The JTEC/WTEC panel observed several directions for research. In Japan, CMET executives commented that the future of Japanese rapid prototyping was in rapid production of metal molds. This was consistent with observations made by Professor Nakagawa of Tokyo University and also Mr. Yamada of INCS.

One Japanese host commented that Hitachi, Toshiba, Matsushita, and NEC all would like to develop rapid prototype technology, but that if the market remains small for RP technology in Japan, then these players will not enter the arena. Teijin Seiki is developing a new resin system with Professor Endo at the Tokyo Institute of Technology. This will be a monomer-based system designed to deliver ±50 µm accuracy. Representatives of several Japanese companies alluded to new resins being developed by their companies. These included JSR, which was trying to formulate an epoxy system. In Europe, the Catholic University of Leuven is developing with Zenica of Britain a resin system that changes color with additional irradiation. This is of particularly interest for medical models, to show, for example, a diseased area in the highlighted color.

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Published: March 1997; WTEC Hyper-Librarian