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Firms focused on manufacturing investments, along with the manufacturing entities themselves, are likely assessing the feasibility of integrating 3D printing into their business models to increase efficiency and long-term returns. Similarly, investors with a long-term strategy are curious about this technology, which has emerged quickly. To inspire confidence in long-term positions, the industry evolved from a niche interest of a few small startups to a maturing industry with major players such as Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) and General Electric (GE) participating. However, investors should pursue investment in equities associated with 3D printing with caution.
With the recent maturity of the technology, many profitable stocks have seen dramatic drops in stock prices as losses mounted, and questions about their long-term viability arose. While many have referred to 3D printing as a “third industrial revolution” due to its applications across many industries and diverse product lines, market forces pushing some 3D printing companies to commoditization and others to specialization have altered the investment landscape in this industry. This analysis proposes investors should avoid long-term positions, but understanding the key players and technology is critical for understanding why.