New Report Finds ...

From: Terry Wohlers (
Date: Thu Feb 26 1998 - 17:20:09 EET


New Report Finds 34% Unit Sales Growth in
Rapid Prototyping Industry

Total Unit Sales Grew to 3,289 Installations Worldwide,
With 1,057 Systems Sold Last Year

FORT COLLINS, COLORADO, USA, February 24, 1998 – Last year, 1,057 rapid
prototyping (RP) systems were sold worldwide, compared to 787 in 1996,
according to a new industry report announced today by Wohlers Associates,
Inc. This represents unit sales growth of 34% for the year, compared to
growth of 46% the year before. Since 1988, a total of 3,289 RP systems
have been sold to industrial, academic, and government sites around the

The top three unit sales performers last year were RP system manufacturers
3D Systems, Stratasys, and Sanders Prototype, with sales of 278, 260, and
152 systems, respectively. 3D Systems has sold more RP systems in the past
10 years than any other company in the world. With its Stereolithography
and Actua products, 3D Systems was also the industry leader in annual
revenues in 1997. With sales of about $90.3 million, the company outsold
its nearest competitor by a margin of three to one.

"Unit sales continued to grow last year, but money spent on RP products and
services was down considerably," said Terry Wohlers, principal consultant
and president of Wohlers Associates, Inc. "Last year, the industry grew by
a disappointing 7.5%, as measured by revenue growth, compared to 42.6% the
year before," he explained. Indeed, revenue growth has slowed over the
past year, but demand will grow as the technology penetrates key markets,
such as consumer products, business machines, medical devices, automobiles,
and aircraft. Rapid tooling will help expand the market for new systems as
manufacturing organizations develop and refine methods of creating molds
for prototypes using RP technology.

Wohlers reports developments and trends in a new publication titled Rapid
Prototyping & Tooling State of the Industry: 1998 Worldwide Progress
Report. The report focuses on the industries being served, revenue growth,
service bureaus, time-to-market issues, new approaches to metal tooling,
materials, and software for RP. Also, the report reviews new systems being
developed, trends in CAD solid modeling, 3D printing for concept modeling,
medical modeling, reverse engineering, the future of RP, and the progress
of the system manufacturers in the US, Europe, and Asia.

The 200-page soft bound publication, available in March, includes 29 charts
and graphs, 17 tables, and 25 photographs and illustrations. Inside the
US, the report is $295, which includes priority mail shipping. Outside the
US, it is $325, which includes global priority mail shipping. The report’s
table of contents, as well as additional information on the RP market and
industry, are available free of charge from Wohlers Web World at

Wohlers Associates, Inc. is an 11-year old independent consulting firm that
works closely with manufacturing organizations to help reduce
time-to-market using innovative approaches to design, modeling,
prototyping, and tooling. Readers can reach Terry Wohlers at (970)
225-0086, fax (970) 225-2027, or e-mail

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