HP has named RP Support (RPS) as channel partner for supplying its Jet Fusion 3D devices to the UK market.
The 22-staff, Aylesbury-based firm is both a supplier of laser sintering and stereolithography materials and desktop 3D printers as well as a manufacturer of its own production stereolithography device, the Neo800.
Now the company has been named by HP as leading channel partner for its Multi Jet Fusion 3D device, which received its official launch in May last year after first being unveiled in 2014.
RPS director David Storey said the device had a significant position in the marketplace that suited the company's direction. "It fits very nicely into our own portfolio of products. We are focused on manufacturing parts and this is a faster way of doing that, the mechanical properties are going to be consistent and the price per part is going to be cheaper. There is a lot of interest in the UK, people are quite cautious with new technology like this but we are very positive about it.
"We see this as a good partnership with HP; we have the technical expertise and market understanding for Jet Fusion products and are well placed to take advantage of that and leverage it into the marketplace."
There are two models, the 3200 and the 4200, aimed at prototyping and short-run manufacturing respectively. The technology can print objects of 1,200dpi resolution at an effective building volume of up to 380x280x380mm in size, at speeds of up to 4,000cm3/hr.
The setup comprises a Build Unit for cooling after job completion and a 3D Fast Cooling Module to reduce cooling time, while the software used is HP’s SmartStream 3D Build Manager and Command Center. Starting price for the standard 4200 model is £180,000.
According to the manufacturer, the device “opens the door to short-run digital manufacturing of thermoplastic parts”.
HP’s business manager for the 3D Multi Jet Fusion in the UK and Ireland, Andrew Knowles, said there was a lot of interest in the Jet Fusion devices coming from the 2D print market. "I think there is a real opportunity for those forward-thinking print service providers, who have a deep understanding of marketing and working with brands, to move 3D technology into their marketing collateral and portfolios," he explained.
"We expect there to be new, entrepreneurial applications when people understand the benefit of printing one instead of printing many, just as we've seen that opportunity grow within 2D printing."
Knowles added: "We intend to do the same with 3D technology as we did with 2D digital technology, which was to take it from a small base and small volume to being a mainstream technology in the world of printing. To do that we need the expertise and the reach of companies that have a deep understanding of the market and technology."
RPS had an excellent reputation and fitted perfectly with HPs requirements, he added.
Knowles said that HP was looking to sign one more UK reseller for its Jet Fusion range, bringing the total to three after Europac was signed in September last year.
Earlier this month, Coventry-based Manufacturing Technology Centre became the first site in the UK to install one of the devices.