3-D printing seeing major growth beyond rapid prototyping

By Bill Bregar
Senior Staff Reporter

Published: November 19, 2013 3:50 pm ET
Updated: November 19, 2013 3:54 pm ET

Related to this story

Topics Rapid Prototyping, Design

The use of 3-D printing to make final commercial products continues its decade-long growth trajectory, according to a new report from Wohlers Associates.

3-D printing, also known as additive manufacturing, is used to make parts in a process called direct manufacturing. In 2012, final part production hit 28.3 percent of the $2.2 billion spent on 3-D printing worldwide. In 2003, it represented just 3.9 percent of total spending.

“They money is in manufacturing, not prototyping,” said Tim Caffrey, senior consultant at Wohlers Associates. “The opportunity for more commercial production activity from additive manufacturing is immense.”

Caffrey is the principal author of Wohlers Report 2013 from the consulting firm in Fort Collins, Colo.

Additive manufacturing is growing in several market segments. They include metal copings for dental crowns and bridges, orthopedic implants and jewelry. The technology also is used to make parts for the aerospace industry, such as Boeing Co.’s use of 3-D printing to make ducting for directing the flow of air on military and commercial aircraft. Wohlers Associates said GE Aviation has announced it will use 3-D printed fuel nozzles on its next-generation LEAP engine.

Final part production is now nearly one-third of total spending, and Caffrey thinks direct manufacturing is expected to far surpass prototyping applications for 3-D printed parts.

The technology is growing rapidly. The 3-D printing industry took 20 years to reach $1 billion in size. In five more years it reached $2 billion, according to Wohlers Associates. By 2015, it is expected to double again, to $4 billion.

Four years from now, Wohlers Associates thinks the market will approach $6 billion.

Wohlers Report 2013 runs 297 pages.


Comments

3-D printing seeing major growth beyond rapid prototyping

By Bill Bregar
Senior Staff Reporter

Published: November 19, 2013 3:50 pm ET
Updated: November 19, 2013 3:54 pm ET

Post Your Comments


Back to story


More stories

Image

Plastics help designers bring home the gold

July 22, 2014 2:15 pm ET

Products with polymer content received multiple gold recognitions in the 2014 International Design Excellence Awards.    More

Image

Design group Hexagon buys Vero Software to upgrade CAM capabilities

July 22, 2014 9:51 am ET

Stockholm-based Hexagon AB, a design technology company, has announced its acquisition of Vero Software, a leader in computer aided...    More

Image

Pact Group bringing forward new packaging, looking at acquisitions

July 15, 2014 11:07 am ET

Australian packaging company Pact Group Ltd.'s high density polyethylene milk bottle design is on its way to amassing a trophy cabinet full of awards.    More

Image

Now you can pick up hammer, nails and a 3-D printer at Home Depot

July 14, 2014 4:46 pm ET

3-D printing company MakerBot is coming to a hardware store near you.    More

Market Reports

Injection Molders Market Report & Ranking 2014

This special package contains our 132-page 2014 Market Report on the Injection Molding segment and our exclusive 2014 RANKINGS database of 500+ Injection Molders for a discounted package price.

Learn more

Plastics Recycling Market Review & Outlook 2014

This special report from Plastics News examines the North American plastics recycling industry and provides insight into indicators that impact market viability, including Resin pricing trends for virgin and recycled market material and historical Resin production trends for post- consumer and industrial waste.

Learn more

Shale Gas Market - Analysis of North American Region

This report highlights the impact of shale-based natural gas on the North American plastics market and features an in-depth analysis of production trends in the United States during 2013 and a forecast for 2014 and beyond.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

September 10, 2014 - September 12, 2014Plastics Caps & Closures 2014

February 4, 2015 - February 6, 2015Plastics News Executive Forum 2015

More Events