An interesting development is emerging with the major 3D printing manufacturers. In addition to making 3D printing and additive manufacturing machines, manufacturers are adding to and expanding their ability to make your part for you.
Now, 3D Systems and Stratasys both have had departments or divisions that offered additive manufacturing services for a number of years. And both companies have made several acquisitions that strengthen their ability to offer services.
This recent emphasis on a service business model may be nothing more than organizing all the acquisitions into a unified whole. Then again, it may be a shift in direction.
It may be a way for AM manufacturers to address several issues that appear to be inhibiting wider use of this technology. These issues include:
–Lack of familiarity with the technology
–Limited information on material performance
–Perceived high cost versus usefulness
–Perceived lack of materials
Some stock investors think it’s a shift in business model, and are pleased to see this development.
The AM industry already has about 100 services bureaus offer similar services in the U.S. Will a few more tip the scales to greater use? What do you think? Are you more inclined to work with companies like Stratasys and 3D Systems, or a local service bureau?