Amid falling sales of PCs and printers, HP Inc. CEO Dion Weisler says there are rays of hope on the horizon. Chief among them: Channel partners are very impressed with HP's emerging 3D printer technologies, Weisler said this evening during a Q2 earnings call with Wall Street analysts. And consider this: The 3D printers are actually printing themselves -- much like robots building robots on assembly lines.
"I think the feedback from potential channel partners, from end customers and from analysts and those that follow the industry closely understand what a breathtaking breakthrough we’ve made towards really pulling through the printing into the mainstream," Weisler said.
HP's 3D printing systems are 10 times faster than other products in the marketplace, and they'll be priced at half the cost of rival offerings, he added. "And the best example I can give you is our 3D printers themselves; 50 percent of the building materials of our 3D printers are printed by our 3D printers. So our printers are printing themselves. And it’s a perfect example in short run manufacturing of the great business case."
Although the 3D printer market has multiple players, Weisler says HP has some unique advantages. "This is not easy to duplicate," he says. "We’re leveraging more than 5,000 patents from our core. We're leveraging 30 years of innovation that we’ve had in our printing business. And we’re bringing it to bear into a market that really hasn’t had very large mainstream player with a brand that HP has -- and the reputation that we have."
HP's 3D Printer Products: Pricing and Brands
Bottom line? Weisler says he's "really excited" by the ramp up work with strategic partners and certified channel partners. The offerings include two 3D printers for the manufacturing vertical:
- HP Jet Fusion 3D 3200 printer is ideal for prototyping, offering improved productivity and the capacity to grow usage at a lower cost per part. Starting price: $130,000.
- The HP Jet Fusion 3D 4200 printer is designed for prototyping and short-run manufacturing needs, with high productivity to meet sameday demands at the lowest cost per part. Starting price: Undisclosed.
The 3D printers arrive at a critical time for HP, which remains far too dependent on PC and traditional printer sales.
HP Inc. Q2 Earnings Results
HP says Q2 net revenue was $11.6 billion, down 11% from the prior-year period. According to the company's earnings release:
- Personal Systems net revenue was down 10% year over year with a 3.5% operating margin. Commercial net revenue decreased 7% and Consumer net revenue decreased 16%. Total units were down 9% with Notebooks units down 6% and Desktops units down 10%.
- Printing net revenue was down 16% year over year with a 17.3% operating margin. Total hardware units were down 16% with Commercial hardware units down 12% and Consumer hardware units down 18%. Supplies revenue was down 16% (down 10% in constant currency).
Amid those stark realities, HP and its channel partners need new products in new market segments... fast.