3D Printing: Opening Up


HP is set to introduce a $130K 3D printer later in the year. The CTO Shane Wall has said that 3D printing would be an anchor business that HP would continue to invest in.


Beyond the printer itself, HP’s business disruption could come from opening up the 3D materials space. Traditionally, the printer maker has also supplied the specialized materials required for the printer, thereby ensuring margins and long-term revenues. Such a model would have been ok in a mature industry but with 3D printing far from mature, a more open approach like that of HP is much needed – it could potentially lead to a quicker pace of innovation, while also be​nefiting HP based on how they implement it.

HP has partnered with major materials companies like BASF, Evonik and Arkema; goal is that HP will certify the materials while the partners will sell under their own brand. Arkema hopes that this will allow the optimization of its specialty materials, allowing specific clients to make their supply chain more efficient. Evonik will focus on materials for production in automotive and aerospace. Evonik is also planning to expand production capacity for 3D printing materials it sells under the Vestosint brand.

3D Printing is sure to be a growth driver; even if it takes a small share (<5%) of the manufacturing economy, the impact will be huge – from rapid prototyping, to just in time production, it allows companies to rethink their competitive positioning.

We have projected the 3D printing market size by subsegment, based on a bottoms-up approach – assessing the adoption rates, economics, technological maturity, and need for the advantages that 3D printing offers. Based on this we built up a business case for  how a F500 company can leverage 3D printing.