Minnesota Based Proto Labs will be among the first to use HP's Multi Jet Fusion 3D Printer, which the computer giant has promised will increase 3d printing speeds by close to 10 times the current capabilities.
Proto Labs has been a leader in 3d printed parts for high end industrial users, focusing on laser sintering and stereolithography technologies which produce strong parts but are slower and more costly than many customers would like.
This story was first reported by Simon Martin at Engineering.com
“The new HP Multi Jet Fusion 3D printing solution looks like a truly exciting leap ahead in industrial-grade 3D printing,” said Rob Connelly, vice president of additive manufacturing at Proto Labs. “We at Proto Labs look forward to collaborating with HP to help develop this new platform that could result in higher productivity and quality at a lower cost.”
HP has initiated what it calls the Open Customer Engagement Program, designed to test the capabilities of its Multi Jet Fusion printer at existing manufacturing shops around the country.
The printer has a build volume of 16 x 12 x 16 inches and at a starting price point of $120,000, is designed for businesses that specialize in making parts for high performance industries. The printer currently uses nylons, which allow for strong and flexible parts, and the company has plastics, ceramics and metals on its radar for the future.
"So for some parts, companies will choose to use the HP machine for tens of thousands of parts annually, rather than using plastic injection molding. Determining whether it is viable will depend on the size of the parts and the requirements of the material," Terry Wohlers, a consultant specializing in 3d printing said last month. "The company also said that the material properties are consistently better than laser sintering and I have no reason to doubt this claim. It is going to shake up 3D printing in ways that we have not seen in the past."