According to the report “Making Digital 2015”, produced by the Online Business School, business generated by 3D printing-related industries was valued at 188,15 billion euros in 2015, a figure that could increase by up to 26% for the close of this same year 2016. A considerable figure if we take into account that in 2013 only grew 10%, although the estimate is to reach 30% annual growth until at least the year 2020.
3D printing is part of the daily life of the industry as we know it. Experts in the field of printing 3D already explain what could be achieved with this technology, but not even need to look too much into the future. Today already many progress thanks to her and it works so that it reaches a level of even greater maturity.
While now is held by something more remote users than her sister, ink printing, 3D printing is already a part of our present concerning many fields. From the construction on a large scale until the manufacturing of small parts. Robotics also begins to rely on it to make devices more quickly and less expensive. Even health, one of the most promising fields, already know the advantages of a technology that has been in development time but that begins to discover their own potential.
The U.S. multinational company HP has launched both a new line of 3D printers as an online solution to conquer a market that until now was unknown to him, and makes him pointing to the own production lines, several steps before reaching the end-user. Not come first, but they are looking register as a necessary intermediary for the future of the industry.
A great proposal in hardware, Jet Fusion 3D
The U.S. company has launched the market for 3D printing from two points: hardware and software. First they presented a new line of printers called Jet Fusion 3D that, in the words of Jaume Homs, Sales Manager for Iberia, reduced to 10% the current cost of production of small parts and also accelerates the production.
HP, with disruptive technology that we have managed to get […], can enter the world of manufacturing. For us, it is key to get into this market when we see that we have a technology capable to enter this world. This world of manufacturing goes on two lines, the mass production of customized parts and the short-run, small series but always talking about the world of manufacturing. We also value the possibility of being providers of what is known as service bureaus and devoted to giving service to others. Third parties who can at home users who want a piece of custom, from a cover for the phone to any other piece that could create.
HP points directly to the center of the industry at the moment, to the same production line. HP intends to place its machinery in the process of manufacturing, as one more piece of the same. Something that seems so attractive to them as dangerous for the competence, for the moment, it is more focused on being a final tool and not an intermediary.
And its Open Platform, raw material for your printers complement
But we said that Jet Fusion 3D did not arrive alone but that did in the hands of a software platform. Americans have developed a platform to be judge and jury. Open Platform is a free access platform by which HP becomes, at a stroke, both in both materials producer which need to industry certification from other manufacturers.
When we mentioned the problem that would be the arrival of HP in the sector to competition we referred exactly to the combination of these two elements. Machinery for the industry that would need the raw material supplied by the company itself. Raw material that would be making themselves or that they “allow”, a sort of seal of quality that would get that HP was always at the center of any transaction related to the 3D printing industry-wide.
Markets where we see that we can apply our technology (medical, manufacturing, tooling, aerospace) may largely depend on the emergence of new materials. In this sense, HP has created an open platform on which materials manufacturers will be able to develop their materials certified with our machines and we are going to distribute all over the world.
HP vision in this regard is the serve as support for the discovery and development of new materials but let us not forget that the ultimate goal would be the centralize the entire process. Software, hardware and raw materials. Everything from a single player who would help, among other things, to subtract too much weight to other 3D, such as Stratasys and 3D Systems printing Giants.
Open Platform will make that we don’t have to limit the manufacture of materials to what we ourselves manufacture but that we have created something very innovative on the market in this sense, an Apple Store of materials for 3D printing. We already have the main manufacturers of plastic as developing materials for our machines, which we will certify and that enabled a wide range of applications.
The success of HP in its attempt to be placed within the industry itself would make them judge and jury, leaving little oxygen to a competition which now is standing at the end nearest to the user. HP not only it would benefit from the decisions of the industry as a producer, but it could also influence from within the same as prescriber and indispensable part.
The current picture of 3D printing
As mentioned at the beginning of the article, the 3D printing market already has players pretty well positioned even though its position is closer to that user to the manufacturer. However, companies such as Stratasys, current leader of the sector and that recently signed an agreement with Airbus for the use of its technology, Ultem 3D, in the construction of the A350 XWB, the aircraft manufacturer supply aircraft.
When HP is presented on the market to compete against Stratasys does so against a company with more than 2,800 employees and has more than 600 patents in the sector. A tough nut to crack based in Minnesota and Israel and whose technology allows, for example, print parts directly from 3D CAD files. Stratasys, whose specialty is prototyping, has been on the market since 1989, and throughout its existence has absorbed to companies like MakerBot, Solid Concepts and Harvest Technologies.
Both Stratasys and 3D Systems lead the market and begin to diversify
Another great rival of HP in their incorporation into the struggle for domination of the 3D printing is 3D Systems. Also based in North America, specifically in Delaware, 3D Systems has of subsidiaries in all continents, enjoying a second position in the sector more than deserved.
In the same way that Stratasys begins to enter into the world of aviation, more specifically in the of its builders, Systems makes 3D in the medicine. Its latest achievement in the sector was the construction of a replica of the spine in an operation practiced Mark Weimer sled hockey national champion. With this process, 3D Systems was placed at the forefront of the use of 3D printing technology in the medical sector.
Both Stratasys and 3D Systems they find new fields to expand and go placing with strength in the face of the future of 3D printing technology. This is the big market players are facing HP with its technology. The question is,?how large can become the market 3D printing so this caliber multinationals compete with each other by their leadership?
HP, why now?
All I have known printing 3D sensor is only a small part of what is to come. At the moment we talked of a world market that moves annual figures that haunt the 5,000 million dollars but that expected to multiply by four in just four years. If growth forecasts are met, the 3D printing should be 20,000 million dollars a year by 2020 with an impact on the economy that would be around the 550,000 million dollars only five years later. For when that time comes it will be very important to be well situated to control the greater part of the cake.
Knowing the future revenue it can bring this market of 3D, and knowing that there are already very well-placed players close to the user, as the aforementioned Stratasys or 3D Systems, means even more the movement of HP. Invest in stealing a piece of cake to its most direct competition, or play your cards for brought directly into baking industry and check any product that crosses its door to the outside.
At present, 40% of the total of benefits of the 3D printing industry is split between the prototyping of parts and designs, and the production of different finished parts. The other 60% of the benefits are generated because of the investments in innovation in the industry, just the point that HP wants to introduce Jet Fusion 3D and Open Platform.
View the bet of HP, what remains of 3D Home printing? Arrive to see machines of 3D printing in every home in the same way that we continue to see ink or laser?
And what’s left of the 3D Home printing?
We (HP) are very focused in the short and medium term in the first instance to enter the world of prototyping, which is that there are today for businesses, […] and then in production. In the medium term we could try to enter studies or working, not big companies, but not short-term groups don’t see that everyone is going to have a 3D printer at home.
It seems quite patent that the relationship between printing ink and 3D printing is more present in the name as in the own functionality, hence the market future is going to be more specialized and do believe 3D printing centres, similar to the current printers, so each user can take your design in a specific format and there come it true with the materials chosen.
Thus, the possibility that will have 3D printers at home seems reduced to being a product extremely specific and that seems will not be cheap in the short term. 3D printing needs that may have in the future on an individual level may be met from these studies or centres of printing that HP wants to have presence in the medium term.
The fourth industrial revolution
HP has presented his letters to play the game of 3D printing, and hasn’t done it alone. Multinationals such as Nike, BMW or Siemens is now part of the portfolio of HP partners in the construction of its first Jet Fusion 3D, your main bet on a technology that, for many, will be a great boost for to complete the fourth industrial revolution.
3D printing will help to finally make a reality the late motiv of the “do it yourself”, and can be reached at change the way you manufacture all, the way in which we work on many levels of the industry. Stand with strength in these moments can be key to what happens in the future, and is therefore the great battle of 3D printing starts to get rid now. And any competition arising for forcing the evolution of the rest will be welcome.
HP already has placed its proposal, a bet of two factors to become the largest supplier of the market 3D printing systems. Hardware and materials (own or outside and certified). Once a new path opens are many who take advantage to navigate it, perhaps this great leap forward of HP make the 3D printing industry to take a giant leap. Therefore the passage of HP is as interesting as dangerous. Halt or to capitalize on the growth of this industry would not be beneficial for many parties, perhaps not for the own HP.