Understanding 3D printing applications through relationships of HP, 3D Systems, and Stratasys


  • Additive manufacturing is being integrated into widespread production of car parts as it facilitates quicker, economical production and rollout. While HP is collaborating more with OEMs, 3D Systems’ automotive participation has been focused on motorsport endeavors. Stratasys has balanced its involvement by partnering with both – OEMs and motorsport entities.
  • Healthcare / Medical devices are witnessing heightened 3D printing penetration with HP and 3D Systems paving the way and laying emphasis on personalized care. Cristos Ifantides, MD, at the University of Colorado in Denver, backs the 3D printing wave in personalized medicine and says, “3D printing has the potential for a truly individualized medicine based on the specific measurements of a specific patient”.
  • Inorganic growth has been a key part of the recent 3D printing story of HP, 3D Systems and Stratasys. 3D Systems has made 4 acquisitions within the last 1 year. However, it might be too early to take these acquisitions as a sign of market consolidation, as the growth of newcomers addressing new applications is still outpacing the acquisition rate of the leaders.

Manufacturing is being reshaped and transformed by 3D printing. Since its entry into the 3D printer market in May 2016, HP has been rapidly scaling its business and vying with market leaders, 3D Systems and Stratasys. Centrly assessed the B2B relationships of HP, 3D Systems, and Stratasys to unearth the industries impacted by 3D printing’s advent.

Automotive players have emerged as vanguards of 3D printing technologies
Additive manufacturing offerings are being widely adopted by automotive players, as shown in Centrly’s labelled network graph:

  • In 2021, Ford and HP collaborated to transform 3D waste into auto parts. In 2018, the second-largest U.S.-based automaker invested in Desktop Metal which is upending traditional manufacturing processes with its metal 3D printers.
  • Desktop Metal has also drawn an investment from BMW iVentures, BMW’s strategic investment arm. In 2021, BMW i Ventures provided seed funding to elastomer 3D printing start-up Rapid Liquid Print, whose gel-dispensing technology has been licensed exclusively from MIT’s Self-Assembly Lab.

The VW Group of companies are upping the ante in the 3D printing domain:

3D printing facilitates shortened innovation cycles and production of sturdy, lightweight, and aerodynamically optimized parts that help cars shave precious seconds off lap times. Hence, we’re seeing 3D printing revolutionizing motorsports and 3D Systems’ relationships support this development:

  • The Alpine F1 Team selected 3D Systems’ direct metal printing technology to pack more performance into limited spaces to advance on-car innovation.
  • TOYOTA Motorsport and 3D Systems joined forces to demonstrate how their first-to-market additive manufacturing solutions drive success in motorsport.
  • Stewart-Haas Racing installed a new ProX 800 SLA 3D printer by 3D Systems to print larger, more accurate parts for wind tunnel testing and pre-production part verification.
  • Sauber Motorsport AG, the Swiss Formula One Team, expanded its collaboration with with 3D Systems to set the highest standards of innovation in the manufacturing of race car parts by using 3D printing technology.

Stratasys has also shown involvement in motorsports as it launched its Performance Partner Program, bringing together auto-racing leaders to push the boundaries of additive manufacturing. In 2022, it has teamed up with:

  • NASCAR, to 3D-print parts for next generation cars.
  • Toyota Racing Development, on race and production car parts manufacture.

Healthcare / Medical devices are witnessing heightened 3D printing penetration
In 2021, Stratasys partnered with Ricoh to provide point-of-care anatomic modeling services to healthcare facilities. Besides that, HP and 3D Systems are driving the healthcare applications of 3D printing with personalized care as the key focus. Major developments in 2022 are as follows:

  • May 2022: HP, Adaptiiv, and Varian, a Siemens Healthineers company, collaborated to advance the quality of and access to personalized cancer care for U.S. patients with 3D printed medical devices.
  • March 2022: 3D Systems partnered with Enhatch, developer of the Intelligent Surgery Ecosystem, to scale personalized medical device delivery.
  • February 2022: 3D Systems announced acquisition of Kumovis, additive manufacturing solutions provider for personalized healthcare applications, to expand its healthcare applications portfolio.

Aerospace & Defense, Cosmetics & Beauty, and Sports & Footwear markets are also embracing 3D printing technologies
The Aerospace & Defense industry is being actively served by 3D Systems which has onboarded customers such as Fleet Space Technologies, German Aerospace Center, Sharon Tuvia, and Thales Alenia Space.

In the cosmetics industry, Albéa and Erpro 3D Factory came together and leveraged HP Multi Jet Fusion 3D printing technology to offer customers speed to market solutions paired with custom design in small and large quantities. L’Oréal turned to HP for flexible cosmetics production to help it respond faster to shifts in manufacturing processes and production lines. To adopt a leaner approach to managing its 3D printing workflow, L’Oreal chose to go with AMFG’s MES and workflow management software.

Sports & Footwear is another market that’s harnessing the benefit of additive manufacturing. Spanish start-up ATHOS has launched a first-of-its-kind 3D printed climbing shoe using HP Multi Jet Fusion 3D printing. Danish shoe-manufacturer ECCO partnered with Stratasys to accelerate product development, allowing conceptual footwear samples to be reviewed early in the development cycle using 3D printed molds and lasts. Cobra Golf, a leader in golf club manufacturing, selected HP Metal Jet for its entry into 3D printing for product innovation and parts production.

All these applications point to 3D printing’s potential to disrupt manufacturing as marketers across industries are adopting the technology to keep up with the ever-evolving demands of their dynamic consumer landscapes.

Top 3D printing players have rode the wave of over the last 12 months
Inorganic growth has been a key part of the recent 3D printing story of HP, 3D Systems and Stratasys:

While this flurry of acquisitions might point to consolidation, investment and innovation are still driving growth, as also vetted by IDTechEx. New companies addressing new applications, such as Rapid Liquid Print, are continuing to crop up, even as some of the more establish ones consolidate.

Understand emerging market spaces and identify potential partnership targets with Centrly
If you have a market landscape that you wish to explore further via Centrly’s rich market intelligence solution that leverages AI & graph analytics, reach out for a demo!

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