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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. 

    3D Printing
Published: November 29, 2017

FitStation_029.jpg

 

Today, FitStation powered by HP announced that Brooks Running Company, which designs and markets high-performance running shoes, apparel and accessories in more than 60 countries worldwide, is partnering with FitStation to deliver the first-ever fully custom running shoes. FitStation, a new platform that delivers custom-fitted and individualized footwear through innovative 3D scanning, dynamic gait analysis, and manufacturing technologies, has piloted the innovative biometric-based running shoe development platform at 11 premium retail locations across the US, to rave reviews.

Brooks is committed to providing the experience each runner wants. The ability to deliver a personalized shoe based on an individual’s unique biomechanics is an important offering for the runner who is interested in tip-of-the-spear technology and a totally tuned ride,” said Brooks CEO Jim Weber. “As part of our focus on reinventing performance running, we will continue to push the envelope to bring runners new innovations that help them tailor their unique running experience.”FitStation_003.jpg

 

FitStation combined with Brooks’ deep understanding of runners’ unique biomechanics and commitment to providing personalized experiences that enhance the run for the individual, brings Run Signature to the next level and delivers the most personalized individualized running footwear, all based on the customer’s personal data. This personalized footwear will be available via special order through select retail partners beginning June 2018.   

The Brooks announcement comes on the heels of another key partnership; in October, HP joined partner Steitz Secura at A+A in Germany. A safety shoe specialist, Steitz Secura is using FitStation to aid in its focus on comfort, preventative health and safety.

The digital foot scanning platform allows customers to create a profile, choose to receive personalized off-the-shelf insole and shoe recommendations, fully customized 3D printed insoles, or receive their own pair of truly individualized custom footwear. This unique solution analyzes each foot using a combination of 3D scanning and pressure plate technology to deliver a complete dynamic gait analysis for the individual. FitStation analyzes the data and produces details for custom shoes with polyurethane injected midsoles, that vary in density based on the customer's precise needs. Then, the products can be produced locally for unbelievable ease and speed.FitStation_006.jpg

 

Reinventing how the world designs, manufactures, and sells

FitStation is HP’s next step in the company’s journey to reinvent how the world designs and manufactures with commercial 3D technologies. It’s also a significant leap in reimaging what the retail experience of the future will look like. While brick and mortar stores have faced challenges as online shopping grows in popularity, there is still a deep desire for in-store experiences. But the store of the future needs to engage customers in fresh, tailored ways. Offerings that deliver individualized ‘you-get-me’ options will win the retail wars. "FitStation by HP is changing what personalization means—from the in-store experience to the final product. In collaboration with Brooks and Superfeet, we are delivering truly made-to-measure footwear with a lot size of one,” said Ed Ponomarev, general manager of FitStation and business development HP Inc. “Digitalization of biometric data opens an opportunity to ultimate individualization with the speed and cost efficiency of mass production. HP brings deep experience in computing, scanning and technology integration at scale to deliver a revolutionary digital manufacturing platform, creating individualized products that are available to anyone—from casual runners to elite athletes.”

“Without question, the system is on the cutting edge within our industry, and the level of engagement with our consumers is remarkable. FitStation has become an integral component now in our standard shoe-fitting process with our business. In addition to a cool experience, the system allows us the opportunity to sell the consumer a very personalized ME3D insole while never having to stock an inventory item...positively brilliant,” said Adam White of Running Central.FitStation_015.jpg

 

FitStation uses HP Multi Jet Fusion printing technology to manufacture the world’s first 3D printed insoles made using 3D scanning and dynamic gait analysis to create a one-of-a-kind digital profile of each foot. Superfeet, the leader in innovative, over-the-counter insoles, is piloting the platform in select stores across the 4,000 retail locations where they have a presence.

"For 40 years, we have set the standard for shape and fit. Until today, the technology to deliver a 3D printed insole that meets Superfeet’s exacting standards didn’t exist,” said Eric Hayes, Chief Marketing Officer at Superfeet. “Our new solution allows us to create the most individualized shape and fit on the planet.” 

"FitStation is a truly disruptive platform that will improves people’s lives and change the way people purchase footwear and shoe insoles,” said Louis Kim, Global Head of Immersive Computing, Personal Systems, HP Inc. “We are reinventing the footwear shopping experience, bringing a level of customization and personalization never before seen. We are stitching HP’s capabilities in 3D scanning and 3D printing to bring this Blended Reality vision to life and are working with leading partners within the footwear industry to develop this revolutionary platform.”

Learn more about FitStation powered by HP.

Published: November 27, 2017

Multi-jet-fusion printed part on the left and a high resolution scan of the indicated portion of it on the right  showing the micro surface structure used  for authentication.Multi-jet-fusion printed part on the left and a high resolution scan of the indicated portion of it on the right showing the micro surface structure used for authentication.An HP Labs investigation into accurately identifying and authenticating 3D-printed objects is helping enable a future where parts for high performance machines like jet engines are routinely printed to order. It may also aid the development of new systems for tracking physical objects of any kind on a massive scale.

HP Labs Distinguished Technologist Stephen PollardHP Labs Distinguished Technologist Stephen Pollard

 “To use a 3D printed part in a machine like an aero-engine, you need to be able to confidently identify and track that part after it has been printed from a known and trusted printer,” observes Bristol, UK-based researcher Stephen Pollard.

One way to do that would be to add a unique identifier like a bar code to each printed item. But Pollard and his colleagues in HP’s Print Adjacencies and 3D Lab wanted to come up with an approach that added no processing or materials cost to the 3D printing process and that would also have applicability for 3D objects created via more conventional methods.

Their solution: a low cost, three-stage, automated identification and authentication system that doesn’t require a printed object to be readied for authentication in any way.  

It works by first designating a small area of the object to be tracked as the location of a “virtual forensic mark.” This need only be a centimeter or so square and can easily be pre-assigned in the digital version of the 3D object before it is printed.   

Once the item is printed, it is robotically scanned so that the location of the virtual forensic mark can be identified. Finally, a second, very high resolution scanner takes a measurement of that small area. It’s so accurate – detecting surface differences of just two thousandths of a millimeter - that it can establish a unique digital signature for every printed version of an identical 3D object.

With this identifying information on file, the object can be scanned again whenever a confirmation of the object’s specific identity is needed.

“It’s like a fingerprint scanner for physical objects,” says Pollard.

The team has already created prototypes for most of the elements in their system. They next plan to miniaturize and integrate them together into a single prototype device, creating a tool that does the work of instruments that currently cost tens of thousands of dollars for under $100 per machine.HP Labs research engineer Faisal AzharHP Labs research engineer Faisal Azhar

One major challenge will be to place each of these elements together in way that allows the process to be fully automated, adds Labs researcher Faisal Azhar.  

“The other hard problem we face is extracting reliable and repeatable signatures of the 3D parts,” Azhar says. “We are already able to make incredibly accurate scans but those scans need to be reliably repeatable to be confident that the object we identify right after printing is the same object we later want to place, for example, in a machine.”

At present, the system is optimized to scan the surface of objects created by HP 3D printers. But the Labs identification and authentication team plans to expand its capabilities to include objects made from a more diverse array of materials.

More broadly, they are also looking to measure properties of 3D objects beyond their shape, and devise methods for further enhancing production line integration and automated machine interactions with them. “This “forensic” level of authentication and identification will really come into its own when 3D printing moves from prototyping and into production, and manufacturers are printing millions and even billions of copies of any one part,” says Pollard.

Published: November 14, 2017

Cheryl MacleodCheryl Macleod

One of the biggest factors in HP’s rise as the world’s innovation leader in 3D printing, the disruptive technology set to transform the $12 trillion global manufacturing industry, is a long heritage of printing leadership and reinvention that goes back decades.

The building blocks of HP’s groundbreaking Multi Jet Fusion 3D printing technology are actually rooted in one of the company’s most historic innovations, thermal Inkjet technology, which remains the gold standard for home and office printers some 30 years later.

For a good example of how HP’s past continues to inform its future, look no further than the 23-year company veteran who was recently appointed to lead one of its most cutting-edge organizations: Cheryl Macleod, HP’s new Global Head of 3D Fusion Science.

 

One thing that links your interests in science, cooking, and travel is a love of learning. What are some of your earliest memories of learning?

My earliest memories of learning weren’t in school, they were at home with my older brother, trying to keep up with him. I’ve always had a bit of a competitive streak. In first grade when he came home and said, “I know how to read,” I went straight to my mom and said “I want to read, too!” I also remember my mom taking us out on nature walks and looking under every rock and stump to see what creatures might be living there. That really taught me the value of experiential learning.

What drew you to science as a career?

I actually wanted to be a musician, but didn’t think it would pay the bills. I was really good in math and science so I got my bachelor’s degree in biomedical engineering. But then I decided to change my focus to chemical engineering and went to UC Berkeley with the intent of getting a masters in that area, but then I switched again to a PhD program so I could spend more time doing hands-on research instead of sitting in a library. It’s that love of experiential learning again.

How did that bring you to HP?

The research in my PhD program was in the area of surface and colloid chemistry, which involves studying the relationships between properties in materials that are too small to be seen with the naked eye. It was that fascination with extremely small things that brought me to HP’s Inkjet business. The technology behind it is essentially teeny tiny drops shooting out of really complex but small devices to make incredible images on paper. I was hooked.

You’ve been here for 23 years in a multitude of R&D roles. How have you seen the company evolve?

When I joined the company, Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard had both recently retired but they were still an incredibly strong presence, and most of the leaders in the company had worked with them directly. But then in subsequent years, I think the company began to move towards focusing more on short-term results than the big innovation picture that Bill and Dave founded it on. In the last two years it’s been really exciting to see our entire leadership team take the company back to its roots and reinfuse it with big, long-term commitments to innovation, talent, and disruptive technologies like 3D printing.

Who have your greatest mentors been?

There have been many, but the one who sticks out most was my first director at HP. I remember during my second week here I was invited to have a one-on-one with him. I was so struck that in this lab of literally hundreds of people, the director would take the time to meet with every new employee just to get to know them. That’s something I’ve always carried with me. Whenever I join a new organization I try to meet with every single person within the first few months. So many people have told me, “That’s never happened in my career before.” But for me it’s normal because it happened to me in my second week at HP.

Your new job is leading the Fusion Science organization for HP’s 3D printing business. What exactly does that team do, and what are your goals for it?

We focus on developing the deep science behind the materials that drive our business: the powders and agents that are used in 3D printing with Multi Jet Fusion. We take a very rigorous scientific and engineering approach to understanding and developing both our HP-branded agents and the ones developed by our materials partners. We lead the materials certification process and work directly with our partners to develop their materials and bring them to market. Our biggest long-term goal is to expand the breadth and applications of 3D printing materials to rival the amount used in traditional manufacturing, which is a number in the thousands. We’ve got our work cut out for us.

One of your biggest passions is cooking. What lessons from cooking have you applied to your work?

Well, cooking is all about chemistry: taking things through mixing, processing, and heating to create completely different things. In Indian cooking, the list of ingredients for each dish can sound nearly identical: the same basic spices, the same kinds of vegetables and rice. But the nuance is in the process you use for each one: do you add a certain spice first or last? Is it whole our ground? How long should it simmer? The process has a huge impact on how the dish comes out. So at work I make sure our engineers are very rigorous in documenting their processes in how they fuse things together. It really makes all the difference.

How has being a woman informed your career in a traditionally male-dominated field?

Before I came to HP, I interviewed with a few other companies. Each time, lunchtime would roll around and they’d trot out “The Woman” who worked there to have lunch with me to show me how good their diversity was, which of course wasn’t very convincing at all. Then I came to HP. I didn’t talk to a single woman during my interviews, but as I was walking down the hallways there were women working everywhere: in the labs, on the engineering teams, on the product teams. Nobody went out of their way to try and convince me that HP was a diverse company because I could see it with my own two eyes. As much as anything, that’s what brought me here.

Published: November 09, 2017

 

HP Jet Fusion 32 4200 printersHP Jet Fusion 32 4200 printers

3D printing is one of the most disruptive technologies of our time, spearheading a new 4th Industrial Revolution that will radically change the way we conceive, design, produce, distribute, and consume pretty much everything.

But until now, 3D printing hasn’t been a viable means of large-scale industrial manufacturing (think big factories) because of prohibitively expensive production costs and limited technology. In order to realize HP’s vision of digitally transforming the $12 trillion global manufacturing industry, the economics of 3D printing needed to be completely rewritten.

Today, HP announced that it has smashed that economic barrier and paved the way for cost-effective, industrial-scale 3D manufacturing with the new Jet Fusion 3D 4210 Printing Solution.

The new solution increases production volume for HP Jet Fusion 3D printers by enabling continuous operation, greater overall system efficiency, and the ability handle larger quantities of 3D printing materials, while significantly lowering production costs with reduced pricing on HP’s 3D materials and shared service contracts.

When put together with HP’s industry-leading Multi Jet Fusion technology, those enhancements double the existing “break-even point” at which 3D printing remains cost-effective to an unprecedented 110,000 parts, and drastically reduces the cost-per-part, up to 65% less than other methods.

“The new 3D 4210 Printing Solution enables our customers to mass-produce parts using HP’s Multi Jet Fusion technology for significantly less than other processes, and fully benefit from the economies of scale,” said Ramon Pastor, General Manager of Multi Jet Fusion for HP’s 3D printing business. “HP’s Jet Fusion 3D systems have now reached a technological and economic inflection point that combines the speed, quality, and scalability needed to accelerate manufacturing’s digital industrial revolution.”

Today, HP also announced the further expansion of its industry-first Open Materials Platform, a collaborative development and distribution model where HP and its growing ecosystem of 3D partners work together to drive materials innovation, reduce costs, and create new applications and markets for Multi Jet Fusion technology. There are already over 50 leading companies actively engaged on the platform.Materials companies can use HP’s Materials Development Kit to quickly test compatibility with Jet Fusion printers.Materials companies can use HP’s Materials Development Kit to quickly test compatibility with Jet Fusion printers.

 

It was announced that leading chemical companies Dressler Group and Lubrizol have joined the growing HP 3D partner ecosystem, and also that three new three new engineering-grade 3D printing materials are coming to the open platform: PA 11, PA 12 Glass Beads, and Polypropylene.

The new materials raise the bar on production quality, strength, versatility, and flexibility, but only one of them is going to space (for now).

The new HP 3D High Reusability PA 12 Glass Beads, an innovative new nylon material filled with tiny glass beads, was used to make one of the most complex parts in a specially-designed HP ENVY Zero-Gravity printer developed with NASA that’s being sent to the International Space Station this February. The printer’s output tray needed to be particularly lightweight, watertight, and durable for its journey to space, and 3D printing with PA 12 Glass Beads provided the perfect solution.

HP continues to unlock the economics and technology of 3D manufacturing, with a deeply-engaged network of partners committed to accelerating the digital industrial revolution.

Says Corey Weber, co-founder of leading printing service bureau Forecast 3D, “It has never been more clear to us that HP’s Multi Jet Fusion represents the future of digital manufacturing.”

Published: October 06, 2017

Corey Weber Co-Founder, Forecast 3DCorey Weber Co-Founder, Forecast 3D3D printing’s digital industrial revolution is in its early days, but it’s already being embraced across the full spectrum of the manufacturing business from major industries and large enterprises to independent local purveyors known as printing service bureaus.

 

Recently, Forecast 3D, one of the oldest and largest privately-owned service bureaus in the U.S., became the first to offer full-scale 3D manufacturing with the installation of 12 HP 3D printing units.

 

In honor of tomorrow’s Manufacturing Day 2017, Forecast 3D Co-Founder Corey Weber discusses how that capability has transformed his business, and how it foretells a far greater disruption of the global manufacturing industry ahead.

 

 

What does Forecast 3D do?

 

IMG_0899.jpgMy brother Donovan and I started Forecast 3D back in 1994 as a rapid prototyping service bureau. Rapid prototyping is the original term for 3D printing, which back then was just becoming a viable way to quickly make revisions to prototypes of various things. HP’s Multi Jet Fusion has allowed us to use our prototyping prowess to expand into full-scale, end-to-end 3D production, but more on that later.

 

We started the company in a 500 square-foot space down by the beach here in Carlsbad, California with a $5,000 loan from our grandfather. Modest beginnings for sure. But we quickly became known for the high quality of our products and services and grew very fast. Today we have 49,000 square feet of 3D printing goodness using the latest manufacturing technologies to best fit our customers’ needs, including Multi Jet Fusion.

 

How have you seen the 3D printing industry evolve since you began?

It has majorly evolved since I began my career in 1990. I remember working with some of the early technologies and thinking this is junk! But so many of those technologies have since made tremendous advancements that have allowed the industry to grow at an amazing rate, and new technologies like Multi Jet Fusion have taken things to a whole new level with full 3D production. It used to be easy to keep track of everything that was going on, now there’s so much happening that just keeping up can be a full-time job.

 

Why did you decide to make such a big investment in Multi Jet Fusion with the installation of 12 HP 3D printing units?

When you’ve been in this industry as long as I have, you get to know a lot about both the pros and cons of 3D printing. The upsides are potentially limitless, but the main downside, the Achilles Heel that has kept 3D printing from becoming mainstream, has always been slow speed and high costs. HP has removed those shackles with Multi Jet Fusion and made 3D printing faster and more cost-effective than ever before, which opens up a whole new world of opportunities for us. When we first tested HP’s 3D printers a year ago we immediately saw how much they could achieve, and how far they could push the industry forward, so the only thing to do was go big.

 

 

What benefits do you see Multi Jet Fusion having over other types of manufacturing technology?

The speed alone is a tremendous benefit. To go from iterating multiple design cycles with prototypes to final production in one week is unprecedented. Being able to shorten the time-to-market can make a dramatic difference in the success of a product. And even if a product falls flat, the startup capital risk is so low that you can take your learnings and iterate a new, better product for little additional investment, especially important for smaller startups. 

 

The degree of manufacturing flexibility is one of the biggest benefits over conventional manufacturing technology, I strongly believe that once designers start to adopt the out-of-the-box thinking and boundless creativity that Multi Jet Fusion allows, we’ll see some amazing advancements in product design, innovation and performance. The companies that embrace this new mindset early will see a huge competitive advantage.

 

 

MJF_FORECAST3D_12_Printers_Pressv2.jpg 

How does being the first service bureau with the capacity for full-run 3D production with Multi Jet Fusion change your business now, and your outlook for the future?

Being the first to have this capacity has changed the way we think about 3D printing entirely. We’ve done small production jobs before, but the time and cost required by existing technologies made it impractical for anything beyond a few hundred parts. But with the installation of 12 Multi Jet Fusion units at our new facility, we now have the capacity to produce 600,000 parts in a single week. That’s the most significant leap that I’ve ever seen in 3D printing: going from prototyping and small batch production to full-run, large-scale 3D manufacturing. It’s drastically expanded the type and range of opportunities we can pursue, and it’s a microcosm for the way 3D printing is going to transform the entire global manufacturing industry.

 

Where do you see the 3D printing industry 5 years from now?

For decades, 3D printing has only been viewed as a viable manufacturing option by a small number of forward-thinking companies. But Multi Jet Fusion has turned that promise into a reality and opened the doors for the industry to grow at mass scale. I predict that in 5 years, 3D printing will already be a primary manufacturing process for at least 25% of companies in the world. Considering the size of the manufacturing industry, that is a mind-boggling amount of growth that will only continue to gain speed.

 

Ultimately, how do you think 3D printing’s transformation of the manufacturing industry will change the global business landscape, and change people’s lives on a personal level.

I think one of the greatest transformations that 3D printing will have on global business will be a push towards local manufacturing. Companies will be able to bring much of their manufacturing home, which will be positive in so many ways, especially in terms of the natural resources it requires to transport mass volumes of products overseas.

 

On a more personal level, kids these days are growing up with 3D printing as a household word, and getting introduced to the concept of computer-aided design at an early age. I think this will start a generational shift where today’s tech-savvy kids will be more inclined to make things rather than simply buy them.  Right now, consumer technology often means just going online to buy stuff. But in the future, I think people will have a less passive relationship with technology and will use it to make more things for themselves, customized to their own personal tastes.

 

I’ve custom-designed and printed many things for myself because they didn’t exist in the form that I needed them, from a cup holder for my ’68 Charger to a tool that cleans the leaves off my tile roof. Multi Jet Fusion gives you the power to create things quickly, at low cost, to the specifications of individual people, from my cup holder to a future with custom-printed shoes, cars, medical devices, household goods, and beyond. The possibilities are truly staggering.