Additive Manufacturing News
Additive Manufacturing Resources
May 1, 2006
By DE Editors
DE has learned from a number of well-placed sources that Sony Manufacturing Systems America, Inc. (SMSA;Lake Forest, CA) has discontinued all sales efforts relating to itsstereolithography (STL) line of products known as Solid CreationSystems and has been closing down its North American STL operationssince early last week.
Solid Creation Systems were first available in the US in the Fall of2003 under the name Solid Creator. The discontinuation of the salesefforts is effective immediately and applies to Solid Creation Systemshardware, software, third-party post-processing equipment, and relatedhardware, software, and materials, according to DE‘s source.
“After nearly three years of presence in this part of the world,” wroteindustry expert and consultant Terry Wohlers of Wohlers Associates(Fort Collins, CO) in response to an e-mail inquiry from DE, “thecompany had sold few systems. The machine, called the Solid CreationSystem, is based on mature technology that was first commercialized in1989. The hardware is rock solid and builds excellent parts, but thesystem software was never fully finished. It was one of severalobstacles the company faced in penetrating the U.S. market.”
“Sony’s entrance into the U.S. market was welcomed, since it promisedalternatives, technology advancements, and competition in the rapidprototyping industry,” responded Todd Grimm the founder and presidentof T. A. Grimm and Associates, Inc. (Edgewood, KY) and the author ofthe User’s Guide to Rapid Prototyping in response to an e-mail from DE.“While the Solid Creation Systems had only marginal success, Sony’sdecision to pull out of rapid prototyping is disappointing because theindustry now has lost a driving force for advancing the technology andspurring further industry growth.”
SMSA also offers digital instrumentation, measurement systems, surfacemount equipment, and precision microscopes. None of these product linesappear affected by this development.
At press time, no official statement to the press from SMSA or Sony USA is availableon either the SMSA site or the Sony USA site, indicating that none has been made.