Wohlers Associates publishes annual report on the state of 3D printing 2020

Wohlers Associates, the Colorado-based additive manufacturing consultancy firm of  Terry Wohlers, has published the Wohlers Report 2020, the 25th consecutive installment of its report on the state of 3D printing and additive manufacturing.

Since April 1996, Principal Author Terry Wohlers and his team have delivered the Wohlers report to industry professionals, detailing insights into the benefits and challenges of the global additive manufacturing industry. 

The report highlights emerging developments and applications and takes into consideration the production, sale, and pricing of systems, software, post-processing, and consumables. Additional information is provided on patents, startups, investment, and research and development, and the future of additive manufacturing.

This year’s report, provided by the insights of various industry stakeholders, highlights the expanding boundaries of what can be achieved with additive manufacturing in production applications. 

3D printing application highlighted in the Wohlers Report. Image via Wohlers Assoicates/Jabil.
3D printing application highlighted in the Wohlers Report. Image via Wohlers Assoicates/Jabil.

The 2020 Wohlers Report

The 2020 Wohlers Report was compiled with the contribution of 129 service providers, 114 manufacturers of industrial additive manufacturing systems, and 40 producers of third-party materials and desktop 3D printers. Additionally, the report features 78 co-authors and contributors in 33 countries, therefore providing an expansive window into additive manufacturing and 3D printing. It explores current government-sponsored research and development operations, collaborations and consortia, as well as the activities of 139 academic and research institutes around the world.

“Any organization serious about additive manufacturing cannot afford to be uninformed,” comments Wohlers when asked about the publication of the Wohlers Report in 2019, “In a single publication, organizations can gain perspective, insight, and data that would otherwise cost tens of thousands in consulting fees.”

Comprising 380 pages, this year’s report details information on additive manufacturing industry growth, particularly regarding maturing and emerging applications of additive manufacturing for series production. Wohlers Associates cites the recent application of additive manufacturing that made headlines around the world, where Italian firm Isinnova produced a number of respiratory valves for a hospital amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic

As such, it contains over 250 examples of applications already in production or currently in development. Below is a graph provided by Wohlers Associates depicting the increase in expenditure on final part production using additive manufacturing worldwide. 

Graph depicting money spent annually on part production using AM. Image via Wohlers Associates.
Graph depicting money spent annually on part production using AM. Image via Wohlers Associates.

The report includes a case study involving global manufacturing services company Jabil, detailing its use of additive manufacturing to redesign an impeller. Normally requiring 73 metal parts assembled by hand, the 3D printed impeller was instead made of fiber-reinforced polymer composite in a single part. In the time it takes to produce one impeller using the standard manufacturing process, additive manufacturing was capable of producing fifty, according to the Wohlers Report. 

Additional features of the report include a review of additive manufacturing in the dental industry, commentary on 77 early-stage investments valued at $1.1 billion, and a compilation of 72 industry partnerships from the past 12 months. It also provides relevant information and data presented through 42 charts and graphs, 168 tables, and 377 images and illustrations. 

Wohlers Associates DfAM courses

The Wohlers Report 2020 is now available for order, in digital and hardcopy format, directly from Wohlers Associates.

Last year, the 2019 report focused on record growth in materials development and consumption, particularly regarding metals. In the time between the publication of both reports, Wohlers Associates has continued its run of Design for Additive Manufacturing (DfAM) courses. The company has run several previous DfAM courses, aiming to help engineers and designers effectively use 3D printing technologies, and has brought the courses to Australia, Belgium, Canada, South Africa, and the U.S. It has also teamed up with America Makes to offer a one-day DfAM course for managers and executives in October 2019. 

The nominations for the 2020 3D Printing Industry Awards are now open. Who do you think should make the shortlists for this year’s show? Have your say now. 

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Featured image shows the Wohlers Report 2020. Image via Wohlers Associates.