Previously, I blogged about HP entering the 3D printing space with a new technology called Multi-Jet Fusion, capable of printing ten times faster than other technologies. Now HP has announced a partnership with Autodesk to integrate the latter’s Spark Platform into HP’s forthcoming Multi Jet Fusion 3D Printers. Spark is an ‘open 3D printing software platform that makes it easier for hardware manufacturers, software developers, materials scientists, product designers, and others to participate in and benefit from this technology’.
Jennifer Lawton, President of MakerBot once commented “3D printing is not about hardware devices but about an ecosystem of innovation opening the window to possibilities that have never been thought of before”. Juniper Research concurs with Lawton and being an open platform, Juniper believes that Spark will drive the market further towards interoperability.
Reliability is a big factor in driving this market forward; it is worth noting that most consumer 3D printers currently available are slow with the build speed depending on the complexity of the model or parts printed. The most complex designs take a good number of hours to print out a finished model. Spark claims to ‘shorten the path between digital content and hardware, greatly improving information exchange between design software and the printer’.
This partnership is a critical one for the 3D printing industry itself, as reports suggest limitless technical and market possibilities for the Spark platform and HP’s Multi Jet Fusion technology. For now, we will have to wait and see how this partnership works out next year and if other leading vendors would integrate the Spark platform.