Shares of 3D-printing pioneer Stratasys Ltd. (SSYS) fell about 30% over the course of 2016, closing Dec. 30 at a price of $16.54. The 3D player has spent the most recent year attempting to drive revenues in both its consumer and industrial markets in light of an industrywide push for 3D printing for additive manufacturing.

While longtime rival 3D Systems Corp. (DDD) has completely discontinued its consumer products, Stratasys will move ahead into 2017 with confidence regarding heightened demand in both markets.

Partnering With Industrial Leaders

Throughout the year, Stratasys demonstrated its prolonged presence in both the consumer and industrial space, announcing a series of partnerships with leaders in industries such as auto and aerospace while releasing products for consumer segments including professionals, designers and educators.

The Eden Prairie, Minn.-based company focused on customizable direct manufacturing via new partnerships with industry leaders Boeing Co. (BA) and Ford Motor Co. (F), while building on preexisting prototyping projects with NASA and Airbus. Stratasys also opened up its additive manufacturing solutions for businesses far outside auto and aerospace, including France's Schneider Electronic, UK grocery chain Sainsbury and eyewear manufacturer Safilo. (See also: Stratasys Releases New 3D Products.)

As for the consumer space, Stratasys continues to expand its product portfolio with its most recently announced SaaS-focused GrabCAD software for engineers and designers. Earlier in the year, the firm indicated a “cultural shift,” in which it would extend its MakerBot products for professionals and educators.  

Looking Ahead in 2017

In mid-November, Stratasys saw its stock plummet due to an earnings and revenue miss, while investors were also displeased with weaker-than-expected guidance for full-year 2016. While the firm posted improvements in both gross and operating margins, some bears highlighted uncertainty regarding sustainable demand for Stratasys products. (See also: Stratasys Cuts FY16 Outlook.)

Moving ahead into 2017, Stratasys management remains optimistic regarding improved operational efficiency, planning to further enhance cost structure and expand high-value applications. 


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