You may have heard that HP tried to join the 3d-printing game in 2010 when it signed an agreement with Stratasys, which was going to start manufacturing 3d-printers under the HP brand name. However, the agreement fell through in 2012 and was discontinued. Well two years after that failure, HP has come back to say that they are indeed going to try to enter the 3d-printing game, and take over.
CEO Meg Whitman has announced that HP has solved some problems of 3d-printing that stop it from being a more widespread technology, particularly the quality of substrates used, allowing for more durable goods printed quicker. They may be entering the game a little late, but better late than never. Besides their lack of research and development, they face fierce competition. Intellectual property has allowed companies like Stratasys and 3d-Systems to become massive players in the 3d-printing world.
If HP has indeed found a fantastic substrate for this process that they can patent, maybe they could be onto something. However, one of the major aspects that makes 3d-printing such a fantastic technology is the ability to use a variety of substrates. It’s not just plastic. It’s metal, wood, glass, even graphene. It will be interesting to see how HP competes.
A positive aspect to take away from this announcement is that the 3d printing market has been expanding quick enough to catch the attention of technology giants. Indeed 3d-printing is a viable industry that is here to stay. Expansion into different industries is inevitable, and according to Amit Daryanani of RBC Capital…
“We believe HP’s enthusiasm and increased involvement in the 3D printing space should provide fundamental support for 3D Systems and Stratasys near term as it validates the viability of 3D printing technology and increased use cases available to disrupt the $10 trillion global manufacturing industry.”