HP Launches 3D-Printing as a Service, Expands Partnerships

Volkswagon will shortly introduce its first “pure” electric vehicle, the ID.3. Future generations will include mass-produced 3D-printed parts produced with HP Multi Jet Fusion 3D printers.

On November 13th, HP Inc. announced a series of new 3D-printing services that it says are designed to help customers more easily integrate 3D printing into their digital manufacturing strategies. It also announced a series of expanded industrial partnerships and is showcasing innovative new applications and use cases with Siemens, Volkswagen, and more at the upcoming formnext 2019 additive-manufacturing conference.

The firm also reported that last year, companies produced more than 18 million parts with HP Multi Jet Fusion 3D printing, and that it’s developed new automotive applications from joint HP and Siemens development; new certified TPU material from Lubrizol; and new industrial collaboration with Rösler’s AM Solutions

3D Printing as a Service

HP introduced new 3D-as-a-Service models, and an expanded HP Digital Manufacturing Network.

Ramon Pastor, interim president of 3D Printing and Digital Manufacturing at HP, explained that the new offerings are designed to lower the barrier for entry for companies to more easily deploy HP’s 3D-printing solutions, also noting “And these are just the first steps – we will continue collaborating with customers and partners to pioneer new models unlocking and accelerating the power of digital manufacturing.”

The firm explained that as customers transition to mass production with 3D printing, HP is providing a variety of new options to help them, including:

  • The new HP 3D as a Service (3DaaS) Base subscription service provides customers automatic replenishment of HP 3D-printing supplies, simplified tracking of billing and usage, and reliable remote and on-site support services. The new pay-per-build service is available for the HP Jet Fusion 5200, HP Jet Fusion 4200, and HP Jet Fusion 500 series 3D printers.
  • The new HP 3D as a Service (3DaaS) Plus subscription integrates hardware, supplies, and services, and is said to be is ideal for customers looking to accelerate product life cycles with optimized in-house rapid prototyping and final part production. The initial 3DaaS Plus subscription starts with the HP Jet Fusion 340 3D printer, with additional 3DaaS subscriptions to be introduced.
  • HP is expanding its HP Digital Manufacturing Network with new partners Prototal in Europe and Solize in Japan. The HP Digital Manufacturing Network is a global community of digital-manufacturing service providers with a proven capability for high-quality, high-volume Multi Jet Fusion and Metal Jet part production.  Customers around the world can access this distributed network of plastics and metals parts providers to quickly scale up parts production when needed.

Expanded Industry 4.0 Alliances for Applications, Materials, and Post-Processing Innovation

HP announced several expanded industrial alliances, including:

  • Siemens and HP are showcasing new serial production-ready parts designed with two leading automotive industry suppliers.  Leveraging the recently announced HP + Siemens additive manufacturing solution, automotive engineering expert EDAG has developed a topology-optimized active coolant distributor for electric vehicles, and Adient, a global leader in automotive seating for all major automakers, is creating a new seat headrest optimized for size and light-weighting without compromising material strength and flexibility.
  • Lubrizol, a leading global specialty chemical company and an existing HP 3D-printing materials partner, is announcing ESTANE 3D TPU M95-A, a new certified powder-based thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) material for HP Jet Fusion 4200 3D printing solutions.  TPU is said to be ideal for flexible and elastic parts and opens up new market opportunities for HP’s 3D-printing customers.  The new Lubrizol TPU complements HP’s existing High Reusability PA-12, PA-12 Glass Beads, PA-11, and BASF Ultrasint TPU materials.
  • AM Solutions, a division of the Rösler group, a leader in the equipment, process technologies and consumables for the automed post processing and surface finishing of 3D-printed parts, and HP unveiled a new partnership aimed at bringing an industrial ready and scalable 3D-printing post-processing workflow to customers. AM Solutions also plans to use the HP Jet Fusion 5200 Series 3D solution for design and optimization of its own products, and offer Multi Jet Fusion design, part production, and finishing services to its customers.

HP says its portfolio of 3D printing solutions – including 3D printer  prototyping and production, and plastics and metals consumables – is seeing strong customer adoption across numerous industries.

Earlier this year, HP launched the Jet Fusion 5200 Series 3D solution, its most advanced plastics 3D-printer solution to date. Avid, a product-development firm specializing in manufacturing efficiency, Weerg, a rapidly growing manufacturing parts provider, Yazaki, a global automotive parts supplier and wire-harnessing specialist, and Extol, an engineering and parts producer for the automotive and other industries, are among early users that HP says are achieving improved operational efficiency and greater productivity.

Volkswagon EV Car

Last year Volkswagen Group selected the HP Metal Jet 3D printer as part of its industrial additive manufacturing campaign. Volkswagen and HP are executing a multi-year design and production roadmap and recently crossed an important milestone. In partnership with GKN Powder Metallurgy, the companies completed a production run of more than 10,000 parts produced in just a few weeks to support Volkswagon’s ID.3 electric vehicle launch event.

Volkswagon plans to incorporate HP 3D-printed parts beginning with  cosmetic parts. It will then be targeting 3D-printed metal parts into the next generation of its vehicles “as quickly as possible” and is targeting a continuous increase in part size and technical requirements – with the future goal of producing 3D-printed soccer-ball-size parts of 50,000 to 100,000 per year.

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