China is Embracing RP Big Time

China has moved ahead of Germany as the number three consumer of rapid prototyping machines for the first time in history, according to Wohlers Report 2003. Growth from 2001 to 2002 was a whopping 93%. In a short few years, China has progressed from having little RP capacity to where it’s at today. The country is not only buying RP systems, it’s building and selling them. In fact, 25% of the estimated 160 machines sold and installed in China in 2002 came from Chinese system manufacturers.

Huazhong University of Science & Technology in Wuhan, China employs an amazing number of people dedicated to the research and development of stereolithography, laser sintering, paper lamination, and other forms of rapid prototyping. Wuhan Binhu Mechanical & Electrical Co., Ltd. is the company that is commercializing the RP machines developed at the university. The RP group at the university consists of 120 professors, associate professors, lecturers, engineers, graduate students, and other staff working on the technology. It is very likely the largest R&D group dedicated to rapid prototyping in the world.

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