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.

2023 promises an interesting ride for print in India

Indian Printer and Publisher founded in 1979 is the oldest B2B trade publication in the multi-platform and multi-channel IPPGroup. While the print and packaging industries have been resilient in the past 33 months since the pandemic lockdown of 25 March 2020, the commercial printing and newspaper industries have yet to recover their pre-Covid trajectory.

The fragmented commercial printing industry faces substantial challenges as does the newspaper industry. While digital short-run printing and the signage industry seem to be recovering a bit faster, ultimately their growth will also be moderated by the progress of the overall economy. On the other hand book printing exports are doing well but they too face several supply-chain and logistics challenges.

The price of publication papers including newsprint has been high in the past year while availability is diminished by several mills shutting down their publication paper and newsprint machines in the past four years. Indian paper mills are also exporting many types of paper and have raised prices for Indian printers. To some extent, this has helped in the recovery of the digital printing industry with its on-demand short-run and low-wastage paradigm.

Ultimately digital print and other digital channels 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. For instance, there is no alternative to a rise in textbook consumption but this segment will only reach normality in the next financial year beginning on 1 April 2023.

Thus while the new normal is a moving target and many commercial printers look to diversification, we believe that our target audiences may shift and change. Like them, we will also have to adapt with agility to keep up with their business and technical information needs.

Our 2023 media kit is ready, and it is the right time to take stock and reconnect with your potential markets and customers. Print is the glue for the growth of liberal education, new industry, and an emerging economy. We seek your participation in what promises to be an interesting ride.

– Naresh Khanna

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