Reality may be pulling back on 3-D investors' expectations — and cash

By Bill Bregar
Senior Staff Reporter

Published: April 11, 2014 2:23 pm ET
Updated: April 11, 2014 3:07 pm ET

Related to this story

Topics Rapid Prototyping, Machinery
Companies & Associations 3D Systems Corp.

The 3-D printing industry has enjoyed a seemingly endless wave of positive news stories — “Print me a Stradivarius: How a new manufacturing technology will change the word,” sang an Economist cover story in 2011.

Now the tune is changing, as share prices of publicly held 3-D printing equipment makers have fallen dramatically, after their meteoric rise in recent years.

Here are some recent headlines: “3-D Printer Makers Get Reality Check,” from the Wall Street Journal. Barrons.com warned: “Beware 3-D Printing.”

The WSJ reported on April 5 that the stock price of 3D Systems Corp. (New York Stock Exchange) was down 40 percent since the start of this year. Stratasys Ltd. (Nasdaq) is off about 19 percent, the Journal reported.

ExOne Co., which uses sand to make rapid molds for metal castings or powdered metal, has seen its stock price fall 46 percent since its president predicted an 80 percent increase in sales. In January, the company reported it would be about half of that number, because orders got deferred into the new year, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Most of the companies fell short of their guidance for 2013, leading to the market correction. Short sellers are circling some 3-D printing stocks.

The share price volatility shows the 3-D printing’s potential explosive growth — but over the long-term. It won’t happen overnight, no matter how many headlines boast about a revolution, industry observers said. The flurry of news reports have overhyped the fast-changing industry, said Tim Caffrey, senior consultant of Wohlers Associates Inc.

Wohlers Associates, in Fort Collins, Colo., has been tracking the sector for about 25 years. The in-depth annual Wohlers Report is the sector’s longest-running market study.

“The investment community and non-technical public are the most vulnerable to the hype. They see a photo of an $800 material extrusion machine, read an article about metal jet engine parts, and assume they can go out and buy the machine and become a manufacturer overnight, or that additive manufacturing will completely replace all other forms of manufacturing. Or they believe that every home will have a 3-D printer in the next few years,” Caffrey said. “We’ve seen many misleading articles and blog posts that suggest/imply these things.”


Comments

Reality may be pulling back on 3-D investors' expectations — and cash

By Bill Bregar
Senior Staff Reporter

Published: April 11, 2014 2:23 pm ET
Updated: April 11, 2014 3:07 pm ET

Post Your Comments


Back to story


More stories

Image

North American robot sales set record

July 30, 2014 4:46 pm ET

The North American robotics sector is off to its fastest start ever, shattering last year's first-half record, with a first-half 2014 of 14,135...    More

Image

Gear pump maker Witte expands in Germany and USA

July 25, 2014 2:15 pm ET

Witte Pumps & Technology GmbH, the German maker of gear pumps for extrusion, has moved into a new headquarters factory in the Hamburg area, and the...    More

Image

3-D printing a giant for Comic-Con

July 24, 2014 11:17 am ET

Minneapolis-based 3-D printing specialist Stratasys Ltd. has collaborated with the Stan Winston School of Character Arts, Legacy Effects, Condé Nast...    More

Image

Munson Machinery expanding assembly, testing operations

July 22, 2014 2:02 pm ET

Munson Machinery Co. Inc. is expanding its headquarters factory by about one-third in Utica, N.Y., where the company makes mixing, blending and size-...    More

Image

Windmöller & Hölscher looking to continued growth in China

July 21, 2014 3:40 pm ET

With 2013 global sales of 600 million euros, China has grown into an important export market for Windmöller & Hölscher KG, second only to the United S...    More

Market Reports

Pipe, Profile & Tubing Extrusion in North America 2014

U.S. demand for extruded plastics is expected to grow by 3 percent in 2014, with PVC remaining the largest segment.

Plastic pipe will post the strongest gains through 2018, continuing to take market share from competing materials in a range of markets.

Our latest market report provides in-depth analysis of current trends and their financial impact on the pipe, profile and tubing extrusion industry in North America.

Learn more

2014 Injection Molding Industry Report

GROWTH, OPPORTUNITY IN SIGHT FOR INJECTION MOLDERS IN 2014

In the wake of the economic turbulence earlier in this decade, molders today find themselves in much better shape. Molders are gaining a competitive advantage by investing in people, equipment and seeking inroads into new markets on a global scale.

Growth in the injection molding industry is going to be driven by low financing costs and a continued move to reshore some business.

Learn more

Shale Gas Market - Analysis of North American Region

This report highlights the impact of shale-based natural gas on the North American plastics market and features an in-depth analysis of production trends in the United States during 2013 and a forecast for 2014 and beyond.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

September 10, 2014 - September 12, 2014Plastics Caps & Closures 2014

January 14, 2015 - January 14, 2015Plastics in Automotive

February 4, 2015 - February 6, 2015Plastics News Executive Forum 2015

More Events