The wait is over… HP is officially entering the 3D printing market with a 3D metal printer designed for manufacturing larger quantities, not prototypes.
According to HP, the printer will be cost-competitive with MIM for runs up to 50,000 parts, representing a big breakthrough compared to DMLS.
So how does HP’s much-anticipated metal jet process work exactly?
- Deposit a layer of powder
- Selectively add a binding agent to the layer with those fancy nozzles
- Add another layer of powder and repeat until the object is completely built
- Remove the object from the powder and dry it
- Place in sintering furnace to fuse the metal particles together
In order to complete the final step in the metal jet process, a furnace is required to sinter the parts, however, HP has no plans to sell a special furnace. There is certainly an opportunity to watch for companies moving to production with the HP system, and contact them and if your products have some unique benefits, HP might even refer some business to you.
Keep in mind, HP refers to the metal jet approach as a “batch process”, in which many parts are created all at once and 50x more productive than competing powder-bed/laser fusion 3D metal printing systems.
Currently, HP only offering compatibility with stainless steel powder, but the company has plans to add additional materials to the menu as demand arises which will be certified by its chemists for use in its metal jet systems.
HP is extremely excited about its prospects within the 3D printing industry moving into the future.
“Without a doubt it is a big bet for the company,” Stephen Nigro, president of HP’s 3-D printing business, told Forbes. “Without a doubt, we have aspirations that this will become a big part of HP’s business in the five-to-10 years time frame.”
For more information, check out the full press release here.