A single announcement from HP Inc. will generate buzz in the additive manufacturing industry. But what happens when it makes a series of announcements all at once? We’ll just have to see! HP has just officially announced the release of its new Jet Fusion 5200 Series 3D printing solution, introduced a new TPU material, launched its Digital Manufacturing Network and expanded on strategic partnerships within various industries.
The major announcements broaden the company’s AM operations in a big way and enable HP customers to truly exploit digital manufacturing. As Christoph Schell, President of 3D Printing and Digital Manufacturing at HP, explained: “The Fourth Industrial Revolution is one of the most transformative forces in our lifetime. New technology innovations will be required, new partnership models will emerge and new modes of doing business will unfold.
“HP is committed to helping customers with diverse manufacturing needs turn change into opportunity by delivering the most innovative solutions portfolio and comprehensive ecosystem of industry-leading partners. The broadening of our portfolio with the new Jet Fusion 5200 Series 3D printing system, coupled with expanded industrial alliances and our new Digital Manufacturing network, are important accelerators of our digital manufacturing journey.”
If the news is too much to take in all at once, we’ll guide you through it. Starting with the new hardware release.
Introducing the Jet Fusion 5200 Series
The new Jet Fusion 5200 Series expands upon HP’s existing Multi Jet Fusion portfolio, which also includes the Jet Fusion 300/500 Series for functional prototyping applications and the Jet Fusion 4200 Series, for short runs and production. The new 3D printer series adds to the portfolio, offering a solution for volume production.
The hardware comes with a number of improvements and upgrades which enable users to benefit from higher productivity, accuracy, consistency and efficiency. Other advantages of the new series include increased flexibility, improved uptime, streamlined workflows and simplified fleet management.
All the improvements made to the 3D printing platform—which we will delve into below—were informed by insights provided by MFJ users. Ramon Pastor, GM and Global Head of Plastics Solutions, 3D Printing & Digital Manufacturing, HP Inc., pointed to three main value points in a press briefing about the new release: cost, productivity and applications. HP’s production customers have also suggested they would like an end-to-end solution to facilitate volume production.
“Overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) is the single most important metric our industrial customers use to qualify a piece of equipment in their factories,” Pastor said. “With this machine we deliver a superior OEE, making it the best in class solution, with process capabilities that deliver dimensional accuracy and repeatability in the three axes.”
Among the most notable features of the 5200 series is a new single-pass configuration. As Pastor explains it, the new system effectively moves the center of the operation from a two-pass mode to a one-pass mode. This approach is enabled by the presence of a more powerful lamp and allows for a higher degree of productivity compared to HP’s other MJF systems. Further, the more powerful lamp also creates opportunities for working with high-temperature materials down the line.
The Jet Fusion 5200 Series also integrates a more sophisticated thermal imaging system (with five times the resolution of the 4200 Series), providing better precision and tighter process control.
The new 3D printing system also comes with a new cooling module, which further streamlines and automates the production process. The low-cost cooling unit essentially sits on top of the build unit and once the printing process is complete, the still hot parts are automatically transferred into the cooling boxes so that the build unit is liberated for the next job. This, Pastor explains, is highly advantageous for customers requiring high productivity and that operate multiple build units.
The 5200 Series comprises of three 3D printer models: the Jet Fusion 5200, Jet Fusion 5210 and Jet Fusion 5210 Pro. The latter two models offer better economic value than the 5200 for larger volume production. The 5210 models are also more conducive for industrial applications because they enable manufacturers to see the status of the machine from a distance.
The Jet Fusion 5200 Series is now available to order.
Software and Materials
To accompany the new hardware, HP has also introduced two new software suites: 3D Process Control and HP 3D Center. The former helps to optimize the dimensional accuracy and consistency of part geometries. HP 3D Center, for its part, gives users the tools to optimize their whole factory. Finally, HP also launched the HP 3D Parts Assessment Service, which helps customers to identify and assess what parts can be 3D printed.
Excitingly, HP has also taken this opportunity to launch a new material for its Jet Fusion 5200 Series technology: ULTRASINT, a TPU thermoplastic polyurethane material developed by BASF. The new material is well suited for the automotive, industrial and consumer goods sectors for applications that require good shock absorbance, energy return and flexibility.
A number of companies are already utilizing the new material and HP’s Jet Fusion 5200 systems for production applications. Wind turbine producer Vestas, for instance, is using the technology and TPU material to produce protection components for their windmill blades. Canadian helmet manufacturer Kupol is also working with the material to print safer, more comfortable helmets. HP itself is also leveraging the new material to produce components for its other printing machines.
“As the largest provider of wind turbines in the world, Vestas is looking to innovators like HP to help us speed new product development for a more sustainable future,” said Jeremy D. Haight, Senior Principal Engineer of Emerging Technologies, Vestas VBIC. “The combination of new 3D printing materials and technology breakthroughs is a significant step toward unlocking new design possibilities, streamlining our manufacturing and improving environmental sustainability.”
Digital Manufacturing Network
In addition to releasing its new Jet Fusion 5200 Series and a new TPU material (as well as a slew of new collaboration announcements), HP has also launched the new HP Digital Manufacturing Network, a global community of HP production partners. The aim of the network is to help design, produce and deliver plastic and metal parts at scale leveraging HP’s 3D printing solutions.
Presently, the Digital Manufacturing Network includes partners from the U.S., Asia and Europe such as Forecast 3D, GKN Powder Metallurgy, GoProto, Jabil, Materialise, Parmatech and ZiggZagg NV. These early partners have all successfully met HP’s stringent program qualifications. The network will continue to expand as more potential partners are currently undergoing the qualification process.