Category: Functional & 3D printing

ISS 2019 Event Ushers in New DTG Printing Solutions

Ron Gilboa
Jan 28, 2019

With over 400 exhibitors, a range of educational sessions, and many hands-on demonstrations, this year’s Imprinted Sportswear Show (ISS) was held at the Long Beach Convention Center from January 18 – 20, 2019. As always, the event’s attendees came eager to learn about the latest innovations in technologies, materials, and processes. Navigating the show floor during the exhibition, visitors were exposed to new direct-to-garment (DTG) printing solutions, a range of shop management solutions, and continued innovations that improved the material handling process.

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China’s Suzhou Ruifa Looks to Disrupt the Printhead Manufacturing Segment

Ron Gilboa
Dec 20, 2018

For decades, precise deposition of materials was achieved by utilizing a range of technologies that  produce range of products from graphics arts, decorative, functional, and a host of other applications. Today, several key inkjet technologies drive markets and applications. These are enabled in part by a new generation of micro electro mechanical systems (MEMS) deposition / jetting devices, whether continuous inkjet (CIJ), piezoelectric drop on demand, or thermal inkjet drop on demand (TIJ). These technologies have been – for most part – the domain of a handful of companies that had the intellectual property and made the investment in silicone-based printhead manufacturing for several quite some time.

While the main suppliers of existing inkjet heads are almost all clustered in Japan, Western Europe, and the USA, a new competitor is now launching in China. After a significant investment in technology and resources, China’s Suzhou Ruifa Printing Technology Co. has announced its entrance as a supplier of thermal inkjet printheads. The company’s new printhead, SUREJet T7680, is a 41mm/1.6” wide thermal head, with 7680 nozzles. According to Suzhou Ruifa, SUREJet T7680 has two meter per second print speed and is capable of 1800×1200 DPI print resolution.

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Highlights from JAPANTEX 2018

Masato Atoda and Colin McMahon
Dec 11, 2018

JAPANTEX 2018 was held over three days, November 20 – 22, at the Tokyo Big Sight International Exhibition Center. The event, which is currently in its 37th year, serves as an annual exhibition of interior fabrics. Around 8,700 visitors, as well as exhibitors from 277 companies, attended the event, which this year focused on a combination theme of Japanese style and interior beauty, mixed with all the professionalism one can expect at this type of event.

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MTEX Solutions: A Key Iberian Manufacturer, Sprouting New Industrial Printers

Bob Leahey and Catherine Cresswell
Nov 6, 2018

MTEX Solutions, the Portuguese manufacturer of digital printers for textile and label applications, recently held its debut summit for customers and prospects in Porto, Portugal’s beautiful port city. Sporting the tagline “Back, Better than Ever,” the summit drew participants from as far away as Russia and the U.S. These attendees came to learn about a key industrial inkjet printer vendor, one lately transformed and growing internationally, and its new products. Keypoint Intelligence – InfoTrends (InfoTrends) attended the event and offers here what it captured about the company and its newest hardware.

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What Epson’s new DTG Solution Means for Polyester Printing

Catherine Cresswell and Colin McMahon
Oct 30, 2018

During SGIA 2018, Epson (who was on hand as an exhibitor) unveiled its new direct-to-garment (DTG) pretreatment solution for polyester garments. The solution will work with its current DTG products – namely the SureColor F2000 and F2100. According to Epson, part of the appeal of this new pretreatment solution is its adaptability. Users will not have to change their standard DTG workflow to accommodate the product but will reap the rewards of an expanded range of garment lineup options – including activewear, imitation silk and leather, and sports apparel.

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Adobe’s New Plug-ins for Digital Textile Now in Beta!

Pat McGrew
Oct 29, 2018

Earlier this year Mike Scrutton of Adobe stood on a small stage at FESPA in Berlin to talk about the needs of designers in the digital textile space. The challenge, as Scrutton defined it, was that building patterns was time consuming. Fitting, turning segments, and setting colors for elements was time consuming. Changes required going back to the original files and making changes, and then pulling another proof. The growth of fast fashion and fast décor has put a laser focus on the need for faster time-to-market and a different design-to-product requirement than traditional design in the Textile space. Add the word “digital” to anything and the requirement becomes to turn projects around faster and with more efficiency. At FESPA there was the hint that something was coming, from Adobe, that would address the needs of digital textile designers. In fact, something so cool, it might be of use to anyone who designs patterns.

Roll the calendar forward a few months and Adobe has now released the public beta for Project Paras, a new plug-in for Adobe Photoshop CC that makes the process of design prints easier. From adding repeats to changing sizes of elements, the Project Paras plug-in includes tools for previewing, editing, defining separations, and setting colorways. By keeping every element editable up until you save the final manufacturing-ready file, textile designers can get the design just right without the usual rounds of testing, re-editing, and testing again.

Screen Shot Adobe Photoshop CC Project Paras Plug-in
Source: Adobe Project Paras

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Nintendo Labo Shows Potential for New Sustainable Corrugated Cardboard Applications

Colin McMahon
Oct 25, 2018

Consumer electronics specialist Nintendo has been enjoying positive growth. Its newest video game console, the Nintendo Switch, is proving quite popular among consumers who are seeking an innovative gaming experience at home and on the go. With its numbers back in the green, the Japanese video game manufacturer has returned to doing what it does best—taking creative risks. One of its most recent products, Nintendo Labo, exemplifies the company’s desire to push the envelope.

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Fujifilm Acquires Control of Xerox

Jeff Hayes
Jan 31, 2018

The grapevine has been ripe the past weeks, but now the news is finally out. Fujifilm has entered into a definitive agreement to purchase the majority holding of Xerox Corporation and will merge Fuji Xerox with Xerox.

The two companies said that Fuji Xerox, a joint venture between Fujifilm and Xerox formed in 1962, will use bank debt to buy back Fujifilm’s 75% stake for around $6.1 billion. Fujifilm will use those proceeds to purchase 50.1% of new Xerox shares. Plans are to complete the deal around July-August of this year.

The new entity, to be called Fuji Xerox, will become a subsidiary of Fujifilm, with dual headquarters in the United States and Japan. It will keep Xerox’s listing on the New York Stock Exchange and will be led by Xerox CEO Jeff Jacobson and Fujifilm Chairman Shigetaka Komori.

Why Now?

Xerox has struggled to grow its document technology and related business over the last four years with 2017 revenue ($10.3B) down 19% compared with 2014 ($12.7B). Spurred by activist shareholder Carl Icahn, who owns approximately 9.7% of Xerox shares, Xerox spun off its business process outsourcing business in 2016 to focus on its core. Mr. Icahn has been vocal recently about seeking significant changes to Xerox’ board of directors, senior management, and the Fuji Xerox joint venture with an eye on a potential sale of Xerox in the future.

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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.

2016 InfoTrends, Inc.

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