3D systems marks the beginning and traditional home for the 3D printing world. The founder Chuck Hull invented stereolytic 3D printing which was the technological ground for the company. In this form of 3D printing, a resin is hardened layer by layer with lasers creating the 3 dimensional object.
Since his invention, the companies product portfolio has increased with new printing techniques for various customer segments.
This blog post summarizes the history, current situation and potential future of the firm with regard to product developments and the company value (stock price).
History and customer segments
3D systems always targeted industrial users such as manufacturers or aircraft producers like Boeing. The company offers 3D printers, scanners, software, materials and consulting services to their industrial customer segments.
End of 2014 the 3D printing hype peaked and the private market was the industries hottests topic. With Start-Ups as Makerbot and Formlabs, 3D systems felt forced to produce a 3D printer for the private market themselves. And this is how the cube devices were born. These cubical machines were ahead of their time in many aspects. However, the product idea was no suitable for the open-source mindset at that time and too similar to the close apple product strategy.
The sales figures confirmed this and the entire product line got dropped. At the same time the stock price was at its lowest level and the firm was still haemorrhaging money. For this reason, the CEO in charge left and the company moved back to industrial markets..
Company value and Share price
Since the hype in 2014, the use of 3D printers at the industrial level is increasing steadily. Meanwhile, the company re-aligned to its prior core strategy and production for additive manufacturing. The product range is again slimmed down on innovative and stable markets.
The same is true for the share which is currently rising steadily for the past year. And all of this after a downtrend in 2015 followed by a trend more or less sideways for the past 2 years. In 2018, the share showed a steady upward movement which is true for most of the 3D printing market. You can also see the typical short-term jumps upwards and back to the steadily rising fundament.
Edit 05.01.19: This support line for 3D Systems could not hold forever and the price went below this support line end of 2018 (A similar price development happened in 2017).
The 3D printing market in general and 3D systems in particular seem to make the U‑turn after the damaging hype in 2014. The stabilization of the share prices throughout the market reflect this development.
On the one hand, this offers investors an attractive option. The price development in this growth market is relatively (not entirely) independent of the overall market e.g. S&P500. On the other hand, Makers, 3D printing fans, engineers and entrepreneurs can prepare for an exciting time. The job market will be full of possibilities and demand while we can enjoy the technological achievements in our everyday life’s.