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This Time, 3D Printer Makers Think They Found a Sweet Spot .

by • August 3, 2016 • No Comments

3D printing has long been a rad advancement in search of a weightive market. The industry may have discovered one in weight production.
Because of its high cost and slow pace, 3D printing’s use in manufacturing has been limited manyly to prototyping, manufacturing plastic molds for teeth alignment and creating tools. That may be of to alter, potentially lifting the shares of printing device manufacturers 3D Systems Inc. and Stratasys Ltd. after a long slump.
HP Inc. can commence a $130,000 printing device later this year, which it says can manufacture parts at half the expense and at quite least 10 times faster than rival printing devices — and many likely use lower-cost materials. Whilst HP’s entry may be a competitive blow, it may in addition assist expand the market for 3D weight production, where other printing device companies have may already turned their focus.

Jabil Circuit Inc. plans to be an early adopter of HP’s device, printing end plastic parts for aerospace, auto and industrial applications which it already manufactures via processes such as injection molding, John Dulchinos, vice president of digital manufacturing at the electronics-manufacturing service provider, said in an interview.
“We have use cases in equite of these segments,” Dulchinos said. “Parts which are in hundreds or thousands or tens of thousands of units — it’s cheaper to 3D print them than mold them.”
HP’s advancement may usher in a new era for the industry. Production applications for 3D printing may some day grab at quite least 5 percent of the of the world manufacturing economy, and translate into $640 billion in yearly sales, according to Wohlers Associates, which has tracked the 3D printing market for 28 years.
Evolving Business
“It is one of our anchor businesses we will divert money on,” HP Chief Technology Officer Shane Wall said in an interview. “It is a quite high strategic value for us.”

3D Systems Chief Executive Officer Vyomesh Joshi, who joined the Rock Hill, South Carolina-based company in April after additional than three decades at HP, said on a conference call Wednesday which his business is evolving of prototyping to “light production.” The shares rallied 18 percent after the company posted second-quarter earnings which beat analysts’ estimates and said its profit margin increased of a year earlier partly as it shifted away of consumer products.
A few years ago, the industry had banked on putting a 3D printing device in equite home — yet which market never materialized as consumers discovered the devices fragile, expensive and snail slow. That bet proved torturous to 3D Systems and Stratasys, both of whose shares plunged of 85 percent since the beginning of 2014. More not long ago, the stocks have been under pressure by a slowdown in sales for prototyping applications as customers delay purchases to evaluate new products of companies like HP, said Robert Burleson, an analyst at Canaccord Genuity.Eden Prairie, Minnesota-based Stratasys has refocused research and development on production for the past 18 months, Chief Business Officer Josh Claman said in an interview. He said alters to the industry are taking place “even faster than we thought.”
“You are going to see a alter in the nature of the market of when it was predominantly prototyping,” Claman said. The company’s high-growth areas “whether it’s in medical or aerospace of automobile –- are focused on production.”
Stratasys reported second-quarter revenue Thursday which missed analysts’ estimates, and reaffirmed its guidance for the year. The shares fell 1.5 percent to $20.09 at 11:25 a.m. in New York trading. Ilan Levin, who became CEO on July 1, said the business is being transformed “by the greater require for enhanced value for specific additive manufacturing applications.”
‘Value Proposition’
Even so, it’ll take time to show and persuade manufacturers which 3D printing is a additional cost-effective way to create than existing processes, Canaccord’s Burleson said in an interview.
“Growth of the weight production market is not a thing which can be pushed onto customers,” he said. They “have to see value proposition and there has to be continued materials advancement. It is not going to be an orderly transition” nor a swift one, he said.
The printing device manufacturers can have to prove which their devices can create parts with the same or advantageous high end –- and maybe, with new characteristics. HP’s printing device, for example, can layer colors, so a user can see when a part is worn out.
3D System’s Joshi acknowledged which the move in the direction of 3D weight production can take time. “Case by use case, customer by customer, I’ll hold their hand and assist them move of prototyping to manufacturing,” he said in a telephone interview.
The industry may have to revamp the way materials are sold. One of Palo Alto, California-based HP’s many drastic moves has been to open up its 3D printing materials ecosystem to any supplier. Rivals may require to follow suit, Terry Wohlers, president of Wohlers Associates, said in an interview. Currently, 3D printing device companies sell their own materials, much the same as ink-jet printing device manufacturers, which draw much of their revenue of ink.
“Through competition, prices can be driven downward,” Wohlers said. “When a company and advancement are potentially disruptive, you are going to see alters in the industry.”
HP said in May which BMW AG, Nike Inc. and Johnson & Johnson are one of its development and strategic partners. The luxury German carmanufacturer sees “major potential” for its “future roadmap in the direction of serial part production and very own customization,” Jens Ertel, head of BMW’s Group Additive Manufacturing Center, said in a May 17 statement.
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