3D printers that can work with metal are becoming increasingly important in additive manufacturing deployments if recent earnings reports from Stratasys and 3D Systems are any indication.
What remains to be seen is how HP's planned entry into the metal 3D printing market impacts enterprises. HP Metal Jet was outlined in September but broad availability isn't expected until 2021.
In any case, it's safe to say there is a lot of interest in 3D printing with metal among manufacturers.
Stratasys reported earnings on Thursday and delivered third quarter revenue of $162 million, up from $155.9 million a year ago. The company reported a net loss of a penny a share and non-GAAP earnings of 11 cents a share.
More importantly, Elan Jaglom, interim CEO of Stratasys, said the company was seeing "encouraging" engagement in a number of the company's key verticals. He added that there was strong interest in its FDM and PolyJet technologies, which focus on metal additive manufacturing.
Jaglom said that Stratasys Direct Manufacturing was benefiting from "strong growth in manufacturing orders led by metal part production."
We are pleased with the progress being made in the development of our new metal additive manufacturing platform for short run production and expect to have greater engagement with our development partners next year as we move through the stages towards commercialization.
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Stratasys is projecting 2018 revenue of $670 million to $680 million. That range is tighter than the $670 million to $700 million previously projected.
3D Systems, which reported earnings on Tuesday, also highlighted the importance of metal 3D printers, but for a different reason. 3D Systems couldn't meet metal printer demand.
On an earnings conference call, 3D Systems Vyomesh Joshi said "we had more demand than we could really fulfill in terms of the manufacturing capacity, and we're working on it now in building the capacity for our metal printers."
3D Systems third quarter results missed earnings expectations by a penny a share. The company reported a net loss of 10 cents a share on revenue of $164.5 million, up 8 percent from a year ago. 3D Systems reported a third quarter non-GAAP profit of 2 cents a share.
Joshi and CFO John McMullen added that 3D Systems is investing for the future as well as optimizing costs. In either case, metal additive manufacturing is likely to play a key role going forward.
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