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The king of 3D printing

Stratasys 3D Printing Analysis

3D printing is reshaping industries, especially manufacturing, as companies look to cut costs and make their own parts. Boeing has said it is using 3D printing to create more than 20,000 airplane components, and hopes to make wings one day using 3D printers. Stratasys is at the forefront of the industry, and it’s only poised to get bigger.

Stratasys is benefiting from Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM), which is the most cost-effect way to do 3D printing. FDM is also one of the “most popular additive manufacturing technology to date,” according to Deutsche Bank analyst Sherry Scribner. Not only is Stratasys benefiting from FDM, it’s continuing to expand its lead in the space, buying other companies, to expand its hold on the nascent space.

Stratasys recently bought Objet, and purchased Makerbot, the popular Brooklyn-based 3D printing company earlier this year for $403 million to solidify its position in the consumer space.

3D printing is in what’s known as the additive manufacturing market, a market that’s been growing like a weed for the past 20 years. As 3D printing continues to become more prevalent and is used in more and more industries, Stratasys is going to be leaps and bounds ahead of its competitors, like 3D Systems, ExOne, Voxeljet or others.

There is one caveat to that thesis, especially as it relates to the printing space. Everyone knows the problems at HP. CEO Meg Whitman is trying to turn the company around, which is seeing a decline in its two biggest divisions, the printing division, as well as the personal computer segment.

On HP’s most recent earnings call, Whitman talked about 3D printing, and that HP is going to move into the space. She noted that HP is going to move into the space on its own, but that it’s not going to happen any time before 2014, or perhaps 2015.

“And what we’re doing is focusing on what’s the value proposition by market segment, whether that be consumer or industrial,” Whitman said on the call. “What’s the competitive differentiation and we’ve got some very interesting things coming. So stay tuned in 2014.”

With HP getting into the space, it validates 3D printing as an industry that’s going to be much larger than most people, and Stratsys is going to be the dominant player in the space.