New Developments and Trends in RP Around the World Conference

Presented by

Date and Time: Friday, November 30, 2001, 9:30 – 17:00
Location: Exhibition Center Frankfurt
Organizer: DEMAT GmbH
Scientific Chairman: Terry Wohlers, Wohlers Associates, Inc.

This special conference focuses on the best practices, advances, and trends in rapid prototyping (RP), rapid tooling (RT), and rapid manufacturing (RM). It brings together a group of world-class speakers to address some of the most important issues associated with the present and future of RP and related technologies and applications. 

Best practices in RP and RT
New methods and machines
What's hot and what's not
Partnerships and acquisitions
Global sourcing
Developments in rapid tooling
Rapid manufacturing
Future technologies and applications

9:30         Welcome: Dr. Eberhard Döring, DEMAT Exposition

9:45         Growth Trends and Advances in Rapid Prototyping
Terry Wohlers, Wohlers Associates, Inc. (USA)  

Few new technologies have impacted product development as much as rapid prototyping. Organizations globally continue to discover creative uses for the technology that extend into tooling and manufacturing. As this class of technology develops, it will expand into industries that before have largely ignored or resisted it. Meanwhile, many new developments are underway that could have a strong commercial impact. Some of them are very interesting and have users, analysts, and vendors on alert.

10:15       Successes in Rapid Tooling for Injection Molding and
                Die Casting
                Philip Dickens, Loughborough University (England)

During the last 10 years, a number of rapid tooling techniques have been proposed to enable the manufacture of injection molded parts, and more recently, for die-cast metal parts. Many people have had major problems when using most of these techniques, due mainly to a lack of knowledge in key areas such as tool design, manufacture of inserts, control of the molding and casting processes, and the effect of the tool material on part properties. A significant amount of work is underway to tackle this knowledge deficit. Some of the rapid tooling processes are now capable of producing parts in a range of polymers, from polypropylene to PEEK, and in metals such as zinc, magnesium, and aluminum. Dickens will highlight some of the successes and failures and suggest the direction for rapid tooling.

10:45       Break

11:15       Rapidly Changing RP Industry in Japan
                Shinjiro Yamada, INCS Inc. (Japan)

INCS Inc. has been a pioneer of rapid prototyping and tooling in Japan since its beginning in 1990. Yamada, founder and CEO of the Tokyo-based company, will provide an overall picture of the business and rapid tooling technology at INCS. He will also provide a summary of the new developments and trends in rapid prototyping in Japan.  Furthermore, he will share a few examples of recent best practices and new applications of rapid prototyping and rapid tooling.

11:45       Collaborative Product Development and RP at Bosch
                Ralf Kimmich, Bosch Power Tools Division (Germany)

Bosch has seven development sites and 12 production sites worldwide to develop and produce power tools. The company uses the Bosch Corporate Network (BCN) to satisfy its need for collaboration. As part of this network, Bosch uses Internet technology, including an HTML front-end for its integrated information system. Kimmich will discuss the requirements needed to make the network successful. Also, he will discuss example projects, such as a battery pack and a power tool, that involve teams made up of individuals around the world. Kimmich will provide an update on how RP is used as a part of these international collaborative efforts.

12:15       Buffet Lunch

13:30       Custom Manufacturing: The Key to Product
                Ping Fu, Raindrop Geomagic (USA)

With choice playing such a critical role in consumer buying habits, mass customization is becoming increasingly evident in day-to-day life. Unlike mass production, which produces some variety of an item in high volumes, mass customization is characterized by small volumes, and in many cases, one of a kind. It is also characterized by competitive cost, timely deliveries, and a move away from centralized manufacturing to distributed production. Consequently, when combined with the very latest digital technology, such as 3D photography, computer-aided design and rapid manufacturing, mass customization not only benefits the consumer, it offers the manufacturer significant benefits as well, such as a high degree of product and service flexibility, reduced inventory risk, and a competitive edge in the marketplace. Fu, CEO, will focus on the latest technology that power mass customization. Specific applications will be used to illustrate and demonstrate this new paradigm of business and product development from design to manufacturing.

14:00       Mass Customization Using RP Technology for
Aid Manufacturing
                Herb Caloud, Phonak (Switzerland)

Phonak Hearing Systems, with facilities worldwide, has developed a process using state of the art technology for Mass Customization Manufacturing of ITE (In-The-Ear) custom hearing aid shells. This process uses optical scanning of ear impressions, custom written software to detail the scanned data into digital models, and rapid prototyping technology for manufacturing the finished product. The process, called NEMOTech, for New Ear Modeling Technology, will allow for improved accuracy and speed to create a custom shell with enhanced detail that is far more secure, reproducible, and durable than the current UV cured acrylic shells. This is the first step of enabling technology that will take Phonak on a journey of replacing the conventional ear impression with a dynamic digital picture of the ear that can be transmitted electronically.

14:30       New Developments in RP and RT in China
Yongnian Yan, Tsinghua University (China)

This paper introduces the research and production of new RP processes and equipment in China. In particular, it will discuss two kinds of RP techniques used to produce final parts and concept models. These techniques meet not only the expectations of developed countries, but also developing countries. Many universities in China have outstanding researchers and technical potential in the field of RP and want to help develop RP worldwide. The paper includes some of RP's latest applications, including electric appliances, castings, and biology. It also introduces some successful cases of global cooperation.

15:00       Break

15:30       RP Applications and Design Collaboration Tools in
                South Africa
                Deon de Beer, Technikon Free State (South Africa)
                Willie du Preez, National Product Development Centre, 
                CSIR (South Africa)

This paper describes the evolution of the National Product Development Centre (a virtual centre involving the major players in South Africa), as well as applicable case studies on collaboration in using RP from the design phase to rapid manufacturing and tooling. The case studies will discuss current issues such as the use of RP for functional parts, visualization tools, design for manufacturing and assembly, and the role of RP in concurrent engineering, with an emphasis on the most recent developments in South Africa. To stimulate collaboration between different role-players distributed in South Africa, a Product Development Network has been established. Its most recent product,, is an Internet portal that provides information on the product development process, as well as direct access to expertise and resources supporting competitive product development in South African.

16:00       Forward Progress for Rapid Product Development
                Alain Bernard, Research Institute for Cybernetics and
                Communications of Nantes (France)   

Many companies are working in the field of rapid product development by integrating information systems, design and simulation tools, cost calculation, and technical processes such as RP. After a brief state of industry of France, Bernard will present industrial case studies and practical results.

16:30       Blending RP and Rapid Tooling into Traditional
                Processes at Disney
                Michael Siemer, Walt Disney World Company (USA)

Disney has integrated rapid prototyping and manufacturing techniques into multiple aspects of its engineering for rides, shows, parades, and resorts. These tools are used in a wide array of applications that help expedite not only new project prototyping and development, but also the enhancement of the existing theme parks and resorts. The traditional processes for prototyping, pattern creation, and tooling have evolved to co-exist with new RP & RT technologies, and it is the blending of these two elements that have led to success. Trends related to the application of RP & RT technology at Disney, with an emphasis on low-volume manufacturing and rapid production, will be discussed.

17:00       GARPA Party & Reception

Meet representatives from the Global Alliance of Rapid Prototyping Associations (GARPA) and win valuable gifts and prizes.

Conference language: English
Fee: €395 (DM 773). Includes entrance into the conference and exhibition, technical papers, lunch, GARPA reception and party, and prizes.
Registration: Contact DEMAT Exhibition Managing (Frankfurt, Germany) at, phone 49 69 27 40 03 0, fax 49 69 27 40 03 40.