Additive manufacturing, or 3D printing, is one of those technology fields that’s been on everyone’s radar for years, yet remains a bit outside the everyday world of manufacturing. That’s not to say that there isn’t a steady stream of news about 3D printing’s growth in manufacturing—from Voodoo Manufacturing increasing its 3D printing production with the introduction of collaborative robots to the centrality of the technology in GE’s recently built facility in Pennsylvania.
Despite all the news about 3D printing in industry, however, the technology is not yet a common fixture in most manufacturing plants.
To help facilitate the advance of 3D printing in manufacturing, Siemens and HP recently announced that they are expanding their longstanding collaboration to “change the way users can design and manufacture with HP’s Multi Jet Fusion 3D printing technology.”
The companies are now enabling users of Siemens’ NX and Solid Edge software to design and produce full color 3D-printed parts with HP’s Jet Fusion 3D 300/500 series. HP says its Jet Fusion 3D 300/500 series is “the industry’s first 3D printing solution for the production of engineering-grade, functional parts in full color, black or white—with voxel-level control —in a fraction of the time of other solutions.”
A voxel is like a pixel for use in 3D printing applications in that it represents a value on a regular grid in three-dimensional space.
While this announcement is focused on the Jet Fusion 3D 300/500 series, Siemens and HP note that users of NX and Solid Edge software will have access to 3MF files for use with HP’s entire portfolio of printers, including the industrial-grade HP Jet Fusion 4200/4210.
This announcement is part of both companies’ ongoing effortsto bring 3D printing further into the manufacturing mainstream. Last year HP unveiled its 3D printing materials development kit and opened its 3D printing applications lab to expand the development and lower the costs of additive manufacturing. Last year also saw the development of a partnership between Stratasys and Siemens to make additive manufacturing a stronger component of the manufacturing value chain. That partnership focuses on the integration of Siemens motion control hardware and PLM software into the Stratasys Multi-Axis Robotic Composite 3D Demonstrator.