Taking a Look at Significant Growth in 3D Printing Materials Segment in Wohlers Report 2019

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For over two decades, Colorado-based independent consulting firm Wohlers Associates, Inc. has been publishing an installment each year of its popular Wohlers Report about the additive manufacturing industry. Today, the firm announced the publication of the 24th installment, Wohlers Report 2019, of its worldwide study, which reports on the development, growth, and future of all things 3D printing, including applications, design, investments, materials, patents, research, services, software, standards, startups, and systems.

Wohlers Associates has been in business for 32 years, offering market, strategic, and technical advice on the latest trends and developments in rapid product development and AM to its many clients: 267 organizations in 26 different countries, to be exact. Its annual report is considered to provide a pulse of the 3D printing industry, and this latest 396-page installment is no different.

In addition to principal authors Ian Campbell, Olaf Diegel, Ray Huff, Joseph Kowen, and Terry Wohlers (all Wohlers Associates employees), the company received input from 127 service providers, 71 industrial 3D printer manufacturers, and 30 producers of desktop 3D printers and third-party materials around the world in compiling the Wohlers Report 2019. Associate authors of the report are David Bourell from the University of Texas at Austin, Ismail Fidan with Tennessee Tech University, and Peter Sander from Airbus.

The expertise of 80 authors and contributors from 32 different countries, combined with the three decades of data and experience accrued by Wohlers itself, make for some interesting reading, as the report details a wide range of developments in the worldwide 3D printing industry; visit this link to see the full list of contributors.

This year’s report includes several new and expanded features, such as:

  • Benefits and challenges of designing for AM
  • Production, pricing, and use of metal powders
  • Listing of 107 early-stage investments valued at nearly $1.3 billion
  • Tables of systems, third-party materials, software tools, and emerging developments

Many activities from a variety of industries related to AM, like aerospace and automotive, are highlighted in the report, which includes thoughts and perspective on 3D printed end-use parts from such companies as Boeing, Honeywell Aerospace, and United Technologies Corp. Additionally, BMW, Jabil, Deutsche Bahn, FIT, Oerlikon, UPS, and the US Marine Corps, among others, shared what trends they noticed, including cyber security, post-process automation, industry standards, partnerships, skills development, and materials development.

Sales of materials for polymer powder bed fusion were at an all-time high in 2018. Figures are in millions of dollars.

Speaking of materials, the report notes that the industry’s material segment experienced record growth in 2018. Data is included regarding the development and consumption of AM materials, and the revenue from 3D printed metals grew roughly 41.9%, which continues the segment’s five-year growth streak of over 40% each year. According to a press released issued by Wohlers Associates, this kind of “strong activity among materials suppliers and customers is a telling indicator of the increasing use of AM for production applications.”

In addition, contributors to the report tracked the growth and sales of 177 producers of industrial 3D printing systems ($5,000 or more), which is almost one-third more than the manufacturers tracked and reported on in last year’s publication. While the industry’s overall market is still trending up, with plenty of new products, new faces, and hundreds of millions in investments to report, there was a major decline in annual growth for desktop 3D printers (less than $5,000).

To learn more, you can order your own copy of the Wohlers Report 2019 – a colored digital version will cost $495, though quantity discounts are available when you purchase two or more copies, while a printed and bound full-color copy is $595. However, if you purchase the PDF, you can add a printed copy for just $295.

Discuss this and other 3D printing topics at 3DPrintBoard.com or share your thoughts below. 

[Images: Wohlers Report 2019]

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