McGowans has installed Ireland's first Massivit 1800 large-format 3D printer and is to launch a new brand to roll its 3D service out across Ireland, the UK and Europe.
Set to launch on 1 September, Eclipse 3D will see Dublin-headquartered McGowans take on five new members of staff – including a 3D pre-press expert and an installation team – to produce 3D-printed POS jobs that will complement its existing display print operation.
The new Massivit machine, understood by McGowans to be the first in both ROI and Northern Ireland, began installation in Dublin earlier this week and has been warming up with its first trial applications.
A flatbed press with thermoforming inks is set to join it at Eclipse in the next six weeks.
Chief executive Mal McGowan said: “Historically, we have always been known as early adopters of new technology. We took on one of the very first flatbeds, one of the first Indigos and, last year, became one of the first globally to take on the new Nozomi C18000.
“A lot of the brands we work with have shown interest in innovation, especially around 3D print, to enhance their customers’ experience. Objects are increasingly replacing printed matter on POS and displays, which is a market we are keen to enter.
“I have been watching Massivit develop its machine for a few years now – I have always been keen on their passion, and now they have a machine ready to serve the different, growing markets that we are positioned to address.”
First unveiled at Drupa 2016, the Massivit 1800 is a large-format additive 3D printer able to build objects up to 1.8m high in any shape within a volume of 1.5x1.2x1.8m. Objects are built as the printer extrudes layers of white polymer gel, which is then UV hardened. A human-sized object can be completed in around five hours.
Available in both single- and dual-engine configurations, McGowans opted for the dual-engine version which is capable of building two objects at once, dependent on size.
The Massivit 1800, along with the incoming flatbed, represents around €500,000 (£450,000) worth of investment for McGowans to launch its new brand. The firm’s aim is to achieve a £3m turnover for Eclipse 3D within the first three years, according to McGowan himself.
Eclipse 3D’s offering of 3D POS for markets including retail and events will continue to be bolstered by the traditional print offering of its parent company, with sales from each entity being tied together where necessary.
However, “anything that can be 3D will be 3D”, according to McGowan.
McGowans employs around 130 people across two bases in Dublin and Belfast, with its portfolio of around 20 printing machines and 15 finishing machines including five Durst Rhos and the EFI Nozomi C18000 corrugated printing line.
Turnover targets for the group in general would see 25% year-on-year growth in Belfast and 20% in Dublin.