BANGKOK – Printer and PC giant Hewlett-Packard (HP), is joining forces with Metro Systems Corporation Plc to introduce HP’s first 3D printer in Thailand and capitalise on the Industry 4.0 initiative.
“3D printers will play an integral role in the fourth industrial revolution, transforming analogue to digital manufacturing where automation and robotic technology are combined,” said Alex Lalumiere, head of HP’s client sales for 3D printers.
In the past 10 years, 3D printer technology has beaten the competition in terms of capability and pricing, he said. Technology has advanced, with faster printing that is more scalable and economical.
HP’s latest Jet Fusion Printing solutions enable 10-times-faster printing speed and are more than 50 per cent cheaper than rival industrial 3D printing solutions.
Mr Lalumiere said HP’s 3D printing roadmap features several new types of printing materials, including thermal plastic such as elastomer that enables more colourful and scalable prototype printing.
Such advances have broadened 3D printing’s scope to new markets such as sporting accessories and highly personalised auto parts.
Mr Lalumiere allowed that 3D printing is still uneconomical for mass production, but he hailed the medium’s suitability for highly customised prototypes and low-volume production.
The global 3D printer market is forecast to reach US$18 billion (595.5 billion baht) by 2021, up from US$2.2 billion in 2013.
“Thailand is an attractive market for HP’s printing business, due to its large-scale manufacturing base, and Metro is one of HP’s largest local business partners,” Mr Lalumiere said.
According to Thongchai Lumveerakul, president of the digital printing group at Metro Systems, the company was appointed as HP’s first reseller of 3D Jet Fusion Printing solutions in Thailand and HP’s first IT value-added reseller in Asia-Pacific and Japan.
In addition to Singapore, Australia, China and Japan, Thailand is among the top countries in which HP’s 3D Jet Fusion Printing solutions are available.
Metro has invested 10 million baht (US$302,000) in a 3D printing demonstration centre that lets customers experience how the technology can be applied to auto parts, healthcare, engineering and education.
The company also provides 3D printing services for clients who are not ready to invest in printing themselves but require prototypes or personalised products in fields such as architecture and interior design.
Once it becomes more widely adopted, 3D printing will speed up R&D and boost Thailand 4.0, Mr Thongchai said.
“This is the first time for HP to fully offer 3D printing solutions in Thailand, where HP has more than 10,000 industrial customers,” said Pavin Vorapruck, managing director of HP for Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar.
By Suchit Leesa-nguansuk