Industry Briefing

August 2004

Growth of CAD solid modeling: Wohlers Associates, Inc., in cooperation with industry analyst Joe Greco, has announced that 4.96 million mechanical CAD (MCAD) seats were installed worldwide through the end of 2003. This total includes both commercial and educational seats. The leading MCAD product family in cumulative commercial installations, according to the study, is Pro/ENGINEER, followed by CATIA, Unigraphics (including IDEAS), Mechanical Desktop, Inventor, SolidWorks, and Solid Edge. Among the MCAD products not counted were Alibre, KeyCreator (formerly CADKEY), OneSpace Designer, IronCAD, thinkdesign, VX CAD/CAM, and Cobalt (formally Vellum Solids). 

“The MCAD industry experienced a moderate rebound in 2003,” stated Joe Greco, a well-known analyst and author that focuses on the MCAD industry. “Both revenues and unit sales were up over the previous year,” he said. “PTC's aggressive push into education has boosted the total installed base in a big way.”

For years, Greco has worked closely with Wohlers Associates to determine CAD solid modeling growth trends. This information has helped the company forecast the expansion and acceptance of machines for rapid prototyping (RP) and 3D printing, the primary focus of Wohlers Report 2004. This worldwide study presents the rapid prototyping, tooling, and manufacturing state of the industry in a 270-page softbound publication.


Growth of 3D printers: Wohlers Associates estimates that Stratasys, Z Corp., 3D Systems, Objet Geometries, and Envisiontec sold $37.4 million worth of 3D printers last year. In unit sales, the combined total was an estimated 1,032 machines, breaking the “1,000” mark for the first time. The estimate represents an unprecedented increase of 57.3% over the year before, a jump that compares to growth of 34.2% in 2002.

The graph at shows the growth of 3D printer sales from 1996 to 2003. 3D printers now represent 30.7% of all RP systems installed worldwide, up from 25.8% the year before.


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