3D Printing Investments Growing – 3D Printer Shipments Increasing
3-D printing has become one of the most talked-about technologies. Stock prices of the four publicly traded makers have soared, and shipments of desktop printers used by hobbyists and small businesses have increased dramatically. With the final companies reporting earnings over the past week, investors got a better idea of where this rapidly growing industry is heading.
The printers build three-dimensional objects by laying down superthin layers of plastics and other materials. They have been used to make everything from jet engine parts to models of 007’s Aston Martin for the James Bond movie “Skyfall.” Many of the applications in 3D Printing can be found at the 3D Printing Video site known as the 3D Printing Channel.
The two biggest players in the market, 3D Systems and Stratasys, make printers small enough to sit on desktops and large enough to make engine parts.
Investors want to see that these two companies, after a number of mergers and acquisitions, can grow by selling more machines rather than by buying other businesses.
Stratasys management said third-quarter sales of high-priced production printers grew 27 percent as more customers adopt 3-D printing for finished goods. Manufacturers have been using 3-D printing primarily to make prototypes and mock-ups, though that is changing. Stratasys’ shares are up 52 percent this year, to $126.49.
“There’s more of a migration to using 3-D printing to make end-use parts on the high-end systems,” said Andrea James, vice president at Dougherty & Co., on CNBC’s “Street Signs.” “There’s growing use in the aerospace and automotive and other industrial markets.”