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Metal is increasingly becoming industry’s raw material of choice for efficient 3D printing processes: According to a survey conducted as part of the annual Wohlers report , global sales of metals in 2018 grew by over 40% for the fifth consecutive year. The authors of the survey believe that this is a telling sign of the general growing importance of additive manufacturing in industry. Sales of polymer materials also saw record growth.

At the same time, the number of manufacturers of industrial 3D printing systems also rose. Among them is 3D consulting firm Wohlers, based in Colorado in the US, which offers systems priced from US$ 5,000. While cheaper desktop 3D printers are experiencing a decline in growth, the number of manufacturers of high-priced professional systems has risen by almost a third, from 135 to 177. This trend looks set to continue: Hamburg-based consultancy Ampower, which specializes in 3D printing, anticipates that these manufacturing processes will become significantly more efficient over the next few years.