Additive manufacturing, otherwise known as 3D printing, is one of the largest industrial growth markets in recent times — and a market that’s beginning to reap commercial rewards for ASX-listed 3D-printer distributors such as Robo 3D (ASX: RBO).
The company has reported fresh financial metrics including “significantly improved half-year results”, including revenue of A$4.2 million compared to A$1.8 million for the prior half year (an increase of 234%).
Further improvement in gross margin (from 21% to 34%) allowed Robo 3D to record a significant 66% improvement in underlying EBITDA. In the last 3 months of last year, Robo 3D recorded cash receipts of A$2.2 million and reports a “strong working capital position” with A$1.7 million of inventory on hand.
According to Robo 3D Managing Director Ryan Legudi, “the results for 1H FY18 show the significant progress Robo has made in becoming a global player in the rapidly growing desktop segment of the 3D printing industry.
The step-change in revenue, material improvement in gross margin, along with measures made to stabilise operational costs, demonstrates the significant progress we have made in reaching EBITDA breakeven.”
Robo 3D also reports that since the start of last year, the company has been on a concerted drive to “actively diversify the business from being a one-product, USA-centric business, to a business with a diversified product portfolio”.
Over the past 12 months, Robo 3D has grown its commercial footprint globally, raising the number of distributors and retail vendors stocking its products.
3D printing ramp-up
As an industry, 3D printing remains at the very early stages of maturity although technological advances are making rapid strides towards the technology being used by retail customers, to make sophisticated items from cumbersome materials such as metal.
According to market research done by Wohlers in 2014, worldwide revenues from 3D printing are expected to grow from US$3.07 billion in 2013 to US$12.8 billion by the end of this year and exceed US$21 billion by 2020.
Some of the first commercial opportunities made possible by the advent of 3D printing include social applications such as 3D-printed prosthetics via organisations such as ‘Enabling The Future’.
Personal applications include domestic manufacturing and individual pursuits such as launching new businesses based on the concept of scalable cost and removing the need for bulk buying of raw materials.
According to Robo 3D, its “products can inspire people to be better, to realise their dreams, and make the world a better place.”
“By the end of December 2017, the Company was actively selling three models of 3D printers, a range of 3D printer project kits, and a wide selection of consumables, into a much-expanded global distribution footprint across 37 countries, compared to just four countries 12 months earlier,” said Mr Legudi.
Last month, Robo 3D announced it was embarking on a global expansion spree by establishing a presence in several Asian countries including China.
After establishing its international sales team in April 2017, Robo 3D is aiming to expand its sales footprint into more than 50 countries by mid-2018, with the 3D printer distributor already represented in 40 countries across five continents, including key strategic markets such as Australia, UK, and China.