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Three-dimensional printing is not exactly old news, yet it has been around long enough that everybody from fashion designers to biotechnology companies have discovered innovative methods of "printing" their products. With the overall three-dimensional printing marketplace expected to triple in value through to 2018, investors ought to take stock of this technology's multitude of uses.

Biotechnology already has used 3D printing abilities, which include using an individual's living human cells in order to replicate organs which the body may accept. Some labs are even printing sheets of skin for procedures that involve skin grafting, and predict that inside of the next 5 years the skin transplant technique will be utilized in hospitals for victims who have been burned and other individuals requiring extensive skin grafting.

The dawn of three-dimensional printing has produced a lot of curiosity about artificial organs that are meant to enhance or replace human machines.

Printed organs, like a prototype ear created by Princeton University as well as Johns Hopkins University researchers, is set to be on the agenda at the New York Inside Three-Dimensional Printing conference on April 15–17. This outer ear is printed from a spectrum of substances: a hydrogel that forms a scaffold in the shape of an ear, cells which are going to grow in order to form cartilage, as well as silver nanoparticles that form the antenna. This device is only one case of the growing versatility of three-dimensional printing.

The meeting in New York that calls itself the biggest event in the sector, is going to feature an abundance of novelties and widgets on display. However, it also will feature serious talks about the emerging marketplace for printed body parts.

Currently, that company is concentrated on titanium replacement hip joints that may be customized to fit individual people, as well as custom polymer bones that reconstruct damaged fingers and skulls. Last year, printed human body parts brought in $537 million, up around 30 percent on the prior year, according to Terry Wohlers, Wohlers Associates president, a consultancy business inside Colorado, specializing in three-dimensional printing.

Researchers are searching ahead to radical upcoming technologies which utilize live cells as ‘ink’, and assemble them layer-upon-layer within rudimentary tissues, according to Cambridge, Massachusetts’ Harvard University bioengineer, Jennifer Lewis. Organovo, San Diego, Cailifornia bioprinting firm, already sells these types of tissues to scientists who have the goal of testing experimental medications for liver cell toxicity. Organovo’s next measure is going to be to offer printed tissues that fix damaged livers inside human beings, according to Keith Murphy, chief executive of Organovo.

She hesitates to claim that three-dimensional printing ever will yield entire organs to alleviate the shortage of livers and kidneys that are obtainable for transplant. She adds that she would like for this to be true, yet these are very complicated architectures.

Here are 7 stocks involved with three-dimensional printing, which are sorted by their predicted EPS expansion over the following 5 years.

Stratasys Inc.

Engages in the marketing, manufacture and development of 3D printing, RP (rapid prototyping), and DDM (direct digital manufacturing) systems mainly in the Asia Pacific, Europe and North America. Market cap at $4.27B, latest closing price at $110.04. Over the next five years, EPS growth is 30.5 percent.

Proto Labs, Inc.

Manufactures CNC (computer numerical control) injection molded and machined customized parts for short-run production and prototyping. Market cap at $1.82B, latest closing price at $71.87. Over the next five year, EPS growth is 30 percent.

3D Systems Corp.

Engages in the servicing, marketing, manufacture, development and design of 3D printers and associated products, services and print materials. Market cap at $5.B, latest closing price at $51.90. Over the next five years, EPS growth is 20.4 percent.

FARO Technologies Inc.

Supports, markets, manufactures, develops and designs software driven, portable, three-dimensional measurement systems utilized in a range of forensic, building construction, industrial, and manufacturing applications. Market cap at $648.53M, latest closing price at $37.93. Over the next five years, EPS growth is 20 percent.

Ansys, Inc.

Engages in the marketing and development of engineering simulation services and software utilized by designers and engineers in defense, energy, biomedical, electronics, manufacturing, automotive, and aerospace industries. Market cap at $8.01B, latest closing price at $86.29. Over the next five years, EPS growth is 17 percent.

Parametric Technology Corporation

Supports, markets, and develops PLM (product lifecycle management) software services and solutions which assist companies in designing products, managing product data, and improving product development processes around the world. Market cap at $3.26B, latest closing price at $27.29. Over the next five years, EPS growth is 16.3 percent.

Autodesk, Inc.

Offers design service and software solutions to consumers in digital media and entertainment, manufacturing, construction, engineering, and architecture industries. Market cap at $8.45B, latest closing price at $37.89. Over the next five years, EPS growth is 13.25 percent.

 

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