SEMA Rapid Prototyping Program

Rapid Prototyping Revolutionizes Product Development

New products shape the automotive specialty-equipment industry, and companies that get their innovations to market earliest have the best chance for success. Millions of dollars are spent each year to research, design, develop and produce prototypes that are eventually honed into the finished parts that reach consumers’ vehicles. Until recently, that process has been time consuming and expensive—especially for smaller manufacturers that don’t have huge budgets. But technology is changing the R&D process.

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Remember the Sci-Fi television programs of the ‘50s and ‘60s in which engineers of the future could stand in front of a computer device, order up practically any space sprocket or gizmo and watch it materialize in seconds, ready for use? Believe it or not, that future is here—and has been for some time.

While not as instantaneous as their fictional counterparts, there are computerized machines that can replicate solid, intricate 3-D objects in a process now being dubbed “3-D printing.”

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