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HP and the 3D Print Market Opportunity

by Pete Basiliere  |  November 3, 2017  |  Submit a Comment

Can it capitalize on its metal, plastic and color capabilities?

HP’s mission is to expand its revenue sources and to this end has invested in multiple markets over the last 18 months, including the 3D printing market. Already in plastics 3D printing, HP is also entering the metals and color 3D printing markets.

HP must determine how 3D printing, among its multiple capabilities, fits into its strategy to enable the digital transformation of manufacturing. By doing so HP could carve out a leadership position for the company and drive 3D printing beyond a niche market. HP leverages over 5,000 patents from its 2D printing portfolio to help drive its 3D printing business where it already has more than 600 3D print patents and pending patent applications.

In May 2016, HP Inc. launched its Multi Jet Fusion (MJF) 3D printer, one of the first additive manufacturing systems from a recognized 2D printer brand. Since it came to market in May 2017 nearly 50 customers (including two with repeat, multi-unit orders) are using HP’s 3D printers. Major manufacturers and consumer brands including BMW, Flextronics, Johnson & Johnson, and Nike are innovating with the devices.

I have been extremely impressed with the vibrant colors of prototype color MJF parts that I have handled over the past four years, enough so that I recommended HP speed up development on several occasions. HP plans to announce a lower priced, full color 3D printer capable of mechanically functional parts in 2018.

Early Color MJF Print Samples (2014)

HP MJF Lab w Martin and I










HP plans to announce its metal 3D printing technology platform and business plan in 2018 and is already producing metal parts in the labs. I got wind of its metal 3D printing initiative in September. Metal, plastics and color will greatly increase HP’s ability to bring digital transformation to the $12 trillion manufacturing sector in the coming years.

3D printing has great potential. Total spending is predicted to grow at a 66.5% CAGR to $17.7 billion in 2020 (see “Forecast: 3D Printers, Worldwide, 2016”), with over 6.5 million printer sales.

The Multi Jet Fusion 3D Printer is a variation of “powder bed fusion” which is predicted to grow at a 46.1% CAGR from 2015 to 2020. Powder bed fusion is well-suited to aerospace, automotive, consumer goods, defense, healthcare and manufacturing industries.

Gartner predicts that, by 2020, 75% of manufacturing operations worldwide will use 3D-printed tools, jigs and fixtures made in-house or by a service bureau to produce finished goods. Also, 3D printing will reduce new product introduction timelines by 25%.

However, within the next two to three years, revenue contribution from its 3D printers will be too small to make a significant impact on HP’s overall business. The company must not only introduce new 3D printers but also build upon adjacent opportunities such as professional services, service delivery and applications.

This blog post includes excerpts from Gartner’s recent strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats research report SWOT: HP Inc., Devices and Printer/Imaging, Worldwide.

Additional Resources

Category: 3d-printing  additive-manufacturing  advanced-manufacturing  technology-and-emerging-trends  

Tags: 3d-print  3d-printer  additive-manufacturing  bmw  digital-press  digital-printer  digital-printing  flextronics  hp  inkjet  johnson-johnson  multi-jet-fusion  nike  swot  

Pete Basiliere
Research Vice President
12 years at Gartner
18 years IT Industry

Mr. Basiliere provides research-based insights on 3D printing and digital printing hardware, software and materials. Mr. Basiliere's Maverick research coined the term Generation AI, people born after 2010 who will not know a world without application intelligence in their lives. Read Full Bio

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