Many Americans are still oblivious to an enormous revolution that is still in its infancy. The third industrial revolution is now beginning. 3D printing will fundamentally change manufacturing in the world. With 3D printing a product can be designed on a computer and “printed” with a 3D printer. There are numerous applications for 3D printing that range from military equipment to health care products. When HP printers came out they could easily cost 1,000 and they were rare. 3D printers are currently rare and expensive, but they could become become cheaper with time just like HP printers did year earlier. Since the revolution is just now starting to get under way, Investors can reap huge profits if they invest into companies that are developing 3D printing technologies. 3D Systems (DDD) and Stratasys (SSYS) are both involved in developing 3D printers.
3D Systems is up an incredible 232.55% YTD. The company has grown rapidly during the past several years. They have also rapidly acquired various companies over the past few years. 3D Systems launched cubify.com, which allows users to tinker with 3D printing design tools. They also launched a personal 3D printer called the Cube in September. By the end of September 2012, the company managed to increase revenues by 57%, which explains the company’s stock price increase.
Stratasys is up 160.3% YTD. The company recently recently merged with Objet, Stratasys became the largest 3D printing company by market cap. HP (HPQ) once had a deal with the company, but the partnership has been since discontinued. After the merger with Objet, Analysts increased their earnings forecast for the company. The company also reported strong Q3 earnings.
The main problem with these companies is the have very high P/E ratios that demand tremendous growth and sustainability. Valuations for 3D printing companies remain very high at the moment. Despite the valuations, 3D printing has a very bright future.