Market Insights

Wohlers Associates publishes its 2022 state of 3D printing report

Wohlers Associates, the Colorado-based additive manufacturing consultancy firm operating under ASTM International, has published the Wohlers Report 2022.

The annual report, which focuses on the state of 3D printing and additive manufacturing, has now reached its 27th consecutive year of publishing. Terry Wohlers, head of advisory services and market intelligence at the firm, has delivered the Wohlers Report to industry professionals since 1996, providing expert analysis into the ins and outs of the global 3D printing sector.

Key takeaways from this year’s study show that the additive manufacturing industry grew by 19.5% in 2021, which is up from 7.5% growth in 2020. This is largely attributed to a sustained, global recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“As expected, the industry has returned to a period of advancement and investment,” said Terry Wohlers. “This expansion cuts across aerospace, healthcare, automotive, consumer products, energy, and other sectors.”

The Wohlers Report 2022. Image via Wohlers Associates.
The Wohlers Report 2022. Image via Wohlers Associates.

The Wohlers Report 2022

The Wohlers Report is designed to provide readers with a competitive edge, offering insights, analysis, trends, and forecasts related to 3D printing. It serves as a decision-making tool for business leaders, detailing advancements related to the production, sale, and pricing of systems, software, post-processing, and consumables. The study also provides information on patents, startups, and research and development. 

This year’s iteration spans 425 pages and includes commentary on 147 early-stage and corporate investments, as well as 75 mergers, acquisitions, and initial public offerings.

According to the 2022 report, as the 3D printing sector matures, an increasing number of companies are using the technology for series production applications. Historically, additive manufacturing’s primary application has been in functional prototyping. Wohlers states that a marker of this growth is the increase in polymer powder consumption throughout 2021, which grew by 43.3% and has now overtaken photopolymer resins as the most used 3D printing material.

Fried Vancraen, Founder and CEO of Materialise, adds, “No other report on additive manufacturing comes close to offering what is available in the Wohlers Report. I rely on it year after year.”

Polymer powder consumption has overtaken photopolymer consumption in 2021. Image via Wohlers Associates.
Polymer powder consumption has overtaken photopolymer consumption in 2021. Image via Wohlers Associates.

What’s new in this year’s report?

Every year, Wohlers Associates aims to revamp the Wohlers Report with new and expanded features. This year’s study includes several improvements in the following sections: scaling AM into production, workforce development and sustainability, Women in 3D Printing, R&D programs, and the future of AM.

Presented in an easy-to-digest manner, the data is displayed in 62 charts and graphs, 384 images and illustrations, 108 tables, and a further 65 pages of supplemental content.

Wohlers notes that the 2022 report was created with support from 117 3D printing service providers, 114 3D printer manufacturers, 29 third-party materials developers, and 152 academic and research institutes. Expert views were collated from 93 co-authors and contributors from 33 countries.

Purchase the Wohlers Report 2022 here. The report is available in both digital and hard copy format, starting from $595. Alternatively, you can find details of last year’s Wohlers Report 2021 here.

Reports and whitepapers in additive manufacturing 

Wohlers Associates isn’t the only organization providing market insights in the 3D printing sector. Earlier this month, Women in 3D Printing, a non-profit champion of female participation in additive manufacturing, published a report investigating the gender pay gap in the industry. Through reports on diversity in 3D printing, Wi3DP has sought to uncover the extent of wage disparity between men and women working in the sector, as well as ways of addressing this.

Elsewhere, the World Economic Forum (WEF) recently published a white paper outlining a potential roadmap for rapidly driving the wider adoption of 3D printing. Despite the “cycles of hype” seemingly surrounding 3D printing, the WEF says that “not all predictions and forecasts” about its potential “have become reality.” In order to make the technology more resilient, flexible, and sustainable, the group has used its paper to issue a seven-point industry call to action.

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Featured image shows the Wohlers Report 2022. Image via Wohlers Associates.