HP has presented its first 3d metal printer. This is called Metal Jet and is mainly intended for the mass production of metal parts. The printer will cost 400,000 dollars per copy.
The Metal Jet makes the products layer by layer with metal powder. This powder can be of any mass-available metal, such as steel. Any remaining powder is collected and reused. The printer uses HP’s PageWide technology. In 3D printers, there is generally a single printhead that moves up and down to make a film. With PageWide, a group of printheads makes a single movement to achieve this.
The layers are attached together with a glue-like agent. This process can take four to five hours when the full volume of the Metal Jet is used. The smallest unit that the printer can produce is a voxel, a pixel with volume, which has dimensions of 20x20x50 micrometer.
When the machine has finished printing, the layers are fused together by means of sintering . The contact points grow here, while leaving little space between the layers. This makes the material firmer and will break less quickly. During this process, the product will shrink by fifteen percent. The product that comes out here is not yet an end product. It has to be finished outside the printer.
3D-metal printers make the production process cheaper, more efficient and it produces less waste. Consultant firm McKinsey expects demand for 3D printers for the metal industry to grow. In a report from August 2017, the company estimates that the market will be worth $ 10 billion between 2030 and 2035, if growth continues.
Last year, HP announced plans for a 3D -metal printer, according to 3D Printing Media Network . HP wanted to participate in the market and offer a 3D metal printer that falls in a lower price range. Among the first customers are Volkswagen and Johnson & Johnson Medical Devices.