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Details emerge on Sinopec’s new polyolefin material for HP’s MJF 3D printing

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Sinopec is the first materials partner that HP 3D Printing brought on board in China to be part of the Open Materials Platform. HP is working with the company to identify the potential material that is going to be ideal for its Multi Jet Fusion technology. At this time we can exclusively reveal that HP has received the polyolefin based material candidate from Sinopec and started initial screening.

The materials candidate in question is a polyolefin-based material. Compared with commonly used nylon (polyamide) materials, 3D printing with polyolefin is anticipated to have a lower material cost. Dr. Yi Feng, manager of 3D printing materials partners, Asia Pacific and Japan, HP Inc., said that the material is, “considered to be a commodity based powder. So 3D prints made with the powder should have a lower cost.”

This deal is a clear demonstration of the second key in HP 3D Printing Business President Stephen Nigro’s 6 Keys for 3DP for the company to unlock the $12 Trillion manufacturing market. Getting Sinopec onboard, the world’s fourth largest company by total revenue, is clearly major step toward that effort.

Recently Qun Zhang, head of HP’s Asia-Pacific 3D Printing sales, answered several questions on how 3D printing will help accelerate innovation in the region’s huge manufacturing community.

Q. Why is now the right moment for HP to bring its 3D printing solutions to the Asia-Pacific region?

A. We are helping leading manufacturers reinvent their businesses with new technology. And the Asia-Pacific region is at the heart of this $12 trillion global industry. In many ways, the manufacturing community in Asia-Pacific is leading the charge. We need to be there and play our part. We want to bring our disruptive Multi Jet Fusion 3D printing technology and Open Platform approach to the most cutting-edge market in the world.

Q. How does the Asia-Pacific manufacturing sector compare to those of other regions such as North America and Europe?

A. Perhaps no industry, and no region, has more potential than the Asia-Pacific manufacturing sector, representing almost half the world’s manufacturing market. Travel around the region, and you’ll see some of the most advanced companies in the world, a diverse and dynamic collection of global brands, huge contract manufacturers, and materials leaders, all of whom are innovating and transforming themselves at breakneck speed. It’s an exciting place to be. Our 3D printing solution is aimed squarely at the region’s commercial and industrial markets, and we think it will help usher in a new era of digital manufacturing.

polyolefin

Q. What regional opportunities do you see when it comes to the adoption of 3D Printing across Asia-Pacific?

A. I’ve been in the additive manufacturing space for a long time, and I believe the opportunities we see are consistent across regions. HP has positioned our 3D Printing business against those opportunities with the goal of ultimately accelerating the reinvention of manufacturing. That includes improving product capabilities, enhancing part quality, and driving down costs. In addition, we’re eager to educate about the unlimited potential to design new parts at the voxel level, and to enable our customers and partners to develop as many innovative applications and use cases as possible. That’s why we’re opening new 3D Printing Reference and Experience Centers in Beijing, Hangzhou, Qingdao, Shanghai, Suzhou, Taipei, Tokyo, Singapore, and Melbourne. We’ll connect with both current and potential customers and partners to help them take their next steps forward.

Q. How has the HP Open Platform been received in the region, and why is that initiative so important

A. When potential partners begin to understand the motivation behind HP’s open approach to materials innovation their eyes light up. The HP Open Platform addresses those opportunities I mentioned earlier — it enables the creation of new 3D printing materials, lowers materials and development costs, drives speed and performance improvements, and creates new possibilities for parts that address specific industry needs. Our newest materials partner Sinopec Yanshan Petrochemical is joining our growing materials ecosystem, which already includes global leaders such as Arkema, BASF, Evonik, Henkel, and Lehmann & Voss. And we are talking with dozens more materials leaders across the region who want to work with our labs and begin developing new materials.

polyolefin

Q. Which industries have the biggest opportunity to benefit from 3D Printing manufacturing at scale?

A. What’s so impressive about HP’s Multi Jet Fusion 3D technology is that it can produce superior quality physical parts up to 10 times faster at around half the cost of comparable 3D printing systems, and its precision is extraordinary. I’m excited because leading service providers and resellers across Asia-Pacific understand how disruptive the technology will be for their business and the impact for their customers. Shining 3D ePrint has more than 10,000 customers in more than 70 countries around the world and plans to deploy our 3D printing solutions in more than 50 locations across China. Infinite 3D Printing also plans to offer the technology in multiple locations, and more than a dozen new partners have been selected to join HP’s Partner First 3D Specialization reseller program.

Our partners allow us to scale not only geographically, but across vertical markets. We are already seeing applicability in the automotive and healthcare industries, and of course consumer goods and aerospace are also among the most relevant. But virtually any manufacturer can benefit. No matter what kind of part you make, now you can make it better. Our technology offers speed and precision, we’re offering not just mass production but also the possibility of mass customization, and that’s a very big deal. By enabling local, on-demand production, we’re also going to help transform manufacturing and distribution supply chains.

Q. What about the future of 3D Printing should excite the manufacturing industry in Asia-Pacific?

A. Going forward, we’ll expand our palette of materials and colors, opening amazing possibilities for 3D printing, some of which haven’t even been imagined yet. Manufacturers and service bureaus will gain unprecedented control over limitless combinations of applications, colors, and materials. They’ll be able to embed intelligence such as sensors and information such as invisible inventory codes, into their 3D-printed products. And while they’re doing all that, they’ll also be driving cost, carbon, and waste from their manufacturing processes and supply chains. I can’t wait to see the 3D printing innovations generated from this region.

polyolefin

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Davide Sher

Since 2002, Davide has built up extensive experience as a technology journalist, market analyst and consultant for the additive manufacturing industry. Born in Milan, Italy, he spent 12 years in the United States, where he completed his studies at SUNY USB. As a journalist covering the tech and videogame industry for over 10 years, he began covering the AM industry in 2013, first as an international journalist and subsequently as a market analyst, focusing on the additive manufacturing industry and relative vertical markets. In 2016 he co-founded London-based VoxelMatters. Today the company publishes the leading news and insights websites VoxelMatters.com and Replicatore.it, as well as VoxelMatters Directory, the largest global directory of companies in the additive manufacturing industry.

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