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Additive Manufacturing: more than just a buzz word?

Additive Manufacturing seems to be quite the buzzword in today’s manufacturing industry. The usual manufacturing process is mostly a subtractive process, where the raw material gets wasted and reused over and over again. For example, in a car factory sheet metal is cut and shaped into specific body parts. Leftover metal is later melted down again and formed into metal plates before they can be reused for any other processes.

3D printing on the other hand is a very precise manufacturing process. Whatever is designed is 3D printed using raw materials, with no cutting down, leftover material or need to reprocess materials. It is, therefore, an additive rather than a subtractive process. Being an additive process, 3D manufacturing reduces material waste, processing time and cuts down on equipment.

3D printing undeniably has an impact on the material and production cost in a production environment. The cost of a 3D printer can vary between $5,000 and $500,000, depending on the purpose and material requirements. In a huge manufacturing set-up, however, the ROI would certainly make up for the cost. An industry that has fully migrated to 3D printing would hit breakeven point significantly earlier than through the integration of other process technologies.

3D printing has a bright, albeit slightly unpredictable, future nonetheless. Its market share is increasing and more and more production industries are acquiring 3D printing units. Although 3D printing is likely to take over the R&D and maintenance sectors for production, taking over the entire production facility will most certainly take some time yet.

HP’s development of HP Multi Jet Fusion technology includes new HP Jet Fusion 3D printers such as the HP Multi Jet Fusion 580 and HP Multi Jet Fusion 4200. This also comprises an Open Platform that, according to HP, will revolutionize the design, materials, manufacturing and distribution of 3D parts – driving the digital transformation of manufacturing.


With the introduction of the HP Jet Fusion 580 and 380 Colour 3D printers, HP has unleashed the power to innovate in full colour. By combining its colour inkjet technology know-how with its disruptive HP Multi Jet Fusion technology, HP can now deliver three-dimensional printing in brilliant colour. Similar to how 2D colour printing revolutionized the printing market, HP Jet Fusion colour 3D printing has the potential to dramatically advance the progress of the digital manufacturing revolution and accelerate the widespread adoption of 3D printing.

Picture: 08-Anatomic model printed with the HP Jet Fusion 580 Color 3D Printer and HP 3D HR CB PA 12 – Data courtesy of Materialise.