Mar 16, 2017 | By Benedict

Printing giant HP has unveiled a new 3D Open Materials and Applications Lab at its Corvallis, Oregon site. HP says the 3,500 sq ft space will increase cross-industry collaboration, allow partners to test new 3D printing materials for the HP Jet Fusion 3D printer, and decrease time-to-market.

Inside the HP 3D Open Materials and Applications Lab in Corvallis, Oregon

It’s been about 10 months since HP unveiled its first ever 3D printer, the HP Jet Fusion 3D Printing Solution. That unveiling was one of the 3D printing industry’s key moments of 2016, but after years of anticipation about HP’s promised additive manufacturing product, the announcement raised as many questions as it provided answers. What was this “Open Materials Platform” all about, for example? Was HP handing over all material responsibilities to its partners? And if so, what exactly was in that box labelled “HP 3D Material”?

Today, we still don’t know the full ins and outs of HP’s business with its material partners, but we do know where a lot of that business will go down: HP has just unveiled a new 3D Open Materials and Applications Lab at its Oregon site. The facility measures 3,500 square feet, and will function as a “proving ground” for HP’s 3D printing technology. The printing company’s first group of partners will be able to use the lab to test new, powdered raw materials that can be used in HP’s 3D printers.

The HP Jet Fusion 3D 4200 3D printer

“We are convening the world’s leading materials companies and empowering them to disrupt and innovate,” said HP’s Tim Weber, Global Head of 3D Materials and Advanced Applications and general manager of the Corvallis site. “It will be exciting to watch as these companies test the limits of the HP Open Platform. The ability to create new materials more quickly, and to easily iterate and improve those materials, will lower costs and accelerate the digital reinvention of manufacturing.”

At present, those companies mentioned by Weber include Arkema, BASF, Evonik, and Lehman & Voss, each a major chemicals and materials company with a strong global presence. However, HP says that more partners will soon walk through the doors of the new facility, providing new and innovative materials for both the Jet Fusion 3D 4200 and Jet Fusion 3D 3200 3D printers. These new materials will be unlike FDM filaments or SLA resins, and will be printed as individual voxels.

HP says that interaction with these materials partners is key to getting the most out of its relatively new 3D printing technology. “There’s no way that HP itself can develop and certify the some 30,000 materials made by all the materials companies in the world,” Weber said. “Working together in a hands-on, agile development environment enables us to test and certify materials that are compatible with our Multi Jet Fusion technology.”

Outside HP's Corvallis site

In October, Evonik became the first HP partner to have a material certified for use in the Jet Fusion 3D printer, but HP envisages a future in which customers will have an app-store-like range of materials to choose from, with contributions from companies large and small. By harnessing experience from materials experts the world over, HP hopes that it can “drive innovation” that will in turn raise quality standards and even lower costs.

“We must rethink the entire lifecycle of a manufactured part, from design to delivery,” Weber added.

The HP Jet Fusion 3D 4200 3D printer

Key benefits of HP’s new 3D printing materials lab:

  • Increase cross-industry collaboration
  • Allow partners to test new materials to use in HP 3D printers
  • Decrease the time-to-market
  • Jumpstart product development
  • Get real-time feedback from engineers

 

 

Posted in 3D Printing Materials

 

 

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