HP’s Multi Jet Fusion Making Serious Headway in On-Demand Manufacturing
Ian Wright posted on August 10, 2017 | 2042 views
Screenshot of the original Google homepage. (Image courtesy of Google.)
Screenshot of the original Google homepage. (Image courtesy of Google.)

Do you remember when the Internet began to creep into our everyday lives?

People started handing out business cards with their telephone number, fax number and email address on them. Advertisements started displaying URLs underneath corporate logos. Phrases that, strangely, already seem antiquated, like “World Wide Web” and “Dot Com,” were everywhere.

It’s hard to believe the Internet as we know it has been around for more than a quarter of a century, but technological change can happen amazingly fast once it gets going. Case in point: HP’s Multi Jet Fusion (MJF) 3D printing platform is seeing a rapid uptake in manufacturing, particularly where it could make the biggest impact: on-demand manufacturing.

The latest instance comes from Proto Labs, which began experimenting with MJF last year. The collaboration between Proto Labs and HP was part of the latter company’s effort to establish a global network of 3D printing service providers. Since then, Proto Labs opened an additional 77,000-sqft facility dedicated to additive manufacturing.

HP's president of 3D printing, Stephen Nigro and Proto Labs president and CEO Vicki Holt at Proto Labs’ 77,000-sqft additive manufacturing facility in Cary NC. (Image courtesy of Proto Labs.)
HP's president of 3D printing, Stephen Nigro and Proto Labs president and CEO Vicki Holt at Proto Labs’ 77,000-sqft additive manufacturing facility in Cary NC. (Image courtesy of Proto Labs.)
“Before introducing any manufacturing process at Proto Labs, we execute thorough testing to develop a repeatable process and ensure we can meet our quality standards,” said Greg Thompson, global product manager of 3D printing at Proto Labs. “We are extremely confident with the feature resolution and quality surface finishes we have seen with HP’s Multi Jet Fusion and are excited to offer our customers another tool to accelerate product development and reduce manufacturing costs.”

Proto Labs now offers five different industrial 3D printing processes, producing plastic, metal, and elastomeric components in as fast as one day.

Last year, I wondered whether 3D printing could be the catalyst for true on-demand manufacturing. Seeing a major player like Proto Labs offering MJF services makes me think the additive age may already be upon us.

For more information, visit the Proto Labs website.

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