Representatives of the UK’s rapid product development (RPD) industry will ask for government funding next week as the first step toward setting up a trade association.
RPD companies provide services for the rapid design and development of prototypes to enable manufacturers to `test and try’ products before commiting to production.
They tend to be small and many are concerned that the sector is losing work because it is too fragmented.
Lee Styger, projects director of Styles Precision Components, who led the feasibility study which recommended setting up a trade body, said: `Many firms do not know where to find RPDcompanies.’
However, the Institution of Mechanical Engineers’ Rapid Prototyping & Manufacturing Association (RPMA) has expressed concern that the new association could sign up its members.
Styger said the new trade body would be complementary and would represent the whole of the RPD sector, including such disciplines as model making, rapid tool making and short-run production. The RPMA concentrates on rapid prototyping, he said.