Bike3D announced that it has entered into a partnership with Hartech Group, according to which the latter will distribute the Velo3D machines to US federal government agencies. The partnership will be particularly focused on providing solutions to the Department of Defense (DoD).
The Denver-based Hartech Group supplies state-of-the-art equipment solely to the US government. Lockheed Martin Space received Velo3D’s latest machine, the Sapphire XC, last April, and Raytheon subsidiary Pratt & Whitney is currently evaluating the Sapphire X’s potential for jet engine production. Since Velo3D specializes in additive manufacturing (AM) platforms for the two industries most directly dependent on federal contracts – aerospace and space – Hartech’s experience makes it an ideal business partner for the original equipment manufacturer (OEM).
As Braedel notes, in addition to providing the equipment, Hartech Group handles installation, training, and customer support services on behalf of its partners. Securing this type of alliance would seem essential, for any company wishing to attract more and more business from the federal government, and in particular from the DoD, in the near future.
Moreover, the time is now both more opportune and more urgent than it has ever been for a company like Velo3D to solidify its long-term integration into the federal procurement process. That is to say, a brief window currently appears to have opened in which a number of standalone AM companies will be able to secure and enhance their future growth trajectories by forging ties with forces controlling the US federal budget. This window is signaled by broader developments such as the Biden administration’s AM Forward program, as well as individual use case projects, such as the US Navy’s recent successful deployment of the Xerox ElemX aboard of the USS Essex.
It is uncertain, of course, of the exact shortness of the window. But the fact is that there is a huge, but still limited, amount of public funding that will flow into the industry over the next decade: so companies that establish themselves as government suppliers now will likely be the biggest beneficiaries of this funding when all is said and done.
Equity markets have obviously performed quite poorly in general for the past six months or so, and AM has been as bad as any other sector. In turn, until markets become less volatile, it will be difficult to use stock performance as a truly reliable metric to gauge a company’s prospects. On the other hand, the possibility that markets are finally starting to reach a nadir offers an opportunity to pay attention to stocks that are now considered “discounts” by large investors.
In this sense, it is perhaps worth mentioning that Cathie Wood’s ARK Invest purchased an additional, as yet undisclosed amount of Velo3D two weeks ago. This comes two months after the fund bought 419,575 shares of Velo3D: which represented a total of 10.6 million shares held by ARK, or just over 5%, in May 2022.
Whether Cathie Wood’s endorsement is still a plus is up for debate. Still, if anyone could be expected to get ahead of any coming rebound in the general market (should it ever happen), it’s probably Wood. With this in mind, momentary market ups and downs are generally more related to the performance of the sector than to the performance of individual companies. Thus, we can take this (along with other recent developments) as a potential sign that the market’s elusive rebound and that of the AM sector will occur within similar timeframes. Among other things, this means that it is not unreasonable to expect the AM to outperform the next sustained market rally.
Images courtesy of Velo3D
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