There are an increasing number of industry reports on the 3D printing industry, but one report is the most well known.
It’s the annual report delivered by Colorado-based Wohlers Associates, headed by the eponymous Terry Wohlers himself. Wohlers has been producing detailed industry reports on 3D printing for many years, and in addition providing expert consultative services to the industry for over three decades.
Some interesting highlights from this report include:
The market size of the 3D printing industry is now USD$7.3B. That is a very large segment that will continue to attract new participants, now increasingly because of the market size. Wohlers reports that this is an increase of 21% over the prior year. That’s a very large percentage growth for a large industry, suggesting increasing adoption by industry.
According to the report, sales of 3D metal printing equipment grew 80% year over year. This is compatible with my observation of dramatically increased interest in the technology from aerospace, automotive and medical industries, where it seems the technology is now commonplace and becoming a default for certain types of parts.
The report says an estimated 528,952 desktop 3D printers were sold in 2017. This is an astonishingly large number, as about half of that was sold only two years earlier. It seems there has been a massive boost to sales.
I suspect it is due to the efforts of a small number of companies who have produced highly reliable, easy to use machines that are available at low cost, including Prusa, LulzBot and a handful of others.
Prusa in particular has been relatively open about their production, claiming a year ago they were producing more than 3,000 machines per month. Now they are likely at twice that number, able to produce something under 100,000 machines per year.
That’s an enormous number of 3D printers, and in fact what the bright-eyed entrepreneurs of 2009 expected to happen. It seems to have occurred, just years later than needed for many of those early ventures.
The Wohlers report is priced at USD$495 for an electronic copy, and USD$595 for a printed version.