In this page in our previous issue, we discussed the continuing emergence of additive manufacturing (AM) technologies and the organizational steps taken by the Obama administration to nurture and disseminate them in this country. In support of this information, it is appropriate to add a few paragraphs relating to the business side of this budding industry.
In December 2013, the Cleveland-based market research company The Freedonia Group (TFG) released a study on the global market for the equipment, materials and software used in AM processes. (The numbers exclude the value of finished products produced by AM techniques.) According to the TFG report, entitled “World 3D Printing (Additive Manufacturing),” global demand for these products in 2012 was nearly $1.95 billion, of which the U.S. accounted for 42%; Western Europe 25%; and China and Japan combined for 16%. The breakdown by product demand is 62% for 3D printing (a term used here interchangeably with AM) machinery, 27% printing materials and 11% software.