North Huntingdon firm ExOne gets aggressive with research and development funding

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ExOne Co. executives told shareholders Monday the North Huntingdon company is stepping up research and development spending to find more materials that can be used with its 3-D printing manufacturing technology.

Chief financial officer John Irvin said the $2.1 million that the company invested in research and development in the first half of 2013 exceeded the $1.9 million it spent last year.

"We're aggressively spending our money on the R&D side," Mr. Irvin told shareholders who attended ExOne's first shareholder meeting Monday, which was held at the Wyndham Grand, Downtown.

In an interview following the meeting, president and chief operating officer David Burns said the elevated spending should help the company add more than one new material to its portfolio every six months. That's the rate the company had forecast at the time of its initial public offering in February. The offering raised $90.4 million.

ExOne uses 3-D printing to make industrial pumps, automotive components and other complex parts from digital images that are sliced in hundreds or thousands of layers. The images are sent to a device similar to an inkjet printer. But instead of ink, the device makes the part layer by layer by emitting ceramics, stainless steel, bronze and other materials.

Mr. Burns said the company recently added bonded tungsten and iron infused with bronze to the materials that can be used with the technology.

At the meeting Monday, shareholders approved the election of seven directors for one-year terms, a stock incentive plan and the appointment of ParenteBeard as the company's auditor.

Last week, ExOne reported a $3.8 million loss for the first half vs. a loss of $5.5 million in the first six months of 2012. Sales more than doubled to $17.2 million.

Despite the failure to turn a profit yet, investor appetite for 3-D printing stocks has energized ExOne shares, which debuted Feb. 6 at $18. They closed Monday at $68.56, up $2.32.

businessnews - neigh_westmoreland

Len Boselovic: or 412-263-1941.


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