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Rapid Prototyping on Track for Unprecedented Growth As 1995 RP Unit Sales Soar

FORT COLLINS, COLORADO, October 27, 1995 -- The rapid prototyping (RP) industry continues to develop as system sales soar. For the first 6 months of 1995, manufacturers in the US, Europe, and Japan collectively sold 253 RP systems. RP machine sales and services began to expand significantly last year when unit sales grew by 84 percent.

"The RP industry is indeed on track for another outstanding year," says industry consultant Terry Wohlers, president of Wohlers Associates. "Typically, the second half of the year is much stronger, so we can expect total unit sales to easily exceed 500 units in 1995. This means that the total systems sold in 1995 will conceivably exceed half of all systems sold prior to 1995. That's impressive growth." Almost 1,000 systems were sold from 1988 through 1994.

Wohlers Associates forecasts the 1995 market to top $318 million, up from 1994's $198 million. Furthermore, Wohlers Associates expects the market to reach $475 million in 1996. These forecasts include the sale of RP products and services, but they do not include revenues generated from secondary tooling, duplicate parts, and castings that result from RP patterns.

Driven by 3D computer model data, RP systems build physical models and prototype parts layer by layer from liquid, powder, and sheet materials. Manufacturing companies around the world are using it to help them design, prototype, test, and produce molds and dies for manufactured products. RP technologies help companies improve the quality of a design and avoid expensive mistakes before production tooling -- errors that can delay production by weeks and can cost tens of thousands of dollars.

Wohlers Associates is an independent consulting firm that helps organizations streamline product design and prototyping using modernized manufacturing approaches. Most recently, Wohlers Associates has counseled organizations on how to select, implement, manage, and develop technologies for CAD/CAM/CAE, rapid prototyping, and reverse engineering.

Copyright 1995 by Wohlers Associates