3-D Printing Gets Serious

We’ve been following the 3-D printing phenomenon for quite a while.  It has the potential to transform manufacturing and, as a result, economic development.  Now, according to the Economist’s Schumpeter blog, the industry is moving into a new phase that could transform both the crafts market and the mainline manufacturers that use the technology:MakerBot

CONSOLIDATION in the 3D-printing business continues as the big companies in the industry aim to provide services and products that cover the entire field—from desktop printers for consumers to industrial “additive-manufacturing” machines.

Stratasys, based in Minneapolis (and which itself merged with Israel-based Objet last year), has now bought Brooklyn’s MakerBot, the leader in bringing 3D printers to the consumer market. MakerBot has sold more than 22,000 MakerBots since it was founded in 2009. Its new Replicator 2 (pictured) has accounted for half those sales in the past nine months. . . .

. . . .3D Systems, based in South Carolina, is America’s other market leader in additive manufacturing. It recently bought an 80% stake in Phenix Systems, a French provider of direct-metal selective laser sintering. These machines print metal parts by fusing powder with a laser. American companies lead in printing systems that make things in all kinds of industrial plastics, but direct-metal printing has remained something of a European speciality.

The full post is here.  Stay tuned.


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