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HP’s Didier Deltort on the strategy behind acquiring Choose Packaging

The President of HP's Personalization & 3D Printing Business explains how HP’s molded fiber solution will help do away with 150 million tons of plastic packaging

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Upon the announcement of HP Inc’s acquisition of Choose Packaging, 3dpbm had the exclusive opportunity to speak with Didier Deltort, President of HP’s Personalization & 3D Printing Business, to understand the strategy behind this acquisition and how it fits within HP’s overall personalization and sustainability goals.

Mr. Deltort came to work at HP seven months ago and has been working on consolidating the company’s strategies. “To summarize, our strategic objective is to disrupt large industries with what we call ‘new integrated solutions’”, Mr. Deltort explains. “We don’t want to be just a hardware and software provider, we want to offer complete solutions and we want to focus on select industries, including the large and growing traditional 3D printing businesses. We have built a strong position with Multi Jet Fusion in the AM services field, with about 34% market share. We have over a thousand customers worldwide; last year we grew 37% and we are growing again in the first quarter of this year. The thermoplastics business is doing very well and we are getting ready to launch our metal solution in 2022.”

“We don’t want to be just a hardware and software provider, we want to offer complete solutions and we want to focus on select industries, including the large and growing traditional 3D printing businesses. We have built a strong position with MJF in the AM services field, with about 34% market share. We have over a thousand customers worldwide; last year we grew 37% and we are growing again in the first quarter of this year. The thermoplastics business is doing very well and we are getting ready to launch our metal solution in 2022.”Didier Deltort, President of HP’s Personalization & 3D Printing business.

HP will continue to invest and support 3D printing service providers and adopters. But the total addressable market for 3D printing is worth around 13 billion and, in order to capture more value and be more relevant to the industry, the company is also targeting larger segments of production.

“We want to capture more value and participate in integrated vertical solutions,” Deltort tells us. “So, we have been focusing on three areas: the first one is sustainable packaging, which is critical for us and for the world. Number two is health care, with the orthotics products, and the third one is within the sports and wellness industries, where we have been focusing on footwear. By leveraging our plastics technology and software, we really want to actively participate in these very large industries.”

The key added value of 3D printing is often found in vertical applications, using 3D printing as a means to an end. HPs molded fiber tooling is an evident success story, under the leadership of Mariona Company, as HP’s Global Head of Molded Fiber Advanced Tooling Solution. The acquisition of Choose Packaging is a way to further expand opportunities in this area. “We have built strong momentum by providing the tools to streamline the fiber molding process,” says Deltort. “This helps the companies that want to move into fiber-based packaging to design tools much faster, consuming less energy and adding customizations.

“Choose Packaging represents a great addition to our portfolio, which we believe will allow us to unlock long-term opportunities in the sustainable packaging business. James Longcroft, the company’s visionary founder, and his deep technical expertise and strong team bring a wealth of talent to HP. We have been working with him for a couple of quarters and we dream about the same things. We are all going after the 150 million tons of single-use plastics that are produced each year.”

This also plays into HP CEO’s vision for a sustainable and better world, which includes diversity, equity, inclusion, education and sustainability. By leveraging Choose Packaging’s small talented team and highly differentiated intellectual properties, HP intends to reach very large brands, helping scale globally. It is a very attractive growth opportunity for both companies.

As the name infers, Choose Packaging makes packaging. It could be any type of packaging but the key characteristic is that this packaging is plastic-free, biodegradable and still able to hold liquid products. This means that it can be used on food products as well as cosmetics, soaps and shampoos and even beverages. “We are leveraging our molded fiber tooling solution so that this plastic-free, biosourced, recyclable and fully biodegradable packaging can have custom shapes, more complex geometries and even logos. We will combine this with Choose Packaging’s IPs for the materials, liners and production processes,” Deltort explains.

HP’s Didier Deltort on the Choose Packaging acquisition and how HP’s molded fiber solution will help do away with 150 million tons of plastic

Along with materials development, Choose Packaging designed a prototyping manufacturing line, which can potentially scale up to replace one million bottles or other plastic packaging products. “ Deltort clarifies that “in order to go after those 150 million tons we really need to scale, which is why they were very intrigued and interested to work with us and to be acquired by us.”

“The main advantage of our Molded Fiber Tooling Solution is that the process can provide a tool in two weeks instead of several weeks and even months, dramatically reducing costs and labor with respect to traditional tools. Another key benefit is that 3D printing can be used to improve the energy-intensive de-watering process of the molded fiber pulp, making it much more efficient and thus more sustainable. Last but not least, it lets customers customize their packaging with embedded logos or by creating almost any kind of different shape.

Some of the companies that Choose Packaging already works with include Accolade Wines, one of the biggest wine companies in the world with over 50 brands (including Hardys, Banrock Station, and Grant Burge available in more than 130 countries); Henkel, one of the world’s largest consumer and industrial goods companies, and Malibu Rum, one of the strategic international brands in Pernod Ricard’s global portfolio. “As you can probably imagine ­– Deltort reveals – we are now in the process of discussing opportunities with some very large companies that really want to embrace this type of packaging. We are conducting feasibility studies through proof of concept applications and then we will get started on the first commercial applications.”

HP’s Didier Deltort on the Choose Packaging acquisition and how HP’s molded fiber solution will help do away with 150 million tons of plastic

Choose Packaging has been using traditional molding solutions until now but the point is that they could leverage any type of molded fiber tooling solution. By leveraging its Multi Jet Fusion 3D printing capabilities, HP offers the fastest, most efficient and most versatile one to address customers ‘personalization and production requirements for 100% compostable and biodegradable, packaging. But will this solution also be cost-competitive with current plastic bottles and packaging?

“Maybe not in every case and not at the beginning,” Deltort admits, “but there are a lot of companies that are willing to pay a premium for the sake of sustainability. There is such pressure on the world right now and our common goal is to be driving the sustainable packaging industry into the future.

Sustainable packaging may not be the only application to explore, with single-use plastics, like forks and plates, as another area that could benefit from the combination of HP’s molded fiber solution and Choose Packaging’s IPs. But Deltort clarifies that the possibilities are endless, and they must be addressed one at a time. “Since we announced this acquisition internally many in our teams have come up with several different application ideas,” Deltort tells us. “But right now we have to stay focused on the more urgent task at hand, which is sustainable packaging and in particular beverage containers.”

“It’s not about what you make with 3D printing, it’s about what you make possible,” Deltort concludes. “What we want to make possible is the replacement of plastic packaging. It’s going to take time and effort. We are now in the process of recruiting industry experts and going after companies that have been in the packaging industry for a long time. The team is going to become much larger in the upcoming weeks and months to make sustainable packaging a reality.”

Research
Consumer Products AM 2024

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