Worldwide Advances and Setbacks in Rapid Prototyping, Tooling & Manufacturing Conference

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Date and Time: Friday 5 December 2003, 9:30 – 17:00
Location: Exhibition Center Frankfurt, Hall 9.1, Room Logos
Organizer: DEMAT GmbH (Frankfurt, Germany)
Scientific Chairman: Terry Wohlers, Wohlers Associates, Inc.

Conference Language: English
Fee per Session: EUR 70. Includes entrance into the conference and trade fair, technical papers, lunch, GARPA reception and party, and a chance to win valuable prizes. 
Registration: Contact Sandra Neubauer of DEMAT at, phone 49 69 27 40 03 16, fax 49 69 27 40 03 40,

New applications and technologies for rapid prototyping continue to impress seasoned veterans and newcomers alike. Companies are discovering amazingly creative uses of additive manufacturing technology for rigorous prototyping and testing purposes, advanced tooling, and for the manufacture of series production parts in quantities of one to several thousand. A vast amount of R&D is underway that is sure to lead to new advances.

Meanwhile, the industry is plagued with a number a problems and obstacles that are challenging vendors, service providers, customers, and educators. Among them are a lack of awareness, cost of entry, unfulfilled expectations, poor performance by key players, and legal problems.

Attend this conference and learn what has developed over the past year. Discover new methods and tools that could be life changing. At the same time, become aware of the landmines and pitfalls that could have a dramatic impact on strategic planning and decision-making at your organization.

9:30     Welcome: Eberhard Döring, DEMAT GmbH

Session 1: Industry Overview

9:45     State of the Industry and Technology Update
               Terry Wohlers, Wohlers Associates, Inc. (USA)

Industry consultant Terry Wohlers will open the conference with highlights from Wohlers Report 2003, a global market study on the rapid prototyping, tooling, and manufacturing state of the industry. He will share his views and opinions on the development of methods and tools for rapid product development and will present updates on the most interesting products, companies, and research. He will conclude by presenting challenges that the industry faces and his outlook on the future.

10:30   Big Prototypes, Difficult Tooling, and RM
           Bart Van der Schueren, Materialise (Belgium)

The differences between prototype parts for show and tell, marketing, and function testing, as well as for crash testing and pre-series production, is fading. This is due to the growing number of functions that can be tested with a single prototyping approach. Even so, a range of rapid prototyping and tooling options exist and each has strengths and limitations. Van der Schueren will focus on cases in which these methods have been applied to specific design problems. He will discuss the capabilities of these techniques, why they have been chosen for a given application, and their current limits. The cases will cover the prototyping of large components, rapid injection molding tools for complex parts, and rapid manufacturing projects. The presentation will conclude with an outlook on the future of rapid product development.    

11:00   Break

Session 2: Prototyping

11:30   Formula One: Where Iterations Matter
           Steve Nevey, Jaguar Racing (UK)

Formula One is more than a group of racers trying to finish an agreed upon set of laps as quickly as possible. Behind the scenes, there is a carefully orchestrated world of design and manufacturing of rapid, precision parts and systems. There is a tune that echoes throughout the world of Formula One: More iterations mean better cars. The goal of engineering is to squeeze as many incremental design iterations into a year as possible, enabling each team to systematically improve the performance of its cars. The result is the elimination of hundredths of a second in lap times. Sophisticated tools are employed only if they can deliver results. The toolbox inventory includes computational fluid dynamics, finite element analysis, CAD/CAM, hydraulic test rigs, wind tunnels and, most recently, methods of rapid prototyping.

12:00   Rapid Product Development at adidas
           Jan Hill, adidas-Salomon AG (Germany)

Shorter product lifecycles in the sports and fashion industry, coupled with a wider product range and continuous innovation, has made it necessary to invest in new technologies for product development at adidas. With 3D CAD, it is possible to review a proposed design before producing any physical parts and this offers significant benefits. However, the need for physical prototypes remains very high at adidas. For many designers, it is important to touch the product and study the transition of design lines on a physical part. The company has been using a range of RP systems for more than five years and has learned that each offers a unique set of capabilities. Hill will show at which stage of development (early design phase, first prototype, and functional prototype) adidas uses its RP systems and the advantages and limitations of each process.

12:30   Buffet Lunch

Session 3: Manufacturing

14:00   Digital Fabrication of Custom Hearing Instruments Worldwide  
           Martin Masters, Siemens Hearing Instruments (USA)

The fabrication of custom hearing aids has been an art form for decades. Technicians have manually crafted the physical impressions of patients’ ears into precisely fitting hearing instruments. Siemens Hearing Instruments and Phonak Hearing Systems have developed a digital fabrication approach that replaces most of the manual processes with 3D modeling software. The instruments are then manufactured using rapid prototyping equipment. The digital fabrication process has been deployed worldwide, and thousands of instruments are in the field, with thousands more being produced each month. Some dispensers are sending digital scans over the Internet, while research efforts are working toward scanning patients’ ears directly.

14:30   Rapid Manufacturing’s Role in Enabling Customization
           Richard Hague, Loughborough University (UK)

Rapid manufacturing presents enormous opportunities and challenges to the way that products are designed, manufactured, and distributed. The absence of tooling, for example, will enable designers to manufacture whatever design they chose. It also opens up the potential for true cost-effective, customized products made outside of the traditional factory environment. Hague will highlight recent results from his work on the research projects titled “Design for Rapid Manufacture” and “Management, Organization & Implementation of Rapid Manufacture.” Also, he will present exciting new work that looks into the potential of RM for the manufacture of textiles and micro-level design possibilities.

15:00   NEXTRAMA: A European Network to Integrate Rapid Manufacturing R&D
           Frits Feenstra, TNO Industrial Technology (Holland)

The European Union’s sixth Framework Programme (FP6) is funding the Network of Excellence in Rapid Manufacturing (NEXTRAMA). Its mission is to drive the growth of rapid manufacturing (based on additive freeform fabrication technologies) to efficient and sustainable industrial processes. This will occur by integrating and coordinating the main scientific, technological, industrial, and social elements in Europe by creating a permanent organization in the field of RM. To fulfill this mission, a concerted effort will be planned, executed, and monitored by specific research units. The resulting exploratory work, knowledge, facilities, and experience sharing will provide a clear definition of the primary development themes and related research teams required to follow specific roadmaps, leading to viable industrial solutions.

15:30   Break

Session 4: Tooling and Casting

16:00   RP and Design Collaboration: Successes and Unfulfilled Expectations
           Ralf Kimmich, Bosch Power Tools (Germany)

Bosch Power Tools was one of the pioneers in the use of RP technology. The company began to use it in 1989 for the design and prototyping of power tools and accessories. The implementation of technical and organizational demands in the worldwide enterprise was a key factor for being successful with RP. Fast developing technology, reliable suppliers, and reasonable costs for parts made the use of rapid prototyping efficient and economical. When rapid tooling was introduced to the market, an even higher potential for cost and time savings developed. Today, however, we continue to face obstacles and unfulfilled expectations. The economical use of rapid tooling for Bosch’s power tool business has not been realized. Also, the technology has not satisfied the needs of most tooling companies that employ 20 to 80 people in Europe, most of which have a conservative mindset.

16:30   Rapid Prototyping of Engine Castings
           Michael Becker, BECKER CAD-CAM CAST (Germany)

Specialized engineering and rapid prototyping capabilities for engine castings are used at BECKER to reduce cycle time and cost and maintain quality. Work on the Indy Racing League V8 engine program shows how the requirements of the racing industry are met. Mr. Becker will present the entire process, from CAD design to castings, including qualification using computer tomography (CT). Also, he will provide highlights of the Cadillac V16 cylinder head program. Precision sand molds are developed using EOS laser sintering, ProMetal Rapid Casting Technology (RCT), and rapid tooling systems. Mr. Becker will focus on the opportunities and limitations of each technology and how they apply to the prototyping of metal castings. BECKER and Extrude Hone’s ProMetal Division are exploring the potential for alternative sand binders that will enhance the casting process and quality.

17:15   GARPA Party & Reception

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