3D Systems outlines additive manufacturing strategy, aims for turnaround

3D Systems rolled out a series of systems, software, and services aimed at targeting industries. Going vertical is key to the company's turnaround hopes.
Written by Larry Dignan, Contributor on

Video: Big manufacturing firms embrace 3D printing

3D Systems outlined plans to better target industry-specific additive manufacturing through new materials, systems, software, and services.

The company's focus on additive manufacturing comes a week after 3D Systems missed its earnings target and pulled it outlook. Vyomesh Joshi, CEO of 3D Systems and former HP executive, said the company is focused on customized innovation and a go-to-market strategy that goes "vertical to vertical, bridging the chasm between traditional and additive manufacturing."

For 3D Systems, the challenge will be competing with the likes of Stratasys, which also has a vertical focus and HP. The company said it landed a three-year contract from BMW for on-demand manufacturing and Sanmina, a contract equipment manufacturer.

Read also: 3D Systems shares fall on disappointing Q3 results | 3D Systems steps up vertical, industry focus with purchase of Vertex | TechRepublic: How Toyota uses 3D printing for full scale vehicle mockups | IT pro's guide to 3D printing technologies (free PDF) | 3D printing: The smart person's guide

The company reported third quarter revenue of $153 million, below estimates of $163 million. Earnings for the quarter also missed estimates with an adjusted loss of 20 cents a share. 3D Systems said it is reorganizing its sales team and swapping leadership abroad and added that it would write-down inventory.

3D Systems strategy revolves around the following:

  • A production platform for plastic and metal parts. 3D Systems launched its Figure 4 modular platform, which produces small plastic parts at scale. Standalone configurations will start at $25,000 and go to more than $1 million.

3D Systems Figure 4 system (above and below)

3D Systems

  • 3D Systems also outlined a DMP 8500 Factory Solution for integrated powder management and metal parts. The modular system will be available in the second half of 2018.
  • Services to implement 3D Systems and consulting to improve manufacturing workflows.
  • 3D Connect, a cloud service focused on maintenance for production environments. 3D Connect will be used for remote service and printer fleet support. The software will roll be integrated with new and existing systems in early 2018.
  • New materials for its current SLS production systems. 3D Systems is adding three new nylon materials as well as the ProX SLS 6100 system. 3D Systems also is adding new rigid and engineering grade materials.
  • A entry-level production printer called FabPro 1000 designed for engineers and designers and jewelry makers. The FabPro 1000 goes for less than $5,000.

For 3D Systems, the launch is the first installment in what Joshi hopes is a turnaround. On 3D Systems, third quarter earnings call he said:

We have accelerated investments in plastics, metals, materials, software and services to deliver new and innovative solutions to meet these needs and streamline production workflows. And over the coming months, we plan to launch numerous products across our portfolio, which we believe will drive growth in 2018 and beyond.

At the same time, we are transforming the company's organizational structure, operations and service motion, while in parallel, resolving legacy quality, reliability and customer satisfaction issues as quickly as possible.

I knew this would be hard work coming in, but the issues have been deeper and broader than initially anticipated. And it has taken us longer than I thought it would to put these things behind us.


Read also: Siemens, HP roll out 3D printing integration partnership | HP builds 3D printer partner network, Stratasys does eyewear, Carbon focuses on materials costs | Stratasys demos 3D printing, additive manufacturing systems that take cues from data center | Ford to trial Stratasys system to use 3D printing of one-piece auto parts | Vroom! How 3D printing is revving up to save the auto industry big bucks


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