This Week in Imaging: Printers Printing Printers
This week saw important news from Xerox and Kyocera Document Solutions (see below), but one thing caught our eye. HP Inc. reported that it’s continuing to expand its 3D-printer reseller network in Asia-Pacific. It also noted that partner Jabil is using HP 3D printers to produce, among other items, parts for HP 3D printers – more than 140 parts for HP’s Jet Fusion 300/500 full-color 3D printers are being produced by Jabil in what is believed to be the most 3D-printed parts for any commercial product in the world. Meanwhile, Mutoh Industries of Japan is using HP 3D printers to produce pen holders for its large-format 2D printers, with HP stating the 3D-printed pen holder provide better strength and durability versus the original injection-molded pen holders. Last year, Mutoh also signed on to sell HP 3D printers in Japan.
As for others using 3D printers to print printers, a developer has created RepRap, which is short for Replicating Rapid-prototyper. RepRap is a community project for creating a self-replicating 3D printer, with the printer billed as the world’s first “self-replicating manufacturing machine.”
The ultimate advantages for 3D printing is perhaps similar to the advantages of digital in-office printing versus offset printing. With 2D digital printing, users can print documents locally and only when needed. That means documents such as forms can be printed only when required, so that hardcopy forms don’t have to be stored in a closet.
Similarly, with 3D printing, only the required number of parts can be printed – ensuring there’s no over-production. 3D printing of parts can also be done locally – versus injection-molding production that must be done in a factory. For instance, the U.S. Army uses desktop 3D printers to print parts for guns and helicopters – the parts can be made on the spot, versus having to wait several weeks for them to be produced in a factory and shipped to the location.
Next week: Xerox will be holding a live audio webcast of its first annual shareholders’ meeting with newly appointed CEO John Vistenin and board chairman Keith Cozza. While all lately has been quiet on the Xerox-Fujifilm front, this meeting should be quite interesting – stay tuned.