Technology, growth that leap off the page: 3D Systems (NYSE: DDD)
(Baystreet Stocks to Watch (Canada) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Among the beacons burning holes in the gloom of an otherwise, dark, cold, dreary winter are the slew of industry conventions, exhibitions and get-togethers enabling practitioners to hawk their wares.
One of the more fascinating fields of endeavour is in the area of three-dimensional technology, and this week, South Carolina-based 3D Systems (NYSE: DDD) linked its technology with music, in particular, one of the innovators in the pop music field, at its display at the National Association of Music Merchants show in Anaheim, California, running through the last weekend of January.
For it was here at 3D showed off The Americana, embedding the rich details of New York City's most memorable landmarks in the body of a Les Paul inspired, 3D hand-printed electric guitar, clad by the stars and stripes. Designed by artist Olaf Diegel, the guitar is expected to draw interested musicians and enthusiasts, who may wish to work directly with Diegel to customize their preferences including a range of pick-ups and necks to choose from.
For 3D, headquartered in Rock Hill, South Carolina, it's one more piece of news in a very crowded week that saw its stock price take off like the proverbial Saturn rocket, past the $70 U.S. mark from around the $65 plateau from which it rested before the Martin Luther King Day weekend.
3D Systems is in the business of providing 3D content-to-print solutions including personal, professional and production 3D printers, integrated print materials and on-demand custom parts services for professionals and consumers alike. Also, the company provides what it calls “creative content development, 3D CAD software, curation services and content downloads.”
The company also has offices in Australia, Holland and Italy and employs about 1,000 worldwide.
Founded by Chuck Hull, the inventor of stereolithography (SLA) rapid prototyping system, 3D Systems first saw the light of day in 1986 in Valencia, California. Prior to Hull's introduction of SLA rapid prototyping,concept models required lots of time and money to produce. SLA was intended to reduce these resource expenditures while increasing the quality and accuracy of the resulting model.
In 2009, the firm launched its first sub $10-thousand 3D printer in order to make it available to a broad consumer audience, and says it's working on a multi-front strategy to “democratize access and accelerate the adoption of 3D printing for the student, the hobbyist and ultimately, the consumer.”
One such printer, the ProJet 1500, offers high-resolution, sharp colours and durable parts to make it easy to operate.
Also that year, 3D Systems went on an acquisitions binge that has expanded the company's technology in the form of access and ownership to collections of content, and the men and women who design and execute it. There were some 16 buyouts in 2011 alone, getting the attention of those who watch the technology arena
In May 2011, 3D Systems transferred from NASDAQ to the New York Stock Exchange (DDD). Company stock has risen since with general consistency since its entry to the exchange, as have company revenues and profits.
It also guards its patents jealously; last November, 3D filed suit against hobbyist 3D printer company Formlabs and the Kickstarter website over Formlabs' attempt to fund a printer which 3D claimed infringed its patent on “Simultaneous multiple layer curing in stereolithography.”
The company's obsession with growth and with gathering new technology has the investment community buzzing. The stock price hit an all-time on Wednesday at $71.98, before settling two days later at just over $70. The price had been as low as $18.93 in late January of last year. But whether its business is engrossed in making easy-to-use printers that dazzle or making a Les Paul-model guitar look its best, 3D's immediate prospects look anything but dull.
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