3D printing is not a new technology. It is the process of creating a three-dimensional object from a digital model. Originally, 3D printers were expensive and printed only single-color, low-quality plastic products. As the technology evolved, printing multiple colors in several materials, such as metal, ceramic, and carbon fiber became doable and printers fell in price.
Initially, few industries used 3D printing and then only for prototypes rather than final products. But 3D printing applications are increasing. For instance, rail maker Siemens is using 3D printing to print components. The healthcare industry is now using 3D printing extensively to print customized products like dental implants, for example. Even households are now using 3D printers to print toys, dishes, jewelry, etc.
According to Statista, the global 3D printing products and services market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 26.4% to surpass $40 billion by 2024.
The COVID-19 pandemic triggers the 3D printing revolution
The coronavirus pandemic sparked a 3D printing revolution as China’s manufacturing activity slumped, disrupting the global supply chain. As the pandemic threw everything out of gear, some basic products became unavailable. Many companies realized the need for distributed manufacturing. Hospitals that were falling short of supplies started printing personal protective equipment (PPE) and ventilators on 3D printers.
Individuals also started using 3D printing to make everyday household products, designs, and toys, thereby increasing the demand for 3D printers. However, the demand for 3D printing was weak in automotive and aerospace industries.
The pandemic-induced demand for 3D printers has seen the stocks of Petro Labs, Inc. (PRLB – Get Rating), Materialise NV (MTLS – Get Rating), and 3D Systems Corp. (DDD – Get Rating) surge by double-digits in 2020. As manufacturing recovers, the we think the technology could see strong demand from medical and non-medical applications.
Established in 1999, PRLB is a technology-enabled third-party manufacturer that provides traditional manufacturing and 3D printing services. It manufactures short-production-run parts, metal prototypes, and plastic products that are used in automotive, appliances, medical devices, and electronics markets. It has a market cap of nearly $5 billion and operates in Japan, the U.S., and Europe.
While PRLB’s third-quarter revenue declined 8.5% year-over-year because of the pandemic, it rose almost 1% sequentially. Its revenue declined because 3D printing accounts for just 15.1% of its revenue. A 2.5% increase in 3D printing revenue was more than offset by weakness in other segments.
As the economy recovers, traditional manufacturing will return. Moreover, the pandemic-induced 3D printing revolution is expected to…
Continue reading at STOCKNEWS.com