Nov 22, 2017 | By David

Consumer electronics giant HP’s recent re-entry into the 3D printing market has had considerable success, with different FDM and SLS models of its Jet Fusion system being implemented in a variety of different industries. The company recently released information about its fourth quarter earnings, along with a general overview of the strategy for its growing 3D printing business. The most significant part was the announcement of a new solution for 3D printing full-color mechanical parts, to be released sometime next year.

The results for Q4 were largely positive for the company, and in line with general market estimates. 3D printing technology isn’t HP’s main earner by any means, but its additive manufacturing offerings are starting to gain a firm hold in the crowded digital manufacturing marketplace. 20 partnerships with other companies, including research and development collaborations with Siemens and Deloitte, have been a key part of this expansion. HP also secured its first major international distribution deal for its 3D printing systems, with Henkel now reselling the company’s additive products to manufacturing businesses worldwide.

Speaking about the company’s 3D printing business in relation to its overall strategy, company CEO Dion Weisler said, ''Is 3D Printing financially material to our results today? Absolutely not. Is 3D Printing materially important to the strategic direction of this company? Absolutely, yes. And I think whenever you have a $12 trillion market that you have the ability to transform, that becomes incredibly transformative for a company like HP, much in the same way that the laser printer and the inkjet printer did for Hewlett-Packard Company many years ago.’’

Looking ahead, a reduction in price seems to be on the cards across the company’s entire range, with the JetFusion 3D 3200 now starting at $130,000 and the more advanced 4200 at $155,000. Having established a solid reputation with FDM and SLS technology, the company should also be expanding into metal 3D printing for the first time sometime in 2018. For dedicated followers of the 3D printing industry, the most exciting story to come out of HP’s recent announcements will probably be its plan for a full-color 3D printing solution, to be released next year.

Teased over on the company’s website, this system should allow users to produce functional parts very quickly, in full color with voxel control. Voxels are how manufacturers refer to the smallest units of a 3D printed object, understood as values on a regular grid in a three-dimensional space, much like a pixel on a display screen but with volume. Each voxel contains volumetric information that can be altered in order to achieve the desired aesthetic and functional properties in a finished object. Manipulation of a print job at this microscopic level of detail is becoming an increasingly viable option for optimizing the 3D printing process. HP envisages this voxel-control technology as being a key driver of manufacturing innovation, at the grass-roots level. It will be tailored for small or medium-sized product development teams, as well as design firms, universities and other research institutions.



Posted in 3D Printer



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