Stocks in the 3d printing and manufacturing sector have been some of the strongest stocks of the last 12 months. This list includes 3d Systems (NYSE:DDD), Stratasys (NASDAQ:SSYS), and Proto Labs (NYSE:PRLB).
Ikonics (NASDAQ:IKNX) is a Company that belongs in this group because of its unique "revolutionary" Digital Texturing and Micro-Machining technologies. Rapid prototyping with Digital Texturing allows for the direct transfer of a image onto a part or work piece to create an actual prototype of a textured item. 3-D texture with domed edges and actual prototypical look, shape, feel are easily accomplished.
Digital Texturing is inherently printing in 3d. This is an excerpt from Stratasys/Objet discussion of digital texture printing:
'Direct Texturing (DT) is the manufacturing process that produces forms, prototypes and series-production parts with defined texturing or "scarred" surfaces (e.g. car dashboards and other leather-look parts). Molds used for embossing can be manufactured with a textured surface using DT, thereby reducing the number of production steps and eliminating the need for cylinders and silicone molds.'
Compare that with the video where Ikonics discusses their revolutionary technology. Here is the link.
In February of 2012 Ikonics and ExactFlat partnered to apply decorative textures to 3d Molds. "This partnership and reseller agreement will allow IKONICS to provide advanced features that drive meaningful competitive advantage for our customers," said Karl Shaw, Director of New Technologies at IKONICS. "The ability to place images onto 3D surfaces with a higher level of accuracy, bend patterns along contours, align features with greater precision and extend imaging capabilities to all product lines at considerably lower cost will redefine what was possible in 3D decorative textures."
Digital texturing is a way of printing very fine, repeatable surface textures on any object in 3d. This is what IKNX's proprietary DTXjet inkjet printer does. IKNX owns the patents for the process. Therefore it is my opinion that any industry interested in printing surfaces of objects in 3d must consider IKNX tech for the job.
IKNX recently posted earnings doubling net income for the same quarter last year of $0.14 v $0.07. In the earnings release the CEO briefly mentions new business with Boeing and Airbus:
"In addition to ongoing business related to the Boeing 747-8, we have received a blanket order associated with the Airbus A350, which we expect to grow as the A350 is placed into production. We also have orders beginning early in 2013 for acoustic liners from a major jet engine manufacturer; I anticipate that this product line will grow during the year," Bill Ulland, IKONICS CEO said.
"Consequently, we are expanding our manufacturing capability, adding both equipment and people. I believe that these exciting developments not only portend a profitable business for Ikonics but also are a validation of our unique technology by a very sophisticated industry." Bill Ulland, IKONICS CEO said.
I believe Ikonics will soon be recognized as a key company with patented technologies that will go hand in hand with the 3d Printing group and will eventually receive a much higher valuation. That group enjoys P/E ratios of 30-50+. If IKNX is operating at a $.56 EPS run rate, and does not account for growth that the latest press release mentions, then I believe this could eventually be a $20-$50 stock. IKNX has only 2 million shares outstanding and a float of 900,000.
Potential risks - As with any small cap technology company, potential risks include delays in orders and rolling out of technology. A stock with this small a float should not be chased and in my opinion is not for large positions.
Disclosure: I am long IKNX. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it. I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.