Just two days ago, we saw one of the more well respected, well known companies within the technology sector announce their entrance into the 3D printing space. That announcement from Hewlett Packard (more specifically HP Inc.) shows the world that 3D printing isn’t only a technology recognized by a few small and medium sized corporations. It shows the world that this technology is for real.
HP’s foray into a market that was previously led by companies like 3D Systems (NYSE: DDD), and Stratasys (NASDAQ: SSYS), is quite significant for more reasons than one. The technology that HP introduced on Wednesday morning is very much a game changer. It utilizes patents that only HP themselves have the ability to use, and provides for speeds of ten times that of current technology on the market today. 3DPrint.com decided to contact some of HP’s new competitors and see how they feel about this latest announcement.
Stratasys, CEO David Reis had this to say:
“Over the past two years, there have been many new entrants to this market, which reinforces that manufacturing with 3D printers is a great opportunity. This activity will bring more awareness, and it will lift the overall space. We see it as a big opportunity for the industry. To showcase some of this opportunity, Stratasys held an educational media event [yesterday] in New York City. The event featured manufacturers in the consumer-product, aerospace, medical and automotive industries, who showed how they use 3D printers for production of end products.”
Not exactly a man who seems to be frighted by Hewlett Packard’s decision to compete with his company.
As for 3D Systems, a company which has been around for decades, they issued the following statement:
“As the founders and pioneers of 3D printing technology, it is tremendously validating to have a company like Hewlett Packard enter this space. We view their announcement as a net positive for us and for our industry. However, having spent more than 30 years growing our company and advancing this technology, we’ve learned that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to 3D printing. With a full range of print engines, print materials, cloud printing services and an integrated content-to-print workflow connected by a digital thread, we believe we are well positioned for growth, and intend to remain innovators and leaders in 3D printing.”
Again, not exactly sounding like an company intimidated by HP’s entrance into a market that they have been occupying for 30 years now.
Also yesterday, I had the chance to speak with William Dahl, Vice President of Marketing & Communications for Solidcape, a company that manufacturers 3D wax printers used in the creation of high quality lost-wax casted products. They were acquired by Stratasys back in May of 2011, but still run as a rather independent subsidiary. When I asked him his take on the situation, his answers pretty much backed up that of their parent company:
“We are actually excited about [it]. First of all, being such a recognizable global corporation that everybody knows, it basically says ‘3D printing has arrived’. We now have a major global corporation embracing it. They are going to produce products for it, [and] they see the way it’s going to change manufacturing, which is what we in the industry have been saying for many years. I think this really raises that voice to a higher level; tells those people sitting on the sidelines, ‘Hey this is real’. We don’t see it as any directly competing technology for us. This helps everyone in recognizing that the industry is mainstream now.”
While, it probably isn’t expected that any of these large companies would show any fear toward a giant like HP entering the market, all of these companies seem to be echoing the fact that this is a good thing for 3D printing in general. It puts the technology on the map, and introduces the concept to the masses.
As for the scope of this move by HP, consider this: Stratasys was previously the largest manufacturer of 3D printers, and their current market capital stands at $5.77 billion. 3D Systems is very close with a market capital of $4.07 billion. Now, compare this to HP’s staggering market cap of $66.89 billion, and you realize that they have quite the resources to try and upend things within the 3D printing space.
The next couple years should be very interesting, as in this time we will see HP’s technology come to fruition, and at the same time, their competitors will show whether or not they can keep pace. What do you think about these responses from HP’s new competitors? Discuss in the HP 3D printing forum thread on 3DPB.com.
Below are some more photos of what HP’s new 3D printing technology is capable of (images provided to 3DPrint.com by Kenji Larsen)