Koehler lends 3D printer from BigRep to MakerSpace

UnternehmerTUM’s MakerSpace will use printer for pioneering prototypes

Kai Furler, CEO of the Koehler Group, symbolically presses the start button for the development of future-oriented prototypes on the BigRep PRO 3D printer in MakerSpace.

The Koehler Group recently announced a strategic partnership with UnternehmerTUM, Europe’s leading center for business creation and innovation, which was founded by Susanne Klatten in 2002.

As part of this start‐up collaboration, Koehler Invest has now loaned a BigRep Pro 3D printer to UnternehmerTUM’s MakerSpace for one year. BigRep is one of the world’s leading companies in the field of large‐format 3D printing, which can be used to speed up innovation processes, and boost flexibility and digitalization in production processes. Koehler has been providing support for startups for a number of years.

Inventors and startups

Koehler Group recently founded Koehler Invest GmbH to oversee its startup activities, with Philipp Prechtl taking over as managing director on 1 November. The company will focus on innovations from Koehler Group’s core business areas, with a view to driving future technologies and boosting entrepreneurship in Germany.

MakerSpace from UnternehmerTUM is a high‐tech workshop with locations in Garching and Munich, which provides students and professionals, startups, and independent entrepreneurs with access to innovative production technologies. The BigRep PRO 3D printer will be located at the Munich Urban Colab following in the footsteps of the BigRep One, which can be found on the UnternehmerTUM campus in Garching.

Kai Furler, CEO of the Koehler Group, emphasized, “With the new strategic partnership with UnternehmerTUM, our goal is to support and promote pioneering innovations, particularly in our core business areas of paper and renewable energies. The large‐format 3D‐printer from BigRep will prove an invaluable tool for new product innovations from start‐ups.”

Prototypes and small series

Koehler Group purchased the BigRep PRO and has lent it to Makerspace free of charge for a year. The system, which was developed for industrial applications, enables the production of prototypes as well as larger batches of parts and gives inventors and developers the opportunity to develop and bring technologies to market more quickly.

Previous spin‐offs from MakerSpace include ‘Curfboard’, which makes surf skateboards, vertical farming from ‘Agrilution’, and unmanned aircraft from ‘HORYZN.’ The BigRep PRO gives start‐ups the opportunity to break new ground and find answers to some of the most pressing questions of today. Dr. Sven Thate, Managing Director of BigRep explains: “Product and development cycles are getting shorter and shorter. At the same time, products are becoming increasingly agile, continually improving, and being made ready for the market thanks to fast iterations. Our large‐format solutions for additive production offer the flexibility to print prototypes and molds, e.g. for manufacturing carbon fiber-reinforced parts, as well as production tools and small series for market launch.” The BigRep PRO offers a variety of automated functions for easy, fast, and high‐quality production of large plastic parts, both with bio‐based and fiber‐reinforced materials.

MakerSpace provides start‐ups and inventors with a professional infrastructure to turn their own ideas into prototypes in a short time frame. Florian Küster, managing director at MakerSpace GmbH from Un‐ ternehmerTUM says: “The facilities save teams time and money in development, which reduces the risks for new start‐ups. Koehler successfully supports our innovations ecosystem and, with the BigRep PRO, we are particularly pleased with the latest addition to large‐format 3D printing in our machine pool.”

On December 16, the 3D printer was officially handed over to MakerSpace for a year with representatives of all parties in attendance.

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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