I love researching, investing in, and writing about 3D printing stocks that are undiscovered compared with companies like Stratasys Ltd., 3D Systems Inc., and The ExOne Corporation. The reason for this is simple: I believe the greatest potential for share price appreciation lies in finding and investing in 3D printing companies that aren’t widely known by investors yet. This is especially true for companies recognized by additive manufacturing industry leaders such as GE Aviation, or by government-backed research facilities for AM such as the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).
In the last week, several notable industry accolades have been received by a microcap ($55 million market capitalization) 3D printing “pure play” R&D company, Sigma Labs Inc. (SGLB).
NIST Grant Win by Sigma Labs
As announced last week, Sigma Labs is an NIST grant winner that will now participate on a team that will develop industry standards for real-time part qualification in metals additive manufacturing. The goal of the project is to produce a “3D Quality Certificate” that would index in-process measurements to part geometry and properties.” Sigma Labs was chosen along with industry giants like Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Pratt & Whitney and Northrup Grumman to be on the team.
Sigma Labs CEO, Mark Cola in the company’s press release for the NIST grant win stated: “We are pleased to be a part of this groundbreaking effort that will advance the state-of-the-art in additive manufacturing quality inspection technology, especially for critical metal parts. We were invited to join the effort because of our sophisticated sensor and in-process quality assurance technology, which further validates our engineering expertise and product offerings in the area of advanced manufacturing quality assurance for the additive manufacturing industry.”
GE/GE Aviation Recognition of Sigma Labs
3D printing industry approval of Sigma Labs hasn’t stopped there however. The NIST grant recognition for Sigma Labs was followed up by an article by Christine Furstoss, the Technical Director for Manufacturing and Materials Technologies at General Electric, “Adding the Next Layer to Additive Manufacturing.” The article is a great read for those investing in additive manufacturing/3D printing. It explains the leadership role GE has had in AM since the early 1990’s as well as challenges that need to be met for AM to reach its full potential.
One of those challenges is in-process, real-time qualification of metals. This challenge is being addressed by GE through a JTDA (Joint Technology Develop Agreement) with Sigma Labs.
According to Furstoss: “As an industry, we have to find ways to go faster. For all of the time you can save in the design phase, the actual printing or production of parts using additive technologies is still too slow. To help address this challenge we have a joint technology development agreement with Sigma Labs Inc., to develop in-process inspection technologies of additive components with the goal of reducing production time up to 25 percent.”
Sigma Labs appears to have something to offer in the “to develop in-process inspection technologies” with its patented PrintRite3D system management, for which there are plans to commercialize next year.
Additive/Aerospace Summit 2013
Coming up next week (October 16-18) is the 2013 Additive/Aerospace Summit in Los Angeles, billed as “The Must-Attend Business Event for Additive Fabrication Servicing the Aero-Defense Value Chain”. Based on the list of government representatives, OEM’s and speakers that will be there, I’d say it’s a pretty big deal. Sigma Labs Inc. will be there participating as invited panelists in a 3D printing industry roundtable discussion.
Run from the “Me too!” Companies and Buy the “Yes you!” ones
There are some companies out there trying to cash in on the increasing public awareness of 3D printing that have little or no meaningful operations in the industry. I won’t name them here, but they are what I call the “Me too!” companies who are masquerading as legitimate 3D printing companies. I run from them, and if you’re serious about investing in a bona fide, yet little-known 3D printing stock, you should also.
On the other end of the spectrum is a company like Sigma Labs Inc. which is a “Yes, you!” company in the 3D printing industry.
This raises the question: Who is the speaker that’s saying “Yes, you”?
In the case of Sigma Labs, the speaker is the 3D printing industry.
Disclosure: I am long shares of Sigma Labs Inc. I have not been paid by Sigma Labs or any third party for this or any article found on 3DPrintingStocks.com or 3dprintingindustry.com.