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HP predicts 3D printing will become mainstream by 2022 (Photo: HP inc.)

HP Inc. has launched a corporate venture unit that will support early-stage companies with promising new technologies.

The California-based computer hardware group also announced it had developed a production-ready 3D printing system.

HP Tech Ventures will make strategic investments in disruptive technologies such as 3D transformation, immersive computing, hyper-mobility, Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, and smart machines, HP said.

“The next technology revolution is shifting towards strategic markets that speak to HP’s strengths,” Shane Wall, chief technology officer, said in a press statement. Shane, who also heads HP Labs, said the new venture arm "can help startups bring product to market, build their business and scale in the global marketplace as they grow."

HP Inc is one of two companies founded when the old HP split in two parts last year. The other company, Hewlett Packard Enterprise focuses on products and services in areas such as servers, storage, networking, consulting and support.

HP Inc said its new 3D printing system will help assure that the technology moves from prototyping and short-run manufacturing to full-scale production-ready systems by 2022. The technology, said 3D Printing HP President Stephen Nigro, "has the potential to usher in a new era by disrupting virtually every aspect of manufacturing, from initial design to shop-floor setup and from manufacturing and assembly to supply chain, logistics, and distribution."

And he added: "Companies that adopt 3D prototyping today will lead in production tomorrow."