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Wohlers Report 2012

Trends... Analysis... Commentary. Commentary. Additive Manufacturing and 3d Printing State of the Industry Year 2012 Annual Worldwide Progress Report






Photographs and Illustrations

Wohlers Report 2012, available as a color PDF, provides a review and analysis of additive manufacturing and 3D printing worldwide.  This edition marks the 17th consecutive year of its publication.

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ISBN 0-9754429-9-6

The 287-page report was written for executive and engineering management, product developers, service providers, researchers, educators, analysts, and the investment community.

The report was developed with help from 56 co-authors in 21 countries, 71 service providers, 27 system manufacturers, and many others worldwide. To support the review and analysis, the publication includes 30 charts and graphs, 55 tables, and 219 photographs and illustrations.

This study has established a tradition of covering all facets of additive manufacturing, including business, product, market, technology, research, and application.

Table of Contents

About the principal authors


  • Focus of this report
  • Introduction to additive manufacturing and 3D printing
  • History of additive manufacturing
    • May 2011 through October 2011
    • November 2011 to May 2012
  • Industries and regions benefiting from AM processes
    • How companies are applying AM processes
    • Installations by country


  • Prototyping
    • Visual aids and presentation models
    • Fit, function, and assembly
  • Tooling
    • Pattern-based tooling
    • Direct tooling
    • High-performance tooling
    • Alternatives to tooling
    • Manufacturing and assembly tools
  • Patterns and molds for metal casting
  • Architectural modeling
  • Medical applications
    • Anatomical and surgical models
    • Medical imaging options
    • Medical image-processing software
    • Materials for medical modeling
    • AM methods for medical modeling
    • Regulatory clearances of AM products
    • Custom, personalized instruments
  • Direct part production
    • Aerospace
    • Automotive and motorsports
    • Machinery
    • Medical
    • Avatars and figurines
    • Furniture, home, and office accessories
    • Musical instruments
    • Consumer-created products
    • Art and jewelry
    • Gifts, trophies, and memorials
    • Marketing and advertising
    • Museum displays
    • Fashion products
  • Future applications


  • Processes
    • Material extrusion
    • Material jetting
    • Binder jetting
    • Sheet lamination
    • Vat photopolymerization
    • Powder bed fusion
    • Directed energy deposition
  • Materials
    • Plastics
    • New plastics
    • Metals
    • New metals
    • Composites and hybrid materials
    • Materials for metal casting processes
    • Ceramics and other materials
    • Materials testing and international standards
  • Process/material matrix


  • Arcam
  • Asiga
  • Bits from Bytes
  • Concept Laser
  • Delta Micro Factory Corp.
  • DWS
  • Envisiontec
  • EOS
    • Metal materials and process
    • Polymer materials and process
    • DMLS molds
    • New developments
  • Essential Dynamics
  • ExOne
  • Fab@Home
  • Fabbster
  • Fabrisonic
  • Irepa Laser
  • MakerBot Industries
  • Matsuura
  • Mcor
  • Objet
    • Merger with Stratasys
    • New Connex printer
    • New materials
  • Optomec
  • Phenix Systems
  • POM
  • ReaLizer
  • Renishaw plc
  • RepRap
    • Machine improvements
    • Materials
    • Standalone RepRap printers
    • Moving to production lines
  • Sciaky
  • SLM Solutions
  • Solidscape
  • Stratasys
    • Merger with Objet
    • New Mojo printer
    • Other developments
  • 3D Systems
    • Acquisitions
    • New products
    • Personal, professional, and production 3D printers
    • Other business
  • Voxeljet
  • Emerging developments
    • High speed sintering
    • Ion fusion formation
    • Printoptical technology
    • Selective laser printing
    • Sintermask


  • Revenue from AM worldwide
    • Products and services
    • Growth percentages
    • Average selling price
    • Material sales
    • Service providers
    • Secondary market
    • Other services
  • Market opportunity and forecast
  • Industrial system unit sales
    • Unit sales growth percentages
    • Market shares
    • Systems sold by region
    • Market shares by manufacturer
    • Unit sales by manufacturer and year
    • Forecast
  • Personal systems
  • Investor update
    • Revenues and earnings
    • Outlook
  • Service providers
    • Industry survey
    • Economic recovery
    • The future


  • Asia/Pacific
    • AM producers and users
    • Chinese machines
    • Korean machines
  • Japan
    • New material jetting machine
    • Stereolithography
    • FDM
    • Laser sintering
    • Service providers
    • AM for end-use part production
  • Australasia
    • Australia
    • New Zealand
  • Europe
    • Germany
    • United Kingdom
    • Italy
    • France
    • Spain
    • Sweden
    • The Netherlands
    • Denmark
    • Finland
    • Belgium
    • Portugal
    • Slovenia
    • Austria
    • Russia
  • Other regions
    • South Africa
    • Brazil
    • Groups and associations


  • Changing the way you manufacture
  • Why use AM for production?
    • Customer satisfaction
    • Reduction of tooling
    • Part consolidation
    • Part quality
    • Industry standards
  • Design for additive manufacturing
    • A new way of thinking
    • Consumer design
  • Cost analysis and economics
  • Environmental considerations
    • Design freedom
    • Raw material use
    • Sustainability implications
    • Distribution and logistics
    • Consumer and home production
    • Disposal and recycling
    • Environmental assessment tools
    • Looking ahead
  • Intellectural property implications
    • Limited applicability of IP
    • Contributory liability for patent infringement
    • Increased importantce of trademark
    • Coming to terms with copyright
  • Product liability implications
  • Required research and development
    • Processes
    • Materials and related considerations
    • Organization, management, and supply chain issues


  • CAD solid modeling
    • PTC replacement for Pro/Engineer progresses slowly
    • GrabCAD creates a design community
    • Digital thread makes interoperability inroads
    • CAD/PLM revenues return to pre-recession levels
    • Seat count estimates more art than science
  • 3D scanning and reverse engineering
    • 3D-scanning applications
    • 3D-scanning hardware
    • Hardware limitations
    • Processing software
  • Co-design/co-creation
  • 3D content and on-demand services
  • AM software tools
    • STL/AMF file review and repair
    • Lattice structures
    • KARMA
  • Post-processing
    • Removing material
    • Adding material
    • Changing material properties
    • Options that work for AM
    • Non-technical post-processing


  • Patents
  • Technology development
  • Consortia and collaborations
    • Additive Manufacturing Consortium
    • Direct Manufacturing Research Center
    • National Network for Manufacturing Innovation
    • U.S. government interagency group
    • ASTM International Committee F42
    • RapidTech and MatEd
  • U.S. government-sponsored R&D
    • National Science Foundation
    • Tools needed to enable new AM business models
    • Meso, micro, and nano scale technology
    • Basic research on existing AM technology
    • Educational research
    • National Institutes of Health
    • Department of Defense
    • Department of Energy
  • Academic activities and capabilities
    • AM educational activities
    • Research innovations
    • Institutions with AM capabilities
    • Future trends and contributions


  • Current trends
    • Serious manufacturing
    • New industry standards
    • Advances in metals
    • Lightweight, strong parts
    • New design tools
    • DIY maker community
    • Personal 3D printers
    • Explosion of new businesses
    • Labs with 3D printers
    • Expiration of key patents
    • New types of machines
    • Tooling from AM
    • Mainstream press
    • U.S. government
  • Future directions
    • Far more demanding applications
    • Printed batteries and electronics
    • Legal issues
    • Workflow management
    • 3D printers for children
  • Summary
  • Where to learn more


  • Appendix A: Glossary of terms
  • Appendix B: System and material manufacturers
    • Austria
    • China
    • England
    • France
    • Germany
    • Ireland
    • 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: Direct metal AM comparison matrix
  • Appendix G: 3D scanning systems
  • Appendix H: 3D scan-processing software

The following 56 individuals and organizations contributed to Wohlers Report 2012 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)
Milan Brandt RMIT University (Australia)
Sebastian Bremen Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology (Germany)
Craig Brice NASA Langley Research Center
Mike Burton RMIT University (Australia)
David Bourell University of Texas at Austin
Ian Campbell Loughborough University (England)
Andy Christensen Medical Modeling Inc.
Shane Collins Directed Manufacturing
Deon de Beer Vaal University of Technology (South Africa)
Olaf Diegel Massey University (New Zealand)
Igor Drstvenšek University of Maribor (Slovenia)
Pablo Elenter Robtec (Brazil)
Ismail Fidan Tennessee Tech University
Ping Fu Geomagic, Inc.
Jim Gentrup Discovery Investment Research
Ian Gibson National University of Singapore (Singapore)
Tim Gornet University of Louisville
Joan Guasch ASCAMM (Spain)
Ian Harris Additive Manufacturing Consortium
Ola Harrysson North Carolina State University
Seiji Hayano Aspect (Japan)
Forrest Higgs Brosis Innovations, Inc
Johannes Homa Lithoz GmbH (Austria)
Neil Hopkinson University of Sheffield (England)
Luca Iuliano Politecnico di Torino (Italy)
Jason Jones De Montfort University (England)
Volker Junior Junior & Tacke (Germany)
Karolien Kempen Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (Belgium)
Eric Klemp Direct Manufacturing Research Center (Germany)
Jean-Pierre Kruth Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (Belgium)
Ulf Lindhe netfabb (Germany)
Frank Medina University of Texas at El Paso
Wilhelm Meiners Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology (Germany)
Jorge Mireles University of Texas at El Paso
Greg Morris Morris Technologies
Randall S. Newton Jon Peddie Research
John Obielodan Utah State University
Charles Overy LGM
Onur Ozturk Onatus (Turkey)
Joris Peels Origo (Belgium)
Phil Reeves Econolyst (England)
Alex Rekout Moscow Business College #11 (Russia)
Monica Savalani Hong Kong Polytechnic University (China)
Kevin Scofield Geomagic, Inc.
Joel Segal University of Nottingham (England)
Michael Siemer Innovative Medical Device Solutions
Jürgen Stampfl Vienna University of Technology (Austria)
Ian Stewart Wilson Elser Moskowitz Edelman & Dicker
Brent Stucker University of Louisville
Jukka Tuomi Aalto University (Finland)
Bart van de Vorst TNO (Netherlands)
Michael Weinberg Public Knowledge
Ryan Wicker University of Texas at El Paso
David Wimpenny Manufacturing Technology Centre, HVM Catapult (England)

What Others are Saying

“I read an excerpt from Wohlers Report 2011 and then spoke with Terry by phone. In less than 30 minutes, I had more industry insights than I had gleaned across dozens of blogs and news sites.”
TJ McCue, Forbes

“I received your report this week and I am completely impressed with the depth, variety, and detail. It will be an invaluable reference for the classes and presentations that I am currently developing for our division. It’s just MAGNIFICENT really!”
Jim Horton, CAD/CAM Systems Specialist, Central Piedmont Community College

“I love it. There is no other way to get such in-depth, relevant information that is also up to date. I have read through most of the report and it’s great work, Terry.”
Rob Connelly, President, FineLine Prototyping, Inc.

“The report is amazing.”
Michael Raphael, President, Direct Dimensions, Inc.

“It has become the bible in additive manufacturing.”
Mario Fleurinck, CEO, Melotte (Belgium)

“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 the report 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 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.”
Dr. 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 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, former 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, Axis Prototypes Inc.

“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

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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...

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

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