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3D Printing Takes On the Paper Printing Industry

by Pete Basiliere  |  June 15, 2016  |  Submit a Comment

3D printer manufacturers traveled to Gutenberg’s home country to exhibit at “drupa,” the biggest printing tradeshow worldwide, demonstrating unexpected opportunities to thousands of attendees from around the world.

Drupa is a quadrennial event that fills 17 halls at the Messe in Dusseldorf with all kinds of digital and analog printing equipment and software. 3D printers have been at drupa before, with Xerox bringing one eight years ago. Never had there been such a turnout as this year:

  • Kodak — Even as it struggles to find a buyer, Kodak continues to innovate. A table in its material sciences section had five samples printed with the new Carbon (formerly Carbon3D) M1 printer. Carbons resins include a photo initiators made by Kodak, tweaked to work with UV as well as the oxygen layer at the base of the resin bath. Kodak’s managers told me they will be bringing more resins for the M1 to market very soon. The company is willing to work with partners to develop more 3D print materials with anti-microbial features that can be used, for example, to 3D print phone cases.
  • Massivit — One of our Cool Vendors this year, Massivit’s huge printers drew throngs of attendees. By the second day Massivit reported 3 sales of its ultra-large format 3D Printer including an Australian buyer. Output from a Massivit’s 3D printer was also in the EFI booth, where samples used to make molds for concrete and fiberglass parts were on display.

MASSIVit drupa Booth from 3D fab+print

Source: 3D Fab+Print

  • Memjet — Best known as an inkjet printhead arrays, Memjet had an XYZprinting binder jetting printer on its stand. The device incorporates a standard Memjet printhead. Memjet provides color and clear binder inks as well as the driver and electronics. XYZprinting provides the powder and sealants.
  • Mimaki — Well known for its wide format printers, Mimaki brought impressive samples with vivid colors and a smooth finish that were produced with its 3D printer. The company is targeting the sign graphics industry, where it has an entrée through its wide format printer sales, instead of prototyping. Its 3D printer, which is being used to fulfill print orders placed directly with Mimaki, will be available for purchase at the end of 2016 or the beginning of 2017.
  • Xaar — An OEM provider of inkjet printheads, Xaar is moving into 3D printing. Inkjet technology is already used in binder and material jetting devices as well as bioprinting. Xaar’s efforts will be to not only enable a wider range of materials that can be used in 3D printing but also to lower the cost per piece. The result will be a cross-over point where it is less expensive to use traditional manufacturing processes that increases from a few hundred to thousands of pieces.
  • Blueprinter — Another former Cool Vendor, Blueprinter exhibited its affordable binder jet printer.
  • Canon — 3D Systems’ printers distributed by Canon were on display, producing parts on the show floor.
  • Ricoh — Its AM S5500P was on static display in a corner of the booth but still attracted attendees. Ricoh also had a technology display that illustrated medical training use cases involving 3D printed molds and lifelike materials that help surgeons experience the organs they will be working on.
  • SDD — New to the market and born from its own manufacturing needs, SDD exhibited the oddly named Ghetto Blaster material extrusion printer with a large build size. The company is a subsidiary of 3D printer distributor AMR Europe.
  • Heraeus — Exhibiting its line of drying lamps and other traditional print products, I met with Heraeus to discuss their 3D printing initiatives. The company’s quartz lights are used in HP’s new Multi Jet Fusion printers. Heraeus has several product lines and its new ventures unit is evaluating 3D printing among other initiatives. The company wants to blend its metal and 3D printing knowledge. Heraeus already makes custom alloys that are atomized for 3D printing use, with powder that is as spherical as possible. Arcam, Concept Laser and others are reportedly using Heraeus’ materials.

Why was there so much interest by executives and operators from traditional printing companies in 3D printing? As I explained in my Touchpoint presentation at drupa, 3D printing opens up new markets especially for printers who are already producing point-of-purchase and exhibition materials:

Ready or Not 3D Printing Will Disrupt Your Business - Pete Basiliere - FINAL

Drupa 2016 was the first time that 3D printing took on the paper printing industry. Yes, the number of booths with 3D printers was a very small percentage of all the booths and all the space at the Messe.

But keep this in mind: 9 of the largest exhibitors at drupa — Canon, Konica Minolta, HP, Kodak, Memjet, Mimaki, Ricoh, Xaar and Xerox — were both 2D and 3D print technology providers.

Additional Resources

Category: 3d-printing  technology-and-emerging-trends  

Tags: 3-d-print  3d-print  3d-printer  3d-systems  additive-manufacturing  binder-jetting  blueprinter  canon  cool-vendor  digital-press  digital-printer  drupa  heraeus  hp  inkjet  kodak  konica-minolta  massivit-3d  material-jetting  mcor-technologies  memjet  mimaki  multi-jet-fusion  offset-printing  ricoh  sdd  xaar  xyzprinting  

Pete Basiliere
Research Vice President
12 years at Gartner
18 years IT Industry

Mr. Basiliere provides research-based insights on 3D printing and digital printing hardware, software and materials. Mr. Basiliere's Maverick research coined the term Generation AI, people born after 2010 who will not know a world without application intelligence in their lives. Read Full Bio

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