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Growth is in the Forecast

October 23, 2004

Filed under: CAD/CAM/CAE,future — Terry Wohlers @ 08:25

“This year will be good for the economy, and 2005 will be better,” said John McEleney, president of SolidWorks Corp., in a article published in the September 16, 2004 issue of Machine Design magazine. McEleney reported that companies are spending more and updating CAD systems to support their launch of new products. If he is right, rapid prototyping (RP) sales should also do well, which is consistent with the forecast published by Wohlers Associates. The RP industry is expected to grow from $529 million in 2003 to $586 million this year, according to Wohlers Report 2004. In 2005, the industry will top $655 million, the report states.

McEleney went on to say that a growing world economy, due to higher prices, mass customization, and a migration from 2D to 3D within design departments will influence growth. Four of five 2D users, he claims, will be using 3D soon. In January 2003, 38% of design data was sent and received in a 3D format, McEleney said. One year later, that number increased to 51%. He did not indicate the types of individuals or organizations that participated in the survey.

Lucky to Live in America

October 9, 2004

Filed under: life,travel — Terry Wohlers @ 11:28

I like to travel and so does my wife. We enjoy exploring other regions of the world, meeting the people, and experiencing the differing ways of life. While many travelers dread the thought of overseas trips, I look forward to them, whether it’s for business or pleasure.

Near the end of most trips, I cherish the thought of returning home. I’m currently having those thoughts as I wing my way over the Atlantic after a week-long journey. I’m thinking about the excellent food and service that we often take for granted. And while the U.S. dollar doesn’t go as far as is used to, most products and services in the U.S. are quite affordable. We complain about high gasoline prices, but they are nothing compared to Europe and many other parts of the world. I replaced three-quarters of a tank of fuel in a rental car in the UK and it came to $73.

Our universities, elementary and secondary schools, and hospitals are among the best in the world. Our transportation systems and state and federal governments are not perfect, but they are as good or better than most. A large number of us have spacious homes, two or three car garages, high-speed Internet access (at work and in our homes), multiple televisions, and cash to dine out.

What’s more, Americans are determined to succeed and are able to pursue their dreams. People from other countries have similar ambitions, but governments, cultures, and other obstacles often make it difficult for them. I recall a German friend explaining to me the headaches, hassles, and costs associated with starting a very small software company in Germany. Not the case in the U.S. At any moment, one can launch a company (a sole proprietorship) with no applications, paperwork, requests, or government approval.

As much as I like to travel and enjoy the many pleasures of visiting foreign lands, there’s no substitute to home. And very soon, I’ll be there.