Case Studies

3D Systems’ ProJet® 3500 HD Makes Its Mark at Shachihata

Since 1925, the stamps of Shachihata, Inc. have been making their mark on the face of the workplace for nearly 90 years. With Shachihata’s introduction of the self-inking “Mannen Stamp Pad” and the ink pad-free “XStamper”, this Japanese company has made product design and innovation its highest priorities over the years as it seeks to creatively and ecologically support customers’ needs.

With top craftsmanship at the center of its development goals, Shachihata incorporated 3D printing into its workflow in 2007 and most recently adopted the ProJet® 3500 HD 3D printer (now sold as the ProJet® 3500 HDMax) by 3D Systems, enhancing the overall process and product.

According to Taketoshi Ota of the Product Development Department, Shachihata initially explored 3D printing when it realized it was “the newest tool to support the shortening of the production period.” This was especially relevant to Shachihata at the time because the company was trying to agilely make itself available to overseas expansion and more diversified products. As the company has grown with its 3D printers, Shachihata has not only halved the time from planning to product sales, but has improved product quality and boosted design and innovation creativity.

Shachihata’s focus has historically been on stamps and stationary products for domestic office use. However, the flexible capabilities opened up by 3D printers enabled the company to expand development into products for foreign markets as well as for in customers. The transition from hand drawings to digital 2D/3D CAD that was part of this expansion has proven to be particularly helpful in accelerating design modifications and shortening development periods. When Shachihata added a 3D printer of its own, the company was also able to bring prototyping in-house, which translated week-long delays for inspection models into overnight results

A Story of Global Success Realized One Region at a Time

Lexmark International, Inc., is a $3.9 billion business providing companies in over 150 countries with a broad range of printing and imaging products, solutions and services that make their customers more productive.

While the company's competitors spend more, on a relative basis, on advertising and marketing, Lexmark has relied more heavily on customer advocacy to underscore its industry througth leadership and success in helping its customers achieve significant cost reductions and efficiency gains. In the new economic reality the importance of peer experiences and opinions as part of the buying cycle has increased significantly.

Lexmark lacked a formalized global reference tool to leverage all of its content in global opportunities. Additionally, there was recognition that an efficent global program could increase productivity by freeing up time for salespeople to sell.

The Challenge

Many tools, Incosistent practices

Lexmark had a marketing resource in each geography with partial responsibility for customer reference activities, each using different tools and processes to build customer reference content and fulfill customer requests. As an example, there was little consistency between a sucess story created in Canada and one create in Australia.

Demystifying Color Standards

What is G7?

G7 is a reprographic calibration methodology, invented by Don Hutcheson and popularized through IDEAlliance training and certification programs, starting in 2006.

Before G7, conventional print providers moving from film-driven production workflows to computer-to-plate (CtP) plating technologies, faced an onerous task. They had to try to make plate calibration curves match the way they had printed previously with negative working plates. These plates had more tonal value increase (TVI) — or what is historically referred to as dot gain — than positive working CtP plate substrates. If they calibrated CtP plating to a “linear” (input=output) state, as was the practice with the separation films used to image the older negative-working plates, the resulting presswork looked washed out and reddish compared to proofs or pre-CtP press runs of the same CMYK data.

The G7 calibration methodology solved this problem by establishing a manual method, and eventually a digital tool, to calculate plating curves targeted to the average tonality and gray balance of nine different CtP press runs. The GRACoL committee organized these runs in 2004 and 2005, using ISO 12647-2 ink solids and linear plate curves. The averaged target curves they developed were referred to as neutral print density curves or NPDC, and came very close to the legacy NPDC curves of the CGATS TR-001 dataset published by the ANSI CGATS in 1995. Since the default CMYK profile used by Adobe® Photoshop® in the U.S., U.S. Web Coated (SWOP) v2.icc, is based on the TR-001 data, this made it easy to reproduce legacy CMYK files on G7-calibrated presses and contributed to the popularity and success of G7.

Toro Rosso Formula 1 Racing Team Boosts Success with the Aid of Geomagic Control

If ever there was an industry in which time compression is the name of the game, it’s Formula 1 Grand Prix motor racing.

Among the teams competing in Formula 1 is Scuderia Toro Rosso, which is owned by the Red Bull Company. And like all other Formula 1 teams, Scuderia Toro Rosso is always looking for new and better ways to compress development and production times and to increase the reliability of its racing cars.

One advantage that the team has over the competition though is the use it makes of Geomagic® Control™(formerly know as Geomagic Qualify®) 3D inspection software at its headquarters in Faenza, Italy. This has reduced the time required to inspect new parts by an average of 30 percent. It has also given Scuderia Toro Rosso the ability to inspect parts that previously could not adequately be inspected within the demanding time frames of Formula 1.

Geomagic Control is advanced computer-aided inspection software that enables fast, easy-to-understand graphical comparisons between 3D CAD models and as-built parts, or between parts from different production runs. It saves time and increases accuracy for first-article and in-process inspection and enables trend analysis, 2D and 3D dimensioning, geometric dimensioning and tolerancing (GD&T) and automated reporting in a variety of formats, including Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, PDF and VRML/HTML.


For Newsweek, immediate access to financial and other operational reports is vital for success. Publishing is an extremely competitive business, and business executives need to be able to quickly spot financial and other trends and react to them. Previously, Newsweek depended on a mainframe-based printing system for publishing financial reports and the printing facility was located in offices separate from corporate headquarters. Printing reports could take several hours after a report was requested for it to be delivered to corporate headquarters from the printing facility via courier. Through Lexmark’s comprehensive workshop and discovery process, Newsweek identified this and other troublesome workflow areas and built a phased output strategy to address them. In the first phase, Lexmark replaced the mainframe-based system with a Web-based, distributed print-on-demand system, which allows reports to be viewed online and to be printed locally. The result is a projected five-year net benefit of $514,818 and immediate, on-demand access to vital financial reports and other documents by executives and employees who need the information to make informed business decisions. Note: These cost savings reflect the initial implementation of the Lexmark solution on five floors in Newsweek’s New York offices and are based on a full adoption of Lexmark’s recommendations with respect to the elimination of most stand-alone local devices over time.

American Eagle Takes on the Land Speed Record with Help from 3D Systems Geomagic Solutions

Since 1997, when the British took home the land speed record in Richard Noble’s Thrust SSC, it has been the vision of Ed Shadle and Keith Zanghi to bring it back to the USA. Over the last decade that vision has developed into reality with the birth of the North American Eagle (NAE) land speed record vehicle created from the fuselage of a Lockheed F-104 fighter jet and engineered into a 56 foot long jet powered car. With an aim to reach more than 771 miles per hour, this feat of engineering has already tested the ingenuity of the team, but delivered innovations along the way that will impact vehicle design in the future.

As the team moves into high speed testing in 2012, so the team has stepped up its engineering work in integrating more advanced telemetry, high speed parachutes and magnetic anti-lock braking systems, among others. Fund raising, constantly a challenge for the team, has increased, while additional drivers including Valerie Thompson, a motorcycle land speed racer, have joined up and some full-time engineers have been added.

But this increased emphasis to go into high speed testing comes not a moment too soon – competing bids from both Britain and Australia are in progress, with the BloodhoundSSC from Richard Noble set to go into testing at the end of this year. Who will win? With the massive funding for the British team, it might seem inevitable that the North American team is impossibly positioned. But history has repeatedly shown that all the funding in the world can’t replace good engineering - accompanied with a little bit of luck. Maybe the North American Eagle team will have both.

The Choice is Clear in Digital Printing In-Room Plus

Comfort and service are among the most important features that make a hotel stay enjoyable for guests. The hospitality industry is intently focused on this and strives to develop new and unique amenities for their patrons. Whether a small bed and breakfast or a grand-scale international resort, such details can make all the difference in fostering loyalty. In fact, ancillary sales of in-room products have become vital to the bottom line for nearly any facility.
In-Room Plus is the top manufacturer and distributor of snacks, custom logo products, and convenience items dedicated to the hotel minibar market. For 25 years, the company, based in Buffalo, New York, maintains a global presence, with over 350 of the largest and most respected names in hospitality. Quality, innovation, and responsiveness top the list of its enviable clientele, and the company’s ability to fulfill any size order within days has been the hallmark of its success.


3D Rapid Prototyping Fast Tracks GM Fuel Efficiency Gains

If you’ve ever wondered how much work goes into creating a 3D animation production, the answer is “a lot, a lot” – especially if the work in question relies on the technique known as stop-motion. Stop-motion animation requires animators to capture each individual manipulation of a modeled character to piece together one streamlined movement. For just one second of a facial expression or word, for example, upwards from twelve to twenty-four different changeable faceplates could be required.

The traditional means of achieving stop-motion facial expression animation has been through the hand-crafting of clay models, and has typically been limited to a range of broad expressions with little in the way of subtle expression in-betweens. For this reason, many conventional stop-motion films have had an overall pantomime feel to them. With the introduction of 3D Systems’ full-color ZPrinter® 650 to LAIKA’s 2012 production of ParaNorman, however, animators were able to achieve a final product that was remarkably more life-like than ever before.

A Blind Man Sees New Home Through Model

Nineteen-year-old Patrick Henry Hughes, the family’s eldest son, is blind and disabled, overcoming challenges to become a musician and an inspiration to all those around him. The “Extreme Makeover” team rebuilt the Hughes family home in just seven days to be safe and wheelchair accessible for Patrick Henry. The 3D models were presented to him so he could “see” the shape and layout through touch at the same time the crowd chanted “move that bus” and his family was experiencing the thrill of visually seeing their new, improved home.

“He would have had no idea what the house looked like or understand the floor plan to get around without our models,” said Tim Gornet of the University’s RPC at the J.B. Speed School of Engineering. “We did this not to show off our technology, but to help Patrick Henry, an amazing young man.”

Coca-Cola Enterprises Leverages Output Strategy to Consolidate Vendors and Devices and Reduce Costs

The Organization

Coca-Cola Enterprises Inc. (CCE) is the world’s largest marketer, distributor and producer of products manufactured by The Coca-Cola Company. In 2006, CCE achieved total revenue of $19.8 billion, distributing 42 billion bottles and cans, 19 percent of The Coca-Cola Company’s volume worldwide. Operating in 46 states, Canada and portions of Europe, CCE employs 74,000 people who operate 444 facilities, 55,000 vehicles and 2.4 million vending machines, beverage dispensers and coolers.

The Challenge

Since 1986, CCE had grown by acquisition of local bottlers across the globe, and the company’s paper and equipment burden grew with each acquisition. Each location and division had its own policies and procedures. Several years ago, CCE launched projects to increase efficiencies throughout the organization, focusing on ways to consolidate the number of output suppliers, standardize specific products and decrease lifetime total cost of ownership (TCO).


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