Instant Analysis: Stratasys Is Flying High in Aerospace -- Partners with Supersonic Aircraft Start-Up

Boom Supersonic will use the 3D printing company's technology to accelerate production of the parts for its demonstration aircraft.

Beth McKenna
Beth McKenna
Jun 20, 2017 at 11:11AM

What happened? 

Last week, 3D printing company Stratasys (NASDAQ:SSYS) and supersonic airliner start-up Boom Supersonic announced what they termed a "significant" three-year technical partnership. 

The partnership's goal is "to bring the commercial airline industry one step closer toward routine supersonic travel." Boom will use Stratasys' fused deposition modeling (FDM) 3D-printing technology and expertise to help it speed up the production of advanced tooling and aircraft parts for its XB-1, a supersonic demonstrator that it plans to fly for the first time next year. Boom claims its airliner will fly 2.6 times faster than any other commercial aircraft currently on the market.

Boom Supersonic's XB-1 demonstrator

Image source: Boom Supersonic.

Does it matter? 

This is moderately material news for Stratasys and its investors. Boom Supersonic is aiming to revolutionize commercial air travel, so Stratasys could be getting in on the ground level of a budding new segment within the lucrative aerospace industry.

It's a team-up that builds on the momentum of the partnership Stratasys' forged last summer with aerospace titan Boeing. Boeing and Ford are partnering with Stratasys on the development of Infinite Build, a next-generation 3D-printing technology that prints on a vertical plane, enabling the production of parts that have a nearly unlimited dimension in the build direction. Last year, Stratasys launched the Infinite Build demonstrator. 

Stratasys' increasingly strong aerospace chops could bring it more business from other aerospace players as the industry continues to embrace 3D printing as a faster, more cost-effective, and less design-constrained method than traditional manufacturing to produce advanced tooling and final parts.