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GARPA Expands

May 31, 2005

Filed under: additive manufacturing — Terry Wohlers @ 14:46

The Global Alliance of Rapid Prototyping Associations (GARPA), founded in 1998, recently expanded by adding its 18th and 19th members. GARPA serves as a catalyst for the exchange of information on additive fabrication technologies and applications across international borders. As a part of this sharing, GARPA members from around the world participate in activities that include technical presentations and panel sessions at major industry events and the publication of industrial case studies. GARPA also participates in business meetings and social events.

Members of GARPA include groups and associations in Australia, Canada, China, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea, the Netherlands, South Africa, Sweden, the UK, and the U.S. GARPA’s newest members are the Spanish Association for Rapid Manufacturing (May 2005) and the Portuguese Rapid Prototyping Association (January 2005).

In related news, the Rapid Prototyping Journal has recently become the official journal of GARPA. Members of GARPA plan to contribute to each issue.

Additional information on GARPA is available at

Growth of Rapid Manufacturing

May 15, 2005

Filed under: additive manufacturing,manufacturing — Terry Wohlers @ 06:44

Tecnologia & Design is an Italian company that used laser sintering from EOS to manufacture hundreds of ski boot buckles. The parts passed fatigue and impact testing and were indistinguishable from conventionally produced buckles. Polishing was automated by abrasive tumbling. The company found that they could manufacture 600 sets of buckles faster and less expensively than with injection molding.

Rapid manufacturing—the direct production of finished goods from additive fabrication—dominated discussions at last week’s Rapid Prototyping & Manufacturing 2005 Conference and Exposition. Many other topics were discussed, but most attendees could not stop talking about the future implications of RM.

According to Wohlers Report 2005, rapid manufacturing is showing an interesting, though not totally unexpected, upward growth trend. Organizations that use additive processes to manufacture end-use parts indicate that activity has increased from 3.9% in 2003 to 6.6% in 2004, and now to 8.2% in 2005. I believe that rapid manufacturing will grow to become the largest application of additive fabrication in the future. The second most popular application will be the production of models from 3D printers for early concept review and design validation. Mainstream prototyping applications—rapid prototyping as we know it—will decline to the number three position.

RP&M 2005 is this Week

May 8, 2005

Filed under: event — Terry Wohlers @ 07:39

Many of the top professionals in additive fabrication will convene this week in Dearborn, Michigan for Rapid Prototyping & Manufacturing 2005. For 13 years, the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME) has used the RP&M event to stage the most impressive set of exhibitors and conference sessions on the subject in North America. This year’s event will be no exception.

Dr. Joel Orr, a technology visionary and one of the brightest minds in product development, will kick off the event as keynote speaker. I will do my annual state of the industry address following Orr. The remaining 2.5 days include many interesting subjects ranging from methods of metal deposition and medical applications to CAD data exchange and selecting the right additive or subtractive process. 

The Global Alliance of Rapid Prototyping Associations (GARPA) will be a part of two events on Wednesday. In the morning, GARPA representatives from Canada, Finland, Germany, Italy, Korea, the UK, and the U.S. will present trends and developments in additive fabrication from around the world. Later that day, these same individuals and others will hold a special meeting over lunch that SME is hosting. (GARPA’s next annual meeting will be September 27, 2005 in Leiria, Portugal. It coincides with the VRAP 2005 conference at Polytechnic Institute of Leiria.)

If you’re going to be in the Detroit area this week, be sure to stop by RP&M 2005. And if you’ve already made plans to attend, I look forward to seeing you there. It should be an outstanding week.