The third Munich Technology Conference on Additive Manufacturing (MTC3) recently brought together some of the leading players in the industry to discuss the state of AM and to strategize for its future. One of the key takeaways from the prolific event was that the AM industry needs to address specific adopter industries and verticals and offer solutions catered to their needs to push industrialization ahead.
As one of the companies participating in the event, HP is embracing this approach, focusing its 3D printing efforts on four key verticals—automotive, footwear, dental and medical—and working with global partners and customers to accelerate the production of production applications with its Multi Jet Fusion and Metal Jet platforms.
We had the opportunity to speak to Philipp Jung, GM and Global Head of Vertical Industries & End-to-End Applications for HP’s 3D Printing and Digital Manufacturing business, about the company’s leading position in the AM sector and its strategy to drive both the growth of its own AM and digital manufacturing solutions and the mass production of breakthrough applications.
Jung joined HP six years ago as the Vice President of Corporate Strategy, following years of experience as a consultant, and had immediate exposure to the newly created 3D printing business. His first years at the company coincided with the separation of HP into two separate ventures: HP Inc. and Hewlett Packard Enterprise. After the split, Jung took up the crucial role of Chief Strategy Officer at HP Inc. which was when the company publicly indicated its plans to enter the 3D printing industry.
As he explains it, the timing was perfect – the leadership team was defining the big-picture strategy for the company and making key decisions about its focus areas. Additive manufacturing was an obvious one given the company’s heritage and market leadership in traditional 2D printing.
“I had the opportunity to work very closely with HP leadership to think about what would have the most significant impact on people and HP’s long-term strategy,” he says. “While we spent the time setting up HP for success and defining our strategy, I had the chance to learn about the 3D printing market.”.
“The process we took initially resonates as we grow and transform our business today. For me, it’s always important to think about what’s happening in the broader market, what’s happening with the customers and what else other companies are doing. Not only what other 3D printing players are doing, but also about the global manufacturing industry. Thinking about the digital transformation of manufacturing is critical if we are going to implement strategic partnerships and help customers on their own journey to mass production.”
In 2018, Philipp took on a newly created role in the company’s expanded 3D Printing and Digital Manufacturing business and helped implement a new go-to-market strategy focused on customer success, end-to-end applications and vertical market expansion. This strategy—in line with the industry’s broader shift towards addressing specific applications and end-markets—centers on four verticals that HP believes will help accelerate digital manufacturing and mass production: automotive, footwear, dental and medical.
Each of these verticals is already benefitting (or has the potential to benefit) from the advanced capabilities of HP’s Multi Jet Fusion and Metal Jet solutions. In May HP unveiled its new scalable production system, the Jet Fusion 5200 Series, featuring new services, software and data capabilities to meet the manufacturing requirements of these core markets.
HP’s activities in each main vertical is evident. In the automotive sector, the company is working with some automotive giants, including Volkswagen, BMW and Jaguar Land Rover. (Notably, Volkswagen is in phase one of its production roadmap using HP’s Metal Jet technology and uses HP Multi Jet Fusion to create nearly 100% of the tools used for production of its T-Cross vehicles). In footwear, HP’s 3D printing technology powers the FitStation platform for the production of customized 3D printed insoles. In the dental market, HP’s Jet Fusion 3D printers are enabling SmileDirectClub to produce 20 million custom aligner molds a year. These examples are only the tip of the iceberg. The company is also using its platforms to disrupt its own global supply chain of personal systems and printers, one of the largest in the world.
“It’s very important not only to think about what the technology can do, but also to think about what the customer really requires and what it takes to be successful” Jung says about working with partners in each key vertical. In this sense, HP is integrating feedback and end-user needs into its AM solutions, creating a kind of symbiotic relationship with its end users.
Though the company is focusing on the aforementioned verticals, Jung emphasizes that HP is also paying attention to other areas. “We focus on four verticals, but keep an eye on everything else,” he says. “There’s still a lot of business and activity from a horizontal approach.”
Examples include consumer goods, industrial and aerospace. The company has created helmets for the Swiss Guard, has big wins in tooling, jigs and fixtures, and works with leading aerospace companies like Piper Aircraft. “We have to approach the opportunities in other verticals like aerospace a bit differently,” Jung explains. “Our verticals are driven by where we think our technology has the greatest opportunity. If you think of how many airplanes fly around versus how many cars are on the road, or how many feet walk the planet. We believe we can make an impact on markets that require mass production.”
Strategy for success
In addition to working with partners in its target industries, HP’s strategy going forward is comprehensive: working with global partners such as Siemens to increase knowledge about and simplify use of AM and digital manufacturing across various markets, continually improving 3D printing capabilities, expanding solutions including services, data and software, offering new business, delivery models, access to qualified parts production via the HP Digital Manufacturing Network and, of course, working with leading innovators such as BASF to bring more materials to market.
“There are a few things we have to achieve to reach our goals and to be a digital manufacturing leader,” Jung says. “From a foundational level, people need to understand the potential of 3D printing and the massive opportunity to be a part of the shift to digital manufacturing. They need to understand that by starting by designing from the outset for 3D printing and entire organizations can realize time, quality and economic advantages. It’s about changing how the world designs for manufacturing.”
“Our alliance and joint solution with Siemens is helping provide a foundation for mass production. For example, we worked on a cooling device for an automotive engineering company with Siemens. We came on board and suggested that they think about using additive manufacturing. They quickly saw that, through the implementation of design and 3D printing, we could achieve a cooling device with 20% increased performance at a price point that was acceptable and competitive.”
He continues: “Establishing the capabilities and processes for industrial manufacturing is equally important, for example improving the efficiency of operating HP solutions. That has to do with improving machine performance, achieving higher up times and ensuring multiple machines, think about entire Multi Jet Fusion or Metal Jet factories running in parallel. Putting in place a digital manufacturing platform to make that work, having the data, the connectivity and the preventive maintenance—these are aspects that are really important to drive success.”
“Ultimately what will drive success for our customers will be breakthrough economics and innovation. We must continue to increase production, lower costs and offer a path to innovative applications by delivering new high performing materials.”