Introduction to Subtractive Rapid Prototyping White Paper (Sample)

Two major shifts are changing the world of manufacturing that will evolve the way companies rapidly design, develop and manufacture products. The first shift is on the economic front. The continual rising costs of outsourcing product development and manufacturing are prompting companies to re-establish the business model of co-locating project teams and moving manufacturing closer to consumption, thus reducing product development time, eliminating costly errors and reducing the cost of bringing products to market.

The second shift occurring in the manufacturing industry is the increasing entrepreneurial spirit of small businesses bringing products to market on-demand known as the “new industrial revolution.” This trend is enabled by two elements -- the emergence of new tools that foster the democratization of product design and by the Internet, which has enabled the easy sourcing of product production through micro-manufacturing hubs. In essence, the new industrial revolution is driven by the emergence of small companies, service providers/bureaus and individual entrepreneurs, utilizing low-cost, modern fabrication equipment, such as 3-D printers and desktop CNC machines, to quickly design, prototype and manufacture their products. This business model brings to market products that are produced in low volume and can be personalized for the consumer without having to source large manufacturing facilities to produce designs and concepts -- effectively, reducing the consumer price and shortening the time it takes to bring a product to market.

To meet the changing needs of today’s designers, engineers and manufacturers, newer and more flexible rapid prototyping and manufacturing (RP&M) machines are emerging. These new, high-demand machines are helping to fuel current market dynamics. Recent innovations are providing both the cost benefits and flexibility needed to bring prototyping and manufacturing back in-house, profitably, regardless of a company’s size. RP&M machines utilizing subtractive and additive processes each offer benefits in the new age of manufacturing. The decision to invest in one or the other technologies comes down to two factors: flexibility in material choice and performance of the machine throughout the workflow process. This paper will outline the pros and cons of each technology and the role these complementary technologies play.

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Roland DGA, Corp.