It is important to analyze the level of the R&D occurring at the leading 3D printer manufacturers to help understand the technology commitment and future growth prospects of the 3D printing industry.

A table providing the last three years per capita R&D for six companies’ public reporting purposes is presented below:

Some conclusions from the six-company data for Stratasys, Renishaw, 3D Systems, Organovo, ExOne, and Arcam are as follows.

  • This is an industry with large commitment to R&D with three-year average year spend of $309 million for all six companies
  • The pure 3D printer manufacturers are engineering/design intensive since the average company per capita annual R&D spend is $51,500
  • Organovo, the organ printing company, has particularly large per capita numbers and very high year over year R&D growth but to date has a small employee count that only slightly impacts the overall data results.
  • Arcam, along with Concept Laser, has recently been acquired by GE Additive. These acquisitions alone will greatly increase commercial R&D applications related to GE’s internal businesses particularly aircraft components and medical equipment and perhaps oil and gas equipment. GE has disclosed they have spent over $1.5 billion in 3D printing related investments.
  • This table does not reflect HP Inc’s large investment in 3D printing manufacturing, sales and distribution

This table only reflects the R&D investment of large commercial 3D printer manufacturers. Other 3D printer or R&D investors include:

  1. Foreign, U.S. Federal and Local Government
  2. Universities
  3. Software Developers
  4. Material Suppliers
  5. Designers & End Users

The large ongoing investment in 3D printing R&D is going to enable 3D printing end users to benefit from a continuing stream of new and improved 3D printer products.

 


Charles R. Goulding and Tricia Genova of R&D Tax Savers discuss R&D spending in 3D printing.

 

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