3D Systems Corporation (NYSE:DDD) is getting into details about its part in the Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) modular smart phone scheme Project Ara. The company, which is at the forefront of the 3D printing industry, is apparently hoping to print “billions” of modules for the piecemeal smartphones, according to the firm’s company update. Brian Krassenstein over at 3DPrint.com brought attention to the company’s comment this morning.

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Project Ara promises to be the next major smartphone revolution, and it may be just as importantly for the 3D printing industry. The inclusion of 3D Systems Corporation (NYSE:DDD) as a major partner for the project is hoped to boost the company’s addressable market by increasing knowledge of the company among those doing in-house prototyping and small-scale manufacturing.

Project Ara seeks to boost 3D printing

Project Ara is one of the big initiatives that Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) is experimenting with to judge the future of the smartphone industry, but most analysts are skeptical of its ability to change the industry in any holistic way. The complexity of constantly upgrading parts of a smartphone is probably too much for most consumers. The majority seems to prefer a phone that works with less, rather than more, tweaking.

According to the 3D Systems Corporation (NYSE:DDD) comments on the Project Ara initiative, the company is changing the way its technology works in order to push the capabilities of 3D printing as a manufacturing technology. “We are creating a continuous, high-speed 3D printing production platform and fulfillment system to accommodate production-level speeds and volume. This methodology breaks away from the “reciprocating platform” of many contemporary 3D printers,” reads the statement.

The company is developing a special 3D printing solution especially for Project Ara, in order to print “millions, and hopefully billions, of units.” 3D Systems Corporation (NYSE:DDD) is incredibly interested in the success of Project Ara as a concept, if not in it as a business. There are reasons to see the company’s inclusion as a partner as a major differentiator between it and its competitors.

3D Systems may owe its future to Project Ara

Project Ara may be seen as the catalyst for growth at 3D Systems Corporation (NYSE:DDD). There are two things that the company needs to do in order to increase sales. The first is to increase the addressable market by increasing the value of 3D printing technology and demonstrating its usefulness to those who can afford to pay. The second is to show how its products are preferable to those of competitors.

Project Ara helps the company achieve both of these things. It will allow many small scale manufacturers to make their own products in house, and it will give them their first taste of commercial 3D printing with a 3D Systems Corporation (NYSE:DDD) printer. The company’s future depends on the future of the 3D printing industry as a whole, and Project Ara might just be the best thing that’s happened to the business.

Investors are still skeptical, however. Stock in 3D Systems Corporation (NYSE:DDD) has lost close to half of its value since 201 began, and negative opinions of growth companies appear to be meaningfully influencing market trends.