Earlier this year, Hewlett-Packard Company entered the market of 3D-printers by making a cooperation agreement with the Stratasys, and in May the first product of joint work of engineers of the two companies — Printer Designjet 3D — will be available on the markets of France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom. The printer is designed to facilitate prototyping, and in some cases, such a device could significantly reduce production costs.
“Millions of 3D-designers using traditional printers are ready to implement their design in 3D, – said Morire Santiago (Santiago Morera), vice president of HP and general manager of large format printers. — The Stratasys Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) Technology is flawless foundation for HP to enter the market of MCAD 3D printing and begin to benefit from these untapped opportunities.”
To create an object, CAD-file is sent to the Designjet 3D, then the printer using inkjet printing technology heats thermoplastic or other material layer by layer. HP offers two models: Designjet 3D and Designjet Color 3D for $ 13 thousand and $ 17.5 thousand, respectively, with the latter model being able to implement color 3D-printing.
For the first time the concept of 3D-printer was introduced by Stratasys in mid-1990’s, when the company in collaboration with IBM introduced the first compact system. The last 7 years Stratasys holds a leading position in the new market with a share of over 50%. However, the high price of these devices prevents the wide application of various 3D-printing technologies. Released in 2002, the first 3D-printer Stratasys Dimension cost $30,000, in 2009, it broke the price barrier of $15,000.
We can expect that the technology that allows creating objects in single copies will become more accessible, repeating the path of laser printers, whose implementation began with the business sector and has reached the user-level scale. 3D-printers offer broad prospects not only to the work of engineers who require testing of their products at the design stage, but also to some industries with short-run production.
By the way, similar technologies allow creation of metal structures by baking powder material, and with inkjet technology — printing electrical circuits and even growing body organs.