HP, a leader in 3D printing, and Deloitte, the largest professional services provider, announced that they collaborate to help manufacturing industry leverage additive technology to achieve efficiency, flexibility, and quicker design cycles. Together, the two companies will work toward implementing HP’s 3D printing systems in large-scale manufacturing environments.
In manufacturing, the last century has seen little revolutionary process change, but digital and additive technologies have created a better mousetrap to design, procure, manufacture and deliver products to customers all over the world, said Dion Weisler, president and CEO, HP.
“The Fourth Industrial Revolution is upon us. No sector of the global economy is undergoing more radical transformation than the $12 trillion manufacturing market,” he added. “Companies investing in digital reinvention are poised to outpace their peers. Building on our disruptive 3D printing technology, together with Deloitte, we are focused on helping customers transform and win in this new era.”
3D manufacturing has the potential to increase the speed from design to prototyping to manufacturing substantially, said Punit Renjen, Global CEO of Deloitte, during the announcement. It will also increase flexibility and improve cost. “The digitalization of global manufacturing operations and practices will impact companies and consumers around the world, and 3D printing will play an important role in fundamentally changing manufacturing as we know it.”
Calling it an opportunity to democratize manufacturing, the shift to a digital model will allow manufacturing to happen anywhere in the world and for companies of all sizes to be involved. “Small and mid-sized companies may not be able to spend three quarters of a million dollars on 3D printing but large service bureaus can make the technology available,” said Weisler. “We want this to be available to everyone everywhere.”
The vision, however, requires a variety of skillsets and technologies. “We realized that it would be difficult for any one company to lead this revolution,” Weisler explained. A variety of well-known engineering, software, enterprise and manufacturing workflow companies, including SAP, Siemens, Autodesk, and Materialise, will be part of the ecosystem.
“From an SAP perspective, the key element of digitization is simplification,” said Bob Jones, executive vice president of global sales, manufacturing, and services for SAP. “To take a file and send it across the world and then be able to deliver it locally completely simplifies things, and takes a huge amount of friction and complexity out of the process. Manufacturing is a key and important sector that has been under served for many years and we are trying to simplify all of that.”
Further, solid adoption will require an open 3D materials platform to give manufacturers a range of choices of 3D printing materials. The list of organizations working on these new materials include Arkema, BASF, Evonik, Henkel, Lehman & Voss, and Sinopec Yanshan Petrochemical.
Today, the economies of scale for 3D printing are finally starting to make sense, a trend that will escalate. A cog used in a washing machine, for example, would be more economical to print in 3D than buy through traditional channels if you need less than 55,000, said Weisler. “That’s what’s constraining the market today,” he added. “With advances in material sciences, though, the cost of materials is coming down and, with the increased productivity of the printers, the inflection point will move to a million.”