Hewlett-Packard launches 3D industrial printers in US; will be available in S'pore late next year

HP Jet Fusion 3D 4200 Solution will be available in Singapore from late 2017.
HP Jet Fusion 3D 4200 Solution will be available in Singapore from late 2017.PHOTO: HP

SINGAPORE - Hewlett-Packard has launched its 3D industrial printers in the United States and said models will be available in Singapore from late 2017.

In a statement released on Tuesday night (May 17) after its unveiling at an event in Orlando, Florida, HP claimed the machines can print 10 times faster and at half the cost of 3D printers that are currently available.

The printers can be used for prototyping and for short-run manufacturing.

HP described them as commercial grade machines that can print ready-to-use products. In future, half the custom plastic parts will be printed by the printer itself, HP added.

Two models of the HP Jet Fusion 3D will be available, with prices starting from US$130,000.

The company said it is now taking orders online for the printers.

Mr Richard Bailey, HP Inc's president of Asia Pacific and Japan, said HP's new 3D printing platform will enable a new just-in-time, on-demand delivery model that will transform manufacturing and make it more sustainable.

"Businesses in Singapore can leverage on HP's 3D printing solution to move towards advanced manufacturing and drive new business models," he added.

The 3D printers are the first innovative product to come from HP Inc.

This company, which is in the consumer PC and printer business, was established as a result of a split of the original Hewlett-Packard company into two publicly-listed companies in November last year.

The other company, known as HP Enterprise, focuses on selling computer gear and software for businesses.

HP Inc is betting its future on additive manufacturing, commonly known as 3D printing. It is a process in which objects such as shoes, sensors, machine, car parts or other objects are printed, layer by layer, out of plastic, resin, or powdered metal.

A fast growing industry, 3D printing has the potential to disrupt the manufacturing process by reducing the product development life cycle and cutting costs on the manufacturing floor.

HP Inc is a latecomer to the 3D printing industry. Its competitors like Stratsys have been in that market for some years already.

It developed the HP Jet Fusion 3D printer at its in-house labs together with industry partners such as Nike and BMW.

Mr Jens Ertel, head of the BMW Group Additive Manufacturing Center said it sees potential in its partnership with HP and hopes to use 3D printing to produce parts as well as to customise car parts for its customers.

3D printing has created a buzz because companies are looking into it as a quick method for producing their products.

However, the method has been confined mostly to allowing designers and engineers to rapidly produce mock up models of products. The printers have currently not allowed manufacturers to print quickly at volume, or print with materials that can stand the test of time.