3D printer early leaders: Race is on to scale at all costs

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The big question is whether these scale fast bets will pay off. After all, many of these 3D printer players have to get big in a hurry because Hewlett-Packard will enter the market at some point. The thinking among existing 3D printer early movers is that they have to grow to even begin to battle what is a huge HP distribution channel and sales machine.

It’s easy to knock HP on 3D printing. The world’s largest printer manufacturer missed the curve on 3D printing. Instead, companies like 3D Systems, Stratasys and ExOne have been able to forge commercial relationships and enter manufacturing supply chains. For all the talk about consumer 3D printing, the enterprise drives profit margins for these design and modeling systems, which can run millions of dollars for a unit.

HP could blow up those margins easily no matter how innovative the new players are. That prospect is why early movers want to bulk up in a hurry. In addition, it’s quite possible that HP would buy one of the larger 3D printer players just to play catch up. It’s also worth noting that Epson and Mitsubishi are expected to be 3D printer players too.

Nur weil sich die Technologie 3D-Druck nennt, heißt das noch lange nicht dass etablierte Druckerhersteller das Geschäft an sich reißen werden. Wohl erwartet das irgendwie aber jeder.