Polymer based 3D printing producers have been getting hammered in the stock market lately so investors are starting to look at the next phase: metal 3D printing, which has been identified as the next area for industry growth (and financial gains) and the attention has turned to quoted companies such as Arcam, which just reported a 70% increase in sales in Q1, and SLM Solutions, which announced it intends to go public on the Frankfurt index in the upcoming weeks.

SLM Solutions is looking for fresh funds to increment its business capacity and, according to a Reuters UK report quoting SLM Solutions CEO Markus Rechlin, it will use a third of the proceeds from its planned IPO, targeted at 75 million euros, to buy a key supplier of its input material. “We do not want to produce the powder ourselves – said Rechlin – but we can imagine an acquisition of a producer or entering into a close cooperation [with them].”

SLM Solutions, which produces industrial grade metal 3D printers employing selective laser melting (SLM), a process very similar to the better known direct metal laser sintering (DMLS), will use the other two thirds of the public investments to build its sales and service divisions and to open offices in the US, Japan and Singapore, anticipating a massive growth in demand of its technologies. Giants such as GE and advanced Hi-Tech companies such as Elon Musk’s Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) are already among the German company’s customers.

“3D printing technology is just about to take off and big industrial customers will shortly start ordering not single machines but start placing multiple machine orders,” Rechlin said, concluding that metal-based 3D printing was the fastest growing technology of the sector.