A new boost for copy shops with a 3D printing service
The additive manufacturing opens up new horizons for Eliofossolo
Eliofossolo is a company located in Villanova di Castenaso (Bologna) which since 1992 provides exactly the services you’d expect from one of the many facilities of its kind, scattered all over Italy: digital printing in small and large format, color and B/W offset prints, plotting, scanning, binding, lamination and so on.
These are tasks that Eliofossolo performs since its opening, with a particular attention to the state of technology, an essential asset that allow companies to stay on the market. Essential, but perhaps not enough, thought Enrico De Guglielmo, CEO of Eliofossolo. For this reason he introduced 3D printing within his company, giving rise both to a new additive manufacturing service for the production of chalk, ABS and resin coloured objects (branded with Stampa3D by Eliofossolo), and to the new product called ‘Mini-Me‘ (www.mini-me.eu) that is a reproduction of people after an accurate 3D scan.
But what are exactly the reasons that led Eliofossolo to take this step?
The answer is given by Enrico De Guglielmo, from Eliofossolo and Cristian Parmeggiani, from 3DZ.
1. Times are changing…
“Our history – De Guglielmo says – starts from traditional printing, a field in which we now acquired a twenty-year expertise. But times have changed and an entrepreneur who isn’t aware of that is intended to work less and less. With the support of my employees, now almost a couple of years ago, I undertook this new path of redevelopment, in order to offer to our customers innovative and behind the times solutions. It was a major investment in equipment and training, in the historical moment in which the customer did not know much about the great potential of 3D Printing”
3DZ provided all its professionalism and the appropriate tools to allow Eliofossolo to shape its ideas. As pointed out by De Guglielmo, a great number of industries can take advantage of this technology: from the world of architecture to the gadgets suppliers, from the designer who need to touch the prototype first before being manufactured to individuals who can print out their ideas in 3D.
“Today – we continue De Guglielmo – we can tell we reached more than one objective: we are now a well-known reality in our region as for our 3D printing service and opened two other branches affiliated with ‘Stampa3D by Eliofossolo’, one in Monza (Brianza) and one in Senigallia (Ancona). The project we called the MiniMe, the perfect avatar, is proving successful. Through the live scan of a person, we can create a real avatar that features an exciting details loyalty, and we then manufacture a chalk coloured statuine. It can be printed in different sizes and, of course, at different prices. This project also includes the support of several retailers points, in the areas of Bologna and Senigallia (AN)“.
First “cleaning operations” of a 3D printed part.
As in the traditional printing, the post-processing is fundamental to get a good product.
2. Clearness and training
Eliofossolo entered the field of 3D printing a couple of years ago, in a period in which people were starting to talk of additive manufacturing in a more intense manner. The entry in the market of many brands that manufacture low-cost printers has contributed to spreading the idea of the possibility to print objects, but have also created confusion about the difference between what you can do with cheap models and what you it can do with a professional equipment, such as the Projet 660 Pro by 3D Systems.
To engage our regular customers – says De Guglielmo – and even new prospects, we organized several panel discussions on what is and what 3D printing is. We gave the initiative a widespread diffusion through investments in advertising and communications, in magazines and sectorial forums. We chose as relators professionals who currently use these technologies in their work and technicians who carried out live demonstrations. These events were followed by a very diverse audience and from all over Italy.
I find interesting having organized a series of courses open to all, with the goal of let people getting closer and make a first practice on 3D modeling software. These courses are repeated cyclically. At present, having already the printers and the latest technology, the investment focuses on communications. All this in order to grow more and more the interest in what the company is able to do in 3D, considering both the world of manufacturing both the sphere of research.
3. The ProJet 660 Pro
One of the latest equipment purchased by Eliofossolo, as mentioned, is the ProJet 660 Pro.
“Its strengths – explains Parmeggiani from 3DZ – “are as follows: no waste of material, the ability to print any object of any shape thanks to the completely removable support, an high printing speed (the ColorJet printing technology is the fastest in the world), the possibility to create full color models in four-color process. Moreover, this technology features an high productivity, as it allow to manufacture a large number of models, even overlapping, without any additional expenditure of time and material. Enrico De Guglielmo was looking for a solution that was easy to use and we showed him some cheap but colourful and detailed samples.”
Eliofossolo was also asking for the printer to be able to implement any geometry, both mechanical or aesthetic, and dimensions that would suits an office environment, not an industrial one. All of these requirements were matched by the ProJet 660 Pro, which prints in full color with a very high detail level. Thanks to its print area of 254x381x203 mm, it can ensure high productivity both for small pieces and large ones. A further growth of Eliofossolo could happen through the purchase of a production printer, that would give them the possibility of offering a 3D printing service 360 degrees to any kind of industry and for any kind of task.