HP Puts 3-D Printing Stake In The Ground For 2016

Hewlett-Packard Wednesday put a stake in the ground with its Multi Jet Fusion 3-D printing technology, promising to deliver an end-to-end HP 3-D printing system in 2016.

HP said it expects to bring 10 times faster 3-D printing speeds at higher levels of part quality and reliability -- along with breakthrough economics -- when it brings the Multi Jet Fusion 3-D printing technology to market.

"We don't feel we are missing anything by not being in the market for the next year," said Ramon Pastor, vice president and general manager of large-format printing at HP, Palo Alto, Calif. "We are going to unlock the things that are not letting the market develop, which is speed and economics. By no means are we late to the market."

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Pastor said he expects HP to reduce current state-of-the-art 3-D printing time from 12 to 22 hours to just one hour. "This is a total revolution," he said. "By moving from 12 hours to one hour you can do many more parts per shift and do it much faster. You can churn a part in one hour vs. delivering it in one day or two days."

Pastor said he sees HP driving a major expansion of the 3-D market when it enters the game in 2016 with a centralized printing service bureau offensive. "We see huge growth," he said. "We believe that we can make it a bigger size with our entrance into the market."

Wohlers Associates, a Fort Collins, Colo., market research firm, estimates the 3-D printing market will grow from about $1 billion in 2013 to $8 billion in 2020.

HP is releasing its 3-D printing road map as part of a new "open" 3-D printing innovation offensive. "This is the first time we have done a technology announcement well before we have the product,’ said Pastor. ’For the 21st century, we need to innovate in a new way. The closed system is not the way to go. We are leveraging the innovation and entrepreneurship of many people."

Shapeways, the leading 3-D printing service bureau in New York, is one of the service bureaus HP is working with to develop the Multi Jet Fusion 3-D technology. "By working with Shapeways, we are testing the parameters of the product," Pastor said.

Kelly Ireland, founder and CEO of CB Technologies, a Kirkland, Wash.-based HP Platinum partner that sells the complete HP portfolio from printing and personal systems to enterprise products, said she sees HP delivering breakthrough 3-D printing innovation with the Multi Jet Fusion technology. "This is HP once again leap-frogging the competition," said Ireland.

Ireland said she sees HP's big investments in research and development with technology such as Multi Jet Fusion resonating with enterprise customers. "The innovation message is breaking through," she said. "This is the kind of technology that is going to go right up the food chain to aerospace companies, automobile manufacturers and appliance companies who will eventually use this technology to manufacture 3-D parts."