Additive Manufacturing

SEP 2018

ADDITIVE MANUFACTURING is the magazine devoted to industrial applications of 3D printing and digital layering technology. We cover the promise and the challenges of this technology for making functional tooling and end-use production parts.

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Page 26 of 43

AM / HP Enters Metal AM 25 and disciplines at the Corvallis site—microfluidics, printhead engineering, ink chemistry, analytical research—I was intro- duced to people who had been redeployed from document and graphic media creation to additive manufacturing. That is, from 2D to 3D. In discussing this, HP employees routinely use the term "3D printing," preferring this to "additive manufacturing." The reason for the preference is perhaps obvious, but also key. Weber notes that the crucial, unique and sustainable advantage HP brings to the additive space is found in its innovation and IP related to printhead and ink technology, coupled with its ability to keep on innovating in these areas. The printhead and ink technology able to print commercial media at industrial speed and quality, and able to be produced and applied inexpensively enough to serve consumer document printers as well, is now being extended ever-farther into making physical, functional components. In HP's view, fast, accurate, economical printing technology is the enabler that will allow additive to, in Nigro's words, "get the economics right," and thereby compete with conventional processes for mainstream production applications. Strange as it might seem, the next logical extension of document printing know-how will be production of metal parts. Printheads for Production The new HP "Metal Jet" (MJ) printer makes parts through binder jetting. This is an established additive manufacturing technology, and the additive technology falling squarely within HP's established areas of strength. Binder jetting is the AM process that most resembles document printing. In binder jetting, the metal does not change phase. It does not melt; there is no laser or electron beam. Instead, fluid droplets cause the metal powder to adhere, producing a "green" part. The powder metal in question can be the same widely available powder that might otherwise be used for metal injection molding. A sintering oven then completes the 3D part by burning away the binder and solidifying the Stephen Nigro is president of HP's 3D Printing business. "3D printing is the biggest long-term bet HP is making," he says. Parts such as these can be nested in three dimensions without attached support structures within the 430 × 320 × 200-mm build volume of the MJ machine.

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