HP unveils four lower-cost Jet Fusion 3D printers

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HP unveils four lower-cost Jet Fusion 3D printers

HP has revealed the next evolution of its 3D printing business with the unveiling of four new Jet Fusion 3D printer models that will feature the same technology of the original models, but with a smaller footprint and lower cost to reach a broader set of customers.

HP will focus on channel partner sales with the additional Jet Fusion models and is launching a new channel program that will offer margin opportunities for 3D printer sales and supplies.

The expanded Jet Fusion lineup will include models that can print full-colour objects as well as models that just do black-and-white. Capabilities include printing at high speeds—up to 52 parts in 15 hours.

Pricing will start in the US$50,000 range and will reach into the US$100,000 range. That's in comparison to the existing Multi Jet Fusion models, which are priced in the US$300,000 range.

"We're expanding the portfolio. You can see we're putting a lot in place. [3D printing] is a market that's growing at a 30 percent CAGR, and we're actually accelerating the market with our entry," said Stephen Nigro, president of HP's 3D printing business, in an interview with CRN USA. "We see this taking off into the 2020-plus timeframe — closer to 2020 than 2025."

The ultimate vision, he said, is "changing how the world designs and manufactures".

Along with the lower pricing, the new Jet Fusion 3D printers differ from the original models by having a more compact size—they are all-in-one machines, in comparison to the three systems of the original Multi Jet Fusion.

The new models, which make up the Jet Fusion 300 and 500 series, will be aimed at customers with lower production volume needs than the original models. The focus is on enabling the production of prototypes at small and mid-sized customers such as design firms, smaller OEMs and universities. HP's existing Jet Fusion printers, by contrast, are aimed at manufacturing of production-ready parts at high speeds.

A main difference in the new channel program is that partners will not be required to provide servicing for the 3D printers, which was a necessity for partners selling the original Multi Jet Fusion models.

"We really want to broaden our reach," said Alex Monino, global head of marketing and go-to-market for HP's 3D printing business, which has meant removing the servicing requirement in the new channel program. 

Channel partners will still need to have dedicated sales resources for selling the Jet Fusion printers and will still need to purchase a demo unit, Monino said.

However, the new channel program will not just be targeted for partners that already work with printers, either 2D or 3D, according to HP. Instead, the new program is ideal for any partners that work with customers in target markets such as design and education, and that have experience with selling solutions and services rather than just sales transactions, Nigro said.

The four new 3D Jet Fusion models will be available in the second half of 2018. They are the Jet Fusion 340, 380, 540 and 580; the models vary based on whether they print full-colour or just black-and-white, and on build volume. The 340 (black-and-white) and 380 (full-colour) can print build volumes of up to 7.5 x 10 x 9.8 inches. The 540 (black-and-white) and 580 (full-colour) can print build volumes of up to 7.5 x 13.1 x 9.8 inches.

HP executives said the first wave of partners has already received training and certification on the new models. HP is "very open and interested in recruiting [additional] channel partners," Monino said. One focus for HP with the new program is working with solution providers that currently partner with 3D design software firm SolidWorks, such as Hawk Ridge Systems.

This article originally appeared at crn.com

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