Among the news released at Siemens PLM Connection Americas 2018 was the announcement that HP Inc. and Siemens are expanding their existing partnership to add functionality for HP’s full-color 3D printing technology. To learn more about what this means within the larger context of HP’s Multi Jet Fusion (MJF), we spoke to Stephen Nigro, president of 3D Printing at HP Inc.
Siemens Takes on Voxel-Level Control
The announcement largely refers to the fact that Siemens’ NX and Solid Edge software will be able to create parts intended specifically for full-color printing.
“To put it simply, Siemens’ NX and SolidEdge users will be able to assign the full spectrum of colors—at the voxel level—to the surfaces of their 3D models and export open-format 3MF files that are ready to print with HP’s new Jet Fusion 300/500 series color 3D printers, opening up a whole new world of 3D product design and manufacturing possibilities,” Nigro told engineering.com.
Nigro elaborated on what it means to be able to modify the individual voxels of a 3D model within NX or Solid Edge. “In this context, voxel-level control means being able to assign the full spectrum of colors to the surfaces of a part with a degree of control and precision smaller than the width of a human hair,” Nigro said.“Siemens is also working on additional methods to leverage voxel control starting with color, and extending to material properties like density and elastic modulus.”
At numerous events, HP has demonstrated that modifying the color of individual voxels alone opens up new capabilities for plastic parts. For instance, it’s possible to embed a nearly unperceivable color pattern on a part that can be scanned by an augmented reality app, possibly for manufacturing traceability or authentication. Colors can also be embedded within a part to demonstrate the effects of wear and tear over the component’s lifespan.
So far, those early demonstrators have been created by HP; however, with the release of the Jet Fusion 300/500 series, customers now have access to full-color MJF, and Nigro hinted that we should get a glimpse at how they are using the technology soon.
“We’ve been working with early customers of our Jet Fusion 300/500 series 3D printers across an array of industries—from healthcare to engineering to consumer goods, among many others. Our aim is to get the technology into the hands of designers, to democratize Multi Jet Fusion and drive more innovation,” Nigro said. “Full-color Multi Jet Fusion systems will be generally available later this year, and we’re excited to see the new world of uses and applications that it unlocks.”
Along with the new software capabilities, it was announced that MJF will be showcased at Siemens’ Additive Manufacturing Experience Center in Erlangen, Germany, where customers are able to learn about new 3D printing technologies.
Read more at ENGINEERING.com