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DEARBORN, MICH. — The two founders of Stature Prototyping Inc., a rapid prototyping service bureau in Detroit, have acquired their former company and merged its operations with Advanced Prototyping Inc. of Rochester Hills, Mich.

Ernest Guinn and Gary Ross launched Stature in 1991 as a subsidiary of Detroit-based DCT Inc., a manufacturer of industrial assembly lines. Guinn and Ross, who served as general manager and supervisor, left Stature last year after learning that DCT planned to sell the rapid prototyping business.

``We knew it wasn't part of their core business and that they had to focus their attention on other areas. So, we thought it was a good time to open our own company,'' Ross said at the Rapid Prototyping & Manufacturing '97 conference, held April 22-25 in Dearborn.

Guinn and Ross started Advanced, a three-person rapid prototyping shop, last spring. As they considered expanding that operation in December, they learned that DCT still was attempting to sell Stature, which employed six. They acquired the firm April 19 for an undisclosed price.

With the buy, three Stature employees and rapid prototyping equipment were relocated to Advanced's Rochester Hills plant. Advanced has a Cubital 5600 solid ground curing machine, brought from Stature, and a DTM 2000 SLS selective laser sintering machine.

The firm has changed its name to Advanced Prototyping/Stature Inc., because ``the Stature name has been around longer, and it's better known,'' Ross said.

Advanced, with sales of $500,000, hopes to double business this year with the acquisition, he said. By year-end, it may move from its 3,600-square-foot site to a larger facility and boost its work force to 13, Ross said.