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Wohlers Report 2006

Reviews. Trends. Analysis. Commentary. Rapid Prototyping & Tooling State of the Industry Year 2006 Annual Worldwide Progress Report






Photographs and Illustrations

Wohlers Report 2006 offers a worldwide review and analysis of additive fabrication (also known as rapid prototyping). The technology encompasses modeling, prototyping, tooling, and series production applications.

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250-page report includes:

  • New developments and trends.
  • Industry growth estimates and forecasts.
  • Emerging applications and business opportunities.
  • Research and development.
  • Where it’s all headed.

ISBN 0-9754429-1-0

The report covers the growing range of applications and technologies, as well as the challenges that organizations face when trying to understand and make use of this fast-developing technology.

The report was developed with input from 47 co-authors, 53 service providers, 27 system manufacturers, and many others worldwide. To support the review and analysis, the softbound publication includes 26 charts and graphs, 44 tables, 131 photographs and illustrations, and seven appendices. This annual study has established a tradition of covering all facets of additive fabrication, including business, product, market, technology, research, and application.

Wohlers Report 2006 addresses many facets of additive fabrication, including its history, the wide mix of applications, the industries embracing the technology, annual revenues from products and services, growth estimates, sales forecasts, and investor information. It also provides current information on trends and developments in the areas of service providers, system manufacturers, cast metal parts, direct metal fabrication, advanced approaches to tooling, and exciting new applications of rapid manufacturing.

This report provides updates on new developments in the U.S., Europe, Asia, and other parts of the world, follows the growth of CAD solid modeling, reports on the advances in materials used for additive processes, highlights opportunities in medical modeling, and lists applications and technologies for 3D scanning and reverse engineering.

The final parts of the report cover emerging technologies, government-sponsored research and development, and college and university education and research. Wohlers Report 2006 concludes with a discussion on the future of additive fabrication—where it is headed and what to expect—to assist in strategic planning and investing.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments About the author Focus of this report Introduction to additive fabrication


  • History of additive fabrication
    • Introduction of non-SL systems
    • Initial introduction of 3D printers
    • New generation machines
    • The past 12 months
    • Early inventions
  • Industries embracing the technology
    • How companies are applying additive processes
    • Installations by country
  • Applications
    • Communication
    • Engineering changes
    • Powerful ideas and proposals
    • Concept models
    • Verifying CAD databases
    • Styling and ergonomics
    • Fit and functional testing
    • Prototyping
    • Metal castings
    • Tooling
    • Requests for quotes
    • Manufacturing support
    • Manufacturing of parts
    • Research
    • Art and sculpture
    • Unlimited potential


  • Revenue growth and forecasts
    • Revenues from products and services
    • Annual revenue growth percentages
    • Seventeen years of growth
    • 3D Systems’ market share
    • Material sales
    • Revenues from service providers
    • Secondary market
    • Revenues from other services
  • Unit sales growth and forecasts
    • Average selling price
    • Unit sales growth percentages
    • Stratasys maintains 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
  • Number of parts being produced
  • Service providers
    • Process popularity
    • Percentage continues to decline
    • Working with service providers
    • Improving conditions
    • The future
    • Service providers adapt
    • What’s ahead


  • Arcam
  • Concept Laser
  • Cubic Technologies
  • Desktop Factory
  • Envisiontec
    • Technical developments
    • Target markets
    • Challenges for the year ahead
  • EOS
    • New products
    • Other developments
  • MCP/F&S
  • Next Factory
  • Objet Geometries
    • New Eden models
    • Other developments
  • Optomec
  • Phenix Systems
  • POM
    • Strengths and limitations of DMD
    • Installations and sales activity
  • ProMetal
  • Solidica
  • Solidimension
  • Solidscape
  • Sony
  • Speed Part
  • Stratasys
    • New products and services
    • Further developments
  • 3D Systems
    • Viper Pro
    • Product news
    • Other developments
  • Trumpf
  • Z Corp.
    • Contex acquisition
    • New products
    • Other developments
  • Others
  • Real cost of the technology
  • Investor update
    • Revenues and earnings
    • Future opportunities
    • 3D printing
    • Rapid manufacturing
    • Outlook


  • Asia
    • Strong activity
    • Northern Asia
    • Southeast Asia
    • Industrial sectors and applications
    • Chinese system manufacturers
    • Korean system manufacturers
  • Japan
    • Is this Japanese-style business?
    • Popularity of stereolithography
    • Acceptance of non-SL processes
    • 3D printers
    • Tooling and the role of service providers
    • CAD solid modeling
    • The future
  • Europe
    • United Kingdom
    • Italy
    • Germany
    • France
    • Spain
    • Portugal
    • Sweden
    • Finland
    • Denmark
    • The Netherlands
    • Belgium
  • Other regions
    • South Africa
    • Brazil
    • Groups and associations


  • Direct metal fabrication
    • Laser-based, powder-bed systems
    • Powder deposition systems
    • Other approaches
    • Need for materials testing
  • Cast metal parts
    • Investment casting
    • Sand casting
    • ZCast
    • Plaster mold casting
    • Rubber plaster mold casting
    • V-Process
    • Die casting
  • Tooling solutions
  • High-performance tooling
  • Indirect tooling approaches
    • RSP Tooling
    • Reconfigurable Tooling Systems
    • Other options
  • Direct approaches
    • Laser Consolidation
    • SLS tooling
    • DMLS
    • Others
  • Other options
    • CNC-machined tooling
    • Hybrid tooling
    • Trends in hybrid tooling
  • Size of tooling market
  • Metal fabrication comparison matrix


  • A new industrial revolution?
  • Benefits and barriers
    • Design freedom
    • Part consolidation and optimization
    • Tailored products
    • Logistics and supply chains
  • Applications and industries
    • Aerospace
    • Military
    • Motor sports
    • Automotive
    • Machinery
    • Medical and dental
    • Consumer products
    • Art and jewelry
    • Other areas
    • Future possibilities
  • When it makes sense
    • Shape and size
    • Production volume
    • Quality
  • Cost analysis and economics
    • Production implications
    • Strategic implications
  • Challenges and required research
    • Processes
    • Materials
    • Product design
    • Organization, management, and supply chain issues


  • Growth of CAD solid modeling
    • Major trends
    • Revenue and seat count estimates
    • Operating systems and hardware
    • What’s next?
  • Materials
    • LS powders
    • SL resins
    • FDM
    • PolyJet
    • Z Corp.
    • InVision
    • Envisiontec
    • Surface coatings and special treatments
    • Predicting the performance of injection-molded parts
  • Medical modeling
    • Medical imaging technology
    • Medical image processing software
    • Materials suited to medical modeling
    • Medical use of color models
    • Additive techniques suited to medical modeling
    • The market for additive models
    • Directly implantable additive parts
    • iDent Imaging
    • RP4Baghdad humanitarian project
  • 3D scanning and reverse engineering
    • 3D scanning hardware
    • Processing software
    • Applications
    • Product design: Ferrari wing
    • Manufacturing: Howmet/Alcoa turbine blade inspection
    • Process selection and tolerance design: Bronze sculpture
    • Mass customization: GN ReSound
    • Supply chain qualification: Risks of a global supply base
    • Product support: Extended life from tooling
    • Other possibilities
    • Technology
    • Limitations and other important issues
    • Polygon meshes and surfaces
    • Caveats and conclusions


  • Patents
  • Technology development
    • Process development
    • Materials
    • Applications
    • Modeling
  • U.S. government-sponsored R&D
    • National Science Foundation
    • Meso, micro, and nano scale technology
    • Process improvements, materials development, and new applications
    • Composites, multi-materials, and functionally graded materials
    • Medicine
    • Education
    • Other areas
    • Department of Health and Human Services
    • Department of Defense
    • NASA
    • Department of Energy
  • College and university education and research
    • Educational activities in additive fabrication
    • Research and teaching
    • Future trends and contributions


  • 3D printing for design and modeling
  • Mainstream systems
  • Additive systems for series production
    • Application areas
    • Short run production
    • Complex shapes
    • Multi-functional components
  • Tooling
  • Summary
  • Where to learn more
    • Global Alliance of Rapid Prototyping Associations
    • Rapid Technologies and Additive Manufacturing Community


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

Development Team

The following 47 individuals and organizations contributed to Wohlers Report 2006 and served as important sources for information.

Daniel Attanasio DaimlerChrysler AG (Germany)
Paulo Jorge Bártolo Institute Polytechnic of Leiria (Portugal)
Joseph Beaman University of Texas at Austin
Alain Bernard Ecole Centrale de Nantes (France)
David Bourell University of Texas at Austin
Tim Caffrey Seventh Son Creative Services
Andy Christensen Medical Modeling LLC
Rob Connelly FineLine Prototyping
Deon de Beer Central University of Technology, Free State (South Africa)
Jonas de Carvalho University of Sao Paulo (Brazil)
Carl Dekker Met-L-Flo Inc.
Philip Dickens Loughborough University (England)
Thierry Dormal CRIF (Belgium)
Mike Durham Accelerated Technologies
Ping Fu Geomagic, Inc.
Vito Gervasi Milwaukee School of Engineering
Ian Gibson National University of Singapore (Singapore)
Tim Gornet University of Louisville
Andrzej Grzesiak FhG Institute for Mfg. Eng. & Automation (Germany)
Joan Guasch ASCAMM (Spain)
Richard Hague Loughborough University (England)
Russ Harris Loughborough University (England)
Axel Henning FhG Institute for Mfg. Eng. & Automation (Germany)
Berndt Holmer IVF Industrial Research and Development Corp. (Sweden)
Neil Hopkinson Loughborough University (England)
Masato Imamura Sintokogio Ltd. (Japan)
Luca Iuliano Politecnico di Torino (Italy)
Olivier Jay Danish Technological Institute (Denmark)
Troy Jensen Piper Jaffray
Rik Knoppers TNO Science and Industry (The Netherlands)
Kai Loose DaimlerChrysler AG (Germany)
Greg Morris Morris Technologies
Tom Mueller Express Pattern
Takeo Nakagawa Fine Tech Corp. (Japan)
Charlie Norton NCP Leasing, Inc.
G.D. Janaki Ram Utah State University
Jeffrey Rowe Cairowest Digital Development
Max Ruffo Loughborough University (England)
Joel Segal University of Nottingham (England)
Michael Siemer Mydea Technologies
Brent Stucker Utah State University
Chris Sutcliffe University of Liverpool (England)
Chris Tuck Loughborough University (England)
Jukka Tuomi Helsinki University of Technology (Finland)
Jonas Van Vaerenbergh Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (Belgium)
David Wimpenny De Montfort University (England)

What Others are Saying

“It is taking some time to get through your report because I’m underlining all the useful information and using it in my company’s internal reports. Thanks, … it is really a fantastic job.”
Dr. Livia Cevolini, CRP Technology (Italy)

“The 2006 report is a real mine of information. It is impressive how you manage to collate all this information.”
Dr. Mike Shellabear, EOS (Germany)

“Your report was very highly valued as we conducted our due diligence prior to acquiring Z Corp. It is highly professional and understandable, even to those new to this industry.”
Steen Borg, CEO, The Contex Group (Denmark)

“Terry Wohlers is the spokesperson for the overall rapid prototyping industry. Every year, he publishes the Wohlers Report, a comprehensive rundown of advances. He represents better than anyone else the mainstream 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 (England)

“I found it extremely useful in the preparation of a presentation to upper management. Also, the report has caught the interest of many of my colleagues in R&D.”
Patrick Roth, Elkay Manufacturing Company

“His extremely comprehensive annual report is considered the definitive analysis of the rapid prototyping 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

“The report was priceless in developing our business plan.”
Jason Epstein, Ionic Models

“I use it as a reference for any and all rapid prototyping 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 machine for rapid prototyping 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, founder of 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 a prototyping 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, Ex One Corp.

“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 rapid prototyping and tooling 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

“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

“The report has become a virtual “Bible” of rapid prototyping … 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 (England)

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.

  • Establish standards, certification, and qualification for repeatable, consistent parts and processes
  • Prevent gaps and duplication of work in a dynamic, fast-paced technology space
  • Identify challenges that can be solved with technological improvement

Research and Development

Under the leadership of the R&D team, the AM CoE partners plan and conduct coordinated R&D projects, prioritized annually and targeted to expedite...

Learn More

Education and Workforce Development

Provide a comprehensive program that educates and trains the additive manufacturing workforce at all levels, while continually incorporating new advances...

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