International Journal of Product Development, 2004, 1, 2, 147.
rapid prototyping, rapid tooling, rapid manufacturing, 3D printing, solid freeform fabrication, CAD, solid modeling, medical modeling, RP materials, layered manufacturing, and reverse engineering.
This paper provides an overview of the information published in Wohlers Report 2003, a 270-page market study. The report addresses many aspects of rapid prototyping, including: industries served; applications; revenues; unit sales; forecasts. It also provides current information on industry trends and developments in the areas of service providers, advanced approaches to tooling, system manufacturers and technology advances in the USA, Europe, Asia and other parts of the world. The report covers research and development activities, growth trends in CAD solid modelling, rapid prototyping materials, medical modelling, rapid manufacturing and reverse engineering. Wohlers Report 2003 concludes with a discussion of the future of rapid prototyping â€“ where it is headed and what is expected â€“ to assist in strategic and tactical planning.
The paper reports on the original concept of introducing Resource-Negotiating (RN) agents into telemanufacturing. Human users submit a design file that they want manufactured. The machine that will be selected to manufacture the design file has to fall within the user's constraints. An agent visits several processing facilities called Distributed Manufacturing Resources (DMRs) and negotiates with an agent at each location for the most suitable machine. The agents use a plan to find resources and use negotiation skills to acquire the most suitable manufacturing resource. The entire process is done in a secure environment as the design files could contain valuable information such as early prototypes of products. Experience gained from the negotiations should be stored to allow future agents to benefit from previous negotiations. The components that are needed to implement the above and the results of the implementation are discussed in this paper.