As per various industry estimates and the 2013 Wohlers Report, the global market for 3D printing products and services grew by 29 % to $2.204 billion in 2012. On average, the growth rate of the global industry over the past 25 years has been 25% per year. The growth of the low-cost, “personal” 3D printer market averaged more than 300% until recently. The industry is expected to continue strong double-digit growth over the next several years and, by 2017, it is estimated that industry sales would triple. It took 25 years for the industry to grow to $2 billion by 2012, but in the next two years, i.e. by 2015, it is expected to double its size again!
The United States has the largest installed base of AM users with 38% of all industrial AM installations. In Canada, companies such as Bell Helicopter, Bombardier, and Pratt & Whitney Canada are collaborating with the support of the Consortium for Research and Innovation in Aerospace in Quebec (CRIAQ) to evaluate AM for their operations. American President Obama, in his 2013 State of the Union address, has mentioned 3D printing as having ‘the potential to revolutionize the way we make almost everything’. His administration has invested $30 million in 3D printing research through the Ohio-based National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute (NAMII) and is creating three more similar groups.
Similarly, the Canadian Federal Economic Development Agency for southern Ontario (FeDeV) is funding an $18.9 million SMART program, administered by the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters (CME) association. In the private sector, there are other big or small manufacturers in Ontario, and elsewhere, working on 3D printing in their various business operations. With this ongoing development, every business equipment manufacturer would likely be involved to some extent. Firms ranging in size from Xerox to General Electric to Samsung and many thousands of other smaller firms vying to compete versus one another using this new technology