Rapid Prototyping Products, Services Down

Unit sales of rapid prototyping systems continued to grow in 1997, but money spent on RP products and services was down considerably, says Terry Wohlers, principal consultant and president of Wohlers Associates Inc., Fort Collins, Colo. His new report, Rapid Prototyping & Tooling State of the Industry: 1998 Worldwide Progress Report, counts 1,057 systems sold worldwide last year compared with 787 last year. Since 1988, global sales total 3,289 systems -- to industrial, academic, and governments sites. "Last year, the [products and services] industry grew by a disappointing 7.5%, as measured by revenue growth, compared to 42.6% the year before," Wohlers adds. The report reviews new systems being developed, trends in CAD solid modeling, 3D printing for concept modeling, medical modeling, reverse engineering, the future of RP, and the progress of the system manufacturers in the U.S., Europe, and Asia.

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