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The Race to the Additive Manufacturing Finish Line


Additive manufacturing is the way of the future. There are countless reasons why adopting this new technology makes sense, but once you’ve decided to go down that path, there are many options, and so which path do you take?

Currently, there are a number of major players all competing to cross the additive manufacturing finish line and be deemed the top player of this $7.3 billion market. They include HP, Formlabs, and Desktop Metal, and each of them have a different strategy. Here’s a brief overview of their technologies and strategies.

HP’s Multi Jet Fusion

HP entered the additive manufacturing market with the intent to increase printing speeds while reducing costs. The company’s Multi Jet Fusion printers open additive manufacturing to much higher volumes of production and to compete with injection molding. The Jet Fusion 3D 3200 targets prototype design and its Jet Fusion 3D 4200 is for efficient production. HP, being the powerhouse that it is has managed to bring these machines to market across the world. They promise to add color and material control capabilities, which will make these machines extremely powerful.
 
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Formlabs Form 2

Formlabs was the first to bring a SLA 3D printer to the masses so it definitely has experience and a successful track record. The company’s Form 2 may be the printer that gives HP a run for its money in terms of system capabilities. The Form 2 is all about quality and flexibility. It can work in many different applications with a huge range of materials, making it a popular choice in many industries, including dentistry and jewelry design. Like HP, it continues to innovate. The company is currently working on the Form Cell, which will make it easy for people to set up a row of Form 2 printers, the Form Wash, and a curing unit allin one integrated system.
 
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Desktop Metal Studio System

Desktop Metal’s Studio System brings affordable metal 3D printing to the market. Not just affordable, but also smaller and easier to use when compared to traditional methods. This is to ensure that anyone can use its technology; it even fits on a standard-sized desk for that reason. Desktop Metal’s technology is inspired by the already well known Metal Injection Molding process. Although it is still a little ways off and continues to innovate and improve its system, Desktop Metal may be the closest to fulfilling the hype surrounding additive manufacturing.

It’s still too soon to predict which company will cross the additive manufacturing finish line first, but it will be interesting to watch as the market becomes more competitive and technologies more advanced. In the meantime, the 3DEXPERIENCE Marketplace can help you choose the best printing method for your design. Through the 3DEXPERIENCE add-in in SOLIDWORKS, you can upload your SOLIDWORKS part file, input the manufacturing specifications, and based on you specifications, match with a manufacturer that can print your part on the printer that makes the most sense.
 
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Demystifying Additive Manufacturing

To learn more about designing for additive manufacturing (DFAM), register for the July 17th webinar: Demystifying Additive Manufacturing presented by SolidProfessor, Forecast 3D, SOLIDWORKS, and HP.

About SolidProfessor – SolidProfessor provides next-generation learning for teams, schools, and individuals to keep up with rapidly evolving engineering tools and technologies. Its online learning resources include video tutorials, hands-on exercises, and skills assessments.