According to a report by Forbes, “Hewlett-Packard’s CEO, Meg Whitman, at the shareholders meeting on March 20, announced that the company is planning to enter the 3D printer space by the end of this Fiscal year. (HP’s fiscal year ends on 31st October.)” In recent years, 3D printing has presented both a unique challenge and an opportunity for manufacturers as technology has become more affordable, and consumer-based engineering has entered the scene.
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While there’s no word on how HP plans to harness the technology, the production of 3D printing machines may signify a transition toward new tech manufacturing trends, as well as a change in attitude toward the current manufacturing market.
Bloomberg Businessweek notes, “Things are challenging at HP—more, perhaps, than at any time in its history. Customers are buying less of two of HP’s most important products—PCs and printers—while the company has amassed debt and laid out billions on acquisitions that haven’t worked out.” Whether or not this latest announcement is an answer to HP’s tech woes remains to be seen. Sources say HP will have more information regarding its 3D printing plans by October.
HP, once a leader in the computer and printer space, has seen its most marketable devices challenged by the likes of Microsoft and Apple over the last decade. HP is now a small fish in its own pond, which explains why the company might seek to muster their reputation to dominate the 3D printing space. Currently, the Stratasys unit Makerbot is the major, consumer-friendly 3D printer on the market.
3D printing allows consumers and companies the opportunity to create objects through 3D visualization software and colored plastics. The technology has already allowed small businesses to manufacture low-end goods without outsourcing the jobs to suppliers. If HP’s 3D printer does well, the implications are vast for the future of low-tech manufacturing and, more importantly, suppliers. [/show_to]
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