Printing Portal targets production applications with UK’s largest installation of HP 3D printers

UK-based 3D printing service provider Printing Portal has expanded its capabilities this week with what is believed to be the largest installation of HP 3D Jet Fusion printers in the country.

Having started out primarily in the prototyping space with desktop stereolithography (SLA) systems, the company recently switched to a larger premises in Dartford, which is now home to two HP Jet Fusion 4210 models and a HP Jet Fusion 5210 following increasing demand from customers for production-grade parts.

Speaking about the decision to install the HP Jet Fusion fleet, James Hawkins, founder of Printing Portal, pointed to the technology’s potential to compete with injection moulding and its complementary post-processing station which, upon testing, Hawkins found to deliver a powder refresh rate that is “80% higher than competitors.”

Hawkins said: “Being able to produce parts fast and with a high refresh rate using powder and a fairly simple maintenance routine were all part of the system’s attraction. As was having a machine that would enable Printing Portal to announce to the world that it had industrial level additive-manufacturing capabilities. Having left a secure career in investment management to start my own 3D-printing start-up, the decision to invest in multiple HP machines felt like our manufacturing journey had started in earnest.”

Printing Portal says it has already noticed a change in mindset amongst its customers who are now moving away from using AM purely as a prototyping technology towards a means for production. Applications so far include jigs and fixtures, brackets, consumer goods, bicycle parts and automotive components.

George Brasher, MD of UK&I at HP Inc. commented, “As Printing Portal is a relative newcomer to the market, it’s impressive that it is now managing 100% growth year on year, and we’re proud that our technology is enabling this growth. As the technology evolves and more materials are on offer in the marketplace, we’re confident that Printing Portal can meet new demand with their skills and know-how, along with the materials and features of HP Multi Jet Fusion 3D-printing machines.”

Since its launch in 2016, HP’s Jet Fusion technology has been leveraged by a number of well-known customers, including Ford which recently announced a partnership with HP to recycle spent 3D printing powders and parts and reuse them for injection moulded automotive components. Over in the U.S., American Banknote Corporation (ABCorp) recently expanded its Boston-based Center of Excellence to incorporate an Additive Manufacturing Center equipped with HP Jet Fusion technology, which is expected to be capable of producing 220,000 end-use production parts a week.

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