The additive manufacturing industry grew by 17 percent in worldwide revenues in 2016, down from 26 percent the year before, according to a new report. Much of the downturn came from declines by the two largest system manufacturers in the business. Together, they represent $1.31 billion (22 percent) of the $6 billion additive manufacturing industry, according to the report. If these two companies were excluded from the analysis, the industry would have grown by 25 percent, the reports state.
According to Wohlers Report 2017, 97 manufacturers produced and sold additive manufacturing systems in 2016. This is up from 62 companies in 2015 and 49 in 2014. These manufacturers are providing interesting products and unprecedented competition in the additive manufacturing industry. This wave of development and commercialization is putting pressure on the established producers of additive manufacturing systems.
Wohlers Associates Inc. of Fort Collins, Colo., a consulting firm that follows the additive manufacturing and 3D printing markets worldwide published the report in early April. The terms additive manufacturing and 3D printing are used interchangeably within the market, said Terry Wohlers, president of Wohlers Associates.
To flesh out those numbers and provide numbers for comparison, in 2015, more than 278,000 desktop 3D printers (under $5,000) were sold worldwide, according to Wohlers Associates. In 2015, 62 manufacturers sold industrial-grade additive manufacturing systems (valued at more than $5,000), compared to 49 in 2014, and twice as many as the 31 companies that sold industrial systems in 2011.
In 2015, the additive manufacturing industry grew at a 26 percent corporate annual growth rate (CAGR), to $5.2 billion. The industry growth consists of all additive manufacturing products and services worldwide. The CAGR for 2012 to 2014 was 34 percent. Over the past 27 years, the CAGR for the industry is 26 percent.
One reason for industry growth: metal-based additive manufacturing machines. The use of those machines’ continue to grow.
“Companies such as Airbus, General Electric, and Lima Corp. are using these machines to produce complex metal parts for next-generation aerospace and medical products,” Wohlers has said.
Growth within industrial sectors continues. Industrial and business machines is a leading growth sector, as are consumer products and electronics, according to the Wohlers report.
The motor vehicles sector and medical and dental sector are also strong. The motor vehicle industry continues to use additive manufacturing for product development, although production volumes have typically been too high to use the method for most final part applications, according to Wohlers.
In terms of new applications, 3-D printing’s use is growing in the hydroforming, lightweight construction, and thermoforming applications Wohlers has said.
For Wohlers Report 2017, input was collected from 100 service providers, 61 industrial system manufacturers, and 19 producers of third-party materials and low-cost desktop 3D printers. This edition marks the 22nd consecutive year of the undisputed industry-leading report.
Separately, 76 experts and organizations in 31 countries contributed information and insight to the new publication. No other published analysis of the AM industry is supported by so much hard data, coupled with such a strong group of specialists worldwide. Together, they form the basis for computing growth, analyzing trends, and forecasting the future.