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Jeff Rowe
Jeff Rowe
Jeffrey Rowe has more than 40 years of experience in all aspects of industrial design, mechanical engineering, and manufacturing. On the publishing side, he has written well over 1,000 articles for CAD, CAM, CAE, and other technical publications, as well as consulting in many capacities in the … More »

Wohlers Report 2018: AM Grows Overall With Metal Rising

 
May 3rd, 2018 by Jeff Rowe

An independent consulting firm and industry source that we know quite well, Wohlers Associates, Inc., recently released the Wohlers Report 2018, the company’s annual detailed analysis of additive manufacturing (AM) and 3D printing worldwide.

Wohlers Associates is widely recognized as the leading consulting firm and foremost authority on additive manufacturing and 3D printing. This annual publication has served as the undisputed industry-leading report on the subject for two decades. Over the 23 years of its publication, many (including me) have referred to the report as the “bible” of additive manufacturing (AM) and 3D printing—terms that are used interchangeably by the company (and industry).

Wohlers Report 2018 is filled with insightful data and perspective to inform readers of the most critical developments in the industry. According to the new report, an estimated 1,768 metal AM systems were sold in 2017, compared to 983 systems in 2016, an increase of nearly 80%. This dramatic rise in metal AM system installations accompanies improved process monitoring and quality assurance measures in metal AM, although more work is ahead. Increasingly, global manufacturers are becoming aware of the benefits of producing metal parts by additive manufacturing.

The Dramatic Rise In Metal AM System Sales (Source: Wohlers Report 2018)

Wohlers Associates found that 135 companies around the world produced and sold industrial AM systems in 2017, up from 97 companies in 2016. These systems are defined as machines that sell for more than $5,000. New system manufacturers continue to enter the AM market at a fast pace, while releasing more machines with open material platforms, faster print speeds, and lower pricing.

Wohlers Report 2018 includes new and expanded sections on design for additive manufacturing, post-processing, and a range of startup companies and research initiatives. These and other new sections of the Report provide practical and cautionary advice and guidelines for managers, researchers, educators, and investors.

Wohlers Report 2018

As it has from the beginning, Wohlers Report 2018 covers virtually every aspect of additive manufacturing, including its history, applications, underlying technologies, processes, manufacturers, and materials. It documents significant developments that have occurred in the past year, R&D and collaboration activities in government, academia, industry, and summarizes the worldwide state of the industry.


Wohlers Associates reports that growth occurred in all segments of the diverse industry, including the low-cost “desktop” 3D printer segment. The use of industrial metal AM systems for demanding production applications in the aerospace and medical markets also grew strongly. The report thoroughly documents the increasingly rich range of technologies, markets, and business models that are emerging within the industry.

“The first Wohlers Report was published in April 1996,” said Terry Wohlers, principal consultant and president of Wohlers Associates. “It was 40 pages in length and represented the first-ever published analysis of the industry worldwide. The AM industry represented a mere $295 million in 1995. A lot has changed in 20 years, and we’ve worked hard to document this change. I am proud to say that no other publication comes close to matching the depth and breadth of data and market analysis that is found in our annual report.”

The 344-page Wohlers Report 2018 includes 36 charts and graphs, 110 tables, and 192 photographs and illustrations. It also includes more than 160 pages of supplemental online information that is available to buyers of the report. Details on the new annual state of the industry report can be found here.

Seventy-six co-authors and contributors from 32 countries shared data and expertise to form the basis of analysis in Wohlers Report 2018.

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Although a year old, the following video illustrates the knowledge and insight that Terry Wohlers brings to the additive manufacturing/3D printing community.

Terry Wohlers RAPID + TCT 2017 Keynote | The Future of Additive Manufacturing and 3D Printing

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I’ve known Terry Wohlers for several years, and in my experience, Wohlers Associates continues to be the voice of reality of the AM and 3D printing industries. I highly recommend the Wohlers Report 2018 for its breadth, depth, and insights as the source of accurate and objective information about the world of AM that continues to evolve.

Wohlers Report 2018 is not just another company-slanted, narrow “fluff,” over-priced marketing report. This is the real deal for anyone who wants to know what’s really going on in the AM industry – whether novice or veteran. I highly recommend it.

For more information: Wohlers Report 2018

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