Three-dimensional printing, additive manufacturing, or rapid prototyping has been around since the early 2000s. It was then that consumer 3D printing companies like 3D Systems, EOS, and many others emerged. This publication will explain how to invest in the 3D printing industry and the 3D printing stocks.
What Is 3D Printing and How Does it Work?
3D printing has affected various industries and allowed them to bring products to market much faster. The industries touched by 3D printing cover the automotive industry, health care, logistics and financial sector.
Many different desktop 3D printers are available today for personal or commercial use. For example, hobbyists and inventors looking to bring their ideas to reality use these devices.
The first thing to know about 3D printing is that it works by using an electron beam or a laser to melt layers of plastic into a solid object. In addition, you can use 3D printing to make prototypes, moulds, and even full-sized models.
Additive technology allows for making physical objects out of digital designs. For example, a printer uses computer software to design a three-dimensional model. Then, the printer builds up each model layer one at a time. Finally, the printed parts come out of the machine when the entire model is complete, ready to be put together.
Should You Invest in 3D Printing Stocks?
It’s a good idea to look for an investment that will grow with the industry. For example, as more people get into 3D printing, there might be more demand for this equipment.
3D printing stocks have been overgrowing over the past few years. The technology is still relatively new, but its potential is vast. According to a recent study, 3D printing will reach USD 63.46 billion by 2026. Consequently, this could lead to potential opportunities for investors who want to buy shares in 3D printing companies.
Benefits of 3D Printing Technology
3D printing technology provides business benefits, such as:
- Life-cycle stability: Design freedom and point-to-use production allow for light, optimised parts that save energy and reduce environmental impact.
- Personalisation: With economies of scale no longer an issue, personalisation can be used to create more significant market differentiation. It’s inexpensive compared to other methods of production. Additionally, it is an eco-friendly production method because it uses less energy, materials, and resources than traditional manufacturing processes. Finally, it is also more precise than conventional manufacturing methods.
- Design freedom and reducing waste: The technology allows creating and customising designs as needed. Additive manufacturing doesn’t have design limitations. In addition, 3D printing reduces waste by eliminating excess materials. With traditional manufacturing methods, there is often a surplus of material left over after the production. 3D printing removes this problem by allowing you to create only the amount of material needed.
- Supply chain management: Point-of-use manufacturing, on-demand capabilities, and short-circuiting traditional supply chains speed up deliveries and reduce inventory costs.
- Cost-efficient manufacturing: The absence of tooling requirements eliminates manufacturing steps, making lower-volume production cost-efficient. This is a massive advantage over traditional manufacturing methods.
Notable 3D Printing Stocks on the Market
Several large corporations are already investing heavily in this area to create and share their 3D designs in an easy, fun, and safe way.
Here is our list of 3D printing stocks and companies leading the market:
1. Stratasys Ltd. (NASDAQ:SSYS)
2. 3D Systems Corporation (NYSE: DDD)
3. Materialise NV (NASDAQ:MTLS)
4. Proto Labs Inc. (NYSE: PRLB)
5. Desktop Metal Inc. (DM)
Stratasys Ltd. (NASDAQ: SSYS)
Stratasys is one of the leading contributors to 3D printing solutions globally. The company’s flagship products include the Dimension SST™ series of additive manufacturing systems. The systems allow for the creation of functional prototypes or low-production runs. However, Stratasys also has many other offerings. The offering includes 3D printing systems, PolyJet inkjet-based systems, and software tools.
Stratasys’ products and services serve industries ranging from aerospace, automotive, and medical devices to education and dental technology. The Dimension SST series of desktops printers have been around since 2010 and was the first commercially available 3D printer.
Company website: https://www.stratasys.com/
3D Systems Corporation (NYSE: DDD)
3D printing has been used for years by engineers to create prototypes and test their designs. As the leading solution provider, 3D Systems Corp. helps manufacturers develop new products and business models through workflow transformation.
According to Statista Research Department, 3D Systems’ net income for the fiscal year ending in 2021 was approximately $322 million.
Company website: https://www.3dsystems.com/
Materialise NV (NASDAQ: MTLS)
Materialise is a company based in Belgium. The company has provided software solutions and 3D printing services for over 20 years. Accordingly, the company’s portfolio counts over 90 patents and 150 more pending.
Materialise has teamed up with Paris Fashion Week, Volvo, and Adidas designers. In addition, it has partnered with HP on its Jet Fusion 3D printing technology and made customised 3D printed shoe insoles as part of HP’s wearable technology platform called FitStation.
Interesting to know is that Materialise introduced a service that uses up to 100 per cent recycled powder.
According to Nasdaq, you may find the key indicators for Materialise NV here.
Company website: https://www.materialise.com
Proto Labs Inc. (NYSE: PRLB)
Proto Labs was founded in 1999. It has eight manufacturing locations on three continents and its headquarters in Minnesota.
Proto Labs provides rapid low-volume manufacturing of custom parts. It offers 3D printing, sheet metal fabrication, computer numerical control (CNC) machining, and injection moulding services.
The company specialises in rapid prototyping using 3D printing technologies: direct metal laser sintering, selective laser sintering, and stereolithography.
Things to know:
- Additive manufacturing technology uses 3D carbon digital light synthesis printing methods to produce plastic parts.
- Proto Labs established its industrial-grade 3D printing business in early 2014. As a result, it became one of the leaders in helping developers, designers, and engineering teams move from prototyping to lower magnitude production.
- It claims to be the fastest digital manufacturer of 3D printed prototypes.
- Back in 2020, Proto Labs announced it could provide the aviation industry with the ability to print cobalt chrome materials with the help of direct metal laser printing.
Company website: https://www.protolabs.com/
Desktop Metal Inc. (DM)
Desktop Metal is a private, self-funded company that develops and markets the DM platform for 3D printing metal parts. The DM platform uses CAD files which allow users to create complex metal objects with high precision and accuracy.
Desktop Metal platform uses an additive manufacturing process known as electron beam melting.
In addition, the DM platform can produce parts that weigh up to 50 pounds, which makes it ideal for creating large-scale structures such as aircraft components.
If you are interested to know more about the financial results, check out the link.
Company website: https://www.desktopmetal.com/
We can ascribe the global 3D printing market growth to rising demand for consumer goods, healthcare and pharmaceutical products. Furthermore, we can also add it to the increasing adoption of advanced technologies such as 3D printing.
The 3D printing market will rise if we consider technological advancements, high-cost reduction, and increased use of 3D printing in the manufacturing process.
Moreover, 3D printing opens new ideas. It has evolved from the early days of making desktop figurines. Today, 3D is an industry that can create everything from jewellery to medical devices, aerospace & defence, education, medical, consumer electronics, automotive & transportation, energy & oil & gas, food & beverages, and others.
The market is increasing. The 3D printing companies are gaining momentum. Consequently, the demand for 3D printing stocks is on the rise. The technology has expanded for more than twenty years, but 3D printers have only recently become accessible and affordable to consumers.
As this technology spreads and helps connect marginalised and hard-to-reach populations, it could help bring them essential products. Ultimately, this emerging technology has tremendous potential to revolutionise our society and transform the development industry.
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This article was last updated on April 11th, 2022.