As General Electric’s (NYSE:GE) stock price continues to decline amid some dubious execution of strategy and acquisitions, there seems to be nothing the company can do to assuage the concerns of investors. From acquiring Alstom to Baker Hughes (NYSE:BHI), investors and analysts have been calling for CEO Jeff Immelt’s position for quite some time now. However, the company is considering acquisitions in the 3D printing space that I believe should help out in the long run.
As someone that utilizes 3D printing in a lot of his programs, I believe this is a quick and inexpensive way to get test parts as opposed to making expensive soft tools just to get some preliminary data on prototype equipment. The ability for GE to potentially become a 3D printing contract manufacturer can pay dividends for the company in the future. So much so that the company is looking to beat out its competitors at any cost to keep 3D manufacturing to itself.
Trust me when I tell you that engineering firms which create innovative products for their clients need some testing done quickly on a prototype instrument they’re designing that 3D printing is the way to go. I can’t spend thousands of dollars and wait long lead times for a soft tool to be made to get some preliminary data on a concept an engineer is trying to implement to only come back and potentially have to redesign the concept. Hence, 3D printing is a way of getting a difficult to produce product quickly and leading the way for the new industrial revolution we’re experiencing these days.
The 3D printing business had a big boom a few years back when it was first coming out commercially. Companies like Stratasys (NASDAQ:SSYS) and 3D Systems (NYSE:DDD) saw their market caps go through the roof only to come back down to reality recently as the space has become commoditized. But with General Electric and other big industrial companies making acquisitions in the space, the supply of 3D printing is bound to come down, therefore prices can increase again in the future.
Whether GE chooses to buy up or organically grow the raw materials, the 3D printing software systems, or contract commercial manufacturing segments I don’t believe they can lose by being in the space. 3D printing is an innovative technology that will change the way the world produces a lot of its goods, whether it be industrial materials, food, or even human organs, and GE wants to be at the center of it. This can definitely be an arena where GE can 3D-print a lot of its future dividends.
Disclaimer: This article is in no way a recommendation to buy or sell any stock mentioned. This article is meant to serve as a journal for myself as to the rationale of why I bought/sold this stock when I look back on it in the future. These are only my personal opinions and you should do your own homework. Only you are responsible for what you trade and happy investing!
Disclosure: I am/we are long GE.
I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.
SLA is a type of additive manufacturing, also known as 3D printing. It’s called additive because material is added rather than subtracted to make the part or piece. A couple weeks ago we shared a post about Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM). You’ll recall, FDM uses extruded to build layers of material in the shape of your part. If you think FDM videos are cool, wait ‘til you see SLA.
Here’s a great (short) video, courtesy of 3D Systems, that not only breaks down the SLA process, but has great visuals of SLA parts being produced:
The material used in the SLA “printer” is liquid plastic (photopolymer) which hardens quickly. The support structure that forms during the process is easily removed once it comes out of the tank. The part is then cured by UV-light. The end result? SLA creates extremely smooth surfaces, especially when compared to FDM. Most people use SLA for prototyping or making small production runs when they want a near-finished look to the part.
There are pluses and minuses to SLA, of course.
- Aesthetically superior to FDM. Objects have a smooth, trade show finish
- Objects can be finished with paint or even plated (i.e., nickel, chrome)
- Objects can be quite complex.
- Objects are affected by heat and light. They can warp or discolor
- Can be messy
- Limited materials available
That last ‘con’ — limited materials — could change if researchers at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology’s Institute of Microstructure Technology (IMT) in Karlsruhe, Germany, have anything to say about it. Dr. Bastian Rapp and his team of researchers are working to create SLA objects made of glass, a notoriously difficult material with which to print.
Photo courtesy of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology
According to a recent story in the New York Times, Dr. Rapp’s team:
“…Loaded a high concentration of glass nanoparticles into what’s called a photocurable liquid, which hardens under UV light. The mixture sits in a container and is exposed, slice by slice, to UV light that has been programmed to create different shapes at each layer. The regions that are exposed become solid. Heating the structure in a high-temperature furnace, like a ceramics kiln, burns away the leftover liquid and fuses the glass nanoparticles together.
Creating unique or intricate glass shapes this way has the potential to be much easier, and orders of magnitude cheaper, than the methods commonly used today, Dr. Rapp said. Currently, shaping large glass structures involves exhaustive melting and casting processes, and etching fine features involves hazardous chemicals. With this method, you upload your 3-D design, and “the software does all the rest,” he said.”
Applications for Dr. Rapp’s research are exciting — everything from large architectural pieces to tiny devices for chemistry research, perhaps even high grade optical lenses.
As one of the earliest forms of additive manufacturing, SLA remains highly popular. But as Dr. Rapp’s, and other’s, research demonstrates, no one is satisfied with the status quo.
Read more about 3D printing and prototyping:
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Patty is the Content Creator on the East West marketing team. She writes blog posts and enjoys sharing the East West message across social media (Twitter, Facebook and Instagram).
Would you have ever guessed that one of the most successful 3D printing companies at hand is actually based in Tralee, Kerry?! Wazp has certainly nailed it when it comes to commercialised 3D printing. Here’s their success story…
What is Wazp all about?
We offer Live Supply Chain Solution powered by Digital Manufacturing (3D Printing / Additive Manufacturing). Our mission is to help our clients design, produce and distribute product.
Our Wazp Team is the driving force of everything we have achieved so far. We cultivate an open, creative and boundary-breaking culture. We approach every problem as a new learning curve and want to help our clients reach the full potential of Digital Manufacturing across multiple industries.
We believe that products should be easy to create. We want to help teams and companies to take more products to market, faster and cheaper than before. We achieve this through shortening and improving the design and product development process, using scalable, responsive manufacturing and convenient supply and always keeping an eye on customer fulfilment.
How many years has it been going?
Wazp was established in January of 2015. Since then, the company has rapidly developed and proven supply chain solutions that allow for the Volume Production of 3D Printed products at industry competitive prices, while increasing design capabilities and massively impacting supply chain convenience and costs.
Today, we are providing our solution across multiple industries including the Homeware Sector, Performance Sportswear & Apparel Industry, Healthcare and Automotive Industries, with clients such as IKEA, Puma, BorgWarner and Stryker.
What was the inspiration behind the start-up?
Coming from manufacturing, design and engineering backgrounds, we (Shane Hassett, Founder & CEO and Mariana Kobal, Founder & COO) knew first-hand the challenges companies face with the current way of production and supply.
Prior to starting the company, years of experience and research was put into developing our unique Live Supply Chain process that is powered by Digital Manufacturing (3D Printing/Additive Manufacturing) and the best practices of lean thinking.
Digital Manufacturing Technology remained stagnant for over thirty years; we knew the vast potential it possessed and solutions it could offer, which was not utilised by the growing industry.
We were always inspired by innovation and design, creative problem solving and new ways of thinking.
We have organically carried it into our company culture and the Wazp Team work very hard to help our customers achieve their inspiring product ideas and serve their customers more effectively
What exciting 3D printers do you get to play with?
We continuously learn from our wide network of Makers all over Europe and our expertise extends to a variety of technologies including SLS (Selective Laser Sintering), FDM (Fused Deposition Modelling) and SLA (Stereolithography). Today, we have found SLS to be the best suited for Volume Production but we are working tirelessly to ensure other technologies are accessible to the many for Volume Production, in terms of cost, efficiency and quality.
We have also recently moved in to a new office in Liber House, Monavalley Industrial Estate, Tralee and opened doors to our own research, product development, testing and local manufacturing facility, The Lab.
We think The Lab is a great educational facility for the local area – for companies, professionals and students alike, so we invite you all to visit!
I heard you guys had a Kickstarter campaign, how did it go?
It was great! We surpassed our target and had tremendous success in terms of Market Research and Market Validation. The global reach allowed us to prove parts of our Business Model very quickly. The best thing about it was to see the whole Wazp Team having a lot of fun with the entire campaign.
From our last chat, you seem to have an awesome business model! You’re even disrupting the supply chain, what’s your value proposition?
Collaborative Partnerships with our clients are key. We create a ‘New World’ by combining the best of Traditional Methods, 3D Printing and adding a sprinkle of Wazp. We work closely with teams to achieve what could not be achieved before, keeping the digital thread from design to production.
Tell me more about the founders, how did you get to work together?
We (Mariana Kobal, Founder & COO and Shane Hassett, Founder & CEO) worked together in Poland specialising in Product Development and Engineering, Product Life Cycle Management, Manufacturing Processes and Supply Chain in the Consumer Products Sector.
The obstacles we faced during that time inspired us to find solutions, the solution is Wazp.
You are based in Tralee, Kerry. How is that working for you?
The entire Wazp Team is culturally diverse and has worked all over the world before coming together in Kerry, as we all developed ties to Kerry.
Ireland is a wonderful place to grow an idea into a business, from a cost and support perspective. We received continuous support from Enterprise Ireland, starting at an incubator in New Frontiers and High Potential Start-Up (HPSU), Local Enterprise Office (LEO) through to Kerry Young Entrepreneur Programme.
The company developed and grew with the help, encouragement and talent we brought in: creative, passionate and forward thinking members of our team has been the key to our success.
Research and Markets has announced the addition of the “Aerospace 3D Printing Market – Global Forecast to 2022″ report to their offering.
The aerospace 3D printing market is projected to grow from USD 714.5 Million in 2017 to USD 3,057.9 Million by 2022, at a CAGR of 27.42% during the forecast period, 2017 to 2022.
The growth of the aerospace 3D printing market across the globe can be attributed to increasing fleet size of various airlines and growing demand for lightweight aircraft components and parts. Manufacturers of aircraft and aircraft components are resorting to 3D printing technology to manufacture aircraft components and parts as this technology decreases the production time and shortens supply chain of the aircraft manufacturing.
This market has been segmented on the basis of vertical, industry, and region. Based on vertical, these market has been segmented into printers and materials. The materials segment of the aerospace 3D printing market is projected to grow at the highest CAGR during the forecast period. The growth of this segment can be attributed to increasing use of different types of materials to 3D print different types of engine components. Development of new materials to be used for 3D printing of components and parts used in the aerospace industry is also expected to drive the growth ofthis market during the forecast period.
- Short Supply Chain of Aerospace Components.
- Demand for Lightweight Parts And Components from the Aerospace Industry.
- Increased Demand for Technologies Capable of Manufacturing Complex Aerospace Parts With Ease from the Aerospace Industry.
- Requirement for Low Volume Production from the Aerospace Industry.
- Limited Raw Materials for 3D Printing.
- Stringent Industry Certifications.
- 3D Systems Corporation
- Aerojet Rocketdyne
- Arcam Ab
- EOS Gmbh
- Envisiontec Gmbh
- Hoganas Ab
- MTU Aero Engines Ag
- Materialise Nv
- Norsk Titanium As
- Stratasys Ltd.
- The Exone Company
- Ultimaker B.V.
Key Topics Covered:
2 Research Methodology
3 Executive Summary
4 Premium Insights
5 Market Overview
6 Industry Trends
7 Aerospace 3D Printing Market, By Vertical
8 Aerospace 3D Printing Market, By Industry
9 Regional Analysis
10 Competitive Landscape
11 Company Profiles
For more information about this report visit http://www.researchandmarkets.com/research/9x7vsr/aerospace_3d