3D systems 2011 figures encouraging for industry

3D SystemsAll signs from the 3D printing services industry recently have been good with 7{ed34752d3d9237811f2899a265685e36705e4e86722207f201c96dd1cfc4a167} growth in 2011 with higher growth figures predicted for 2012. 3D systems earnings report now shows even more encouraging figures.

3D systems have diversified in 2011 with consumer and enterprise level 3D printers now in their range with multi million pound printers able to print in a variety of materials at the other end of their range.

This shows not just that 3D printing services are strong then but that they are becoming main-stream across a wider range of industries: with even small design businesses and companies such as architects firms now able to afford and benefit from 3D printing services, either in house or outsourced.

Revenue has seen the steepest growth for 3D systems in 2011 with net profit as a percentage of revenue in fact down. This maybe isn’t surprising though with 3D systems having invested $3.6 million in developing ‘The Cube’ their entry level 3D printer that has generated a lot of interest before even going on sale: the profits they will make from selling this will come in 2012 meaning another bumper year should be ahead.

Though for the 3D printing services industry who use 3D systems printers the news is generally good- though it does point to more competition for 3D printer services as well as increased demand- the news won’t be welcomed by 3D Systems’ principle competitor Stratasys who are being left in the dust of 3D systems who are growing at a much quicker rate.

3D Systems are coming to dominate the market and putting themselves in a strong position if they can turn buyers of their printers into loyal customers who will buy from them in future when technology improves and more models are released. In the fourth quarter of 2011 3D systems shipped 190{ed34752d3d9237811f2899a265685e36705e4e86722207f201c96dd1cfc4a167} more 3D printers than in the 4th quarter of 2010.

250{ed34752d3d9237811f2899a265685e36705e4e86722207f201c96dd1cfc4a167} as the increase for 2011 from 2010 as a whole is perhaps even more impressive; though what exactly 2012 holds can’t be predicted but things are looking good for 3D systems long term. They created the std file format that is now standard for 3D printing and they are now starting to work on making their software the industry standard. Part of this is putting their printers and software into schools and colleges where kids and young adults can begin to learn the CAD skills that look likely to become highly valuable in the future. 3D systems is perhaps aware that the 3D printing services industry could be slowed by a lack of skills but is of course also aware that there is a massive advantage of the next generation of designers growing up and honing their skills using 3D systems’ hardware and software.

With Stratasys as the main threat to 3D systems it is also important to note that 3D systems now have 330 distributors and have boosted their portfolio and reach further with acquisitions in 2011. The most important of these perhaps being Z Corp, a manufacturer of 3D printers that work on a laser sintering rather than injection basis and which are low cost while creating full color prints.

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