See, 3D Printing is Definitely Not Dead

Inside Prodways' M350 3D printer

Inside Prodways' M350 3D printer

In spite of the stream of ridiculous mainstream media posts on the “death of 3D printing”, there are plenty of good news stories, too. Here’s two. 

Whenever I see one of these doom and gloom stories, it makes me shake my head. The authors clearly don’t understand what’s actually happening in the 3D print world. I, and others, feel compelled to say otherwise.   

But today I’d like to highlight two positive stories. 

The first is a line hidden within a quarterly report by Groupe Gorgé, who, if you don’t know, is the company behind Prodways. They make several very powerful industrial 3D printers that can print large-sized, high resolution parts. 

In their release, the company demonstrates revenue growth in all of their industrial segments, but this also includes 3D printing with their Prodways arm. 

Specifically, they report the first half of 2016 has had a 51% increase over the first half of 2015, with €8.0M (USD$8.9M) growing to €12.1M (USD$13.5M). This is no doubt due to the recent production release of several new models that provide broader capability for their clients. 

The other good news is from CONTEXT, a UK-based market research firm. They report:

Worldwide shipments of 3D Printers rose +9% in Q1’16 compared to a year ago, according to figures released today by CONTEXT, the IT market research company. The growth was mainly bolstered by the Personal/Desktop Printer shipments, however, the Industrial/Professional market, which accounted for 78% of the global revenues, saw 20% fewer printers ship in Q1’16 than in Q1’15. 

Wait, the industrial segment’s units went DOWN by 20%? How’s that good news? 

The answer is that it’s strongly suspected that many industrial buyers are holding off their purchases this year until they can examine the new HP 3D printer offerings, which currently are in secret beta testing. 

It’s a testament to the wisdom of these buyers; for these companies, buying a very expensive 3D printer is a multi-year investment in equipment, depreciation, training and ongoing costs of materials to use them. It’s not a decision to be taken lightly, as the “other” costs beyond the machine itself probably  outweigh the equipment cost, particularly if you need multiple units. 

It’s in their interests to see what happens with HP’s market entry. Later this year: 

  • They will be able to find out all the details of the HP equipment
  • They will be able to read reviews of the equipment by early users
  • They will know precisely the cost of ownership of the new equipment
  • They will know how the other vendors (particularly Stratasys and 3D Systems) will react, price and feature-wise

And thus they’ll be in a far better position to make a large purchase decision. 

Expect MANY 3D printers to be sold towards the end of this year. 

Via Groupe Gorgé (PDF) and CONTEXT


General Fabb

Kerry Stevenson, aka "General Fabb" has been writing Fabbaloo posts since he launched the venture in 2007, with an intention to promote and grow the incredible technology of 3D printing across the world. So far, it seems to be working!