HP, who already has a strong presence in additive manufacturing, is showcasing new capabilities in the areas of automation, factory services, and post-processing.
According to Ramon Pastor, GM and global head of 3D Printing and Digital Manufacturing at HP:
Automation, software, and data are key to delivering mass customization of parts and unlocking the full potential of large-scale additive manufacturing. We are committed to relentlessly improving our capabilities and helping customers optimize and automate workflows, enable compelling new applications, and produce sustainable, high quality parts at scale.
HP Universal Build Manager
The new HP Universal Build Manager helps factories and production teams automate build preparation using GPU accelerated processing via the Dyndrite Accelerated Geometry Engine and Python scripting. This new capability provides technicians and production managers with the capabilities for mass-personalization, complex workflow automation, and scalability and extensibility and can be incorporated in both manually-driven and automated build processes.
The Universal Build Manager supports a wide range of additive manufacturing processes including Laser Powder Bed Fusion (LPBF), Selective Laser Melting (SLM), Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS), Selective Heat Sintering (SHS), Electron Beam Melting (EBM), Selective Laser Sintering (SLS), Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM), Stereolithography (SLA), Digital Light Projector (DLP), Laminated Object Manufacturing (LOM), and Composite-based Additive Manufacturing (CBAM).
Ryan Palmer, global head of Software, Data and Automation, HP Personalization and Industrial Business, tells ZDNet:
We are addressing software challenges in the additive industry that have prevented it from becoming mainstream and are providing capabilities to help customers accelerate the journey to digital manufacturing. The new HP Universal Build Manager simplifies, automates, and delivers a digital-first approach to manufacturing. This solution will enable customers to explore new areas of complexity and value, push the boundaries of sustainable production, and automate critical steps in their digital workflow.
HP 3D Factory Services
HP is also improving on its 3D Factory Services offering includes the HP 3D Application Programming Interface (API), along with HP 3D Process Control and HP 3D Center. Capabilities span across facilities and equipment assessment, human capital planning and training, and design and implementation of production processes.
Henkel, an industrial chemical company best known for Loctite adhesives, Purex detergents, and Snuggle fabric softeners has benefited from HP Factory Services, using the 3D API to centralize end-to-end-workflows, provide real-time status, and receive critical alerts.
Chris Liddiard, market segment head for Automotive and Industrial parts, Adhesive technologies Group at Henkel Corporation, talks about the benefits his company has seen by incorporating the HP APIs into workflow software provided by AMFG:
Henkel aims to provide innovative solutions for Additive Manufacturing that are accelerated by reliable partners such as HP and AMFG. With the help of AMFG to connect to our global infrastructure of Application Centers using HP Jet Fusion printers, we are aiding in centralizing the end-to-end workflows, from initial request to final part production. Armed with this important data, Henkel can better understand and interpret data patterns related to machine utilization, failure rate, geometrical specifications and processing parameters, allowing us to provide better manufacturing services for our clients.
While 3D printing itself can cut turnaround times compared to traditional manufacturing, one aspect of the technology has been notoriously time-consuming and annoying: post-processing.
Parts created with 3D printing often need some after-production work, whether that's sanding and finishing, cleaning, and UV light exposure for chemical fixing, or powder reclamation, depending on the 3D printing process used.
Automatic Unpacking Station
As part of their Formnext announcements, HP is introducing their Automatic Unpacking Station in partnership with Rösler Group's AM Solutions. The unpacking process begins right after the print job has cooled, and provides consistent, repeatable unpacking and a high powder reclaim rate, even with small and delicate parts.