who are not into this on a daily basis, have made me positively hate the "Rapid-" terminology. "Rapid-" is misleading since it implies that the principal merit and most important reason to use Additive Manufacturing is to get the (same) parts faster and cheaper than with conventional methods. We all know that this is by far not true for numerous present and possible applications, especially when we are looking at the production of end use products and metal parts. But as long as this terminology still lingers it will be more difficult to have outsiders comprehend the unique merits of the additive approach to manufacturing than it would be if they were introduced with an unbiased mindset. I addition to this "Rapid Manufacturing" has previously and sometimes still is, used for, for example, high speed milling, and "Rapid Prototyping" is also a term used in the electronic industry for making prototypes of electronic circuits and has nothing to do with building physical parts by successive addition of materials.

Other names such as "Direct Digital Manufacturing", "Parts Forming" or "Growing Parts" have also been suggested, but to me none of them seem precise enough to be satisfactory for a technical terminology, tough any of them could serve very well in popular day-to-day terminology.

Even if the corresponding terms for, traditional manufacturing technologies such as milling, turning and EDM (Subtractive Manufacturing), or casting, forging, and injection moulding, ("Formative Manufacturing"?
-not really sure if "Formative-" would be an appropriate term, distributing material stock into a desired shape by application of pressure, anyhow) I don't think this should stop us from using a well considered technical terminology. Until now, with the introduction of Additive Manufacturing there has hardly been any reason to define and structure the unique characteristics of the traditional manufacturing technologies. But I believe it could be a good idea if our colleagues from other parts of manufacturing (in particular the professors and other teaching academics) would chose to introduce this kind of structure when they describe manufacturing technologies. Not only would this type of systematic terminology provide a simple and logic oversight, it would also suggest principal differences and how these may affect the properties in the final part. (-But perhaps I am dreaming...)

Well, I think I have made my argument clear to the patient readers (my sincere appreciation to you all!) so I'll finish here with a quote that could encourage the efforts to find consensus over this issue:

"You must speak straight so that your words may go as sunlight into our hearts."
Cochise, Chokonen Apache Chief

Let's spread enlightenment!
Best Regards

Klas Boivie, Ph.D.
IDAM, Geminicenter for Integrated Design and Additive Manufacturing SINTEF Norway

> In keeping with the rules of the rp-ml, I am reporting the results of
> input on terminology. Twenty-five individuals provided their thoughts,
either by sending them to this list or to me privately. I asked for clarification on a few of them. The 25 responses represent nine countries
> around the world. Sixteen are from North America, six from Europe, and
> each from the Middle East and Asia. The following 13 unique terms were
offered. The number at the left represents the frequency of each term.
> 10 - 3D printing
> 2 - additive fabrication
> 2 - layered manufacturing
> 2 - additive manufacturing
> 2 - rapid manufacturing
> 1 - layered freeforming
> 1 - part growing
> 1 - freeform fabrication
> 1 - layer-based manufacturing
> 1 - RP
> 1 - rapid additive manufacturing
> 1 - grown parts
> As you can see, our industry is not in total agreement when it comes
> to
terminology. It's all over the place. One conclusion, however, is that "rapid prototyping" is not going to be the catch-all term in the future.
It barely made the list. Forty percent favored "3D printing," with all others carrying little weight.
> If you have not yet provided an opinion, it's not too late. Send your
preference to the list or to me, and if I receive several, I will do a second round of reporting.
> I hope this exercise has reopened the discussion and caused some of us
> think more deeply about the terminology we use to communicate to the
world. I believe it shows that we may face some terminology challenges this week at the ASTM meeting. I look forward to continuing this discussion in Philadelphia.
> Thank you for your contributions!
> Cheers,
> Terry
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: Terry Wohlers
> To: RP-ML
> Sent: Wednesday, January 07, 2009 9:15 AM
> Subject: [rp-ml] International Terminology Standards
> Greetings,
> First, I'd like to wish everyone a Happy New Year and hope that it is
filled with peace and happiness.
> Next week, ASTM is hosting an organizational meeting to discuss
> industry
standards and I hope you can attend. Details are at
> The use of terminology will be
> a
part of these discussions. Over the past several years, I've put a lot of
> thought into the terms that we use in our industry and have come to
> the
conclusion that there's no right or wrong terms, although some are better
> than others at communicating our thoughts. In preparation for next
> meeting, I'd like to initiate some discussion on the subject. I will
> ideas, and hopefully some consensus, from the members of this list.
> For many years, "rapid prototyping (RP)" has been a popular term, and
rightly so because prototyping has been the most popular application of additive fabrication (AF) technology. However, it is one of many applications as AF expands into new areas and industries. Consequently, a
> growing number of people are using terms such as "additive fabrication"
> "additive manufacturing" when referring to the group of processes
> (e.g.,
fused deposition modeling, 3DP from Z Corp., laser sintering, etc.) that build parts layer by layer. Stratasys and 3D Systems have adopted the term
> "additive fabrication" as a catch-all term, although I cannot say
> it has become an official corporate standard at either company. Maybe.
> mainstream press-when our industry is lucky enough to get included in
it-uses "3D printing" most frequently. Among industry insiders, 3D printing refers to a group of AF processes that are relatively low cost, easy to use, and office friendly. Some think of the process from Z Corp.
when hearing this term. Others may think of PolyJet from Objet Geometries.
> AF processes are being used for a range of applications including
> design and modeling, fit and function testing, patterns for castings,
> mold and die tooling. They are also used for fixture and assembly
> tools,
custom and replacement part manufacturing, special edition products, short-run production, and series manufacturing. Prototyping is one of many
> applications and that's why "RP" is no longer suitable in most
> instances
as a catch-all term. In fact, many companies resist the idea of using a prototyping method for part manufacturing, so using this term could stifle
> AF's transition to manufacturing applications.
> The term "additive manufacturing" is fine, although because
> is an application and not a technology, I believe it is plagued with
problems, similar to "rapid prototyping." Consider, for example, this
sentence: "My company is using additive manufacturing for manufacturing."
> It's confusing. Now, consider this: "My company is using solid
> freeform
fabrication for manufacturing." Much cleaner. I'm not suggesting that we use "solid freeform fabrication;" I'm using it here to illustrate a point.
> I believe it works much better when the catch-all term does not
> include
the name of an application. That way it can be used cleanly for all applications of the technology.
> Since 2005 I've used the catch-all term "additive fabrication" in our
company's publications, presentations, and communications. It's not perfect, but it works. In the future, I truly believe that "3D printing"
will become the most popular term. When I'm describing AF technology to a
> relative or someone I'm seated next to on an airplane, I use 3D
> printing
because there's a better chance that he/she will understand what I'm saying. It's simple and easy to say. I prefer it over alternatives, but 3D
> printing currently means something else to many people in our industry.
This is likely to change. An estimated 74% of all systems sold in 2007 were classified as a 3D printer and each year this percentage increases.
> If we were to let nature take its course, which term do you think
> would
become the most popular in 5-7 years? In other words, which catch-all term
> do you feel has the greatest chance for success as AF works its way
> more
deeply into both technical and consumer markets. Answering this question will help guide our thinking next week.
> Thanks!
> Terry
> ************
> Terry Wohlers
> Wohlers Associates, Inc.
> OakRidge Business Park
> 1511 River Oak Drive
> Fort Collins, Colorado 80525 USA
> 970-225-0086
> Fax 970-225-2027
Received on Fri Jan 16 16:50:53 2009

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