HP introduces upgrade to 3D printing systems that unlocks new economies of scale

HP Inc. (Palo Alto, CA) took new steps today in its effort to “disrupt the $12-trillion manufacturing sector” and accelerate innovation with the introduction of a new high-volume 3D printing system along with some new materials. Ramon Pastor, General Manager, Multi Jet Fusion, and Fabio Annunziata, Director, 3D Materials and Business Development, unveiled the news yesterday during an online press briefing.

Prefacing the product introductions, Pastor posited that “3D printing is the catalyst for the fourth industrial revolution,” which also integrates artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, Big Data and robotics. To fully unlock the potential of 3D printing, Pastor continued, there needs to be an increase in product capabilities, a reduction in materials prices and improved material selection. The announcement HP made publicly today are meant to address these issues in a meaningful way.

HP 4210 3D printers
HP Jet Fusion 3D 4200 printers.

The new Jet Fusion 3D 4210 printing system significantly lowers overall operating costs while increasing production volume capabilities, according to HP. The industrial-scale printer achieves a break-even threshold of up to 110,000 parts, said Pastor, and has the lowest cost per part—up to 65% less—compared with other 3D printing methods. Existing customers can pre-order the 4210 upgrade and new customers can purchase Jet Fusion systems with the option to pre-order the upgrade. It will be available commercially in March 2018.

“We are paving the way for industrial-scale 3D printing, but the printer is just one part of that,” said Pastor. Accelerating materials innovation is equally crucial, and HP introduced today three new materials and two new members in its collaborative materials partner ecosystem to further that goal.

High-reusability grades of PA 11 and PA 12 glass beads for HP’s Jet Fusion printing systems will be commercially available, respectively, in January 2018 and mid-December 2017. The materials are suitable for producing low-cost, high-quality functional parts. PA 11’s impact resistance and ductility makes it suitable for prosthetic devices, insoles, sporting goods, snap fits and living hinges, among other applications, while the PA 12 glass beads enable dimensional stability and repeatability for applications that require high stiffness, such as housings, molds and tooling.

But wait, there’s more. “PA 12 is going into space,” announced Annunziata. The material was used to 3D print a printer tray, part of an HP printer that leaves for the International Space Station in February.

HP also announced that it will bring to market high-reusability polypropylene for its 3D printing systems in 2018.

Finally, HP introduced two new members to its materials partner ecosystem: The Dressler Group and Lubrizol.

Dressler will provide HP’s materials partners preferred access to its toll grinding manufacturing capabilities, said HP, helping to remove one of the main barriers to 3D-printing materials development.

Lubrizol’s deep portfolio of thermoplastic urethane products will help accelerate the development of innovative materials designed for final part production, said HP.

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