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HP Inc on 3D printing and the market

September 7, 2016

HP Inc's MultiJet Fusion 3D printer and post-process station (Credit: TCT Magazine)

HP Inc’s MultiJet Fusion 3D printer and post-process station (Credit: TCT Magazine)

The OEM hosted a tour of its headquarters in Barcelona, and showcased its MultiJet Fusion device, as well as plans for the technology.

TCT Magazine reported on the Multi Jet Fusion device, set to be launched this year and built on HP Inc’s thermal inkjet technology, using a “unique synchronous architecture” to image surface areas of objects “at least 10 times faster than the fastest technology in the market today”, according to the OEM. Its launch, the website noted, is part of a move suggesting “the dimensions are becoming increasingly blurred” between 2D and 3D printing.

The two technologies previously “only shared nine letters”, being “hugely different but the target markets have been vastly unalike”, and “polar opposites when it comes to speed”. TCT Magazine stated that during its tour of the Barcelona site, it was “evident” that HP Inc “sees similarities in the routes to market” for 3D printing “from its dominance in the ink printing sectors”, using its “extensive knowledge of successful bringing digital printing technologies to market in order to leverage deals in the 3D world”.

Part of this includes that the technology is being “manufactured, tested and optimised” alongside the OEM’s 2D wide-format devices, with some parts in these machines “made more efficient using in-house 3D printing”. Among the “early adopters” of HP Inc’s machines are Nike, BMW, Siemens and Johnson & Johnson, with some companies putting investment in 3D printing on hold to wait for HP Inc’s technology to be launched.

The OEM’s “short-lived pilot” with Stratasys six years ago, with the DesignJet devices, “seemed to end pretty quickly without much of a fanfare”, but the OEM found the experience “beneficial […] for a re-entry to market”. Alex Monino, Worldwide Marketing and Sales Strategy Director for 3D Printing, stated that “we learned the market and wanted to validate some go-to-market hypothesis with that pilot.

“We are applying those lessons as we move forward. That gap between the pilot and now is because we feel like we did not have something disruptive to really add to the industry, until now”. In turn, Helena Herrero, Managing Director of HP Inc Iberia, added that “we are not entering the market to be a player in a $4 billion (€3.5 billion) market. We want to lead the way in taking on the $12 trillion (€10.6 trillion) market of manufacturing with 3D printing”.

Monino also pointed out: “You will spark thinking and big changes like in companies like Nike or BMW. No 3D printing technology will be able to do everything. This is why we’re taking a very open approach because we believe that we cannot do this alone.”

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