We’re still waiting for the multinational 2D printer companies to make their way into the 3D printing fray. At the moment they seem to be dallying on the fringes. HP has hinted at plans to enter the marketplace sometime this year. Epson’s President Minoru Usui has told engadget that they won’t be ready for another five years, and with good reason.
Epson, part of the Seiko Group family of companies, isn’t satisfied with the current state of 3D printing technology. Rather than attempt to push out an imperfect 3D printer for consumers in the near term, Usui explained that they will focus instead on industrial printers that meet the necessary standards for large-scale manufacturing, saying, “We are developing our own printers, but our aim is to change everything. When it comes to 3D printing… we want our machines to make anything.” The key problems that Usui sees with contemporary 3D printing technology are: materials for 3DP are not of sufficient quality, 3D printers lack the precision necessary for Epson’s needs and 3D printers are not efficient enough in terms of production output.
Usui’s vision for 3D printing at Epson goes much larger than simple consumer printing, arguing that “Not many people need to print a plastic figure.” Implying that additive manufacturing would be used to produce cars in the future, the company’s president explains that they will be developing a larger, industrial machine. As Epson took control over a large portion of the 2D printing market with better hardware and print quality, the company wishes to do the same for 3D printing. To meet the material, precision and efficiency standards set by Epson, Usui projects will take about 5 years time.
Extrapolating this news in the way we media types do, you can take this to mean that we’ll have 3D printed cars in 5 years….