Category: Functional & 3D printing

Bobst and Radex Announce Launch of Mouvent – a New Digital Print Focused Company

James Hanlon
Jul 18, 2017

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July 6, 2017 — Bobst and inkjet technology developer Radex, officially announced the launch of Mouvent, a new joint venture company that will become the digital printing competence center and solutions provider of Bobst. Mouvent to be led by the co-founder of Radex, Piero Pierantozzi, will bring to market 3 digital devices this year, two single-pass label machines and one multi-pass textile printer, with two additional textile printers to be announced later this year.

Radex was founded by Piero Pierantozzi, Peter Brandenberger, Marcel Galliker and Walter Urech, all of whom were also the founders of Graph-Tech AG, which was sold to Domino Printing Sciences in 2012. Mouvent, co-founded with Bobst in June 2017, has headquarters in Solothurn and Wetzikon Switzerland with 80 total employees. Mouvent shares are held 50.1% by Bobst with the remainder being heled by Radex shareholders.

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HP Announces 3D Printer Reseller Program

Jeff Hayes
May 9, 2017

HP made several announcements related to its 3D printing business at the Rapid + TCT 2017 show being held this week in Pittsburgh.

  • New HP 3D Printing reseller program with over 30 partners
  • Multi Jet Fusion installations at leading service bureaus
  • 3D Printing Reference & Experience Centers in the U.S. and Europe
  • Henkel to join the HP Open Materials Platform

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HP 3D Printer Reseller Program

The most significant news is that HP is rolling out a new 3D printing reseller program. HP traditionally has sold most of its products through distribution, and it should come as no surprise that it plans to develop a global reseller network for its Multi Jet Fusion products. HP will be selling through a two-tier model of distributors and resellers in North America and Europe with some direct sales to very large customers with “transformative” projects.

HP is working with several of its key distributors for office equipment to carry the Multi Jet Fusion product line and related supplies and parts.

  • Synnex, based in Freemont, CA, is a $14B distributor that sells 30,000 technology products (active SKUs) to more than 20,000 resellers, system integrators, and retailers throughout the United States, Canada and Japan. HP is Synnex’s largest supplier. Synnex also carries 3D Systems printers.
  • Westcoast, based in Reading, UK, is a privately held IT distributor with turnover in excess of £1.6B and over 1,000 employees across multiple sites in the UK and Europe. The company primarily carries IT gear, printers, and supplies (ink, toner). While HP is one of Westcoast’s largest suppliers, the company also carries 3D printers from MakerBot.
  • Also International, based in Nijmegen, the Netherlands, specializes in distributing OEM toner and ink cartridges to resellers, office supplies dealers, and retailers. The company claims to be the largest distributor of OEM supplies in Europe.

HP announced 32 authorized resellers across North America and Europe. Most of the resellers are VARs that are deeply focused on the engineering and manufacturing industries. The companies often carry other 3D printer lines (3D Systems and Markforged are most common), CAD and PLM software, and other specialty products and accessories. A few of the companies have an office equipment dealer heritage and have expanded into graphics and 3D printing applications. HP indicated that over 80% of the companies are entirely new to HP.

HP has been focusing on resellers that have service and support capabilities (a requirement) as well as market expertise, existing customers, and physical locations in target geographic areas. HP noted that unlike its open office printer reseller program, the 3D printer program is a “closed model” where resellers serve the installed base they create in terms of equipment, service, parts, and fusing agent.

HP Multi Jet Fusion Service Bureau Customers

Service bureaus provide a critical role in the evolving 3D printing industry as early adopters of technology with innovative business models. HP announced they have placed units with nine specialty service bureaus and large platform players including:

  • Forecast 3D
  • Proto Labs
  • SigmaDesign
  • Fast Radius
  • Go Proto
  • shapeways
  • ProtoCAM
  • Materialise
  • 3D Prod

HP Multi Jet Fusion Reference and Experience Centers

HP announced 11 locations in the U.S. and five locations in Europe where customers and prospects can see the HP Multi Jet Fusion devices in operation and test new 3D printing use-cases before purchasing equipment. These centers are primarily at HP reseller or service bureau locations.

Henkel Joins HP Open Materials Platform

Henkel Adhesive Technologies has joined the HP Open Materials and Applications Platform and will work with HP’s 3D materials lab in Corvallis, OR to develop customized, industry-specific solutions for HP Multi Jet Fusion customers. Henkel joins Arkema, BASF, Evonik, and Lehmann & Voss, to support HP’s platform for 3D printing materials and applications. Henkel has deep expertise in polyamide synthesis and formulation (the primary material used in HP 3D printers), and will be working to develop unique products that take advantage of the Multi Jet Fusion printing process.

Building Momentum

2017 is shaping up to be a critical year for HP and its 3D printer business. The company is actively shipping the Multi Fusion Jet 4200 and 3200 models in all major regions, has rolled out its reseller program in North America and Europe, has added some high profile corporate and service provider accounts, and has expanded its materials partner program.

While HP has extensive experience with the IT, office printer, and graphics reseller communities, it will take time for HP to build its 3D printer reseller base and deeply understand how to manage and drive this channel in terms of territories, market focus, selling model, sales training, promotional support, financing, field service, and other factors. The next key marker of progress will be HP’s rate of product placements and usage volumes over the next six to 12 months.

Next Up for Vendor Shows: Xeikon Café in Belgium

Bob Leahey
Mar 8, 2017

At this time of year vendors and users of digital print technology have a spate of events that qualify as vendor-specific tradeshows, ones hosted or sponsored by individual equipment suppliers. Among the best known are two that just took place, namely Hunkeler Innovation Days (February 20-23 in Lucerne) and Dscoop (March 1-4 in Phoenix, Arizona, for HP users). A third event, coming soon, is a pure play in digitally printed packaging and well worth visiting—the Xeikon Café that will take place in Belgium on March 27-30.

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The Next Big Thing

Frank Romano
Nov 2, 2016

 

Look around the industry. What do you see? Offset presses. Digital printers. Wide format inkjet printers. Offset litho was discovered in 1900, but did not gain traction until the 1950s. Digital color printing was introduced in 1993. Wide format inkjet came in 1995. Walk into any plant; they may have all three.

It took a while for all three printing technologies to find their place in print production. All three were challenged by a status quo. Offset was once described as “only for quick and dirty printing.” Ironically, they said the same for digital color. The president of Xerox was quoted in the Wall Street Journal saying almost the same about inkjet printing (2004). Now Xerox is becoming a force in inkjet.

Yet, all three processes make money for printers. What will be the next big thing? The technology is already here. We just have to find markets for it.

Flatbed UV inkjet can print on any substrate—plastics, wood, glass, board, metal, ceramics, textiles, carpeting, and more. Commercial printers print on paper. Where is the market for printing on all those other substrates? Read more »

Digital Printing at IWF 2016 – Creative, Effective, Innovative

Ron Gilboa
Sep 8, 2016

A week passed since the successful conclusion of the International Woodworking Fair in Atlanta on August 27, 2016. With over 25 product categories such as custom wood working, veneers, flooring, doors, and accessories spread over more than 500,000 square feet. The show drew over 26,000 participants and 1,080 exhibitors some attended educational sessions and most walked the show in search for new product, innovations, as well as sourcing materials for their projects.

IWF 2016 - Home for digitally produced decorative surfaces

IWF 2016 – Home for digitally produced decorative surfaces

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Cefla Finishing Acquires a Majority Stake in JetSet Industrial

Ron Gilboa
Aug 4, 2016

Today, Cefla Finishing group announced that it had acquired a majority stake (60%) in JetSet Industrial S.r.l., a manufacturer and integrator of inkjet printing systems for a range of applications and industries. JetSet Industrial’s move into inkjet printing started in 2012 in Bergamo, Italy, which is also home of several other inkjet equipment suppliers.

Still a start-up in many ways, JetSet is a bespoke supplier of decorative printing systems for ceramic, glass, textiles, and woodworking materials. JetSet has the skill set to integrated technology as well as develop materials in support of their printing technologies. This makes the company a turn-key supplier to its customers. According to Hoovers.com, the company has eleven employees and generated $2.15 million in revenues in the past year. JetSet has also invested heavily in their core capabilities for inkjet system integration.

JetSet Wave Integrated Color Single-Pass Print Head Module

JetSet Wave Integrated Color Single-Pass Print Head Module

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The Top drupa 2016 Trends

Jim Hamilton, Jeff Hayes, Ron Gilboa, Ralf Schlozer and Ryan McAbee
Jun 14, 2016

After digesting a week of meetings at drupa 2016 (May 31st to June 10th, Düsseldorf, Germany) along with plenty of good German food and beer, the InfoTrends analyst team believes the show can be characterized by five major themes:

drupa 2016 flags - 400

  1. Inkjet 3.0 –After important advances in production inkjet printing at drupa 2008 and 2012, this drupa can be considered “inkjet drupa 3.0” because of new and improved print heads, higher quality levels, wide printhead arrays, improved performance on a range of substrates, and expansion across a range of document, packaging, and decorative applications. These developments have brought digital printing into the mainstream. All of the leading offset press manufacturers are now committed to a digital print strategy, and though for some there is an important component that is based on electrophotography, it is the high productivity levels of inkjet that have convinced them that there is a place for digital print in production environments.
  2. Digital printing of packaging – Though digital printing of packaging is certainly being influenced by inkjet, the major theme in this area is process automation. Digital printing, digital embellishment, and digital die-cutting were seen integrated across many production lines for labels, folding cartons, corrugated packaging, and even some direct-to-shape applications. Despite its commercial print heritage, drupa is morphing into a show with a significant package printing component. Meeting the needs of different segments of the packaging market is a challenge that requires effective software, workflow, and finishing if the true advantages of digital print for the entire supply chain are to be gained. It’s not clear today that digital printing system vendors have fully grasped the magnitude of this.
  3. B1 digital – Many commercial printers have an almost emotional attachment to the B1-format press platform that has served them so well for offset printing. The new generation of B1-format digital printing devices appeals to them because they can see how they would fit easily into their production lines with minimal disruption (despite the fact that smaller digital devices might be just as efficient and/or cost effective). drupa 2016 saw the arrival of larger format digital cut-sheet color printing systems as well as off-line systems for special effects such as spot gloss, dimensional effects, and metallic foils. The progress in B1 sheet-fed design is facilitated by wider inkjet arrays that benefit from the latest advances in inkjet head technology. The challenge for any of these larger format digital printing devices is to meet the production requirements for quality, consistency, substrate support, and color registration while performing at high speed. Also important is integration of finishing technologies that leverage the benefits of digital print. Therefore laser cutting and creasing, particularly for folding carton applications, is also advancing, and for some of these devices the focus is on a B1 sheet size. For the off-line digital devices used for special effects, the B1 sheet size opens up sizeable opportunities because these systems are capable of supporting conventional presses as well as digital printers.
  4. Special effects – Offset print processes have typically excelled at special effects beyond process color such as spot gloss, flood coats, foils, and corporate color matching. This kind of embellishment is now accelerating for digital print. Electrophotographic devices are using effects like printed metallic, dimensional, clear gloss, spot colors, fluorescent, security and other embellishments to differentiate the printed products and provide added value. Inkjet, particularly with ultraviolet (UV) curing inks, is extending this with some eye-popping results that leverage dimensional clear and metallic foil. The use of hybrid configurations, including those that leverage electrophotography and inkjet together, will have compelling applications in commercial and packaging markets. Many of the off-line special effect solutions, as noted above, are able to support larger format conventional sheet sizes, which opens their market impact significantly.
  5. Industry 4.0 – For many years, system providers have talked about how production data can be used to drive operational excellence and even facilitate predictive service calls. Cloud-enabled production data tracking is now making this type of data-driven production a reality, not only for commercial and packaging applications, but for decorative and industrial ones as well. Today these tend to focus on a single vendor platform (rather than a true heterogeneous ecosystem). Despite these limitations there are still many benefits, such as performance benchmarking across peers with similar equipment. This also elevates the importance of automated workflows that make it easy for production managers to assess and react to their production site(s) based on real-time data. Taking this even further, InfoTrends expects to see semi-autonomous print production and robotic automation culminate in what has been described as “Industry 4.0,” in other words the foundation of a fourth industrial revolution that is based upon automation and data exchange in manufacturing technologies, similar as what has happened in the car industry.

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KBA VariJET 106 & The Making of ‘The B1 drupa’

Bob Leahey
May 25, 2016

KBA-Sheetfed Solutions, a division of German press manufacturer KBA, announced recently it will offer a B1 sheet fed inkjet press called KBA VariJET 106 for printing folding cartons. The new press will be built on the platform of KBA Rapida 106, a sheet fed offset press, and on an inkjet print engine and DFE by Xerox Impika. According to KBA, KBA VariJET 106 will print 4,500 sheets per hour in B1 size (750 x 1060mm/29.5 x 41.7 inches) and will be modular in nature, allowing custom configurations to include Read more »

Xeikon at drupa 2016: Another Must-See Exhibitor

Bob Leahey
May 18, 2016

With drupa 2016 about to start, InfoTrends has written reports and blogs on key digital printing and finishing companies that will exhibit products for packaging and label converting there. With this report we will preview one more important drupa exhibitor, Xeikon.

A drupa-Sized Entrant Read more »

HP Jet Fusion 3D 3200/4200 – Innovation in 3D Printing

Ron Gilboa and Christine Dunne
May 17, 2016

Today at the RAPID 3D print show, HP unveiled its first proprietary 3D printing product: the HP Jet Fusion 3D Printing Solution. Calling it “the world’s first production-ready commercial 3D printing system,” HP says the new Multi Jet Fusion product is part of its journey to bring disruptive manufacturing solutions to market.

As HP has said previously, the device will deliver superior quality parts up to 10 times faster and at half the cost of current 3D print systems. It will also print functional parts at the individual voxel level, HP said, a 3D printing first. During a pre-briefing call, Alex Monino, Head of Marketing and Go-to-Market for HP’s 3D printing business, indicated that HP has plans for a marketing campaign centered around the “voxel” concept. Read more »

2016 InfoTrends, Inc.

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