The world of 3-D printing has a new player — and it's a major name from the world of office printers: Hewlett-Packard Co.
HP executives are saying its system will be attractively priced, with “break-through economics.”
Leaders for Palo Alto, Calif.-based HP revealed what it calls its Blended Reality technology in an Oct. 29 announcement. The system combines both software and hardware in an “ecosystem” that is “designed to break down the barriers between the digital and physical worlds.”
The two key advancements are HP's Multi Jet Fusion printer that resolves what company officials called critical gaps in speed, quality and cost, and Sprout, described as a brand new “immersive computing platform that redefines the user experience.”
Multi Jet Fusion is built on HP's thermal inkjet technology. It will do 3-D printing at least 10 times faster than the fastest 3-D printers today, the company claims. The process will simultaneously apply multiple liquid agents, to create functional parts with accuracy, fine details and smooth surfaces. It will “be able to manipulate part and material properties, including form, texture, friction, strength, elasticity, electrical, thermal properties and more,” an improvement on other 3-D printing systems, HP claims.
The Sprout technology combines a scanner, depth sensor, high-resolution camera and projector into a single device, so users seamlessly merge physical items into a digital workspace. The Sprout Illuminator scans real-world objects in 3-D.
The 3-D printing system will go on sale in 2016.