3D printing and additive manufacturing industry to quadruple in four years

Paul Boughton

Worldwide revenues from the additive manufacturing and 3D printing industry are expected to reach $12.8 billion by 2018, according to consultants Wohlers Associates.

According to Wohlers Report 2014, the company’s annual publication on the subject, the industry grew to an estimated $3.07 billion in 2013. By 2020, Wohlers Associates forecasts revenues from all products and services in the industry to exceed $21 billion.

Wohlers Associates believes strong growth in the industry will be fuelled partly by sales of under $5,000 ‘personal’ 3D printers. An even bigger factor will be the expanded use of the technology for the production of parts, especially in metal, that go into final products. “The industry is transitioning from a prototyping past to a production future,” said Tim Caffrey, senior consultant at Wohlers Associates and a principal author of the report. “Opportunities for AM in production applications are orders of magnitude greater than for modeling and prototyping. The money is in manufacturing, not prototyping.”

Wohlers Report 2014 provides a comprehensive review and analysis of additive manufacturing and 3D printing—terms that are used interchangeably—including its history, applications, processes, materials, and manufacturers. It covers developments in R&D, investment and collaborative activities in government, academia, and industry, and summarises the state of the AM industry from around the world. Many have referred to the report as the ‘bible’ of 3D printing. The 2014 edition marks the 19th consecutive year of its publication.

The 276-page annual study is packed with up-to-date and practical information that includes 35 charts and graphs, 60 tables, and 248 images and illustrations. The report, which sells for US$495, was created with support from 82 service providers, 29 system manufacturers, and the valuable contributions of 70 co-authors in 24 countries.


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