The additive manufacturing sector grew 19.5 percent in 2021, more than twice that of the pandemic-driven roller coaster year of 2020.
As the technology and industry mature, a growing number of companies are using AM for custom products and series production, according to the latest report from Fort Collins, Colo.-based Wohlers Associates Inc.
The AM sector, which had only grown 7.5 percent in 2020, is back to double-digit gains. Growth has averaged about 27 percent over the last decade.
One sign of the recent gains is the amount of polymer powder consumed in 2021. Polymer powder use increased 43.3 percent to overtake photopolymers as the most used AM material, Wohlers Report 2022 shows.
Wohlers Associates publishes the analysis of AM and 3D printing every March.
At 425 pages, Wohlers Report 2022 has 50 more pages than last year's coverage of business activity, the impact of COVID-19 and trend lines that span more than 30 years.
Wohlers Associates was acquired by ASTM International in November 2021 to expand the program, product and service offering of the West Conshohocken, Pa.-based standards organization.
The 27th consecutive Wohlers report includes new features on the future of AM, scaling production, workforce development, sustainability, women in 3D printing and ground-breaking R&D programs. The other content is based on 26 years of data, market intelligence and a vast network of contacts worldwide.
Terry Wohlers, president of the acquired company, joined ASTM International as the head of additive manufacturing market intelligence.
"As expected, the industry has returned to a period of advancement and investment," Wohlers said in a news release. "This expansion cuts across aerospace, health care, automotive, consumer products, energy and other sectors."
This year's report includes details on 147 early-stage and corporate investments and 75 mergers, acquisitions and initial public offerings.
"Wohlers Report 2022 was created with the support of 260 service providers, AM machine manufacturers, and producers of third-party materials," Wohlers added. "A team of 93 co-authors and contributors from 33 countries provided expert views and perspective."