Wohlers Associates has released the latest edition of the Wohlers Report, the company's annual in-depth analysis of additive manufacturing and 3D printing on a global scale.
Wohlers Report 2013 covers all aspects of the burgeoning industry, including its history, applications, manufacturers, processes and materials. It records important developments from the past 18 months, covers research and development and collaboration activities in government, industry and academia, and summarises the state of the industry in countries around the world.
Colorado-headquartered Wohlers Associates is an independent consulting firm that provides technical, marketing and strategic advice on new developments and trends in 3D printing and additive manufacturing.
This edition marks the 18th consecutive year the Wohlers Report has been published, providing an in-depth look at market forces, competitive products and services, and industry growth.
Previous incarnations of the document have been praised by industry leaders from all over the world. Mike Rynerson of ExOne was quoted by Wohlers as saying: "It is comprehensive, well organised and well written." Furthermore, Z Corp founder Marina Hatsopoulos said of one publication: "As always, you have done a spectacular job collecting information from around the world on our ever-changing industry. I commend you on the depth and breadth of your labour."
This year's report reveals that the market for 3D printing in 2012, consisting of all products and services worldwide, expanded at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 28.6 per cent to $2.2 billion (£1.4 billion, €1.6 billion). This is up from $1.7 billion in 2011, when it expanded by 29.4 per cent.
Growth was 24.1 per cent in 2010 and the annual average growth CAGR of the industry over the past 25 years is 25.4 per cent. The CAGR is 27.4 per cent over the past three years (2010-2012).
Growth of the low-cost so-called "personal" or desktop 3D printer market - which applies to machines that cost $5,000 or less - averaged at 346 per cent each year between 2008 and 2011, but in 2012 this uptake dropped down to an estimated 46.3 per cent.
Wohlers Associates claims most of these 3D printers are being sold to hobbyists, DIY-ers, engineering students and educations institutions.
The 3D printing industry is expected to continue this trend of strong double-digit expansion over the coming years and by 2017, Wohlers Associates believes the sale of 3D printing products and services will approach the $6 billion mark on an international scale. By 2021, the organisation predicts the industry will reach $10.8 billion.
It took the 3D printing industry two decades to reach $1 billion in size and in five additional years the industry generated its second $1 billion. This is expected to double again to $4 billion in the next two years.
The 297-page Wohlers Report 2013 includes 35 charts and graphs, 55 tables and 200 images. Selling for $495, the document was compiled with the support of 74 service providers, 31 system manufacturers and the contributions of 69 co-authors from around the world.