Industrial 3D printer manufacturer voxeljet (Nasdaq: VJET) delivered first-quarter results after the market closed on May 13, 2021. The German company reported another quarterly loss. This time, the net losses tripled to €8.3 million or €1.51 per share, from €2,6 million or 53 cents per share for the same period last year. On the other hand, revenues rose 4.5% to €4,1 million from €3,9 million year-over-year, mainly driven by significant growth in 3D printer sales.  Focused on increasing its footprint, voxeljet is enthusiastic about its latest high-speed 3D printer VJET X and upcoming VX1000 High-Speed Sintering (HSS) giant 3D printer. The firm is benefiting from greater demand for 3D-printed parts and an increased interest in binder jetting technology, which has emerged as the perfect solution for several industries, including healthcare and automotive.

April 2021: voxeljet headquarters in Germany, the VX1000 HSS prototype. Image courtesy of voxeljet.

Revenues from voxeljet’s Systems segment, which focuses on developing, producing, and selling 3D printers, increased 60% to €2,1 million in the first quarter from €1,3 million in last year’s first quarter. The company said that the increase of revenues from this segment was mainly due to a boost in 3D printer sales and accounted for systems-related revenues like consumables, spare parts, and maintenance. So far, in the first quarter of 2021, it delivered two new 3D printers, compared to one used and refurbished printer delivered in last year’s first quarter. Overall, systems revenues represented 51.4% of total revenues for the reported period than 33.6% last year.

Contrarily, revenues from the Services segment focused on printing on-demand parts for customers decreased 23.5% to €1,9 million in the first quarter of 2021 from €2,6 million a year before. This was mainly due to lower revenue contributions from voxeljet’s American subsidiary, known as voxeljet America, which is still impacted by the pandemic-related slowdown of the economy and subsequent lower market demand. Also still impacted by COVID-19 were the German operations and China subsidiary.

The successful completion of two direct offerings of more than one million shares as American depositary shares, or ADS, in January and February 2021 resulted in €18.2 million in gross proceeds and raised the number of outstanding shares of the company to 5.9 million. The net capital increases will be used for general corporate purposes, according to the earnings report.

On-demand 3D printing services for voxeljet customers. Image courtesy of voxeljet.

Commenting on the company’s quarterly performance, CEO Ingo Ederer described the period as a “decent start in 2021,” with significant technological milestones, especially the new High-Speed Sintering printer, which he said would be the “largest build area for polymer sintering in the industry.” Ederer believes that this new printer and new material combinations will significantly increase the total addressable market for the business.

The VX1000 HSS, voxeljet’s largest polymer sintering printer, is on track for a 2021 launch. With a 1,000 mm x 540 mm build area, it is significantly larger than other players in the market. In early 2021, the company successfully printed on the full build area with very high geometric accuracy, reaching a milestone in April 2021, after successfully printing a full job box without temperature-related stability issues. Expected to be delivered this year, once launched, the giant printer will compete with HP’s multiJet fusion (MJF) platform.

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Voxeljet delivers high-speed, large-format 3D printing systems geared towards mass production and on-demand parts services to industrial and commercial customers. Its sand and plastic binder jetting 3D printers operate as a major service provider, delivering 131,000 3D printed parts in 2020 alone. For two decades, the company has maintained long-term relationships with global industry leaders, including some of the biggest names in carmakers, like Ford, BMW, Daimler, and Volkswagen. Aside from developing new powder-binder systems, it engages in research collaborations to enhance the 3D printing of polymers for series productions.

One of its newest high-speed, fully automated 3D printers for additive mass manufacturing, the VJET X, 3D prints sand molds and cores at high speed for casting complex metal components, using an inorganic, fully environmentally friendly material set for zero emissions during casting. The combination of 3D printing and casting opens up high volume manufacturing opportunities since costs per part are comparable to conventional manufacturing. A premium German car maker that already operates two VJET X units has recently ordered three additional VJET X’s, and voxeljet claims assembly of the new units is on track. However, the sales revenue will be shown in the earnings report for the second half of 2021.

April 2021: voxeljet headquarters in Germany, assembly of VJET X units 4 and 5 for a German car maker. Image courtesy of voxeljet.

Another upcoming development for High-Speed Sintering is an updated grayscale printing technology for better accuracy and tailored part properties. The company is now able to print six different levels of gray. Different gray tones allow changes in the absorption of thermal energy. This means that the darker the print area, the higher the absorption, enabling printing different part properties within one layer. With the grayscale technology, it is possible to realize different material strengths within one layer.

For the second quarter, the company expects revenue to be in the range of €4 million and €6 million and anticipates full-year revenue between €22.5 million and €27.5 million. The business outlook also predicts gross margin for the full year above 32.5% and neutral-to-positive EBITDA for the fourth quarter of 2021. voxeljet will continue focusing on binder/ink-jetting technology, leveraging key advantages like scalability, material diversity, and speed for large-scale manufacturing for its customers.