3D printers, batteries and more price rises

Stratasys signs US $ 20 million contract with US Navy

3D printers
Stratasys is to supply US $ 20 million worth of 3D printers to the US Navy to service aircraft such as this E-2D Advanced Hawkeye launching from the USS Carl Vinson. Photo Printing and Manufacturing Journal

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 US $ 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 signs contract with US Navy

Stratasys has picked up a US $ 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 US 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 develops 3D-printable solid-state battery technology

Sakuu, which has developed 3D-printable solid-state battery technology, has begun work on building its pilot line and learning center, 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 center 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 joins hands with Aleyant

Fujifilm Business Innovation has teamed up with Aleyant to become the official distributor for its Pressero web-to-print and eDocBuilder personalization 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 allows customers to work more efficiently with an integrated workflow.”

HuberGroup hikes price for inks

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 minimize any price rises.

Heiner Klokkers, chief executive officer 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 increases price of printing blankets

Day International, a division of Flint Group that supplies media printing blankets, has announced 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.”

This article was originally published in Printing and Manufacturing Journal.

The Covid-19 pandemic led to the country-wide lockdown on 25 March 2020. It will be two years tomorrow as I write this. What have we learned in this time? Maybe the meaning of resilience since small companies like us have had to rely on our resources and the forbearance of our employees as we have struggled to produce our trade platforms.

The print and packaging industries have been fortunate, although the commercial printing industry is still to recover. We have learned more about the digital transformation that affects commercial printing and packaging. Ultimately digital will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future.

Web analytics show that we now have readership in North America and Europe amongst the 90 countries where our five platforms reach. Our traffic which more than doubled in 2020, has at times gone up by another 50% in 2021. And advertising which had fallen to pieces in 2020 and 2021, has started its return since January 2022.

As the economy approaches real growth with unevenness and shortages a given, we are looking forward to the PrintPack India exhibition in Greater Noida. We are again appointed to produce the Show Daily on all five days of the show from 26 to 30 May 2022.

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