Developed by scientists at New York University’s Tandon School of Engineering, the system instructs manufacturers’ 3D printers to include hundreds of tiny elements within objects, as they’re being printed. These elements are made up of inert materials, they’re located in various layers within the object, and they reportedly don’t compromise its structural integrity.
Stratasys today is launching a 3D printer specifically intended for carbon-fiber-filled Nylon 12. The Fortus 380mc Carbon Fiber Edition which we wrote about before will cost $70,000 in the US and is on sale now. Stratasys has offered carbon fiber 3D printing for a number of years now but only on systems priced above $200,000.
Stratasys Senior Vice President of Sales, Pat Carey says of the move,
â€œTheyâ€™ve told us they want an affordable solution but in a reliable, industrial-quality system. So weâ€™re now offering a more accessible system thatâ€™s based on our Fortus 380mc platform. Because the 380mc CFE is dedicated only to carbon-fiber-filled Nylon 12 and one other material, weâ€™re able to currently offer it at the lowest price for any of our industrial printers.â€�
Stratasys describes the applications of the material as
â€œStratasys expects the quickest adopters of its Fortus 380 CFE 3D Printer to be those making tooling and fixtures and those in industries that include Automotive; Recreational Sporting Equipment; Marine; Orthosis and Prosthesis; Defense; Aerospace; Medical Equipment; Oil and Gas.Similar to a typical injection molded carbon fiber reinforced plastic part, Stratasys Nylon 12CF is 35 percent chopped carbon fiber by weight, and it exhibits the highest stiffness-to-weight ratio of any FDM or FFF 3D printed part.â€�
â€œStratasys Nylon 12CF is up to four times stronger than a competitively priced alternative in the X and Y axis, and it will maintain its mechanical properties at a 40 percent higher temperature. The Fortus 380mc CFE is between two and five times faster than the competitively priced carbon-fiber-based 3D printer.â€�
â€œParts donâ€™t exhibit appreciable warpage or shrinkage and will hold to
a tight tolerance. â€œ
â€œThe Fortus 380 CFE builds parts in 0.010 in. (0.254 mm) layer thickness. The system is also compatible with ASA thermoplastic, for which is can build in either 0.010 or .005 in. (0.127 mm) layer thicknesses. The 3D printerâ€™s build chamber measures 14 x 12 x 12 in. (355 x 305 x 305 mm). It offers water-soluble support material removal, which eliminates the need for manual labor to remove the supports.
Terry Wohlers of Wohlers Associates says,
â€œFor many years, the additive manufacturing industry has seen a need for a diversity of
machines that produce parts in high-strength composite materials, Iâ€™m hopeful the newest
machine from Stratasys will help to meet this need by offering strong parts inÂ carbon fiber
and Nylon 12.â€�
IndyCar and NASCAR ExamplesÂ
Team Penske, anÂ IndyCar and NASCAR team makes prototypes and end-use parts from carbon-fiber-filled Nylon 12. Lightweight mirrors were made of the material and used in racing. Lightweight 3D printed mirrors is actually a tried and true application that has been tested and used across many racing series. It is also sometimes a bit of a crib since race teams feel comfortable talking about mirrors and their associated geometries. Meanwhile, they usually use the technology for other parts of the car that they are less open about discussing especially the more angelic teams. Racing itself is an exciting area, especially one for showcasing your products. It is also the gateway drug to the automotive industry. Upon reading the press release this was the first thought that came to mind along with, is this the Innovatorâ€™s Dilemma again as well as MarkForged must sure be doing well.
MarkForged has a continuousÂ composite 3D printer that should produce strong parts but may tend to be more limited in design freedom. The company has pitched to the car industry from the beginning and is finding clients, growth and customers there. With Porsche on board as an investor, the erstwhile small companyâ€™s growth is vexing perhaps to Stratasys. Perhaps the firm is trying to toy with MarkForgedâ€™s inertia until its own High-Speed Sintering technology is ready for automotive? Stratasys is also a Desktop Metal investor and that company has sued MarkForged over patents related to metal printing, which MarkForged is also engaged with. Although this would be a tempting conclusion I think that there is much bigger game afoot.
Invented FDM as a technology and commercialized it, this is now used by over 500 or so startups worldwide clamoring for market share and growth. In the long run rather than one venture-backedÂ firm I think that this hardscrabbleÂ open ecosystem is what could be a competitive threat to Stratasys. To place obstacles in between oneselfâ€™s profit centers and the oncoming hordes seems like a wise decision. The release of the competitively prices 123 systems from Stratasys and below this, the Makerbot printers are a testimony to this. Essentially I believe that Stratasys is trying to delay the competition by at several hereto noncontested price points place interesting propositions for companies willing to industrialize 3D printing for manufacturing. Bizarrely a few years ago there were barely any functional parts capable 3D printers between the price point of $2000 and $5000 and none between $20,000 and $100,000. So Stratasys is filling out its product line up in order to motivate companies to partner with it now for the long run. This is a crucial time in 3D printing because many firms are certifying parts, qualifying parts and going into production for the first time. There is also the Troop of Gorillas. These soft and gentle giants munch on leaf after leaf and just want to make the world a better place through plastics.
Polyamide is a huge market and a material that is used in many industrial applications. The Troop of Gorillas consists of a dozen or so chemicals and polymer companies each doing billions in revenue. A few of these, namely, Evonik, Arkema, DSM, Dow, BASFÂ and Sabic have a lot of polyamide capacity and are active in investing in polyamide high-performance materials. These materials are subject to higher heat deflection, continuous service temperature and strength than existing materials. They also let these companies sell a reformulated version of existing capacity at an elevated price point. These companies would be more than happy to invest in significant revenue for the long term for their materials. PPAâ€™s or high-performance polyamides will be a battleground in many applications in the years to come, a big win in volume for 3D printed automotive would be huge for each of these firms. Indeed, I still believe that BASFâ€™s high interest in 3D printing stems mainly for it to be a source of next-generation PPAâ€™s. So what application and industry will give us the biggest volumes the soonest?
Impact, wear, stiffness and overallÂ familiarity that components manufacturers have with the Polyamide (Nylon 12) material is driving adoption of this material in automotive. It has been used for a long time in prototyping and for small production runs. The material has been used in bridge manufacturing by companies such as CRP and the automotive companies have considerable expertise in it. Especially the divergent parts of the Volkswagen group and BWM. PPAâ€™s are high performance enough to be used inside the engine bays, inside the cabin on exterior parts and throughout the supply chain in tooling, jigs, and fixtures. Theyâ€™re more expensive than bulk and engineering plastics but often cheaper than ultra high-performance materials such as PEEK and PEI. Theyâ€™re also far easier to use than those materials. So a new high-performance niche which is usable at volume is emerging. And the players in this niche have a fundamental choice between partnering up now to industrialize for the next decades. Its a game of musical chairs.
And in the musical chairs game, there is a choice between the future performance of open systems and the current performance of Stratasys systems. Closed Stratasys systems that do not permit you to use any outside materials are more reliable with higher repeatability at this point. Open systems have lower reliability but much lower costs. This machine introduction, therefore, seems aimed squarely at introducing 3D printing in manufacturing for automotive. This is a system that universities can afford so that they can do research on these carbon fiber materials. This system an alternative to high-temperature printers that are emerging around the same price point for PEEK and PEI. These systems will be cheaper to buy but the part cost will be higher than with carbon fiber filled polyamide. Stratasys is, therefore, positioning this as an alternative to MarkForged, high-temperature systems, existing powder bed fusion systems and the promise of open systems in the future. You know us, you trust us, here is something that you can buy today. Vis a vis powder bed fusion FDM has a clear advantage in large singular parts and flat parts while SLS may be better for many thousands of small parts (this is geometry and size dependent). I think that this is a smart move to position this now for production at a lower price point with more acceptible part costs for automotive. In the coming year or two, the game of musical chairs in automotive will be played with partners for materials and production found. And once the music stops, the game will be over.
Susquehanna Bancshares set a $16.00 price objective on 3D Systems (NYSE:DDD) in a research note issued to investors on Friday, August 10th. The brokerage currently has a hold rating on the 3D printing companyâ€™s stock.
DDD has been the topic of a number of other research reports. Zacks Investment Research raised 3D Systems from a sell rating to a hold rating in a research report on Tuesday, July 3rd. ValuEngine raised 3D Systems from a sell rating to a hold rating in a research report on Wednesday, May 2nd. JPMorgan Chase & Co. set a $9.00 price target on 3D Systems and gave the stock a sell rating in a research report on Thursday, May 3rd. Loop Capital boosted their price target on 3D Systems to $17.00 and gave the stock a hold rating in a research report on Wednesday, August 8th. They noted that the move was a valuation call. Finally, B. Riley boosted their price target on 3D Systems from $7.00 to $9.00 and gave the stock a sell rating in a research report on Wednesday, August 8th. Six research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, seven have assigned a hold rating, two have given a buy rating and two have issued a strong buy rating to the companyâ€™s stock. The stock has a consensus rating of Hold and a consensus price target of $13.49.
NYSE DDD traded down $0.18 during trading on Friday, reaching $19.04. 2,302,513 shares of the companyâ€™s stock were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 2,813,860. The company has a market cap of $2.27 billion, a PE ratio of -33.40 and a beta of 1.26. The company has a quick ratio of 1.44, a current ratio of 1.95 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.01. 3D Systems has a fifty-two week low of $7.92 and a fifty-two week high of $20.00.
3D Systems (NYSE:DDD) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, August 7th. The 3D printing company reported $0.06 earnings per share for the quarter, topping analystsâ€™ consensus estimates of ($0.06) by $0.12. The firm had revenue of $176.57 million for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $165.83 million. 3D Systems had a negative return on equity of 9.22% and a negative net margin of 11.54%. research analysts anticipate that 3D Systems will post -0.15 EPS for the current fiscal year.
In related news, Director G Walter Loewenbaum II purchased 4,500 shares of the businessâ€™s stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, May 29th. The stock was acquired at an average cost of $12.06 per share, for a total transaction of $54,270.00. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at the SEC website. Also, EVP Andrew Martin Johnson sold 5,000 shares of the businessâ€™s stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, August 17th. The shares were sold at an average price of $19.01, for a total value of $95,050.00. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 5.00% of the stock is currently owned by corporate insiders.
Hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of the stock. Alps Advisors Inc. bought a new stake in shares of 3D Systems in the first quarter valued at approximately $117,000. Oppenheimer & Co. Inc. bought a new stake in shares of 3D Systems in the first quarter valued at approximately $120,000. Private Advisor Group LLC bought a new stake in shares of 3D Systems in the first quarter valued at approximately $147,000. Xact Kapitalforvaltning AB bought a new stake in shares of 3D Systems in the fourth quarter valued at approximately $116,000. Finally, CIBC Asset Management Inc bought a new stake in shares of 3D Systems in the second quarter valued at approximately $205,000. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 66.07% of the companyâ€™s stock.
3D Systems Company Profile
3D Systems Corporation, through its subsidiaries, provides three-dimensional (3D) printing products and services worldwide. The company offers 3D printers, such as stereolithography, selective laser sintering, direct metal printing, multi jet printing, and color jet printers that transform data input generated by 3D design software, CAD software, or other 3D design tools into printed parts under the Accura, DuraForm, LaserForm, CastForm, and VisiJet brand names.
Further Reading: Closed-End Mutual Funds (CEFs)
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