Hp’s new 3-d printers build items of steel
The company announced the Metal Jet printer, an industrial-scale 3-D printer that builds items not of plastic but of steel.
3-D plastic printing is widely used for custom items such as prosthetics and hearing aids, and by product designers for prototyping. But it’s still a relatively small part of overall manufacturing. That’s because, compared with more traditional mass-production techniques, 3-D printing is relatively slow and expensive and can be used with a more limited range of materials.
HP is trying to change that. In 2016, it launched its Jet Fusion plastic 3-D printer, designed for mass production rather than one-off printing. Now with the Metal Jet, it wants to get into big manufacturing sectors such as automobiles and medical devices. The company has partnered with Parmatech, which manufactures components for healthcare devices, and GKN, a supplier of automotive and aerospace parts.