MOUNTAIN LAKES, N.J. - December 12, 2018 - Graphic Arts Advisors (GAA), a strategic financial advisory and consulting firm devoted exclusively to the graphic communications industry based here, announced today that integrated marketing firm SGM Technologies of Dallas has acquired United Group Printing, a commercial printing company also based in the Dallas metro area. GAA represented United in the outreach process, negotiations with prospective buyers, and final agreement with SGM. Mitch Evans, GAA Director, served as lead advisor.
Jeff Rupley, owner of United, was seeking an exit strategy for his firm that would ensure his employees would retain their positions and his customers would continue to receive uninterrupted quality service.
"As the commercial printing industry segment has stabilized over the past couple of years, some owners are seeking buyers who will acquire their company and continue operations in the existing facility rather than have to close and sell as a ‘tuck-in’ to another printing company," noted Mark Hahn, GAA Managing Director. "Often, as was the case with United, printing company owners also own the real estate. Therefore, monetizing that asset is also important, either through a long-term lease or an outright sale of the facility. Through this agreement, we achieved Jeff’s goals of selling the printing operation on an ‘as-is, where-is’ basis, along with the sale of his real estate to SGM Technologies."
"Jeff is thrilled that all his employees are staying on and continuing to serve his customers and extremely gratified that the business he and they have built together will now combine with SGM to become a larger and stronger organization," said GAA’s Evans.
United is a combination offset / digital printing firm with full prepress and finishing capabilities. However, like many printing companies in today’s competitive marketplace, Rupley knew that to continue to succeed, he would need to invest in new technologies and software. "Our business was doing well, with steady revenue and increases in profitability and we were well-positioned for growth," said Rupley. "However, I’ve run this company for 12 years and been in the printing industry for more than 20 years. I felt it was time for me to explore other options and spend more time with family."
For SGM Technologies owner Garrett Graves, acquiring United provided a prime opportunity to add offset printing and expanded digital printing to his company’s integrated marketing services, which include a full range of print and digital services, as well as collateral storage, website development, fulfillment and mailing, and mailing list management.
"Print may be a smaller spend as a percentage of total marketing dollars than it once was, but companies are still printing," noted Graves. He adds that "there are many solid offset printing companies on the market whose owners are aging and seeking ways to divest their operations."
The purchase of United was one step in what Graves terms a "very aggressive growth plan" for SGM. Pointing to significant synergies between SGM Technologies and United, Graves noted that "print customers need digital solutions and digital customers need traditional printing. An effective marketing program for our customers is one that sends a consistent message about the company’s value proposition throughout all their media—printed handouts, digital and print ads, social media, website content and so on. We serve small-to-medium sized businesses whose owners are too busy to go to multiple vendors for all of those services, so we serve as a one-stop-shop for integrated print and digital marketing campaigns. Acquiring United and its considerable offset and digital print capabilities helps us strengthen our offering even further."
United’s Rupley is currently serving as a consultant to SGM, helping implement new estimating and prepress software to enable a more streamlined workflow. He credits GAA’s Mitch Evans and Mark Hahn with guiding him through the sale of his company and real estate - from finding a suitable buyer to finalizing an agreement that was a win-win for both parties. "They used their expertise to structure a deal that perfectly aligned with my goals for myself and my company," he said.
The preceding press release was provided by a company unaffiliated with Printing Impressions. The views expressed within do not directly reflect the thoughts or opinions of Printing Impressions.
A hot work tool steel, the H13 filament is made for use on the Markforged “desktop-sized” Metal X 3D printer. The material is ideal for making molds for plastic injection, as such Jon Reilly, Markforged VP of product, is calling H13 “a game changer” for manufacturers of high-volume plastic parts.
H13 tool steel
In traditional manufacturing, H13 is an incredibly versatile and widely used tool steel. As a material, it exhibits excellent red hardness, making it resistant to thermal cracking when worked at elevated temperatures, and high toughness.
In Germany and Japan H13 is also traded as s EN 1.2344 and SKD61. Sample applications of the material include engineering inserts, cores, and dies that, in addition to toughness, have a high-polish finish.
Though Markforged is not the only metal desktop 3D printer company to use this material, H13’s compatibility with the Metal X does open up new markets and potential uses for its customers.
3D printing brings innovation to injection molding
California based company Grant Engineering is one of the Metal X’s early adopters. Its core business is 24-hour injection-molded plastic parts production. According to Randy Grant, co-founder and co-owner of Grant Engineering, “Much like the robots and automation we’ve already introduced into our workflow, we see 3D printing – especially the Metal X – as a way keep us hyper-competitive on cost and turnaround time while still delivering the precision and quality we’re known for,”
“Being able to 3D print H13,” he adds, “should enable a lot of innovation with injection molding. We can’t wait.”
Already, Grant Engineering has been using the Metal X to 3D print 17-4 PH stainless steel molds for production. The H18 will be a step forward for such applications at the company.
Award winning 3D printing
For two years in a row the Metal X’s elder brother, the Mark Two carbon fiber 3D printer, has won Enterprise 3D printer of the year in the 3D Printing Industry Awards – perhaps 2019 will be the year of the Metal X?
Reilly adds, “We designed the Metal X system to change the way things are made,”
“the launch of H13 is the next step down that path.”
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Featured image shows Markforged H13 tool steel. Photo via Markforged
nScrypt enhances U.S Army's additive manufacturing capabilities with Factory in a Tool platform - 3D Printing Industry
nScrypt, a 3D printer and microdispensing system manufacturer based in Florida, has delivered its 3Dn-1000 multi-material Factory in a Tool (FiT) platform to the U.S. Army’s Redstone Arsenal base in Alabama.
The FiT platform is capable of 3D printing, milling, polishing, pick and place, and post-processing in one tool for complete Printed Circuit Structure (PCS) devices.
“nScrypt is proud to work side by side with the Army to enable the warfighter. nScrypt has now delivered a total of 6 FiT systems to multiple Army bases and labs. This 1-meter tool continues to add fast, precision Direct Digital Manufacturing capabilities inside the DoD,” said Ken Church CEO of nScrypt.
The Factory in a Tool platform
FiT is described as a system that, “digitally fabricates anything from 2D and 3D printed circuit structures (PCS) to biological structures and can be used almost anywhere on the digital manufacturing floor.”
The platform has 1 full meter of travel in the XY axis at a speed of up to 1 mps and can run 5 tool heads simultaneously, on a high-precision linear motion gantry. The tool heads can print materials including composites and continuous carbon fiber and features a hopper that can be used to extend the material palette.
Furthermore, the tool heads are monitored by multiple cameras for automated inspection and computer vision routines. A point laser height sensor for Z-tracking and mapping is also included for conformal printing onto objects of various surface shapes. In addition, the total machine dimensions of the FiT system measure at 7’5”x7’4”x6’9”, weighing approximately 12,000lbs (6 tons).
“This system provides up to a meter of printing in X and Y directions while maintaining precision; this will touch many DoD products,” explained Lance Hall, a mechanical engineer from the U. S. Army Aviation and Missile Research Development and Engineering Center (AMRDEC).
The U.S. Army and additive manufacturing
The U.S Army has integrated additive manufacturing technologies into various operations to save costs and time. Recognizing its importance, the proposed U.S. military budget for 2018 includes support for an increased use of 3D printing.
The proposed bill highlights that the “significant possibilities that additive manufacturing, or 3D printing, will provide to the Department of Defense, both in revolutionizing the industrial supply chain, as well as in providing radically new technological capabilities.”
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Featured image shows the 3Dn-1000 machine during final inspection before shipping. Photo via nScrypt.
Chinese print exhibition All In Print has just finished with record breaking numbers, seeing 100,000 printers come through the doors of the five day show.
All in Print 2018 was the world’s biggest trade print exhibition of the year, and the 110,000sqm of exhibitions space was a 34 per cent increase over the previous edition. A record number of exhibitors both Chinese and international, 1,030, were showing their solutions.
With its first iteration in 2003 this was the seventh All In Print, the next will be held in two years time, and just four months after drupa, in October 2020.
The 2018 show had the theme of Enter the Era of Intelligent Printing, with the layout of the exhibition’s floorplan designed according to the theme, covering all segments of the industry.
These included seven classic themed pavilions: Digital Pre-press, Comprehensive, Post-press Converting, Packaging Equipment, Labels, Ink & Innovative Materials, and Comprehensive Packaging. There were also new areas of Flexible Packaging, and Corrugated Box.
In order to present a wider range of intelligent manufacturing, innovative and technological developments, and highlight the theme of the exhibition, the organisers of the AIP set up two special zones – Innovation Factory and Intelligent Factory.
There were more than 100 forums, technical exchanges and conferences, providing the visitors with opportunities to exchange information and ideas.
During the show the 2018 World Printing and Communication Forum Council Meeting was held in Shanghai Jielong Center. At the meeting, representatives from various countries conducted in-depth discussions and exchanges on how to better promote the development of the printing industry in their own countries and how to enhance the social status of the printing industry.
Also during the event Dialogue with the World: Face a New Era of Intelligent Printing – 2018 World Printing and Communication Forum was successfully held. At the meeting, Liu Xiaokai, Director General of Department of Printing and Distribution, SAPPRFT, delivered the keynote speech entitled “Insist on Opening and Innovation to Add New Power to the Printing Industry”.
Experts from printing industry associations in China, Australia the United States, Japan, India, and companies such as HP, Goss China, Founder Electronics, Artron, Yuto, Sunglow, all delivered speeches at the conference, offering the audience knowledge and inspirations.
The 2018 All in Print China Intelligent Manufacturing Theme Conference was held with the theme of ‘The Future of Intelligent Manufacturing’. Seven leading suppliers released cutting-edge intelligent manufacturing-related technologies in printing industry.
The 2018 Global Label Technology Summit Forum and the Intelligent Label – 2018 Sun Cup Awards Ceremony of Asia Label Printing were held. More than 300 attendees including industry government leaders, well-known experts, top label suppliers, product users, and representatives of award-winners, witnessed this label industry event.
The International Packaging Printing Forum provided participants the latest technical knowledge and solutions through discussions and exchanges, providing an innovative breakthrough for printing companies to explore packaging needs.
With its first iteration in 2003 All In Print will next be held in two years time, and just four months after drupa, in October 2020.
Today, two years after the launch of the Replicator +, American desktop 3D printer manufacturer and Stratasys subsidiary MakerBot has released the Method. Designed as a mid-way point between the industrial FDM and personal desktop market, MakerBot is calling the Method “the first performance 3D printer.”
Last week, 3D Printing Industry was invited to MakerBot HQ in Brooklyn, NY, ahead of the public launch to speak with the company’s President and CEO, Nadav Goshen, and Forrest Leighton, VP of Marketing.
A strong front in the face of the company’s return with a new product, Goshen explains how, with the Method, MakerBot is looking to “rebuild its core competence” and boost its presence within the engineering sphere.
Eradicating the ‘go figure’ approach
MakerBot’s foundations were, of course, established through the maker movement. In machines made for this market, there is always a willing participation element in the 3D printing process, as Goshen describes “[Operators] find themselves working for the 3D printer […] Up until now [3D printer development] was a refinement of the first RepRap.”
With the Method, however, he adds:
“We stop the ‘go figure’ approach.”
Through analyzing the market, in its transitional phase MakerBot identified “hobbyist, consumers, professional and education” as the four key areas of 3D printing application. Under the direction of Goshen, and inline with Stratasys, the company has selected two of these areas to pursue with the Method, namely “professional” and “education.”
At this point the company also faced a decision. “We could not unlock the professional market with the current desktop 3D printers,” Goshen adds, “including our own.”
And so, “We thought differently. We thought, what are the minimum specifications that you want to have in the professional market, and then, what is the lowest price you can get?”
MakerBot Method technical specifications
The Method 3D printer is a dual extrusion FDM 3D printer, relying on one nozzle to print soluble supports, and the other to make the object. It has a circulated heat chamber to help with the layer adhesion and overall quality of 3D printed objects. To boost the speed, and reportedly “print up to 2X faster” than other desktop material-extrusion 3D printers, each of the Method’s extruders include heaters with higher processing rates compared to the company’s existing systems.
With single extrusion, the Method has a max build volume of 19 L x 19 W x 19.6 H cm / 7.5 x 7.5 x 7.75 in. With dual extrusion, this volume is shrunk to 15.2 L x 19 W x 19.6 H cm / 6.0 x 7.5 x 7.75 in.
MakerBot’s operating software for the Method allows the user to 3D print in one of three possible, and automated, modes: Draft, Balanced and Minfill (i.e. hollow.) All objects shown at the press preview day were 3D printed with in Balance mode, providing a good, smooth surface finish.
Other key features of the 3D printer include an ultra-rigid metal frame body, for a more stable print, dry-sealed material bays, and readable RFID chips on the spools, to feedback real-time usage and moisture data, read and delivered in real-time by the 3D printer through its integrated touch screen. The 5″ user interface also includes animations to aid the user in performing operations and the 3D printer’s general setup.
In the presentation of the machine, user friendliness was one of the key takeaways from the press event last week. From the demonstration, the Method certainly looks like it would operate with a smoothness on-par with a common paper printer. And this, in many ways, is what MakerBot is trying to achieve.
The Method 3D printer is now available for preorder directly through MakerBot, with shipping to begin in the first quarter of 2019. Presently, the company is also looking for on-board partners to offer the system in different companies around the world.
As of now, the machine has been in beta testing for 1 year with between 20 and 50 trusted customers including a handful of research institutions, small consumer electronics companies and, according to Leighton, “all the biggest brands.”
At present, though the Method is an open materials platform, PLA and PVA are the only official materials released by MakerBot for use with the machine. In the near future, the company plans to expand this material availability, along with further operation modes and extruders.
Making bold claims in the closing comments of the press preview at Makerbot HQ, Goshen said “I think every engineer should have three things beside them: a pencil, CAD software and the Method.”
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Featured image shows a closeup of the MakerBot Method 3D printer. Photo by Beau Jackson