3D printers, batteries and more price rises

News Digest: – a quick run through of all the stories from the last few weeks that didn’t merit a post in their own right, including a $20 million contract from the US Navy for 3D printers, plus 3D-printed batteries, and price rises from HuberGroup for inks and Day International for press blankets.

Stratasys is to supply $20m-dollars worth of 3D printers to the US Navy to service aircraft such as this E-2D Advanced Hawkeye launching from the USS Carl Vinson.

Stratasys has picked up a $20 million contract from the US Navy to supply up to 25 of its F900 3D printers over the next five years, with the first eight to be delivered before the end of this year. The contract also includes initial support and sustainment, materials, and development of initial training for the supplied systems. This is Stratasys’ largest government project to date. 

The printers will be sent to Navy bases in both the United States and Japan and can be used to produce end-use parts, tooling and training aids. They will also form part of the Navy’s wider goal of using distributed additive manufacturing practices to maintain its fleet of aircraft across bases worldwide.

Mark Menninger, Stratasys’ director of US Government Business division, explained: “The benefits of additive manufacturing for military organizations like the U.S. Navy include cost-effectively extending the life of strategic and tactical assets like aircraft while ensuring sustainment activities can happen quickly and from virtually anywhere.”

Sakuu, which has developed 3D-printable solid state battery technology, has begun work on building its pilot line and learning centre, which is planned to demonstrate the viability of the battery manufacturing process and enable Sakuú to deliver sample products to its Early Access strategic partners. This centre will eventually be able to produce up to 2.5 MWh per year of solid-state batteries. The second phase is expected to follow in 2022, utilizing an array of Sakuú AM Platforms to mass produce solid state batteries with up to 1 gWh of capacity per year.

Fujifilm Business Innovation has teamed up with Aleyant to become the official distributor for its Pressero web-to-print and eDocBuilder personalisation solution across the Asia Pacific region. Scott Mackie, general manager for the FBI Graphic Communication Business Group, commented: “Aleyant was the right choice as they have the capability to integrate with various third-party solutions for business, shipping and payment systems, as well as support for most of the languages and currencies globally. With Aleyant’s existing sales and technical support resources in the region, we are positioned to provide enhanced service and support to our customers in Asia Pacific.”

Mackie added that the company planned to also offer the rest of the Aleyant product range: “The ability to add modules to create an automated workflow as they grow in size and the easy incorporation of existing solutions into Aleyant’s open API allow customers to work more efficiently with an integrated workflow.”

HuberGroup has become the latest ink manufacturer to announce price increases, citing the same issues as everyone else, namely rising raw material costs and the shortage of freight capacity. However, the company says it will use its global supply network, examine other sourcing methods, and look for alternative raw materials to try to minimise any price rises.

Heiner Klokkers, CEO of HuberGroup, explains: “The satisfaction of our customers is our top priority. To ensure that we can continue to offer them high-quality printing inks and raw materials in the future, it is unfortunately essential in the current situation that we reflect the significantly increased procurement costs in the prices of our products. Our field staff around the world will shortly be informing customers personally about the specific effects and is of course available to answer questions at any time.”

Day International, a division of Flint Group that supplies media printing blankets, has announced to the printing blanket used in the heatset, coldset, and commercial sheetfed market segments. Strangely, Day International won’t say how much it is increasing its prices. 

Chad Holzer, business president Image Transfer Technologies, did say: “We are seeing a significant increase in demand for our packaging related products and are running our production facilities at peak levels, while adhering to practices recommended by the World Health Organization and local government agencies designed to keep our employees safe and healthy. However, we are facing unprecedented challenges with employee absenteeism due to COVID 19, delays in global supply chains, and critical raw material shortages.” 

New appointments

Mike Horsten has been appointed Global Business Manager for Agfa’s InterioJet industrial printers, which are aimed at the flooring and furniture industries. Horsten will perform market research, define marketing and sales strategies, and help enhance Agfa’s product roadmap. In addition, he will coordinate and follow up on all global sales activities for InterioJet.

Tom Cloots, director of Industrial Inkjet at Agfa, said: “We are happy to be able to welcome Mike. We are rapidly expanding our assortment for the fast-growing market of industrial inkjet printing with the development of inkjet solutions for specific applications. Mike will help us boost our growth in the flooring and furniture industries. With his vast experience, he is a perfect fit for our organization.”

Horsten co-founded Colorgate, which develops RIP software, and later went on to head up marketing for Mimaki in Europe, and most recently lead textile developments for HP EMEA. 

Russell Weller, who until recently was a product manager for the Kongsberg business unit, has now joined GMG Color as UK Commercial Director. The first 11 years of his career were spent as part of one of the UK’s leading commercial print providers – Cavendish Press. Here he became Prepress Manager and was successful in turning the department fully digital. He commented: “I am very passionate about working closely with GMG’s customers, providing the best possible services and solutions to fulfil their growth aspirations.”

Simon Cosh has joined Durst’s UK and Ireland office as Label Business Development Manager. He is described as an inkjet specialist with more than 30 years’ experience across flexo, litho, digital and letter-press printing technologies working at various companies including Edale and, most recently, Dantex. He commented: “My background in flexo and other processes has given me a greater understanding of how they all link in, and particularly the huge advantages that digital can bring as markets continue to evolve.”

…with a little help from my friends

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