HP to scale up its 3D printer business - 31-05-2017
- After announcing its first revenue from sales, HP Inc. today said it is now focused on scaling up its Multi Jet Fusion 3D printing business that it believes will rival standard manufacturing technologies, such as injection molding.
While HP is planning some direct sales of its new Jet Fusion printer lineup, the vast majority of the machines will be sold through about 30 resellers in North America and Europe, where the company is focusing its attention.
What's interesting "is 80% of these channel partners are new for HP," Steven Nigro, president of HP's 3D Printing business, said during a press and analyst briefing on Friday.
HP also has more than a dozen 3D Printing Reference and Experience centers throughout the U.S. and Europe where potential customers can test the industrial 3D printing product. HP made the announced today at the RAPID 2017 additive manufacturing conference in Pittsburgh.
HP claims its Multi Jet Fusion 3D printers will enable mass production of parts through additive manufacturing (3D printing), instead of rapid prototyping, for which the technology is typically used. The new printers are unlikely to be used to produce millions or billions of production parts. Think, instead, in terms of hundreds, thousands or tens of thousands of parts, HP said.
The printer works by first depositing powder (about 100 microns thick, or the thickness of a standard sheet of paper) onto a print bed using a print bar that looks like a scanning bar on a typical 2D printer. The print bar has 30,000 nozzles spraying 350 million fusing agent droplets per second in specific patterns as it moves back and forth across a print platform.
The top of the HP Multi Jet Fusion 3D printer showing a print bar. It looks like a scanning bar on a typical 2D printer. The 3D print bar, however, has 30,000 nozzles spraying 350 million drops per second of thermoplastic or other material.
A detailing fusing agent is sprayed around the edges of a printed object, giving it "sharp" details.
HP has said its 3D printers will be revolutionary in that they will be able to print electronics into the parts they create through the use of conductive materials printed at the voxel level. Like a pixel in a display, a voxel in 3D printing is a tiny cube, millions of which make up a larger object. A single voxel is 50 microns in size.