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Wohlers Report 2003

Rapid Prototyping & Tooling State of the Industry Year 2003 Annual Worldwide Progress Report






Photographs and Illustrations

Wohlers Report 2003 is a global market study developed with input from 45 experts, 40 service providers, 26 system manufacturers, and countless others worldwide.

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The 270-page report includes:

  • Advances, developments, and trends.
  • Growth estimates and forecasts.
  • Analysis and opinions.
  • Emerging applications and opportunities.
  • Latest in technology research and development.
  • What the future holds.
  • New: Expanded coverage on rapid manufacturing.

To support the review and analysis, the softbound publication includes 27 charts and graphs, 31 tables, 97 photographs and illustrations, and seven appendices. This annual report has established a tradition of covering all facets of rapid prototyping, including business, product, market, technology, and application.

The report addresses many aspects of rapid prototyping, including the industries served, applications, revenues, unit sales, and forecasts. It also provides current information on industry trends and developments in the areas of service providers, advanced approaches to tooling, system manufacturers, and technology advances in the U.S., Europe, Asia, and other parts of the world

The report covers research and development activities, growth trends in CAD solid modeling, rapid prototyping materials, medical modeling, rapid manufacturing, and reverse engineering. Wohlers Report 2003 concludes with a discussion of the future of rapid prototyping—where it is headed and what to expect—to assist in strategic and tactical planning.

About the author
Focus of this report
Introduction to rapid prototyping


  • History of RP systems
  • Industries being served
    • How RP models are being used
    • Installations by country
  • Applications
    • Communication
    • Engineering changes
    • Good ideas and powerful proposals
    • Concept models
    • Verifying CAD databases
    • Styling, ergonomic studies
    • Functional testing
    • Prototypes
    • Metal castings
    • Early input from suppliers, toolmakers
    • Quote requests
    • Rapid tooling
    • Rapid manufacturing
    • Unlimited potential


  • Revenue growth and forecasts
    • Revenues from products and services
    • Annual revenue growth percentages
    • Comparing growth of RP and machining markets
    • 3D Systems dominates
    • Material sales
    • Revenues from service providers
    • Secondary market
    • Revenues from other services
  • Unit sales growth and forecasts
    • Unit sales growth percentages
    • Stratasys leads
    • Systems sold by region
    • Cumulative systems sold by region
    • Market shares by U.S. manufacturers
    • Market shares by Japanese manufacturers
    • Cumulative market shares by manufacturer
    • Unit sales by manufacturer and year
    • 3D printer sales by manufacturer and year
  • Number of models being produced
  • Service providers
    • Growth and location
    • Mix of machines
    • Market segment continues to shrink
    • Number of models produced annually
    • Working with service providers
    • Challenging times
    • Change threatens service providers
    • What lies ahead?


  • Advances
    • Growing list of methods
    • Improved thermal management
    • Risk factors
  • Indirect approaches
    • Silicone rubber tooling
    • Epoxy-based composite tooling
    • Spray metal tooling
    • RSP Tooling
    • Ford Sprayform
    • Cast kirksite tooling
    • RPM (rubber plaster mold) casting
    • 3D Keltool
    • PolySteel
    • EcoTool
    • Swiftool
    • PHAST
    • V-Process
    • Reconfigurable Tooling Systems
    • Others
  • Direct approaches
    • Direct AIM tooling
    • SLS tooling
    • DMLS
    • POM
    • Others
  • Other options
    • CNC-machined tooling
    • Laminate tooling
    • Hybrid tooling
    • Space Puzzle Molding
  • Tool design software
    • Magics Tooling
    • FlashTL Mould
    • Other products
  • Size of tooling market
    • Aluminum tooling
    • Projected growth rates
    • Metal part fabrication
  • Tooling comparison matrix


  • 3D Systems
    • Sony licensing
    • InVision
    • New materials
    • Other activities
  • Arcam
  • Beijing Yinhua
  • Concept Laser
  • Cubic Technologies
  • Envisiontec
  • EOS
    • U.S. market
    • Further developments
  • F&S GmbH
  • Generis
  • Kinergy
  • Objet Geometries
    • Eden machine
    • Other movements
  • Optomec
  • ProMetal
  • Sanders Design International
  • Shanghai Union Technology
  • Solidica
  • Solidscape
  • Stratasys
    • Dimension credited with success
    • New business development
    • Further activities
  • Wuhan Binhu
  • Z Corp.
    • Revenues and unit sales
    • Revamped product line
    • New markets
  • Others
    • Schroff
    • Helisys
    • Cubital
    • Röders
    • BMT
  • Real cost of RP
  • RP stocks
    • Revenues and earnings
    • Trends and areas of interest
    • Outlook


  • Asia
    • China
    • Hong Kong and Singapore
    • Taiwan and Korea
  • Japan
    • RP strategy in Japan
    • Stereolithography
    • SL materials
    • Non-SL technologies
    • 3D Systems Japan K.K.
    • Developments, trends
    • Low-cost RP technologies
    • Progress from CAD solid modeling
    • Japan’s future
  • Europe
    • RAPTIA
    • United Kingdom
    • Germany
    • Italy
    • Sweden
    • Finland
    • Denmark
    • The Netherlands
    • Belgium
  • Other regions
    • Brazil
    • South Africa
    • Australia
    • Canada
    • RP groups and associations


  • Patents
  • Technology improvements
    • Stereolithography
    • Metal powder deposition technologies
    • DMD and LENS
    • LAM from AeroMet
    • LS and related technologies
    • Speed Part AB
    • Selective Inhibition Sintering
    • Inkjet
    • Methods of extrusion
    • Lamination techniques
    • RP system components
  • Materials
    • Photopolymers
    • Three-dimensional printing
    • Fused Deposition Modeling
  • Manufacturing
    • Industrial products, processes, components
    • Medical, biotechnology, and chemistry-related products
    • Electronics applications
    • MICE
    • Optomec’s M3D
  • Tooling
  • Meso, Micro, and Nano technologies
    • Shape Deposition Manufacturing
    • EFAB from MEMGen
    • Medical and dental applications
  • MIT’s 3DP technology
    • 3DP process
    • Major areas of focus
    • Metal Matrix Cast Composites
    • ProMetal
    • Z Corp.
    • Soligen
    • Specific Surface
    • Therics
  • U.S. government-sponsored R&D
    • National Science Foundation
    • Educational funding
    • Traditional research programs
    • Small business research programs
    • Collaborative, cooperative, and consortium research
    • Research instrumentation awards
    • Career grants
    • Department of Defense
    • Department of Commerce
    • Department of Health and Human Services
  • RP academic programs
    • RP educational activities
    • Basic research activities
    • Applied research activities
    • Future trends and contributions from academia


  • What is it?
  • Benefits
    • Product design
    • Materials
    • Custom products
    • Prototyping and production
    • Manufacturing location
  • Applications and industries
    • Air ducts for fighter jets
    • Sintered parts for space
    • Formula 1
    • Military tanks
    • Hearing instruments
    • Submarine part
    • Other possibilities
  • When it makes sense
    • Shape and size
    • Production volume
    • Quality
    • Cost analysis
  • Challenges and needed research
    • Processes
    • Materials
    • Product design
    • Organization and management


  • Growth of solid modeling
    • CAE and PLM/PDM
    • Revenue and seat count estimates
    • Bright future
    • Large market potential
  • RP materials
    • Confusion over SL resins
    • Discount suppliers
    • Laser sintering powders
    • Metal materials for sintering
    • Aluminum on the horizon
    • FDM materials
    • Materials from Z Corp.
    • Other material developments
  • Medical modeling
    • Machinery
    • Transfer of medical imaging to RP
    • Materials
    • Research efforts
    • RP’s impact
    • COMPRU
    • Conjoined twins
  • 3D digitizing and reverse engineering
    • Technology
    • 3D digitizing
    • Limitations and other important issues
    • Triangle meshes and surfaces
    • Inspection
    • Caveats


  • Poised for change
  • Short-term
    • 3D printers
    • Rapid manufacturing
    • Rapid prototyping
    • Standardization
    • Tip of the iceberg
  • Mid-term
    • Technology standards
    • Specialization
    • Technology and applications advance
  • Long-term
    • Rapid manufacturing
    • RM changes the process
    • RM changes business processes
    • Speed of change
    • A new age
  • Where to learn more
    • Internet mail list
    • GARPA
    • RPA/SME


  • Appendix A: Glossary of terms
  • Appendix B: RP system and material manufacturers
    • Canada
    • China
    • England
    • France
    • Germany
    • Israel
    • Japan
    • Singapore
    • Sweden
    • United States
  • Appendix C: U.S. RP system specifications
  • Appendix D: RP systems manufactured outside the U.S.
  • Appendix E: Material properties
  • Appendix F: 3D digitizing systems
  • Appendix G: Reverse engineering software

Development Team

The following 49 individuals and organizations contributed to Wohlers Report 2002 and served as important sources for information.

Shreyas Bakshi Protosys Technologies Private Ltd. (India)
Umberto Baraldi CRIF (Belgium)
Alain Bernard IRCCyN – Ecole Centrale de Nantes (France)
Nico Blessing FhG Institute for Mfg. Eng. & Automation (Germany)
Mike Braig A.G. Edwards & Sons
Tim Caffrey Caffrey Consulting
Ian Campbell Loughborough University (England)
Andy Christensen Medical Modeling LLC
Chua Chee Kai Nanyang Technological University (Singapore)
Stuart Clyens Danish Technological Institute (Denmark)
Amba Datt Bhatt Motilal Nehru Regional Engineering College Allahabad (India)
Deon de Beer Technikon Free State (South Africa)
Jonas de Carvalho University of São Paulo – São Carlos (Brazil)
Philip Dickens Loughborough University (England)
Dimitri Dimitrov University of Stellenbosch (South Africa)
Thierry Dormal CRIF (Belgium)
Mike Durham Accelerated Technologies, Inc.
Willie du Preez CSIR (South Africa)
Frits Feenstra TNO Institute of Industrial Technology (The Netherlands)
Boris Fritz Northrop Grumman Corp.
Vito Gervasi Milwaukee School of Engineering
Ian Gibson University of Hong Kong (China)
Tim Gornet University of Louisville
Tom Greaves New Directions Consulting
Joe Greco Greco Consulting
Ed Grenda Castle Island Company
Todd Grimm Accelerated Technologies, Inc.
Russ Harris Loughborough University (England)
Berndt Holmer IVF Industrial Research and Development Corp. (Sweden)
Masato Imamura Tokyo Research Center (Japan)
Luca Iuliano Politecnico di Torino (Italy)
Tahar Laoui University of Leuven (Belgium)
Debbie Leeson Vantico (South Africa)
Weiyin Ma City University of Hong Kong (China)
Bent Mieritz Danish Technological Institute (Denmark)
Bill Mutch Belcan Corp.
Mike Naylon Queensland Manufacturing Institute (Australia)
Andy Norwood Loughborough University (England)
Anshuman Razdan Arizona State University
Shi Yusheng Huazhong University of Science and Technology (China)
Michael Siemer Walt Disney World Company
Geoff Smith-Moritz CAD/CAM Publishing
Rupert Soar Loughborough University (England)
Brent Stucker University of Rhode Island
Dave Tait LFX Technologies
Jukka Tuomi Helsinki University of Technology (Finland)
David Wimpenny De Montfort University (England)
Millan Yeung National Research Council of Canada (Canada)
Jenny Yu Hoi Jin University of Hong Kong (China)

What Others are Saying

“Terry Wohlers is the spokesperson for the overall rapid prototyping industry. Every year, he publishes the Wohlers Report, a comprehensive rundown of RP advances. He represents better than anyone else the mainstream rapid prototyping industry.”
Preston Smith, Lead Co-author of Developing Products in Half the Time

“I have purchased market reports in other industries for $30,000 that do not contain as much information. The purchase of the Wohlers Report every year is a no-brainer.”
Gilles Desharnais, Intermag-Modelex

“I’ve just finished reading through the report and I have to say I’m impressed with the shear quantity of information it contains. It has become the bible to those looking at rapid prototyping and related technologies.”
Al Dean, MCAD Magazine and the CADserver

“I wonder if the industry knows how fortunate it is to have this mirror? Few industries of this size and complexity have access to this level of data.”
Ed Grenda, Castle Island Company

“His extremely comprehensive annual report is considered the definitive analysis of the RP world and is highly recommended.”
David Cohn, Engineering Automation Report

“Nothing comes close to the authoritative and comprehensive nature of this annually-updated report. It has something for everybody and I highly recommend it.”
Jeffrey Rowe, MCADCafe.com

“I was in the market for a new RP machine and bought the report as an insurance policy. It definitely paid off.”
Kurt Blankemeyer, GTO

“The report offers the most up-to-date information that is available to us and it continues to improve each year.”
Ranji Vaidyanathan, Advanced Ceramics Research, Inc.

“It’s a great, concise report that covers the globe. I don’t know of any other document that is as complete.”
Tom Greaves, New Directions Consulting

“You are providing a valuable service to the industry.”
Brent Ragsdale, Hallmark

“As always, you have done a spectacular job collecting information from around the world on our ever-changing industry. I commend you on the depth and breadth of your labors.”
Marina Hatsopoulos, Z Corp.

“Very easy to read. It gave me just what I was looking for.”
Douglas Freitag, Bayside Materials Technology

“Whether one is thinking of purchasing an RP device, checking into the sales of a particular company for investment purposes, or just desiring more information, Wohlers’ report delivers at every level.”
Joe Greco, Desktop Engineering Magazine

“It is comprehensive, well organized, and well written. We will be pouring over the details for some time to come.”
Mike Rynerson, Extrude Hone

“The report gave me the best and most concise view of the industry.”
Reagan Hogerty, Jordan Industries, Inc.

“The report has helped our company immensely in selling RP and RT internally to our design, manufacturing, and management staff.”
Glenn Anderson, Southco Inc.

“The section on rapid tooling is particularly interesting. Wohlers systematically looks at all the competing technologies on the market today and provides detailed information on how to best apply each of them.”
Engineering Automation Report

“The report has become a virtual “Bible” of RP … comprehensive and well organized … and is highly recommended.”
David Cohn, Engineering Automation Report

“It’s my owner’s manual to the RP industry.”
Todd Grimm, T. A. Grimm & Associates, Inc.

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