HP: Full-Color 3D Printing, 3D-Metal Printing for Manufacturing on the Way

CRN reports that HP Inc. CEO and President Dion Weisler recently told Wall Street analysts that the company will be accelerating its 3D-printing strategy with an industry first: a new, low-cost, full-color 3D printer, and breakthrough 3D printing using metal, both for manufacturing.

According to Weisler, the new Multi Jet Fusion 3D printer would be the “one and only” 3D printer in the industry that can produce manufacturing-quality full-color parts.

Weisler also said that the lower pricing will open up new markets for HP and 3D printing, including a new segment of product designers and creators.

The upcoming full-color 3D printer is based on HP’s Multi Jet Fusion 3D printing and will provide “breakthrough speed, quality, and cost,” according to Weisler.

Speaking at HP Inc.’s headquarters, Weisler showed several full-color parts for manufacturing, including a multi-colored bracket that highlighted “high-stress areas” with different colors.

“The designer can zoom in on high-stress areas and see where they might modify the design,” Weisler said. “Interesting shapes like this in full color are only able to be produced with 3D printing.”

HP is also saying it will be able to print using metal instead of using the current polymer plastic. “Now we are going to disrupt metals,” said Weisler. “Our 3D printing metals technology is unique and includes extensive HP intellectual property.”

The HP CEO says that HP will be bringing both the full-color and metals-printing 3D printers to market in 2018.

According to Weisler, HP is already printing metal parts in its labs, and demonstrated 3D-printed metal parts to analysts: “These are parts that are produced in the millions because of course where we are taking our technology is not just for small prototyping. This is for mass manufacturing to disrupt a very large traditional industry.”

Weisler says HP’s 3D-printing strategy is “a massive opportunity,” and that it will be a multi-year journey, that “should be a growth engine for this company for decades to come.”

He also says that with artificial intelligence, new algorithms will open the door to  “unimaginably complex 3D manufacturing breakthroughs,” noting “If you wanted to drastically reduce the part weight of an airplane wing while increasing structural integrity, machines will be able to create entirely new complex designs that achieve those objectives, designs, and parts that are impossible to make using traditional manufacturing methods.”

Last but not least, HP’s labs are working with adding sensors to 3D-printed parts, so that, for instance, they could proactively relay stress fractures in 3D-printed parts .

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