HP unveils new colour 3D printers to aid made-to-order movement

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The Hewlett-Packard Co. logo is displayed on the back of the Envy x2 displayed for a photograph in San Francisco, California, U.S., on Wednesday, March 13, 2013. The one-two punch of Apple’s iPad and Microsoft’s Windows 8 has led to a new class of personal-computer of hybrids that look and work like regular laptops, but whose screens pop off to become fully functional tablets. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images

That customised iPhone case, pair of sneakers or even Mini Cooper dashboard may have been made with a 3D printer.

HP Inc, trying to speed the shift toward personalized goods like these, unveiled a cheaper line of 3D printers on Feb 5. The Jet Fusion 300/500 series will be the quickest to create full colour objects on the market and the first that can handle both prototyping and production, Steve Nigro, HP’s president of 3D printing, said.

The Palo Alto, California-based company hopes its three-dimensional printers will grab a piece of the US$12tril (RM46.98tril) global manufacturing industry. It’s targeting a wide range of potential customers with the new US$50,000 (RM195,750) to US$100,000 (RM391,500) devices. Children’s hospitals could create customised casts for broken bones, while schools might fashion objects to help students learn.

Many consumers want personalised products and services and about a fifth of those will pay a 20% premium, according to consultant Deloitte. That demand has encouraged a bevy of brands to offer customised wares. HP’s 3D printing division has partnerships with the BMW AG, Johnson & Johnson and Nike Inc.