Hewlett-Packard logoIt's akin to a declaration of war on the industry, and Hewlett-Packard CEO Meg Whitman is hardly the type to engage in hyperbole when it comes to the bottom line.

Whitman says HP will unveil a master plan to take on the players in the commercial 3D printing market this June, and beyond that, she added that her company has a solution to the major issues which have prevented the technology from broader adoption.

Calling it a "big technology announcement," Whitman says that researcher teams at HP have essentially raised the quality of substrates used in the 3D printing process to a degree which will change the durability of finished goods and the speed they can be output.

Meg Whitman of HP"We actually think we've solved these problems. The bigger market is going to be in the enterprise space; manufacturing parts and prototypes in ways that were not possible before. We're on the case," Whitman told HP shareholders at their meeting this week.

With HP honchos convinced that worldwide sales of 3D printers, related software and services will balloon to nearly $11 billion annually by 2021, it's an attractive market for the company.

"The fact is that 3D printing is really still an immature technology, but it has a magical aura," said HP CTO and HP Labs director, Martin Fink. "The sci-fi movie idea that you can magically create things on command makes the idea of 3D printing really compelling for people."

In identifying what HP thinks are the major problems holding back 3D printing technology from much wider adoption by consumers, Whitman went straight to the point.

"It's like watching ice melt. The surface of the substrate is not perfect. We believe we have solved both these problems, and we'll be making a big technology announcement in June around how we are going to approach this," said Whitman.

Some of that apparent confidence on the part of Whitman and other HP executives may well spring from pressure being applied to the company from shareholders regarding HP's future plans for the 3D printing market.

One of those shareholders sought an answer to the question and left little doubt that he believes 3D printing technology is overdue from HP.

"How come you don't have any 3D printers available yet?" he asked Whitman.

It's a legitimate question, but it now seems like the industry will be waiting until June for a clear answer.