Shares of 3D Systems (DDD - Analyst Report) increased 4.48% on Tuesday’s trade on news that the 3D printing solutions provider had printed a hybrid Exoskeleton robotic suit by partnering Ekso Bionics, a robotic exoskeleton company. The 3D printed Ekso-Suit — the first of its kind — was made for Amanda Boxtel, who was paralyzed from waist down after a skiing accident in 1992 in Aspen.
The current collaboration between 3D Systems and Ekso Bionics signifies the greater adoption of 3D technology not only in the field of industrial manufacturing but also in the MedTech industry. Most importantly, Ekso Bionics was rated very highly by Medical Device & Diagnostic Industry Magazine and named among five start-ups that could revolutionize the MedTech sector.
The magazine also stated that 3D printing technologies could enhance a variety of medical products such as ear implants, organs and tissues, and prosthetics and exoskeletons among other things.
The greater adoption of 3D printing technology is also being supported by IDC’s growth estimates for the worldwide 3D printer market. The research firm expects 3D printing revenues and units to grow at a CAGR of 29% and 59%, respectively, for the 2012-2017 period.
Moreover, according to Taiwan Industrial Economics and Knowledge Research Center (IEK), the global 3D printer market will reach 100K units in 2014, and increase to approximately 6 million units by 2018.
These estimates are incrementally positive for 3D Systems as it is a leading provider of 3D printing design-to-manufacturing solutions including 3D printers, print materials and cloud-sourced on-demand custom parts for professionals and consumers. The company’s solutions currently work on materials like plastics, metals, ceramics and edibles.
The company expects that its portfolio of new and innovative products will lead to more than 30% organic growth in the next couple of years, thereby enhancing its margins and earnings.
Moreover, synergies from the recent acquisitions and recent collaborations with Hasbro (HAS - Analyst Report) and The Hershey Co. (HSY - Analyst Report) are added positives for the company.
However, 3D Systems is aggressively investing in R&D to maintain its premier place in the 3D printing industry. Competition from other 3D printing peers such as Stratasys (SSYS - Analyst Report), ExOne Company and Voxeljet, and a high cost structure remain the headwinds.
Currently, 3D Systems carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).