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Wohlers Report 2008

Trends... Analysis... Commentary. Commentary. Rapid Prototyping & Tooling State of the Industry Year 2008 Annual Worldwide Progress Report






Photographs and Illustrations

Wohlers Report 2008, available as a PDF, provides quantitative and qualitative analysis of additive manufacturing (AM) worldwide. The technology encompasses a wide range of applications, including design review, concept modeling, prototyping, fit and function testing, pattern making, and tooling.

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240-page color PDF includes:

  • Industry growth estimates.
  • New developments and business opportunities.
  • Emerging applications.
  • Research and development.

New Features:

  • Enhanced section on China.
  • Entirely new part on what the future holds.

ISBN 0-9754429-4-5

The technology encompasses a wide range of applications, including design review, concept modeling, prototyping, fit and function testing, pattern making, and tooling. A growing number of companies are using AM to manufacture products—or parts that going into products—that are difficult, impossible, or too expensive to produce any other way. 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 support from 53 co-authors, 58 service providers, 26 system manufacturers, and many others worldwide. To support the review and analysis, the softbound publication includes 31 charts and graphs, 44 tables, 138 photographs and illustrations, and eight appendices. This study, published for 13 consecutive years, has established a tradition of covering all facets of additive manufacturing, including business, product, market, technology, research, and application.

Wohlers Report 2008 addresses many facets of additive manufacturing, 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 service providers and system manufacturers, as well as cast metal parts, direct metal fabrication, advanced approaches to tooling, and exciting new applications of manufacturing.

The study reports on new developments in the U.S., Europe, Asia, and other parts of the world, documents the growth of CAD solid modeling, follows the advances in the 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 2008 concludes with a discussion on the future of additive manufacturing—where it is headed and what to expect—to assist in strategic planning and investing.

Table of Contents

About the author
Focus of this report
Introduction to additive fabrication


  • History of additive fabrication
    • Introduction of non-SL systems
    • Introduction of 3D printers
    • New generation machines
    • The past 12 months
    • Early inventions
  • Industries and regions benefiting from 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
    • Requests for quotes
    • Tooling
    • Manufacturing of parts
    • Unlimited potential


  • Perspective
  • Revenue growth and forecasts
    • Revenues from products and services
    • Long-range forecast
    • Annual revenue growth percentages
    • Material sales
    • Revenues from service providers
    • Secondary market
    • Revenues from other services
  • Unit sales growth and forecasts
    • Long-range forecast
    • Unit sales growth percentages
    • Market shares
    • Systems sold by region
    • Cumulative systems sold by region
    • Cumulative market shares by manufacturer
    • Unit sales by manufacturer and year
    • 3D printer sales
  • Service providers
    • Gauging growth trends
    • Most popular processes
    • Changing conditions
    • The future
    • Companies mature
    • Outlook


  • Accufusion
  • Arcam
  • Concept Laser
  • Cubic Technologies
  • Desktop Factory
  • DWS
  • Envisiontec
  • EOS
    • System design
    • Expanding family of materials
  • Ex One
  • MTT
  • Objet Geometries
  • Optomec
  • Phenix Systems
  • POM
  • Sintermask Technologies
  • Solidica
  • Solido
  • Solidscape
  • Stratasys
    • Dimension business
    • New FDM systems
    • RedEye RPM
    • Other business
  • 3D Systems
    • V-Flash update
    • Legal matters
    • Other developments
  • Trumpf
  • Voxeljet
  • Z Corp.
    • ZPrinter 450
    • Newest materials
    • Other developments
  • Investor update
    • Revenues and earnings
    • Outlook


  • Asia
    • Perspective on China
    • Another perspective on China
    • Major technology players
    • Chinese machines
    • Korean machines
    • India
  • Japan
    • Situation in Japan
    • Stereolithography no longer dominates
    • Other additive processes
    • Microstereolithography
    • 3D printers
    • Tooling
    • Service providers
    • The future
  • Europe
    • United Kingdom
    • Italy
    • Germany
    • France
    • Spain
    • Portugal
    • Sweden
    • Finland
    • Denmark
    • The Netherlands
    • Belgium
  • Other regions
    • South Africa
    • Canada
    • 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, V-Process, and plaster mold casting
    • LS, ProMetal, and ZCast
    • 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


  • A coming revolution
  • When it makes sense
    • No tooling means unparalleled design freedom
    • Production volume
    • Quality, repeatability, and manufacturing standards
  • Cost analysis and economics
    • Production implications
    • Strategic implications
  • The impact on sustainability
  • Industrial design
    • Impact of RM
    • The need for customer interaction
  • Applications and industries
    • Aerospace
    • Military and marine
    • Motorsports
    • Automotive
    • Machinery
    • Medical and dental
    • Consumer products
    • Furniture
    • Art and jewelry
    • Gifts, awards, and trophies
    • Museum displays
    • Future possibilities
  • Challenges and required research
    • Processes
    • Materials
    • Organization, management, and supply chain issues


  • Growth of CAD solid modeling
    • Major trends
    • Revenue and seat count estimates
    • Operating systems
    • What’s next?
  • Materials
    • LS powders
    • SL resins
    • PolyJet resins
    • Other materials
    • Coatings and surface treatments
    • Rapid manufacturing
    • Predicting the performance of injection-molded parts
  • Medical applications
    • Medical imaging as input to medical models
    • Medical image-processing software
    • Materials suited to medical modeling
    • Additive methods suited to medical modeling
    • Implantable AF parts
    • RP4Baghdad humanitarian project
    • Additive fabrication makes a difference a world away
  • 3D scanning and reverse engineering
    • 3D scanning hardware
    • Processing software
    • Applications
    • Technology
    • Limitations and other issues
    • Polygon meshes and surfaces
    • Caveats and conclusions


  • Patents
  • Technology development
    • Metallic materials
    • Biomanufacturing
  • Nanomanufacturing
    • NanoEngineer-1
    • Examples
    • Approaches to nanomanufacturing
    • Nokia’s Morph
  • U.S. government-sponsored R&D
    • National Science Foundation
    • Meso, micro, and nanoscale technology
    • Process improvements, material developments, and new applications
    • Medicine
    • Education
    • National Institutes of Health
    • Department of Defense
    • Other federal agencies
  • College and university education and research
    • Educational activities in additive fabrication
    • Research and teaching
    • Future trends and contributions


  • The impact on manufacturing
  • Explosive growth in medical applications
    • Orthopedic implants
    • Dental applications
    • Biomanufacturing
  • New kinds of products
    • Lightweight structures
    • Electronics
  • AF will reach the consumer
    • Game figures and collectables
    • Replacement parts and home accessories
  • Summary
  • Want 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: Metal fabrication comparison matrix
  • Appendix G: 3D scanning systems
  • Appendix H: 3D scan processing software

Development Team

The following 53 individuals and organizations contributed to Wohlers Report 2008 and served as important sources for information.

Steven Adler A3DM
Mukesh Agarwala 3D Product Development (India)
Hidefumi Aoyama Aspect (Japan)
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
Ian Campbell Loughborough University (England)
Andy Christensen Medical Modeling Inc.
Rob Connelly FineLine Prototyping
Deon de Beer Central University of Technology, Free State (South Africa)
Dena Braun Alchemy Models
Rachael Dalton-Taggart Ash Bridge Media
Carl Dekker Met-L-Flo Inc.
Mike Durham Accelerated Technologies
Ismail Fidan Tennessee Tech University
Joe Frascati Mydea Technologies
Boris Fritz Northrop Grumman
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)
Tsuneo Hagiwara CMET Inc. (Japan)
Richard Hague Loughborough University (England)
Berndt Holmer IVF Industrial Research and Development Corp. (Sweden)
Neil Hopkinson Loughborough University (England)
Marjorie Adele Ingle University of Texas at El Paso
Luca Iuliano Politecnico di Torino (Italy)
Olivier Jay Danish Technological Institute (Denmark)
Troy Jensen Piper Jaffray
Rik Knoppers Promolding (The Netherlands)
Toshihiko Maeda NTT Data Engineering Systems Corp. (Japan)
Frank Medina University of Texas at El Paso
Greg Morris Morris Technologies
Tom Mueller Express Pattern
Randall Newton Ash Bridge Media
Charlie Norton NCP Leasing, Inc.
G.D. Janaki Ram Utah State University
Pete Sayki SICAM
Harold Sears Ford Motor Company
Joel Segal University of Nottingham (England)
Michael Siemer Mydea Technologies
Brent Stucker Utah State University
Gordon Styles Star Prototype (China)
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)
Ryan Wicker University of Texas at El Paso
David Wimpenny De Montfort University (England)

What Others are Saying

“I can’t believe how much information from around the world you absorb and then present in such easy-to-understand terms year after year.”
Bene Padovani, Brazil

“Wow, you have really created a massive resource over the years. The contributions from the industry specialists have helped produce an industry encyclopedia.”
Randall Newton, Editor-in-Chief, CADCAMnet, and Editor-in-Chief and Publisher, AECnews

“The amount of information in Wohlers Report 2008 is almost overwhelming. I am awed by its depth and breadth. What’s more, the information is not available anywhere else. For example, we hear how China is changing, but few people fully understand the transformation that’s underway. The report gives insight and clarification on China and it covers the rest of the world with the same careful analysis. It also provides insight into new products and applications that you normally would not hear about, such as light-weight structures, nanomanufacturing, growing organs, gaming, and new types of protective gear. One of the secrets of your success is the extensive travel worldwide, coupled with the information you seek from experts globally. Thank you for making something so remarkable available each year.”
Boris Fritz, Northrop Grumman

“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)

“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

“If you need to know anything about where this technology is today or where it is going tomorrow, Wohlers Report 2007 is your guide.”
Anthony J. Lockwood, former editorial director, Desktop Engineering

“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)

“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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