2016 saw more new entries, a surge in polymer printing and additive manufacturing M&A activity. 3D printing is not without its critics, but a revolution in 3D printed surgical devices could be enough to silence them.
So let’s recap the top stories of 2016.
The giants of the 3D printing world are documented here and they are Stratasys (NASDAQ:SSYS), 3D Systems (NYSE:DDD) and Hewlett-Packard (NYSE:HPQ). Stratasys and 3D Systems are often grouped together as leaders. Hewlett-Packard, however, is a household name that is branching into the 3D sector. This spells good news for the industry as competition hots up but the other companies will have to do their best to not drop off the list.
Giving investors the how and the why, number two on this list proved popular with those wanting the inside track. Detailing the bubble and eventual stability of the 3D printing market, this article cites slow consumer adoption for impacting the commercial success of 3D printing technologies. Appetites may develop as customers get a taste for “disruptive innovations”. Referencing old favourites Stratasys and 3D Systems again, this also includes ExOne (NASDAQ:XONE).
Co-CEO of Graphene 3D Lab (TSXV:GGG), Dr. Elena Polyakova, gives a short history lesson in this piece. 3D printing has been around for over 30 years but was specific to aerospace and automotive industries. Then came a sudden introduction of new players and things got crowded. Polyakova stresses that “companies with cutting-edge technology” and “new developments” will set themselves apart and become apparent to investors.
3D printing applications in the healthcare sphere are evolving. The potential to create customized body parts and organs, using biodegradable polymers, is enormous for patients and professionals. Nature Biotechnology published the story of successful animal testing trials. Tissue engineering is the newest 3D bioprinting trend, building on steps already taken in braces, hearing aids and hip and knee replacements.
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Securities Disclosure: I, Emma Harwood, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.