GSW No Comments

Print trends to look for in 2020

The printing industry is growing and evolving at a fast pace because of technological advances and print businesses looking ahead to trends and customer needs.

According to the Printing Industries of America, by the end of 2019, the print industry should see up to a 2-percent increase in revenues. Even with the growing trend to go paperless and the increase in e-books and other digital publications, the printing industry has been seeing yearly growth since 2011.

The continued growth for digital printing
Printing digitally does not require printing plates and the setup time that traditional offset printing requires. Because of this, digital printing continues to grow in popularity for printers and customers. The faster turnaround times, more flexibility, and the increase in personalisation capabilities push digital printing forward as technology advances.

Expansion of on-demand printing
Traditionally, print shops would not print just one copy or a small run of any print piece. The labour and time involved in the offset printing process made single-copy and short-run pieces expensive and out of reach.

Digital printing capabilities made on-demand printing services a possibility by being more cost-effective and efficient. On-demand printing is now easier than ever with digital printing capabilities and technological advances.

Increased personalisation
Emerging trends – like short-run custom print pieces or self-publishing– require an increased level of personalisation, and on-demand printing capabilities provide just that. The demand for increased personalisation continues to grow as technological printing advances create more project opportunities for individuals and businesses.

On-demand printing pieces include posters, flyers, invitations, and other materials that require a short-run or specific customisations between each run or each copy.

Improved flexibility for customers
Every year, new printing capabilities bring more flexibility to customers, and 2020 print industry trends don’t look any different. As technology advances, you can expect faster turnaround times, more print material options, and the ability to create better custom marketing materials.

The ability to print with more flexibility for customers will open the door to more print opportunities that were not available before because they were too costly or time-consuming.

Move towards more simplified designs
The minimalism trend continues to hold steady in our society as we see it more often in art, architecture, and even our lifestyles. It is no surprise that we see minimalism and simplified designs in print materials, and expect to continue seeing it increase in popularity in print industry trends for 2020.

A simplified design may create fewer barriers when printing. It may incorporate less clashing colours and graphic elements that could cause printing headaches. Especially with digital, on-demand printing, where colour is sometimes an issue, a simplified design eliminates some barriers from design to print.

Adding AI to printing
Artificial intelligence (AI) is exploding into every aspect of our lives—think Apple’s Siri, increases in factory automation, or Amazon’s Alexa—and the print industry is not exempt from the growing use of AI.

The use of AI in printing makes a printer’s job easier by offering real-time data and production alerts, press automation, suggestions for equipment maintenance, and can even help protect our networks against security breaches.

Since many new printers work through Wi-Fi or at least have Wi-Fi capabilities, AI also allows mobile printing and automatic software updates or patches.

Increased support for sustainability
On-demand printing for customised materials like packaging includes a level of added sustainability because you only print what you need when you need it. You no longer have to print large quantities to keep the price down. And if you need to make changes down the road, you will have less wasted materials.


Source: Print Action

GSW No Comments

How Does 3D Printing Work?

Picture a robot-controlled hot glue gun that uses plastic instead of glue, and you have the basics of a 3D printer. Strands of plastic are fed into a print head, which is heated up to melt the material. The print head moves around very precisely in three dimensions and drops lines of plastic onto the print bed—the table on which it prints. The printer does this over and over, building up layers of plastic until it forms a 3D part.

It All Starts with 3D Models

Every object printed on a 3D printer starts with a 3D model. These are usually made in a CAD program designed for working on real-world 3D models, like TinkerCADFusion360, or Sketchup. This is a bit different to how 3D models might be made for movies or games, though you could certainly print out very detailed figures from traditional 3D modeling software.

One benefit of a 3D printer is that it can print nearly anything. Some models are so complex that they’re impossible to make with traditional manufacturing techniques like molding or CNC routing, and that’s where 3D printers take an obvious lead. However, they’re not just used for making fancy geometric shapes, as it’s usually much cheaper for a large factory’s R&D department to print a single model in plastic rather than rigging up the whole factory to make the actual part. This is called prototyping, making a rough draft to help test the final copy without wasting valuable time and materials.

Slicing the Model for the Print

Since a printer doesn’t understand how to take a complex 3D mesh and turn it into a printed model, the 3D model must be decoded into information that the printer can understand. This process is called slicing since it takes scans of each layer of the model and tells the printer how it should move the print head to create each layer in turn. It’s done with the aid of a slicer, a program that handles all of this for you, like CraftWare or Astroprint.

The slicer will handle the “fill” of the model, creating a lattice structure inside a solid model to give it extra stability. This is one area where 3D printers shine—they can print very strong materials with really low densities, by strategically creating pockets of air inside the model and making it much lighter.

Another thing the slicer handles is support columns. Since the printer can’t lay down plastic on thin air, support columns must be created to allow the printer to bridge the gap. These are removable but are used in the printing process to ensure it doesn’t collapse.

Once the slicer is done, it will send the data over to the 3D printer to start the printing process.

Waiting some time

Once the printer starts, you’ll notice it can be slow. While a 2D printer can print a whole book in a couple of minutes, most 3D prints will take several hours, to finish printing. And if you messed up the settings, misconfigured the slicer, or just bumped into it a bit, you could lose the whole print.

There are some faster technologies making splashes in the industry,  speeding the process up significantly. But these kinds of printers are many times more complicated, much more expensive, and only work with plastic so far.

So Should I Buy a 3D Printer?

If you’re not interested in designing and printing parts, you certainly aren’t going to be replacing your boring 2D printer anytime soon.

The printers most consumers will buy usually print in plastic, though there are exotic (and expensive) printers used in the industry that can print pretty much anything. There’s even a 3D printer that can print artificial meat. The technology is moving very quickly and has significant implications across many industries. Surely someday, you’ll be able to print gourmet meals from an edible food printer, but until then it remains a hobbyist and industrial device.

Still, with prices coming down all the time, it can be a fun hobby—especially if you build anything where small plastic models are used.

Source: How to Geek


View our 3D Printer page here »

GSW No Comments

FESPA announces north German location for global expo 2017

“FESPA today announces that its Global Expo, FESPA 2017, will take place over five days from 8 – 12 May 2017 at the Hamburg Messe, Germany. The event will cover 10 halls at the exhibition centre, and as well as being a screen and digital exhibition it will encompass FESPA Textile, European Sign Expo and Printeriors.”

“Roz McGuinness, Divisional Director, FESPA, comments: “We always listen to feedback from our exhibitors and in the most recent survey Hamburg came out near the top of potential destinations. After careful deliberation, we decided that it was time to revisit this booming business location. The eighth largest city in Europe, Hamburg is a major transport hub and is easily accessible by plane from all major European and International cities as well as having excellent rail and road links, and an outstanding infrastructure to support an influx of visitors.”

“Hamburg Messe enjoys a favourably central position, which is just 10 minutes’ walk from the city centre as well as being close to the airport, which is served by over 60 airlines. FESPA’s Global Expo typically attracts 22,000 visitors from 125 countries, making it a truly international event.”

Speak to Graphix Supply World to find out more about all the equipment and consumables that they sell.

Graphix Supply World –

Cape Town: Tel +27 (0) 21 511 5340

Johannesburg: Tel +27 (0) 11 444 9288

Durban: Tel +27 (0) 31 502 6128

24 Hours: Tel +27 (0) 82 455 6333

Date: 15 March 2016


GSW No Comments

Wohlers Report 2016: 3D printing industry surpassed $5.1 billion

“More than 278,000 desktop 3D printers (under $5,000) were sold worldwide last year, according to Wohlers Associates, publishers of the annual Wohlers Report. The report has a chart to illustrate and it looks like the proverbial hockey stick that you hear venture capitalists talk about: Growth that moves rapidly from horizontal to vertical (from 2010 to 2015 for desktop).”

“According to Wohlers Report 2016, the additive manufacturing (AM) industry grew 25.9% (CAGR – Corporate Annual Growth Rate) to $5.165 billion in 2015. Frequently called 3D printing by those outside of manufacturing circles the industry growth consists of all AM products and services worldwide. The CAGR for the previous three years was 33.8%. Over the past 27 years, the CAGR for the industry is an impressive 26.2%. Clearly, this is not a market segment that is declining as you might otherwise read.”

“The annual state-of-the-industry report is highly anticipated by industry insiders and knowledgeable observers because its analysis is based on more than 20 years of data from companies in the AM industry. For Wohlers Report 2016, input was collected from 51 industrial system manufacturers, 98 service providers, 15 third-party material producers, and many manufacturers of low-cost desktop 3D printers.”

“The firm and the report provide a solid explanation as to how that $1B growth is happening. One specific explanation that caught my eye: In 2015, 62 manufacturers sold industrial-grade AM systems (valued at more than $5,000), compared to 49 in 2014, and twice as many as the 31 companies that sold industrial systems in 2011.”

“Back to that 278,000 number: Over a quarter of a million desktop 3D printers may not seem like much. It seems to imply that there is truth to the consumer hype I have written about before, however, I believe many of those printers are used within big companies and well-funded start-ups. No doubt, there are some consumer-grade machines in garages, workshops, school classrooms, and maybe even on kitchen tables, but that is a smaller portion of the market opportunity for the more industrial-grade machines.”

Speak to Graphix Supply World to find out more about the Afinia H-Series 3D printer.

Afinia –

Graphix Supply World –

Cape Town: Tel +27 (0) 21 511 5340

Johannesburg: Tel +27 (0) 11 444 9288

Durban: Tel +27 (0) 31 502 6128

24 Hours: Tel +27 (0) 82 455 6333

Date: 25 April 2016