Unit sales for additive manufacturing devices stayed strong in 2009 due to new low-cost units, but total industry revenue dropped for only the third time in the 22-year history of the industry that started as rapid prototyping.
By Terry Wohlers
The demand for products and services from additive-manufacturing (AM) technology has been strong over its 22-year history. The compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of revenues produced by all products and services over this period is 26.4%. The CAGR slowed to 3.3% over the past three years, with 2009 being the slowest in many years, by far. The chart below, from the Wolhers Associates website, shows the rate of growth/decline since 1993. The bars for 2010 and 2011 are forecasts.
Unit sales remain relatively strong due to the impact from very low-cost machines. The 3D printer market segment grew by nearly 18% in unit sales, yet the segment experienced a sharp decline in revenues—the first time ever since tracking this market segment.
The additive-manufacturing industry has tremendous untapped potential, especially when considering the opportunity in custom and short-run production. Producing parts for end-use products is more challenging than models and prototypes, so this application will take time to develop. It is expected to drive revenues from AM products and services to impressive levels in the future.
More information: Wohlers Report 2010.