3D printing has always been a niche market, with key companies dominating the industry. However, the 3D printing industry is rapidly growing, with more and more companies entering this increasingly competitive market that is forecasted to reach $40 billion by 2027.
There are a handful of companies that come up time and time again in discussions of 3D printing. Here’s a brief overview of the seven major players in the 3D printing industry.
We start off with tech giant Hewlett-Packard (HP). Although not strictly a 3D printing company, the company is making inroads into the 3D printing market with its Multi Jet Fusion technology. HP’s focus is on leveraging 3D printing technology for mainstream manufacturing. In March 2017, the company unveiled the world’s first state-of-the-art laboratory in Oregon, as well as a Material Development Kit in collaboration with SIGMADESIGN. The HP 3D Open Materials and Applications Lab is set to “help companies develop, test and deliver the next generation of materials and applications for 3D printing.”
3D Systems (NYSE:DDD)
3D Systems provide 3D products and services, including 3D printers, print materials, part services and digital design tools. The company covers several industries with its products: manufacturing, design and engineering, and healthcare. In March 2017, the company announced expansion of its products in the jewelry, dental, and industrial casting markets.
Proto Labs (NYSE:PRLB)
Proto Labs specializes in rapid prototyping using three additive processes: stereolithography, selective laser sintering, and and direct metal laser sintering. The company has 8 manufacturing locations in 3 continents, with its global headquarters located in Maple Plain, Minnesota. In March 2017, Proto Labs was lauded a 2017 Manufacturing Leadership Award by Frost & Sullivan in the Talent Leadership Management category.
Stratasys operates primarily in the healthcare, aerospace, automotive and education markets. The company holds over 600 granted or pending additive manufacturing patents globally. Some of its key patents are the FDM®, PolyJet™ and WDM™ 3D printing technologies, which create prototypes and manufactured goods directly from 3D CAD files and other 3D content. The company’s subsidiaries include MakerBot and Solidscape. In March 2017, the company introduced the J700 Dental, a new dental 3D printer for orthodontics that can produce clear aligners.
Materialise NV (NASDAQ:MTLS)
Materialise is a Belgium-based company that prides itself in focusing on software and services in the 3D printing industry with a portfolio os over 95 patents and 165 more pending. In March 2017, the company announced FDA clearance for its 3D-printed patient-specific radius and ulna osteotomy guides for children which means Materialise will be able to create patient-specific guides at a reasonable cost.
Organovo uses 3D bioprinting technology to create three-dimensional functional human tissues for medical research and surgical and therapeutic applications. These 3D printed tissues can be implanted or delivered into the human body. The company is also active in researching specific tissues for therapeutic use in direct surgical applications.
ExOne uses proprietary Binder Jetting technology developed at MIT to print complex parts utilizing industrial-grade materials. This unique heatless technology uses a liquid binding agent to join powder particule, bonding layers of material to form an object. Some materials that have been used include metals, sands, and ceramics.
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This is an updated version of an article first published on the Investing News Network on October 11, 2015.
Securities Disclosure: I, Pia Rivera, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.