3D Printing
The Xerox Direct to Object Printer, which is a customized solution built to order, allows for printing photos, images and text directly onto 3D Objects in just a few minutes. The technology, which can be aimed at on-demand personalization, relies on Xerox print head nozzles that are half the width of a human hair.

The print head nozzles, explains Xerox, can accurately spray ink on objects as small as bottle caps and as large as football helmets. The printer can print on plastic, metals, ceramics and glass, eliminating the need for costly labels.
 
“This innovation opens up a path for creating customized products instantly at a time when the consumer’s appetite is all about personalization,” said Brendan Casey, VP of Xerox Engineering Services. “Imagine a sports fan coming home from a game with a helmet or ball that was personalized right at the stadium, or a retailer offering on-demand personalization on hundreds of different store items.”
 
Xerox explains it uses enhanced image-quality algorithms to direct the microscopic nozzles half the width of a human hair. By accurately spraying ink at distances of one-quarter inch, the printer is able to print on smooth, rough, slightly curved or stepped surfaces at print resolutions ranging from 300 to 1,200 dpi. The printer can handle up to 30 objects per hour, with the ability to scale for production.
 
“The real innovation here is that we can now print on items, such as steel water bottles with multiple curves, without the setup time and costs that analog printing such as flexography or screen printing require,” said Wayne Buchar, Chief Engineer, Xerox Engineering Services.

Xerox explains the ink jets are compatible with virtually any type of ink chemistry including solvent, aqueous and UV inks and can be operated at temperatures as high as 140°C, enabling jetting of specialized inks that meet demanding requirements. As well, the architecture of the Direct To Object printer features a flexible design for holders so that objects can be changed out easily.
International Data Corporation (IDC) released a new report, called The Worldwide Semiannual 3D Printing Spending Guide, which forecasts global revenues for the 3D printing market to reach US$35.4 billion in 2020. This is more than double the US$15.9 billion in revenues forecast for 2016 and represents a compound annual growth of 24.1 percent over the 2015-2020 forecast period.

3D printers and materials will represent nearly half the total worldwide revenues throughout the forecast, according to IDC, with software and related services also expected to experience significant growth. Revenues for computer-aided design (CAD) software are forecast to triple over the five-year forecast period while the market for on-demand parts services will nearly match this growth. IDC explains the gains in both software and on-demand parts printing are being driven by the rapidly expanding use of 3D printing for design prototyping and products that require a high degree of customization in non-traditional environments.

The use cases that will generate the largest revenues for 3D printing in 2016, according to IDC, are Automotive Design, Rapid Prototype Printing (more than US$4.0 billion) and Aerospace and Defense Parts Printing (nearly US$2.4 billion). IDC explains Dental Printing has also emerged as a strong opportunity in 2016.

“Customer spending on 3D printing capabilities is following the market away from mass market consumer printers towards holistic solutions that enable higher-end – and more profitable – use cases,” said Christopher Chute, VP, Customer Insights and Analysis, IDC. “As the market for printers, materials and services matures, IDC expects new 3D printing capabilities to enable a next-wave of customer innovation in discrete manufacturing, product design, and life sciences.”

IDC continues to explain that given the increased use of 3D printing for prototyping and parts production, it comes as no surprise that discrete manufacturing will continue to be the leading industry, generating 56 percent of worldwide 3D printing revenues in 2016. “IDC expects the worldwide 3D printing market to continue its rapid expansion over the next several years, driven by the need to reduce manufacturing cycle times and to reduce prototyping costs,” said Keith Kmetz, VP of IDC's Imaging, Printing and Document Solutions research. “This growth will be fueled by an explosion of 3D printer manufacturers from around the world, seeking to capitalize on the anticipated growth in this market with faster printers that offer better quality output at lower prices.”

Healthcare and professional services will remain the second and third largest industries, according to the new report released on August 12, in terms revenues over the 2015-2020 forecast period, while retail will experience the greatest revenue growth, vaulting into the fourth position by 2020. Meanwhile, IDC predicts revenues from consumer 3D printing will grow modestly as this market has already matured.

The Worldwide Semiannual 3D Printing Spending Guide by includes revenue data available for more than 20 use cases across 20 industries in eight regions. Data is also available for 3D printing hardware, materials, software, and services.
Fujifilm Dimatix unveiled the new Dimatix Material Printer DMP-2850 aimed at printed electronics, displays, and similar applications. The product, to be available from September 2016, with enhanced user applications coming in the first quarter of 2017, is an enhanced version of the company’s deposition research platform, the DMP-2831.

Launched more than 10 years ago, the DMP-2831 is a laboratory tool for the development of inkjet deposition fluids and processes, with approximately 1,000 units placed worldwide in academic and industrial facilities.

The DMP-2850 includes an embedded 64-bit PC preconfigured with Microsoft Windows 8.1 and updated Drop Manager software. Two high-speed cameras with finer resolution optics provide superior images for drop-watching and print inspection functions. To accompany the hardware changes, the DMP-2850 will build on user accessibility and flexibility with an enhanced software platform.

Remote access API and open architecture enable remote monitoring of cameras and printer status. More options for complex printing will be available with feature recognition, auto registration functions, and support for multi-layer printing. Jetting evaluation and drop watching operations will also benefit from automated analysis.
Ultimaker, a 3D printer manufacturer in The Netherlands, signed a sales and service agreement with Shop3D to distribute its technologies in Canada. Shop3D offers the Canadian technology market a selection of products for sale, as well as personalized design and printing services.

Online purchases can now be made in the official Canadian Ultimaker Web store and consumers can also visit the Shop3D showroom in Brampton, Ontario, where consumers can purchase the Ultimaker Original+, Ultimaker 2, Ultimaker 2 Go, Ultimaker 2 Extended, Ultimaker Filaments, Add-Ons and Spare Parts from Shop3D.

“With the growing interest in 3D printing in Canada we realize more and more how suitable our 3D printing is for this territory – great service and local support are of the utmost importance here,” said Siert Wijnia, founder and CTO of Ultimaker. “It is therefore important that we select the right local partners. We have full confidence that, together with Shop3D, we will be very successful in Canada.”

Ultimaker focuses on producing products that make 3D printing accessible to all, with desktop printer models that based on open source programming.

“Canada has always been a central hub for creativity and avant garde thinking. A mentality that fits perfectly with the Ultimaker community,” said Kenneth Wan, CEO of Shop3D. “As such, Shop3D is delighted to form this new partnership with Ultimaker so that Canadian engineers, designers and makers have access to the best 3D printers on the market paired with unbeatable local support without cross border hassle.”
The Canadian Printable Electronics Industry Association and PAC, Packaging Consortium, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to explore how printable and organic electronics can help Canada’s packaging industry. This is a non-financial commitment between the two organizations to collaborate on a number of initiatives over the next two years.

“This partnership with PAC is a tremendous stride forward in our commitment to our members, to forge the linkages that will help them create compelling new products and applications that meet the pressing needs of key end users,” said Peter Kallai, Executive Director of Canadian Printable Electronics Industry Association (CPEIA).

PAC explains its 2,200 members come from all sectors of the packaging industry, including retailers, consumer brands, package manufacturers and services, waste management and government. The association explains printable and organic electronics are providing new ways to manage inventory, track shipped items, better maintain product freshness, monitor medication usage, identify packing materials for re-cycling, and turn consumer packaging into an interactive platform.

PAC continues to explain its collaboration with CPEIA includes a priority to address waste. For example, the association explains, a third of the world’s food goes to waste. The PAC Food Waste initiative is investigating waste in the supply chain and looking at ways to extend product shelf life through innovations in packaging. PAC NEXT, meanwhile, is looking at ways to identify sustainable solutions that can lead to zero packaging waste.

“A key aspect of our mandate is to drive progressive change in the packaging value chain through leadership, collaboration and knowledge sharing,” said James D. Downham, President and CEO of PAC. “Intelligent packaging enabled by printable electronics could drive one of the greatest advances to reduce waste in the packaging industry since the widespread adoption of recycling programs.”


HP, after a long expectation based on its decades of inkjet printing and materials sciences development, has officially entered the 3D Printing space with the introduction of Multi Jet Fusion system. While the technology is available today through a partner program, HP expects to begin wider distribution of its 3D print systems in 2016.

Built on HP Thermal Inkjet technology, Multi Jet Fusion, according to the company, features a unique synchronous architecture to address the commercial viability of 3D printing.

HP states Multi Jet Fusion is 10 times faster than the fastest technology in market today based on its ability to image entire surface areas versus one point at a time. The company’s proprietary multi-agent printing process, utilizing HP Thermal Inkjet arrays, simultaneously apply multiple liquid agents that combines accuracy, resiliency and uniform part strength in all three axis directions.

The company also explains Multi Jet Fusion is able to manipulate part and material properties, including form, texture, friction, strength, elasticity, electrical, thermal properties and more – well beyond other 3D print processes.

 

HP has also started the HP Open Customer Engagement Program to work with users to extend the capabilities of the HP 3D Print platform, which will include a certification process for partners to drive materials innovation.

 

HP also introduced its vision for the future of computing and 3D printing by unveiling its new Blended Reality ecosystem. This ecosystem is underpinned by two key advancements, including Multi Jet Fusion and what the company calls Sprout by HP. Sprout is described as a first-of-its-kind Immersive Computing platform that combines an advanced desktop computer with an immersive, natural user interface.

“We live in a 3D world, but today we create in a 2D world on existing devices,” said Ron Coughlin, Senior VP, Consumer PC & Solutions, HP. "Sprout by HP is a big step forward in reimagining the boundaries of how we create and engage with technology to allow users to move seamlessly from thought to expression."

Combining a scanner, depth sensor, hi-resolution camera and projector into a single device, Sprout by HP allows users to take physical items and merge them into a digital workspace. “We are on the cusp of a transformative era in computing and printing,” said Dion Weisler, Executive VP, Printing & Personal Systems, HP. "Our ability to deliver Blended Reality technologies will reduce the barriers between the digital and physical worlds, enabling us to express ourselves at the speed of thought – without filters, without limitations.”

Amazon today launched the 3D Printed Products store as a marketplace that gives customers access to more than 200 print-on-demand products, many of which can be customized by material, size, styles and colour variations, and personalized with text and image imprints.

The new store, amazon.com/3dp, is described by the company as one of the largest online destinations for 3D printed products, including jewelry, toys, home décor and fashion accessories. The Website features search tools, interactive 3D preview functionality and a product personalization widget.

“The introduction of our 3D Printed Products store suggests the beginnings of a shift in online retail – that manufacturing can be more nimble to provide an immersive customer experience. Sellers, in alignment with designers and manufacturers, can offer more dynamic inventory for customers to personalize and truly make their own,” stated Petra Schindler-Carter, Director for Amazon Marketplace Sales.

With the store's 3D product preview function, customers are able to rotate a virtual product 360 degrees. After an item is personalized and a customer has finished the checkout process, the item is 3D printed on-demand by a manufacturing provider and shipped directly to the customer.

The store includes customizable items sellers for under $40, such as cufflinks, bobble head figurines and funky wine glass holders, while in $100 price range, customers can design customized fashion accessories like pendants, earrings and necklaces.

Amazon’s 3D Printed Products store also provides an entry point for designers, designers and manufacturers to offer print on-demand product designs.

3D Systems entered into an agreement to acquire Xerox Corporation’s Wilsonville, Oregon, product design, engineering and chemistry group, as well as related assets for US$32.5 million in cash. Both companies expect the transaction to close before the end of 2013.

3D Systems (3DS) of South Carolina develops 3D printers, as well as related materials and IT infrastructure, to create products with plastics, metals, ceramics and edibles, among others. The tools provided by 3DS – including stereolithography – are typically used to rapidly design, create, communicate, prototype or produce real parts. The company utilizes Xerox print heads for a range of its multi-jet systems, such as the ProJet series 3D printers.

“We are pleased to expand our relationship with an innovative partner of the caliber of Xerox and expect that acquiring some of the Xerox Wilsonville engineering team, together with their state-of the-art development labs and selected licensed IP, to catapult our 3D printers’ development and manufacturing capabilities forward,” stated Avi Reichental, President and CEO of 3D Systems. “This bold step is consistent with our belief that we must act quickly and decisively to extend and cement our marketplace leadership position by taking full advantage of the window of unprecedented opportunity in front of us.”

As part of the agreement, 3DS expects to add more than 100 experienced Xerox engineers and contractors specializing in product design and materials science to its global R&D team and immediately begin to operate its own facility within the Xerox Wilsonville campus. “This deal takes advantage of Xerox's world-class capabilities and expands our relationship with 3D Systems in the exciting and dynamic 3D printing industry," stated Kevin Warren, President of Xerox Strategic Growth Initiatives. “It emphasizes how we are leveraging our expertise while we continue to evolve our business model and pursue strategic growth opportunities.”


Xerox will maintain ink and print head development resources along with research relevant for digital printing and the 3D markets. In connection with this investment, 3D Systems expects to increase its annual R&D expenditures by approximately 75 percent to 100 percent over the next few years as it completes certain Xerox related engineering services commitments.


“The stronger our marketplace leadership, the more powerful our economic model becomes,” stated Reichental. “Simply put, a solidified position translates directly to higher revenue, higher profitability and greater earnings power over time and we are willing to sacrifice short term earnings to get there faster.”

The UPS Store announced a pilot project to offer 3D printing as one of its services. The machines can produce engineering parts, functional prototypes, acting props, and architectural models at higher resolutions than consumer devices.

While 3D prototyping technologies are not new, development in both materials and accuracy is allowing for impressive and functional items to be created. MIT's Media Lab has created a fully functional flute composed almost completely of printed components.

Using a Objet Connex500 3D printer, a flute was crafted in three parts in 15 hours. The printer is the first device to be able to jet multiple materials which make up the flute. Only the springs required for the keys were added. The flute is made out of three materials: One of the the body of the instrument, another for the mouthpiece, and a third for the seals in the keys.

See a video of the flute's production below:

 


Hewlett Packard announced yesterday it will be working with Minneapolis-based Stratasys to bring a line of HP-branded 3D printers to the market. The machines, mainly used in the engineering and mechanical design fields, will start entering the marketplace by the end of the year.

"There are millions of 3D designers using 2D printers who are ready to bring their designs to life in 3D," said Santiago Morera, VP and General Manager of HP's Large Format Printing Business. "Stratasys FDM technology is the ideal platform for HP to enter the 3D MCAD printing market and begin to capitalize on this untapped opportunity."

Stratasys produced its first 3D printer in 2003 and last year broke through the US$15,000 barrier with its entry-level machine, which fits on a desktop. The machines build 3D objects by a process called FDM (fused deposition modeling). In essence, layers of thermoplastic are laid down based on CAD specs to form a three-dimensional prototype. The final product can be used in models, or even to create production parts.

"We believe the time is right for 3D printing to become mainstream," said Stratasys Chairman and CEO, Scott Crump. "We also believe that HP's unmatched sales and distribution capabilities and Stratasys FDM technology is the right combination to achieve broader 3D printer usage worldwide. HP has made a similar move in this market before, capturing a dominant position in large-format 2D printers. Together we hope to repeat this success with 3D printers."  

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