A few days ago 3D Systems (DDD) held their Annual Investor and Analyst Day. The room was filled with highly-detailed printed goods in various materials as well as the brilliant minds that developed the machines that created those goods. Investors were delighted to hear that the company met its financial projections and is on track to continue to do so. CEO Avi Reichental first commented about how a “convergence of exponential technologies” aided 3D Systems’ innovation and growth strategies; actually, there was liberal use of “exponential” and Moore’s Law throughout the call (I do find it interesting that Moore’s Law regarding the exponential growth of computational power is compared to other technologies, whereas it’d be more appropriate to reference Kurzweil’s Law of Accelerating Returns; I imagine it’s related both to investors having less confidence in someone that claims we’ll live forever, no matter how accurate his predictions, and the fact that the Law of Diminishing Returns is generally accepted as truth in economics). The “exponential technologies” are probably advanced robotics, sensors, and cloud computing, among others.
Avi also spoke about how 3D Systems is neither a device nor a materials company, but a provider of an end-to-end platform that encompasses an ecosystem of creation. By enhancing the “engineer’s desktop environment,” developing faster and more accurate additive technologies, expanding the materials portfolio, and extending the Quickparts service, 3D Systems aims to be the one-stop shop for engineers, manufacturers, and creators. Here are some of the highlights from the call:
- The acquisition of Phenix Systems is expected to close soon, which will give 3D Systems a selective metal sintering system capable of creating “metal and ceramic parts from very fine powders with the granularity of 6 to 9 microns.”
- Patient-specific medical devices have been very successful and more channels will be pursued. These technologies range from printing perfect-fit implants, printing surgical guides, and printing surgical models; all greatly reduce operating room time, which saves money and lives.
- Rapidform, Geomagic, Sensable, and Alibre are being integrated into a unified product called Geomagic Solutions that incorporates creation, scanning, and quality inspection into a single software suite.
- Throughout 2012, annual R&D spending increased “by 62% to a total of $23.2 million in support of our portfolio expansion and diversification efforts.”
- “2013 revenue expectations in the range of $460 million to $510 million which has growth of 30% to 44% over 2012.” That includes all completed acquisitions and not Phenix Systems.
- The next-generation CubeX is expected to be in the sub-$1000 range in the next 12 to 18 months, and around $500 sometime after that.
- A high-performance material called M3 will be released soon.
- Wrist braces from Bespoke (acquired) will be launched.
So lots of big moves being taken by the big 3D Systems. We’ll also be getting news on how the Cube does at Staples in the near future. 3D Systems is the only 3D printing company that offers consumer printers for $1300 and professional printers for $1 million. I think that’s a good business strategy.
Source: Seeking Alpha