The global market for 3-D printing grew by its fastest rate in 17 years, according a new report from Wohlers Associates Inc. The research firm said sales of “personal” 3-D printers priced under $5,000 — as well as the direct manufacturing of finished parts — will fuel strong growth over the next several years.
The market grew to $3.07 billion in 2013, Wohlers Associates said. That marked a compound annual growth rate of 34.9 percent. The compounded annual growth rate for the past three years was 32.3 percent. The data includes all products and services, including 3-D printing machinery.
Wohlers Associates, of Fort Collins, Colo., said the growth of worldwide revenue has averaged 27 percent over the past 26 years.
Tim Caffrey, senior consultant at the firm, said the low-priced personal printers, plus the use of higher-end machines to produce parts — especially ones from metal — that go into final products, means the sector has a good future.
“The industry is experiencing change that we have not seen in 20-plus years of tracking it,” Caffrey said. “What's most exciting is that we have barely scratched the surface of what's possible.”
The 276-page report gives an in-depth review and analysis of the 3-D printing business, also known as additive manufacturing. It includes industry growth, competitive products and services and a future-looking perspective.
The $495 report was created with input from 82 serviced providers, 29 system manufacturers and the contributions of 70 co-authors in 24 countries.