Info-tech

HP looks to give a new dimension to printing

Varun Aggarwal Mumbai | Updated on January 20, 2018 Published on May 17, 2016

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3D printer 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.

Imagine if you gave a print command on your computer and out came an Aston Martin DB5. In 2012, that’s exactly what 3D printing technology did for James Bond movie Skyfall, when a giant 3D printer was used to create a life-size version of the super-car.

Since then 3D printers have been used to print a range of things from guns, which can fire a real bullet, to prosthetic arms and legs that are made to measure. 

Now, 77-year-old HP has entered this hi-tech space by launching its own range of 3D printers, which will be available globally by the end of this year at a starting price of $130,000 a piece (about ₹87 lakh). Among consumer electronic brands, HP is the first to enter this space.

Why pay so much for a printer? 3D printers can cost anywhere from $2,000 to over a million dollars, depending what you want it to do.

Not your regular printer

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. 

By printing functional parts at the individual voxel level (a voxel is the 3D equivalent of a 2D pixel in traditional printing), HP claims its HP 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 ₹1,77,500.

Published on May 17, 2016
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