Feb 9, 2017 | By David

The ongoing expansion of the 3D printing market appears to be having a profound impact on companies manufacturing more traditional technology, as HP announced today that hundreds of its employees are set to lose their jobs within a year. Management representatives from HP said in an official statement that its site in Leixlip, Ireland will soon be closing. The site has been a major part of the company's business strategy since 1995, and its closure means that close to 500 people will be out of work. This announcement follows one made by the company last October that between 3,000 and 4,000 jobs will be cut worldwide between 2017 and 2019, amounting to almost a tenth of its workforce.

These changes can be seen as a direct result of the pressure that newer technologies are putting on the home PC and printer market. The Leixlip facility was primarily used for the production of inkjet printer cartridges, as well as research and development in this field, and sales of these products are falling rapidly. Due to the increasing popularity and availability of portable and cloud computing, demand for desktop computers is at an historic low and printing out physical copies of documents is becoming a thing of the past.

HP insisted that the closure of the plant was entirely unrelated to the performance of its staff, praising Leixlip’s "long history of valuable contribution, innovation and business excellence." The company was one of the two main employers in the region, just to the west of Dublin, along with fellow technology giant Intel. The decision to close the HP site could have a major imapct on the local economy.

Attempting to soften the blow, HP declared its commitment to finding alternative employment opportunities for those affected, and to "providing a programme to help them prepare for the transition ahead." Ireland’s Jobs Minister Mary Mitchell O’Connor declared the intention of the Industrial Development Authority to sell the plant, in order to compensate for this huge loss of investment in the area.

As 2D printers are moving gradually towards obsolescence, HP is hoping for a smooth transition into the production of HP 3D printers. The investment potential of 3D printing technology has been identified as a key factor motivating the company’s change of strategy. In 2015 it announced that it was splitting its operations in two, with the newly established Hewlett Packard Enterprises functioning independently of Hewlett Packard, Inc. The former would be focused on taking advantage of the latest technological developments, with a specific focus on 3D printing. We reported extensively on the company's first foray into the 3D printing world last year. The MultiJet Fusion system was announced amid much excitement in 2014, and the unique printing technology was eventually released to the manufacturing market in late 2016.

In a statement about the Leixlip closure, HP reiterated its strategy, saying that "HP's global print business is working to drive continuous efficiencies and cost savings that enable investment in new market opportunities and growth initiatives, such as 3D printing." Hopefully major companies such as HP will be able to keep pace with developments and plan ahead effectively, even helping their employees to transfer their skills so everyone can benefit as much as possible from the exciting possibilities that 3D printing presents.



Posted in 3D Printer Company



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