Manufacturing industry expects 7.5% growth in additive

March 19, 2021
Wohlers Associates has published Wohlers Report 2021, an annual report on the additive manufacturing and 3D printing market.

Since their first report 25 years ago, we have come to rely on the annual reports on the real situation in the additive manufacturing market. I may be a little prejudiced, as Terry Wohlers presented one of his earliest market reviews at a Lasers in Production Operations workshop I organized and presented in conjunction with IMTS in Chicago in the late 1990s. In those early days of additive manufacturing, Terry was the one to recognize this was to be a key industrial technology, and he immersed himself in that potential disruptive technology and became an evangelist and reliable resource on this market. We had several occasions to meet after that, as we both separately traveled the world promoting our complementary processes.

Now, Wohlers Associates has published Wohlers Report 2021, the undisputed, industry-leading annual report on the additive manufacturing and 3D printing market. This 375-page report discusses the impact of COVID-19 on the additive manufacturing industry which, despite the pandemic, Wohlers Associates estimates an expansion of 7.5% to nearly $12.8 billion in 2020. They state growth was down considerably, compared to average growth of 27.4% over the previous 10 years. Among the new and expanded features in Wohlers Report 2021 are:

  • 3D printing of food, medicine, and electronics
  • Pricing of metals and polymers and the hidden costs of additive manufacturing
  • Methods of additively manufactured part inspection
  • The pandemic’s impact on the additive manufacturing industry
  • A compilation of expert reports from 34 countries
  • Tables of additive manufacturing systems, software tools, service providers, and third-party materials

The report includes commentary on 74 early-stage investments and 35 acquisitions and public offerings. Additive manufacturing startups and established companies have received substantial funding in the recent past. One example is Desktop Metal, which received $575 million as part of a merger with a special acquisitions company. After going public in December 2020, Desktop Metal’s market capitalization exceeded $7.5 billion in February 2021.

Wohlers Report 2021 was created with the support of 124 service providers, 113 manufacturers of additive manufacturing machines, and 24 producers of third-party materials. Eighty-eight co-authors and contributors from 34 countries provided expert views and perspectives. This valuable input, coupled with the experience and data from Wohlers Associates, resulted in the most detailed and comprehensive body of work on additive manufacturing available. The report includes 54 charts and graphs, 104 tables, and 397 images and illustrations. And, 80 pages of supplemental online content is available exclusively to the buyers of the report. 

Source: Wohlers Associates press release – March 16, 2021

About the Author

David Belforte | Contributing Editor

David Belforte (1932-2023) was an internationally recognized authority on industrial laser materials processing and had been actively involved in this technology for more than 50 years. His consulting business, Belforte Associates, served clients interested in advanced manufacturing applications. David held degrees in Chemistry and Production Technology from Northeastern University (Boston, MA). As a researcher, he conducted basic studies in material synthesis for high-temperature applications and held increasingly important positions with companies involved with high-technology materials processing. He co-founded a company that introduced several firsts in advanced welding technology and equipment. David's career in lasers started with the commercialization of the first industrial solid-state laser and a compact CO2 laser for sheet-metal cutting. For several years, he led the development of very high power CO2 lasers for welding and surface treating applications. In addition to consulting, David was the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Industrial Laser Solutions magazine (1986-2022) and contributed to other laser publications, including Laser Focus World. He retired from Laser Focus World in late June 2022.

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