Founded in 2009, French 3-D printing service provider Sculpteo has made the quite name for itself in Europe and hopes to do the same stateside. Through its website, Sculpteo customers can upload 3-D design files, which can then be professionally 3-D printed in eight different materials, ranging from a variety of plastics and resins to sterling silver and ceramic. As industry watchers have witnessed, there seems to be a continued push into 3-D printing services as a way for companies to differentiate themselves from the competition. Stratasys (SSYS -4.24%) and 3D Systems (DDD -5.22%) have both made bigger pushes into the 3-D printing services space in recent months, signaling that Sculpteo's business is likely in an opportune position to benefit.

Stratasys recently purchased a leading U.S. provider of 3-D printing manufacturing, Solid Concepts, and 3D Systems recently purchased the biggest 3-D printing service center in Latin America, Robtec. 3D Systems' and Stratasys' greater emphasis on 3-D printing as a service highlight the importance of 3-D printing expertise in an industry that's likely to experience constrained labor market conditions for the foreseeable future.

Of course, with industry leaders Stratasys and 3D Systems continuing to emphasize 3-D printing services, smaller companies like Sculpteo have to find a way to stand out. Sculpteo offers a cloud-based 3-D printing solution for businesses to create and manage their own on-demand manufacturing service, without the technical expertise needed to operate a fleet of industrial and professional 3-D printers.

Because Sculpteo utilizes 3-D printing technologies offered by Stratasys and 3D Systems, the potential exists for 3D Systems and Stratasys to benefit behind the scenes from Sculpteo's U.S. growth initiatives. In the following video, 3-D printing specialist Steve Heller speaks with Kristen Turner, director of Sculpteo's U.S. marketing operations, to get a better understanding about the company's positioning in the marketplace.