HP teases lower cost 3D printing systems for color, metal in 2018

HP has built out an ecosystem and channel for its 3D printing business and is now seeing repeat orders. Next up: A lower cost 3D printing system for mechanical color and metal parts.

HP's plans to launch a lower cost 3D printing system in 2018 that will create mechanical color parts followed by an effort for metal.

CEO Dion Weisler said on HP's fourth quarter earnings conference call:

We turned our 3D Printing initiative into a business with global reach, repeat customer orders and expanding partner materials ecosystem and revenue. This quarter, we continue to grow our business with new customers such as Medtronic, one of the largest medical device and service companies in the world. As previously highlighted, we added more than 20 new partners, including Henkel, our first worldwide reseller, and announced partnerships with Deloitte and Siemens to digitally transform manufacturing. Looking to 2018, we plan to introduce a new lower cost full color system, allowing us to expand into new markets.

It remains to be seen what the pricing for this new system will be, but HP has already gone for lower price points. For instance, HP's JetFusion 3D 3200 starts at $130,000 with the more advanced 4200 at $155,000.

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Now HP didn't break out details for its 3D printing business, but did say that it is receiving repeat sales with some companies ordering multiple units.

Weisler was pushing HP's 3D printing business last month at the company's securities analyst meeting too. 3D printing isn't material today, but represents HP's future direction and a business that can carry the company a decade from now.

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At the analyst powwow in October, Weisler said:

The word materiality has different meanings, depending on which lens and which time horizon you look through. Is 3D Printing financially material to our results today? Absolutely not. Is 3D Printing materially important to the strategic direction of this company? Absolutely, yes. And I think whenever you have a $12 trillion market that you have the ability to transform, that becomes incredibly transformative for a company like HP, much in the same way that the laser printer and the inkjet printer did for Hewlett-Packard Company many years ago.

Time will tell how HP's 3D printing adventure plays out. For now, HP is preannouncing a roadmap with few details.

Read also: Siemens, HP roll out 3D printing integration partnership | HP builds 3D printer partner network, Stratasys does eyewear, Carbon focuses on materials costs | Stratasys demos 3D printing, additive manufacturing systems that take cues from data center | Ford to trial Stratasys system to use 3D printing of one-piece auto parts | Vroom! How 3D printing is revving up to save the auto industry big bucks

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