THE SHARES of US companies that sell 3D printers fell on Thursday after online stock commentary website Citron Research said the technology is overvalued and overhyped.
Focusing on stocks it believes are overvalued, Citron Research said Abe Reichental, CEO of the biggest listed US 3D printer maker 3D Systems, was one of many responsible for exaggerating advances in 3D printing and contributing to a bubble in the shares of companies that produce such technologies.
"Appearances have become completely unhinged from reality when it comes to the mania created in so-called '3D Printing' stocks, and 3D Systems in particular," Citron Research said in its report.
"Behind every good bubble there is a good promoter, in this case we have the best in Abe Reichental."
Released on Thursday, the report arrived on the back of US President Barack Obama's State of the Union address earlier this week that highlighted 3D printing's potential "to revolutionise the way we make almost everything".
Citron Research mentioned that Obama's reference to 3D Printing as a "manufacturing panacea" in his speech has only encouraged critical backlash from the media.
"Additive manufacturing has been around for 30 years. The only thing that is new in recent years is availability of consumer-priced 3D printers - from many sources - along with a frenzy of thoughtless and shallow media attention," Citron Research said in its report.
"We are not claiming that direct digital manufacturing has no place in the industrial landscape, and that it won't grow incrementally as new technology enables new applications.
"We simply observe that appearances have become completely unhinged from reality when it comes to the mania created in so-called '3D Printing' stocks, and 3D Systems in particular."
The Citron Research report caused the shares of 3D Systems to fall by four percent to $62.75 on Thursday, while shares of Stratasys ended six percent lower at $71.20 and Exone closed down three percent at $27.18, Reuters reported.
One thing Citron Research doesn't mention in its report, however, is that not all 3D printing is about production of trivial objects such as egg cups and combs. Though the shares of consumer 3D printing vendor 3D Systems have tripled over the past 12 months, charities such as Tech4trade have proven that 3D printing does have potential to revolutionise manufacturing in developing countries. µ
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