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1.1 INCORPORATION OF NEW TECHNOLOGIES INTO PRODUCTION SYSTEM
Rapid prototyping and tooling - RP INDUSTRIAL APPLICATIONS
In order to comply with the change and new demands of the market, manufacturing companies have to be more competitive. This implies the need for a shorter time to market new products, together with an increase of functionality and shape complexity of the products.
Since these requirements cannot be met by one SME on its own, this will result in emerging strategic alliances in which more companies co-operate.
The lifecycle of products becomes smaller, caused by smaller batch order sizes combined with a greater variety of products. All contributors in the value chain, starting from the product-idea and ending with product manufacturing, are compelled to carry out the required development work in a shorter period of time. For integrated parts, the process development cycle becomes more and more a knowledge consuming activity.
An analysis of the tooling market shows that European toolmakers are involved mainly in the field of complex tooling. This can be understood when the fact is considered that present-day tools for less complex products are made in low priced countries. In order to keep their technical and competitive edge, European toolmakers are focusing on complex parts which require more complex production techniques: the high-end market. Manufacturing companies and toolmakers confirm that speed, cost reduction, accuracy and the integration of more functions within one part are issues that are growing in importance at market level.
Hence, the aim of the network is to:
European dimension and partnership
The dissemination and exploitation of results is of key importance for the EU manufacturing industries. By applying these new Rapid Prototyping and Tooling techniques, they will be able to develop cheaper products more rapidly.
Different institutes, universities, manufacturing companies but foremost toolmakers form the network and collaborate in this field of tooling. In this network, manufacturing companies and toolmakers define priorities and bring in their experience. The research providers bring in their cumulative knowledge to be transferred to other interested companies and institutes.
This network on tooling and applications is the natural basis for forming strategic alliances between partners.
European toolmakers participating in this network have indicated the need for activities that provide the development of capabilities to apply modern Rapid Prototyping and Tooling technologies.
In order for the toolmakers to benefit from the new production methods, all available processes must be translated into applications to be implemented in their production facilities.
In this network, research institutes and universities in co-operation with toolmakers, tool users and commercial providers of relevant technology can create an environment where the indicated industrial need to apply these new technologies can be accomplished on technical terms. The introduction and implementation of these modern technologies has to be carried out by the toolmakers and research providers complementarily. Industry will learn from research providers and vice versa.
The specific needs of companies and technical possibilities will become clearer and clearer during the network operation, much of them being already incorporated in the network. The network will be instrumental also in identifying and building up the need for additional research and development.
Contract Brite-Euram Nr: BRRT-CT98-5097
Contract in preparation
EC scientific officer
Isidoro MACIAS SANCHEZ
Netherlands Organization for
ABB Assist Ab - Vasteras (SE)