HP Pitches 3D Metal Printer in Bid to Expand in Manufacturing
HP is making a big push into the manufacturing industry with its first printer that can churn out 3D metal parts.
HP is unveiling the Metal Jet printer, and some early customers, at a manufacturing trade show in Chicago on Monday. Engineering firm GKN is using the printers in its factories to produce parts for companies including Volkswagen, one of the biggest automakers. GKN makes more than 3 billion components a year and expects to print millions of production-grade HP Metal Jet parts for customers as early as next year, HP said in a statement.
Printers that make three-dimensional metal objects already exist, but HP said Metal Jet can produce a lot more parts at "significantly" lower cost than existing machines.
Technology like HP Metal Jet lets manufacturers produce parts without first having to build the factory tools that are traditionally needed, according to Martin Goede, head of technology planning and development for the Volkswagen brand. "By reducing the cycle time for the production of parts, we can realize a higher volume of mass production very quickly."
“The sweet spot of 3-D printing technologies is not in giant numbers in vehicles like the Golf,” technologies. “There’s a better use case in more specialty parts for vehicles with volume of 50,000 to half a million.”said Sven Crull, Volkswagen’s head of design for new manufacturing .