3D Printing

Wohlers: 67K 3D Printers Worldwide to Drive Metal and Final Product Manufacturing

3D Printing is rapidly becoming a new way to make anything. There is no industrial or professional sector that might not benefit from it, reducing costs and increasing productivity, shortening time to market. The next few years could thus give rise to a new paradigm….

“Our Wohlers Report 2014 estimates that the 3D printing industry, including machinery, services, materials, lasers and software updates  is now worth $3.05 billion, after a 35% growth in 2013, the highest rate in 17 years,” Terry Wohlers, President of Wohlers Associates, told me when I met him recently. Of these, roughly one billion comes from the two market leaders: Stratasys and 3D Systems and the total cannot take into account all the further indirect gains that ensue from implementing 3D printing technologies in a business.

“All indicators tell us that growth will continue in the upcoming years and that it will be tied to final product manufacturing,” Wohlers continued. “We have been following this trend for the past 10-11 years and it represents a much bigger opportunity in terms of business volume, compared with the now widely established rapid prototyping trend. Furthermore companies that are implementing 3D printing technologies are showing a very solid appetite for components that are used in final products, in advanced Hi-Tech sectors such as aerospace, medical, dental and that is true even among some companies producing consumer goods”.

Wohlers report 2014 3d printing

Today the 3D printing industry is still in its infancy: its 3.05 billion revenues pale in comparison to the business volume generated by the global manufacturing industry. “If 3D printing reached only 2% of global manufacturing revenues, it would be worth $200 billion and many think it could even grow beyond that,” Wohlers added.

“There currently are 66.702 industrial 3D printers installed worldwide – Wohlers revealed – which means machines that cost more than $5.000, however growth is strong, especially in the metal 3D pritnting segment.

According to Wohlers the nations that stand to benefit the most from this industrial revolution are generally the more advanced countries. “Most of Europe and North America – he specified – and all those areas where CAD based manufacturing has already been widely adopted. However there are many parts of Asia, Africa and South America where additive manufacturing already has a strong presence”.

Paradoxically, in certain cases the nations that are less advanced can take even greater advantage from delocalization of production in terms of growth. “Developing and isolated, remote nations can quickly benefit from the possibility of producing specific components through additive manufacturing and jump start their economies. Additive manufacturing may not become as widespread as in more advanced nations but it can have a much more significant impact in percentage terms”. 2014 is already looking like a great year for the 3D printing industry: we cannot wait to see the Wohlers Report 2015.