September 2018 is off to a promising start for the additive manufacturing industry, with a slew of new products being announced by Desktop Metal, Velo3D, BCN3D Technologies, Optomec, voxeljet and more. Perhaps the most exciting news, however, comes from HP Inc., which has just officially presented its new HP Metal Jet 3D printing technology.
That’s right. After months of speculation and waiting, the young 3D printing company has announced that it is ready to release its first metal 3D printing system. HP first announced it was developing a metal 3D printing platform almost a year ago. As expected it will be based on MIM powder metallurgy technology.
Similar to its Multi Jet Fusion printing technology, HP’s new metal AM platform makes big promises, including the capacity to print mechanically functional metal parts for mass production at up to 50 times greater productivity and at half the cost of competing binder jetting systems. In terms of specifications, the new metal AM system boasts a max build volume of 430 x 320 x 200 mm, 4x the nozzle redundancy and 2x the printbars compared to existing systems. At launch, HP Metal Jet 3D printers will use stainless steel parts, with isotropic properties achieving (or exceeding) ASTM and MPIF Standards.
Also, similar to its polymer AM approach, HP has done its homework studying the current market and offering detailed studies on cost-effectiveness and break-even points. The estimated cost per part reduction, compared to metal powder bed fusion processes is even more impressive than it was for polymers. On certain—not overly complex parts—such as a roller ringer follower for automotive and a grasper surgery tool, cost reductions can be substantial (even 20-25 times) with MIM break-even points at 55,000 and 65,000 parts, respectively. In fact, the cost per part would be just slightly higher than MIM, even for batches of 100,000 parts.
HP has disclosed that it has partnered with a range of leading companies in the automotive, industrial and medical sectors including GKN and Parmatech. With its partners, HP says it will produce Metal Jet parts for Johnson & Johnson, Volkswagen and pump manufacturer Wilo. Volkswagen is reportedly looking to move into new manufacturing technologies especially as it expects to transition toward mass customization and more electric vehicle production.
“The auto industry is being revolutionized–not only do customers now expect personalization but by 2025 the brands of Volkswagen Group will have introduced 80 new electric models,“ commented Dr. Martin Goede, Head of Technology Planning and Development, Volkswagen. “A single car consists of six thousand to eight thousand different parts. A big advantage of an additive technology like HP Metal Jet is it allows us to produce many of these parts without first having to build manufacturing tools. By reducing the cycle time for the production of parts, we can realize a higher volume of mass production very quickly. That’s why HP’s new Metal Jet platform is a huge leap forward for the industry, and we look forward to raising the bar on what is possible to deliver more value and innovation for our customers.”
We also know that HP will officially be launching the HP Metal Jet Production Service in 2019 to fill orders for production-grade metal parts. After a beta phase in which it will be available exclusively through select partners—starting with GKN and Parmatech—the metal 3D printing technology will exclusively be available through this service starting in 2019. It will also be offered starting at under $399,000 as a deployable system in 2020 through select availability, going to broad availability in 2021.
“HP and A.T. Kearney recently conducted research into the development of the 3D printing industry globally, and found that the UK has one of the top five 3D printing sectors worldwide. The study places Britain 5th overall for readiness to adopt 3D printing technology, and in the world’s top three fastest-growing 3D printing markets,” added George Brasher, MD, UK&I at HP.
“The UK is incredibly well-placed to lead the world in 3D printing, which could create new jobs and industries centred around localised, short-run manufacturing. To do so, manufacturers must continue to invest in their 3D printing capabilities, preparing the workforce for next-generation production, and capitalising on major technological advances such as that which HP is very proud to announce today.”
Developing story more updates as we receive them.