Adding a New Dimension to Displays
One aspect of industrial printing that has been given a lot of ink (virtual or physical) over the past several years has been what is known as 3D printing. More appropriately called “additive manufacturing,” both terms are used to refer to a broad array of technologies for “printing” a three-dimensional object. The most common 3D printing systems work by building up layers of a material — usually a kind of polymer or even metal — to create physical objects. The primary differences among 3D printing systems is the specific manner in which the layers are built up.
There is also such a thing as “subtractive” manufacturing, in which a solid chunk of material is cut away to create a 3D objects — think of the way a sculptor chips away marble to create a statue. Such devices are called “milling machines,” controlled by a technology called computer numerical control (CNC). A lot of the applications for 3D printing are based on specific niches, with medical devices and materials being a hot area. Some companies are using 3D printing systems to print hearing aids, and 3D printing is also used to print InvisAlign “invisible braces” for orthodontic applications. (3D printing is also being developed to print human tissues and organs.)
Roland DGA (Booth 601) has several lines of milling machines that are used for prototyping, as well as milling machines and additive 3D printers specifically targeted for dental applications such as restorations and prosthetics.
For the past several shows, Mimaki (Booths 1231 and 1345) has been showing evolving prototypes — the latest of which is on display in the company’s booth, along with examples of its output — of the provisionally named 3DUJ-P, a color 3D printer that is capable of extremely fine detail and 10 million color combinations. It has a maximum modeling size of 19.7 x 19.7 x 11.8 inches. It slated to be officially launched late this year.
One company that has made big waves in the industry since its debut at drupa 2016 is Massivit (Booth 2279). This week, the company is demonstrating how wide-format print providers can take advantage of new business opportunities and enhance their competitive edge by seamlessly integrating the Massivit 1800 3D Printer with their operations. The Massivit 1800 is based on the company’s additive Gel Dispensing Printing (GDP) technology. The Massivit 1800 can print objects up to five feet nine inches tall, four feet nine inches wide, and three feet nine inches deep at a quoted speed of about 14 inches an hour. The size of the bed also allows optional dual-object printing. According to the company, most of its customers are sign and display businesses, with the remaining comprising ad agencies, “3D service bureaus” and even companies that create props for theatrical productions.
For those looking to explore how to take display graphics to the next level, Vince Cahill, President of VCE Solutions; Josh Hope, Applications Product Manager for Mimaki USA; and Lilach Sapir, VP of Marketing for Massivit 3D, will conduct an educational session called “3D Printing: A Multi-Dimensional View,” today from 10:30 am in Room 343.