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Published: May 05, 2017

3D rendering of a car's engine.3D rendering of a car's engine.

 HP’s 3D printing technology is reinventing a lot of industries – such as manufacturing and healthcare--- but the one closest to my heart is the auto industry.

This week, I’m off to my old stomping grounds of Detroit to speak at the Society of Plastics Engineers’ Auto EPCON conference, showcasing developments in the design, materials, processing and use of engineering plastics in the global automotive industry.

This is where automakers and their suppliers hear about the latest advances in thermoset and thermoplastic engineering polymersthat’s heat-machined plastics for the average personwhere new developments in materials science and 3D printing are changing the way automakers design and manufacture cars. 

Part of a 3D printed car door. Photo credit: FICOSAPart of a 3D printed car door. Photo credit: FICOSAIn my presentation on the “HP 3D Printing Technology for Prototype and Production Applications”—bear with me if you aren’t a plastics geekI’ll talk about all the new things automakers can do with the HP Jet Fusion 3D Printing Solution, which delivers better quality parts up to 10 times faster and at half the cost of existing commercial 3D printer. For an industry as cost conscious as automotive, that’s a huge value proposition.

There are big opportunities here for HP and for automakers. The auto market spent about $600 million on additive manufacturing in 2016, and that figure is expected to grow to $2.3 billion in 2021, according to SmarTech Publishing.

3D printing has the potential to impact safety and driver experience in addition to helping the manufacturers be more efficient and economical. The ability to design at the voxel level and produce auto parts like never before may enable more resilient, dynamic parts that can better absorb an impact or lead to other improvements compared to traditional methods of manufacturing.

 

On-demand parts and machine tools

We’re still far from the day when you can walk into a dealership and have the car you want printed while you wait, but automakers can already see the benefits of custom part printing, rapid prototyping and production tooling.

3D printing can drastically shorten the lead time to design new cars and update current models with an on-demand model. This shortened design cycle also enables designers, engineers and carmakers to quickly test and refine new designs with a wider variety of prototypes before they go to mass production.

Manufacturers will also be able to produce tools on-demand. BMW, an HP Multi Jet Fusion customer, already claims to have reduced tooling costs by 58 percent and project time by 92 percent in this Deloitte University Press report.F1_x_ray_1218x1080_perspective.png

The idea is that automakers can make completely unique parts, on a mass scale, with minimal waste. They can wait until there is a demand for parts and then produce on demand, minimizing waste or surplus and avoiding the need to make expensive molds for a low-volume part.

In the not-too-distant future, we’ll be talking about custom printing entire vehicles for different types of customers. Taking the family skiing? 3D print a four-wheel drive vehicle with room for snow gear. Commuting alone for long distances? Print a small, high-mileage vehicle. 

 

Building the materials ecosystem

But the printers are only part of the equation. With HP’s Open Materials Platform, we’re tearing down the barriers to 3D print adoption across industries through materials innovation. Manufacturers can be confident that compatible, HP-branded materials will be safe and meet quality standards.

Earlier this year, HP opened the doors to the world’s first 3D Open Platform Materials and Applications Lab, in Corvallis, Ore., where engineers are using state-of-the-art equipment to help materials companies develop, test, certify and deliver the next generation of materials and applications for 3D printing.

Currently, HP is working with four of the world’s leading materials companies to co-develop new materials and refine the materials certification process, but will continue to add partners to the program. ArkemaBASFEvonik and Lehman & Voss announced their commitment to the HP Open Platform and are working on certified materials for the HP Jet Fusion 3D 4200 and HP Jet Fusion 3D 3200 printers.

HP Multi Jet Fusion technology sets the stage for future platforms that could transform color, texture, and mechanical properties at the “voxel” level—a 3D unit of measure that’s just about 50 microns, the width of a human hair. Manipulating printing materials could create 3D printed objects with conductivity, flexibility, embedded data, and translucency—and that's just the beginning. The possible combinations and potential applications are as limitless as the open road.

 

    3D Printing
Published: August 14, 2017

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Until the rise of the First Industrial Revolution, products were generally handcrafted and made-to-order as needed. Few things were made in advance to warehouse for later sale, supply chains (or what passed for them) were scrappy at best, and production speeds were painfully slow.

Because products were generally produced reactively and crafted individually by an artisan, the roles of designer and manufacturer were pretty much indistinguishable. To the blacksmith who is not only custom-crafting shoes for a horse, but custom-tailoring one unique shoe for each hoof, the distinction between design and production was moot.

That all changed with the rise of the machine in the late 18th century, when steam power mechanized and standardized the manufacturing process, but also greatly limited the potential for variation and customization to consumers. And Henry Ford’s Model T took manufacturing to new levels of speed, efficiency, and standardization at the start of the 20th century with the introduction of mass production and factories. 

Products are made much differently now, of course, with technological advances continuing to increase the speed, volume, and consistency of manufacturing worldwide. But despite all of this, the basic design and manufacturing process hasn’t fundamentally evolved over the last century to meet the changing needs of customers, pushing production further and further from the consumer and constraining design flexibility, customization and innovation.

 

Digitial transformation with 3D printing

We are now at the dawn of a Fourth Industrial Revolution, where disruptive 3D printing technology is driving the complete digital transformation of the $12 trillion global manufacturing industry. And while it marks a quantum technological leap into our all-digital future, the coming revolution will also reclaim the power of custom-crafting from the pre-industrial age. Together, these forces will create a new era of mass-customization where design—and designers—have never been more important.

3D printing is completely reinventing the way things are conceived, designed, produced and distributed. It’s many advantages over traditional manufacturing include faster production speeds, lower costs, simplified logistics and lower carbon footprint. But among the most important advantages is increased flexibility: the ability to accommodate changes or modifications within the manufacturing process.

 

3D printing vs. injection molding

Heavy upfront investments are needed in traditional processes like injection molding, where physical molds, as well as a complex array of machine tools and equipment, must be custom created in advance. If product specs or design tweaks are later needed, those things need to be remanufactured at great expense to accommodate the changes.

Because of these associated costs, products are only created if there’s sufficient demand, so only the center of the bell curve is ever designed for. For users or markets perceived as too big or too small, the last industrial revolution just left you behind.

3D printing has changed this prohibitive system by democratizing the process—replacing the costly, limiting physical molding process with inexpensive, easily-adjustable digital files that lower startup costs and reduce barriers for entry. And as manufacturing systems become more flexible through 3D printing, the designer’s role will become more and more important because they’re now able to design for any user, at any scale.

As the process from design to prototype to production becomes smoother and more efficient, the designer’s ability to employ “enhanced learnings,” or a continuous cycle of learning and improvement from each build step to address form, fit and function will become paramount to ensure that every user is designed for, and that the product solutions can fit their individual needs. It’s only through living, breathing designers that 3D printing will continue to reduce the distance between idea and physical reality.

 

Designers are key

As a sign of designers’ increasingly crucial role, MIT recently held its first professional course in design for additive manufacturing, drawing leading research scientists, engineers, developers, designers and project managers from industries using 3D printing from aerospace to automotive to biotech to robotics and beyond.

The age of mass-production and standardization has ignored users who are perceived as too big or too small, moving the manufacturing process further and further from them and their unique needs. This blanket approach to design has become so ubiquitous that we’ve come to assume, and even accept, that some products just aren’t for us.

3D printing changes all this by elevating the designer to define the user and design specifically for them, no matter how many or how few, and make the “one size fits all” approach to mass-production a thing of the past.

The true potential of 3D printing will be realized when we can develop products that cannot be manufactured today, in ways that were previously impossible, helping to make life better for everyone, everywhere. That future is very much within our grasp, and unleashing the power of designers is the key.

 

Published: August 07, 2017

As HP continues its journey to reinvent the global manufacturing industry, it is critical to have visionary and experienced leaders charting the way. Michelle Bockman, former executive vice president at GE Digital, recently joined HP to lead its 3D printing market expansion efforts.

At GE, Bockman most recently led the company’s ambitious strategy to build a software-driven digital future for large industrial customers. With more than 20 years of experience in a wide range of functions and industries, she’s led global operations, managed engineering, driven sales and marketing, built new digital businesses – even ran an industrial manufacturing plant.

Michelle BockmanMichelle BockmanBockman’s diverse experience gives her a fresh perspective on unlocking new value for customers who are reinventing their operations. We caught up with her to learn more about keys to driving the digital industrial transformation of production.

 

Q. Why did you choose this time to join HP?

A. We’re on the cusp of a new industrial revolution that could be greater than anything we’ve ever seen – ubiquitous connectivity, AI, robotics, the internet of things, 3D printing and more are all converging to drive unprecedented social and economic change. HP plays a central role in this revolution and is really leading the way with innovations in 3D printing, blended reality and other technologies businesses are embracing in their digital reinventions. Put this all together and we are poised to transform some of the largest industries on the face of the earth.

This is the place to be if you want to profoundly change the way people live, work and interact with one another. HP is one of the founders of Silicon Valley and has a strong heritage of reinvention which, quite frankly, also appealed to my entrepreneurial spirit. I can’t tell you how excited I am about this adventure in innovation. 

 

Q. Tell us about your new role leading the expansion of 3D Printing for HP. Where will you be focused?

A. To grossly oversimplify, I have a broad responsibility to expand the overall 3D printing market for HP in partnership with our foundational customers, strategic partners, and materials ecosystem, and drive the development of new digital services for the 3D printing business. What this really means is focusing on customer outcomes by working deeply with market leaders such as BMW, Jabil, Johnson & Johnson, and Nike as they embrace 3D printing to transform their businesses, and applying these lessons learned to the entirety of our product portfolio, so we can really accelerate development of new applications and services. 

It also means leading our global strategic alliances with SIs and software partners, and to drive our open materials strategy with the largest chemical companies on earth, as we’ll need to leverage the world to transform a $12 trillion industry. Finally, no digital industrial transformation is complete without developing the next generation of connected, digital services that unlock unique insights and value for our customers and partners.  

Q. As a longtime industry veteran, where do you see the greatest opportunities for change?

A. 3D printing technology has been around awhile, but it’s poised for a real breakout. The combination of new technology such as HP’s Multi Jet Fusion, which is up to 10 times faster and half the cost of other systems, plus the radical expansion of new materials with a simultaneous plummet in cost due to our open materials platform, means the economic promise of 3D printing is finally ready to deliver. This is no longer technology just for prototyping or the R&D team. This is a platform for large-scale industrial production. 
Couple the continued march of those innovations with the larger digital transformation unfolding across the entire design, production, and distribution workflow, and you have a massive opportunity to help companies innovate faster, be more agile in their manufacturing, and implement more flexible supply chains. This unlocks huge economic opportunity, new business models, and competitive advantage. I believe that those who invest in digital transformation will reap the rewards, and we are just scratching the surface of what this reinvention means for some of the largest companies and industries in the world.

Q. You’ve led a diverse range of functions over your career.  What else can you share with us from your journey?

A. I like to solve really hard problems with smart, curious and passionate people in industries that are changing the world. That’s what drew me to mechanical engineering in college and continues to drive me today. Over the course of my career, I’ve been lucky enough to experience many facets of businesses – from leading large organizations through change to developing new products and services to direct and daily interaction with the customer. At the end of the day what we do really matters if it delivers value to our customers and, in my mind, also delivers value to the world at large. I couldn’t be more thrilled to be part of the HP 3D printing team, which is striving to achieve exactly those goals.

Published: June 26, 2017

Some of the 3D printed designs created by students of KiraKira3D's  curricula.Some of the 3D printed designs created by students of KiraKira3D's curricula.

 Anybody who’s encountered a middle- or high-schooler studying math or science has heard this frustrating complaint: “When am I going to use this in real life?” 

KiraKira3D Founder and CEO Suz SomersallKiraKira3D Founder and CEO Suz SomersallIt’s the very same question that Suz Somersall, CEO and Founder of KiraKira3D, had as an aspiring engineering student at Brown University, where she found the materials for learning mechanical engineering software utilitarian, lacking context and mostly geared toward men. She was turned off by lesson plans for creating hand tools, auto parts and gears, she said, objects that didn’t seem to further her ambitions to be an artist and designer.

“I wanted to study engineering, but the content offered in the intro classes wasn’t very compelling,” she said. “What I wanted was to be inspired to be creative.”

It’s one of the reasons Somersall started KiraKira Academy, which aims to close the gender gap in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) by teaching students the technical skills needed to create virtual and physical products using computer aided design (CAD) software.

KiraKira3D said this week it’s working with HP to produce a new series of approachable, video-based lessons to teach 3D design skills using the Sprout Pro by HP 3D scanning and printing platform.

Students who create 3D objects via software tools can get their designs printed on HP Multi Jet Fusion printers and shipped to them by HP 3D print partner Shapeways.

The goal is to help get more STEAM (science, technology engineering, art and design, and math) curricula into classrooms, so that students—especially girls—can master 3D design, modeling and printing skills through project-based learning.  

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“3D printers and 3D scanners are really incredible tools for STEAM education, but we have to get this into classrooms at a really early age otherwise we miss the opportunity for engagement,” Somersall said. “We are trying to have a range of class content so nobody feels excluded.”

KiraKira3D learners can create a variety of things, including space-inspired decor, sunglasses, household objects, tabletop games, and through the company’s “fashioneer” series, designer jewelry. The video lessons—most of which feature female instructors who are engineers, animators, designers, architects and computer scientists—teach basics in Autodesk TinkerCAD and Maya, Fusion 360, Solidworks, Rhino 3D and other design, animation and 3D modeling software.

“Our instructors lead students through a creative process with design thinking, and produce something really compelling at the end of the lesson,” Somersall said. “We are trying to blend art and engineering skills while also getting the students comfortable with making mistakes or going off on their own and put their own twist on a design.”

The customization possibilities makes KiraKira3D’s approach a good fit for Sprout Pro by HP, which is uniquely suited for education, tinkering and experimentation. Dubbed an Immersive Computing platform, Sprout Pro blurs the barriers between the physical and digital worlds by way of a fully-functional PC and built-in cameras and projectors that enable 2D and 3D scanning and image manipulation – right from the desktop.Second-generation Sprout Pro by HPSecond-generation Sprout Pro by HP

 “HP’s collaboration with KiraKira3D will bring new learning opportunities to millions of students with a special emphasis on inspiring women and girls to engage in STEM-related activities,” said Gus Schmedlen, vice president of education at HP. “KiraKira3D’s instructional videos and hands-on experiences using the latest HP Immersive and Multi Jet Fusion Technologies will empower students to master the skills needed for the jobs of the future.”

HP and KiraKira3D are developing a series of 10 video lessons for Sprout Pro by HP that are set to be available for free next month on KiraKira3D.com.

KiraKira3D and HP share a common vision for 3D printing and see its potential to disrupt manufacturing, retail and ushers in an era of consumer customization.

“Democratizing access to these types of skills is increasingly important as 3D printing becomes more ubiquitous,” Somersall said. “We are really excited to see the things our students will create.”

Published: June 20, 2017

Stephen Nigro, President of HP's 3D printing business, at a press conference in Tokyo.Stephen Nigro, President of HP's 3D printing business, at a press conference in Tokyo.

One week after HP announced commercial entry into the world’s largest manufacturing market, the company revealed two new major partnerships that are set to broaden its reach in the world’s third-largest economy.

On the heels of its 3D expansion into the Asia-Pacific market, HP today announced 3D printing partnerships with Japanese companies Mutoh Industries Ltd. and Ricoh Japan Corp.

By teaming up with HP as the world’s first HP 3D Printing Master Partners, Mutoh and Ricoh will bring best-in-class expertise and knowledge of HP’s Multi Jet Fusion technology to customers deploying the solutions.

Japan is known as a technology and manufacturing powerhouse and is a country responsible for 10 percent of global manufacturing. It’s also forward-looking, especially when it comes to advancing technology. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, explained his vision at CeBIT 2017, one of the world’s largest technology conferences in Germany, earlier this year. This vision – Society 5.0 – aims to tackle several challenges by going beyond the digitalization of the economy towards the digitalization across all levels of Japanese society. 

HP introduces its award-winning commerical 3D printing solution to reinv....jpgJapanese businesses are starting to embrace the transformative potential of 3D printing, a market that saw more than 104 percent in revenue growth from 2015 to 2016, according to data from IDC. Its expected to reach $670 million in sales by 2020.

“We are on the cusp of a transformation in manufacturing, enabled by new technologies such as 3D printing, artificial intelligence and robotics," said Richard Bailey, president of Asia Pacific and Japan at HP. "We are excited to introduce HP’s commercial 3D printing solution to reinvent manufacturing in Asia-Pacific, delivering much higher speeds and lower costs while enabling on-demand, low-volume production.” 

HP Japan President Takashi OkaHP Japan President Takashi OkaIn addition to bringing expertise and existing relationships within Japan, Mutoh and Ricoh are set to collaborate with HP to open a 3D Printing Reference and Experience Center in Tokyo that will showcase the HP Jet Fusion 3D printing solutions and enable deeper engagement with customers.

“HP is building a strong community of local resellers and materials partners as well as customer experience centers that will provide comprehensive support to help our customers leverage this transformation," Bailey said.

For more information about Richard Bailey’s thoughts about the Asia-Pacific region and 3D printing, see his recent LinkedIn Pulse article here.

Published: June 13, 2017

dagobah_tcm245_2266154_tcm245_2279903_tcm245-2266154.jpgThis week, HP announced the commercial availability of its HP Jet Fusion 3D Printing Solution throughout the Asia-Pacific region. It’s an important step toward reinventing the global manufacturing industry as HP expands its award-winning 3D printing technology to the world’s largest manufacturing market. HP also unveiled alliances with some of the leading 3D service providers in China, expanded the HP Partner First 3D Printing Specialization program with more than a dozen new resellers, and welcomed Sinopec Yanshan Petrochemical Co. to its growing Open Platform ecosystem.

We caught up with Qun Zhang, head of HP’s Asia-Pacific 3D Printing sales, to ask a few questions about how 3D printing will help accelerate innovation in the region’s huge manufacturing community.Qun Zhang, head of HP’s 3D Printing Sales for Asia Pacific and Japan, at HP Press Event in Shanghai with Ramon Pastor, vice president and general manager, HP Multi Jet Fusion, and several of HP’s new Chinese reseller and materials partners, including Shining 3D ePrint and Sinopec Yanshan Petrochemical Company.Qun Zhang, head of HP’s 3D Printing Sales for Asia Pacific and Japan, at HP Press Event in Shanghai with Ramon Pastor, vice president and general manager, HP Multi Jet Fusion, and several of HP’s new Chinese reseller and materials partners, including Shining 3D ePrint and Sinopec Yanshan Petrochemical Company.

Q. Why is now the right moment for HP to bring its 3D printing solutions to the Asia-Pacific region? 

A. We are helping leading manufacturers reinvent their businesses with new technology. And the Asia-Pacific region is at the heart of this $12 trillion global industry. In many ways, the manufacturing community in Asia-Pacific is leading the charge. We need to be there and play our part. We want to bring our disruptive Multi Jet Fusion 3D printing technology and Open Platform approach to the most cutting-edge market in the world.

 

Q. How does the Asia-Pacific manufacturing sector compare to those of other regions such as North America and Europe?

A. Perhaps no industry, and no region, has more potential than the Asia-Pacific manufacturing sector, representing almost half the world's manufacturing market. Travel around the region, and you’ll see some of the most advanced companies in the world, a diverse and dynamic collection of global brands, huge contract manufacturers, and materials leaders, all of whom are innovating and Inside the Multi Jet Fusion test bed.Inside the Multi Jet Fusion test bed.transforming themselves at breakneck speed. It’s an exciting place to be. Our 3D printing solution is aimed squarely at the region’s commercial and industrial markets, and we think it will help usher in a new era of digital manufacturing.

 

Q. What regional opportunities do you see when it comes to the adoption of 3D Printing across Asia-Pacific?

A. I’ve been in the additive manufacturing space for a long time, and I believe the opportunities we see are consistent across regions. HP has positioned our 3D Printing business against those opportunities with the goal of ultimately accelerating the reinvention of manufacturing. That includes improving product capabilities, enhancing part quality, and driving down costs. In addition, we’re eager to educate about the unlimited potential to design new parts at the voxel level, and to enable our customers and partners to develop as many innovative applications and use cases as possible. That’s why we’re opening new 3D Printing Reference and Experience Centers in Beijing, Hangzhou, Qingdao, Shanghai, Suzhou, Taipei, Tokyo, Singapore, and Melbourne. We’ll connect with both current and potential customers and partners to help them take their next steps forward.

 

Q. How has the HP Open Platform been received in the region, and why is that initiative so important

A. When potential partners begin to understand the motivation behind HP’s open approach to materials innovation their eyes light up. The HP Open Platform addresses those opportunities I mentioned earlier -- it enables the creation of new 3D printing materials, lowers materials and development costs, drives speed and performance improvements, and creates new possibilities for parts that address specific industry needs. Our newest materials partner Sinopec Yanshan Petrochemical is joining our growing materials ecosystem, which already includes global leaders such as Arkema, BASF, Evonik, Henkel, and Lehmann & Voss. And we are talking with dozens more materials leaders across the region who want to work with our labs and begin developing new materials.

 

Q. Which industries have the biggest opportunity to benefit from 3D Printing manufacturing at scale?

A. What’s so impressive about HP’s Multi Jet Fusion 3D technology is that it can produce superior quality physical parts up to 10 times faster at around half the cost of comparable 3D printing systems, and its precision is extraordinary. I’m excited because leading service providers and resellers across Asia-Pacific understand how disruptive the technology will be for their business and the impact for their customers. Shining 3D ePrint has more than 10,000 customers in more than 70 countries around the world and plans to deploy our 3D printing solutions in more than 50 locations across China. Infinite 3D Printing also plans to offer the technology in multiple locations, and more than a dozen new partners have been selected to join HP’s Partner First 3D Specialization reseller program.

Our partners allow us to scale not only geographically, but across vertical markets. We are already seeing applicability in the automotive and healthcare industries, and of course consumer goods and aerospace are also among the most relevant. But virtually any manufacturer can benefit. No matter what kind of part you make, now you can make it better. Our technology offers speed and precision, we’re offering not just mass production but also the possibility of mass customization, and that’s a very big deal. By enabling local, on-demand production, we’re also going to help transform manufacturing and distribution supply chains.

 

Q. What about the future of 3D Printing should excite the manufacturing industry in Asia-Pacific?

A. Going forward, we’ll expand our palette of materials and colors, opening amazing possibilities for 3D printing, some of which haven’t even been imagined yet. Manufacturers and service bureaus will gain unprecedented control over limitless combinations of applications, colors, and materials. They’ll be able to embed intelligence such as sensors and information such as invisible inventory codes, into their 3D-printed products. And while they’re doing all that, they’ll also be driving cost, carbon, and waste from their manufacturing processes and supply chains. I can’t wait to see the 3D printing innovations generated from this region.

 

About Qun ZhangQun Zhang_HP Press Event_Die and Mould China.jpg

Qun Zhang is the Head of HP’s 3D Printing Sales for Asia Pacific and Japan and is based in Singapore. In this position, he is responsible for defining the go-to-market and business strategies for the 3D Printing business in the region while ensuring comprehensive go-to-market coverage and a focus on verticals and applications. He also works closely with customers to understand their needs in 3D Printing, manufacturing and innovation, and identify areas where HP’s solutions can help customers in the production and innovation process.

Qun was formerly the Director of Sales (Asia) at 3D Systems, where he led the sales organizations in Asia Pacific, Greater China and Southeast Asia. During this time, he also built and managed a results-driven channel team in South Korea, where he maintained a dominant market share and top brand status in the jewellery market. In addition, he led the foray into the automotive industry with production system installations at major customer sites.

Before joining 3D Systems in 2012, Qun was the Regional Manager at Z Corporation, where he established a distributor and reseller network, conducted sales excellence training courses and upgraded the reseller key account sales practice. Prior to that he was the Country Manager of Greater China at Stratasys Inc.

Qun holds a BE from the Electronics and Information Engineering Department of Huazhong University of Science and Technology in Wuhan, China.