HP 3D Printing has crossed the Rubicon to transform digital manufacturing

HP explores the power of partnerships & how new economies of scale are creating opportunities we’ve never seen before.

In his book An Army of Davids, Glenn Reynolds argues technological progress will shift the power balance towards the individual, away from society’s largest institutions.

Using the David versus Goliath metaphor, he posits that the information age – and innovations like eBay and 3D printing – will change economies of scope and scale, enabling more people to access means of production and offering creative and economic freedom.

There are elements of his argument I’d agree with, given how 3D printing has been embraced by entrepreneurs and artists alike. However, this book was published more than a decade ago – and we have now passed a milestone Reynolds did not foresee.

Explore new possibilities with HP 3D Printing

Today, 3D printing has gone far beyond prototyping, reaching new levels of efficiency that enable every industry to viably create high-quality parts at mid-volume production.

It has become a technology that doesn’t just empower the individual, it transforms organisations of all sizes, and powers the future of digital manufacturing.

If you’d like to learn how other business leaders are incorporating 3D Printing into their digital transformation strategy, download HP’s free eBook: Lean Manufacturing: The view from the boardroom

As 3D printing evolves, manufacturing transforms

Companies are turning to digital manufacturing service providers to help accelerate new product development, get to market faster and reduce their carbon footprint. The fourth industrial revolution is happening now, and it’s one of the most transformative forces in our lifetime.

The evolution of digital manufacturing is essential for fulfilling this promise – new technology innovations will be required, new partnership models will emerge, and new modes of doing business will unfold.

This is why, in 2014, HP established a vision for the 3D printing industry that would lead to breakthrough results for customers and the acceleration of digital manufacturing. Now, thanks to the power of expanded software, new manufacturing capabilities and innovative applications – that vision is becoming a reality.

All of this is happening because of the progress 3D printing has made. Mid-volume production environments can now produce over 600 parts per week, a scale which is unleashing new growth.

Due to advances in manufacturing predictability, 3D printing can achieve dimensional accuracy and repeatability that rivals industrial tooling, faster.

HP Jet Fusion 5200 Series can print up to 160,000 cm3 of material per day

Another breakthrough is the sheer economics of productivity. Our latest HP Jet Fusion 5200 Series can print up to 160,000 cm3 of material per day, a scale that makes it possible to expand into new applications and markets.

Onwards, together

At HP, our mission is to change the way the world designs and manufactures. We believe industrial alliances and new ecosystems are vital for achieving this and accelerating the digital transformation of manufacturing.

Which is why we’ve expanded our strategic alliance with Siemens, the world’s largest industrial software and services provider, and expanded our ecosystem by partnering with BASF, the largest chemical producer in the world, as well as Materialise, the 3D printing services and software leader.

We’ve also launched a new Digital Manufacturing Network- a global community of HP production partners qualified for part production at scale. These partners will help customers design, produce, and deliver both plastic and metal parts at scale, leveraging HP 3D printing solutions.

Real results for the real world  

It’s most satisfying to see these global partnerships pay off by helping our customers – and two of my favourite examples are from our European clients.

Bowman International, a leading manufacturer of plain bearings, was looking for new ways to design and manufacture parts – and chose HP Multi Jet Fusion (MJF) technology to take prototyping to production, and then on to volume production.

This enabled a whole range of improvements. The number of different components held in stock reduced 75%, and by using HP’s specialist reusable materials, Bowman has created parts that offer better elongation at break – critical when assembling parts.

Thanks to this improved performance, parts require less maintenance and fewer spares.

With HP 3D Printing, Bowman found a way to produce the thousands of bearing cages they needed to manufacture per month.

CNC Würfel, based in Singen, Germany, is a specialist in automating and optimising manufacturing processes for a range of industries, from automotive and medical technology to food.

The company used 3D printing and HP MJF technology to create a customised robot arm gripper (as a final part) and a master part repository box.

For the robot arm gripper, the lead time was cut from 10 weeks to two days, and the cost reduced by 66%. And for the master part repository box, production time was slashed from 10 weeks to just a week, with a remarkable weight reduction of 84% – and a cost reduction of 95%.

Since introducing these innovations into production, CNC Würfel now produces approximately 150 parts per month through 3D printing.

It’s worth mentioning that HP has been using 3D printing to transform our own manufacturing processes for some time, producing functional parts with best-in-class isotropy, taking new products to market, faster, and driving downs costs across the business.

If you’re as excited as we are about the future of this technology, you can find out more on HP.com’s dedicated resources page, as well as HP’s 3D Printing LinkedIn page.

Or, if you have a challenge we can help solve, it would be great to connect personally on LinkedIn with our 3D print sales representative Patrick Richards (0207 660 3532 or 3d-UKI@hp.com) to continue the conversation.