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HP Wants to Own 3D Printing – Here’s Everything You Need to Know

HP plans to acquire more capabilities in 3D printing, manufacturing is worth $12trillion. 3D printing currently accounts for $10bn, early gains are likely.

From their one-car garage beginnings in Palo Alto Hewlett-Packard is one of those sprawling ownership structures known as a name. Considered a symbolic founder of Silicon Valley, recently the company split into HP Inc. and Hewlett Packard Enterprise. The split groups together its personal computer and printing businesses distinct from its enterprise products and services. As a PC manufacturer HP was and is, large. When taken as a family the two companies have revenues over $100 billion.

Printers are a HP specialty, providing consumer and business hardware from the 1980s. HP lead the Worldwide Hardcopy Peripherals market, 37.9% in Q316, beating Canon, Epson and other large companies easily. They also dabble in software and photo printing services.

Multi-form printing (MFP) is the expected technology to cause disruption in printing. Business-to-business, i.e. industrial 3D printing has the capability to radically reshape the manufacturing sector. Finding the right product outcome of a 2D and 3D printer/scanner combination is a race here. HP has acquired several companies in its bid to dominate the industry. Working with companies  like Nike, BMQ, Johnson & Johnson and Siemens to produce demo units and examples to build buzz at different levels.

HP 3D Printing Strategy
How HP see 3D printing in monetary terms

HP 3D Printing Acquisitions

During 2016 HP announced several acquisitions of evidently forming a 3D printing machine at organisational level. There was the $1.1 billion deal for Samsung’s printer business, two German 3D scanning companies, a partnerhip with chemical specialist firm Arkema in investigate industrial materials and a €60 million investment into a 3D printing research and development center in Spain.

Market growth is expected to be 30% (using compound annual growth rate) bigger in 2021 than 2013. HP aim to address, i.e. offer services and value, to 77% of the 3D plastic market and hope it will drive revenue for years to come. Last year HP introduced its Multi Jet Fusion (MFJ) 3D Printing technology.

The Jet Fusion 3D Printer is, apparently, one of the few printers capable of delivering production-grade parts with cost-effectiveness remaining intact. HP is partnering with Jabil, who recently took over manufacturing from MakerBot, to produce the hardware saved HP a lot of overhead.

The result is a printer capable of controlling multi-materiality, adding texture in a way previously hard to achieve. The voxel level (remnants of a quantized design grid) is also tiny, meaning exceptional control is possible.


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Mathew Sayer

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