HP & Deloitte Form Alliance to Promote 3D Printing in Large-Scale Manufacturing

Partners to promote “digital transformation” among large manufacturers with HP’s Multi Jet Fusion technology.

HP Inc., Palo Alto, Calif., and Deloitte Consulting LLP, N.Y.C., have joined forces to “help accelerate the digital transformation of the global manufacturing industry,” according to a joint announcement in late August. The basic thrust of this alliance is to “collaborate on the implementation of HP’s 3D printing systems in large-scale manufacturing environments,” the partners said. They consider such “digital manufacturing” to be an integral part of the “fourth industrial revolution,” also called “Industry 4.0.” The partners stated at the launch of their alliance, “Enterprise-ready 3D printers are the furnaces of the next industrial revolution. They will transform design, manufacturing, and supply-chain processes.” The alliance intends to help large-scale manufacturing companies work through the process of “digital transformation” so that they can create new products not possible before, go to market faster, test faster, and iterate faster. 3D printing can create new efficiencies in inventory, shipping, and real-time delivery.

The partners envision not just prototyping, but production use of networks of 3D printers across an enterprise. One use would be to create a “virtual inventory” of service parts for other manufacturing equipment. Another would be to further a “democratization of manufacturing” by allowing even small startups to become suppliers to larger firms “overnight.” The partners also envision a “more flexible use of capital” in software-driven 3D printing systems that can produce an infinite variety of products, unlike expensive tooling that can produce only one thing over and over.

HP brings to the alliance its recently released Multi Jet Fusion 3D printing system that combines nylon powder with inkjet binder spraying technology to produce parts faster and stronger than other 3D printing systems, according to HP (see last month’s Close Up for details). Deloitte, on the other hand, is a global consulting enterprise—an umbrella brand under which tens of thousands of professionals in independent firms collaborate to provide financial, consulting, auditing, and other services. It serves 80% of the Fortune 500 companies and has extensive experience in consulting on “digital transformation” and additive manufacturing.

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