: > See the whole press release at:
: > http://www.tenlinks.com/NEWS/PR/WOHLERS/062504_5mil.htm .
: >....to sell it for $425, hunh!?! Oh, well, somebody's buying that
: I purchased the Wohlers 1998 and 2002 reports. Given that I am
: supposed to know a thing or two about Rapid Prototyping and that my
: employer has around $400k invested in hardware alone, I consider it
: due dilegence to keep abreast of the published research in the field.
: I don't have the current report, but assuming it follows the same
: general format of the two previous reports that I do have this press
: release misses the point of the report.
Nice to hear from somebody who's actually read one of the Wohler reports.
Unfortunately, no one is reacting to the report because we, like you, have not
seen it. The reaction started with a rather provocatively titled message, cross
posted to AutoCAD, SolidWorks and Pro/e newsgroups. Then there was the content of
the post, purported to come from Tara Roopinder, publisher of 10Links. Whatever
the point of the report, the point of the post was apparently to goad people into
reading and discussing the 10Links announcement and the nearly contentless
Wohler's press release. It seems they succeeded in getting a discussion going,
one that managed to counter only the most obvious defects in the statistics.
: The numbers reported represent accumulative seats shipped for whatever
: reason since the beginning of (MCAD) time. In the 2002 Report this
: section had a subsection titled, "Getting good estimates" that went
: into the difficulties of getting any kind of meaningful numbers. The
: bottom line point of the inclusion of a number for seats of MCAD,
: (regardless of accuracy)in the report is that Rapid Prototyping
: Technology requires 3D solid models as the initial data. While
: everyone I know (including Greco in the Wohlers Report) views these
: numbers with a skeptical eye, everyone agrees that the number of 3D
: MCAD users is growing at an accelerated rate.
Very important question: what are good numbers. Everyone gets this report to go
data mining: sort through a ton of tailings to find that nugget of gold that
points the way to the future. However, even the one statistic that's available
from the announcement stuff, a chart showing the number of RP models produced
98 to 03, shows a straight line curve (slope, about 1.5) running the whole way.
There is certainly no *accelerating* rate in evidence. And, it is precisely the
warping, to the point of deluded fantasy or using the most meaningless figures
(total number of licenses ever issued) which is used to mislead, to create a
optimism, an artificial excitement, that leads people to object strongly, that
leads me to believe there is an agenda at work behind behind this kind of "number
crunching". And what could be the point? I already stated in one of my posts: to
stimulate sales, to tell the RPers that now's the time for some capital spending.
But, no one wants to listen to stupidly lying claims (ADESK Inventor is in more
widespread use than SolidWorks!?! As Sporkman said, that's LAUGHABLE!!!), much
less base capital spending plans on them. I would hate to think that RPers are so
poorly informed or depend so heavily on a report like this that they would take
such nonse for gospel.
: As Greco and Wohlers state, "Despite the cloudiness of the numbers, the future
of the MCAD
: market looks bright..." Wohlers 2002, pg 181.
That's either an item of analysis or an item of faith. If analysis, facts and
arguments can be marshelled to bear on it. But marshalling trumped up,
and meaningless stats doesn't make the analysis stronger. It makes the whole case
weaker, less believable, less trustworthy. And with corporate executives,
accounting firms and others on trial for lying with numbers, why wouldn't the
report writers get the idea: extra caution when presenting and interpreting, not
flamboyant optimism, is what's needed for people to take such reports seriously.
Especially when it's $425 or *our* money at stake.
: Current estimates are that somewhere around 25% of mechanical
: designers and engineers worldwide use solid modeling. The early
: adopters of the technology have been touting the benifits of 3D MCAD
: for some time (often with evangelical zeal for particular software
: they adopted, of course). Published job placement advertisements are
: only one indication of current use. The big question for MCAD vendors
: is, "Who will the late adopters, the 70-75% 2D CAD users go with and
: how long will the migration to 3D tools take?"
As long as we're making predictions, I have one: in ten years time, one more
decade, there will be no more 2-D, no more CAD or CADD. There will be only
modelling ~ solids modelling, process modelling as in the kind represented by
matematical modelling, statistical modelling as in the GIS mapping of
to demographic data, molecular and chemical modelling as represented in designer
drugs and, finally, the vast field of simulation of everything from dynamic
stresses in materials to the formation of currents and fronts in the atmosphere
the way bones will heal after maxilofacial surgery can be realistically,
faithfully shown on a computer. In ten years time with the continuation of the
revolution in computing of the last decade (1.5 year doubling time of processor
speed, continued improvement in the accessibility of computers to average users
through the GUI revolution and another revolution to come in networking
technology) will put modelling everywhere and make it as economically unfeasible
to waste hardware on 2-D applications as it was to waste coal on the steam
locomotive by the 1950s. I don't think you can be more optimistic, in general,
than this. Yet the questions remain as they were: when, where and how. If China
and India, where a third of our species lives and where we are developing the
rapidly, were not taken fully into account by the Wohler report, then it is worse
than useless. It is Eurocentric snake oil.