CHAPTER 1

INTRODUCTION

Friedrich B. Prinz

SCOPE OF STUDY

This study reports the findings by a panel of experts on the state of the art in physical rapid prototyping technologies in Europe and Japan. The panel focused its investigation on a new class of rapid prototyping technologies called solid freeform fabrication (SFF).1 The efforts observed overseas are compared to efforts in the United States. This initiative was sponsored by the U.S. government and administered by the Japan Technology Evaluation Center/World Technology Evaluation Center (JTEC/WTEC) at Loyola College in Maryland. The following agencies supported the study: the National Science Foundation, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the Office of Naval Research, the Department of Energy, and the Department of Commerce.

It is the mission of this JTEC/WTEC study to inform policymakers, strategic planners, and managers on the state of selected advanced technologies in foreign countries in comparison to the United States.


1 Although the term "rapid prototyping" (RP) encompasses more than "layered manufacturing" and "solid freeform fabrication," in this report these terms are used interchangeably.
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Published: March 1997; WTEC Hyper-Librarian