Brian Sims takes a look under the hood of the GCC JF-240UV flatbed printer, of which Grafityp UK is the supplier, and finds out how it is pushing the boundaries of printing technology
I often get quite upset as a ‘died in the wool’ printing press engineer when I hear in the media about the newest developments in 3D printing and what you can now produce. Rolls-Royce’s recent announcement on the production of a 1.5m diameter bearing for a Trent aero engine was led by its Additive Manufacturing (AM) division, which seems to me to be a more appropriate name for the process. The part was ‘printed’ with Titanium; to me this is stretching the printing term just a little too far. Building your own devices available from a newsagent can allow you to produce model motor engines with fully rotational parts at home. I am not dismissing the technology at all; the cornucopia of applications that are only just starting to find their way into mainstream use is mind-boggling. To me, printing is the application of ink onto a flat substrate, but when I give that more thought, even that line is blurring. When I started in this industry I recall being told that “one day we could routinely print on plastic film”; that day obviously has come and gone long ago.