Last week, HP Inc. took a significant step (if not a few!) towards industrializing its Multi Jet Fusion (MJF) 3D printing technology with the release of its new Jet Fusion 5200 Series, a new TPU material and its Digital Manufacturing Network. The new 3D printing solution is targeted at volume production and enables manufacturers to utilize MJF in their digital factories.
Overall, the announcements last week showcased HP’s continued commitment to disrupting not only the AM sector but also manufacturing on the whole—all around the globe. We recently spoke to HP’s Head of 3D Printing for Asia-Pacific and Japan, Rob Mesaros, about the company’s rapidly growing presence in the region.
3dpbm: Can you tell us a bit about your own background?
Rob Mesaros: I’ve been with HP for more than a decade and during that time I’ve been a part of continued growth, innovation and reinvention. In 2018, I joined HP’s 3D Printing & Digital Manufacturing business to lead efforts in Asia-Pacific and Japan. As HP looks to disrupt the global manufacturing industry, Asia-Pacific and Japan is a strategically important and transformational market for us. Looking ahead, I believe that 3D printing has the power to unleash the true value of digital manufacturing for the planet and being a part of this transformation at HP is exciting.
3dpbm: Have any new strategies been implemented since you became head of 3D printing for Asia-Pacific and Japan?
Mesaros: We’re focused on expanding our ecosystem to help companies develop, test, certify and deliver the next generation of materials and applications for 3D printing and digital manufacturing. To help keep pace with the speed of innovation today, it’s increasingly critical that technological innovation be coupled with strategic and lasting partnerships across government, industry and academia.
In Singapore, we recently announced a collaboration with Nanyang Technological University and the National Research Foundation on a $84 million HP-NTU Digital Manufacturing Corporate Lab. And in India, we signed a partnership agreement to build an additive manufacturing center of excellence, powered by HP Multi Jet Fusion technology with Andhra Pradesh Innovation Society and Andhra Pradesh Economic Development Board.
These public-private partnerships are strategically important milestones, not just for the region, but globally for HP and the future growth of digital manufacturing. No one entity can transform an industry alone. It’s through partnerships and creating an open ecosystem of strategic, cross-industry collaborators who share a commitment to driving innovation that we will succeed together.
3dpbm: Within the APJ market, what applications are HP’s 3D printing most in demand for?
Mesaros: We’re seeing a real increase in adoption across automotive and healthcare industries but are broadly focused on delivering value and helping our customers create breakthrough applications across industries.
To support further adoption, we recently announced the availability of HP’s Jet Fusion 300/500 series – the first 3D printing and digital manufacturing solution that can produce engineering-grade, functional prototype parts in full color and black or white that is faster and more cost efficient than any other 3D printer.
Through our suite of platform technology advancements, we’re accelerating the democratization of 3D printing and digital manufacturing, and spurring applications such as:
- Mutoh Industries, who were able to redesign a pen holder for its large format printer with half the parts and at a lower cost than traditional methods
- iOrthotics, who became the first orthotics manufacturer in the world to have completely transitioned from polypropylene milling to 3D additive manufacturing
- Kinboshi Inc., who faced challenges making flexible design changes to their security guard uniforms, who were then able to use HP Multi Jet Fusion technology to develop a built-in cooling system to prevent heat strokes
Within the last year in China, we also launched a new production-grade 3D printing center with RecTech 3D in Chongqing. The full industrial Additive Manufacturing Center will provide a variety of 3D production services, and RecTech will be ramping up to over 30 HP 3D printing systems by the end of this year.
3dpbm: Does HP have any APJ partners for its materials development program?
Mesaros: As part of our platform strategy, we have established a strong materials, software and data foundation. We’re expanding our ecosystem to help companies develop, test, certify and deliver the next generation of materials and applications for 3D printing and digital manufacturing. Our HP-NTU Digital Manufacturing Corporate Lab in Singapore will drive innovation, technology, skills and economic development critical to the advancement of Industry 4.0 and focus on developing new materials and applications.
Through work with our growing set of partners across the Asia-Pacific and Japan region, we’ll continue to open the door to greater collaboration on materials to further the adoption of 3D printing while advancing digital manufacturing strategies in the region.
3dpbm: Could you elaborate on HP’s role in the “Made in China 2025” project?
Mesaros: “Made in China 2025” is the first 10-year action plan to transform China into an innovative hi-tech manufacturing hub. As part of the plan, building 3D printing innovation centers has been a strategic mission for the government to optimize its manufacturing industry structure.
HP is excited about opportunities to contribute to the “Made in China 2025” action plan, in key sectors including new energy vehicles and medical devices. Technologies like 3D printing can help accelerate the industry transformation already driven by the government.
As China transitions itself from a traditional manufacturing base to an innovative hi-tech hub, local manufacturers can go to market faster with their innovations with HP’s 3D printing portfolio and ecosystem. And we’re already seeing progress in the automotive, medical and consumer goods industries.
We’re continuing to broaden our portfolio in China with technology that enables manufacturers to produce functional prototypes and production-grade parts faster and cost-effectively. The new HP Jet Fusion 300/500 series will make 3D printing accessible to more innovators across China.
3dpbm: Can you give us any indication of what 3D printer sales have been like in Asia? And, specifically in China (in light of the recent launch)?
Mesaros: HP does not disclose specifics on unit sales, but as you can see the demand across the region is significant from innovative customers across industries and based on a growing list of public-private and educational partnerships.
3dpbm: What can HP’s 3D printing technology bring to the Asia-Pacific and Japan market?
Mesaros: HP’s mission is to digitally transform and disrupt the global manufacturing industry, unlocking immense economic and societal benefits. Asia-Pacific and Japan house half of the global manufacturing industry, which means they are primed to lead the next industrial revolution.
To accomplish this, a robust, sustainable 3D printing ecosystem requires fundamental change, characterized by:
- Collaboration among key players and strategic partnerships across government, industry and academia (a great example is HP’s $84m Singapore lab created in collaboration with Nanyang Technological University)
- Government incentives (such as those contained within the Chinese Government’s ‘Made in China 2025’ initiative)
- Rise of new business models and new supply chains as manufacturing moves closer to the consumers it serves while the focus shifts from moving physical products to moving electrons around the globe
- Accessibility for businesses of all sizes (where the role of digital manufacturing centers is critical)
We’re already making progress across key industries like automotive, medical and consumer goods. We expect momentum will continue to grow in the region.