HP launches world's first production-ready 3D printing system

Technology major Hewlett-Packard (HP) on Monday unveiled, what it claims is the world's first production-ready commercial 3D printing system, which it said could spark a reinvention in design, prototyping and manufacturing. HP has also become the first among consumer electronic brands to enter this hi-tech space.

''The first commercial 3D printing solution based on an open platform, the HP Jet Fusion 3D Printing Solution will create the highest quality physical parts, produce parts up to 10 times faster, and at half the cost of current 3D print systems,'' HP stated in a release.

HP has launched its own range of 3D printers - HP Jet Fusion 3D 4,200 and HP Jet fusion 3D 3,200 -  which will be available globally by the end of this year, at a starting price of $130,000 apiece (about Rs87 lakh).

3D printers can cost anywhere from $2,000 to over a million dollars, depending what you want it to do.

Unveiled at RAPID, the largest 3D additive manufacturing conference, the HP Jet Fusion 3D Printing solution leverages HP's decades of research and expertise in precision mechanics, microfluidics and materials sciences.

By printing functional parts for the first time at the individual voxel level (a voxel is the 3D equivalent of a 2D pixel in traditional printing), HP offers customers an unprecedented ability to transform part properties and deliver mass customisation.

A 3D printer is not an ordinary printer. It does not print on a piece of paper but creates a physical object based on a 3D design by laying down many successive thin layers of materials that can range from different types of plastics to metals to even food.

This typically helps manufacturers create working prototypes of their designs rapidly and reduces the time it takes to bring a product to the market by many months, as it allows them to rapidly test and modify designs.

HP claims its Jet Fusion 3D printers offer customers an unprecedented ability to transform part properties and deliver mass customisation.

''The new HP Jet Fusion 3D Printing Solution delivers a combination of speed, quality, and cost never seen in the industry. Businesses and manufacturers can completely rethink how they design and deliver solutions to their customers,'' said Stephen Nigro, President of HP's 3D printing business.

The company is hoping to change the dynamics of 3D printing just like it did with 2D printing several years ago. But, globally, niche companies such as Stratasys, 3D Systems and Voxjet are already offering cheaper 3D printers.

Stratasys, for example, has launched its consumer brand Makerbot in India with a starting price tag of Rs1,77,500.

HP Jet Fusion 3D 4200 printing solution uses advanced and custom print modes to control mechanical, functional, and aesthetic properties, accuracy, and speed. It benefits from advanced part quality monitoring during printing.

It also enables printing of additional parts - while printing is already in progress - for urgent jobs. It offers enhanced performance thanks to a higher disk capacity and additional memory.

HP Jet Fusion 3D 3200 printing solution can achieve an even lower cost per part.