HP Reveals New, Ultra
HP today announced Multi Jet Fusion, a new 3D-printing technology that, according to the company, can print objects in 3D at much faster speeds and lower costs than existing methods.
Its speed is due to the fact that it can quickly apply and fuse large areas of material rather than extruding it point by point. HP's 3D-printing system is geared to commercial use in short-run manufacturing, at least for now.
According to HP, the new technology is 10 times faster than the existing 3D-printing methods of fused deposition modeling, in which acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS), polylactic acid (PLA), or similar molten plastic is extruded through a nozzle, and selective laser sintering (SLS). It is designed to produce output that is beautiful and mechanically useful, with the ability to manipulate part and material properties, including form, texture, friction, strength, elasticity, electrical and thermal properties.
HP Multi Jet Fusion incorporates the company's Thermal Inkjet technology that it uses in commercial-grade printers. The process starts with the laying down a thin layer of material in the working area. Next, a carriage containing an HP Thermal Inkjet array passes from left to right, printing chemical agents across the full working area. The layering and energy processes are combined in a continuous pass of a second carriage from top to bottom. The process continues, layer-by-layer, until a complete part is formed. At each layer, the carriages change direction for optimum productivity. Using HP Thermal Inkjet arrays with their high number of nozzles per inch, HP's proprietary synchronous architecture is capable of printing over 30 million drops per second across each inch of the working area.
The technology uses a multi-chemistry process, including a fusing agent that is selectively applied where the particles will fuse together, as well as a detailing agent that is selectively applied where the fusing action needs to be reduced or amplified.
As one example, the detailing agent reduces fusing at the boundary to produce parts with sharp and smooth edges. The method is designed to provide uniform part strength in all three-axis directions. Over time, HP plans to incorporate a full range of colors into a part, to bring the color capabilities of traditional printing into the 3D world.
Availability of the end-to-end HP 3D-printing system is planned in 2016. HP is enlisting early customers in the development process with its Open Customer Engagement Program, which enables HP to work with them for expedited solution product testing and feedback.
For more, check out Hands On With the Weird But Intriguing HP Sprout.