FORT COLLINS, COLO. (April 4, 6:30 p.m. ET) — Additive manufacturing — the new trade term for rapid prototyping — should continue double-digit growth rates and hit $3.1 billion worldwide by 2016, according to a report from Wohlers Associates Inc.
By 2020, the same of additive manufacturing products and services should reach $5.2 billion, the Fort Collins research firm said.
Once considered exotic, the technology is moving into the mainstream because of the growth of low-cost models called three-dimensional printers. The 3D printers are increasing available to students, researchers, do-it-yourself enthusiasts, hobbyists, inventors and entrepreneurs, Wohlers Associates reports.
The 270 page global study is called Wohlers Report 2011.
Some of the new applications for additive manufacturing are pretty exotic. President Terry Wohlers cited the Urbee car, developed by Jim Kor, who runs KOR Product Design in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. The complete body of the Urbee was made with Stratasys fused deposition modeling machines.
The car has a drag coefficient of 0.15, making it more aerodynamic than a Toyota Prius, Wohlers said.
Wohlers said the Urbee at a conference last fall organized by the Industrial Technology Centre of Winnipeg.