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New Industry Report Finds 49% Growth in Rapid Prototyping Market

Reaches $295.1 Million with 526 Systems Sold in 1995

DEARBORN, MICHIGAN, April 23, 1996 -- The primary rapid prototyping (RP) market grew by 49% to an impressive $295.1 million in 1995. This figure includes revenues generated worldwide from product sales and services. The secondary market segment was estimated at $176.1 million for 1995, bringing the annual total to more than $471 million. The secondary market includes secondary tooling created from RP patterns, and castings and duplicate parts produced from this tooling.

"Soon, the RP industry will be measured in billions of dollars, Deutsche Marks, pounds, and yen," explained Terry Wohlers, principal consultant and president of Wohlers Associates. "New technologies, products, and applications have led to a new level of excitement in the rapid prototyping (RP) industry. These developments, coupled with strong growth in product sales and services, presents a very optimistic view of the RP industry and its future," Wohlers observed.

Wohlers has documented recent RP developments and trends in a new 40-page report titled Rapid Prototyping State of the Industry: 1995-96 Worldwide Progress Report. Today, he will present highlights from the report in his annual State of the Industry address at Rapid Prototyping & Manufacturing '96 in Dearborn, Michigan. The RP&M '96 conference and exposition is sponsored by the Rapid Prototyping Association (RPA) of the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME).

An estimated 526 RP systems were sold last year by 15 system manufacturers located in the US, Germany, and Japan. 3D Systems, Inc. (Valencia, CA) led the market in unit sales again last year, but the margin is narrowing. As the leading supplier of stereolithography machines, 3D Systems sold 130 units, while fast-growing Stratasys, Inc. (Eden Prairie, MN) sold 121 of its Fused Deposition Modeling systems.

Service bureaus (SBs) make up a large and vibrant part of the industry. The 1995 SB market was estimated at $135.5 million, representing annual growth of almost 43%. Meanwhile, a new market is beginning to unfold as US system manufacturers roll out less expensive, office-friendly systems targeted at product designers.

Availability of the Report

The report is available from Carol Bossio at SME's Conferencing Division. Contact her at (313) 271-1500, ext. 357, fax (313) 240-8254. Or, contact SME's Customer Support in the US at (800) 733-4763, outside the US, (313) 271-1500, ext. 629, fax (313) 240-8252.

The report is also available in digital and bound versions from CIMWorld, fax (408) 354-5567. Both versions of the report are $195 each.

About the Author of the Report

Independent consultant Terry Wohlers consults, presents, and writes frequently on CAD/CAM, rapid prototyping, and reverse engineering. He has published 200 books, articles, and technical papers on engineering and manufacturing automation. In 1992, Terry led a group of 14 individuals from industry and academia to form the first association dedicated to rapid prototyping. In 1993, the association joined SME to become the Rapid Prototyping Association (RPA) of SME. Today, RPA/SME is the world's largest individual member association on rapid prototyping. Wohlers Associates, the private consultancy that Terry founded in 1986, celebrates its 10th anniversary this year.

Copyright 1995 by Wohlers Associates