Has the 3D Printing Bubble Burst
Kyle Maxey posted on February 11, 2014 |
After a steep drop in stock prices, some are beginning to wonder if we’re seeing the end of th...

3d printing, business, markets, stock, After reporting a significantly lower profit margin for 2013, 3D Systems’ stock sank last week prompting many to wonder if the 3D printing bubble has burst altogether.

According to the 3D printing giant, fiscal year earnings have slipped from the projected $0.93-1.03 to $0.83-0.87 per share. On that news, 3D Systems’ stock plummeted from a Tuesday close of $75.76 per share to $57.28 when markets opened on Wednesday.

In explaining their company’s poor fiscal performance, 3D Systems CEO Avi Reichental said, “[D]uring the fourth quarter we made very significant R&D, manufacturing and marketing investments designed to accelerate revenue growth that resulted in substantially compressed earnings for the fourth quarter.”

Echoing 3D Systems’ bad day, Stratasys also posted a significant 6% stock price loss on what some have said is simple guilt by association. Granted, the company did signal that its earnings per share would be lower than previously forecast.

So, has the 3D printing bubble burst?

For many investors it may have, especially since several key patents hampering competition are set to expire in the near future.

However, the stumbles of industry giants should not be conflated with the downfall of an industry. AM remains key to the future of manufacturing, and in the next decade I look for the technology to assert itself most forcefully in heavy industry.

Additionally, given additive manufacturing’s ability to produce parts that have greater strength than their traditionally cast counterparts, I’d say current market troubles are only a small chapter in the full 3D printing story.

Image and Video Courtesy of 3D Systems and Bloomberg

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