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.
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