Precious metals science leader Legor Group SPA, which produces powders, alloys, and plating solutions, has entered into a strategic collaboration with HP. Legor serves the fashion accessory and jewelry sectors, with a focus on sustainability, and will now work with HP to use its Metal Jet system to develop specialty precious metal materials. Then, it will print jewelry and fashion accessories out of stainless steel using HP’s metal binder jetting technology, and improve metals science at the same time.
“Producing metal powders and 3D metal objects is part of our DNA and we have always been collaborating with customers in the jewelry and fashion accessories world,” explained Massimo Poliero, the President and CEO of Legor Group SPA. “The digital capabilities of HP Metal Jet provides an alternative method to the classic investment casting which requires the combustion of waxes or resins and the use of gypsum (calcium sulphate) as casting material, containing free breathable silica. It is our way to promote more robust and intentional sustainability into production processes.”
HP entered the metal 3D printing sector back in 2018 with its Metal Jet system, working with select partners like Primo Metal Group, GKN, Johnson & Johnson, Parmatech, and Volkswagen. HP’s Metal Jet technology has been used for a variety of interesting applications, such as automotive components, golf putters, and replacement parts for an amphibious assault vehicle. The technology works by spreading a layer of powder in a 430 x 320 x 200 mm bed, and print agents are then dispersed onto the layer before it’s cured. No build plate is required, and the printed part is later sintered in a furnace. Parts can be easily arranged in multiple levels of the powder bed in order to optimize packing density and productivity. This also helps keep costs down, and is particularly useful for applications like jewelry.
“Our work with Legor aligns perfectly with HP’s vision to disrupt manufacturing norms, accelerate digital manufacturing and sustainable impact for customers around the world. The combination of our breakthrough Metal Jet 3D printing platform with Legor’s materials expertise and customer-centric approach will disrupt the luxury jewelry and fashion industries. This is an exciting milestone as we prepare to make Metal Jet more broadly available to the market later this year,” said Didier Deltort, President, HP Personalization & 3D Printing.
While I’m still somewhat skeptical of most 3D printed clothing, I’ve always thought that jewelry and fashion accessories were solid AM applications, and metal should work especially well for jewelry 3D printing. At the beginning, this collaboration between HP and Legor will be centered around printing functional stainless steel fashion accessories and jewelry. At the same time, the two companies will also focus on R&D efforts in order to characterize and set up parameters for bronze and silver powders; eventually, they hope to do the same for gold powders. At the new Legor 3DMetalHub in Bressanvido, Italy—meant to speed up AM for luxury applications—HP and Legor will work together to optimize the 3D printing and sintering parameters, and surface finish, of these future materials.
Legor is benefitting from this new collaboration with HP in multiple ways; for instance, its customers can now work to add more sustainable product manufacturing into their workflows. Additionally, Metal Jet technology offers quality and cost benefits, which customers in the precious metal sectors can surely appreciate. HP also says that its Metal Jet system provides flexibility and design freedom, allowing users to scale up to serial production of metal 3D printed parts.
“Our vision for additive manufacturing goes beyond small series and prototyping. We see a future where every modern business will have one or more of HP’s state-of-the-art binder jetting printers in its facilities, enabled by Legor’s technology, design and support to reduce the time to market for both precious and non-precious metal parts,” Poliero stated. ” This strategic partnership with HP is the keystone to accelerate this vision and move the industry toward more sustainable manufacturing.”
At next week’s Additive Manufacturing Users Group (AMUG) Conference in Chicago, HP will showcase its latest Metal Jet 3D printed parts. Additionally, a Metal Jet session will be held during the conference at 4:30 pm CT on April 4th in Continental C.
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