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HP Inc won’t shake you down for ink in 3D printer era, says CTO – The Register

by • March 22, 2016 • No Comments

Interview HP Inc is threatening to bring an era of open platforms to 3D printing, one it claims can turn the well utilized – and much criticised – ink toner supplies biz version on its head.
So how precisely does HP assume to print money when it is in fact via thermo-plastics? There’s one buzz word on the tip of the CTO’s tongue – disruption.

The world’s biggest seller of print can land into the 3D print world in the fall
when it commencees the MultiJet Fusion; decades later than the specialists, and years later than HP itself once predicted.
The rhetoric is may already assembling, yet you’d assume nothing less of a seasoned exec like chief techie Shane Wall.
“We quite believe with this innovation which we have a thing amazingly disruptive… which can fundamentally alter the industry,” he tells El Reg.
Equiteone claims to have a thing disruptive these days. Few truly are, but industry folk are assumeing big things of HP Inc donaten its heritage in paper print.
3D printing is not new but four things hampered growth, the CTO says: speed; price, high end of parts; and the closed nature of the industry. Wall claimed HP’s print engine can solve these restrictions by printing between ten and one hundred times faster, and it can be sold at circa 20 per cent of the cost of existing business machines.
Other makes it to created in MultiJet Fusion include printing at the voxel level – fundamentally a 3D pixel.
“We can alter the characteristics of each voxel: the colour; the hardness; the flexibility; the translucency; and printed electronics.”
HP Inc’s answer to the fourth issue on the lack of open platform is to have (drum roll)… an open platform. This is a move away of what a few may describe as the protectionist racket which HP et al masterminded for traditional toner cartridges.
“We’ll yet have print and supplies but our version can be various; we can open up the platform so folks can have other supplies which come in. They’ll [other suppliers] have access to our APIs through an SDK which allows for them to programme to the printing device itself, and we will allow folks to come in and do quite disruptive new materials which they mayn’t have been able-bodied to do preceding.
“[This is] quite various of HP and quite game changing,” adds Wall.
Chris Connery, veep for global analysis and research at Context, agrees the open version was the way forward.
“Anything the 3D printing device market can do to move away of the razor/razor blade version of 2D printing can indeed benefit adoption. Across the board, all agree which materials and materials science can play a sizeable role in the next of additive making and if printing device vendors donate material scientists the capacity to work their magic, this indeed opens the door for engineers to find new ways to leverage this innovation,” he says.
HP Inc was may already supposed to be a player in 3D print by now. HP CEO Meg Whitman said at the Canalys Channels Forum event in 2013 which it may commence products in mid-2014.
We ask Wall what happened. Why the tardiness? Apparently, HP Inc is, and always has been, right “on track”.
Right. Glad to clear which up, and so.
The MultiJet Fusion is assumeed to commence with thermo-plastic materials on the market-bodied to print but other suppliers with additional specialist applications are assumeed to cover gaps in HP’s market coverage. HP can go after specific sectors which include low-volume making, retail and automative industries – and, potentially, medical.
“We don’t go after medical in modern times for the reason you’ve got a lot of regulations and the like but we do ponder there are partners who may benefit of doing which,” says Wall.
By far the “hottest” market at present is the metal side of 3D printing, says Context, “mostly created up by $1m + machines” but sales in the total pro space “struggled a bit in 2015”.
This was part of “coming down after the over-hype on 2013/14, compounded by the market looking forward to the entrance of HP as well as Canon, Ricoh and others in 2017,” says Connery.
Much as HP management and investors can be keen on a return to the great old days when folks utilized additional ink and the price of toner was compared to the margins achieved of selling expensive perfume or dealing in cocaine, they’ve most likely gone forever.
No one wants to snort plastic or dab it behind their ears. ®
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