Record Rainfall Results in $6 Million GM-3D Systems Deal

As history’s largest climate protest occurred this past weekend, followed by a Wall Street-specific sit-in on Monday, the connections between the devastating impacts of climate change and our global financial system have become more than evident.  In the United States, there may be no clearer an example of how the two are related than Detroit, Michigan, where financial corruption has left the city’s infrastructure grossly unprepared for the massive flooding that rocked Detroit last month.  Even General Motors felt the impact of the severe weather when the car manufacturer’s rapid prototyping facility was submerged in five feet of sewage and water, damaging multiple machines.

flooded GM facility leads to 3D Systems 3D printer purchase
Photo by Joe Gall via ABC Detroit.

The company’s latest misfortune has driven GM to replace their prototyping technology, reportedly leading to a big financial increase for 3D printer manufacturer 3D Systems.  According to Piper Jaffray analyst Troy Jensen, the flood resulted in GM purchasing a number of 3D Systems machines:

To our knowledge Detroit experienced significant rainfall over a short period of time and this caused a flood in General Motors Rapid Prototyping facility. The flooded facility was rumored to have up to 5 feet of water and the water had sewage mixed in with it. This ultimately ruined multiple machines and we believe General Motors purchased or ordered 11 iPro 8000s (list for roughly $600K) and a couple of SinterStation machines in the September quarter.

All in all, TheStreet estimates that the total sale of equipment totals something in the area of $6 million to $8 million.  And, because the purchase happened so quickly, Jensen adds, “Given this deal was likely not in 3D Systems pipeline, we believe it will provide a boost to the company’s system revenues/backlog in the September quarter.”

While the purchase may help the company recover its prototyping capabilities in the short-term, the damage done to GM’s facility should be a stern warning to everyone, large corporations included, that more fundamental changes need to occur to prevent the future loss of such expensive equipment if climate change is not reversed quickly.