During the crisis there are severe effects on individuals and companies alike.
Many experience negative effects, but a few are experiencing a boom. Manufacturers of certain medical equipment, for example, are expanding as fast as they can.
In the 3D print space many companies are or will experience a downgrade in revenue as many of their clients and prospects may defer purchases of equipment until the financial situation improves. Others are concerned with raw materials used for their product assemblies, and are likely looking hard at their supply chains right now.
3D Systems Finances
One company that seems to be benefiting is 3D Systems. The company has been more or less static, revenue-wise, for a few years now, and has been experiencing consistent losses from quarter to quarter. I’ve had concerns about their future and even made some recommendations for big moves to rectify the situation.
My thought is that whatever they’ve been doing over the past few years appears to be insufficient. That may change, however, as their CEO has indicated his intent to retire this year.
3D Systems Healthcare
But then the crisis occurred, and it seems that 3D Systems may in fact be in a very good place.
Smart 3D printing companies years ago figured out that a good strategy was to focus on particular application areas. Some companies chose education, transport or manufacturing. 3D Systems seems to have put a great deal of resources towards the healthcare industry.
Now that investment may be beginning to pay off, as the company’s stock price unexpectedly rose significantly in the past week or so. A consistent rise of around 1% each day is notable.
Why did this happen? It appears that news reports of 3D Systems’ participation in quickly resolving medical equipment shortages has been noticed by investors. They may believe the crisis will persist for some time, suggesting that 3D Systems will be quite busy manufacturing components over a longer term.
3D Systems and COVID-19
3D Systems’ efforts are impressive. They publish and regularly update a table of information on their website listing the initiatives currently underway. While some 3D printing companies have focused on one or two solutions, 3D Systems has five, including:
PPE — Face Shields
Diagnostics — Swabs
PPE — Surgical Masks, incl N95
PPE — Respirators
Each of these initiatives is still unfolding. 3D Systems smartly indicates in their rather informative table the current status of the work. Some appear to have been suspended, presumably after investigations proved proper manufacturing difficult. In fact, 3D Systems says:
“We do not recommend 3D printing of N95 compliant surgical masks and respirators without proper testing.”
This is good advice, as I fear well-meaning folks who are unaware of the medical complexity of such devices could produce unusable PPE. Many initiatives don’t yet realize their 3D printing technology is incapable of 3D printing medically-usable parts, but this is something 3D Systems has done for a very long time. They have all the materials required to build such parts.
It appears 3D Systems is continuing to pursue a vigorous strategy to contribute, and investors are noticing it.
Via 3D Systems