Tuesday, January 19, 2010

No stone unturned? HP enters 3D Printing Market

HP continues to expand its printing industry footprint (remember when they declared it was "printing", not "printers") with today's announcement they will join forces with 3D-printer maker Stratasys of Eden Prairie, MN. We've covered this market a bit (see "3D Printers on the same downward price path as conventional printers?") and it seems inevitable, when thinking about it, that HP would enter this space. It's notable that the deal, basically a branding deal for now, comes from the Large-format/Graphics unit of IPG, and the linkage between printing designs and then modeling them in three dimensions (see quote below) makes it clear that we haven't heard the last of HP in this space.

"There are millions of 3D designers using 2D printers who are ready to bring their designs to life in 3D," said Santiago Morera, vice president and general manager of HP's Large Format Printing Business. "Stratasys FDM technology is the ideal platform for HP to enter the 3D MCAD printing market and begin to capitalize on this untapped opportunity."

PR advice based on recent pop culture trends for HP and Stratasys (not that they asked)? Play up the 3D connection with box-office movie sensation Avatar (which of course only has the label "3D" in common, except maybe for its "futuristic" aura), and downplay the recent Stratasys charity auction of a Jay Leno-autographed Dimension 3D printer...

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