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HEIDELBERG, Germany - December 13, 2018 - Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG (Heidelberg) is setting new competitive standards in the global printing industry. By opening its new Innovation Center (IVC) at the Wiesloch-Walldorf headquarters in Baden-Württemberg, Germany, the company is stepping up its efforts to maintain its technology leadership and shape the digital transformation process in the printing sector.

In addition to securing numerous jobs, the new Innovation Center also substantiates a recent analysis published in October by the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Geneva, which concluded that the innovative capability of Germany is superior to any other country in the world, including the United States. Only by investing more than 100 million euros in research and development every year has Heidelberg succeeded in emerging stronger from years of structural change in the industry in these times of digital transformation.

“With its Innovation Center, Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG is demonstrating how a company can use the signs of the times to shape its future. Throughout its history, the company has always combined a traditional engineering culture with innovative technologies. This dovetailing is a vital factor in today’s opening of the printing industry’s most advanced research facility,” said Minister President Winfried Kretschmann, who went on to call the newly opened Innovation Center a leading light of mechanical engineering in Baden-Württemberg.

Over 1,000 staff will immediately start working on the digital future of Heidelberg and the printing industry at the new center. Newspaper and magazine printing is in decline due to structural factors, but that is not the core business of Heidelberg. Due primarily to packaging and label printing, the industry as a whole is growing and generates annual sales exceeding 400 billion euros. Heidelberg is also increasingly unlocking new market segments outside the graphic arts industry, such as electric mobility.

innovation center

Minister President Winfried Kretschmann shows a great deal of interest in the numerous development initiatives during his tour of the new Heidelberg Innovation Center

“Germany’s mechanical engineering prowess is highly rated worldwide and we are still the number one in this field. The purpose of our new think tank is to ensure we continue to build on our technology leadership in the future – and that includes the digitization of the print media industry,” said Heidelberg CEO Rainer Hundsdörfer.

By investing some 50 million euros in the new Innovation Center, Heidelberg is aiming to gain a clear edge over its competitors around the globe in the future. It has also helped Germany overtake Switzerland as Europe’s most competitive national economy and become the third most competitive country in the world.

“Digitization in particular requires totally new forms of collaboration. With its Innovation Center, Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG is responding to the challenges posed by a transformation process that is currently sweeping through every sector. Here in Baden-Württemberg, where cutting-edge technology, precision, and absolute reliability are an integral part of our history and culture, the Heidelberg IVC is a shining example of how digital transformation can succeed. By systematically networking various working levels, the center is setting new standards in communication and agility,” emphasized Kretschmann.

Innovation Center offers staff a new working environment – entire development process under one roof

The new Innovation Center also marks the beginning of a new era for staff in terms of their working environment. It uses ultra-modern, innovative practices, with teamwork, communication, work at different locations, and a combination of personal workstations and communication zones ensuring a pleasant, creative atmosphere. “The IVC is now ‘Open for Innovation’ and marks the start of a new approach to work at Heidelberg,” explains Head of Research & Development Frank Kropp. From developing an idea, securing a patent, and creating a digital twin all the way through to approving individual components and the product as a whole, the entire development process takes place within the same four walls.

The building concept aims to make communication/teamwork between employees as easy as possible. In addition to personal workstations, for example, there are also office environments without any fixed assignment, relaxed seating areas, and even options for working outdoors to encourage teamwork. What’s more, digital reviews are possible thanks to interactive monitors. A bistro, various break areas, and kitchens for making coffee are available to employees and guests alike. There are also numerous zones where people can take themselves off to work in peace and quiet.

Globally unique development environment

The project to convert a former production hall where around 500 staff worked into an Innovation Center for over 1,000 employees is a world first. A total gross area of around 40,000 square meters at the Wiesloch-Walldorf site now includes a state-of-the-art office area totaling some 26,000 square meters and approximately 14,000 square meters for laboratories and testing. The office area comprises 13 sections, each accommodating 80 staff, and a space of around 3,700 square meters has been set aside for the 43 laboratories alone. “The new center is an innovation platform geared to communication and transparency, which makes it the key to a change in culture at Heidelberg and also a symbol of this change,” concludes Stephan Plenz, member of the Heidelberg Management Board responsible for Technology.

Source: Heidelberger Druckmaschinen

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.

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Devin Montes, a product designer and maker popularly known on YouTube as Make Anything, has developed a way of 3D printing colorful objects using a single extrusion 3D printer.

In his latest video colorful phone cases, styled in the paintings of Van Gogh, Keith Haring and Kandinsky, are used to demo the new, innovative technique.

Three multicolored phone case designs by Devin Montes/Make Anything. Image via MyMiniFactory
Three multicolored phone case designs by Devin Montes/Make Anything. Image via MyMiniFactory

Maker movement

As a maker, Montes fits into the category of hobbyists that push the limits of at-home tinkering, using desktop 3D printers and CNC machines. According to his MyMiniFactory profile, Montes is the author of nearly three hundred 3D printing projects and, on YouTube, he has amassed a following of 316,985 subscribers. 

His portfolio of projects includes the doodlephone, specially designed phone for children, Emma, a smart system to help Alzheimer patients, and ‘Pendulus’, which, according to Montes: 

“Demonstrates the beauty of a simple chaotic system as an insight into the beauty created from the entropy of our universe”

The double pendulum of the Pendulus is held by a 3D printed knob, and the bouncing LED light is installed in a 3D printed battery pack.

The Pendulus by Devin Montes. Animation via David Montes/Youtube
The Pendulus by Devin Montes. Animation via Devin Montes/Youtube

As of the time of writing this article, the most popular video on the Make Anything channel is the Ambiguous Cylinder Illusion // How it Works with 3.8 million views. In 2017, we also invited Montes to live stream the second annual 3D Printing Industry Awards for the very first time.

Colorful 3D printed phone cases 

In Make Anything’s latest video, Montes 3D prints three colorful cases for the OnePlus 6 phone using PLA filaments. The phone case models include a replica of the colorful Starry Night by Van Gogh, a surrealist painting by Wassily Kandinsky, and a work of American pop artist, Keith Haring.

After failing to 3D scan the phone to make a case, Montes designed the phone case in Fusion 360 in two parts, the body, and a 0.2 mm back panel. The colorful paintings were traced with the help of Adobe Illustrator, a design software, and pasted onto the back panel in Fusion 360. 

Finally, the color of the phone cases via a single extruder is made possible by some smart slicer handiwork. In the slicer software, Montes separated different colors to be printed and generated separate .gcodes. Each .gcode file was printed using the desired color. At the end of each printed file, Montes had to load a different color. Once, the colored back panel was finished, the phone case was printed over and around the color prints.

Montes used XTC-3D epoxy on the Starry Night case and Polyurethane spray on the Kandinsky case to seal it, and give a more polished finish. 

The files of these cases are now available to download at MyMiniFactory.

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Featured image shows the Starry Night phone case by Devin Montes. Image via MyMiniFactory.

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BPIF Printing Outlook

The British Printing Industries Federation (BPIF) Printing Outlook Printing Industry Trends Survey for quarter four 2018  finds that inflation and tariffs and non-tariff barriers are the biggest Brexit-related worries for the UK printing industry. Anna Tobin reports

The BPIF Printing Outlook Printing Trends Survey found that when asked about the outlook for the UK economy, 38% of those in the industry are ‘somewhat unconfident.’ This was down from 42% in quarter three, but no respondents checked the ‘very confident’ category and 22% selected the ‘very unconfident’ category, up from 8% on quarter three.

The report states: “Domestic political squabbling, a lack of negotiation progress and the increased propensity for a ‘no-deal’ situation has ridden roughshod over business hopes that the Government would allay their concerns, clarify details on its negotiation position, make some progress with the EU and seek to minimise the uncertainty in the political and economic environment.”

The three main concerns that printing companies were found to have regarding the impact of Brexit are general cost inflation; tariff barriers and non-tariff barriers. Worries were also raised about unskilled labour shortages, as a result of immigration controls; an inability to retain EU workers; restricted investment in the UK by foreign companies; and, the cash flow implications of the potential application of VAT on entry for imports from the EU.

Some companies have begun stockpiling over fears surrounding Brexit-related disruptions to their supply chains; 17% of respondents admitted that they are stockpiling supplies. A further 25% have plans to stockpile certain supplies over the next six months. The report goes on to warn: “Stockpiling is not something all companies will have the desire, space or cash for, however, it is prudent to be knowledgeable about the origins of supplies, the logistical path those supplies take and what measures suppliers are taking to maintain the security and efficiency of the supply chain.”

How to deal with customs and tariffs issues post Brexit

Ensure your Business partners are ‘Ready for Brexit’ with the BrexSure Brexit audit tool

Download the Brexlist – your Brexit checklist for preparing your business for Brexit

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Shanghai Mechanized Construction Group Co (SMCC), a Chinese construction company, and Polymaker, a 3D printing filament manufacturer, have partnered to 3D print a pedestrian bridge in Shanghai.

The bridge will be installed in the Taopu Smart City, Putuo District. The Taopu Smart City was designed by a German architectural firm, HPP Architekten, and covers 4.2 square km of northwest Shanghai region.

Testing of the 3D printed bridge in laboratory conditions. Image via Shine
Testing of the 3D printed bridge in laboratory conditions. Image via Shine

3D printed architectural feats

Even though a lot of applications of 3D printing are in the manufacturing sector, such as parts for automotive and aerospace, the technology has also shown architectural potential. Currently, NASA is exploring a Martian sustainable habitat made using automated 3D printers. On the Earth, this year in July a French family moved into a 3D printed houseCurrently, a Dutch robotic and AM company MX3D is working on a 3D printed steel bridge in Amsterdam, something the company has done before. 

In China too, Tongji University laid two 3D printed bridges in Shanghai, but only as a model.

But the latest Shanghai project, the motivation behind constructing a 3D printed bridge is urban renewal. According to HPP the idea behind Taopu Smart City is creating a “compact energy-saving city”, as Taopu is among the three heavily polluted areas in Shanghai.

The 3D printed bridge is a demonstration of a pollution free construction, and use of ‘smart’ technology.

A graphic representation of the Taopu Smart City. Image via BDP
A graphic representation of the Taopu Smart City. Image via BDP

3D printed bridge

The total weight of the bridge is 5800 kgs and it is 15.25 meters long and 3.8 meters wide. The 3D printer responsible for this construction itself is mammoth. It has a build volume of 24 meters length and 4 meters width and 1.5 meters high.  

The bridge was printed using Acrylonitrile Styrene Acrylate (ASA), a robust plastic. ASA is resistant to heat and water, therefore, is an ideal choice for a structure meeting various weather conditions. For the bridge, the ASA was mixed with glass fibers to add strength.

After testing the bridge for endurance, the Deputy Chief Engineer of SMCC, Chen Xiaoming,  said, “The bridge has a load of 250 kg per square meter, which means at least four adults can walk on it at the same time per square meter.”

The bridge is printed in one part and take 30 days and 5 hours. The final piece will be installed in Taopu Central Greenbelt, part of the Taopu Smart City. The Taopu Central Greenbelt is expected to be opened to the public in 2020.

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Featured image shows a graphic representation of the Taopu Smart City. Image via BDP

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