The industrial expectation and future of the additive process, also DLM (Digital Layer Manufacturing) called, is the extensive use in Rapid Manufacturing (RM). These manufacturing technologies are at this point in time emerging. The tool-less economical manufacture of short runs plastic components is real life in several branches. These technologies emerge from the Rapid Prototyping and are on the way to Rapid Manufacturing, demonstrating great future chances. At the same time it puts forward several great research and development challenges. The paper, starting with background information, shows trends toward RM. Case studies from own research and experience as well as pioneer projects demonstrating the transition toward RM. The present challenges are discussed and considered alongside the technical and economical perspectives. Chances like “complexity for free”, individualization of design, mass customization and others are demonstrated, some final conclusions are stated.

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