HP announces world’s first 3-D printer for testing at big manufacturers

HP announces world’s first 3-D printer for testing at big manufacturers

The world's first 3-D printer is here for you. On Tuesday, it was announced as ready for large-scale manufacturing by HP. Nike, BMW and Johnson & Johnson are among nine companies that will test the HP Multi Jet Fusion 3D Printing Solution.

Stephen Nigro, head of HP's 3-D printing division, announced that 3D printer at the RAPID tech conference in Orlando. The HP has announced its two 3-D printers, one starting at $130,000 and a $155,000 end-to-end solution. The company co-developed the system with nine companies who are its business partners.

According to Jens Ertel, head of BMW Group Additive Manufacturing Center, BMW is planning to use HP's printing system into future production for making serial parts and personal customization. On the other hand, Nike has already been using 3-D printing for something it calls performance innovations to make footwear for several years, according to Tom Clarke, president of innovation at Nike.

"We want to change the way the world prints parts. Customers are looking at how to transform their (3-D printing) business from prototyping to production", said Nigro, who previously ran HP's $20 billion print division.

For HP, the printer and PC division, 3-D printing is a prime business opportunity. Original Hewlett-Packard split into two separate companies each worth two $50 billion in November 1, 2015. The one of them is HP Inc., while another is Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE).

Both, BMW and Nike haven’t disclosed which product they are planning to print in 3-D and at what level due to competitive reasons. The cost of purchasing and installing the 3-D printing system will be this great that it could not be replacing mass production at large factories, especially in many factories in China.

According to a story published on the topic by Alphr News, "HP has announced its first 3D printers, and they’re going to revolutionise 3D printing as we know it. Using a technology called Multi Jet Fusion, HP’s two new printers use techniques more similar to inkjet printers than traditional 3D printers. Instead of laying down layers of melted plastic or solidifying resin using lasers, HP’s system first prints a layer of powder, then uses an inkjet-style array to add a chemical agent that fuses the powder to the previous layer."

Instead of laying down layers of melted plastic or solidifying resin using lasers, HP’s system first prints a layer of powder, then uses an inkjet-style array to add a chemical agent that fuses the powder to the previous layer. The future where everyone has a 3D printer at home is still a long way off, then, but HP’s technology represents a big step forward. If it lives up to its evident promise, it could turn the industry on its head.

"Today, 3D printing is largely limited to making items like low-quality smartphone cases and toys by the handful. But HP says its new Jet Fusion 3D 3200 and Jet Fusion 3D 4200 printers are in another league and will make it possible to do “mass customization” for customers like BMW, and even do short-run manufacturing. HP says up to 50 percent of the custom plastic parts for the Jet Fusion 3D printers, for example, will be printed and produced with the HP Multi Jet Fusion printer system itself," according to a recent Fox News report.

“The tagline is that we have a printer that’s printing itself. We’re not doing it because we can, but because it’s cheaper versus traditional manufacturing,” said Stephen Nigro, president of HP’s 3D printing business. BMW, Nike, and others will be early adopters. BMW is looking at part production and personal customization. “You can imagine a situation where your BMW is customized. I don’t know exactly what they’re doing, because it’s very confidential, but certain components in the car could be designed just for you,”

A report published in Ten Links informed, "Proto Labs was chosen because it has extensive experience as a prime user of industrial-grade 3D printing technology (also known as additive manufacturing) for its prototyping and low-volume manufacturing services. The tech-enabled company also is significantly expanding its 3D printing capabilities as it moves this summer into a new 77,000 sq. ft. facility in Raleigh, NC."

“The new HP Multi Jet Fusion 3D Printing Solution looks like a truly exciting leap ahead in industrial-grade 3D printing,” says Rob Connelly, vice president of additive manufacturing for Proto Labs. “We at Proto Labs look forward to collaborating with HP to help develop this new platform that could result in higher productivity and quality at a lower cost.”
Proto Labs is “technology agnostic,” explains Connelly, meaning the company uses hardware and software that is compatible with many different manufacturing processes, providing a wide range of manufacturing options to its customers.

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