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3D Systems ((DDD - Analyst Report)) and The Hershey Company ((HSY - Analyst Report)) have announced that both companies intend to join forces to explore and develop innovative 3D printed chocolates as well as non-chocolate products.

This multi-year joint development agreement will see two leaders in their specific markets coming together. Through this association, Hershey's intends to merge its world-class food science and manufacturing expertise with 3D Systems’ powerful 3D printing technology and deliver new consumer experiences, either by creating a whole new form of candy or developing a new way to produce it.

Through this alliance, both the companies intend to create a new class of Consumer and Prosumer 3D Printers for Edibles.

3D Systems is a leading provider of 3D printing centric design-to-manufacturing solutions including 3D printers, print materials and cloud sourced on-demand custom parts for professionals and consumers alike in materials including plastics, metals, ceramics and edibles. Its comprehensive range of 3D printers is the industry's benchmark for production-grade manufacturing in aerospace, automotive, patient specific medical device and a variety of consumer, electronic and fashion accessories.

3D Systems’ approach to expand its business through its strategic growth initiative has been quite impressive. Driven by this initiative, in the last reported quarter (3Q13), the company clocked organic growth of 30% year over year and overall revenue growth of 50% year over year. The company has been in the process to partner with leading companies, such as, Hershey’s, Intel Corporation (INTC - Analyst Report) and Sindoh to extend its 3D printing capabilities to various industries. This apart, 3D Systems has been aggressively pursuing acquisitions since Aug 2013 to augment its capacity, competence and geographic reach.

3D Systems currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). However, a better-ranked stock in the same industry is Planar Systems Inc. (PLNR - Snapshot Report), carrying a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

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