Inkjet Wholesale News aims to provide updates on the latest significant occurrences in the field of printing. Whether it’s the launch of a new technology or volatility of market prices, we’ll be here to give you the lowdown on what happened, when it happened, and what it means!
Ultimaker Introduces Ultimaker 3 with Dual Extrusion Capabilities
We’ve said it a number of times already. 3D printing or Additive Manufacturing is the future of technology. This is true even despite the fact that development in this field is slow. For example, Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) in this sector aren’t numerous and the rate of introduction of new players isn’t all that tremendous either. However, the ones that are already operating in the industry are slowly but surely marching towards a brighter future.
Take Ultimaker, for example. Ultimaker is Netherlands-based OEM that is well-known amongst 3D printing enthusiasts. At the turn of the last month, Ultimaker launched its 3rd generation 3D printer called the Ultimaker 3. The fact that Additive Manufacturing is a slowly evolving industry is evident by the fact that it took the Dutch OEM around three years to launch Ultimaker 3 while OEMs in 2D printing sector launch more than 30 printers at a go. You see, Ultimaker 2 was launched way back in 2013.
Ultimaker 3 also happens to be the first device from Ultimaker to have dual extrusion capabilities. Dual extrusion capabilities mean that users will have the option to produce two items simultaneously with the Ultimaker 3. What this does is introduces flexibility and versatility to the 3D printing operations of many users.
What would please many users of the Ultimaker 3D printers, however, is that it can handle a wide variety of materials which includes PVC, PVA, and nylon. The maximum size to which the Ultimaker 3 can print is 215mm x 215mm x 300mm. However, the maximum size goes down with dual extrusion. With dual extrusion, the maximum size Ultimaker 3 can handle is 197mm x 215mm x 300mm.
Ultimaker 3 also represents that most cutting edge 3D printing devices in the industry right now as it offer all modern day connectivity options such as Ethernet, USB, and even wireless. There’s even an on-board camera which is connected to Cura 3D print-slicing software programme. This programme is a part of Ultimaker’s open source system.
The 3D printing industry, however, isn’t heading the same way as the 2D printing industry and can be expected to evolve differently. Ultimaker and, indeed, a few other OEMs in the 3D printing sector are different from their counterparts in the 2D printing sector. This difference is their attitude towards their technology. For instance, while 2D printing OEMs are fighting tooth and nail to protect their “intellectual property rights”, 3D printing OEMs like Ultimaker are sharing theirs with other manufacturers freely.
Ultimaker actually presents itself as “the leading open source 3D printer manufacturer”. It makes such claims because it freely shares technical files, designs, and software programmes with other manufacturers. The 3D printing community the world over is more about innovation and application of the technology than the monetisation of equipment.
The demand for Ultimaker 3 seems to be significant, if Paul Croft, Director of Ultimaker UK is to be believed. According to Croft, within 15 minutes of the launch of Ultimaker 3, the OEM received its first order from the UK market. Croft also stated that the majority of Ultimaker device users these days are small batch manufacturers, product developers, architects, and engineers since they value agility of development and production.
Croft also pitched in regarding the development schedule of the Ultimaker 3. Apparently, development work on the Ultimaker 3 began when the Ultimaker 2 was launched in 2013. Further, dual extrusions were also something the OEM started work on simultaneously. While product development has been slower than the 2D printer sector, business development has been faster. Ultimaker has recently opened a branch in the US.
In the long term, Ultimaker foresees adoption of its devices by individual users. As a matter of fact, the OEM is working towards popularising its products through various avenues. “Create Education” is one of those avenues where the OEM spreads awareness about 3D printing and educates schools and universities of its benefits. Ultimaker 3 has already started shipping.
Construction on New State-of-the-Art Precision Core Print Head Production Unit Initiated by Epson in Japan
Epson has set off construction work on a brand new, state-of-the-art Precision Core print head manufacturing unit. The new unit is being built in Shiojiri, Japan and will be a part of the OEM’s Hirooka Office. As per the company, this new facility is a part of its medium to long term strategic objectives for its inkjet printer division. The facility is expected to increase the OEM’s print head production capacity by no less than three times.
However, production isn’t the only aspect that this new facility will concern itself with, once complete. The foremost element of the aforementioned medium to long term strategic objectives is the reinforcement of Epson’s R&D and production platforms within the next four years. The facility will also be used by the OEM for Research & Development (R&D) purposes. Primarily, the R&D conducted at this facility will revolve around improving Epson’s production engineering capabilities.
The R&D goal of this facility is critical since it is located in close proximity to Epson’s inkjet planning and design division. Epson’s Hirooka Office is responsible for disseminating new technologies and methodologies to its other manufacturing facilities all over the world.
The new factory will span over an area of more than 46,000 square metres, although the constructed area will be around 10,450 square metres. The construction work on the factory is expected to be complete within the next two years. Epson is targeting the first half of the 2018 fiscal for commissioning its new facility. Epson’s print heads are based on unique micro piezo inkjet technology and can be found in most of its printer models including commercial and industrial printers, business inkjet printers, and high capacity ink tank printers.