When HP unveiled its Multi Jet Fusion technology in 2016, it was immediately clear that this was a technology that was going to genuinely transform the industry. At the time, 3D printing was still largely a prototyping technology, but HP announced its intention to change that by offering a means of 3D printing end-use polymer parts on a large scale. How quickly things change – just two years later, the Wohlers Report 2018 states that the production of functional parts, including functional prototyping, is now the industry’s leading additive manufacturing use case and that the demand for production-grade parts is expected to grow exponentially.
Although other manufacturers have released 3D printers capable of creating functional parts, HP is in a true market leadership position, shipping more plastic production 3D printers than any other company in the world. Multi Jet Fusion technology has gone in two years from being a brand new introduction to being fully integrated throughout the industry, with more than three million MJF parts produced last year alone.
Today at the Additive Manufacturing Users Group (AMUG) conference, HP showcased some of the customers that have been implementing MJF on a large scale, as well as its own Reinventing HP with Multi Jet Fusion program. When you’ve developed a technology that changes manufacturing, you may as well use it yourself in addition to distributing it worldwide, and HP is announcing its intention to use MJF to transform the design, production and distribution of its own products.
“Our mission is to change the way the world designs and manufacturers with 3D printing. We are seeing an increase in high-volume 3D production as the industry accelerates its journey towards a digital future,” said Stephen Nigro, President of 3D Printing, HP Inc. “Customers are leaning in, driving improved economics, and increasing production of industrial-grade parts – in the last year alone more than three million parts were produced on Multi Jet Fusion and more than 50% are for end use. As one of the largest manufacturers in the world, HP is also leveraging our own technology to transform our product development lifecycle to help lower costs, speed time to market, increase customer satisfaction, and improve sustainability across our business.”
Multi Jet Fusion technology can be used not just to produce HP products, but to produce itself – more than 50% of the custom plastic parts inside the Jet Fusion 4200, and over 140 parts within the new Jet Fusion 300/500 series, can be 3D printed with MJF technology. According to HP, this is believed to be the largest number of 3D printed parts within any product in the world. The redesign and 3D printing of these parts offers higher performance in areas such as increased air flow, lightweighting, and optimization for space constraints, as well as lower costs and increased manufacturing flexibility as it reduces tooling and assembly time and costs.
In terms of other products, a key part of HP’s Large Format Printers was redesigned to make use of topological optimization and is entering mass production with a 93% weight reduction, 50% cost reduction and a 95x carbon footprint reduction versus the original aluminum machined part. MJF parts have also been included in the HP ENVY ISS, the 2D printer designed to replace the existing printers on the International Space Station. HP expedited the development of its HP 3D High Reusability Glass Beads Material to produce 11 parts for the ENVY ISS, including a specially designed output tray to meet NASA requirements.
The use of MJF technology has reduced design time by up to 50% and saved millions of dollars in deferred tooling expenses for several HP parts such as air ducts in the Jet Fusion 4200 and 300/500 series, as complex multi-component parts were replaced with a single part. A tool used in the manufacture of HP’s print heads was redesigned for MJF to increase water tightness and reduce turbulence flow. New materials utilization and part consolidation also resulted in reduction of lead times from months to days, 90% reduction in weight, 95% reduction in cost, and more than 30 times reduction in carbon footprint. Plastic parts for the new HP Z Camera were also produced with MJF, resulting in significant cost savings and shortening the lead time by more than six weeks.
“HP delivers nearly 100 million products annually through a sophisticated network of HP factories, original design manufacturers, and logistics providers across more than 170 countries,” said Stuart Pann, Chief Supply Chain Officer, HP Inc. “This unique program brings together product design, engineering, procurement, supply chain operations, and manufacturing to unleash the potential of Multi Jet Fusion. Embracing the design freedom of 3D printing, HP is making breakthroughs in cost, productivity, quality, and performance as we digitally reinvent our product lifecycle and supply chain.”
HP’s customers are increasing their use of MJF technology, as well, placing repeat orders and upgrading their deployments to fulfill higher order volumes and grow their businesses. Forecast 3D, one of the largest and oldest privately held 3D manufacturers in the US, is upgrading its fleet of 12 HP 3D printers to the more recently introduced HP Jet Fusion 3D 4210 printers to meet rising demand. The company expects to produce more than one million MJF parts in the coming year for a leading client in the medical sector, just as one example.
GoProto, which has more than 500 clients across multiple industries, has installed six HP 4200 3D printers to meet increasing customer demand for high-volume prototyping and production applications.
“Whether we’re making one part at the beginning of the design cycle or doing a 5,000 part production build, Multi Jet Fusion continues to amaze us with its strength, precision and reliability,” Jesse Lea, President of GoProto, told 3DPrint.com. “This additive technology truly is the bridge to on-demand manufacturing that we’ve been waiting for.”
Stern, a conventional manufacturer in the medical and automotive sector, is using MJF technology for its new 3D printing service bureau, Stern 3D. The company is installing 10 HP Jet Fusion 4200 3D printers in its production facility near Stuttgart, Germany.
“We are future proofing our business with the efficient, digital capabilities of HP’s Multi Jet Fusion technology,” Lothar Stern, CEO of Stern 3D, told us. “We look forward to showcasing for our customers the endless possibilities that 3D printing offers. For those in any industry looking to move beyond the limited capabilities of traditional manufacturing our new facility, anchored by the massive capacity of 10 HP Jet Fusion 3D 4200 systems, will enable advanced production applications at breakthrough speeds and lower costs.”
AMUG is taking place from April 8-12 in St. Louis, Missouri. HP’s booth will be at Demo Suite D5, and on April 10 at 11 AM, Michelle Bockman, Global Head of 3D Printing Commercial Expansion and Development, will be presenting “Behind the Scenes: Driving Our Own Digital Transformation,” in Ballroom A.
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