Wohlers Report 2019: Record Growth in Additive Manufacturing Materials

Revenue from metals grew an estimated 41.9%, continuing a five-year streak of more than 40% growth each year.

Wohlers Associates, Inc. has published Wohlers Report 2019, the 24th annual installment of its report on additive manufacturing (AM) and 3D printing. The 369-page Wohlers Report 2019 includes wide-ranging data on AM materials development and consumption.

According to the report, the overall materials segment of the industry saw record growth in 2018. Revenue from metals grew an estimated 41.9%, continuing a five-year streak of more than 40% growth each year. Wohlers Associates says such strong activity among materials suppliers and customers is a telling indicator of the increasing use of AM for production applications.

Sales of materials for polymer powder bed fusion were at an all-time high in 2018. Figures are in millions of dollars. Source: Wohlers Report 2019.

Sales of materials for polymer powder bed fusion were at an all-time high in 2018. Figures are in millions of dollars. Source: Wohlers Report 2019.

The report highlights notable AM-related activities in many industries, including aerospace. The team collected insights from the likes of Airbus, Boeing, Honeywell Aerospace and United Technologies Corp. to gain perspective on using AM to produce end-use parts. These companies, along with BMW, Deutsche Bahn, FIT, Jabil, Oerlikon, UPS, the U.S. Marine Corps, and others shared emerging trends from their vantage points. Among the trends are knowledge and skills development, cyber security, post-process automation, materials development, partnerships and industry standards.

New and expanded features of Wohlers Report 2019 include:

  • Benefits and challenges of designing for AM,
  • Listing of 107 early-stage investments valued at nearly $1.3 billion,
  • Production, pricing and use of metal powders,
  • Expert reports from 32 countries, and
  • Tables of systems, third-party materials, software tools and emerging developments

Industrial Additive Manufacturing Systems Up, Desktop 3D Printers Down

Wohlers Associates tracked growth and sales of 177 producers of industrial AM systems, which are those priced at $5,000 or more. This is nearly one third more than the 135 system manufacturers reported a year ago. While industrial system manufacturers grew notably, desktop 3D printing systems (those that sell for under $5,000) saw significant decline in annual growth. The overall AM market continues to trend upward, with many new players, hundreds of millions of dollars invested, and innovative new products designed for AM that few envisioned years ago, according to the company.

Wohlers Report 2019 draws upon expertise of 80 authors and contributors located in 32 countries. Wohlers Associates also received input from 127 service providers, 71 manufacturers of industrial systems, and 30 producers of desktop 3D printers and third-party materials around the world.

Sources: Press materials received from the company and additional information gleaned from the company’s website.

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