Since the very start of industrial-grade additive manufacturing, the technology has been pioneered primarily by the likes of 3D Systems and Stratasys, two of the largest and most influential 3D printing companies still to this day. But, as these two companies have both been dealing with lackluster financial reports and a faltering market value, others are trying to fill the void and produce the next-generation of 3D printers. Some of these companies, such as Carbon, are relatively new on the tech scene.

But, one experienced company, Hewlett-Packard (HP), has recently taken the 3D printing industry by storm with their production-grade line of Multi Jet Fusion 3D printers. Although these HP 3D printers have been all the rage as of late (especially for us in the 3D printing media), the tech giant has been making a lot of other sly business moves recently, and seem to be preparing a takeover of almost every facet that makes up the 3D printing market. When you couple HP’s recent acquisitions with their innovations in 3D printing, a colorful, wide-reaching picture starts to protrude. Let’s take an in-depth look at the recent moves made by HP, and attempt to paint the future of the company that once pioneered 2D printing.

Let’s start with their MultiJet Fusion 3D Printer, their first attempt at professional-grade 3D printing, which has stirred up a ton of hype around the industry since it was unveiled in Barcelona, Spain earlier this year. The two models, 3200 and 4200, are said to capable of extreme accuracy and detail, thermal control on a voxel-by-voxel basis, 10x faster printing speeds compared to other printers, the lowest cost-per-part, and material reusability.

Their MultiJet Fusion 3D printing systems are seen as an end-to-end solution, and HP already has a growing portfolio of partners helping them to develop advanced materials, including Evonik (automotive), BASF (chemicals), and Arkema (chemicals and performance materials). With extremely fast print times, expansive material capabilities, potential multi-color capabilities, and fully integrated system, HP’s new 3D printers could soon overcome Carbon’s M1 as the most revolutionary 3D printing technology out there.

For those of us rooting for the industry to grow exponentially, there’s a lot to be hyped about when it comes to HP’s MultiJet Fusion 3D Printer. Still, HP has been making some pretty hefty moves, many of them behind-the-scenes, to ensure that they have a stake in every sector of 3D printing technology. For starters, HP has branched out to start HP Tech Ventures, and investment firm set on investing in tech startups. During TechCrunch’s Disrupt NY event, the head of the investment group, HP’s chief disrupter Andrew Bolwell, announced that HP Ventures will focus on 3D printing technology, along with virtual reality, robotics, and the Internet of Things.

So, not only will HP be branching off into their own 3D printing venture, but they will also bring the brightest 3D printing startups into their arsenal as well. Both Bolwell and HP CTO Shane Wall have been praising 3D printing as a primary target for HP Ventures. In addition to the new venture capital group, HP has also put a heavy interest on 3D scanning technology. Earlier this month, HP acquired the German-based company DAVID Vision Systems, producers of the popular line of 3D scanning equipment. With this acquisition, which will reportedly come with the experienced DAVID team members, HP could be making a major push to expand their end-to-end 3D printing solution into a full-scale 3D solution.

This all-encompassing move makes a lot of sense when you look at whom HP has been partnering up with. One area where 3D scanning is often vital is the medical industry, think MRI and CAT scans, which are sometimes used to create 3D printed models for surgical preparation or other educational purposes. One of the primary partners working with HP’s new 3D printing technology is no other than the premier healthcare company Johnson & Johnson, who together will attempt to develop better healthcare outcomes for patients, consumers, and health care providers, while also reducing costs. Together, the two companies will work to develop new products and solutions that will enhance the experience for every patient or consumer.

“Advances in 3D printing technology have the potential to break historical paradigms of health care delivery in ways that are not feasible in traditional manufacturing processes,” said Stephen Nigro, president of HP’s 3D printing business.  “Together with Johnson & Johnson we have the potential to create opportunities and innovations in health care to improve patients’ lives that neither company could develop alone.”

Could these new healthcare products and solutions tie in with their recent acquisition of DAVID Vision System? Either way, the tech giant is quickly expanding their reach over the technology and services that 3D Systems and Stratasys once commanded. With their MultiJet 3D Printer set to innovate upon many industries, and an established 3D scanning company now in tow, HP seems prepared to become the king of the 3D printing realm.

Tyler Koslow
Tyler is a Brooklyn-based freelancer, and has produced content for a wide variety of publications and companies, including, 3D Printing Industry, Dell, Brooklyn Magazine, and Equity Arcade. His content is focused on a wide range of topics including emerging technologies, gaming, music, and culture.

    Comments are closed.

    You may also like

    More in News