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Speedpro Signs Calgary North East, owned by Joanne Ruston, has earned the parent company’s Franchise of the Year Award for 2014. This marks the fourth time Ruston has earned the company’s top award. Ruston also received the Al Crow Memorial Sales Award for achieving the top sales in the country. “Under the management of Joanne Ruston and Joe Yee, Speedpro Signs Calgary North East has exceeded expectations in every category and is a worthy recipient of our Franchise of the Year award,” said Stuart Burns, President of Speedpro Signs of Canada. Some of the categories used in determining Speedpro’s Franchise of the Year Award winner include sales volume and growth, ethics, innovation, employee satisfaction and community involvement.“We move beyond order taking into a consultative role with our customers,” said Ruston, “ensuring they end up with the type of signage that will satisfy their needs and objectives.”Burns continues to point out that Speedpro Signs Calgary NE also set new record sales for an individual location en route to its Al Crow Memorial Award. “By creating fantastic client experiences, Speedpro Calgary North East has developed rock-solid loyalty. This is a real team effort in which everyone in this location has played a part in earning.” Ruston entered the sign industry in 2001, following a 20-year career in the service industry. In 2009, she was named as one of Business in Calgary Magazine’s Leaders of Tomorrow.The Speedpro parent company is headquartered in Winnipeg, Manitoba, and began franchising in 1991. Today, the company has 49 franchises from Victoria to Newfoundland.
Richard Armstrong, who had led Heidelberg Canada as President for the past 14 years, is set to retire at the end of March, inline with the completion of the company’s fiscal year. He has been active in the Canadian printing industry for close to 30 years.Armstrong spent 18 years of those years with Heidelberg Canada, serving the first four years there as Vice President of Customer Service. He was instrumental in establishing new revenue streams for the press maker’s Canadian operation, through customer support, but primarily in terms of developing a substantial consumables distribution business.Leveraging Heidelberg’s dominant position in pressrooms across Canada, Armstrong, both through acquisitions and distribution partnerships, developed a consumables network that was eventually mirrored across the printing world by Heidelberg’s other country-based organizations. “It started in Canada and now it has become a major objective of Heidelberg to grow the consumables side of the business globally,” says Armstrong, who could not yet share details about future plans for Heidelberg Canada’s leadership.Armstrong was also instrumental in helping to establish a dedicated building for Ryerson University’s School of Graphic Communications Management (GCM). He worked closely with Mary Black, then Chair of Canada’s only degree-level post-secondary program focused on printing and imaging, and a handful of industry leaders to raise necessary funding to have the building built on Ryerson’s downtown university campus. The GCM building was eventually named the Heidelberg Centre based on the German press maker’s financial commitment to complete the funding needs. Last year, Ryerson GCM had more than 550 full-time students across all four years of the program, making it North America’s largest undergraduate program dedicated to graphic communications. Armstrong has also been a Director of the Canadian Printing Industries Scholarship Trust Fund for 13 years.Heidelberg, with its enormous footprint across the country, has led much of the community development and technological innovation in Canadian printing over the past three decades, including Armstrong's 14 years of leadership. “We have been fortunate to have great market share and fantastic customers. The team we have at Heidelberg Canada is amazing and it has been a real pleasure to work with all of them," says Armstrong. "Heidelberg has been a great company to work for and I will really miss the customers and staff."Prior to joining Heidelberg, Armstrong spent a year with Transcontinental Printing as a Project Engineer to develop feasibility studies for the implementation of new printing technologies across its Canadian platform. He also spent five years with Maclean Hunter Printing as an Engineer Manager, which included helping the company consolidate three separate printing facilities, and a year with Southam Murray Printing in the same capacity.Armstrong joined the printing industry in 1986 when he took on an Industrial Engineer position with Toronto-area book manufacturer Webcom Limited, where he worked the next three years. He previously worked with Canada Wire & Cable Limited and Athabasca Airways Limited.
The Kennedy Heights printing plant of Surrey, British Columbia, which opened in 1997 at a cost of around $150 million to print the Vancouver Sun and The Province newspapers, shuttered its operation on the last day of January.
Distribution of the Yellow Pages print directory, controlled by the Yellow Pages Group, will no longer include delivery to doorsteps in select neighbourhoods and areas across Canada. Instead, the directory will be made available at various distribution points, in many cases alongside the existing real estate publications of Yellow Pages. These magazines are distributed in newspaper-style, street-level boxes and distribution racks in public areas such as grocery stores and pharmacies across Canada. These distribution points have been re-outfitted with Yellow Pages branding and will now include the Yellow Pages directory in addition to the existing publications. Yellow Pages states the move comes as it continues to transform heavily in digital media and looks to what the company calls a more efficient distribution of its print media. The company reports more than 50 percent of its total revenues, over $450 million on an annualized basis, is now derived exclusively from digital products, including the YP mobile app, YP.ca, Canada411.ca, YP Shopwise, and RedFlagDeals.com, among others. Yellow Pages plans to make available tablet and desktop versions of its directories over the coming months. “The print directory side of our business continues to have a solid user base and to fulfill a specific need for the small businesses that use it to market their goods and services,” said Caroline Andrews, VP and Chief Publishing Officer of Yellow Pages. “This evolution of our distribution approach is aligned with the transformation of our company as we look to ensure the directory is making it to those who use it.” The first directory market areas that will see this change in distribution are Brampton, Mississauga and Oakville, Ontario, with subsequent areas evaluated on a per market basis over the next 12 to 18 months. The Yellow Pages directory is distributed once a year, with the distribution month varying by Canadian municipality.
Story highlights from the January 2015 issue of PrintAction magazine, including this month's cover article with Jay Mandarino, President and Founder of the C.J. Group of Companies, discussing mergers and acquisitions.
Robert Howard, one of the most-dynamic imaging innovators in North American printing over the past several decades, passed away last week at age 91. Among several companies he spearheaded, Howard was a founding director of Presstek. Howard is often regarded as the inventor of the dot-matrix printer through his firm Centronics Data Computer. His work in driving the technology behind Presstek and Howtek, both in Hudson, New Hampshire, also continue to hold significant influence in today's printing world. “The innovative vision that Bob Howard had for Presstek, and its role in the print industry when he founded the company back in 1987, has been carried forward by many dedicated and talented team members over the years,” said Geoff Loftus COO of Presstek LLC. “We can all be thankful for his role in the genesis of the company and for the thriving Presstek that continues on today.” Howard served as Presstek’s Chairman of the Board from June 1988 to September 1998, while also holding roles as President and Treasurer. After resigning from the Board, he served as the company's Chairman Emeritus until December 2000. At the time of stepping down from Presstek, fellow board member Richard Williams said: "Robert Howard's vision to make the printing press a computer peripheral has changed the shape of the printing and graphic arts industries forever. In the few short years since Presstek built its first concept press, direct imaging of a printing plate on a press has become widely accepted throughout the industry.” Presstek today holds hundreds of patents and is know for its invention of DI thermal laser direct imaging on-press technology. It was the first company to develop and bring to market chemistry-free platemaking for off-press applications. Many of the industry’s largest press manufacturers including Heidelberg, Ryobi, Xerox, KBA and Kodak have partnered with Presstek and incorporated Presstek’s DI technology on their presses. Among a range of printing industry awards, Howard received the Albert Einstein Technology Medal from the Jerusalem Fund of Aish HaTorah.
FASTSIGNS of Vancouver, one of the largest and longest-running franchises of the growing sign-making brand, added a new Esko Kongsberg V finishing table to its 5,400-square-foot production facility.Paul LeBlanc, owner of FASTSIGNS of Vancouver, invested in his franchise, the second in Canada, in January 1996. At the time, the only other franchise in Canada was thousands of kilometres away in Newfoundland. LeBlanc moved from Nova Scotia to Vancouver and to start up his FASTSIGNS operation (originally 1,800 square feet) in a large city. LeBlanc moved into his current 5,400-square-foot facility in 2008 and now employs 10 people running two roll-fed printers, a flatbed printer, and a thermal transfer printer.“We originally had a saw on our wall and a hand saw we used for cutting on production tables,” said LeBlanc. “A lot of the materials took a good amount of muscle to cut. On some occasions when clients needed a good number of retail signs and shapes, we sent them out to a subcontractor to be cut.”During a recent FASTSIGNS convention, LeBlanc recalls several other franchise owners discussing their decision to purchase industrial cutting tables, which he explains aided his decision to purchase the Esko Kongsberg V system.Esko launched the Kongsberg V entry-level cutting table in May 2014. The system designed for sign-and-display work (a second machine focuses on packaging) is based on a MultiCUT tool head for cutting and routing. The MultiCUT has various insert options with an air-cooled milling spindle of up to 45,000 rpm, suitable for acrylics and other synthetics.
PrismTech Graphics of Burnaby, British Columbia, installed a 30-inch reconditioned POLAR cutter sold through Colter & Peterson of New Jersey. The new system joins PrismTech’s existing 57-inch POLAR cutter.PrismTech, owned by Paul Milburn, who serves as President of the company, began as a small screen-printing operation in 1994. Today, the company’s 35,000-square-foot operation provides a range of commercial printing services for Greater Vancouver region, as well as a few United States-based clients in Washington State.The Burnaby printer focuses on point-of-purchase work, as well as outdoor (posters and vinyl banners) and applied graphics; wall, floor, and window graphics; and vehicle wraps. PrismTech’s largest account is described as a large national retail franchise chain with stores from British Columbia to Ontario. “We print between 10 and 10,000 impressions for the majority of the jobs, sometimes more,” said Milburn. “The new cutter is giving us the capability to take on more work.”The company’s smaller 30-inch POLAR is being used for trimming smaller products like retail shelf strips and decals. This include a number of decals as small as 5/8 x 1-inch for clients like British Columbia Automobile Association, which has more than 800,000 members, serving one of every four households in the province. PrismTech also works with the Western Canada Lottery Corporation.“We accommodate our customers’ timelines and run two shifts during the week, and day shifts on the weekends when necessary. Last month we didn’t take a day off,” said Milburn, who spent 20 years in the industry before opening his own company. “Everything here is about producing quality work and finding solutions. We have a highly skilled staff and they needed little training before this cutter was handling as much work as the larger one.”Founded in 1932, Colter & Peterson describes itself as North America’s largest independent distributor of paper cutters and paper handling equipment. The company, with approximately 50 people, is also the manufacturer of the Microcut line of retrofit back gauge controllers and the worldwide distributor of Prism and Saber paper cutters, as well as C&P and Schneider Engineering Peripheral equipment.
PointOne Graphics Inc. adds a new Morgana DigiFOLD PRO finishing system to its 70,000-square-foot trade-printing operation in Etobicoke, Ontario. The Morgana DigiFOLD PRO, purchased through Sydney Stone, is rated to crease and fold up to 6,000 A4-size sheets per hour.PointOne has been providing trade-printing services out of the Greater Toronto Area for more than 15 years. In the past couple of years, the company, led by President Dennis Low, has boosted its production with a range of new equipment, such as a Heidelberg XL 106 perfector, two Heidelberg Suprasetters, two Ricoh Pro C901 digital presses and a Vivid UV coater.
Annex Business Media, on the heels of acquiring Glacier Media assets in late January, has purchased a 40-inch, 8-colour Komori LS perfecting press, which is scheduled to be operational in the company’s Simcoe, Ontario, facility this summer.The press, purchased through KOMCAN Inc., comes equipped with a range of automation features, including: APC fully automatic plate changers, PDC-SII close-looped colour control, AMR automatic make-ready, fully automatic wash-up systems and KHS Komori high-speed inking. Operating from Georgetown, Ontario, KOMCAN is the authorized dealer for Komori equipment sales, parts and service in Ontario and Western Canada.“This purchase means growth for our print division,” said Lance Hill (right), Director of Plant Operations at Annex Business Media. “We will double our productivity, improve quality, and lower our make-ready and waste through automation.”Replacing an existing 29-inch, 8-colour press, the 40-inch Komori perfector will be a key driver of Annex’ continuing expansion in business-to-business publishing. In January, Annex, which owns PrintAction magazine, teamed up with Newcom Business Media to acquire 67 trade-publishing brands from Vancouver-based Glacier Media Inc., a deal worth $19.65 million.Annex immediately took control of 15 Glacier Media properties, adding to its existing stable of 40 business-to-business brands, the vast majority of which continue to publish a magazine, in addition to their online, digital and event components.Annex Business Media is Canada's largest business-to-business media company with over 55 properties. This total does not include the B2B media assets currently held in a joint venture between Annex and Newcom, called Annex Newcom Limited Partnership.
ICON Digital Productions Inc., a Toronto-area manufacturer of very large format printing, with offices in Montreal and New York, acquired Canada’s first Durst Rho 1312 UV, which is a 98-inch-wide hybrid inkjet system.“The Rho 1312 represents Durst’s latest generation of high-speed printers – it’s definitely one [of] the fastest we looked at,” said Juan Lau, President of ICON Digital, which has been a long-time Durst user. “Plus, its hybrid architecture gives us the flexibility to do both flatbed and roll printing.” Opened 20 years ago, ICON Digital is currently housed in a 45,000-square-foot production facility in Richmond Hill, Ontario, not far from Toronto's Pearson International Airport.The Rho 1312 reaches printing speeds of up to 6,600 square feet per hour, while handling difficult and heat-sensitive medias. It prints with 12-picolitre droplets and leverages what the company calls Gradual Flow Printing for producing smoother tones over large areas and a high-gloss finish.“For years, speeds have been improving, and the 1312 seems to have reached speeds and image quality that’s on par with litho printing,” said Lau. “Its print quality at higher speeds means we can do less outsourcing to litho printers and keep that work in-house. Plus the Rho 1312’s ink set allows us to print on a wide variety of substrates. That’s very important to customers who are always pushing the envelope on new substrates, and it’s very important to us because it helps open brand new business opportunities.”
Kelly Signs, one of the largest sign companies in Eastern Ontario, added an Esko Kongsberg i-XP24 table to its production floor in Ottawa.Founded in 1947, Kelly Signs today produces a range of applications like real estate and construction signs, trade show displays, banners and vehicle graphics, as well as storefront and building signs, pylon signs and channel letters. The company also has a business unit dedicated to producing large electrical signs.Kelly Signs operates two silkscreen presses and two flatbed inkjet printers, along with a roll-fed printer. “This is why Kelly Signs has grown into one of the largest real estate sign and full service sign companies around,” said Mark Steinberg, General Manager, Kelly Signs. “Many years ago, when we were exclusively printing with silkscreen presses, we had purchased a large guillotine cutting table. The majority of our work required square cuts on coroplast, and we could cut that material with no problem at all. Other jobs with different shapes or materials were either outsourced, or we used a band saw, jigsaw or other tools,” continued Steinberg. “Cutting a 4 x 8-foot plywood starburst could take as long as an hour. We could not necessarily justify the cost of a digital finishing table based on the other tools and work we had, but over time we felt that in order to grow our business and take it to the next level, it was time to move forward”.Steinberg explains the decision to purchase a Kongsberg i-XP 24 was largely based on the company’s need to handle a wide range of work, from vinyl to basically all substrates. With a maximum working area of 66 x 126 inches and a maximum speed of 66 inches per second, the i-XP series can convert a variety of board, sheet and roll materials.
Bryan Hall becomes Vice President, Western Canada, for Treck Hall Wide Format. He has spent more than 20 years in the wide-format sector. This includes time spent with Treck Hall Limited, Mondrian Hall and most recently Fujifilm. Treck Hall, with warehousing in Toronto and Vancouver, distributes wide-format product brands like Ritrama, Kodak, Epson and Magic. This includes supplies for printing processes like UV, Solvent, Latex and aqueous inkjet systems.Bryan Hall will be responsible for growing Treck Hall’s Wide format media business in Western Canada.
Greg Donais joins EFI as its new Sales Development Manager for Eastern Canada, focusing on EFI’s VUTEk and wide-format-inkjet portfolio. He succeeds Ken Lunn, who is retiring after being with EFI for the past 15 years.Having previously worked as both a supplier rep and printing-company owner in the inkjet arena, Donais brings a wealth of experience to his new position covering the provinces of Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, Newfoundland, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island.Donais most recently served as Vice President of Cameron Advertising’s digital division, where he worked from 2010 until January 2015. Donais also previously worked for almost five years as the Managing Director of Schawk Canada’s digital division. He also owned and operated iG3 for a decade.
Chris Raney becomes President of Baumer hhs in Dayton, Ohio, which manufacturers systems for value-added-gluing, camera-verification and quality-assurance systems for a range of industrial sectors like corrugated packaging, folding carton, printing and woodworking. In addition, Baumer hhs also welcomed Rob Bradshaw to its sales team. Bradshaw will be based in Illinois as the Midwest Sales Manager and will lead the region's sales efforts. Raney, who most recently served as VP of Packaging for Heidelberg USA Inc., brings over 25 years of relevant industry experience to his new role as President of Baumer hhs. This includes more than 10 years in the folding carton market in North America. He worked for Bobst in various roles in the United Kingdom, Switzerland and in the United States where from June 2002 he was Vice President of the Folding Carton Business Area. “We welcome Chris’ experience and leadership to the Baumer hhs team,” said Detlef Engling, Managing Director. “In his new role as President, he will provide leadership and guidance to our team. His results-oriented approach and ability to think strategically will help hhs continue to grow profitably, while extending our track record of innovation and exceeding our customers’ demands.”
Brian Gibson has joined Drytac Canada, a manufacturer of adhesive-coated products, in the role of Technical Services Manager. He holds a degree in marketing and sales from Humber College and has more than 25 years of experience in the printing industry. “Brian excels in technical troubleshooting,” said Mike Wildbore, Vice President of Sales for Drytac Canada. “He will be an excellent resource for our Canadian team, especially with his extensive industry knowledge and background in equipment repair and finishing processes.” As Technical Services Manager, Gibson will be responsible for technical support and training of Drytac’s line of finishing equipment. Prior to joining Drytac, Gibson worked for Seal as a technical service and application specialist. His industry knowledge spans areas like application training, equipment service support, product management, account management, and sales-force development.
Mutoh America Inc., a manufacturer of wide-format printers and cutters, has appointed Matt Bartlett as Regional Manager for Canada. Reporting to Mutoh's Director of Sales, Gary Rudnick, Bartlett’s main responsibilities will be growing sales and brand awareness throughout the Canadian market, as well as developing relationships with the Mutoh distribution network. Bartlett has been in the wide-format industry for more than 20 years. Prior to his position with Mutoh, he worked for Unisource as a Customer Business Manager, where he focused on expanding its large-format printer line in the commercial printing market.
Dr. Doug Edwards becomes Chief Executive Officer of Xaar plc, headquartered in Cambridge, UK, succeeding Ian Dinwoodie, who previously announced plans to retire in 2015. Dinwoodie joined Xaar in 2001 and had served as CEO since 2003. Xaar primarily develops and manufacturers piezoelectric inkjet print-heads, including technology for applications like ceramic tile decoration, coding, graphics, labeling and packaging. In March 2014, when Dinwoodie announced his upcoming retirement, Xaar launched its new 1002 GS6 print-head, building from the existing 1001 GS6 product, for UV applications, primarily aimed at the production of labels, laminates, direct-to-shape, packaging and other types of product decoration. Xaar states the 1002 GS6 print-head (featuring 1,000 nozzles) is designed to jet high-opacity white inks, as well as high-viscosity varnishes, which is enabled by Xaar’s patented TF Technology for ink recirculation and the Hybrid Side-Shooter architecture.   Edwards joins Xaar from Eastman Kodak Company, where most recently he served as President, Digital Printing and Enterprise. He has been a member of Kodak’s Executive Board since 2006. Edwards started his career in the UK in a variety of technical roles with Ilford Limited, ICI, Zeneca and International Paper before moving to the United States 14 years ago with Kodak Polychrome Graphics (a former joint venture company between Sun Chemical Corporation and Kodak). “It is a privilege to be asked to lead Xaar through this next phase of the company's development,” said Edwards, who holds a BSc in Chemistry and a PhD in Conducting Organic Materials from London University. “Excellent progress has been made by the company over the last decade but the future opportunities ahead of the company in the world of digital printing are substantial, and I am pleased to return to the UK to take up this challenge.”
Esko has acquired Minneapolis, Minnesota’s MediaBeacon Inc., which develops Digital Asset Management (DAM) software. MediaBeacon’s DAM tools, currently sold primarily in the United States through direct distribution and OEM partnerships, are applied in a range of industries from retail and consumer packaged goods to media, print and the public sector.“It is Esko’s strategy to digitize and integrate the entire packaging production workflow from design all the way to finished packs and displays in the store. With this acquisition, we further our transformation from a prepress solution provider to an end-to-end supplier in the packaging world,” said Udo Panenka, Esko President. Headquartered in Gent, Belgium, Esko employs around 1,400 people worldwide with direct sales and service organizations in Europe, Middle East and Africa, the Americas and the Asia Pacific, Japan and China regions. It has a network of distribution partners in more than 50 countries.Jason Bright, CEO and founder of MediaBeacon, is assume the role of Chief Technology Officer to work with the Esko R&D teams to drive software integration between the a range of platforms.
Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG today signed an agreement with investment company CoBe Capital for Heidelberg to acquire the European Printing Systems Group (PSG) headquartered in the Netherlands. Through this acquisition, for which the purchase price is to remain undisclosed, Heidelberg would expand its services and consumables business. Heidelberg expects the acquisition of the PSG Group, which is subject to regulatory approval, to result in additional sales of around €130 million for the Heidelberg Group, primarily through services and consumables business. The medium-term goal at Heidelberg is for services and consumables to account for over 50 percent of total Group sales. The figure currently stands at around 40 percent.PSG has approximately 400 employees in the Benelux countries (Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg) and southern Europe. It has worked closely with Heidelberg for several decades. PSG currently generates over half of its revenue through the sale of services and consumables, with Heidelberg products accounting for the majority of the company’s equipment sales.“PSG’s strength in the services and consumables business and its outstanding access to customers are very attractive to us,” said Gerold Linzbach, CEO of Heidelberg. “Having eliminated unprofitable portfolio items, we’re now starting to actively expand our portfolio in order to return the company to growth."
Cimpress entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Exagroup SAS, a Web-to-print business in Europe that focuses on serving French-language graphic arts professionals and printers. Exagroup was founded in 1999. Cimpress is the newly named holding company for Vistaprint, which now holds several European Web-to-print assets in addition to its well-known North American entity.Under the terms of the agreement, Cimpress will acquire 70 percent of the shares of Exagroup for a purchase price of approximately €91.5 million with an option to acquire the remaining 30 percent of the shares in 2019 for a price between €39 million and €47 million, subject to the achievement of financial performance targets for calendar year 2017.The acquisition, according to Cimpress, supports its strategy of building an operational platform for producing mass customizable products like signage, printing, apparel and promotional products. Cimpress produces more than 80 million unique products a year via its network of computer integrated manufacturing facilities. Exagroup provides an existing network of outsourcing partners.Exagroup’s largest brand, Exaprint, follows a trade-printing model in that it serves graphic arts professionals and offline printers who, in turn, resell to end customers. Exagroup also goes to market via a network of almost 1,000 Web-to-store retail partners under the PrintyShop brand and via the Pure Impression brand.“Over the past 15 years, Exagroup has earned the loyalty of local printers, copy shops and graphic arts professionals by delivering a wide array of innovative, creative and high-quality products via a simple-to-use extranet," said Robert Keane, President and CEO of Cimpress, "Complemented by white-label marketing tools that enable resellers to fully control and own the relationship with the end customer.”Keene continued to explain Cimpress plans to continue to invest in what he refers to as a reseller-focused value proposition – “to bring even more value to Exagroup resellers.”In calendar year 2014, Exagroup’s revenue was approximately €76 million, reflecting year-over-year growth of 17 percent. Exagroup’s free cash flow in calendar year 2014 was approximately €5 million and its EBITDA was approximately €14 million.Subject to satisfaction of various closing conditions, including antitrust clearance, Cimpress expects the transaction to close during its fourth fiscal quarter of 2015. Cimpress’ portfolio of brands includes Vistaprint, Albelli, Drukwerkdeal, Pixartprinting, among others.  
Grenville Management and Printing of Toronto, led by President Michael Burke, has purchased NCO Technologies, resulting in a combined company now operating as NCOGrenville. NCO Technologies is described as the largest dealer of Canon Imaging Systems in Ontario. NCO has been serving thousands of private and public sector clients for over 40 years. Previously based out of Newmarket, NCO Technologies, while retaining its management, sales and support teams, is moving to its downtown Toronto and Markham facilities.As a combined company, NCOGrenville will be able to provide both hardware and software solutions for building document workflows, offering a suite of on-site and off-site services to private and public sectors across Canada.  
Central National-Gottesman Inc., a U.S.-based distributor of pulp, paper and forestry products, announced today its purchase of Spicers Canada, adding to the company’s portfolio of regional paper merchants.   Headquartered in Vaughan, Ontario, Spicers Canada is one of the country’s largest distributors of fine paper, sign and display media, industrial packaging and graphic arts supplies. The company operates 15 warehouse locations throughout Canada, as well as sheeting facilities and cash-and-carry stores serving local markets. “Spicers Canada has a very strong competitive position in the market, reflecting its scale, deep set of service capabilities and exceptional leadership,” said Andrew Wallach, President and CEO, Central National-Gottesman (CNG). “We are looking forward to working with [President] Cory Turner and his team to build upon the company’s excellent reputation and market leadership.” Spicers Canada is a subsidiary of Australia-based PaperlinX Limited and ties its history back 70 years in Canada. CNG states Spicers Canada and its nearly 500 employees will continue to operate independently.Spicers Canada represents the eighth acquisition of a regional paper merchant since 2010 for CNG’s North American distribution division and is expected to add approximately $400 million in annual sales. “This transaction is an excellent fit with our existing strategy to grow organically and through strategic acquisitions,” added Ken Wallach, CNG’s Executive Chairman. “We believe it demonstrates our enduring commitment to the paper distribution business in North America.” Spicers Canada joins CNG merchants Lindenmeyr Munroe, Spicers Paper (US) and Kelly Paper in the company’s Distribution Group. The deal is expected to close at the end of February pending approval by the Competition Bureau of Canada. CNG is a $5 billion, global marketer of pulp, paper, tissue, packaging and plywood. The company was founded in 1886 and headquartered in Purchase, NY.
RR Donnelley & Sons of Chicago signs an agreement to purchase book manufacturer Courier Corp., which terminated an earlier US$260 million merger agreement with Quad/Graphics.
Goss International has completed a press enhancement project with Innotech installing a full-colour Panorama Gatefold System to produce unique advertising formats in The New York Times. Innotech, a New York based manufacturer of press auxiliary equipment, has been building customized equipment for commercial and newspaper printers for the past 25 years. The Panorama System uses what is referred to as INNOFORMER, the geometric air bar plow, for high speed folding with no set-up time. Innotech has installed many such systems, primarily retrofitted on existing presses, in China, India, Germany and Colombia. Completed to a tight schedule of around 20 weeks from initial order to the first test run, The New York Times Panorama project involved retrofitting each of two existing Goss Colorliner press lines. “Obviously, for a publisher operating on the scale of The New York Times, there is no time to lose and there can be no disruption to ongoing daily production,” said Dan Picco, Regional Sales Manager at Goss. “We had to establish failsafe processes from the outset and make sure we achieved the highest level of teamwork.” The gatefold system now running at The New York Times enables the Goss Colorliner presses to produce an additional four-page wide centrefold or a separate eight-page pull-out section, up to a maximum format of 48 x 22 inches (1,219 x 559 mm). In addition, it is possible to make smaller gatefolds or coupon folds at one or both edges for special promotions providing new display areas for advertisers. It is also possible to make gatefolds in the cover page or have the gate folded section as a wrap around the main section. “Goss and Innotech engineered a solution that gave The New York Times ultimate flexibility with regard to the positioning of specialized sections within the newspaper, without the need to purchase a new press,” said Vinod Kapoor, President at Innotech.
Publishing giant Simon & Schuster plans to produce a 960-page book containing all of Bob Dylan’s lyrics for a November launch. According Elmore Magazine, the 13-pound book, called The Lyrics: Since 1962, will initially be printed in a limited run of only 3,500 copies. Dylan over his career has sold over 125 million albums worldwide. The collector’s item book is expected to sell for $200, while Dylan plans to sign around 50 copies that are to sell for around $5,000. Elmore Magazine explains the book, which includes alternative versions of Dylan’s songs, features introductions and commentary about each song, as well as reproductions of the original cover art for each of Dylan's albums. “This book changes things, giving us the words from officially released studio and live recordings, as well as selected variant lyrics and revisions to these, recent revisions and retrospective ones; and, from the archives, words that, till now, have not been published,” said Boston University professor Sir Christopher Ricks, who led the project.
Guinness World Records sends an adjudicator to evaluate a stamp, designed for bpost Belgium to mark International Women’s Day, containing the image of a face formed with no less than 606 words. “We consider it a diversity of utmost importance,” stated Pierre Leempoel, Manager Stamps Production, bpost Belgium, when asked why the country’s postal organization made a new stamp for the International Women’s Day. “For the design we called in the designer Ann Bessemans. She used a very special technique: a combination of gridded letters [for the women’s face) and a digital microtext [for the background]. Right away a scoop in stamp land.” The stamp shows 606 words taken from the The Convention on the Elimination of all forms of discrimination against women. The adjudicator from Guinness World Records counted the number of valid words. “He did so with an iron hand: incomplete words and words that were too short were dropped,” explained Leempoel. “But we lay hold on the world record of ‘stamp having the most readable words.’ We actually do not yet know if we will figure in the famous book: only a happy few survive the selection.” The bpost stamp was printed on a 4-colour Manrolna 704 3B P 2/2 press, which was installed in 2000 and now accounts for 15 percent of the organization’s production. The Women’s Day stamp with 606 words was printed as 108,000 sheets with five stamps each.
The Lowe-Martin Group of Ottawa has printed the first 200,000-piece run of a Canada Post stamp to mark the opening of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, housed in a unique building in Winnipeg. The six-colour stamp with spot varnish is called the Canadian Museum for Human Rights Permanent (domestic rate). It measures 40 x 40 mm and was designed by Adrian Shum, with images from Mike Grandmaison. One Official First Day Cover will also be issued, measuring 191 x 113 mm. “Canada Post’s stamps tell stories of our history, our heritage and our Canadian identity. The Canadian Museum for Human Rights will invite the world to reflect on human rights struggles – both inspiring and tragic – and encourage action for a better future,” stated Deepak Chopra, President and CEO, Canada Post. “This stamp commemorates a symbol of our global human rights aspirations, told through a uniquely Canadian lens.” The CMHR is situated at The Forks in Winnipeg, which Canada Post describes as a meeting place dating back thousands of years at the junction of the Assiniboine and Red rivers. “It was important to use an image that featured the four main elements of the building," stated stamp designer Adrian Shum. "The dark roots through which visitors enter, the mountain which houses the galleries, the glass canopy cloud, and the brilliant Tower of Hope guide visitors through their journey.” CMHR’s unique building welcomes guests on the ground level, before the ascend through a series of ramps to encounter galleries filled with human rights stories, finally reaching the Tower of Hope, a 23-story glass structure that overlooks Winnipeg. “When Canadians use this new stamp on their correspondence, they will help spread awareness of the museum and the importance of human rights across Canada and around the world,” stated Stuart Murray, CMHR President and Chief Executive Officer.
TC Transcontinental Printing today announced a multi-year agreement with Postmedia Network Inc. to print The Gazette newspaper, which is published Monday to Saturday, primarily for the Montreal market. The contract with Postmedia Network is scheduled to begin in August 2014. The agreement was not predicated on TC Transcontinental making new capital investments, which is often the case when signing long-term newspaper-printing contracts.“Given the current pace of change in the newspaper industry, this [new] agreement demonstrates the relevance of our printing platform and our ability to help publishers across Canada become more efficient,” stated Brian Reid, President of TC Transcontinental Printing. “We continue to benefit from our outsourcing offering as publishers express interest in our solution. We are actively pursuing additional outsourcing opportunities in the Canadian market.” Reid also stated this new Postmedia agreement builds upon recent deals between the publisher and printer to produce both the Calgary Herald and the Vancouver Sun, which were first announced back in September 2013. TC Transcontinental began printing the Calgary Herald in November 2013, while the five-year agreement to print the Vancouver Sun is slated to begin in early 2015. In December 2013, TC Media, a division of TC Transcontinental, reached a $75 million agreement to purchase 74 Quebec-based community newspapers and associated online properties owned by Sun Media, a subsidiary of Quebecor Media. Parent company TC Transcontinental describes itself as the largest printer in Canada, as well as one of the country’s leading providers of media and marketing tools. The company has more than 9,000 employees and generated revenues of $2.1 billion in 2013.
Advertising Age late last week reported on a media roundtable hosted by The New York Times at which the newspaper’s Publisher, Arthur Sulzberger Jr., said “Print will be around longer than the desktop.” Sulzberger was in conversation with Times CEO Mark Thompson, as they held a Media Minds breakfast about new business models in newspaper publishing, noting the growing power of mobile computing. Read the full Adage.com article
drupa 2016 in Germany is to include what the exhibition organizer, Messe Düsseldorf, describes as six theme parks in the drupa innovation park (dip), covering 32,000 square feet in Hall 7. A “dip energy lounge” is also planned to promote dialogue between industry peers.In mid-February Messe Düsseldorf announced it would move from its longstanding 4-year show cycle to hold the event, widely recognized as printing's largest trade show, every three years. The new cycle begins after drupa 2016, taking place from May 31 to June 10.“The drupa innovation park is a fantastic way for young companies and start-ups, as well as global players with forward looking solutions and applications, to present themselves,” said Sabine Geldermann, Director of drupa. dip was introduced at drupa 2004. “[dip] will give visitors a chance to get insights into the technologies of the future. We believe that this opportunity will give our industry an indispensable tool to support strategic business decisions.”dip 2016 Theme Parks1. Multichannel Publishing & Marketing SolutionsThis area will cover topics such as management of cross-media content/assets, web and app publishing, as well as database publishing and marketing and brand management solutions. Potential applications and trends like augmented reality, NFC applications and customized mass production will also be addressed.2. Web-to-Media & E-CommerceThis area will focus on solutions for Web-to-publish and Web-to-print, E-commerce and shop platforms, cloud publishing and Web editors for design/print and HTML 5.3. Process Optimization & AutomationThis park will include topical solutions and innovation, including: Management information systems, enterprise resource planning, print automation with JDF/JMF, workflow management from pre-press to finishing, process and quality control systems, industrial robots and automation technologies.4. Added Value in PrintThe focus will be on finishing, further development and the advanced added-value of print products, including innovative substrates, new finishing methods, packaging, label printing and displays, green printing and secure printing.5. Innovations in Printing TechnologiesModern printing and process technologies will be presented like functional printing, printed electronics, 3D printing, prototyping, visualization and workflow.6. Business ModelsNew business concepts and models, strategic cooperation and marketing platforms, as well as finance concepts and franchising and license models will be the subject of this thme park.
“Ipex is not dead and Informa has every intention of running it again and is committed to working with the industry to ensure the next Ipex is both relevant and successful,” explains Peter Hall, Managing Director Informa Exhibitions.Following the trade-show turmoil created by drupa’s announcement that it will switch to a three-year frequency cycle, Peter Hall, managing director of Ipex owner Informa Exhibitions has countered reports emanating from drupa’s global media conference that ‘Ipex is dead’ and is ‘unlikely to take place again.’Informa Exhibitions, who purchased Ipex from owners Picon (formerly the British Federation of Printing Machinery Manufacturers), in 2006 having organized the two previous successful Ipex exhibitions, is part of Informa plc, a London stock exchange-listed company specializing in B2B knowledge, business intelligence and transfer using publications, conferences, events, training, websites and trade shows. Its financial year 2014 gross revenues were equivalent in Australian dollars to $2.24 billion. Within this, Informa’s stellar performing division was its Global Exhibitions division, which recorded a 25 percent increase in revenue under the leadership of Peter Hall.A company of such substance and success, whose current share price is on a 45-degree upward trajectory, is unlikely to be fazed by one mediocre showing, which Ipex 2014 undoubtedly was. Rather, it is likely to apply all of its considerable resources to go back to the drawing board and come up with creative, innovative and new ways of delivering an event that the printing and graphic arts world wants and needs. Added to this is the recruitment of Patrick Martell, former CEO of one of the UK’s largest printers, the St Ives group, in a business intelligence role. Ipex 2014 suffered from several major exhibitor withdrawals including the employer of the then Ipex President, Canon. Still reeling from post-GFC effects, slashed budgets and industry consolidation, first Heidelberg, then HP followed by Canon, Kodak, Xerox and others pulled out of the show. Of the major digital suppliers, only Konica Minolta kept the faith and by all accounts had a very successful show. Companies such as Dainippon Screen, Fujifilm and EFI also stayed in and reported positive results.Perhaps Ipex 2014 also suffered from the change principle. It was the first time in 34 years that the show had been held in London, having been domiciled at the National Exhibition Centre, near Birmingham since 1980. Even that move was initially described as ‘disastrous’ as the dominant paradigm was that all big shows had to be in London. However, Ipex at the NEC grew to cultivate a loyal constituency, endeared to the semi-rural surrounds where friendly pubs abound and Bed-and-Breakfast accommodation could be enjoyed cheaply in places like Stratford, Warwick, Leamington Spa and smaller villages of Warwickshire while more elaborate hotels were also plentiful in Birmingham, Coventry and Solihull.Ipex is of course renowned for premiering digital printing to the world, with both Indigo and Xeikon choosing Ipex 1993 as their respective launching pads. While always more compact than drupa, it has consistently delivered an excellent programme of innovation, relevance and convenience, with English as the language for communication. Its traditional equilibrium, balanced at two-yearly intervals between drupas, has worked very well despite the 2014 hiccups. Until last year, visitors would always see drupa promoting at Ipex and Ipex promoting at drupa, by mutual consent.Now it seems that genteel understandings between trade show organizers have been subjugated by ‘Cry havoc and let the dogs loose.’ Drupa’s position regarding its triennial move, is that there may be some ‘irritation’ amongst trade show organizers in other countries who have always respected the Düsseldorf cycle. I think it is more than irritation; it’s anger at not being consulted.That drupa is an important and influential event on the printing and graphic arts calendar can not be disputed; it works superbly but it has ignored, or has just been blind to, the market stimuli that have allowed LabelExpo to become a global force in narrow-web packaging exhibitions, and FESPA to become a multi-edition and highly successful series of events for the burgeoning digital signage and display sector. Labels and wide format are the two highest growth rate sectors in the graphic arts.Drupa 2016 is already sandwiched between LabelExpo Europe in September 2015 and LabelExpo Americas in September 2016. It is also girt by FESPA Digital in Amsterdam in March 2016, just two months before drupa. It is likely that these two market events will impact on labelling and wide format presence at drupa.Back to Ipex; its smaller footprint and digital focus has always been an advantage. Because of the dearth of British print machinery manufacturing (Timson’s the last British press maker has just gone into receivership), the lobbying has tended to be more international. German and Swiss print manufacturing powerhouses such as Heidelberg, KBA, manroland, Kolbus, Goebel and Muller Martini have traditionally called the shots at drupa but the reality today is that Germany has almost no digital press manufacturing of its own origination and this vital growth sector is dominated by US, Japanese, Belgian, Israeli and even UK companies.Since its inception, drupa has had Presidents that have been associated with Heidelberg, Goebel or KBA.With a declining manufacturing base to support, this leaves drupa with the dominant function as a trade show organiser; much in the same way that Photokina has remained a popular photographic biennial event in Cologne despite once great brands such as Zeiss, Rollei, Leica, Voigtlander, Braun and Linhof having been steamrollered by the Japanese Nikon, Canon, Olympus, Panasonic and Sony.This means that the task for Ipex is one of developing a compelling new format that, as Peter Hall says, ensures both relevance and success. It is quite apparent that the resolve at Informa is to do just this and sources indicate that the company is already working closely again with Picon.This completely debunks the scuttlebutt that the show is dead and will not take place again. Informa is a major player in global exhibitions and growing fast. It has the resources to correct any aberrations that the 2014 event may have suffered from.Andy McCourt is freelance consultant editor to Print21, the official journal of the Printing Industries Association of Australia.
drupa, the world's largest exhibition focused on the printing industry, plans to switch to a 3-year cycle after the 2016 show taking place from May 31 to June 10. Traditionally, the event based in Düsseldorf, Germany, has run every four years. “The entire print process chain has changed radically because of the Internet and digital technologies. New applications and solutions are developing and opening up new fields of business. At the same time, there is more focus on innovative technologies, such as 3D printing, printed electronics and functional printing,” stated Claus Bolza-Schünemann, Chairman of the drupa Advisory Board and President of Koenig & Bauer Group. “It’s more important than ever before that our customers have an overview of the latest technology and are also inspired to use new business models and solutions. drupa is the only specialist trade fair in the world to offer this – and will do so every three years in the future.” Show organizers point to a positive side-effect of moving to a 3-year cycle in that drupa will no longer take place in 2020, the same year as interpack, one of the world’s largest trade fairs for the packaging industry. “For the drupa exhibitors who specialize in packaging printing, 2020 would have been an incredibly stressful year so the change will clearly benefit customers,” said Werner Matthias Dornscheidt, President & CEO of Messe Düsseldorf.The exact dates have not yet been finalized, but future drupa exhbitions will take place in the traditional drupa month of May in 2019, 2022 and 2025 in Düsseldorf, Germany.  
The SGIA, an association focused on the production of signage and display graphics, has revealed its free sessions to take place over three days at Graphics Canada, running from April 16 to 18 at the International Centre. The program, referred to as SGIA’s Specialty Graphics Opportunity Zone, is comprised of 13 sessions, five of which are to be lead by SGIA staff members, including: Introduction to Wide-Format Digital Printing on both Thursday and Saturday of the Graphics Canada show; Current Trends & Opportunities in Wide-Format Digital; Understanding Changes to WHMIS and New Ontario Safety Requirements; and Understanding Changes to WHMIS and New Ontario Safety Requirements. The remaining session are to be primarily presented by technology suppliers, including Mutoh, Mimaki, Fujifilm, Esko and 3M. Printers Scott Crosby of Holland & Crosby and Sheldon Rier of Mitographics are involved in sessions focusing on the business of wide-format printing, while consultant Mike Ruff presents a session called Best Practices of the Most Profitable Digital Printing Companies. More details about the SGIA sessions can be found at Graphicscanada.com.
The Toronto-area stage of the 2014 Uvu Unisource Design and Print Excellence Awards, which is a national traveling exhibit of high-end Canadian printing, took place last week at the Arcadian Loft.
The cover story of PrintAction magazine’s January 2015
Standard Register Company on March 12 announced that it and its subsidiaries filed voluntary petitions under Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code in the United States.The company also announced that it is pursuing a sale process and has entered into an acquisition agreement with an affiliate of Silver Point Capital L.P., a private investment firm managing approximately US$8.5 billion in combined assets. The agreement was submitted to the Bankruptcy Court on March 12.Under the proposed purchase agreement, Standard Register’s assets will be sold for approximately US$275 million plus the assumption of certain liabilities. The sale agreement contemplates a Court-supervised auction process, which is designed to facilitate a competitive sales process. “Standard Register has a fundamentally stable underlying business with a large, diverse customer base and a strong portfolio of solutions that include integrated communications, product marking and decoration (labels), document management, promotional marketing and technology/professional services, but our ability to invest in growth has been hampered by our debt structure and legacy liabilities," said Joseph Morgan Jr., President and CEO, of Standard Register.Silver Point is an existing secured lender of the company and, in combination with Bank of America, has agreed to extend US$155 million in financing in the form of a debtor-in-possession (DIP) credit facility. Standard Register states the DIP facility should provide ample liquidity to facilitate its sale process and to fund operations.Standard Register states it believes that the sale to Silver Point Capital will right-size its balance sheet by significantly reducing its outstanding indebtedness and other liabilities. “In response to the traditional print market decline, Standard Register repositioned itself as a market-focused, integrated communications provider where today, the majority of both revenue and profit are being derived,” said Morgan.
Engineering group Langley Holdings plc, the parent company of Manroland Sheetfed after its acquisition in 2012, published its IFRS Annual Report & Accounts for the year ended 31 December, 2014. Langley reported a profit before tax of €100.6 million on revenues of €779.4 million. Chairman Tony Langley said that the group's divisions had performed in line with or ahead of expectations. Manroland Sheetfed, Langley’s largest division in terms of revenue and employees, reported a small profit.Piller, the producer of power protection systems for data centres and Claudius Peters, the plant machinery constructor, performed in line with expectations while the other businesses division, principally Bradman Lake, the packaging machinery specialist, also had what Langley classifies as a satisfactory year.Langley also acknowledged the contribution made by the group’s 4,000 employees and welcomed around 300 employees of the newly acquired DruckChemie group to the family of businesses.
Kodak is establishing a new organizational structure to take effect on January 1, 2015, with five business divisions: Print Systems; Enterprise Inkjet Systems; Micro 3D Printing and Packaging; Software and Solutions; and Consumer and Film. “Kodak has an extraordinary product and service portfolio, groundbreaking scientific and engineering expertise, and a world-famous and highly trusted brand,” said Jeff Clarke, Kodak Chief Executive Officer. “We now have the right organizational structure for deploying those strengths to drive growth.”   The Print Systems division is to be led by Brad Kruchten, focusing on graphic arts and commercial print customers with printing plates, computer to plate (CTP) imaging, electrophotographic press technology, OEM toner and all equipment services. Enterprise Inkjet Systems is to be led by Philip Cullimore, focusing on existing inkjet technologies like the Prosper and Versamark, as well as ink OEM solutions.   Micro 3D Printing and Packaging is to be led (on an interim basis) by Philip Cullimore, focusing on packaging customers and display OEM partners with products such as Flexcel NX systems, legacy packaging solutions and touch sensor films. The Software and Solutions division is to be led by Eric-Yves Mahe and the Consumer and Film division is to be led by Steven Overman, who is also Kodak’s Chief Marketing Officer. Kodak is also combining its current four regional sales organizations into two: Europe, United States and Canada, Australia and New Zealand (EUCAN) and Asia, Latin America, Middle East and Africa (ALMA). These will be led by John O’Grady, Managing Director, EUCAN, and Lois Lebegue, Managing Director, ALMA. In addition to CEO Jeff Clarke, the company has also altered its executive structure to reduce overlap with the following leaders: John McMullen, Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President; Mark Green, Chief Human Resources Officer and Senior Vice President; Steven Overman, Chief Marketing Officer and Senior Vice President; Patrick Sheller, General Counsel, Secretary and Chief Administrative Officer and Senior Vice President; Terry Taber, Chief Technical Officer and Senior Vice President; and Kim VanGelder, Chief Information Officer and Vice President.
The Trustee in General Printers’ bankruptcy action confirms its creditors have accepted the company’s proposal and, following a December 16 auction of equipment, operations have officially ceased at the Oshawa facility. According to the proposal sent to creditors, four primarily paper suppliers listed as creditors in the bankruptcy action were collectively owed $441,179, while third-party printers were owed just over $30,000, and finishing companies more than $125,000, not including a mailing service provider owed $141,469.   Previous article from December 5: Consolidated Graphics Canada Ltd., which operates as General Printers, plans to close its facility in Oshawa, Ontario, following its proposal to creditors, who are to vote on the action on December 12. The estimated amount of total debt owed to creditors is $4.6 million, with approximately $2.15 million secured.   In late-October, General Printers made a Notice of Intention to Make a Proposal filing under Canada’s Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act, which held the potential for the company to restructure. General Printers had a 30-day schedule in November to meet its cash flow obligations. “Prior to the 30-day initial stay expiring, the company made a proposal to its creditors,” explains the Harris&Partners trustee who is overseeing the filing. “The intention is an organized wind down including an auction of [General Printer’s] assets, completing work in process, collecting receivables and selling real estate. The creditors meeting is set for December 12, 2014, to vote on the Proposal made to creditors.” David Fors, a principal owner of General Printers, was not avialable this morning for comment. Fors had led the operation as President since 1991. General Printers was established in 1951 and was one of the region’s most-visible printing operations. The General Printers auction is scheduled to take place on December 16, 2014, at the company’s Ritson Road facility and online, beginning at 10:30 am. Equipment inspection is available the day prior. Some of the key pieces of equipment up for auction include: an 8-colour, 40-inch Heidelberg Speedmaster 102-8-p+l (2007); 8-colour, 40-inch Heidelberg Speedmaster 102-8-p5 (1998); 2-colour, 40-inch Komori Lithrone (1998); Xerox iGen3; Lawson MPV-60 controlled guillotine; an assortment of Stahl and Heidelberg folding lines; and Muller Martini stitching lines.
Oshawa-based Consolidated Graphics Canada Ltd., which operates as General Printers, made a Notice of Intention to Make a Proposal filing under Canada’s Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act. The company now has until early November to meet cash flow obligations, possibly mid-November with an extension, overseen by bankruptcy trustee Harris&Partners. “Due to a downturn in business, the company was facing a cash crunch and was no longer able to meet its obligations as they became due,” wrote a Harris&Partners trustee overseeing the bankruptcy act filing. Phone calls and an email to David Fors, a principle of General Printers, have gone unanswered to find out more information about the company’s current situation and future plans after the bankruptcy act filing. Fors has led General Printers as President since 1991. The company itself was established in 1951. General Printers lost one of longtime leaders in 2011 when Fred Thornley, co-owner and Vice President, passed away at age 63. He had spent 45 years at the company. General Printers describes itself both as an employee-owned company and as a division of Consolidated Graphics Canada Limited, the name under which the bankruptcy act filing was made. Harris&Partners reports General Printers intends on putting its hard assets out for public tender or auction to meet some of its obligations, although the exact process has not yet been determined.
HP of Palo Alto, California, today announced plans to separate into two new publicly traded companies: one comprising HP’s enterprise technology infrastructure, software and services businesses, which will do business as Hewlett-Packard Enterprise, and one that will comprise HP’s personal systems and printing businesses, which will do business as HP Inc. and retain the current logo. Immediately following the transaction, scheduled for completion by the end of fiscal 2015, HP shareholders will own shares of both Hewlett-Packard Enterprise and HP Inc. HP expects its separate into two companies to result in eliminating approximately another 5,000 jobs. Today’s announcement comes as HP approaches the fourth year of its five-year turnaround plan. “Our work during the past three years has significantly strengthened our core businesses to the point where we can more aggressively go after the opportunities created by a rapidly changing market,” stated Meg Whitman, Chairman, President and CEO of HP. “The decision to separate into two market-leading companies underscores our commitment to the turnaround plan. It will provide each new company with the independence, focus, financial resources, and flexibility they need to adapt quickly to market and customer dynamics, while generating long-term value for shareholders.” Whitman will continue to hold the titles of President and Chief Executive Officer of HP, and Cathie Lesjak, the company’s current CFO, will hold these positions with Hewlett-Packard Enterprise. When the separation is complete, Whitman will also serve on the Board of Directors of Hewlett-Packard Enterprise, and Pat Russo will move from Lead Independent Director of HP to Chairman of Hewlett-Packard Enterprise. Dion Weisler, Executive VP of HP’s Printing and Personal Systems business, will lead HP Inc. as President and CEO. Whitman will serve as non-executive Chairman of HP Inc.’s Board of Directors.
Drytac, a manufacturer of adhesive-coated products, appoints ND Graphics as its exclusive Canadian distributor for the sign and large-format printing market. The move, according to Drytac, was in part due to its 2013 acquisition of a second manufacturing and coating operation in Toronto, which has resulted in greater demand for product distribution. Drytac also states it is becoming increasingly focused on expanding its presence in self-adhesive markets, such as labels and tags used in packaging, automotive and industrial applications. With 10 stocking locations across Canada and an outside sales staff of more than 30, Drytac explains ND Graphics is well equipped to support existing business and to develop new business in the sign and imaging markets. ND Graphics stocks approximately 4,000 products, including equipment and print material, and has established customer service and technical support teams.“It is imperative that Drytac focus on manufacturing and custom coating in Canada,” said Mike Wildbore, Drytac’s Vice President of Sales. “By partnering with ND Graphics, we will be able to shift our attention to industrial and non-graphic markets that offer untapped potential for our business.”Drytac manufacturing of adhesive-coated products focuses on applications like graphic films, window films, double-sided tapes, self-adhesive print media, label stock, industrial adhesives, and heat-activated and pressure-sensitive laminates and mounting adhesives.  
EFI and Konica Minolta Business Solutions (KMBS) signed a non-exclusive agreement for KMBS to distribute and service EFI’s wide-format inkjet imaging technology across North America. The announcement was made during Konica Minolta’s National Dealer Meeting in Los Angeles.“EFI has longstanding, successful strategic alliance with KMBS centred on the development of EFI Fiery products for Konica Minolta production equipment, and we are very pleased to have the opportunity to expand our partnership,” said Frank Mallozzi, EFI’s Senior VP of Worldwide Sales and Marketing.The 65-inch-wide EFI H1625 LED hybrid inkjet printer will be the first system available through the KMBS sales network this coming May. It features four colour grayscale print heads producing what EFI describes as near-photographic image quality, as well as white-ink capabilities.
MPS Systems North America Inc. has named Northern Graphic Solutions Inc. as its distributor of its flexo and offset presses in central and eastern Canada. MPS, with its global headquarters in the Netherlands, manufactures printing and converting machines for the pressure-sensitive and packaging printing markets. “We are excited to join the MPS team,” said Jerry Wynia, President of NGS. “We truly believe MPS is the leader in print quality and production efficiencies, offering its customers a real competitive advantage with today’s challenges.” MPS has been selling and servicing its presses in North America for several years, and in May 2014 the company announced it was strengthening that presence by expanding its sales, installation, service and assembly operations. MPS states its new partnership with NGS is another step in fulfilling this goal.  “By combining the technical innovation and high quality manufacturing of MPS with the market knowledge and customer service of NGS, we can optimally satisfy the needs of the Canadian market,” said Kees Nijenhuis, MPS’ vice president of North American operations. One of the flexo presses NGS is offering is MPS’ flagship EF printing press. The EF is an automated, multi-substrate press available at 13-, 17- and 20-inch formats, which includes the Crisp.Dot technology and features a choice of either plate rolls or print sleeves. The press features both UV and hot-air drying technology, allowing users to print diverse substrates including film, paper, shrink sleeves and flexible packaging.
Mitsubishi Imaging Inc. has signed as a North American distributor with CRON-ECRM, which focuses on the supply of CtcP products, accessories and Blackwood printing plates. “This announcement affirms Mitsubishi Imaging’s longstanding commitment to the offset print and CTP markets with a solution that will help the offset print community remain strong and profitable for years to come,” said Catherine Cartolano, Vice President of Sales and Technical Services, Mitsubishi Imaging. Mitsubishi Imaging is headquartered in Rye, New York. CRON-ECRM is a joint venture between ECRM and Hangzhou CRON Machinery & Electronics for distribution of CRON products and Blackwood printing plates and chemistry. “We are delighted to have this partnership with such a well-known and widely regarded supplier to the printing industry and look forward to expanding MII’s portfolio with new and innovative product offerings," said CRON-ECRM President and CEO Rick Black.
CMD Insight Ltd. of Toronto, focused on providing distribution and consulting about print-enhancement technologies, becomes a new distributor for LasX products in the Canadian market, while also working to promote and market Scodix technology.   Christian Knapp, a well-known European printing executive, is the driving force behind CMD Insight as Managing Director and a partner in the business. He recently moved to Toronto with his Canadian-born wife. Knapp previously served as Managing Director and CEO of KBA United Kingdom, a subsidiary of German press maker Koenig & Bauer Group, from January 2001 until July 2013. During this time, Knapp grew the KBA UK sales, service and distribution channel from $9 million to more than $60 million with 50 employees. He also previously served as VP of Sales for MAN Roland in Germany. With CMD Insight, Knapp plans to focus on providing Canadian printers with products and services that make print stand out and provide added value to brand owners. Knapp describes his tech focus as being aimed at digital photo-quality presses, digital enrichment devices and sophisticated laser-cutting technology. This is to now include LasX laser cutting technologies, which have been developed out of the United States for more than 16 years. The partnership was recently on display at the Print World tradeshow in Toronto with a demonstration of the LasX Matrix Modular Digital Finishing system. As a base model, Matrix provides programmable laser to die cutting, perforating, and scoring. CMD Insight also recently reached an agreement to promote Scodix’ unique finishing systems, designed to add finishing enhancements to printed products.
Howard Graphic Equipment entered into a new business collaboration with Versatech Press Electronic Service in relation to Komori press technology. As part of the new deal, Versatech acquires Howard Graphic Equipment’s (HGE) large Komori spare parts inventory. The Komori spare parts inventory purchased by Versatech is valued at over $350,000. “I have known John Simons for 25 years,” said Nick Howard. “During that time, we have enjoyed working together on various projects and I find, as do many, John’s excellent knowledge of the Komori platform amazing… John is well liked and easy to deal with. We have no qualms in recommending Versatech to any of our clients who operate Komori equipment.” HGE and Versatech also announced the two longstanding companies have agreed to utilize Versatech’s services in relation to Komori press installations and repairs.  “I’m looking forward to being able to continue offering, not only exceptionally priced spare parts, but also to work with HGE on installations and repairs of Komori machinery,” stated John Simons. “With our commitment, Versatech now becomes the largest stockholder of Komori spare parts in Canada.”
Allegra Network LLC announced it plans to install Avanti Slingshot as the new core of WorkStream, a Web storefront to MIS workflow platform used by its North American base of 270 marketing and print communications franchises. The move to Avanti Slingshot was led by Ricoh Americas, one of Allegra’s key printing technology providers, which made a multimillion-dollar investment in Avanti Computer Systems back in July 2013. In December 2014, Ricoh acquired PTI Marketing Technologies, described as a software-as-a-service (SaaS) asset management and marketing solutions provider, building on an preexisting technology partnership between itself, Avanti and PTI. Allegra, based Plymouth, Michigan, states it selected Avanti Slingshot for its ability to provide an easy-to-use, cloud-based platform to support its franchises of all sizes. “We pride ourselves on providing our franchise community with the technology and tools they need to efficiently manage their businesses, and Avanti Slingshot delivers with its robust suite of modules and ability to handle multiple lines of business,” said Joe D’Aguanno, Chief Technology Officer, Allegra Network. “Our relationship with Allegra is one we are extremely proud of at Ricoh. A truly innovative company, Allegra sees the need for tools that can effectively help their business grow and their operations to continuously enhance,” said John Fulena, VP Production Printing Business Group, Ricoh Americas. “Avanti Slingshot is an award-winning and proven solution… we are very pleased that Allegra has chosen this solution and look forward to our continued collaboration.” Avanti Slingshot was launched in 2013 as a browser-based platform for quoting, job ticketing, costing and tracking, through to billing.  Slingshot modules can be added as a franchise member expands into new lines of business, such as large format. “Avanti Slingshot is a fantastic tool to help cultivate a more meaningful customer relationship, helping our clients remain competitive in the ever-changing print market landscape,” said Patrick Bolan, President and CEO, Avanti. “This is the beginning of a long-term relationship between Ricoh, Avanti and Allegra Networks…”
During the first press conference of Graph Expo 2014, Mark Hischar, President and CEO of KBA North America, announced Koenig & Bauer Group will collaborate with HP to develop new roll-to-roll inkjet solutions for the corrugated packaging market. The co-developed solutions, with KBA providing its expertise in paper transport systems and HP its inkjet knowledge, are to be marketed under the HP brand. HP estimates the corrugated package printing industry represents an addressable market of US$2.5 billion. Hischar also pointed to segment trends like SKU proliferation, micro-segmentation and shorter product lifecycles as driving demand high-speed inkjet press technology. Both companies would not elaborate on the systems under development beyond stating they are focusing on roll-to-roll thermal inkjet systems. KBA North America also announced a new strategic alliance to jointly market Tensor  printing equipment to the semi-commercial, insert and newspaper print markets worldwide. Under the terms of the agreement, KBA will actively promote Tensor’s single-width printing solutions. At Graph Expo, KBA North America also introduced its new RotaJET L Series Inkjet Press designed as a modular system, available in various web widths, maximum printing widths, and color content. The series is aimed at markets like book, direct mail, magazine, newspaper, packaging and industrial printing. The new KBA press series includes five RotaJET printing systems that can handle web widths ranging from 895 to 1,300 mm (35.2 to 51.1 inches). KBA explains it is possible to upgrade a KBA RotaJET 89 (web width 895 mm/35.2 inches) to a RotaJET 100, RotaJET 112, RotaJET 123 or the high-end RotaJET 130 (web width 1,300 mm/51.1 inches). It is also possible to modify a monochrome system into a four-colour system. KBA’s existing RotaJET 76 system is still available but its printing width of 781 mm (30.7 inches) cannot be extended.
Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG is realigning the manufacturing of its postpress equipment through a new OEM partnership with Masterwork Machinery Co. headquartered in Tianjin, China. Heidelberg states production of postpress equipment at its German manufacturing sites is no longer competitive under the new market conditions. The company’s postpress in Germany are to be discontinued, except for production of folding machines at its Ludwigsburg site, a city in Baden-Württemberg, Germany, about 12 kilometres north of Stuttgart. Postpress packaging products and solutions will in the future be developed and manufactured by the new Chinese OEM partner Masterwork Machinery with Heidelberg retaining responsibility for sales and service activities. For postpress products in the commercial-printing area, Heidelberg will only continue to market its existing folding machines and cutters, therefore not affecting business with Polar technology. Swiss company Müller Martini will take over service activities for installed equipment from the discontinued series. “The competitiveness of postpress product lines at Heidelberg was limited, so these activities are being placed on an entirely new footing,” stated Heidelberg CEO Gerold Linzbach. These measures are to result in the closure of Heidelberg’s Leipzig site and a reduction in the company’s workforce at Ludwigsburg and Wiesloch-Walldorf sites. A total of around 650 employees worldwide will be affected.
QuadTech has formed a new partnership with the Gallus Group of Switzerland to provide QuadTech’s closed-loop colour control and colour measurement systems for Gallus’ offset, flexo and gravure presses. “Gallus has vast market experience and the widest customer base in the label printing industry. However, we recognized the opportunity to partner with QuadTech to provide our customers with state-of-the-art spectral colour measurement and colour control systems,” stated Dr. Thomas Weber, Supplier Relationship Management at Gallus. The initial integration plan between the two companies focuses on the QuadTech Color Control System with SpectralCam, which provides automated inline, closed-loop colour control for offset operations. SpectralCam adjusts ink keys to maintain specified colour targets on the fly and at full press speeds. Flexo and gravure printers can also leverage the QuadTech Color Measurement System with SpectralCam for inline monitoring of all packaging substrates, including challenging translucent, transparent and reflective films. Colour variations, explains QuadTech, are sent to the operator in real-time to change colour specifications, eliminating press stoppages and the manual process of removing sections of the web to measure colour.
Ultimate Technographics Inc. of Montreal has enhanced an integration partnership with Enterprise Print Management Solutions (EPMS) of Middleboro, Massachusetts.

The two companies will work closely to improve the flow of information between EPMS’ print management system and Ultimate’s Impostrip imposition software. Ultimate currently has over 30,000 imposition engines in place with prepress and printing professionals worldwide. “Because prepress cost greatly affects profitability, we believe our partnership with EPMS will provide the right connectivity that will help our customers realize a strong profit margin on every job they bill and especially using our gang run module AutoFlow,” stated Joanne David, President and CEO at Ultimate Technographics. “Integration is about job productivity. With EPMS and Impostrip our mutual client companies can now use proven tools that will automate the processes from order capture to print.” EPMS and Ultimate Technographics have already been working together for over two years and this latest agreement adds another level of functionality to their product integration.
“Manual intervention on a job to plan imposition is both time consuming and prone to human error. By automating this process through the integration with Impostrip, we are able to help our clients significantly reduce, and maybe entirely eliminate the touches previously needed between the MIS solution and production,” stated Mark Andersen, President and CTO of EPMS. “This integration provides our clients with the ability to automate the creation of gang-run impositions, using our Gang Run Wizard integrated with Impostrip.”
Fujifilm Corporation and Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG have reached a new global strategic partnership in the area of inkjet printing, which is described as a broad alliance aimed at strengthening existing business and establishing a platform to drive new business. “In Fujifilm, we have found an internationally recognized partner with innovative strengths in future-oriented areas – consumables and inkjet technology," stated Gerold Linzbach, CEO of Heidelberg. "This marks a significant step forward in our corporate strategy. Fujifilm's prepress capabilities and their technologies in the area can enhance and grow existing business. “With Fujifilm's inkjet technology we can build on the experience in digital printing gained through other partnerships and quickly move into the peak performance segment,” continued Linzbach. “It is our goal to also become a global player in the growing digital printing applications market… Within three years we envision a sales potential for Heidelberg in the digital business of more than €200 million."
The alliance is to focus on developing future inkjet systems and providing access to each other’s prepress technologies. Along these lines, Fujifilm’s expertise primarily sits with print-head and ink development, highlighted by its established J Press line, while Heidelberg brings decades of experience in engineering platforms for sheet transfer and systems integration. “Fujifilm and Heidelberg have led the printing industry in each domain. Heidelberg's reputation among world's printers is unique,” stated Shigetaka Komori, Chairman and CEO of Fujifilm Corp. “Its strong customer network opens important new possibilities for state-of-the-art inkjet technologies… With Heidelberg's manufacturing know-how we will be able to enhance innovation and develop technologies that will open new roads in digital printing.” This move marks the second significant partnership between Fujifilm and Heidelberg in relation to Canadian printers, after the two companies announced in May 2013 that Fujifilm Canada reached a thermal plate distribution agreement with Heidelberg Canada Graphic Equipment Limited.
Sihl LLC and Arkwright Advanced Coating Inc. became one company, based in Fiskeville, Rhode Island, beginning on January 1, 2014. The newly combined company is to be called Sihl Inc. Sihl is a manufacturer of coated and processed papers, films, and fabrics. The move includes the company moving to a new Website address, from sihlusa.com to sihlinc.com (effective January 5, 2015). The name Sihl is derived from the river in Switzerland on which the founders built a paper mill in 1478 to fill demand that followed Gutenberg’s invention of mechanical movable type. Arkwright Advanced Coating Inc. opened in 1802 as cotton spinning mill as part of the industrial revolution. The company flourished as apparel fabric became coated industrial fabric, which eventually led to its development of coated films. The company today has five coating lines, eight converting machines and approximately 100 employees serving a capacity 30 million square metres of photo paper, transfer paper, IJ and toner receptive film.    Sihl AG, the parent company of Sihl Inc., is based in Bern, Switzerland, while a second production plant is based in Düren, Germany, as Sihl GmbH. This includes specialty materials for inkjet, solvent, UV curable, latex and toner-receptive wide format plotters, printers, and presses.
Mohawk expects to produce 500-million envelopes annually in South Hadley, Massachusetts, when the papermaker, described as North America’s largest privately owned manufacturer of fine papers, envelopes and specialty substrates, takes over an 112,342-square-foot early in the New Year. The facility is expected to be fully functional by the end of April 2015. The announcement comes after the Massachusetts Office of Business Development Economic Assistance Coordinating Council voted unanimously to approve Mohawk’s application for a special tax assessment for the facility. Mohawk intends to enter into a 7-year lease agreement. “Our plan to create a new envelope converting facility in South Hadley, Massachusetts represents our commitment to further growth of Mohawk’s envelope business,” said Thomas O’Connor Jr., Chairman and CEO of Mohawk. “Since January (2014], we have committed to investments of nearly $5 million in new envelope converting equipment and facility upgrades, and the creation of 100 new jobs for skilled envelope workers. Our envelope business is vibrant, rapidly growing, and we are uniquely positioned to serve our customers with fast delivery, exceptional integrity, and the highest quality envelopes available in the industry.” Mohawk plans to invest up to $2 million to retrofit the South Hadley facility, including upgrades to electrical systems, installation of air and vacuum lines, and the purchase and installation of envelope converting and manufacturing equipment. Mohawk expects to produce over 500-million envelopes annually at the new facility. The site will also feature warehouse space to service the company’s customers along the East Coast and Mid-Atlantic regions, as well as overseas businesses. “We selected the South Hadley location because the layout of the building is ideal for our manufacturing needs,” said Bob Scammell, Mohawk’s Senior Vice President, Strategy and Business Operations.  “The site is essentially move-in ready and requires minimal construction prior to becoming operational, and there is an abundant pool of highly skilled envelope workers in Western Massachusetts.” Approximately 40 new employees will be hired to staff the new South Hadley facility, which will operate five days a week, three shifts per day. Mohawk also owns and operates a one million square-foot paper and envelope converting facility in Ashtabula, Ohio, which produces 1.5 billion envelopes a year. In early 2014, Mohawk grew its envelope operations at its Ohio facility by adding 75 new employees to a total of 200 and expanding operations by investing millions of dollars in converting equipment upgrades. 
Seiko Epson Corporation of Tokyo plans to invest 12.3 billion yen ($1.2 billion) in its manufacturing subsidiary Epson Precision Philippines Inc. to construct a new plant for increasing inkjet printer and 3LCD projector production volumes. The facilities will be constructed inside the existing site by the early part of 2017, with operations slated to begin in the spring of that year. Epson plans to install a large solar power generation system with a capacity of approximately 3,000 kWh on the roof of the new plant. This system will reduce overall daytime electricity consumption at Epson Precision by half. As it implements its mid-range business plan, Epson has determined that its current inkjet printer and projector manufacturing facilities in China, Indonesia and the Philippines are insufficient to meet expected demand. In inkjet printers, the company is forecasting the need to significantly boost production capacity for its core high-capacity ink tank models and also for office inkjets. Epson also sees the need to increase projector production as it expands its lineup. With growing demand for projectors used in business and education, expanding commercial applications, and increasing penetration in emerging economies, Epson forecasts its growth will surpass that of the market. Epson plans to increase the workforce of Epson Precision in the Philippine to approximately 20,000 from the current level of 12,500.
The C.J. Group of Companies, led by President and founder Jay Mandarino, finalized the purchase of a new building at 249 Evans Avenue, which is in Toronto’s Mimico neighbourhood on the southwest corner of Evans and Horner. The 60,000-square-foot facility includes 29-foot-high ceilings and a second floor with 10,000 square feet of space. It will house C.J. Group’s large format and fulfillment/distribution services, as well as the company’s Digital, Interactive, and Designedge magazine properties.   Two recent acquisitions will transition to the new location as well, and the company plans to add a full mailing house operation in the next five months. Renovations are under way and moving will begin in late November to be completed by January. The C.J. Group of Companies now owns three facilities totaling more than 150,000 square feet.“Thanks to all our great clients, staff and suppliers who have supported our growth,” said Jay Mandarino, President and founder of C.J. Group.  
The Toyo Ink Group based in Tokyo, Japan, continued to expand its manufacturing presence in India, with the inauguration of its second production site in the country. The new US$17 million facility in Dahej, Gujarat state, along the eastern coast of India, has begun making offset inks with a production capacity of 10,000 m. tons, which is nearly three times that of the company’s first manufacturing facility in Delhi. The Gujarat plant will also supply inks on a global level, particularly to nearby markets in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. “Growing demand has pushed production at our Delhi plant to capacity,” stated Shingo Nishikaze, Chairman of Toyo Ink India Pvt. Ltd., a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Toyo Ink Group. “With the establishment of a second inks plant, we are well-positioned now and in the future to support our customers’ growth in India and its neighboring regions.” Toyo Ink India first began manufacturing offset inks at its Delhi plant in 2008 and then expanded production to include inkjet inks in 2011 and gravure inks for the food-packaging sector in 2012. In 2013, the Toyo Ink Group established a manufacturing joint venture for azo pigments with Heubach Colour Pvt. Ltd., a producer of organic pigments. Located in Ankleshwar, also in the Gujarat state, the production site for the new alliance Heubach Toyo Colour Pvt. Ltd. is expected to come onstream soon with an annual capacity of 2,000 m. tons.
Japan’s Ambassador to Canada, the Consul-General of Japan and Brampton’s Mayor joined Canon Canada executives in a groundbreaking ceremony for a new five-story Canon headquarters to be built by December 2015. “Our vision for Canon Canada’s headquarters goes beyond being an infrastructure investment or a building where our employees work,” stated Ted Egawa, President and CEO, Canon Canada Inc. “We want our new headquarters to become a community for our employees and for our customers, which aligns with our Kyosei philosophy, which means harmoniously living and working together for the common good.” To be built on more than 18 acres at the corner of Mississauga Road and Steeles Avenue West in Brampton, Ontario, the new 180,000-square-foot headquarters will replace the company’s current office in Mississauga, which has been its home since 1984. Design of the Brampton facility is being led by the architectural firm of Moriyama & Teshima, which created the Ontario Science Centre in Toronto and The Canadian War Museum in Ottawa. Canon is aiming to achieve Gold Certification under the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system. Sustainable design elements planned include the incorporation of lots of natural light, energy-efficient equipment and collecting rainwater for reuse. The Province of Ontario has designated Brampton as an urban growth area; by 2031 the city’s population is expected to grow to 725,000. Canon joins a list of high-profile organizations to build corporate infrastructure in Brampton, such as Loblaw Companies, HBC, Chrysler Canada, Rogers Communications, Maple Lodge Farms and Canadian Tire. Parent company Canon Inc. of Tokyo generates close to $46 billion in global revenue and has ranked among the top four in U.S. patents registered since 1994.

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