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Wohlers Report 2004

Rapid Prototyping & Tooling State of the Industry Year 2004 Annual Worldwide Progress Report






Photographs and Illustrations

Turn to Wohlers Report 2004, an in-depth worldwide progress report on the rapid prototyping, tooling, and manufacturing state of the industry.

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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.

To support the review and analysis, the softbound publication includes 23 charts and graphs, 38 tables, 79 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, research, and application.

The report addresses many aspects of rapid prototyping, including the industries being served, annual revenues, machine 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 2004 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.

Table of Contents

About the author
Focus of this report
Introduction to rapid prototyping


  • History of RP Systems
    • Introduction of non-SL systems
    • Initial introduction of 3D printers
    • New generation machines
  • 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
    • 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 still dominates
    • Material sales
    • Revenues from service providers
    • Secondary market
    • Revenues from other services
  • Unit sales growth and forecasts
    • Unit sales growth percentages
    • Stratasys extends its lead
    • 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
    • Market segment continues to shrink
    • Number of models produced annually
    • Working with service providers
    • Improving conditions
    • Future markets
    • Changing role
    • 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
    • MetalCopy
    • Swiftool
    • PHAST
    • V-Process
    • Reconfigurable Tooling Systems
    • Others
  • Direct approaches
    • SL 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
    • New management
    • Settlement
    • New products
    • Other developments
  • Arcam
  • Beijing Yinhua
  • Concept Laser
  • Cubic Technologies
  • Envisiontec
  • EOS
    • New products and applications
    • Settlement with 3D Systems
  • F&S/MCP
  • Objet Geometries
    • Partnership with Stratasys
    • Eden330
    • Eden260
  • Optomec
  • Phenix Systems
  • POM
    • DMD 505
    • Technology strengths
  • ProMetal
  • Sanders Design International
  • Shanghai Union Technology
  • Solidica
  • Solidscape
  • Sony
  • Stratasys
    • Dimension
    • Partnership with Objet
    • Other systems, materials
    • Outlook
  • Trumpf
  • Wuhan Binhu
  • Z Corp.
    • Unit sales
    • Materials
    • Distribution
  • 3DP licensees
    • Therics
    • Soligen
    • Metal Matrix Cast Composites
    • Specific Surface
  • Others
    • Schroff
    • Helisys
    • Cubital
    • Röders
    • BMT
  • Real cost of RP
  • RP stocks
    • Revenues and earnings
    • Trends and areas of interest
    • Outlook


  • Asia
    • China
    • Korea
    • Medical applications
    • New product development
  • Japan
    • Changing conditions
    • Stereolithography is still king
    • SL materials
    • Other RP technologies
    • INCS
    • Expanded use of CAD solid modeling
    • Japan’s future
  • Europe
    • United Kingdom
    • Italy
    • Germany
    • France
    • Portugal
    • Sweden
    • Finland
    • Denmark
    • The Netherlands
    • Belgium
  • Other regions
    • South Africa
    • Brazil
    • Canada
    • RP groups and associations


  • Patents
  • Technology developments
    • Photopolymers
    • Deposition
    • Lamination
    • Powder systems
    • Other additive and subtractive methods
    • Computational advances
    • Other advances
  • U.S. government-sponsored R&D
    • National Science Foundation
    • Educational funding
    • Gradient and multi-materials support
    • Biomedical research
    • Meso, micro, and nano scale technology
    • Other NSF-funded projects
    • 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


  • 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
    • Centrifuge
    • Submarine part
    • Computer lock
    • Lamp designs
    • Other possibilities
  • When it makes sense
    • Shape and size
    • Production volume
    • Quality
  • Cost analysis and economics
    • Production implications
    • Strategic implications
  • Challenges and needed research
    • Processes
    • Materials
    • Product design
    • Organization, management, and supply chain issues


  • Growth of solid modeling
    • Revenue and seat count estimates
    • Solid business
    • New potential markets
  • RP materials
    • SL resin developments
    • Discount supplier
    • Laser-sintering powders
    • Metal materials for sintering
    • EOS Alumide
    • FDM materials
    • New Objet materials
    • Materials from Z Corp.
    • Material for InVision
    • Envisiontec Perfactory
    • Predicting the performance of injection-molded parts
  • Medical modeling
    • RP equipment and medical scanners
    • Transferring the medical scan data
    • Material options
    • Research and development
    • Conjoined twins
    • Egyptian case
  • 3D digitizing and reverse engineering
    • Applications
    • Clay model acquisition
    • Competitive assessment
    • Manufacturing surface comparison
    • Inspection
    • Technology
    • 3D digitizing
    • Limitations and other important issues
    • Triangle meshes and surfaces
    • Caveats


  • Exciting times
  • Analysis process
  • 3D printers for concept modeling
    • Factors affecting demand
    • Changes in technology and prices
    • Changing materials
    • Product development
    • Who will buy them?
  • Rapid prototyping systems for plastics
    • Market demand
    • Technology, pricing, and materials
    • Design and manufacturing
    • Who are the customers?
  • RP systems for metals
    • Demand for metal parts from RP
    • Technology and pricing
    • Changes in product development and manufacturing
  • Rapid manufacturing systems for plastics
    • Market demand
    • Changes to design and manufacturing
    • Who are the buyers?
  • Rapid manufacturing systems for metals
    • Market demand
    • Changes in product development
  • Summary
  • Where to learn more
    • Global Alliance of Rapid
    • Prototyping Associations
    • Rapid Technologies and Additive Manufacturing Community


  • 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 individuals and organizations contributed to Wohlers Report 2004 and served as important sources for information.

Paulo Jorge Bártolo Institute Polytechnic of Leiria (Portugal)
Joseph Beaman University of Texas at Austin
Alain Bernard Ecole Centrale de Nantes (France)
Paul Besl General Motors
Nico Blessing FhG Institute for Mfg. Eng. & Automation (Germany)
David Bourell University of Texas at Austin
Tim Caffrey Caffrey Consulting
Andy Christensen Medical Modeling LLC
Vesna Cota Tyco Electronics Canada Ltd. (Canada)
Deon de Beer Central University of Technology, Free State (South Africa)
Jonas de Carvalho University of São Paulo – São Carlos (Brazil)
Carl Dekker Met-L-Flo Inc.
Philip Dickens Loughborough University (England)
Mike Durham Accelerated Technologies
Jim Gentrup Provident Equity Research
Vito Gervasi Milwaukee School of Engineering
Ian Gibson University of Hong Kong (China)
Tim Gornet University of Louisville
Joe Greco Greco Consulting
Andrzej Grzesiak FhG Institute for Mfg. Eng. & Automation (Germany)
Richard Hague Loughborough University (England)
Russ Harris Loughborough University (England)
Berndt Holmer IVF Industrial Research and Development Corp. (Sweden)
Neil Hopkinson Loughborough University (England)
Masato Imamura Tokyo Research Center (Japan)
Luca Iuliano Politecnico di Torino (Italy)
Rik Knoppers TNO Industrial Technology (The Netherlands)
Tahar Laoui University of Leuven (Belgium)
Andrew LeFever Johnson Controls
Candice Majewski Loughborough University (England)
Bent Mieritz Danish Technological Institute (Denmark)
Bill Morgan Plastech, a division of Mobile Area Networks, Inc.
Tom Mueller Express Pattern
Claire Reed Wohlers Associates, Inc.
Joel Segal University of Nottingham (England)
Michael Siemer Mydea Technologies
Adam Smith Utah State University
Geoff Smith-Moritz CAD/CAM Publishing
Rupert Soar Loughborough University (England)
Tom Sorovetz DaimlerChrysler
Brent Stucker Utah State University
Chris Tuck Loughborough University (England)
Jukka Tuomi Helsinki University of Technology (Finland)
Jonas Van Vaerenbergh University of Leuven (Belgium)
Pamela Waterman EngineeringInk
David Wimpenny De Montfort University (England)

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

“The Wohlers Report is the world’s best compilation of activity in the field.”
Dr. David Bourell, University of Texas at Austin

“The wealth of information is astounding, but not as astounding as the amount of research that must be performed each year to put it together.”
Al Dean, Prototype Magazine

“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 use it as a reference for any and all RP questions I get that I cannot answer on my own. It is the most resourceful and complete publication we had ever seen.”
Kristopher Matson, St. Louis Community College

“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

“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

Learn more about ASTM and AM CoE

ASTM unites with the Wohlers brand to build on its market influence and access to top AM industry decision-makers worldwide.

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