providers, also referred to as service bureaus, offer part building
services to design and manufacturing organizations as an outsourced
service. These services typically include parts made by additive
manufacturing as well as secondary services such as design, CAD,
reverse engineering, cast urethane parts, custom painting, CNC, metal
castings, and injection molding.
For many years, Wohlers
Associates has sought input from service providers to help determine
the state of the industry. This year, 70 companies in 19 countries
participated in a formal survey. Thirty-seven are from the U.S., six
from Germany, four from India, three from Belgium and the UK, two each
from Australia, Italy, and Turkey, and one each from Brazil, Canada,
China, Greece, Japan, New Zealand, Portugal, South Africa, Spain,
Sweden, and Thailand.
Most of the service providers offer
services other than additive manufacturing. The most popular are design
and CAD services, which are offered by 75% of those surveyed. Urethane
casting, sometimes referred to as vacuum casting, is the second most
popular and offered by 68.8% of the respondents. Engineering services,
at 59.4%, is third. Other popular services include injection mold
tooling (45.3%), 3D scanning/reverse engineering (43.8%), and injection
molding (40.6%). Only 26.6% of the respondents offer metal casting.
The chart at http://wohlersassociates.com/sp.htm
shows the percentage of survey respondents that added additive
manufacturing systems to their operations. Nearly 40% added new
machines in 2010, compared to less than 22% the year before. In 2009,
companies showed that they neither had the cash to invest in additional
systems nor the confidence that business would be there if they did.
Several companies sold off unused capacity to lower overhead and
provide additional working capital. With an improving economy and
increasing product development and manufacturing, the situation changed
Note: The previous information was taken from Wohlers Report 2011,
a 270-page global study focusing on the advances in additive
manufacturing and 3D printing worldwide. A detailed overview of the
report, as well as additional information on the market and industry,
are available at http://wohlersassociates.com.
Wohlers Talk: Universities Create Wealth
once said that our university system is the envy of the world. I don’t
know whether this is true, but I do know that we have many special
institutions of higher education within our borders. One is
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, an organization that has
produced more than I would have ever thought.
MIT graduates have founded 25,800 companies, according to the January 22, 2011 issue of The Economist.
These companies employ 3.3 million people and generate annual sales of
$3 trillion, according to the article. This is more than three times
the gross domestic product (GDP) of Australia, Austria, Belgium,
Finland, Sweden, Taiwan, Thailand, and many other countries.
Another article in the same issue of The Economist
stated that 41% of millionaires worldwide live in the U.S. This is an
extraordinary percentage when considering the world population. The
article went on to say that the world’s most wealthy are entrepreneurs
that started a business.
Our university system has undoubtedly
contributed greatly to entrepreneurism, which has led to personal and
national wealth. If one university can do what it has done—albeit
MIT—imagine what the more than 4,800 colleges and universities spread
across the U.S. are achieving. Regardless of what you might hear from
others, supporting higher education is a wise investment.
Wohlers Talk is a blog that offers views, perspective, and commentary
on rapid product development and a wide range of other topics. Nearly
230 commentaries have been published. To view them, visit http://wohlersassociates.com/blog.
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