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Rapid Manufacturing to the Rescue

September 27, 2003

Filed under: additive manufacturing,manufacturing — Terry Wohlers @ 09:23

U.S. manufacturing continues to lead in some product development methods and technologies, such as rapid prototyping. Increasingly, RP technologies are being used for the manufacture of finished, series production parts. With “rapid manufacturing,” it becomes feasible to decentralize manufacturing operations and produce parts more quickly, less expensively, and with far more flexibility. Even the manufacture of custom parts becomes a practical option. With this approach, it is possible to manufacture parts—from CAD data to finished production parts—in two days, without tooling.

Rapid manufacturing could become a key to preserving some of the manufacturing base in the U.S. The same is true for other nations that want to protect some level of manufacturing within their borders. Even if foreign competitors with rock-bottom labor costs embrace RM, it will be difficult for them to compete for business in countries that use RM because of the time and cost of shipping. So, if the U.S. is serious about saving some amount of manufacturing, RM may be the answer.