Market Insights

Wohlers Associates publishes 2021 annual State of 3D Printing report

Wohlers Associates, the Colorado-based additive manufacturing consultancy firm of Terry Wohlers, has published the Wohlers Report 2021, the 26th consecutive installment of its report on the state of 3D printing and additive manufacturing. 

This year’s study reports the additive manufacturing industry grew by 7.5 percent to nearly $12.8 billion in 2020, despite the ongoing global Covid-19 pandemic. When compared with an average growth of 27.4 percent over the past decade, however, growth was shown to be down considerably, and the 375-page report discusses the impact Covid-19 has had on the 3D printing sector.

Principal Author Terry Wohlers and his team have delivered the Wohlers Report to industry professionals since 1996, providing insights into the benefits and challenges of the global additive manufacturing industry. 

The study highlights trends, perspectives, and forecasts related to the sector, detailing emerging developments and applications surrounding the production, sale, and pricing of systems, software, post-processing, and consumables, while also providing information on patents, startups, investments, and research and development. 

In addition to its focus on the pandemic, this year’s report includes several other expanded features spanning applications, expert reports, and the hidden costs of additive manufacturing.

The Wohlers Report 2021. Image via Wohlers Associates.
The Wohlers Report 2021. Image via Wohlers Associates.

The 2021 Wohlers Report

The 2021 Wohlers Report was composed of contributions from 124 service providers, 113 manufacturers of 3D printing machines, and 24 producers of third-party materials. Expert perspectives were provided from 88 co-authors and contributors from 34 countries which, coupled with Wohlers Associates’ data and experience, has resulted in an expansive window into 3D printing and additive manufacturing. 

This year’s report includes commentary on 74 early-stage investments and 35 acquisitions and public offerings, citing 3D printer manufacturer Desktop Metal’s merger with Trine Acquisition Corp to go public on the New York Stock Exchange, which completed in December and saw the firm’s market capitalization exceed $7.5 billion in February 2021.

The report also reveals that most established manufacturers of additive manufacturing systems saw a decline in equipment sales over the past year, although many “less-established” companies experienced growth in 2020. In particular, the report identifies an increase in business by 3D printing service providers helped to fuel industry-wide growth during the period, with this group seeing a 7.1 percent growth resulting in nearly $5.3 billion of revenue.

The 2021 report documents government-sponsored research and development, collaborations, and consortia, and also provides details on the activities of 150 academic and research institutes across the globe.

A graph from the Wohlers 2021 report showing the production of AM parts from independent service providers (in millions of dollars). Graph via Wohlers Associates.
A graph from the Wohlers 2021 report showing the production of AM parts from independent service providers (in millions of dollars). Graph via Wohlers Associates.

New and expanded features for 2021

The Wohlers Report 2021 includes several new and expanded features, such as key developments within the 3D printing of food, medicine, and electronics, the pricing of metals and polymers and the hidden cost of additive manufacturing, and methods of 3D printed part inspection. 

In addition to addressing the pandemic’s impact on the additive manufacturing industry, the report also compiles expert reports from 34 countries alongside expanded tables of additive manufacturing systems, software tools, service providers, and third-party materials.

This year’s report contains 54 charts and graphs, 104 tables, and 397 images and illustrations. Buyers of the report will also gain exclusive access to 80 pages of online supplementary content.

The DfAM course from Wohlers Associates, with a positive response from those who participated. Image via Wohlers Associates.
A DfAM course from Wohlers Associates, with a positive response from those who participated. Image via Wohlers Associates.

Education on 3D printing technologies

The Wohlers Report 2021 is now available for order in digital and hard copy format from Wohlers Associates. 

Last year’s report, published in March 2020, detailed information on additive manufacturing industry growth, particularly regarding maturing and emerging applications of the technology for series production. Prior to that, the 2019 report focused on record growth in materials development and consumption, specifically in regards to metals.

The consultancy has continued to run its Design for Additive Manufacturing (DfAM) courses around the world in a bid to educate engineers and designers on 3D printing technologies, and has previously partnered with America Makes to offer a one-day course for managers and executives.

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Featured image shows the Wohlers Report 2021. Image via Wohlers Associates.

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