Additive manufacturing and 3D printing - statistics & facts

Additive manufacturing and 3D printing can be counted among the most disruptive technologies of our age and are predicted to be at the forefront of the fourth industrial revolution. As opposed to traditional manufacturing technologies, additive manufacturing builds 3D objects layer by layer, using computer-aided design (CAD) and a wide range of materials, such as metal, plastic, concrete, or paper. While the terms “additive manufacturing” and “3D printing” are sometimes used interchangeably, additive manufacturing is a broader term including several technologies. 3D printing is one of these technologies and is more likely to refer to non-industrial applications.

Although, in the beginning, the idea to 3D manufacture turbines or cylinder blocks sounded like science fiction to the ears of most people, 3D manufacturing has outgrown its initial use of being a mere tool for the manufacture of prototypes. Over the past decade, additive manufacturing has become more popular, making its way into new industries. This trend is expected to last: the global additive manufacturing market is projected to grow by almost 24 percent between 2023 and 2025, and the market for 3D printing is expected to almost triple in size between 2020 and 2026.

Applications of additive manufacturing

Additive manufacturing is being used in a wide array of segments, including the aerospace industry, the automotive industry, the medical sector, the military industry, and even in food manufacturing. In 2019, the automotive and manufacturing industries were the most profitable segments for additive manufacturing worldwide. In the same year, South Korea topped the list of countries with the most experience with additive manufacturing, followed by China and Canada. However, in 2019, more than half of all additive manufacturing companies were located in Europe. Some 32 percent were located in the Americas and only 13 percent in Asia.

Main companies

The additive manufacturing industry attracts established players from the manufacturing and electronics industry as well as specialized additive manufacturing companies. Multinational conglomerates such as General Electric and Hewlett-Packard were the leading additive manufacturing patent owners in 2019, each offering a range of industrial additive manufacturing machines and 3D printers, among other products. 3D Systems, Stratasys, and ExOne all solely focus on the design and production of additive manufacturing machines and 3D printers and are counted among the major players in this field.

Interesting statistics

In the following 4 chapters, you will quickly find the 29 most important statistics relating to "Additive manufacturing and 3D printing".


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