HP recently announced their new, sub-$100k, 500 series of 3D printers utilizing their innovative MJF (Multi Jet Fusion) 3D print technology. This is the same technology being used in HP’s revolutionary 4200 production-level 3D printers that were released in 2017. I should also note that HP MJF uses HP PageWide print head technology, which is also used in their 2D line of printers.
The 500 series of HP’s first expansion of their portfolio, at a lower acquisition price, and in the case of the 580, the ability to print true color. These are all-in-one systems, that produce nylon plastic white parts (HP 540), or full color (HP 580). For those familiar with traditional SLS, let me just repeat, these are all-in-one systems. Both printing and processing are contained in a single unit.
HP is positioning these units to not only produce traditional prototypes, but also short run production parts. While the HP 4200 is slotted for full production, the 500 series is intended to provide ramp-up capability for 3D print production.
The color technology integrated in the 580 is attracting most of the attention and, yes, although certainly industry changing, I believe the market is missing what the non-color version actually provides. Let me explain…
The base 540 systems starts below $90k and, although it does not offer color output, it prints utilizing HP’s Multi-Jet Technology. MJF melts PA12 nylon material, which on the 540, results in a smooth, white finish for outstanding visual appeal. More importantly, these are truly functional parts. In fact, I often refer to HP’s MJF technology as SLS (Selective Laser Sintering) on steroids. SLS has been the standard for high quality, durable parts and HP has created a process to increase productivity – up to 15 times faster – with less waste. Historically, SLS systems were north of $250k. In addition, you had to set up special environments and have highly trained operators. The HP 540 system is completely self-contained, office-friendly and easy to use.
In the past, our clients have spent more than $100k on 3D printers to produce prototypes; 3DS Projet 3500 for example; that were slow and expensive to run. Now, with the HP 540, you can make a similar investment and get the returns that, in the past, were only possible on systems costing well over $350k.
Our client’s previous investments around 3D printing clearly offered business advantages and financial returns but, with this new 500 series, offers a return on investment – also steriod size.
As a manufacturer, product designer, etc., this new printer truly offers a new way to be more innovative and get to market even faster. How fast? Within 24 hours you now have the ability to produce an end-use part – not just a prototype. Our smaller clients can compete with larger ones – in fact in most cases they are able to implement the process changes faster – this is the world we are living in.
In the past 18 months – we have helped two startup companies leverage HP Technology to create brand new businesses that are thriving.
I encourage you to look at the new HP 500 series 3D printers – look past the cool factor – and at the true design/manufacturing capabilities possible. we are in a Manufacturing revolution and HP has now provided a unique tool to help you be more competitive. Let’s build the future of manufacturing in the U.S. We are excited to have one of the first 500 series units installed at our facility and invite all to come visit.