The global market for additive manufacturing and 3-D printing grew 35.2 percent in 2014 to $4.1 billion vs. $3.07 billion in the previous year, according to Wohlers Associates Inc. The compound annual growth rate over the past three calendar years was 33.8 percent.
A new 314-page report from the independent Fort Collins, Colo., consulting and research firm identifies 49 companies producing and selling industrial-grade additive manufacturing machines. That compares to the list of 34 manufacturers in the year-earlier report, said Terry Wohlers, principal consultant and president.
Among fast growing niches, the low-cost desktop printer segment is dedicated almost exclusively to processing plastics, he noted by telephone. “There are no commercially available metal [processing] systems under $5,000.”
Also fast growing, the segment for industrial metal additive manufacturing equipment gains for demanding applications for the aerospace and medical markets.
The report deals with relevant research and development, investment and collaborative activities in government, academia and industry.
Wohlers Associates was established in 1986. Its first industry report, published in April 1996, estimated the industry's size at $295 million in 1995.
The firm focuses on providing advice about developments and trends in additive manufacturing, 3-D printing and rapid component production and has completed projects for more than 240 client organizations.
Wohlers Associates developed the new report with support from 87 service providers, 40 system manufacturers and 78 co-authors in 31 countries. The report costs $495.