Dec 23, 2015 | By Alec

With the end of the year rapidly approaching, it’s becoming easier to see what 3D printing has achieved over 2015, and what it could do in the coming years. Though most predictions on the 3D printing market as a whole are fairly positive, 2015 wasn’t as successful for some companies as they would have liked. Established names such as 3D Systems and Stratasys were forced to adjust their plans slightly in response to stagnating growth and competition, though no real disasters occurred. According Gartner’s Pete Basiliere, who made a brief analysis of Stratasys’ game plan for the coming years, they could continue to face some challenges on the road ahead.


To remind readers, 2015 wasn’t an unmitigated success story for Stratasys. In fact, 2015 was quite tumultuous for the largest player in the top level 3D printer manufacturing business, both in regards to their revenue and in regards to the number of 3D printers they sold. Over the whole year, they stock prices plummeted: standing at $81.05 on January 1st, they were at $24.90 earlier this week. During the first nine months of the year, meanwhile, they gathered $522.6 million in revenue; slightly down from $533.0 million over the same period in 2014.

But a new year calls for a new plan, and Stratasys’ new mission statement is: “We shape lives by revolutionizing the way things are made”. Gartner’s Pete Basiliere visited their HQ recently to learn more about their strategy for executing that new mission, and is carefully optimistic. “As it moves through 2016, Stratasys will be shifting its go-to-market strategy from an evangelistic focus on how 3D printing enables prototyping as well as creating the tools, jigs and fixtures that are used in production to a practical, solutions-oriented focus on the manufacturing of finished goods,” he writes over at Gartner’s website. “The company will enable this through a growing range of printers, technologies and materials, print services and consulting as well as collaboration with educators, researchers, customers and partners.”

This, he feels, matches a 3D printing industry that is expected to grow very strongly over the coming years, despite the difficulties faced by a few established names. According to Basiliere, the market will especially benefit from a number of drivers that will boost growth at least until 2019. Among them are advances in CAD and modeling software that welcome a larger audience, an upcoming generation of engineers already trained in 3D printing, improved printing quality (both through mechanical properties and finishing tools), increased demand for personalized products and a growing range of 3D printable materials. The design freedom that 3D printing offers to create hitherto impossible shapes will also significantly help market growth, he adds.

All these factors are reflected in the expected Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) for 3D printer revenue, which is expected to be at 72.3 percent for all 3D printers sold until 2019. “The CAGR for Stratasys’ product lines are similarly strong — material extrusion printer revenue will grow at 82.9% and material jetting printer revenue will grow at 62.5%,” Basiliere adds.

In that growth, Stratasys will be implementing four key strategies: expanding support for prototyping and tooling applications across industries, cultivating a “high touch” sales team to introduce 3D print solutions, and expanding delivery of engineered materials and printers capable of supporting and extending its strategy. Finally, they will be giving MakerBot a boost by incorporating Stratasys material extrusion technologies the Replicator range, giving them a quality level that will ensure their competitiveness in the expanding market.

So will they find success through these strategies? Well, Basiliere thinks they definitely could, but it all depends on how they will be executed. “As one of my colleagues put it, ‘The Stratasys story is all about the long-term but I think they may have difficulties in the meanwhile with expenses, rabid competition, and confusion in the marketplace.’” he says. “The 3D printer markets that it plays in are growing. Competition is intense and intensifying. 2016 will determine whether Stratasys’ long game has merit.”

In part, this will also require decreasing spending without damaging the R&D department, while they will also need to fight off the competition that has appeared over the last five years or so. In that respect, it will definitely help if prospective consumers get to grips with what Basiliere calls the Peak of Inflated Expectations. In short, the unchallenged successes of the past aren’t expected to return any time soon, but Stratasys has the right tools to find realistic success.



Posted in 3D Printer Company



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