Mimaki Europe https://www.mimakieurope.com/ Wide-format inkjet printers and cutting machines for the sign/graphics, textile/apparel and industrial markets. Mon, 19 Dec 2022 14:57:22 +0000 en-GB hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=6.1.1 https://www.mimakieurope.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/Favicon_M_500x500-150x150.png Mimaki Europe https://www.mimakieurope.com/ 32 32 Car Wrapping with Mimaki – Is UV the Cure? https://www.mimakieurope.com/news/car-wrapping-with-mimaki/ Thu, 02 Feb 2023 09:30:00 +0000 https://www.mimakieurope.com/?p=126667 With advancements in digital printing, Mimaki’s latest UV curable inks offer car wrappers a revolutionary new way to upgrade your ride. Car wrapping has become more creative and experimental than ever before. Today’s current trends see vivid new textures, bright colours, and bold patterns adorning vehicles all over the world, which look to remain popular […]

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With advancements in digital printing, Mimaki’s latest UV curable inks offer car wrappers a revolutionary new way to upgrade your ride.

Car wrapping has become more creative and experimental than ever before. Today’s current trends see vivid new textures, bright colours, and bold patterns adorning vehicles all over the world, which look to remain popular for years to come.

However, the business of car wrapping is not new, on the contrary, it has been around since the 1920s. For many years tailor-made paint jobs, while cost prohibitive for most, ruled the market for vehicle customisation. People were able to give their vehicles a full makeover with designs of their own choosing, and subtle, and not-so-subtle effects or colours. These were often unobtainable from the original dealer, meaning that the customised vehicle was truly one of a kind. Think back to John Lennon’s famous 1969 Rolls Royce Phantom, painted with a flower power design, befitting the time, which was categorically refused by Rolls Royce when initially requested by the Beatles star. With bespoke designs now a common sight across film and TV, vehicle customisation has hit new heights of popularity, and personalising your vehicle is deemed a status symbol by many.

Today, newer forms of customisation are now dominating the scene, and gone are the days of just traditional custom paint jobs, in favour of the newer, simpler, more affordable, and ultimately more efficient car wrapping.

The Technology

The car wrapping industry’s estimated value surpassed a whopping $4.7 billion USD at the end of 2021 and is forecast only to increase over the coming years, with a predicted growth of 22% by 20301. Evidently, there has been huge momentum in the industry, and the various inroads that have led to this come from advancements in the technology and materials used, from the film, ink, adhesives to the printer itself.

The process is simple. Wrappers use large-format roll-to-roll printers to print colours, designs and now textures, onto a vinyl film with an adhesive layer, that is then fixed to the vehicle using a heat gun to trigger the adhesive.

Traditionally, eco-solvent and latex inks were the staple for wrappers, renowned for their durability. However, as these eco-solvent wraps fall short due to the time needed to dry the inks before the lamination process can take place, more companies are starting to look for alternatives.

To transform the market, Mimaki realised that to save wrappers even more time and money, a new kind of method would need to be implemented.

Wrapped car mirror showroom example
Showroom example of car wrapping
Wrapped car mirror
Mimaki’s UJV100-160 printer used during the car wrapping process
Behind the scenes image of the car wrapping process

Is UV the Cure?

It was always widely thought that UV-curable inks would not work for automotive wraps, as the rigidity and inflexibility of the ink would prevent it from smoothly fitting to the curves and concaves of a vehicle.

As experts in roll-to-roll and flatbed printing and with an extensive portfolio of UV printers, Mimaki embraced this challenge, and their R&D department made it their goal to be the first to make these UV curable inks applicable to wrapping.

Thanks to Mimaki’s LUS-170 and LUS-190 inks, developed for the decorating world, Mimaki is demonstrating not only that these UV inks are more than suitable for car wrapping, but that the results far exceeded those of the conventional methods, both in terms of quality and performance. When combined with one of Mimaki’s UV roll-to-roll printers, which cure the ink as part of the printing process, they found that the end-to-end process was significantly faster when compared with conventional methods.

With extreme flexibility and material adhesion, the LUS inks can achieve high detail accuracy and precision levels. In addition, different finishes can be realised where never before, such as glossy and matte, and even embossed effects.

Another winning feature of these inks is their extreme resistance to external factors, such as weathering, washing, stones, etc. Despite this, the removal of the wrapping made with Mimaki’s UV inks is easy to perform, unlike previous methods, and leaves the machine’s bodywork completely intact.

To Wrap it Up

The continued popularity of car wrapping, bolstered by advancements in digital inkjet printing, will inevitably lead to further exciting developments and possibilities, enticing more and more companies and end-users in. What’s more, as the capabilities continues grow, innovative creatives are starting to look beyond wrapping just vehicles. No matter for business or pleasure, vinyl wrapping will ensue, and Mimaki will be there every step of the way.

[1] https://www.grandviewresearch.com/industry-analysis/automotive-wrap-film-market

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Why Bunka Fashion College Chose Mimaki Engineering Printers for Digital Printing Education https://www.mimakieurope.com/news/bunka-fashion-college/ Wed, 25 Jan 2023 12:20:27 +0000 https://www.mimakieurope.com/?p=126395 Interview with Ariha Iizuka, Full-time Lecturer at Bunka Fashion College. Bunka Fashion College, a renowned institution in Japan known for cultivating top fashion designers, has integrated digital printing into its textile and apparel design curriculum and incorporates it in the creation of student projects. Three Mimaki inkjet printers are utilized in the digital textile lab, […]

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Interview with Ariha Iizuka, Full-time Lecturer at Bunka Fashion College.

Bunka Fashion College, a renowned institution in Japan known for cultivating top fashion designers, has integrated digital printing into its textile and apparel design curriculum and incorporates it in the creation of student projects. Three Mimaki inkjet printers are utilized in the digital textile lab, one of which was newly introduced this last fall. Ariha Iizuka is a full-time lecturer on Digital Textiles and CG at Bunka Fashion College. We met Ms. Iizuka in the lab and asked her about digital print education at the school.

Please tell us about the applications of digital printing and also a little about the digital textile lab

We’ve been using inkjet printers at Bunka Fashion College for about 20 years. It would seem that the lecturers who preceded me had the foresight to recognize that “the digital age is upon us”. In those days, textile courses were core, and their use by students in other programs of study was limited, but printers started being used for competition-related works, where silk-screening can’t be used, such as for photographic or hand-drawn prints.

Because the works that students make are basically one-of-a-kind, it is difficult to order such low-quantity prints from a textile dyeing factory. Another motivation for employing inkjet printers is that they allow for small-lot productions with a short turnaround, and this makes them very suitable for student-created works.

2nd year students of the Fashion Textile Department learn about textiles and practice digital printing and silk screen printing. Even with apparel majors, in our 4th-year fashion diploma course and 3rd year apparel design course, students take classes where they learn about everything, from producing CG data on a computer, to printing. And the lab is available for all Bunka Fashion College students to use and create their own works.

How are the different models utilized?

We currently have three printers in our lab: direct-on-fabric printer with reactive ink, a sublimation transfer printer, and a pigment-ink flatbed printer. The direct-on-fabric printer is a new model that was introduced in September and we started using it in October.

Basically, the particular printer used will depend on the material. We use the direct printer for cotton and silk, the sublimation transfer printer for polyester and acetate, and the pigment flatbed printer for knits and T-shirts which tend to lose their shape, and also for leather which is difficult to dye.

We’ve been able to gradually increase the number and types of machines while replacing the old ones. Initially we started with one direct printer that uses reactive ink, but many students said they wanted to print on polyester, so we added a sublimation transfer printer. In the beginning we came up with ways to make use of existing equipment, such as reusing a machine that bonds fusible interlining, but we now have a dedicated thermal transfer press. However, since also using the machine for interlining work would limit the time available to use it, we decided to next add a thermal transfer press, thereby expanding our lineup.

What are the advantages of digital printing in clothing and fashion education?

For one, there is the ability to be able to create works freely. Without such equipment, we could only produce clothing using commercially available fabrics. When it comes to contests and the like, if we didn’t have a printer, we would have to find and contract an outside printing company which not only costs money just to make a sample, but also involves a long turnaround time to complete the printed fabric.

Of course this could be considered a learning opportunity, but for students with limited time and money, it would force them to make compromises when making clothes. By having this available on campus, students can print data they have made and make their own original clothes. Thanks to such experiences, even after having entered the workforce, the idea of being able to propose printed textiles to clients is spreading.

While printing is just one element of clothing production, with digital printing, one can create originality.  I believe that the experience of turning pictures into cloth will also provide an opportunity for people to discover the joy of textiles.

textile fashion house
Ariha Iizuka, Full-time Lecturer on Digital Textile and CG at Bunka Fashion College
Ms. Iizuka shows student works made using Mimaki Engineering inkjet printers. She explains how Mimaki Engineering products “allow particularly vibrant expression of details and freedom of work production.”
Bunka Fashion College Students Using the Newly Installed Mimaki Engineering Printer The new “Tx300P-1800MkⅡ” model has become the machine of choice thanks to “high image quality and consistent and stable colors”.
textile printer
The Mimaki Tx300P-1800 MkⅡ textile printer

Seeing an image on a screen or smartphone makes it difficult to grasp size and other aspects. However, having an actual printed item is important because it allows one to experience the difference in size and colors from what can be seen on the screen. With a print in hand, we can readily see important points to consider when placing orders with venders at their place of business.

And recently, apparel companies are looking for workers with the skills needed to create data using a computer, and workers who have learned such skills through the making of printed fabrics are at an advantage. We even hear about graduates who have gained opportunities by proposing products using original patterns, even though their work is not directly related to printing.

And speaking of working with digital data, design work and virtual prototyping using 3D modeling are attracting attention. We have also started classes at Bunka Fashion College that incorporate 3D CAD (computer-aided design) and going forward, the ability to create new clothes which directly link print design and apparel design is likely to expand.

Contest Winning Works that Utilized Digital Prints

What have been your achievements in creating works utilizing digital printing?

The 2021 work of a student who won the Bunka Fashion College fashion contest design grand prize for the second year in a row is a dress that combines printing and pleating on thin organdie. The work is a sublimation transfer print of a red-based design inspired by tropical fish.

One student’s work that incorporated printed decorative parts won the Encouragement Prize of the 2022 Nagoya Fashion Contest.

Another student’s work which was selected for the final judging of the 96th Soen Award was a three-dimensional piece that used fabric printed in shades and gradations of red. The piece worn by Non, who appeared as a special guest model at Shibuya Fashion Week 2022, also incorporated digital printing. With “skin” as the theme, the shoulders of the jacket and sides and back of the jumpsuit take on a tattoo-conceptualized pattern.

Lastly, please tell us why you chose Mimaki Engineering printers, and what sort of things you would like to see in the future.

We have been using Mimaki printers for quite some time now and replaced a discontinued direct printer with the new “Tx300P-1800MkⅡ” model. There are very few entry-level direct printers that support printing on fabric widths up to 1.8 meters. The image quality that the Mimaki printer provides is excellent and the colors are uniform and consistent. Operation is also stable, and you can feel the evolution of the machine. We are grateful for things such as how Mimaki supplies consumables and handles product maintenance, as well as the support system that they have in place.

The flatbed model which we continue to use has been discontinued and is no longer supported, but it is a convenient machine to use, so we would really like to see its successor developed. DTF (direct-to-film) printers, which can handle any kind of fabric, are also drawing attention, and we are also thinking about adding one of these to our lineup.

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3D printed anatomical models reach new realistic heights at Monash University with the Mimaki 3DUJ-553 https://www.mimakieurope.com/news/monash-university/ Wed, 25 Jan 2023 11:54:59 +0000 https://www.mimakieurope.com/?p=126317 The 3D Innovation and Design Studio, Centre for Human Anatomy Education, Department of Anatomy and Developmental Biology, at Monash University made headlines back in 2015 for its collaboration with German anatomical models’ provider, Erler-Zimmer. The partnership released a set of anatomically accurate 3D printed models that proved revolutionary to the teaching of students across the […]

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The 3D Innovation and Design Studio, Centre for Human Anatomy Education, Department of Anatomy and Developmental Biology, at Monash University made headlines back in 2015 for its collaboration with German anatomical models’ provider, Erler-Zimmer. The partnership released a set of anatomically accurate 3D printed models that proved revolutionary to the teaching of students across the medical sciences.

While the ‘gold standard’ for teaching human anatomy is the human anatomy itself —historically in the form of cadavers — this age-old teaching tool is fraught with logistical, ethical, and cost challenges. Not to mention the potential for unsettling students just embarking on their studies. Embalming improves the period over which a cadaver can be used, however it changes the natural color and texture of tissues, diminishing the value to future surgeons and doctors.

From a consistency of teaching viewpoint, each cadaver is unique meaning that each cohort of students sees and learns from a slightly different anatomy. Rare diseases can also be difficult to study because of lack of opportunities to examine the specific pathologies. Monash University recognized the opportunity for 3D printing to produce models that were free from the drawbacks associated with cadavers, but retained the anatomical accuracy required for consistent learning outcomes.

Confronting existing setbacks

The first series of models were produced using powder bed inkjet 3D printing, where a binder and color pigment is deposited onto a powder bed (usually filled with gypsum) to build up a 3D model. The powder-based 3D printing process created fragile models, with poor color reproduction that required extensive post-processing to improve strength. This made the process substantially more time consuming than envisaged and the resulting models were lacking in realism and durability. The team at Monash wanted to move into more accurate color representation and models that more closely mimicked the range of textures found in human anatomy.

False coloring of parts is often a good strategy from an educational standpoint: the ‘veins are blue and arteries are red’ standard from textbooks is transposed onto anatomically accurate 3D models, helping medical students starting to consider anatomy fully in three dimensions for the first time. However, the team wanted to also get closer to the realism of the systems they were representing not only in terms of geometries but also coloration. For disciplines like pathology, color is a fundamental diagnostic tool and accurate reproduction is required in any educational models.

User feedback on the first series of models included how fragile the powder-bed parts were, especially when used in the real educational setting with students constantly handling and examining them. Because of the limited size of the print bed, up to 11 individual 3D printed parts were needed to create a single anatomical model. These parts were glued together, which is both time consuming and further impacts the strength of the model, resulting in breakage both in use and in transit.

3D printed full colour human heart anatomical model
Mimaki’s 3DUJ-553 printing machine
printing on the 3D machine
Working with the Mimaki 3DUJ-553 printing machine
3D printed anatomical parts in full colour
anatomical models
3D printed anatomical parts in full colour

Gypsum parts are also heavy and larger parts needed to be designed as a hollow shell with holes to release trapped powder. The team found that creating shell structures that were strong enough for the application was a challenge, as was evacuating the powder from the enclosed space. Alternatives to the powder-bed system were therefore sought and trialed, however the high cost of materials and poor color reproduction left the team without a preferred solution — until they saw a demonstration of the Mimaki 3DUJ-553.

Bringing anatomical models to life

After trialing a number of alternatives, the team was invited to see a Mimaki 3DUJ-553 in Sydney and was initially impressed by the accurate color recreation. Further inspection revealed tougher and more tactile final parts straight from the print that could incorporate clear areas providing support or strengthening without impacting the visibility of smaller features.

The 3DUJ-553’s ability to recreate over 10 million colors allowed the team to finally create models with a high degree of visual realism. The team at Monash are able to combine CT scan data overlayed with full-color 3D surface scans to accurately recreate anatomical systems in both healthy and diseased states.

The ability to print in transparent material to show internal structures means that student interaction with the models is much closer to the experience they will eventually have with real human patients. Fine structures such as nerves and blood vessels can be supported and protected with clear material without impeding the visibility. This greatly reduces the chances of breaking during handling and improves the durability of models in a teaching environment.

The large print bed of the 3DUJ-553 allows larger parts to be made in a single piece, and a higher throughput for multiple smaller parts.

Improving teaching opportunities

Adoption of the Mimaki 3DUJ-553 has allowed the team to generate a further two series of life-like anatomical models that would not have been possible with another 3D printing technology.

Models representing rare pathologies, where color and geometry are equally important, are now able to be produced. This vastly expands the teaching opportunities where use of cadavers is either banned on religious grounds, or where the rarity of the diseases means insufficient cadavers displaying the pathology are available to students. Thanks to the larger bed size, models that were previously 11 parts glued together are produced as two parts what are more easily joined. This removes join lines and further improves the tactility and strength of the models.

Accurate printing and strong materials allow for hollow parts with a 3mm shell to be produced. These parts are still strong enough to handle, light enough to transport, but heavy enough to be tactile and pleasing to handle. The quality of the models has attracted attention from across the university campus and across institutions in Australia, with the 3D Innovation and Design Studio team working with many academic institutions, clinical groups, and commercial partners to print pieces generated by 3D capture technologies.

The impact in the university and beyond

Associate Professor Justin W Adams, director of the 3D Innovation and Design Studio at the Centre for Human Anatomy Education explained: “Because we have external commercial partnerships as well as our internal research responsibilities, we have to more cost conscious and offer value to commercial users. Because of that we are more stringent with the relevant calculations on return on investment for our 3D printers than would be the case for a pure research operation. The 3DUJ-553’s quality capabilities — matched with the bed size and reliability — means it has helped tick a lot of boxes for us in that regard.”

Michelle Quayle, Technical Officer at Monash University commented: “We have seen an increase in internal academic interest thanks to the 3DUJ, for example the Archaeology department wanted a Greek bowl printed in full color, paleontologists have asked for some pieces that were full-color surface scanned to be reproduced. People who don’t use a color scanner — for example within engineering disciplines — don’t necessarily want a full color print and will be happier with a single material, it really depends on the technology and processes they used to create their models, but we now have the options.”

Associate Professor Adams continued: “We expect to see growth in the surgical training and surgical simulation areas using the Mimaki technology. Once a surgeon is trained and skilled in a particular operation, especially those that are rarer or more complex, they tend to maintain that skill by performing those surgeries whenever they arise. Meanwhile the next generation of surgeons still needs clinical practice to ensure they have the appropriate skills and training to take over from the current generation of surgeons. So, there is a training crisis — it’s a million dollars to train a surgeon in Australia — and that’s not the salary, that’s just the costs associated with their training. Using highly accurate 3D printed models to train surgeons can help ensure learning isn’t restricted by the number of cases or access to specific pathologies.”

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Three Mimaki printers for Printline – Germany’s most northern LFP printshop proving to be an all-rounder for unique items https://www.mimakieurope.com/news/printline/ Mon, 23 Jan 2023 14:57:20 +0000 https://www.mimakieurope.com/?p=126276 The inkjet printers from Mimaki have made it right to the top! – to the most northern tip of Germany. In Flensburg, Printline is producing unique promotional materials with two UV-LED printers and a cutting plotter from Mimaki, at a speed one wouldn’t have thought possible from the “northern lights”. Anyone visiting Printline in Flensburg […]

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The inkjet printers from Mimaki have made it right to the top! – to the most northern tip of Germany. In Flensburg, Printline is producing unique promotional materials with two UV-LED printers and a cutting plotter from Mimaki, at a speed one wouldn’t have thought possible from the “northern lights”.

Anyone visiting Printline in Flensburg will immediately notice: it’s not only printing on presses that happens here. It also boasts a range of small-format promotional items, large-format posters, signs and displays as well as complete trade fair systems. However, the products from the printed materials service providers will not only impress you with their extravagant designs, but also with their robust quality and unique features. “We produce almost exclusively unique items and small collections”, explains Ralf Wieckhorst, the Owner and Managing Director of Printline. “We have now been relying on Mimaki for more than 13 years, as well as Mr Werner Diekmann, our service partner at Elektronische Publishing Systeme (EPS), with whom we have been working really well for decades.”

Adhesion included

In 2009 Printline first turned to the technology of the Japanese manufacturer of large-format inkjet printers and cutting plotters, more precisely to a CG FX cutting plotter. A few years later, this was followed by a UV-LED flatbed printer that comes in a desktop size, the UJF-3042FX. In 2015 its “big brother”, the JFX500-2131, moved into the 600 square metre factory of the northern German printing provider. “A reliable workhorse” is how Wieckhorst praises the productivity and versatility of the flatbed printer, which has a printing area of 2.1 by 3.1 metres. “A good all-rounder, with which we can tackle every new customer requirement,” he adds. “We can print a huge range of items with the machine such as soft materials – from hoarding banners made from mesh, rigid foam boards for trade fair displays to reboard for seating or backlit glass pictures for museums. Substrates with a thickness of up to 50 millimetres and even polyethylene terephthalate (PETG) can be printed directly with the inkjet to create deep-drawn objects as specified by our customers, who are no longer only from the Flensburger Fjord.”

The JFX500-2131 is still a reliable printing partner for Printline, even in the tricky seventh year: With the UV-LED flatbed printer from Mimaki, Printline produces a wide range of large-format promotional materials and trade fair structures.
Mimaki’s JFX500-2131 large format flatbed LED UV printer
Promotional items in line with customers’ wishes: even handwarmers filled with gel and cooling pads are personalised by Printline with the UJF-3042FX.
hand gel
Printline application hand warmer with gel
printline team
The team from Printline together with Mimaki Germany

“Through the three Mimaki printers we have moved from being a digital printer for small-format, LFP and advertising technology to a broad-ranging, national, sought-after printing service providers,” says the qualified letterpress and offset printer delightedly. “With Mimaki’s technology we can satisfy most of our customers’ wishes,” he states. Although small-format promotional items, such as magnets, handwarmers or tin boxes are printed by Printline in relatively small print runs, they have a lot of style and character. “The UJF is also a tireless and versatile workhorse, which can print almost every material and also items with relief effect,” says Wieckhorst. With UV-LED curing and primers, the small printer is not at all inferior to the large one. The Flensburgers prefer to print something special on the JFX500. However, regardless of whether it’s a textile banner with a long-range effect, filigree art or sustainable Dispa paper posters, the quality is unbeatable with a maximum resolution of 1,200 dpi. “The smallest lettering is displayed precisely, colours appear even on flexible media, such as goal nets, even if the inks don’t adhere equally well to all the surfaces,” says Wieckhorst. “As both systems also print white ink, we are able to achieve shock-resistant adhesion, even on difficult substrates, such as metal or acrylic. In addition, the white also allows the colours to shine on a coloured or transparent background,” according to the print expert.

It can’t be any faster – or can it?

Sometimes, it’s not only supposed to be good, but also fast. “We often supply from one day to the next,” says Wieckhorst. “That’s not a problem for Printline with the fast printing and curing UV-LED systems from Mimaki. With a top speed of 60 metres per hour, the JFX500 is one of the fastest of its generation.” However, since the end of 2021, the next generation has already been on the start line. “With 16 printing heads and a speed of up to 200 metres per hour, the JFX600-2513 is the fastest UV-LED flatbed printer from Mimaki”, confirms Fumi Machida, Marketing Communications Coordinator Mimaki Germany, adding: “The new model is also the most modern one. The JFX600 enables 2.5D-printing, is IoT-capable and even has an inbuilt PC with Mimaki printer controller software.” Anyone who would like to see this for themselves, can have a personal demonstration of the performance of the JFX600-2513 in the Mimaki branch in Munich.

Company CEO
Owner and Managing Director of Printline Flensburg – Ralf Wieckhorst

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3D Technology Connecting Academia to Real World Applications https://www.mimakieurope.com/news/university-of-auckland/ Thu, 19 Jan 2023 14:54:31 +0000 https://www.mimakieurope.com/?p=126108 The Mimaki 3DUJ-553 Provides a Gateway to Additive Manufacturing for both Students and Local Businesses at the University of Auckland’s Creative Design and Additive Manufacturing Lab Created as a pathway for the University of Auckland’s research to connect directly to real world applications and industries, the Creative Design and Manufacturing Lab (CDAML), opened in 2019, […]

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The Mimaki 3DUJ-553 Provides a Gateway to Additive Manufacturing for both Students and Local Businesses at the University of Auckland’s Creative Design and Additive Manufacturing Lab

Created as a pathway for the University of Auckland’s research to connect directly to real world applications and industries, the Creative Design and Manufacturing Lab (CDAML), opened in 2019, focuses on the development of 3D printing as a mainstream method of production rather than a tool for rapid prototyping.

With 4 permanent staff and over 20 PhD, postgraduate, and undergraduate students from different disciplines working in the lab, a wide variety of research projects are undertaken. Some include high efficiency gyroid based heat exchangers, automated designs for prosthetic sockets, and 3D printed food supplements from meat powder for the elderly.

The CDAML also functions as a 3D printing service provider and educator to external industries, helping businesses expand their production opportunities through additive manufacturing.

The lab started out with several powder-based 3D printers, focusing on projects in engineering, but Professor Olaf Diegel, the Director of the Creative Design and Additive Manufacturing Lab, had wanted to add color from the start “We always wanted color, but we made do without.”

He had worked with a gypsum-based full color 3D printer in the past, but the parts created were so brittle that they couldn’t be utilized in any way “If you looked at the part sideways, they would break.”

At first, the lab used what they had available and hand painted parts that needed color. But the turning point for him came while pursuing a personal project. Professor Diegel has been designing and 3D printing fully functioning guitars for the past ten years to see how he could push the limits of 3D printing. “About 2 years ago I did a Beatles themed base guitar, inside the guitar there is a yellow submarine, an Abbey Road scene, Sergeant Pepper’s drum kit, and my wife, who is an artist, hand painted the inside of it for me. By the end I think she hated me!” Professor Diegel connected with Mimaki USA to collaborate on another guitar in 2020. With the help of the 3DUJ-553, he was able to print a full-color body for a fully operational electric guitar, the Scarab ST.

The Scarab ST fully operational electric guitar
3D printed full colour bonsai tree
3D pens
3D printed pens

After printing his Scarab ST Guitar on the 3DUJ with Mimaki USA, he knew what printer to add to the lab. “It came out looking stunning…so good that it is what caused us to buy the printer.”

He had also printed the guitar with two other full-color 3D printing technologies (an inkjet type and a nylon-based printer), but the colors on the 3DUJ-553 came out the most vibrant.

The biggest deciding factor for the university however was the running cost. ”For universities, it’s not really the price of the machine, but the ongoing costs.” When Professor Diegel was looking at comparable printers, he noticed their material cost was almost double that of the 3DUJ-553.

Professor Diegel says the 3DUJ-553 has undoubtedly brought in new students to the university and created more interest in the lab for current students. “The color prints are what draws people in during the open days”. Although 3D printing is typically used by engineers within the university, the 3DUJ-553 has also opened the lab up to art students as well.   

Installing the 3DUJ-553 has also added new applications to the CDAML’s printing services, including 3D scanned human figures, full color prototyping and mockups, as well as medical modeling. Outside the university, doctors are using the lab’s print service to model visual aids for surgeries from patient CT scans. Professor Diegel explained that doctors use the models to communicate procedures to patients to reduce uncertainty about operations. Because of this, more opportunities have come in from the medical industry, utilizing not only the 3DUJ-553, but the facilities’ other printers as well.

Another project the lab has decided to take on that was impossible before installing the 3DUJ-553 involves replicating Māori artifacts through 3D scanning and printing for cultural preservation. They recently scanned a conch shell trumpet, an heirloom of a Mauri family, and printed it into a playable full color replica.

The CDAML is looking forward to the future of the 3DUJ Series, especially for medical applications, hoping to someday make ultra-realistic models for surgical practice that accurately replicate the original.

3D printed full colour head with visible brain
3D printed full colour Adam and Eve

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High Speed, Top Quality and Sustainable: Mimaki Aims High at Salon C!Print https://www.mimakieurope.com/news/salon-cprint/ Mon, 09 Jan 2023 11:30:28 +0000 https://www.mimakieurope.com/?p=125061 With a wealth of outstanding solutions and applications on display, Mimaki Europe will inspire visitors at the show in France Mimaki Europe, the leading manufacturer of inkjet printers and cutting systems, has today announced that it will showcase its latest market-leading technologies at Salon C!Print (31st January – 2nd February, Lyon, France). Underscoring the company’s […]

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With a wealth of outstanding solutions and applications on display, Mimaki Europe will inspire visitors at the show in France

Mimaki Europe, the leading manufacturer of inkjet printers and cutting systems, has today announced that it will showcase its latest market-leading technologies at Salon C!Print (31st January – 2nd February, Lyon, France). Underscoring the company’s steady focus to address the current market needs, Mimaki will demonstrate how to achieve top productivity, superior print quality, and sustainability by leveraging its printing solutions.

What To Expect

Visitors to the Mimaki booth (2P24) will be able to view a wealth range of printers operating live, as well as the extensive applications possible, encompassing all sectors from sign graphics, industrial printing, textile, and 3D. “We are extremely excited to participate in the next edition of Salon C!Print, the foremost print show in France,” says Martial Granet, Branch Manager at Mimaki France. “We have worked side by side with our partners, customers, and the main market players, and tailored our technology portfolio to their needs. The mix of printing solutions and outstanding applications showcased at our booth has the potential to inspire visitors and enable them to enhance their businesses, refine their market strategies and boost their product ranges.”

Standout technology on show include the CJV330-160,fromMimaki’s recently launched and already successful 330 Series. The CJV330-160, an integrated printer and cutter, delivers higher productivity while setting new standards in print quality. With workflow efficiency at the top of Mimaki’s and its customers’ agenda, in-built cleaning mechanisms and monitoring features ensure seamless production and allow for longer running times. In addition, the printer features a new media changer that allows three rolls of media to be loaded simultaneously, and the XY slitter, which provides in-line X-axis and Y-axis sheet-fed cutting.

Another highlight of the Mimaki showcase will be the cutting-edge industrial JFX600-2513, a large-format UV flatbed printer achieving 200 m²/h production speeds – 300 percent faster than its predecessor thanks to its increased number of printheads and strengthened hardware. The model also features an expanded colour spectrum with six colour configurations and the ability to work with different ink sets for improved quality.

New Mimaki Technologies

Also taking centre stage at Salon C!Print will be the latest UV flatbed printers from the UJF MkII e-series, and the UJV100-160 LED UV printer combined with the new CG-130AR cutting plotter. A high-speed, high-quality direct-to-object UV LED inkjet printer, the former has been designed with performance and creativity in mind, while also fitting seamlessly into an automated production environment. The latter doubles productivity, both through the instant curing of the UV ink and the performance of our new AR series plotters. In addition, Mimaki will also showcase the brand-new CG-60AR cutting plotter, designed to cut and groove a wide range of substrates and media.

Standout technology on show includes the CJV330-160, from the recently-launched and already successful Mimaki’s 330 series, that delivers higher productivity while setting new standards in print quality.
Mimaki’s industrial JFX600-2513 printer, with production speeds of up to 300 percent faster than its predecessor, will be central to the company’s booth at Salon C!Print.
Mimaki’s CG-60AR Cutting Plotter

“Together with productivity and quality, sustainability is also central to Mimaki’s strategy. We position ourselves as a partner in helping our customers achieve their objectives in terms of sustainable practices”, explains Martial Granet. “Our UV and solvent inks are GREENGUARD certified, while our printing solutions enable lower CO2 emissions and reduced energy consumption, which is beneficial both in terms of cutting the overall environmental impact down and when facing the current energy costs crisis. We are also making a conscious effort to innovate in the UV printing space, which is emerging as a cost-effective, environmentally friendly printing technology. Visitors to the show who are after sustainable solutions should definitely drop by the Mimaki booth.”

Don’t miss out on this opportunity to reconnect with Mimaki and the wider industry. To register for free entry to Salon C!Print use Mimaki invitation code E-MIMACPL23.

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Mimaki 3D printed models star in ITV trailer for Emmerdale soap opera https://www.mimakieurope.com/news/emmerdale-soap-opera/ Wed, 14 Dec 2022 09:00:00 +0000 https://www.mimakieurope.com/?p=123165 When ITV’s Emmerdale soap opera reached its milestone 50th birthday, the show’s producers marked the occasion with a series of stories that came to a head in a gripping special episode that aired on 16th October. Weaving the show’s past with the present, an all-action climax saw a deadly storm hit the village and, in […]

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Emmerdale soap opera

When ITV’s Emmerdale soap opera reached its milestone 50th birthday, the show’s producers marked the occasion with a series of stories that came to a head in a gripping special episode that aired on 16th October. Weaving the show’s past with the present, an all-action climax saw a deadly storm hit the village and, in the run-up, viewers were treated to a powerful trailer, that featured starring cast members recreated as full colour 3D printed models, produced on the Mimaki 3DUJ-553 printer.

ITV contacted Cheshire-based 3D scanning and printing specialist Europac3D to establish the possibility of 3D scanning and colour printing for the project and, as the company’s Operations Manager Danielle Kenny recalls, things soon began to get interesting. “This started out as a very innocent enquiry but grew quickly into an enthralling project.”

“We visited ITV at their offices in Leeds and scanned the cast members using the Artec Leo scanner,” she continues. “We had a full day on site with the team and scheduled the actors to attend specific timeslots, during which they were scanned in costume, holding poses to match the requirements of the animated trailer.”

The Artec Leo scanner is a portable, handheld 3D scanner, and is the first system to offer full onboard automatic processing. With its inbuilt HD screen, the 3D replica can be viewed during the scanning process, to ensure that all areas of the object (or in this case, the actor) have been correctly captured.

Kenny continues, “Once the scanning was complete, we processed the files back at Europac3D to prepare them for print, with every model edited to enable two different sized versions of each to be produced.”

Europac3D called upon UK and Ireland Mimaki distributor, Hybrid Services to create the final models, printing them on the high-end Mimaki 3DUJ-553 full colour 3D printer. “The Mimaki was the only solution available to us to complete the job,” cites Kenny. “We needed full colour output that would stand up to close scrutiny on the nation’s TV screens, and with its ability to print up to 10,000,000 colours, the Mimaki fit the bill perfectly.”

The Mimaki 3DUJ-553 has a build area of 500 x 500 x 300mm, which allowed the characters to be batch printed using Mimaki’s layout software to optimise the print process. Mimaki’s range of full colour 3D printers use UV curable ink in conjunction with water soluble support material to build the models, and once printed, the figures were placed in a water bath to allow the support material to dissolve, before final cleaning. “The non-invasive removal of the support material ensured no time was lost through breakages and ITV’s deadline was hit with time to spare,” Kenny recalls.

Aired in the weeks prior to the landmark episode, the trailer is a 1-minute animated scene, depicting the explosive impact of a huge storm on the fictional village. Key characters are shown in emotive poses, suspended in time as the storm wheels around them, and as the camera pulls back, it becomes apparent that they’re actually portrayed as decorations, set amidst a vast cake situated in the village pub.

“The finished trailer is a really dramatic watch, and the 3D printed models were really put to the test during the filming,” Kenny concludes. “The producers were delighted with the results of the scanning and printing – and It was a privilege to be able to contribute to a memorable bit of TV history.”

For more details on the Mimaki range of 3D full colour printers, visit www.hybridservices.co.uk/3D and for 3D printing and scanning enquiries, contact www.europac3d.com.

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Traditional model-makers propel medical education forward using the Mimaki 3DUJ series https://www.mimakieurope.com/news/erler-zimmer/ Tue, 06 Dec 2022 11:35:59 +0000 https://www.mimakieurope.com/?p=122761 Andreas Falk, COO of Erler Zimmer, an expert company in anatomical model-making, discusses the use of 3D printing and how it has helped revolutionise their industry. Historically, the use of cadavers has been paramount in the effective teaching of anatomical science and medicine. How better to understand anatomy than to dissect and examine that of […]

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Andreas Falk, COO of Erler Zimmer, an expert company in anatomical model-making, discusses the use of 3D printing and how it has helped revolutionise their industry.

Historically, the use of cadavers has been paramount in the effective teaching of anatomical science and medicine. How better to understand anatomy than to dissect and examine that of a real body, however, in recent years it has become apparent that 3D printing holds the potential to revolutionize medical education. If universities, hospitals, medical professionals, and experts alike can harness the technology, they possess the ability to replicate any part of the human body in photorealistic detail on-demand. While cadavers are a practical and useful tool for medical students, there are undeniably drawbacks to their use – ranging from ethical to accessibility issues. In comparison, 3D printing not only renders cadavers obsolete, but also new technologies, such as Mimaki’s 3DUJ Series, have extensive precision and quality capabilities which improve upon that of old powder-based printed models used in hospitals and universities.

Anatomical models are nothing new to medical training. One such company who has dominated this market is Erler Zimmer. Founded in 1950 by Johannes Erler and his son-in-law Walter Zimmer, the focus has always been the production and marketing of educational materials, within the sphere of medicine. Traditionally, they would manufacture products with the use of injection moulding, following up by painting it. For a long time, these models were used hand in hand with cadavers, as well as digital simulations for medical training.

Recently Erler Zimmer began to look towards new technologies to create models with higher levels of detail and discovered the Mimaki 3DUJ Series, drawn to its precise full colour printing capabilities.

Why is there a need for 3D printing in the medical industry?

Doubtless to say, using cadavers has many pros, but those are often outweighed by the cons. Biological examples can be very effective in certain areas, such as ultrasound procedural training or injectional procedures, where it is extremely hard, if not impossible, to replicate real human tissue.

Nonetheless, where this area falls short is the nature of working with cadavers. Not only are they very expensive, but they are also hard to come by and equally difficult to maintain. If un-embalmed, cadavers deteriorate after just a couple of days, leading to medical students sometimes suffering adverse physical effects, such as nausea, dizziness, and fatigue. On the other hand, an embalmed cadaver has reduced tactile quality, texture, and flexibility. Whether embalmed or not there are also clear mental constraints involved when exposed to the dissecting a cadaver, with medical students recalling feelings of depression, anxiety, and stress.

Looking to the established alternatives, powder-based models that were previously commonplace within anatomical and medical training, lack the tactile quality of newer 3D printed models. Their fragility and perishable nature, combined with constant physical use, means that it takes no time at all for damage or discolouring to occur, and so needs to be replaced often.

Making the shift to 3D printed models

While Erler Zimmer initially never thought they would end up in 3D printing, in 2021 they made the shift. Monash University (Australia) approached them for models of digital scans that they had collected of real cadavers. Realising traditional model making technologies wouldn’t work, as the detail required from the digital scans was too great, Erler Zimmer started exploring the avenue of 3D printing.

Andreas Falk, COO at Erler Zimmer, stated that they had tried another brand of 3D printer, but ultimately, after 6 months of testing, they decided to return it due to constant malfunctions. They then discovered the Mimaki 3D printing range, investing in a 3DUJ-553, the 3DUJ Series’ industrial scale 3D printer, and haven’t looked back since, with plans to purchase two more 553’s. In Germany, where the company is located, Mimaki authorized 3D dealer DP Solutions GmbH & Co KG conducted the sample productions and instructed Erler Zimmer on how to the use new machines and their related software.

“We found that Mimaki offered us the ultimate solution. With the 3DUJ-553’s over 10 million colour capabilities, we were able to print in fine colour details which is very important in medical education,” comments Falk. “Improving models through colour gave an even better result for teaching than using a real cadaver, and solved the problem many countries face regarding ethical or religious issues with using cadavers, who were very much limited to using charts and simple anatomical models. Now they can have plastic replicas of real human bodies, which has brought teaching much further than it was before.”

There are many benefits of using full colour within anatomical models, Falk continued to explain. “The first step was reproduction of a healthy body. We now have a new series of pathologies which are opening new opportunities. There are many diseases most doctors would have never seen because it’s so rare to find a cadaver with that specific disease. We now have a collection of diseased reproductions that students can interact with, which is a massive step forward for medical teaching all over the world.”

Ease of reproducibility is another major improvement over traditional teaching models. With the 3DUJ-553, Erler Zimmer can produce the exact same model again and again, unlike with a cadaver, where there is just the one. This means that in a room full of students, every student can have the identical model in front of them, instead of crowding around one table.

One of Erler-Zimmer’s medical models, printed on the Mimaki 3DUJ-553
3D printed support material
3D-printed model covered in support material on the Mimaki 3DUJ-553
Andreas Falk, COO of Erler Zimmer, an expert company in anatomical model-making, discusses the use of 3D printing and how it has helped revolutionise their industry.
3DUJ553
3DUJ-553 Mimaki 3D printing machine

Materials in use for these models are also very important when teaching, with the 3DUJ-553 able to print in hard and soft resins that are dissectible and injectable, as well as transparent to show internal structures. The resins also allow for a much smoother surface texture than their traditional powder-based 3D printed counterparts. “For us the clear material is very important,” Falk comments. “There are a lot of fine vessels, nerves, and things that could all break during use, so we use the clear material to make support structures to strengthen the product.”

When questioned regarding run-time, Falk highlighted that they leave their printer running constantly. “The only time it’s not printing is when it’s being cleaned and when we remove the model from the machine – and we start the next print almost immediately afterwards.” In the six months of operation, Erler Zimmer’s Mimaki 3DUJ-553 printer has been running continuously with no hiccups or dips in quality.

3D printing technology is still evolving in the medical model making industry, especially as expectations and demands for more realistic and complex models grow. Many, including Erler Zimmer, are keen to utilise flexible materials with a full colour for example, which Mimaki are in fact hoping to cater to in the not-too-distant future. Another point noted by Falk for those wanting to take up full colour 3D printing is the software. “The most challenging part is putting together different scanning technologies, as medical models mostly use a mixture of CT, MRI, and optical scanning as well as manual treatment. You really need an anatomist to do the work to make it medically correct. The difficulty is then putting together all the different data and handling the preparation of all the print files, for which you really need a specialist, in order to produce correct models.”

While colour was not initially at the forefront of 3D printing, new capabilities have seen a shift in the markets and a growing importance of what this technology can be used for, whether that’s in the medical, gaming or art industries. A whole new realm of possibilities has been brought to fruition, dreamt up by a new wave of ambitious designers, with its potential being and utilised in areas of design and anatomical model-making that were previously unimaginable. Erler Zimmer have been successful in pioneering the use of 3D printing full colour technology, and through it improving the standards of medical training and making it more accessible to students and researchers all over the world.

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Mimaki Eurasia to be at FESPA Eurasia 2022 with groundbreaking innovations in printing https://www.mimakieurope.com/news/press-releases/fespa-eurasia-2022/ Wed, 23 Nov 2022 11:22:16 +0000 https://www.mimakieurope.com/?p=122264 Mimaki Eurasia, preparing to host printing professionals at a new FESPA Eurasia exhibition, will focus on solutions and applications that will inspire the industry at its booth. Visitors will discover the new possibilities of printing at the Mimaki Eurasia booth. Mimaki, the leading brand of wide-format inkjet printers and cutting plotters, will exhibit its new […]

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Mimaki Eurasia, preparing to host printing professionals at a new FESPA Eurasia exhibition, will focus on solutions and applications that will inspire the industry at its booth. Visitors will discover the new possibilities of printing at the Mimaki Eurasia booth.

Mimaki, the leading brand of wide-format inkjet printers and cutting plotters, will exhibit its new and most demanded solutions in the market by participating in FESPA Eurasia on December 1-4. Mimaki Eurasia booth, consisting of three islands in the Hall 8 of the IFM exhibition area, with a total size of 648 m2, will both show technology to the visitors and provide visual pleasure with the exhibition area where user products are located. Mimaki Eurasia will focus on inspiring new printing applications and give a strong unity message to all visitors and printing professionals, especially its users.

Mimaki Eurasia’s booth, consisting of three islands, will exhibit the latest innovations and the most demanded products in the market in 3D printing technology and cutting plotters, as well as printers in the fields of Sign Graphics (SG), Industrial Products (IP), Textile and Apparel (TA). Offering comprehensive and end-to-end solutions to the printing industry, Mimaki will showcase the latest in digital printing. Surprises await visitors in the cafe section, which has become an integral part of the Mimaki booth. Expanding further this year, one section of the cafe will present a sitting set and clothes created with textile machines and the other section will present numerous samples created with UV printing directly on the object and sublimation transfer printing on rigid substrates.

Hüseyin Şarerler

Mimaki Eurasia Area Sales Manager Hüseyin Şarerler, saying that they have prepared extensively for FESPA Eurasia 2022 as always, remarked that their booth concept can be summarized as ‘inspiring’ and ‘exploring innovations’. Reminding that they achieved a considerable development and demand growth in the market in 2022, Şarerler continued his words as follows: “The Turkish printing industry has potential beyond expectations. Printing professionals want to have the most suitable and accurate solutions to gain new opportunities. As the biggest solution partner of the sector members who want to gain an advantage in this respect, Mimaki Eurasia strengthens its power and position. We invite the representatives of companies that want to be more competitive in the market in terms of investment, production and sales for the next year and beyond, to our booth at FESPA Eurasia 2022.”

Hüseyin Şarerler
Mimaki Eurasia booth will turn into an innovation and trend area

Mimaki Eurasia, getting ready for FESPA Eurasia 2022 with the most comprehensive booth in 2022, has designed a mini Mimaki eco-system for its visitors. All Mimaki technologies, from UV-LED printing to eco-solvent solutions, from direct-to-fabric printing to sublimation transfer printing, from industrial solutions to 3D printing products and plotters that provide new possibilities for cutting, will show their performance throughout the exhibition. The exhibition area, consisting of Mimaki user products which was prepared for the first time last year and received great acclaim, is expanding its scope this year. The products of Mimaki users from different parts of the world in addition to Turkish users will be featured in the exhibition, achieving a unique global experience.

FESPA Eurasia visitors will have the chance to see the JV330-160 eco-solvent printer and the TS330-1600 sublimation transfer printer from the new 330 Series launched this year at the Mimaki booth. Outperforming their competitors in productivity, print quality and workflow management, the models are equipped with brand-new features. Thanks to the ‘Deep Color Natural’ print profile which is available in both models, high colour accuracy and quality are achieved in indoor and outdoor prints.

Mimaki technologies that facilitate and accelerate the printing and cutting processes will also be among the prominent solutions of the booth. Visitors will have the opportunity to see how the CG-AR Series cutting plotters, when used with the JV100-160 eco-solvent printer and the UJV100-160 UV-LED printer, provide an efficient print/cut flow thanks to the Mimaki ID Cut function. The CG-130AR and CG-60AR cutting plotters to be exhibited at the exhibition increase the production capacity of the users with their standard and optional working features.

Mimaki’s latest 3D printing system, the Mimaki 3DUJ-2207.
Mimaki’s TS330-160 Sublimation transfer printer
Mimaki’s JV330-160 Eco-solvent printer
Unlimited application opportunities thanks to Mimaki’s advanced printing solutions

Mimaki Eurasia, which has many different solutions for industrial advertising, will exhibit the most demanded models in the market at its booth. One of the most attractive solutions for indoor and outdoor printing applications, the JFX600-2513 large format UV-LED flatbed printer increases its production speed by 300% compared to previous models with the increased number of print heads and strengthened hardware. Developed to meet various demands of print service providers, the model offers the opportunity to print on a wide variety of materials up to 6 cm thick, such as resin, wood, glass and metal used in signage and decoration works. JFX600-2513, with high productivity and a wide colour gamut, is able to work with different ink sets and successfully performs 2.5D prints.

Among the other solutions to be exhibited at the Mimaki booth are; JV100-160 cost-effective eco-solvent printer, UJV100-160 fully equipped roll-to-roll UV-LED printer, CJV150-160 low cost, high speed and performance integrated printer/cutter, UCJV300-75 UV-LED print/cut printer for the sign and graphics industries, high-performance, small-format, direct-to-object UV-LED printers UJF-3042MkII e and UJF-6042MkII e.

There is also a special section at the Mimaki booth for textile applications. The following Mimaki solutions will be exhibited in this section, which will include living room decoration and fashion applications; TS55-1800 sublimation transfer printer, digital belt-fed direct-to-stretchy fabric printer Tx300P-1800B, TS100-1600, a cost-effective fully-equipped sublimation transfer printer and the TS330-1600 sublimation transfer printer, one of the newest solutions in the portfolio.

For the 3D printing segment, where creativity becomes reality, Mimaki will welcome its visitors with its newest solution, 3DUJ-2207. The 3D printer 3DUJ-2207, which can be used comfortably in offices thanks to its compact design, opens the door to new possibilities in the production of prototypes, models and figures with its 10 million colour printing power. In addition, the 3DCS-322 finishing unit, which allows the product to be removed from the support material after 3D printing, will be a solution that will attract the attention of the visitors.

FESPA Eurasia 2022 visitors will be able to visit Mimaki Eurasia at booths A20 / B20 and C20 in Hall 8 and receive detailed information about solutions and applications from the Mimaki technical team.

You can find more information about Mimaki’s advanced printing technologies on its official website; http://www.mimaki.com.tr/ 

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Objex Unlimited – A Model Example of Full-Colour 3D Printing Business Success https://www.mimakieurope.com/news/objex-unlimited/ Thu, 17 Nov 2022 10:56:52 +0000 https://www.mimakieurope.com/?p=122074 – Steve Cory, Founder Objex Unlimited, outlines his thoughts on previous and current trends in the 3D Printing market, and how he expects the market to develop over the coming years – The first person in Canada to receive a Mimaki 3DUJ-2207, Steve Cory now owns two 3DUJ-553 printers, and has gone on to become […]

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Steve Cory, Founder Objex Unlimited, outlines his thoughts on previous and current trends in the 3D Printing market, and how he expects the market to develop over the coming years

The first person in Canada to receive a Mimaki 3DUJ-2207, Steve Cory now owns two 3DUJ-553 printers, and has gone on to become the Canadian distributor of Mimaki 3D printers

How was 3D printing in full colour received by the 3D printing industry?

Printing in full colour was not initially a priority for those using 3D printing. However, with the introduction of the Mimaki 3DUJ series, the market has shifted, and businesses are becoming more innovative in their use of the technology. This in turn is driving 3D printing use to new markets and applications, as full colour opens up new opportunities. Companies who previously didn’t see the need to print in colour are now seeing the benefits of it, and many companies who previously used more traditional methods, such as injection moulding, are turning to 3D printing. There’s also a growing new market of businesses born into colour 3D printing, such as mine with Objex Unlimited. We started in 2011, with the objective of 3D printing in full colour and create models, mainly for art purposes.

Is colour growing in importance in the 3D printing industry?

I would say high quality colour is bringing more people to the industry. Previously, Objex Unlimited offered engineering, architectural and archaeological model making, but now we are also seeing customers in marketing, a growing demand for figurines from a diverse customer base, and many companies requesting 3D printed models. For marketing, 3D printing can speed up product development, and save a lot of time in producing prototypes. The gaming industry is an unexpectedly large part of our customer base. We produce figurines of in-game characters, as well as people’s own avatars. Customers want these in full colour, and printing in colour saves time and produces better results than painting them after printing. We can also achieve better colour accuracy with printing in colour, as the Mimaki 3DUJ series can print over 10 million colours and has incredible screen to print colour accuracy, allowing us to achieve the desired colour easily and without testing.

How important is clear resin in colour printing?

This depends on the applications you are wishing to produce, but clear resin is important for a variety of needs. The most obvious is to create a clear object, such as a car windshield. However, clear resin is also helpful in protecting fine details, so that these are reinforced, preventing post-print breakage and ensuring the piece will last longer. Clear resins can be mixed with colour resins to create a semi-translucent object which we often use for art pieces. Another use is as a gloss finish, as it can be used to encase details you want to have a completely translucent shell, which ensures the detail inside is clearly visible.

Clear ink 3DUJ-553
Clear Ink samples – Mimaki 3DUJ-553
clear ink 3duj-553 vacuum
Clear Ink samples – Mimaki 3DUJ-553
mimaki 3DUJ-553
Mimaki’s full colour 3D print technology
How important are flexible and bio-compatible materials?

Unfortunately, there’s no one machine that can work with every material and solves every AM issue. If you want to make beautiful full colour parts easily and cost effectively, the Mimaki 3DUJ series is great. However, if you want to start making bio-compatible, flexible colour prototypes with multiple materials, different properties and all the cost, effort, and challenges those entail, you will have to look at other machines. 3D printing is a fairly new technology, and these issues will be addressed in years to come, but with the current machines available, you need to choose between flexible or bio-compatible materials and colour accurate, vibrant prints. It’s a common misconception in the market that you can have one machine that does it all, and especially when you want to keep investment low, it’s just not possible yet.

What do companies need to consider before investing in a 3D printer?

The main consideration should be what applications they are looking to use the machine for, and finding a printer that meets those needs, while also keeping within your budget. Ongoing costs should be considered, so finding a printer which produces minimal waste and is cost-effective to run is important. However, the factor I think most companies do not consider, is while printing is easy with the right printer, designing the part to be printed is not. You need to have a designer experienced in digital design specifically for 3D printing as the processes and software are very different to other kinds of digital design.

What capabilities should companies look for in a colour 3D Printer?

Again, it does depend on the applications you’re looking to use the printer for, as different printers will prioritise different capabilities. However, colour consistency and screen to print accuracy are important for any colour application, as the model needs to replicate what you see on the screen before printing. In order to create complex and challenging parts, the material needs to be durable and workable. I’ve found that the water-soluble support material provided with the Mimaki 3DUJ series also helps with this, as it means the part can be gently removed from its supports with minimal chance for damage. To fulfil large orders and volumes, the printer needs to be run regularly, so it will need to be reliable, and able to handle long run-times.

What are some typical run-times you’d expect to see in any given week?

We run our machines as often as possible, according to the machine’s capabilities. A typical print is anywhere between one to one hundred hours, but it depends on the size of the part you’re printing. The longest print I’ve done on our Mimaki 3DUJ-553 is 160 hours for one part, but we also do shorter one hour prints frequently with it. With our first Mimaki, we ran it for 5,600 hours out of the 8,000 available in the year, without an issue or failure. Recently, we had a busy week where we ran 24 hour prints on each of our 3DUJ-553s, we ran seven prints back-to-back on each machine without any problems, failures and minimal downtime. The only downtime necessary is to take the part out and clean the machine, which takes around three minutes.

What does the future hold for the 3D Printing Industry?

As 3D printing is a new technology, it is still rapidly evolving. Materials are still being developed, and I predict an increase in the variety of materials available, which will expand the capabilities offered. In future, we won’t have to choose between full colour and flexible, biocompatible materials, as a solution offering all such qualities will be available. I also see an increase in the speed and efficiency of these machines, making them more suitable for industrial use. On the design side of things, software will advance, and it will be easier to design parts to print. An exciting development already beginning is the use of VR to mould parts out of virtual clay, which I can see becoming more popular. In terms of businesses and customers adopting 3D printing, with high quality printers at such accessible prices, like the Mimaki 3DUJ series, adoption of the technology and popularity of 3D printed products will continue to increase.

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