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FELIXprinters, a Netherlands-based desktop 3D printer manufacturer, has released its latest additive manufacturing system, the Pro 3, designed to maximize productivity and efficiency.

“The Pro 3 has been developed to integrate seamlessly into industrial workflows, whether that is in an office, a workshop, lab or factory environment,” said Guillaume Feliksdal, Founder and Director of FELIXprinters.

“The priority was to deliver a 3D printer that produces optimized print results — every time! This is what customers tell us is most frustrating for them in their day-to-day operations with 3D printing, and these are the issues we set out to address with the Pro 3.”

The FELIX Pro 3 3D printer. Photo via FELIXprinters.
The FELIX Pro 3 3D printer. Photo via FELIXprinters.

Redesigning desktop 3D printers

In 2015, FELIXprinters released its range of professional desktop 3D printers with the FELIX Pro 1. It’s successor, the FELIX Pro 2, designed with an emphasis on ease-of-use, was previously recognized by the 3D Printing Industry Awards receiving votes from readers in the category “Personal 3D Printer of the Year (FFF/FDM).”

Last year, FELIXprinters announced a repositioning of its portfolio of products and services to meet the changing demands of the 3D printing industry. In particular, the company recognized the demand from industrial customers to automate and optimize production.

Feliksdal added, “Our team at FELIXprinters all have technical engineering backgrounds, so we know that “quality in” equals “quality out”! We have sourced extremely high-quality components to ensure that the Pro series of printers are both robust and reliable – and these are the cornerstone of the new FELIX Pro 3.”

The FELIX Pro 3 3D printer. Photo via FELIXprinters.
The FELIX Pro 3 3D printer. Photo via FELIXprinters.

The FELIX Pro 3

Thus, the FELIX Pro 3 is built to “offer the highest possible price/performance ratio in its class with dedicated features that ensure minimal downtime and optimal performance as well as high-quality parts.”

With a build Volume of 237 x 244 x 235mm, the FELIX Pro 3 is built from custom designed anodized aluminum, which according to FELIXprinters, is the same aluminum used in aerospace and military designs. In addition, its frame is made from powder-coated steel parts for maximum rigidity.

Furthermore, the printer features a dual head printing system within its open system which enables more design freedom. The system also claims to be “one of most silent printers available” emitting 32 decibels of noise.

The FELIX Pro 3 offers quick heat-up and cool-down of the print heads, meaning that the dual head print times are reduced by a factor of 2. Photo via FELIXprinters.

Technical specifications and pricing

Build Volume 235 x 244 x 235mm
Weight 11.5kg
Print Technology FFF
Layer Resolution Low: 250 microns
Normal: 200 microns
High: 100 microns
Extreme: 50 microns
Material Compatibility Recommended: PLA, PETG, ABS-X,PVA

Specials: Any filament which melts under 275 °C

Nozzle Diameter 0.35 standard. Optional 0.5 and 0.7mm
Nozzle Temperature Up to 275 °C
Filament Diameter 1.75mm
Build Plate Quick swap, magnetic flexplate. Up to 105 °C
Build plate leveling Fully automatic motorized
Build speed 0.35mm nozzle up to 18 mm3/s (ABS @ 250°C)
Printer Communication Standard: USB serial, Standalone via micro SD card (included)
Touchscreen: USB stick, WIFI, Wired Ethernet

The FELIX Pro 3 3D printer is now available from €2,599.00.
Nominate for the upcoming 3D Printing Industry Awards 2019.

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Featured image shows the FELIX Pro 3 3D printer. Photo via FELIXprinters.

Let's block ads! (Why?)

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Let's block ads! (Why?)

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Since the dawn of the internet, people have heralded the death of print media. It’s true that news has gone primarily online; most major media companies have made business model shifts in recent years to accommodate consumer preference for digital content. But where does this leave companies that have relied heavily on newspaper, billboard, magazine and direct mail ads?

Although print advertising may not be completely defunct yet, its future hangs in the balance. Marketers still dedicating resources to print in 2018 will need to consider whether it’s worth continuing in the current digital landscape. Below, members of Forbes Communications Council share their thoughts on where print fits in the future of advertising.

These communications executives weigh in on the future of print advertising.All photos courtesy of Forbes Councils members.

1. Print will continue to be valuable where there is a physical customer presence.

Print is already a target-specific medium and will become more so. It makes sense where you come in physical contact with your customers, like a retail store or event. For example, our medical payment plan products make sense in a doctor's waiting room so we invest in print there. And direct mail is the most effective way to reach senior citizens who will read long-copy mailers. - Dave Matli, Parasail Health | Matli Consulting LLC

2. Luxury consumers will still value tangible ad platforms. 

Glossy magazines and major publications hold a certain cachet that online doesn't achieve. There is literal weight to your presence. This tangible platform resonates well with luxury consumers and clients -- the trick is to find a complementary balance between digital and print within any given campaign for a multidimensional approach. - Ashley Murphy, Stribling & Associates

3. AR will give print ads a place in seamless omnichannel brand experiences.

With people becoming more and more blind to digital advertising methods, print offers an alternative medium to connect with your audience on their terms. Advances in technology like AR and image recognition will enable print ads to be the first step in a seamless omnichannel brand experience. - Patrick Niersbach, InContext Solutions

4. Print will need to complement and encourage digital interactions.

If your target audience reads print magazines as a regular part of their day, there is still a reason to consider print ads in your marketing mix. However, you need to adjust the expectations of actions your audience will take. Print ads will be more effective if they are a complement to your digital campaigns already in play and entice readers to interact with your brand online. - Jeannie Ruesch, xero.com

5. Offline entities and influencers will reengage consumers with print media.

Print media is in a state of evolution as it finds new ways to reengage consumers through partnerships with offline entities. As this evolution occurs, it will hopefully lead to higher readerships. Unfortunately, if you only have one dollar to spend on marketing and need to decide between print and digital, digital will always win. The reach is far greater with digital advertising. - Sherry Jhawar, Blended Strategy Group

6. Paper will become cost prohibitive, killing the last print campaigns.

Eventually, the entire population will have been born and raised with the internet available to them. Newspapers and magazines will only be found in museums. The last bastion of print ads will be direct mail, as a physical mailbox will be the last place that print can reach that digital can't. Eventually, that will die as well when all bills are paid online and the cost of paper becomes cost prohibitive. - Stephan Baldwin, franchisegator.com

7. Print ads won't make sense in our dynamic screen environment.

Paper and other static fabrics do not provide the features that the future of advertising will come to depend on. They are heavy, inconvenient, unchangeable, wasteful and ultimately outdated. The moment something is printed, it's frozen in time. Audiences want to see vivid, immersive, dynamic displays that are time relevant down to the minute. - Courtney Dale, ICM Consulting and Media Corporation

8. Print and digital campaigns will be fully integrated.

Gone are the days when leftover budget from digital channels was used for print. For maximum impact around a product launch or announcement, build an integrated marketing campaign that brings the best of both worlds together. Use KPIs that complement both channels instead of evaluating them in isolation. - Almitra Karnik, CleverTap

9. Print will allow brands to rise above the digital racket.

The ubiquity of digital media has given print media a strange new power. Think of how special it is to get a written letter as opposed to an email. If you're trying to target a C-level audience, forget email -- their assistant will just hit delete. But if you take your e-book, print it as a nice brochure and mail it to the exec's office, it might get to their desk and leave a lasting impression. - Brandon Ortiz, Salesforce.org

10. Print will remain ideal for hyper-local markets.

There are "yellow page" industries that have grown solely from hyper-local print advertising. My industry, private investigators, happens to be one. Adding technology and digital advertising has been integral to scaling and creating new markets and users. However, traditional customers still utilize print advertising to meet their needs and we need to play in that space as well. - Jennifer Mellon, Trustify

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Dr. Harvey Levenson.

Gender equity and diversity in the printing industry has been the focus of some vigorous debate for quite some time. This mirrors the concern for social justice that’s become a societal issue, not only for gender equity but for racial, ethnic, sexual orientation and age equality as well. A new whitepaper by Harvey R. Levenson, who’s been involved in the printing industry since 1961, focuses on the case of gender equality in the printing industry – and how one company, Allen Press, has taken unprecedented action not only to ensure gender equality within its own company, but within its vendor community and industry associations. Levenson is a Ph. D. Professor Emeritus in Graphic Communication at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo University on California’s central coast, and a respected industry expert in printing, publishing, digital imaging, intellectual property and communications.

Randy Radosevich.

The issue was first raised when a group of highly experienced and recognized U.S. printing industry professionals observed a male bias in appointing nominees to an industry honour society – the Benjamin Franklin Honor Society, and moved to have this corrected, though unsuccessfully. Randy Radosevich, the CEO of Allen Press in Lawrence, Kansas, got wind of this and made the further observation of a large gender imbalance in the appointments to Printing Industries of America (PIA) Board of Directors. After voicing a complaint that was largely ignored, Radosevich dropped Allen Press’s membership from PIA’s national organization and local affiliate representing the State of Kansas. He also sent a letter to each of Allen Press’s vendors requesting a signed testimony that they practice gender equity in salaries and hiring. And, if such a letter wasn’t received by a prescribed date, those vendors would be immediately dropped as an Allen Press supplier.

Since Allen Press’s public airing of this situation, there’s been an outpouring of responses from numerous individuals, men and women, applauding Radosevich, telling their own stories, and wanting to be heard. While one is included in Levenson’s new whitepaper, a review of the remainder will be part of a follow-up article, as responses are still coming in, he said. Interestingly, there was one objection by a woman suggesting that this is a “woman’s issue” and shouldn’t be led by a man. This position will also be covered in the follow-up article in a way that respects confidentiality. This comprehensive new whitepaper by Levenson provides the background and detail behind the matter, and concludes by recommending that a further study be conducted by an independent third party or organization.

Gender and diversity issues in the printing industry: Why did I know this was coming?

By Harvey R. Levenson, Ph. D.

Dr. Harvey R. Levenson, Ph.D, is Professor Emeritus and former Department Head of Graphic Communication at Cal Poly State University in San Luis Obispo, Calif. His research and teaching specialties include communication, intellectual property, media, printing and technology. He’s often called upon as an Expert Witness in these areas. He can be reached at hlevenso@calpoly.edu.

Introduction. The matter of gender equity and diversity in the printing industry has been the focus of some vigorous debate for quite some time. However, it has re-emerged in earnest most recently when an industry association, the Benjamin Franklin Honor Society (BFHS) denied membership to a list of women candidates nominated for their contributions to industry growth and professional development, yet allegedly equally qualified men were accepted into the Society. There resulted an outpouring of objections by a number of members calling for a change in the BFHS bylaws to allow for better balance of membership, not only among men and women, but among other underrepresented industry professionals deserving of membership, thereby creating an organization sensitive to diversity. The recommended bylaw changes were accepted. However, then replaced by the Society officers with “Rules of Operations,” thus, eliminating the installation of the recommended nominees. These new rules requires that any new amendment must be submitted to a committee of past-presidents and approved, before they can be voted on by the membership at large.

Caution has been expressed to the BFHS by well-respected industry advocate, and BFHS honoree, Raymond J. Prince, that not providing equal opportunities and recognition of deserving women and other underrepresented groups could spell the doom of the BFHS because it was losing more members by attrition (mostly by passing away) than it was bringing in, and its survival and growth depended on growing, not reducing, membership. I hasten to note that this caution extends to other printing industry associations as well.

Some personal background. I’ve been in the printing industry since 1961. I’ve observed and have been part of the industry’s transition from letterpress to offset, hot metal to photocomposition to computer typesetting, analog to digital, and much more. Perhaps the most dramatic change has been observing and promoting opportunities for women into what was once a largely male-dominated industry. My involvement since 1961 has been in industry working in the fields of advertising and printing, research, and education. The last phase of my involvement, education, spanned from 1976 to 2013, though during those years I also remained well entrenched in industry in consulting, research, speaking, and writing. I’ve remained on top of nearly every trend and development in printing, graphic arts, graphic communication, management, technology, research, and education. In the latter, education, when I started out, there were hardly any women studying in these fields.

When I became Professor Emeritus at Cal Poly in 2013, the enrollment in our “printing” department (evolving from Print Engineering to Graphic Arts to Graphic Communication) was approximately 70 percent women. However, this did not happen overnight. This happened gradually, and it is safe to say that “printing” (Cal Poly’s Graphic Communication Department) had more than a 50 percent women for the better part of the last 20 years in a total annual enrollment that was always well above 300 students. This trend persists, and I’ve learned from my colleagues in just about every higher education “printing” program in the United States that the trend of women-dominance in academic programs in what was traditionally a male-dominated discipline is widespread. I expect that the same is true in Canada and, perhaps, in Europe and Asia.

I hasten to note that this has nothing to do with any evolution from “heavy metal” technology to “softer” technology. The technology courses we teach at Cal Poly include prepress, press, and post press and all of the technology involved in these areas, including running platemaking equipment, running sheet-fed and web printing presses across all processes, analogue and digital, and running binding and finishing equipment such as cutters, folders, stitching equipment, and so on. At Cal Poly, the teaching pedagogy is called “learn by doing,” meaning that to complete this program every student, men and women, must master these technologies with an in-depth understanding of how the technology works and how it is controlled, not only in theory but in practical applications as well.

In fact, Cal Poly has an experiential printing company called University Graphics Systems (UGS) where students, as part of their education, must run a real printing company producing real jobs for university departments and sometimes for entities outside of the University. The students, under a faculty advisor, must do everything from marketing, sales, estimating, production management, quality control, and producing these jobs on real equipment representing the technology being used in industry. There are 11 managers, and approximately 80 students are involved each term. The vast majority of UGS “employees” are women as are the vast majority of UGS managers. Other academic programs preparing men and women for our industry provide similar types of hands-on education and, again, are mostly populated by women. I’ve never observed any hesitancy on the part of women to become educated and expert in what used to be a male-dominated discipline. I hear this time and time again from colleagues at other similar programs of higher education.

The promise of a rewarding career. Why is this? It’s because of the promise of a rewarding career in a field, “printing,” that is a societal institution for serving the information needs of the world and in producing and reproducing knowledge—very honorable undertakings. However, today we live in a nation, among others, where the present generation entering the business world, often called “millennials,” were brought up to expect equal opportunities and equal treatment for men and women, as well as for people of all backgrounds, not only gender, but racial, ethnic, religious, sexual orientation, and so on, as well.

The reality. However, I’ve observed that something happens once women graduate and enter the printing industry. Initial positions are plentiful; the graduates, men and women get jobs and often multiple offers. However, after a bit of time when promotions and salary increases seem like logical next steps in professional growth, we start hearing about inequities in equal opportunities, in promotions, in appointments to boards, and in salaries. We also hear stories about non-profit industry associations that are supposed to represent and support all members of our industry – companies and employees – but understate the value of women on their committees and boards. But we do get mixed messages. In all fairness, there are women who have experienced successful careers in the printing industry and board appointments, and report little or none of what I’ve written. However, reports that have been received indicate that most women who have entered the industry experienced some or all of what I’ve noted, i.e., “the glass ceiling.”

Enter a “folk hero” – Randy Radosevich. Randy Radosevich, CEO of Allen Press in Lawrence, Kansas got wind of the gender equity and diversity debate that was being played out in the industry press. Subsequently, Randy sent a letter to the printing industry online press directed to the Printing Industries of America (PIA) Board Directors that became widely circulated. It read:

Open Letter to the Printing Industries of America Board of Directors from Allen Press.

Friday, August 10, 2018

Dear PIA Board of Directors:

As a long-time PIA member and supporter, we feel we have a responsibility to speak up when our industry’s flagship organization is failing its membership. We’ll get right to the point: our national board doesn’t show the gender diversity we expect to see– namely, women business owners and printing leaders are woefully underrepresented. Of the 28 PIA board members, only two are women.

Why is this?

When a young woman researching careers visits the PIA Board of Directors web page, what is she supposed to think? Does she see a successful future in printing? We are sending the wrong message to the upcoming generation of print leaders by not having a truer representation of the men AND women who work to improve our craft every day. Is it that you don’t welcome women or don’t want them involved in these leadership roles? Gender diversity leads to greater innovation and advancement. Better problem-solving and ideation. Clearer perspective and vision. Not giving women a voice is a detriment to our industry. Most importantly, what are you going to do to correct the problem?

The lack of women business owners and leaders on the PIA Board is an embarrassment to all of us who are PIA members. We ask all printing industry leaders who read this letter to ask themselves what they can do to help correct this incredibly unjust situation. Staying silent and doing nothing is participating in the problem. Please let PIA President and CEO Michael Makin know how you feel. Call him at (412) 259-1777 or email him at mmakin@printing.org.

Here at Allen Press, we want to continue to be part of the PIA community. However, our commitment to social impact means we can no longer fund or lend our support to an organization that is becoming more and more irrelevant by its own lack of gender diversity.

Expecting action,

Randy Radosevich, CEO Allen Press

An example of the matter through an anecdote. Since Randy’s letter, there have been numerous responses, most supporting Randy’s view, but some not. Perhaps the issue is best understood via an anecdote received by a leading industry publication, Printing Impressions. It follows. I’ve removed the sender’s name out of respect for confidentiality.

Good day

I read with interest your Editor’s Notebook article in September’s issue of PI as well as Randy Radosevich’s open letter to PIA and just want to say thank you (and to Randy Radosevich as well if you’d like to pass it along). As a woman who has been in the print industry for many years, I have definitely run across the “good ol’ boys” network and lack of mentoring and/or opportunities. (I was even told once years ago to go be a print buyer because women had no place selling prepress/print.)

I have been seeking a sales position in the industry on and off for a few years now and have run into many roadblocks – the reasons which are not entirely clear when men with a very similar background to mine have been hired. I recently have been seeking a position selling capital equipment (i.e. presses, finishing equipment, etc.) or consumables and have been very disheartened by the lack of responses to my applications – hardly even a call back for an initial conversation. (Maybe my resume stinks but I have been told it doesn’t).

Maybe it’s because I’m a woman or possibly because some younger hiring managers or HR people don’t know the technical aspects and knowledge that was once, and still is in part, required to prepare files (or film back in the day – i.e. color separations/engraving) and print since everything is now done “with a press of a button” on a computer or digitally. I spent 18 years selling prepress and print services for national companies with multiple divisions (e.g. Vertis Communications, WACE USA) which required an in-depth knowledge of color, prepress (yes, rubylith and film, dot etching and chokes, fatties, trapping, etc.), workflow, and most print applications (offset, digital, large-format, flexo, roto, screen, etc.) out there as well as most finishing applications in order to achieve a good-quality final product.

It’s sad because the graphic arts/print industry is a great industry with great people and should be a viable career option for younger people – and women. In any event, thank you again for writing about this issue as it was, and obviously continues to be, prevalent within the industry. I know other women, like myself, who have just given up because of the lack of opportunities for and/or resistance to hiring women.

Kind regards

Making a long story short. The concern expressed by Randy and Allen Press to Printing Industries of America, and to a few other organizations, went largely ignored. The concerns expressed to the BFHS were largely rejected. Bottom line: Allen Press withdrew its membership from Printing Industries of America, national and the local PIA affiliate representing Kansas. This is at a time when printing industry associations are experiencing decline and are clamoring for members. Printing industries associations, take heed to this story! Your survival may depend on it! Further, Allen Press is now serving as an advocate for gender equity and diversity within the entirety of the printing industry and supply chain, and issued the following October 19, 2018 letter to its vendors.

Dear (first name)

Allen Press is fully committed to making the world a better place. That means acting now to create change as described in our Social Impact statement, including industry-leading activism for closing the gender gaps in pay and leadership positions. We have permanently closed the gap at Allen Press in 2018 and now it’s your turn.

Our next step is to identify current vendors and suppliers who refuse to pay women equally and cease doing business with them. Additionally, we will begin requiring this commitment form upfront from those seeking to sell their products and services to Allen Press. We do not consider this an unwarranted request. As everyone agrees, it is wholly unacceptable to pay women less than men, in the same or similar positions.

As of January 1, 2019, we will begin phasing out vendors and suppliers who have not closed the gender pay gap in their own organizations. Please read carefully and have an officer sign the attached form indicating that your organization has closed its gender pay gap. You are welcome to call or email Maria Preston-Cargill, Senior Vice President, Sales and Marketing with any questions at maria@allenpress.com or (785)865-9265.

Please return the attached letter of commitment by December 15, 2018. To read our full Social Impact statement, please visit www.allenpress.com.

In partnership,

Randy Radosevich, CEO

What’s the real story? I’ve now presented two anecdotes representing not hypotheticals, but real stories. One is from the writer whose name I left off for confidentiality purposes. The other is the Allen Press story.

Ladies and gentlemen of the printing industry, we have a problem. Undoubtedly, there’ll be those that disagree with my assessment, men and women, but mostly men. Many are “old guard” representing the “graying of the industry.” Many have led companies and deny any insensitivity to gender inequality or lack of diversity in their companies. And, some may be correct, but can speak only about their companies not all companies in the printing industry. Hence, I raise the proposition that our industry needs data to answer the question, “What’s the real story?” I propose that such a study be conducted by an independent body, perhaps one of the printing industry media, to do an impartial investigative reporting on gender equity and diversity in the printing, graphic arts, graphic communication or related industries, including printers and vendors. This debate is not isolated to the printing industry. It is a national debate and is taking place in many industries. Through progressive leadership and action, such as that taken by Randy Radosevich of Allen Press, the printing industry stands to become a role model of reform – gender equity and diversity – for other industries to follow.

(GAM Editor’s Note: I’d like to personally thank Professor Levenson for sharing this timely and important whitepaper, as well as Randy Radosevich for “walking the walk” in putting what’s morally right ahead of profits. A couple of years ago I attended an awards ceremony at Ryerson University’s School of Graphic Communications Management here in downtown Toronto. While the trade media fully covered the event, as always, I chose to also point out the story that wasn’t reported – that 70% to 80% of these award winners, graduates to be, and future printing industry workers, were women. Think about that. That’s a huge nu