BMW in partnership with HP has become one of the first collabrations to use the new HP Jet Fusion 3D Printing Solution, which is now commercially available as from 17th March 2016. This German based luxury brand will not use the 3D printing technology for serial part production and customized parts.
This has come to be the biggest news in the 3D printing industry this week, HP launched the Jet Fusion 3D Printing Solution, its an all-in-one manufacturing system priced between $130,000 and $200,000+ is an industrial-grade printer. The inkjet giant's very first 3D printer boasts of faster speeds, a collaborative materials platform, and voxel-level printing. HP's huge list of confirmed 3D printing partners globally is just as impressive as the 3D Printers technical specifications. HP has also announced its collaborations with a range of different industry giants like Nike (Sports), Johnson & Johnson (Health Care) and 3D printing software specialist Materialise who will each be the first users of this new 3D printing system.
The latest being BMW, the German based automobile giant which has already planned to incorporate 3D printing in its manufacturing process. As confirmed by BMW’s Additive Manufacturing Center head Jens Ertel, the company has been interested and kept a keen watch on the development of the HP Jet Fusion 3D Printing Solution, and will be the first to jump on this 3D printing system before anyone else. Jens Ertel also said - “As one of the first partners, we had the chance to see the constant evolution of the machines over time from the first prototype approximately five years ago to the market ready product that is available now”
BMW has not yet confirmed what kind of parts it will produce using the new HP Jet Fusion 3D printer but has hinted that the machine will be used not only for rapid prototyping, an area in which BMW has 3D printing experience, but also for parts production. Given the 16 x 12 x 16” build volume of the HP Jet Fusion 3D printer, it seems as though the company will use the machine to produce small plastic components, and has hinted at a focus on “customization”, suggesting that rarer cars and parts may benefit most from the new technology. BMW has previously used selective laser melting (SLM) to create metal 3D printed parts. In 2015 the company showcased its 3D printed water pump wheel for DTM race cars, and has since explained how it uses the technology to create 3D printed spare parts for classic BMWs.
BMW adopting the new and planning to use the new HP 3D printing technology could prove to be a success strategy for HP's latest venture. As Jens Ertel said - “BMW is a pioneer and early adopter of innovative technologies in the field of additive manufacturing, especially for prototyping in concept cars and series-like approval builds”. “For our future road-map toward serial part production and personal customization, we see major potential in our partnership with HP to investigate this new kind of 3D printing technology at an early stage.”
BMW has been doing a lot of R&D in the automobile industry, This German automobile giant has been using 3D printing for other projects. The company used 3D scanning and 3D printing technology design carbon fiber wheelchairs and 3D printed gloves for six members of Team USA, in preparation for their forthcoming participation at the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio, Brazil this April.