Although the consumer 3-D printing segment attracts the most media attention, the industrial and professional 3-D printing segments are where 3D Systems (NYSE:DDD) and Stratasys (NASDAQ:SSYS) generate the majority of their revenues. From an investment perspective, the industrial segment is particularly exciting because large-scale manufacturers have begun taking a greater interest in how 3-D printing can benefit their operations. 3D Systems' direct manufacturing line of 3-D printers and Stratasys' recent Solid Concepts acquisition, which specializes in direct manufacturing applications, both are positioned to benefit from increased industrial interest.
However, before 3-D printing can revolutionize manufacturing as the world knows it, the 3-D printing companies will have to overcome several challenges. For manufacturers wanting to bring 3-D printing in-house, organizational readiness will play a huge factor in determining adoption rates. Many manufacturing organizations simply don't today have the in-house expertise to implement 3-D printing within their operations. As a result, these organizations have been turning to Stratasys and 3D Systems for help in figuring out which products and services are best suited for their needs.
In the following video, 3-D printing specialist Steve Heller and industrials analyst Blake Bos check in on the industrial 3-D printing segment. 3D Systems and Stratasys investors should temper their expectations around the impact that the industrial segment will have on their businesses in the short term, and instead focus on the long-term potential that the industrial 3-D printing market may offer. As far as which company is better positioned for greater industrial interest, 3D Systems' line of direct manufacturing printers could ultimately stand to benefit more than Stratasys' recent move into 3-D printing manufacturing services.
One must-own stock
Give me five minutes and I'll show how you could own the best stock for 2014. Every year, The Motley Fool's chief investment officer hand-picks 1 stock with outstanding potential. But it's not just any run-of-the-mill company. It's a stock perfectly positioned to cash in on one of the upcoming year's most lucrative trends. Last year his pick skyrocketed 134%. And previous top picks have gained upwards of 908%, 1,252% and 1,303% over the subsequent years! Believe me, you don't want to miss what could be his biggest winner yet! Just click here to download your free copy of "The Motley Fool's Top Stock for 2014" today.
Blake Bos has no position in any stocks mentioned. Steve Heller owns shares of 3D Systems. The Motley Fool recommends 3D Systems and Stratasys. The Motley Fool owns shares of 3D Systems and Stratasys. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.