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

Asia continues driving sales for Engel

October 21, 2014 2:42 pm ET

The number seven seems to be special for European plastics machinery makers at the moment — injection press giant Engel Holding GmbH said Oct....    More

Image

Trexel charges patent infringement against Taiwan company

October 20, 2014 3:25 pm ET

Trexel Inc., the supplier of the MuCell microcellular foaming technology, is accusing a Taiwanese company, Chuan Lih Fa Machinery Works, of violating ...    More

Image

SPI expanding 3-D printing pavilion at NPE

October 20, 2014 1:17 pm ET

While 2015 will mark the first time 3-D printing will be featured on its own at the triennial NPE trade show, the new pavilion is already bursting at ...    More

Image

Humanoid robot provides inspection service with a smile

October 17, 2014 6:00 am ET

Everyone knows robots can improve production and quality. But no one says they can't show a little personality while they're working.    More

Image

Arburg starts taking orders for Freeformer

October 15, 2014 12:52 pm ET

FRIEDRICHSHAFEN, GERMANY — For fans of 3-D printing, Fakuma 2014 marks an important date: Arburg is taking German orders for the Freeformer.    More

Market Reports

Plastics Recycling Trends in North America

This report is a review and analysis of the North American Plastics Recycling Industry, including key trends and statistics based on 2013 performance. We examine market environment factors, regulatory issues, industry challenges, key drivers and emerging trends in post-consumer and post-industrial recycling.

Learn more

Plastics in Mexico - State of the Industry Report

This report analyzes the $20 million dollar plastics industry in Mexico including sales of machinery & equipment, resins and finished products.

Our analysts provide insight on business trends, foreign investment, top end markets and plastics processing activity. The report also provides important data on exports, production, employment and value of plastics products manufactured.

Learn more

Plastics Caps & Closures Market Report

The annual recap of top trends and future outlook for the plastics caps & closures market features interviews with industry thought leaders and Bill Wood’s economic forecast of trends in growing end markets. You will also gain insight on trends in caps design, materials, machinery, molds & tooling and reviews of mergers & acquisitions.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

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

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

June 2, 2015 - June 3, 2015Plastics Financial Summit - Chicago 2015

September 16, 2015 - September 18, 2015Plastics Caps & Closures - September 2015

More Events