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CEO Summit

May 27, 2010

Filed under: additive manufacturing — Terry Wohlers @ 08:09

The additive manufacturing industry’s first CEO Summit was held on May 19, 2010 in Anaheim, California. It coincided with the RAPID 2010 and 3D Imaging Conference & Exposition. The Summit was originally scheduled to be held on April 21 in Leuven, Belgium at the Materialise World Conference and Visionary Summit on Additive Manufacturing. Dust clouds from the Iceland volcano prevented most CEOs and others from traveling to Belgium, so it was postponed until last week.

The purpose of the meeting was to brainstorm ways in which the major stakeholders in the additive manufacturing industry could create greater awareness of the technology and collectively expand the market. The initial consensus was to explore the possibility of securing a world-class public relations agency that could represent the industry.

I truly hope that this event marks the first in a series of meetings where top managers work together, at some level, to expand the market. For many years, these companies have competed, some aggressively, but have done little to cooperate. I believe they can do both.

Among those in attendance were CEOs from Arcam, Envisiontec, EOS, Stratasys, 3D Systems, and Z Corp. Wilfried Vancraen, managing director and chief executive officer of Materialise, organized the meeting and led the discussions.

New Industry Study

May 16, 2010

Filed under: additive manufacturing,CAD/CAM/CAE — Terry Wohlers @ 07:55

I am relieved to have published Wohlers Report 2010, our annual industry report on additive manufacturing (AM). This edition marks the 15th consecutive year to publish the report. I’d be lying if I said it is getting easier to produce each year, because it’s not. From January until very recently, many people from around the world gave a great deal of time and energy toward the creation of this 250-page publication.

Fifty-four co-authors wrote sections of the report. Some wrote a page or two, while others accepted responsibility for considerably more. I am especially thankful to Bill Beaver of York Technical College, Ping Fu of Geomagic, Ismail Fidan of Tennessee Tech University, Tim Gornet of the University of Louisville, Tom Mueller of Express Pattern, Michael Siemer of Mydea Technologies, and the teams at Loughborough University, the University of Texas at El Paso, and Utah State University. All 54 contributors are named here.

I’m also appreciative of the 64 service providers and 33 system manufacturers that provided information, much of which is considered confidential. I am grateful for their trust and understanding of how the data is used to create composite totals on the current state of the industry. These totals allow us to produce charts and graphs that show overall trends and where the industry is headed.

My sincere thanks to all of these individuals and organizations. Without their help year after year, the report would not provide the degree of qualitative or quantitative analysis that we believe is important for any industry to better understand itself and advance to the next level.

The China Threat

May 2, 2010

Filed under: life,review — Terry Wohlers @ 09:20

On February 28, 2010, The Washington Post published a story titled “There’s a new Red Scare. But is China really so scary?” After having been to the country a few times, I’m gaining an understanding of the strengths and limitations of Chinese. This article does an excellent job pointing out some of them and gives a seemingly realistic view of where China stands today.

I’ve learned that there are many differences between the Chinese and the U.S. governments. One is that many of the leaders in China are engineers or have a technical background. Meanwhile, our government is largely ran by lawyers and others with little or no background in science or technology. One can guess how the decisions made by these two groups would differ when developing policy.

Over the last few years, U.S. journalists have pointed out the dramatic difference between the number of engineers graduating from Chinese colleges and universities compared to those in the U.S. The flurry of articles have gotten a lot of attention. An article published in the New York Times stated that 600,000 engineers graduate per year in China compared with just 70,000 in the U.S. This article, nor any of the others that I’ve read, explained that Chinese statisticians count car mechanics and refrigerator repairmen as “engineers.”

The Post article goes on to discuss how the U.S. was once obsessed with another developing giant in Asia: Japan. Indeed, the Japanese offer some of the top brands in the world, but Japan has not brought an end to U.S. product development and manufacturing.

The article is here in its entirety. I recommend that you read it, if you have not already. It provides everything one would expect in a “CliffNotes” version of a good book on China.