Learn How 3D Printing Will Rock the World

With the steady flood of news items related to 3D printing for consumers, for schools, for healthcare, and for businesses, it can be difficult to gain perspective on what it all means.

3D Printing Will Rock the WorldEarlier this year, John Hornick of the Finnegan IP (intellectual property) law firm summarized some of his own predictions in a new book entitled “3D Printing Will Rock the World.”

In the book’s 10 chapters, he presents specific examples of how 3D printing might:

  • revolutionize manufacturing
  • reinvent design
  • make us all makers again
  • bring jobs back to the U.S.
  • disrupt “business-as-usual”
  • create jobs we haven’t even thought of
  • merge science and nature
  • create new types of crimes
  • threaten brand ownership of “genuine” products
  • change the way our kids learn, work, and live

Throughout the book, he cites numerous examples of how industry observers and analysts have different answers to these types of questions:

Will every home have a 3D printer? Or will independent fabrication labs (“fabs”) or large corporations will 3D print most of what we want or need?

Will 3D printers replace mass production? Or will they be just one more machine on a factory floor? Will companies sell designs instead of products? Or will companies make mass-customized products or send designs to their own local factories for printing?

Will 3D printers create jobs or destroy them?

Hornick believes, “It’s entirely possible that all of this will happen and more.”

Before presenting some of his own visions for how 3D printing will change our world, Hornick summarizes existing technologies and potentially disruptive advances, such as HP’s Multi Jet Fusion technology and the Composite-Based Additive Manufacturing process developed by Impossible Objects . He also talks about some of the advanced materials being developed that will make it possible to 3D print items as diverse as human organs, medicines, electronics, buildings, weapons, home goods, and machine parts.

When all this will come to fruition is anyone’s guess. Hornick agrees with an observation Bill Gates made in 2008 that we tend to overestimate what things can happen in two years, and underestimate what things will happen in ten. (Anyone who has followed forecasts for the adoption of digital printing technologies knows how true this statement is.)

This is a thought-provoking book if you are considering how your business might benefit from adding 3D printing as a service. Here are some points to keep in mind:

3D Printing vs. Additive Manufacturing: The term “3D printing” covers many different technologies and processes. While the first adopters of 3D printers still prefer terms such as “rapid prototyping” or “additive manufacturing,” the simpler term “3D printing” makes the concept much easier for everyone to visualize. That will help drive faster adoption.

Product Liability: Because 3D printing blurs the line between manufacturer, designer, and customer, it may not always be clear who is responsible for 3D-printed product safety and who will be liable for 3D printed product injuries.

As 3D printers become common in industry, schools, fab centers, and homes, they will create a worldwide spiderweb of design and manufacturing . The question “Is the product genuine?” will become harder to answer and possibly meaningless. Some faulty 3D-printed products will have been made by consumers or hobbyists, not by manufacturers.

Intellectual Property: The rise of 3D printing will also affect intellectual property laws. According to Hornick, “Current IP laws probably will be inadequate to address the challenges of 3D printing.” Even though IP rights-owners will petition legislators for new laws, anyone with a sophisticated 3D scanner will be able to copy a product and tweak the results. Many 3D printers will be used outside of control of the law.

He believes companies will transition to non-IP-rights based business models that will make printable files easily and cheaply so customers are encouraged to buy the files instead of stealing the designs.

Innovation in Design: 3D printers will allow us to make products and designs that look and feel very different from products used today. Just because a product is made from 20 to 25 materials today doesn’t mean it can’t be printed from 3 or 4 materials tomorrow.

Hornick believes that continuing advances in 3D printing could ultimately be as disruptive as other significant technological developments in human history. When humans first began using fire, the wheel, the steam engine, computers, and the Internet, no one really foresaw their full potential. We’re just beginning to imagine what might be possible with 3D printing.


Agfa Graphics Adds Features to Jeti Tauro and Jeti Mira UV Inkjet Printers

Agfa Graphics Jeti Tauro

At ISA’s  Sign Expo 2016, Agfa Graphics demonstrated new automation and feature enhancements for the Jeti Tauro and Jeti Mira UV inkjet printers.

The Jeti Tauro is a six-color hybrid UV inkjet printer for creating high-quality indoor and outdoor signs on rigid or flexible materials. Its media tables can accommodate rigid materials such as cardboards, foam board, composite aluminum, and acrylic. Its integrated roll-to-roll system handles flexible substrates such as backlit film, UV-curable textiles, paper, PVC banners, mesh (with liner) and vinyl. The Jeti Tauro prints to widths as great as 2.54 meters (8.33 ft.) and can accommodate rigid media up to 4.0 meters (13.12 ft.) long.

Agfa Graphics Jeti Tauro
The 98-inch (2.5 meter) Agfa Graphics Jeti Tauro is designed for high-quality, high-productivity printing on both rigid and flexible material.

At Sign Expo, Agfa Graphics demonstrated an advanced Automatic Board Feeder (ABF) for more efficient throughput of rigid substrates.

The Jeti Mira is a true flatbed UV inkjet printer, with a moving gantry that prints on the x- and y-axes with pinpoint precision. It produces industry-leading quality in six colors and white with optional varnish or primer. The 7pl droplet size produces stunning detail and razor-sharp text. Even copy as small as 4-point type can be read in both positive and negative.

The Jeti Mira is available with a table depth of either 1.6 m (5.25 ft.) or 3.2 m (10.5 ft.)against a width of 2.69 m (8.825 ft.). While the Jeti Mira S is equipped with one row of print heads, the Jeti Mira HS has two rows, offering even higher productivity.

The ‘Print & Prepare’ technology on the Jeti Mira allows you to load new media while the printer is still working.

Agfa Graphics Jeti Mira
The Jeti Mira is a 2.69 meter (105.9-inch) flatbed printer built for heavy, industrial workloads.

At Sign Expo, Agfa Graphics demonstrated a dockable roll-to-roll system that attaches to the front of the flatbed table of the Jeti Mira. Reducing the distance the media must travel reduces wasted media and improves accuracy by reducing the potential for skewing.

According to Deborah Hutcheson, director of marketing for Agfa Graphics North America, the new options on the Jeti Tauro and Jeti Mira will enable sign shops and other print-service providers to achieve higher efficiencies and expand their markets: “The options increase productivity, reduce media waste, and offer outstanding print quality on a variety of substrates. We are proud to deliver the most robust portfolio of award-winning inkjet printing systems to any size print provider — from entry-level to high-end industrial market segments.”

Wide-Format Workflow Software

Both the Jeti Tauro and Jeti Mira are driven by Asanti, Agfa Graphics’ wide-format workflow software. As a true production hub, Asanti controls the entire process from prepress to production to finishing. Asanti’s comprehensive integration of file handling, color management, and preflighting reduces the risk of mistakes and makes the complete system more productive.

Asanti is complemented by Asanti Storefront, Agfa Graphics’ web-to-print solution that seamlessly manages online stores for automatically processes print orders for print-service providers.

For more information about Agfa Graphics’ full portfolio of graphic communications products, visit agfagraphics.us.


Esko Offers Automated Finishing Solutions for Sign and Display Shops

At ISA Sign Expo 2016, Esko showed highly automated digital finishing systems that can convert large-format graphics into signs, creative displays, and packaging. The systems include software features that can make sign shops more productive and profitable.

According to John Giardina, president, Esko Americas, the integrated end-to-end systems can help businesses large and small.

Automated Digital Finishing Systems

Esko showcased two models from its Kongsberg family of digital finishing systems.

The Kongsberg C64 is a state-of-the-art superwide (126 x 126 in.) digital finisher. Its unique carbon composite transverse beam supports the precision and productivity required to cut printed graphics that over 10 feet wide. The Kongsberg C64 is the only superwide finisher with a continuous-duty high-performance milling unit.

Esko Kongsberg C64 with Autofeeder
Esko Kongsberg C64 with Autofeeder

At ISA Sign Expo, the Kongsberg C64 was demonstrated with an automated system that feeds printed or blank boards onto the cutting table. Material is loaded with a fork truck or pallet jack—in either portrait or landscape mode. The Kongsberg C64 can also be equipped with an optional roll feeder.

To see the different types of finishing processes that the Kongsberg can handle, with this video: YouTube: Esko Kongsberg C Cutting and Milling a Range of Materials

The Kongsberg XN is built for versatility. Its wide range of specialty tools can be used to cut and mill many types of materials, including vinyl, corrugated, folding carton, foamboards, solid boards, wood, and a long list of plastics.

Kongsberg XN 1
Kongsberg XN


It comes with industry standard print-to-cut registration, a camera system for vision cutting, and many other features. The Kongsberg XN24 shown in the Sign Expo booth will be 66 x 126 inches. The XN product family is available in seven different sizes from 66 x 50 inches to 87 x 258 inches.

i-cut Production Console

The i-cut Production Console (iPC) drives all of the functions of the Kongsberg table, including camera control, machine set up, tool recognition, calibration, and tool adjustments.

Kongsberg HP Milling Spindle600p


Esko recently announced new features to the front-end operating system that will make production planning for digital finishing operations easier to manage. The new features makes it more efficient to run a higher number of short run jobs.

With the integration of a complete materials database, Esko has bundled decades of digital finishing expertise into a system that can take some of the guesswork out job set-up. The system advises the operator on which tools and knives to select for the type of materials to be finished on the next job. This advice can reduce the changeover time between jobs, improve consistency over time, and lessen the risk of damaging expensive materials.

Esko has also integrated its Kongsberg tables with its workflow automation software, Automation Engine.

Automation Engine’s Device Manager gives better control over finishing production. On the display screen, the operator can clearly see the status of work in progress and queues of all connected devices. The software determines optimal sheet nesting to increase production capacity. Operators use an intuitive drag-and-drop interface to prioritize table queues, insert rush jobs, and even balance workloads between tables.

The new Kongsberg Estimating module can give business owners a more accurate estimate of how long each job will take to produce. This is important when preparing quotes for customers — particularly in an environment in which the margins on short run digital print work are tightening. With accurate job estimates, companies can communicate better quotes and forecast more accurate delivery times to their customers.

The new Kongsberg Estimating Software module generates production estimates automatically based on production metadata such as the substrate type and thickness of materials specified in designs for packaging, signage, and display jobs.

Esko’s i-cut Suite is a collection of prepress and pre-production software solutions. The i-cut Suite helps eliminate errors, save time, and reduce waste by automating tasks such as preflighting and editing design files, nesting graphics, and setting up cutting paths.

Esko ArtiosCAD and Studio software supports the 3D design of displays made from rigid sheets. Dedicated tools streamline structural design, graphic development, virtual prototyping, and manufacturing of the approved designs.

Automation Engine isn’t just for finishing operations. It can also serve as the heart of prepress production and manage workflows that are constantly being updated or rescheduled. Automation Engine can also be set up for automated color management on multiple types of printers.

Esko believes all of their innovative and scalable workflow and finishing solutions can empower sign and display companies to attract new business. Their newest workflow improvements are designed to take digital finishing efficiency and simplicity to the next level.

Epson Ships New SureColor Printers for Signs, Vehicle Graphics, Art Prints

The new Epson® SureColor® S-Series of 64-inch roll-to-roll, production solvent inkjet printers is now shipping. Featuring advanced imaging technologies, the new Epson SureColor printers were engineered to bring higher levels of productivity and image quality to the signage, vehicle graphics, and fine art reproduction markets.

The three models now available for purchase through authorized resellers include:

Innovative Features

“Innovations in imaging technology, coupled with the latest Epson UltraChrome® GS3 ink system, provide the ultimate combination of performance and photographic quality. These printers enable print shops of any size to get the job done, on time and beyond expectations.” said Matt McCausland, product manager, Professional Imaging, Epson America, Inc. “The SureColor S80600 redefines image quality expectations in the signage market.”

All four printers feature newly formulated fast-drying UltraChrome CS3 inks and new Epson Dual-Array PrecisionCore TFP printheads. The Dual-Array PrecisionCore TFP printhead provides high performance and consistency and variable-size ink droplet technology for remarkable photographic quality.

A new precision media-feeding system with automatic tension control provides extremely accurate, motorized roll-to-roll media handling.

An automatic media alignment and setup system allows for faster switching between media types.

Automatic print-head cleaning significantly reduces the need for manual printhead maintenance. The air circulation system keeps the printhead cleaner for extended performance in high-production environments.

The ONYX® GamaPrint Pro software bundled with the printers features simple tools for sizing, cropping, tiling, and nesting and easy-to-install Epson profiles for the top-selling media for solvent ink printers. Sign shops and vehicle-graphics specialists can use the true Pantone® spot-color matching capabilities to produce brand colors for their clients.


Epson SureColor S60600
Epson SureColor S60600

Fast-Drying Inks for Same-Day Job Delivery

Previous generation solvent inks typically require 24 to 48 hours of drying time. The UltraChrome GS3 inks in the SC-S80600, SC-S60600 and SC-S40600 require only about six hours of drying time before they can be laminated. Laminating graphics just a few hours after printing enables sign shop owners to offer same-day project delivery. This is particularly important with vehicle graphics.

Inkset Options

The SureColor S40600 (ERP: $15,995) features one set of CMYK inks and can print banners at speeds of up to 215 sq. ft./hr. and vinyl at 170 sq. ft./hr.

The SureColor S60600 (ERP: $22,995) uses two sets of CMYK inks to print banners at up to 550 sq. ft./hr. and vinyl at 310 sq. ft./hr.

The SureColor S80600 (ERP: $24,995) uses eight different colors of ink. Many sign shops will choose to use CMYK with light cyan, light magenta, light black, orange and red inks. The all-new GS3 Red ink produces vivid output with an expansive color gamut and outstanding color vibrancy. For best-in-class photographic output, users can use the optional white and/or metallic silver inks instead of the orange and red inks(?).

Customer Feedback

“We use the Epson SureColor S80600 to tackle a variety of applications, ranging from artist canvas and textile reproductions to wallpaper and an assortment of wall art, all at up to 75-percent better production,” said John McPherson, technical director, Marco Fine Arts. “We couldn’t be more thrilled with this machine. Not only does it require less maintenance, it offers the best color gamut available in any solvent printer out there, along with incredible ease-of-use, better output quality and faster print speeds.”

“Epson has outdone itself again! With the Epson SureColor S80600 solvent printer, we continue to provide unparalleled excellence in high quality and accurate print products on a variety of substrates – canvas, poster board, metal, plastic, and more,” said Monica Denosta, president and chief operating officer, Picture it on Canvas. “And now it’s even faster. The ability to adjust print speeds based on required detail affords us the ability to offer different levels of service. Even at its slowest speed, it’s faster than its predecessor.”


The SureColor S80600 is currently available for $24,995 MSRP through authorized Epson Professional Imaging resellers. The SureColor S-Series offers a standard Epson Preferred Limited Warranty, a one-year program that includes toll-free advanced telephone access Monday through Friday and usually next business-day on-site service in the unlikely event of any hardware failure.

Epson Preferred Plus service plans are available that cover both the hardware and software for up to two additional years.

For more information, visit proimaging.epson.com.

Kornit Adds Two New Direct-to-Garment Printing Systems

Kornit Storm 1000

Kornit Digital has launched two new industrial-grade direct-to-garment printing systems for medium-size producers of decorated garments or promotional T-shirts: the Kornit Storm Hexa and Kornit Storm 1000.

The Storm 1000 is the standard configuration of the new product family and features 12 printheads in a CMYK and White configuration. In high productivity mode, the Storm 1000 decorates up to 170 garments per hour including inline pretreatment. It covers a print area up to 50 x 70 cm / 20 x 28 in.

Kornit Storm 1000
Kornit Storm 1000


The Kornit Storm Hexa is for color conscious applications such as brand-related and promotional garments. This printer has 16 printheads and two additional colors for full CMYK, Red, Green and White support. It also can produce up to 170 garments per hour in high productivity mode.

Both printers feature recirculating ink systems to reduce ink consumption and optimize reliability. For increased productivity, both printers feature twice as many nozzles as previous Storm configurations.

Both systems are based on Kornit’s NeoPigment™ printing process and are equipped with a built-in pretreatment system, a quick-replace pallet mechanism, a 4-liter bulk ink system, an integrated humidity system, and a backup power system for a quick and easy system start.

All Kornit printing systems are compatible with a variety of fabrics (cotton, polyester, blends, denim, silk wool and more) and are geared towards industrial mass-customization.

“The Storm series of direct-to-garment systems have been Kornit’s signature product for more than a decade,” says Guy Zimmerman, Kornit’s Vice President of Marketing Business Development. “The Storm II is the best-selling industrial direct-to-garment printing system in the market. Launching a new and improved generation of Storm printers is an important milestone for us.”

Zimmerman calls the Storm 1000 and Storm Hexa “perfect production tools for a broad range of applications.” The new Storm configurations show drastically improved throughput, reductions in ink consumption, and excellent print quality.

HP Print OS Will Simplify Print Production Management

HP PrintOS is part of a broad portfolio of digital printing solutions that HP Inc. will showcase at Drupa 2016. HP PrintOS is a secure cloud-based operating system that will simplify and automate print production management.



Featuring a suite of intuitive web-based and mobile applications, PrintOS can help simplify and automate print production. Users will be able to start print jobs faster, monitor print status remotely, and track and improve production performance over time. Ultimately, it could create a platform for new types of collaboration among print-service providers that create different niche products.



According to HP, all types and sizes of print-service providers will be able to benefit from this new open and integrated platform for print production management. PrintOS can be used not only with HP’s Indigo, PageWide Web Press, Scitex and Latex digital printing technologies, but also with digital printing equipment made by other manufacturers such as Roland or EFI.

According to Simon Lewis, PrintOS Business Director, Graphic Solutions Business for HP Inc., the capabilities of PrintOS will change over time. HP will encourage third parties to leverage the openness of PrintOS platform to bring new capabilities to HP’s large and diverse customer base. He predicts that what PrintOS will be able to do three years from now will be radically different than what it can do this year or next year.

Through the PrintOS platform, small printing business owners will be able to “rent” specific capabilities for the length of a certain project. That can be much more cost-effective than having to spend thousands of dollars on software that might not be used much after the client’s project is finished.

“We’re trying to make it easier for our customers to have new capabilities more accessible to them,” explained Lewis. “We’re in it to help our customers be more successful and to help drive their print volumes. No one guarantees that all of their printing will be printing will be on HP equipment, but we still want to do whatever we can to drive our customers’ success.”

The first two applications available through PrintOS include Box and SiteFlow.

Box is a tool designed to reduce the amount of time and intervention required to handle each file that comes into the shop through e-mail or a file-transfer service such as Hightail or WeTransfer. In these cases, the customer service rep has to open up each file and preflight it to make sure it ready to send into production. When print-service providers set up a Box account for their clients, the onboarding of jobs will become more standardized. Box will preflight the job either drop it into the RIP for process or send it to prepress for corrections. By standardizing processes, Box reduces upfront overhead, increases capacity and improves profitability.

Site Flow combines automated order submission, pre-press and shop floor management capabilities. This app addresses the needs of print-service providers who serve the business-to-business and business-to-business-to-consumer markets. With SiteFlow, PSPs will be able to offer attractive costs and higher levels of service to fulfill hundreds, thousands, or tens of thousands of individual, personalized print orders every day, including direct shipment to end customers.

Additional applications for PrintOS will be introduced at Drupa in May. Many apps will be available without charge to existing customers with a service contract. Some apps may be subject to monthly subscriptions and usage charges.

HP Indigo and PageWide Web Press customers can begin using PrintOS on May 31, 2016. It will be rolled out the users of Scitex and Latex printing equipment in 2017.

Hiring Guide Explains How to Recruit TechCreatives

Semper Internation Techcreative

The hiring guide “Meet the Techcreative” was produced by Semper International, LLC to introduce a new type of employee that has evolved along with digital technologies. Semper supplies skilled staff members to businesses involved in printing, pre-media, graphic communications, and interactive media.

Semper defines Techcreatives as “the intermediaries between the two worlds of creativity and technology — those with the technical expertise to make your ideas a reality.”



Although the term “Techcreative,” may be new, the role itself has emerged as photo labs, printing companies, prepress firms, and marketing companies have continuously adapted to digital technologies over the past 20 years.

Techcreatives in printing firms learned how to adjust Quark or InDesign files to allow for predictable and consistent output on everything from traditional offset printing presses to large-format digital printers. In marketing, Techcreatives are involved with everything from cross-channel customer engagement strategies and analytics to graphic design and video production.

Hiring TechCreatives is critical to businesses that want to adapt to and thrive as technologies such as virtual reality, augmented reality, and 3D printing continue to evolve.

A good TechCreative can help your company build sound, scalable business models around the specific technologies that make the most long-term sense for your firm and customers.

The Semper hiring guide outlines key attributes of TechCreatives and suggests tactics for hiring them. For example, look for loyal, detail-oriented professionals with a strong work ethic and problem-solving skills. The TechCreative should be passionate and skilled in one skilled area of technology but constantly open to learning about other technologies that can keep your business on the cutting edge.

On the Techcreatives landing page you can request the e-book and read case studies and about additional insights about the Techcreative evolution. The Resources includes a link to a white paper that explains why “3D Printing Will Change Everything.”

About Semper

Semper was founded by professionals who were raised and trained in the graphic arts and staffing industries. Since 1994, Semper International LLC has provided flexible, flex-to-hire, and direct hire staffing services to help printing companies adapt to ongoing changes in the business.