New York-listed HP, which makes personal computers and printers, plans to launch its fledgling 3D-printing business in SA in early 2019.
3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing, refers to the construction of three-dimensional objects using digital files.By building products layer by layer, the technology is expected to reduce manufacturing costs and waste.
"The technology is considered a viable alternative to traditional manufacturing methods," Scott Schiller, global head of customer and market development for HP's 3D-printing division, told Business Day.
In other markets, HP's 3D-printing machines are being used to make prototypes and production parts for companies including BMW, Volkswagen, Nike and Johnson & Johnson.
Earlier in 2018, the first 3D-printed house was made in Texas.
"It's got some interesting potential [for homes] but it's not where we're focused at the moment,"Schiller said.
Meanwhile, the consumer market for 3D printers is already gaining traction in SA.
JSE-listed Mustek, which distributes 3D printers for XYZprinting, reported limited sales from that unit earlier in 2018, but CEO David Kan said revenues were expected to grow quickly.