1. The company is waiting for more applications before entering the metal AM industry. While company is actively investigating metal technology options, management does not believe they would not be able to profitably sell metal AM equipment.
2. While the company’s FDM machines consumables portfolio is broader than the PolyJet consumables portfolio, the company is investing heavily in both platforms and does not see any theoretical impediments in the near-term for either technology. The company continues to make encouraging progress with both material portfolios and expects use cases to steadily expand. Mr. Crump believes that higher end consumables sales will remain strong and relatively immune from 3rd party alternatives as the large, early-adopter companies prefer purity and six sigma accountability within their supply chains.
3. Desktop Polyjet technology has high price points given expensive inkjet print heads (currently sourced from Ricoh’s Hitachi division). Stratasys continues to target a portion of R&D to inkjet head development (if successful, this could allow for a consumer PolyJet product although it is difficult to scale development without existing 2D printing). At least over the near-term, Stratasys will continue to leverage Ricoh’s inkjet heads.
4. Mr. Crump believes good additive manufacturing business models include (listed in order of mention): Use of equipment (service bureaus), Equipment and consumable sales (depending on the technology — how well are consumables locked into your technology), and new applications (medical, etc.)
5. Mr. Crump believes Service Bureaus are particularly well positioned in the market as growth will outpace equipment sales, while efficiency continues to climb as labor is reduced via increased automation. The majority of companies implementing 3D Printing may own one system and utilize bureaus for additional short-term capacity, or own multiple systems of a single technology and use bureaus for the other technologies (SLA vs. FDM vs. SLS). Furthermore, as large manufacturers increasingly look to incorporate 3D Printing into their supply chain, acquiring a service bureau can very quickly inject knowledge and best practices into the institution (e.g., GE Aviation acquired Morris Tech and Rapid Quality in late 2012).
But what about 3D Printing Lobbying efforts?