HP recently announced that it will launch metal 3D printers and automated 3D printers to be used for polymers. The company is making investments in the technology and everyone wants to know what their plan is so they can try and get ahead of them. HP does $52 billion in revenue each year, which is about three times that of the 3D printing industry. What they are doing is lining up vendors that present integrated software and manufacturing solution for clients. The company is able to used customers to help push their partners to adopt 3D printing to make production easier and faster. Currently, they are targeting orthotics, which are small and low making them inexpensive. They also add value because they are the perfect size for 3D printing to do easily. Orthotics have great infill and infill patterns which means you can make certain parts of them denser than the others. With this people will eventually be able to correct their way of walking while still getting the perfect sized orthotic. Orthotics are rather high value and with 3D printing, you can create them at competitive costs.
HP has partnered with Go 4-D who will distribute the HP FitStation 3D foot scanner to the US. This will be paired with a manufacturing service for customers, which will be done with Flowbuilt. Clients will be able to go right from scan to having their 3D printed orthotic delivered to their home. It seems as if HP wants to pick particular resellers and partners to run point per major market. This will be the fastest way to get business lines going and let them create more marketing leads in various industries. Companies new to 3D printing will be able to partner with one reseller and have one person to interface with, which will help be very powerful. This will be very successful if Go 4D rolls this to the market. If HP pursues this path they will provide a huge win for 3D printed orthotics. This could maybe even help HP line up large retailers who are new to in-house custom orthotics, such as Walgreens or Walmart.