HP has extended its foray into 3D printing for manufacturing with a multipart announcement that includes four new printer models, a design tool partnership, and a reseller program launch. Perhaps most notable for supply chain professionals and electronics OEMs, though is the hardware news which aims to put affordable 3D printing into the hands of small and mid-sized manufacturers who want to design and prototype.
HP estimates that the digital industrial revolution (which includes artificial intelligence, industrial internet of things, big data and analytics, robotics and 3D printing) represents a $12 trillion market opportunity, Stephen Nigro, president of 3D Printing of HP, told EBN. These technologies, but 3D printing in particular, support rapid innovation, decreased time to market, lower inventories, higher supply chain efficiency, and higher capital efficiency, he added.
3D printing represents a three to four-billion-dollar market today that will growth to eight billion in five years, Nigro said. “I'm excited about the range of applications for functional multi-color 3D printing,” said Terry Wohlers, President, Wohlers Associates. “It's good to see that HP is targeting this interesting and largely untapped opportunity. The possibilities are infinite.”
The HP Jet Fusion 300/500 Series allows users to print in full color, black, or white. The resulting parts are functional and engineering grade, which allows designers to create prototypes that are near identical to the end-stage item. “Many small OEMs print less than 130 parts per week and these new products are targeted at them,” said Ramon Pastor, general manager, Multi Jet Fusion 3D Printing Business of HP. Two of the models support only black and white (four agent configurability) and two support color (eight agent configurability). There is also a choice of print-bed size, either 7.5 x 10 x 9.8 in build volume for those with smaller part size needs and 7.5 x 13.1 x 9.8 in build volume for bigger build sizes. This announcement follows a May 2017 introduction of industrial grade models including the HP Jet Fusion 3200/4200/4210.
“HP is committed to democratizing 3D design and manufacturing, unleashing new possibilities for millions of innovators around the world,” said Nigro. “No matter your industry, no matter your design complexity, no matter what colors fit your business needs – black, white, or the full color spectrum – the new HP Jet Fusion 300 / 500 series gives you the freedom to create brilliant new parts liberated from the constraints of traditional production methods.”
HP points to “voxel-level control” as a key differentiator. Voxels are 3D pixels. Further, print speeds of these models allow for the printing of 52 parts in 15 hours. “These printers enable functional prototyping, creating the same high quality part you would get out of a production machine or injection molding,” said Nigro. “The prototype will represent what the final part will be like and that will change the design cycle.”
HP Multi Jet Fusion technology features voxel-level control and is changing the way the world designs and manufactures. Photo courtesy: Invent Medical and NACAR.
The new models support three leading color file formats (OBJ, VRML, and 3MF). The printers will also launch with a new engineering thermoplastic material, called HP 3D High Reusability CB PA 12, with properties similar to HP 3D High Reusability PA 12 material from HP’s industrial solutions. Now, 3D printing is closer to price parity with injection molding, with costs of about $30 to $40 per kilogram, compared to $100 for previous 3D materials and $9 or $10 per kilogram for injection molding materials. Further, the printers are priced at points ranging from the mid-$50,000 to $100,000 depending on model and capabilities, HP said.
As part of the announcement, HP also talked about the evolution of its 3D printing reseller program, the HP Partner First 3D Printing Specialization program. Finally, the company unveiled a new collaboration with Dassault Systèmes, a provider of 3D design software with millions of users in more than 140 countries. The two companies will work together to optimize Dassault’s Solidworks 3D design and engineering applications to take advantage of the HP’s Multi Jet Fusion 3D printing solutions.
“Together we can expand on the technologies of both companies and collaboratively research new tools around materials science and the development of new materials,” said said Gian Paolo Bassi, CEO, Solidworks, Dassault Systems. “Innovators can stretch the limits of imagination, invent and reinvent, further the art of manufacturing and ultimately pursue sustainable innovation for products, nature and life.”
— Hailey Lynne McKeefry, Editor in Chief, EBN