HP to launch its first 3D printer next year

Will be aimed at businesses initially, but it hopes to bring down prices fast

HP has confirmed that it will launch its first 3D printer in the middle of next year.

Speaking at the Canalys Channels Forum on Wednesday, HP chief executive Meg Whitman told attendees that the company was definitely planning on entering the 3D printing market.

“We are excited about 3D printing,” she told attendees.

HP is one of the largest names in printing today. Alongside consumer level printers, it is also one of the biggest names in enterprise printing.

Its first 3D printers are likely to be aimed at enterprise customers, rather than gadget aficionados. However, the company doesn't see that situation lasting for long.

Whitman said that the company saw 3D printing as an opportunity to set itself at the top of the printing food chain.

“We want to lead this businesses,” she is quoted as saying, reports The Register. “HP labs is looking at it.”

One area where the company is hoping to gain an advantage is in the speed of 3D printing.

Whitman gave the example of printing a bottle. Currently the process takes between eight to ten hours. She wants HP to dramatically change that.

She also said that the company is looking at lowering the price of 3D printers. The cheapest 3D printers currently on the market cost over £1,000.

Last month, UK supermarket Asda revealed that it will be trialling a 3D printing service in its York store. If successful, the company will be rolling out the service across its more than 500 stores over the next 12 months.