3D printing to transform manufacturing, says HP boss

HP is targeting disruption in the $12 trillion (£9.2tn) global manufacturing market as the IT giant pushes forward with its 3D printing operations.

George Brasher, MD of HP Inc. UK and Ireland, believes 3D printing will be 'as impactful as the internet'. Picture: Contributed

HP, which officially launched its new office in central Glasgow last week, is active in the personal computing and printing markets.

George Brasher, managing director of the IT firm’s UK and Ireland division, told The Scotsman that he believes 3D printing is transforming the $12tn manufacturing sector and will be “as impactful as the internet”.

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Traditional production lines use metal casts, which are constrained to certain dimensions, and injection molding to mass produce parts.

3D printing offers quicker production, is more environmentally friendly and allows flexibility for adjustments, as parts are created one at a time, said Brasher.

He added: “You’re able to 3D print on demand, you have a faster turnaround time and your minimums will go way down.

“It creates a great opportunity – our 3D printer actually creates almost half of the parts that are on the printer today.”

Brasher and his team calculated that 3D printing is more cost effective than traditional production lines if the manufacturer is producing fewer than 55,000 parts.

The team is currently working to push this breakeven point higher, he said.

HP, which separated from the Hewlett-Packard Company in 2015, counts multinationals such as BMW, Nike and Volkswagen among its 3D printing service clients.