HP’s Dion Weisler Shares Thoughts on HP’s 3D-Printing Strategy; 3D Printers to Ship Later this Year

multi-jet fusion

HP Inc.’s Multi Jet Fusion 3D printer.

In a recent interview with Fortune magazine, HP Inc. CEO Dion Weisler recently shared some thoughts on where HP will be taking its 3D printing, noting that HP’s 3D printing will be “ten times faster than anything else in the market,” producing objects with 21 microns of accuracy, or about the size of a human hair.

3d objects

Objects produced by HP’s Multi Jet Fusion are said to be much stronger than objects produced by competitive 3D printers, making them more suitable for use in industrial applications.

Weisler explains that HP’s 3D-printing technology – announced in October 2014 with HP’s first 3D printer, the Multi Jet Fusion – leverages 30 years of HP’s experience in inkjet-based printing to produce a 3D printed object.

Weisler also explains that HP’s 3D printing will focus on manufacturing and the “commercial side of the business in prototyping and production” – not on the consumer market and “$300 desktop-based printers,” as HP doesn’t see much value in the consumer 3D-printing market, with the HP Inc. CEO stating that “The home market hasn’t grown; it’s actually going backwards.”

Weisler notes that HP has signed on five of “what we call co-development companies” in industries such as apparel, to manufacturing, “to all sorts of things,” all of which are working exclusively with HP’s 3D-printing technology. He notes that HP announced its Multi Jet Fusion 3D printing and 3D-printing technology in 2014 – a year-and-a-half early than launch – because it’s been co-developing in “big businesses.” These companies are set to deploy HP’s 3D printing in the second half of 2016, with HP’s 3D-printing becoming generally available towards the end of 2016.

3d-printing process

HP’s Multi Jet Fusion 3D-printing process.

HP Multi Jet Fusion printing is designed to print objects faster, and to print stronger objects, than competitors. The technology begins by laying down a thin layer of material in the working area. Next, the carriage containing an HP Thermal Inkjet array passes from left-to-right, printing chemical agents across the full working area. The layering and energy processes are combined in a continuous pass of the second carriage from top-to-bottom. The process continues, layer-by-layer, until a complete part is formed. At each layer, the carriages change direction for fastest production.

Up to 30 million drops per second can be printed across each inch of the working area.

To ensure that the material has been properly fused and that part edges are smooth and well-defined, the material is re-coated across the work area. A fusing agent is then selectively applied where the particles are to fuse together. Next, a detailing agent is selectively applied where the fusing action needs to be reduced or amplified. The process is then repeated until a complete part has been formed.

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