Tag: printer

Thyssenkrupp sets up 3D printing centre

German industrial group Thyssenkrupp is to open a 3D printing centre this year to manufacture products for its customers.

For those who came in late, Thyssenkrupp is famous for making steel, submarines and elevators, and supplies thousands of tonnes of metal and plastic products and provides supply-chain management services to a quarter of a million customers worldwide.

Some industrial components such as airline or wind-turbine parts can now be made by 3D printing, or additive manufacturing, in which objects are printed in layers directly from a computer design instead of being cut out of blocks of material.

This saves money on material costs by reducing the number of parts needed tenfold or more, and also saves time from design to manufacturing, allowing objects to be produced in small batches in a cost effective way.

Hans-Josef Hoss, an executive board member of Thyssenkrupp Materials Services division, said the company had invested already into the machines and the people.

“We start from the engineering side and deliver the final product with all aftersales and related services,” he said in a speech at an event during the Hannover Messe, the world’s biggest industrial fair.

Hoss said the centre would be inaugurated in September, and would produce both metal and plastic products.

General Electric is investing $109 million to expand a German 3D printing firm it bought last year – one of two it acquired at a total cost of over $1 billion – and would open a 3D printing customer centre in Munich.

Beancounters at Wohlers Associates think the use of 3D technology is surging. Sales reached $1 billion in 2007, jumped to $5.2 billion in 2015 and will hit $26.5 billion by 2021.


HP does well this quarter

The maker of expensive printer ink HP appears to have turned a corner.

It reported a 3.6 percent rise in quarterly revenue, largely helped by a stabilizing PC market. Revenue rose to $12.68 billion from $12.25 billion.

However, the company’s net earnings from continuing operations fell to $611 million in the first quarter ended 31 January from $650 million a year earlier. This indicates that HP is not out of the woods yet.

The results were better than the cocaine nose jobs of Wall Street predicted most expected $11.85 billion in revenue.

HP’s results included personal systems (what HP calls PCs) revenue of $8.25 billion, a 10 percent gain from a year ago. Total PC units sold rose eight percent, with notebook shipments rising 12 percent. Desktop PC sales stayed flat with the year-ago period.

HP’s largest source of profit is the ink and toner business which has been hit by competitors selling less-expensive ink cartridges and a general decline in printing of documents, especially by younger people.

Sales in that segment fell three percent in the latest quarter, improving from a 16 per cent drop in full fiscal year 2016.

Chief Financial Officer Cathie Lesjak said the results were clear proof point that we’re on the march to stabilise supplies, revenue and constant currency by the end of this year.

HP backtracks on third party Ink

history-of-print-16th-century-printing-companyThe maker of expensive printer ink, HP has backtracked on a rather nasty plan which meant that users could not buy third party ink cartridges.

HP hit the headlines when it issued an update for its printers that made it impossible to place third party cartridges in its machines.  The move was made suddenly so that buyers who had been using such cartridges for a year or more would have to buy the expensive HP ink.

The move angered consumer rights groups and it looked like HP would be facing a rather expensive court case.

Now HP said it will restore the ability of certain OfficeJet printers to use third-party ink cartridges, after being criticized for issuing a firmware update that rejects non-HP ink.

But HP is still defending its practice of preventing the use of non-HP ink and is making no promises about refraining from future software updates that force customers to use only official ink cartridges.

Writing in its bog, HP said:

“We updated a cartridge authentication procedure in select models of HP office inkjet printers to ensure the best consumer experience and protect them from counterfeit and third-party ink cartridges that do not contain an original HP security chip and that infringe on our IP,” the company said.

The recent firmware update for HP OfficeJet, OfficeJet Pro, and OfficeJet Pro X printers “included a dynamic security feature that prevented some untested third-party cartridges that use cloned security chips from working, even if they had previously functioned,” HP said.

For customers who don’t wish to be protected from the ability to buy less expensive ink cartridges, HP said it “will issue an optional firmware update that will remove the dynamic security feature. We expect the update to be ready within two weeks and will provide details here.”

HP said it will continue to use security features that “protect our IP including authentication methods that may prevent some third-party supplies from working.”

Our guess is that the new policy will come in with new machines so that customers know that they have to buy the official cartridges.

HP did apologize for its poor communication about the firmware update and promised to be more “transparent” in the future. But that alone won’t satisfy the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which called on HP for a public commitment to never again use its software update process “to distribute anti-features that work against [HP] customers’ interests.”

HP programmed its cartridges to fail

myce-hp-error-message-670x447The maker of expensive printer ink, HP, appears to have programmed all its printers to reject other people’s electronic cartridges  on 13 September.

Thousands of HP printers around the world started to show error messages on the same day, saying that non-HP cartridges were damaged. It called on customers to Remove them and replace them with new cartridges.

On HP’s support forums numerous complaints were posted and Dutch online retailer 123inkt also received a large amount of complaints on that day and decided to investigate the matter.

Looking under the bonnet of their test printers they found a large scale problem with their private label brand cartridges with several HP printers. When they emailed their customers asking them if they wanted to check if their printer also had problems, they received replies from more than 1,000 customers confirming it.

The problem existed in the printer’s firmware although HP claimed it was unaware of the fact. People who complained to HP were told the error was caused by using non-HP cartridges. A day later HP withdrew that statement and explained the problems were a side effect of an firmware update.

But HP didn’t release a firmware update at any date near the 13 September – in fact the last time the printers with problems received a firmware update was March. The firmware has been hanging around since 2015. Also printers with firmware released before March 2016 suffered from the problem and printers without any internet access started to reject non-HP cartridges.

In other words, the problem was not caused by a firmware update and HP programmed a date in its firmware on which non-HP cartridges would no longer be accepted.

On its website 123inkt said: “This problem is not unique. Printer manufacturers regularly release firmware updates which are said to enhance the printer’s performance or address security issues. The (un) intended result, however, is that the use of cheaper private label cartridges is made difficult and / or that error messages are caused. This time the problem was not the result of an update to improve the operation of the printer, but HP apparently programmed a date in its firmware on which the issues should start, the 13 September, 2016.”

HP Inc speeds up job cuts

HP logoThe maker of expensive printer ink HP Inc can’t get enough of job cuts, even though dividing the company into two was supposed to sort it out.

The outfit said it was accelerating its restructuring program and now expects about 3,000 people will exit by the end of fiscal 2016 instead of over three years as it announced in September.

HP had said it expected to cut about 33,300 jobs over three years, of which up to 3,300 were to be cut in what would become  HP inc. It said then that 1,200 people would leave the company by the end of 2016.

The restructuring will result in charges and associated cash payments of about $300 million in the current year, the company said.

HP Inc is the bit of HP that got the legacy hardware business, reported a near 12 percent drop in quarterly revenue, as it struggles with weak demand for PCs and printers.

Revenue in the company’s personal systems business fell 13 percent in the first quarter ended Jan. 31, while it declined 17 percent in its printing division from a year earlier.

PC sales have been falling sharply worldwide, and the launch of Windows 10 has so far failed to rekindle demand.

Printer demand has been hurt as corporate customers cut printing costs and consumers shift to mobile devices.

The company, which is reporting results independently for the first time since being spun off from Hewlett-Packard Co, forecast adjusted profit of 35-40 cents per share for its second quarter ending April 30. HP Inc maintained its 2016 adjusted profit forecast at $1.59-$1.69 per share.

The company’s earnings from continuing operations fell to $650 million in the first quarter from $770 million, a year earlier. Revenue fell to $12.25 billion from $13.86 billion.

All this was in line with analysts expectations.


Epson 9900 wastes tons of expensive ink

history-of-print-16th-century-printing-companyIt appears that while the printer companies have been charging a fortune for ink, they have not been exactly economic with it.

Bellevue Fine Art in Seattle decided to find out exactly how much ink their high-end Epson 9900 printer wastes, and found that the number was “shedloads.”

The Epson 9900 is a professional grade printer that costs thousands of dollars. Each 700 ml ink cartridge can cost nearly $100, and a full set runs well over $1,000. Bellevue has four of them.
When ink “runs too low,” the Epson 9900 will kindly inform you that there is only 1 per cent of ink left, that it can no longer properly clean the cartridge, and that you must change cartridges.

Bellevue Fine Art wondered how much ink was left in the “empty” cartridges and took them apart.

They found that, on average, a 700 ml cartridge still contains about 100ml of ink when you are forced to replace it. Sometimes they contain 150 ml or more. For a 350 ml cartridge, 60-80 ml of ink was left.

So basically you are being asked to throw away 15-20 per cent of the ink.

Bellevue Fine Art says it has contacted Epson numerous times about this issue, but they have not been able to get anywhere with the corporation.

The printing company wrote that Epson needed to do a better job of ink measurement in their 9900 series printers.

“We throw away hundreds of dollars of ink every month.”

Looking at it from Epson’s point of view they actually have to BUY hundreds of dollars of ink to make up for the ink that Epson told them to chuck.

Inkjet can print eye cells

Neuroscientists at Cambridge University have come up with a more interesting use for their Inkjet printer other than printing photos of the lab’s Christmas party.

According to the British journal Biofabrication, which we get for the spot the fabrication competition, the team used an inkjet printer to print cells from the eye, making a practical step in the quest to grow replenishment tissue for damaged or diseased organs.

Researchers at England’s extracted two types of cells from rat retinas and squirted them through a printer nozzle to see if they survived.

Apparently the rats’ retinas were healthy after being “printed,” retaining their ability to survive and grow.

What the Cambridge boffins Keith Martin and Barbara Lorber believe is that they could use this technique to build artificial tissue in layers.

This is the first time that the technology has been used to successfully print mature cells from the central nervous system, the scientists said. They cautioned, however, that much work lay ahead.

What they want to do is build retinal tissue for people suffering from degenerative diseases of the eye as the loss of nerve cells in the retina is a feature of many blinding eye diseases.

“The retina is an exquisitely organised structure, where the precise arrangement of cells in relation to one another is critical for effective visual function,” they said in a press release.

The team used a piezoelectric inkjet printer head, which expelled so-called glia cells and retinal ganglion cells from adult lab rats through a single nozzle less than one millimetre (0.04 of an inch) across.

Inkjet fluid has a narrow margin of error in terms of viscosity and surface tension before it stops working. Adding cells to the liquid had the potential to make a real mess.

The only thing wrong with the technique is that there was a large loss in the number of cells sinking to the bottom of the fluid reservoir where they could not be printed. The cells that were printed were undamaged and could grow. 

Serious fault means Xerox copiers make stuff up

Scanners in the Xerox WorkCentre line have started randomly altering numbers in the pages in which they are scanned.

The error was found by D Kriesel who wrote in his blog that this was not an OCR problem, just that the printer didn’t like the numbers it was given and put something else in.

Kriesel stopped short of blaming elves, but it was clear that was what he meant.

The scanned images look correct at first glance, even though numbers may actually be incorrect. The problem could cause incorrect invoices, dodgy construction plans, incorrect metering of medicine and tennis elbow.

The copiers in question are the common Xerox WorkCentres, and Xerox seemed to be unaware of the problem until Kriesel discovered it.

Different WorkCentre models appear to be affected although so far the problem was tested on the Xerox WorkCentre 7535 and 7556. The current software release, as installed by Xerox support, did not solve the problem and probably existed when Adam wore shorts.

Kriesel said that the error has been confirmed by a Xerox rental firm in the meantime, and Xerox is investigating.

He pointed out that anyone who has been using a Xerox work centre needs to worry about the documents they have scanned over the last years.

He said that Xerox seems eager to solve the problem, and because of the possible dangers an immediate publication of the issue is advisable.

A Xerox spokesperson says: “As I’m sure you’re aware, technically Xerox does not make photocopiers rather multifunctional devices for scanning, photocopying, printing and faxing.

“Therefore the vast majority of Xerox customers are unlikely to be affected by this issue. It will only occur if the user selects the scanning function on the user device or the user changes two separate settings on the scan ,compression level and image quality”.

HP, man+boy, expects Microsoft Windows 8 to do well

If the world does not end on Friday, and with HP’s luck it probably will, the maker of expensive printer ink expects to make a real killing out of Microsoft’s Window’s 8.

According to the Times of India,  HP announced that it expects PCs with Windows 8 operating system to contribute 25-30 percent to its computer sales next year. Sigh.

HP India’s president of printing and personal systems, Rajiv Srivastava said that while Windows 8 was a new platform, if 25-30 percent of the sales came from Windows 8, he would be jolly happy.

Srivastava was convinced that things were moving in that direction. He said that HP is witnessing a strong migration to Microsoft’s new operating system but more from individual customers than enterprises.

HP has launched two ultrabooks and an all-in-one, and the company’s ultra-thin notebooks, sleek AIOs and high performance PCs is designed to meet the needs of customers who have been waiting for the Windows 8 OS.

Srivastava added that products in the market, powered with the operating system were cheap enough but the touch-enabled ones would be priced a little higher.

Windows 8 has features such as an HD camera, long battery life, and its security capabilities would help HP compete in the PC market, he said. Bring back the Palm!

While Microsoft might have hoped that Windows 8 would kick start the PC market, the economy is still on the blink and sales are expected to remain flat for a while. 

Lexmark dumps inkjets

After years of selling cut-price printers, Lexmark has decided to give up and focus on its more profitable imaging and software businesses.

Although Lexmark will sell laser printers, it said that it will sell more than 1,000 inkjet-related patents and would cut 1,700 jobs, or 13 percent of its workforce.

Printer makers have had problems with falling sales. According to Reuters it is all because corporates are rushing to buy Apple tablets, however it is more likely that ink-jets have become out-dated by cheaper and better laser printers. This killed off the ink-jet model, as defined by HP, where people had to mortgage their house to pay for ink cartridges.

The inkjet market declined nearly 13 percent in the second quarter.

Lexmark said that revenue from inkjet hardware and supplies, which accounted for 21 percent of revenue last year, is to drop to about 10 percent in 2013.

It will continues to supply ink and support printers it already sold.

The company had already laid off 625 employees related to manufacturing consumer ink supplies in January.