HP has unveiled two industrial 3D printers that it claims will produce high quality parts up to 10 times faster, and at half the cost of current systems.
The Jet Fusion 3D 3200 is suitable for prototyping, and will cost circa £90,000 when it is released in 2017. The higher-end Jet Fusion 3D 4200, whose price has not yet been announced, is designed for prototyping and meeting same-day demands for short-run manufacturing and will be available from the end of 2016.
Stephen Nigro, president of HP’s 3D printing business, said: “The new HP Jet Fusion 3D Printing Solution delivers a combination of speed, quality, and cost never seen in the industry. Businesses and manufacturers can completely rethink how they design and deliver solutions to their customers.”
Instead of using lasers, the HP printers use ‘multi jet fusion’ technology – similar to its inkjet printing technology – to print functional parts at the individual ‘voxel’ level. A voxel is the 3D equivalent of a 2D pixel in traditional printing – “a pixel with volume”.
The company says it can precisely apply materials at up to 340million voxels per second; further claiming that it can create 12,600 copies of a typical plastic gear in the time it would take a competitor to make 1000.
As yet, the printers can only print in monochrome thermoplastic, however HP has promised additional materials, including metals, as well as full colour printing in the future.