How will 3D Systems Corporation get the electronics 3D printing capabilities it absolutely needs?

If you’re following the 3-D printing space, you might know that industry juggernaut 3D Systems and Google’s Motorola Mobility unit announced in November that they were teaming on Project Ara.

Project Ara
Project Ara’s goal is to create a large-scale 3-D printing manufacturing platform capable of producing customizable open-source modular smartphones. 3D Systems is charged with developing the 3-D printing platform to churn the Google devices out.

3D Systems’ mission entails integrating the 3-D printing of various types of materials that comprise a smartphone into a single platform. This presents one big hang-up on the materials side: 3D Systems doesn’t currently possess the capability to 3-D print conductive materials to produce electronic circuitry. So, it needs to develop it internally, partner with a company that does have this capability, and/or acquire such a company to fulfill its end of Project Ara.

Acquisition or partnership possibilities
I don’t usually like to engage in acquisition speculation, because much of what’s out there seems to be pulled from thin air. That said, I’m going to indulge here, as we know that 3D Systems absolutely needs the capability to 3-D print conductive materials. This isn’t the more usual case where an acquisition or partnership would be “nice to have” because there’s a perceived good synergistic fit. This is a “must have” if 3D Systems is to fulfill its part of the deal with Google. Notably, Google usually gets what it wants, as its megadeep pockets enable the company to buy whatever talent and/or tech capabilities it needs for its projects. … (Read more)