For a lot of people, their first 3D printer may well be an HP
printer. The company is readying a big announcement for June that will pertain to 3D printing
technology, and although there’s not much else to go on in terms of details, the company has revealed to Reuters that it has figured out some of the technical issues that can make the 3D printing process slower and less accurate.
Particularly, HP engineers have supposedly solved a problem with substrate quality that affects the quality and durability of prints.
"It's like watching ice melt,” said HP CEO Meg Whitman on the speed of most 3D printers. “And the quality of today's 3D printing is not as good as it should be -- the surface of the substrate is not perfect. We actually think we've solved these problems."
Z18 by MakerBot, a future HP competitor
She also said that HP envisions itself taking advantage of needs in the enterprise space, such as rapid prototyping and other applications that can currently be expensive and time-consuming.
If HP indeed has knocked down some of the technological barriers to 3D printing, it could make a killing in a market that is still wide open. HP believes that the 3D printing market will grow from $2.2 billion in 2012 to around $11 billion by 2021.