Industry News

Somerset Graphics of Mississauga, Ontario, closed its doors on January 31 and entered receivership. The high-end commercial printing operation, well known across the Greater Toronto Area, was running out of a 20,000-square-foot facility, built by Jack and Beth Youngberg 37 years ago. Their two sons, Chris and Jeff, had been involved with the company for 21 and 17 years, respectively.“Beth and I always agreed that we never wanted our business to become a hobby,” says Jack Youngberg, when asked why the company was shut down. “To continue to succeed in the current market was a factor in our decision. Our industry has become very competitive and commoditized.”Somerset’s 29-inch, 6-colour Kormori HUV press, which was installed in mid-2013, has been sold to an unclosed printer. It was equipped with automatic plate changers and wash-up systems, with an ability to be used for both conventional printing or UV. Youngberg explains they are working on the sale of all other assets.Youngberg explains they did not sell Somerset’s book of business, providing each account representative with the opportunity to maintain their current accounts and take them where ever they go.“The industry is saturated. Everyone is chasing the same dollars. Supply outweighs demand,” says Youngberg. “The industry for the most part has been a very exciting wonderful area to work in. Somerset's employees, clients and suppliers have all contributed to our success.”
Solisco of Montreal, Quebec, has announced a partnership with Trade Secret Web Printing Inc., a Toronto-based printing company focused on providing trade services. Solisco explains the partnership will give customers access to more extensive equipment in two different regions of Canada.“The printing market is consolidating and Solisco is a leading player in this rapidly changing industry,” said Alain Jacques, President of Solisco.” With this partnership, we are strengthening our presence in Ontario and increasing our production capacity.” Solisco explains it has worked closely with Trade Secret for some time and wanted to take their business relationship further. In the past year, Solisco, now in its 25th year of operation, has moved forward with various initiatives like acquiring YQB Média (now Maison 1608 by Solisco), a content development and magazine publishing firm, launching SoIX, an augmented reality app, and now partnering with Trade Secret Web Printing Inc.Solisco has more than 400 employees and provides a range of printing and communications services primarily for publishers and retailers across North America.
Lucien De Schamphelaere, the founder of Xeikon, one of the printing world’s most innovative technology companies over the past two decades, passed away on January 20 at the age of 85. Xeikon was purchased by Flint Group in mid-2015.After a 40-year career with Agfa-Gevaert, where he was instrumental in forming the company's Electronic Imaging System Department, De Schamphelaere wanted a new challenge. So, in August 1988 he established the limited liability company, Ellith NV, which started with just five employees. That name would soon be changed into Xeikon NV, the composition of the Greek words xeros (dry) and eikon (image)Five years later, at Ipex 1993, the company unveiled its prototype of the DCP-1. The digital colour press provided the basis for the company's full-scale product line. In November 1994, the company introduced its Variable Data System, which allowed single-pass personalizing of individual pages.Xeikon went public in March 1996 by listing on the NASDAQ stock exchange. It was only the second Flemish company to do so. Less than six months later it launched the Xeikon DCP/32D digital colour press. The introduction of the Xeikon second generation helped net profits to reach more than US$1.8 million.In 1997, Xeikon introduced the DCP/50D, which the company describes as the first digital colour press capable of printing B2. Now with 340 employees, the company also moved to new, larger, premises in Antwerp.Year 1998 saw the sale of its 1,000th digital colour press and a fifth colour unit was introduced to its presses, as well as an opaque white toner. The same year De Schamphelaere went on to found Triakon NV, a digital printing company specializing in point-of-sale.Xeikon went on to be acquired by Flint Group on 2015. It also launched the Xeikon CX3 digital label press and the Xeikon 9800 dry toner digital colour press. A year later it introduced Trillium One.“We were so saddened to hear the news of Lucien’s death,” said Wim Maes, Xeikon CEO. “He had an amazing passion for digital printing and unstoppable drive that lead him to achieve such an incredible amount in his lifetime. His dedication and pioneering approach remains a key cornerstone of Xeikon today.”Lucien De Schamphelaere was born on April 3rd, 1931 in Gijzenzele, Belgium. He graduated in 1952 as an engineer in electronics and started working that same year for the N.V. Gevaert Photo-Products physics lab. In 1958, he transferred to instrumentation, a young department that had been created to automate machines and workflows at Gevaert. The department changed a lot during the fourteen years De Schamphelaere spent at its head. It grew from a small group of employees to a department of about 100 employees, and at the beginning of the seventies, Agfa-Gevaert was far ahead in automation.In the seventies, De Schamphelaere became more and more convinced that traditional photochemistry would irreversibly be replaced by electronic imaging, and he quietly started working on an electronical printing machine with a group of close associates. In 1979, he started a new department, "Electronical Imaging Systems", with the support of former company executives André Leysen and Etienne De Wolf. Only 3 years later, the small team could present the P400, its first digital black and white printing press, at the Hannover trade show.In 1988, De Schamphelaere was awarded the Otto-Bayer Medal, the first in a series of international prizes he would receive over the years for his contribution to digital imaging.The continuous search for new challenges was a constant in his career. “Once a project gets rolling, I tend to lose interest. I’m happiest at the start of it, when I can develop what doesn’t yet exist”, he said in an interview with newspaper “De Tijd”.From 1986, as president of Agfa’s Venture Capital Fund, he was given the time to look for the most promising applications in digital imaging. By 1988, he had a blueprint ready for what would later become "Xeikon".For this new project, a limited liability company named “Ellith NV” was established in 1988. That name was shortly after changed into “Xeikon NV”, the composition of the Greek words "xeros” (dry) and "eikon” (image). Agfa took a minority participation in this company, the rest of the equity was brought in by six additional investors.By the summer of 1993, the time was ripe and Xeikon introduced the DCP-1, a digital colour printing press that could print without an ink sheet. The renowned magazine Seybold called it a "new standard for the colour printing market. The impact of the DCP-1 on colour printing is probably as big as the impact Apple LaserWriter had on black and white printing”.In 1996, Xeikon got listed on the NASDAQ Stock Market, it was the second Belgian company to ever take such a step. At the age of 67, De Schamphelaere retired from his position as Chief Executive Officer and in 1998, he left the presidency of Xeikon.In 1999, De Schamphelaere established Triakon, a printing centre used to further develop digital color printing. All these years, he was a member of the Boards of Directors of Imec, Option, Melexis, Materialise and Hydrogen Systems.De Schamphelaere received multiple distinctions for his pioneering work in the graphics industry, including the GATF-award, the IS&T Award and the prestigious Cary Award (1997).
Fastsigns International, franchisor of Fastsigns printing entities, signed 63 franchise agreements in 2016 with new and existing franchisees in the U.S., Canada and U.K. In the company’s most recent third quarter, the brand inked 22 new agreements, including 13 locations in western and midwestern states like California, Texas, Kansas, New Mexico and Washington.In addition, Fastsigns opened 35 new centres in 2016 in new and existing markets with a projected 45 additional opening in 2017. Fastsigns International currently more than 650 independently owned and operated locations in nine countries worldwide, including the U.S., Canada, England, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Grand Cayman, Mexico and Australia (where centres operate as Signwave). The Fastsigns brand also signed a Master Franchise Agreement in the Dominican Republic and U.S. Virgin Islands, adding new countries to Fastsigns’ global footprint.“2016 was another record year for Fastsigns. Our network generated over $446,000,000 in sales with strong sales growth in all regions and countries. We have the highest franchisee satisfaction ratings in the industry,” said Catherine Monson, President and CEO, Fastsigns International.Fastsigns International was recently ranked number 1 in the Business Services/Signs category and 95th overall in Entrepreneur magazine’s Franchise 500, a globally recognized comprehensive franchise ranking. “Growth like this definitely underscores the power of the Fastsigns brand and strength of our business model. We look forward to continuing this rapid expansion as 2017 brings a strong focus on the Northeast corridor, New England, Southern California and beyond, including entering new countries,” said Mark Jameson, EVP of Franchise Support and Development, Fastsigns International, Inc.In addition to more than 400 U.S. and Canadian markets targeted for development, Fastsigns has more than 65 international locations open for continued expansion.
DATA Communications Management Corp. of Brampton, Ontario, has completed an additional investment in its printing platform, including an emphasis on label production, and announced upcoming consolidation of some of its existing nine facilities spread out across the country.The new round of capital equipment investment focuses around another Xerox iGen 5 press, together with other upgrades and technology enhancements to its current label presses, in the first quarter of 2017. The total investment in these enhanced capabilities is approximately $2.1 million."These investments dramatically increase our capabilities in key growth segments of our business,” said Michael Sifton, CEO, DATA Communications. “We remain the leading cutsheet digital colour manufacturing company in Canada and our expanded label capabilities will further establish DATA as one of the leading providers of label products and solutions in the country.”In January 2016, DATA, then operating as The DATA Group, announced an investment of $6.7 million to acquire multiple new Xerox presses, which Xerox described as one of the single largest toner-production upgrades by a Canadian printing company in 2015. Installations of the new Xerox equipment began in December 2015. In addition to its new equipment investment, DATA is also announced plans to consolidate its Regina, Saskatchewan, manufacturing and warehousing operations into its Calgary, Alberta facility.The company also plans to close its Brossard, Quebec Document Process Outsourcing facility, effective March 31, 2017, in addition to the outsourcing of its call centre facility to a third-party business process outsourcing provider, effective March 1, 2017.  The Company expects to incur total restructuring costs of approximately $0.9 million in connection with these initiatives.“Our goal 18 months ago was to focus on business where we excel, are profitable, and have the ability to grow," said Sifton. “With these initiatives, we have completed our transition and now have five centres of manufacturing excellence across the country.”In addition to these changes, DATA also announced the departure of Jeff Gladwish, Vice President, Marketing and Corporate Development. “Jeff has served the company well through our transition and we wish him well in his future endeavours,” said Sifton. “The direction we are taking centres on expanding our services with existing customers and capturing growing segments within the print production and data management areas. As such, our marketing push will be highly targeted and customer centric.”DATA’s core capabilities include direct marketing, print services, labels and asset tracking, event tickets and gift cards, logistics and fulfilment, content and workflow management, data management and analytics, and regulatory communications. The company serves clients in vertical markets such as financial services, retail, healthcare, lottery and gaming, not-for-profit, and energy.
On January 13, 2017, The C.J. Group of Companies concluded the sale of its three existing buildings, accounting for approximately 125,000 square feet of space on 4.5 acres of land in Etobicoke, Ontario.The company, led by President and CEO Jay Mandarino, has purchased the current Veritiv facility located at 560 Hensall Circle near Cawthra and Dundas Streets in Mississauga, Ontario. Sitting just west of the Etobicoke border, the new location is approximately 10 minutes away from C.J. Group’s current locations.Veritiv is currently completing the build of its brand new headquarters, to be housed in a 450,000-square-foot facility, also in Mississauga. The new Veritiv building is scheduled to be complete by around April 2017 with move-in planned for shortly after.C.J. Group is scheduled to take possession of the current Veritiv building, which is located on eight acres, with two floors and approximately 230,000 square feet of space, in May 2017. The printing company plans to be moved into its new facility, which features 27-foot-high ceilings and more than 300 parking spots – by October 2017. Mandarino describes the new C.J. Group facility as the largest independently owned facility for printing and communications in Canada.Mandarino continues to explain the company plans to add to add full mailing services, a new sheetfed litho press, a new large format press, and a new digital press as it moves into the plant, in addition to expansion of its bindery and other divisions. The new facility will also house SBC Media, a sports magazine operation, which C.J. Group acquired in late-2015.With purchase of the new building, renovations and new equipment, C.J. Group explains it will be investing more than $25 million in its expansion.C.J. Group's previous most-recent expansion was featured in PrintAction's January 2015 issue.
MPI Print Group, a trade-printing operation with two facilities in the Greater Toronto Area, installed a new Konica Minolta bizhub PRESS C1100, which also included an inline SD-506 Booklet Maker.The new colour toner-based press, which was installed in December 2016, is integrated with the IC-310 Fiery RIP with Graphics Arts Package, Impose & Compose, Konica Minolta Color Care Software with FD-Auto Scanner, and an HM-101 inline humidifier. The bizhub PRESS C1100 runs at speeds of up to 100 pages per minute in colour and monochrome, producing 1,200 x 1,200-dpi resolution with 8-bit processing.MPI Print was founded by brothers Pal and Robbie Dhanju as Millenium Printing back in 1998 and, following the acquisition of Kingsweb, now operates out of a 45,000-square-foot plant in Concord, Ontario, and a 50,000-square-foot facility in Mississauga. The company’s trade services include prepress, web (heat-set) printing, sheetfed offset printing, digital printing, variable printing and a full in-house bindery, as well as die cutting, a range of specialty finishes and other custom printing techniques.
Pinnacle Litho of Stoney Creek, Ontario, has installed a Heidelberg Speedmaster XL-75-4+L press. The commercial printing operation was founded in 1996 by Chris Fillingham, who previously worked in print shops in the Hamilton region before opening his own shop. Pinnacle Litho began as a prepress services house featuring scanning and proofing services, as Fillingham over time purposely evolved his company into a full-service shop. “Our first printing machine was a QMDI. From there, we added folding, cutting and complete workflow,” he explains. In 2002, ready to enter the midsize offset market, Pinnacle upgraded to a 4-colour Heidelberg Printmaster 74 press. The company’s new Heidelberg Speedmaster XL-75 represents another stage in its evolution, as Pinnacle’s market position now requires a press that can provide flexibility and fast turnarounds. “There is a lot of print here in the region, but in many cases, I simply wasn’t competitive enough with my current equipment to win those jobs,” said Fillingham. “So for months I tested how many of those jobs I could win if I could reduce make-ready time and improve my turn-around time. Soon a new business plan came together”    Fillingham explains his goal to continue the growth of Pinnacle required the support of a 4-colour press with advanced job-change technology. “While speed is nice, mine is a short-run market. Make-ready is where it is at.”To this end, Fillingham automated the Speedmaster XL-75-4+L press to the highest level possible to significantly reduce make-ready times. This press can output a new job of 1,000 sheets in a third of the time of his previous press. It is integrated with AutoPlate Pro (fully automated plate changing), Inpress Control (inline colour and register without interruption), Press Center with Intellistart operating system (capable of job change without interruption), and an Anilox Coating system for instantly dry sheets. “The automation we have now is what the industry demands. You can’t compete without it,” said Fillingham.Fillingham is the driving force behind Pinnacle sales: “Filling a void in the region and focused on the trade element of the market. Customer’s with smaller projects often need support and want input. The larger job providers are difficult to talk with to directly, and that is where we come in. “I am expecting to be able to double my sales this year,” said Fillingham, “based only on work I have had to turn away. That is the goal.”
Ellis Packaging West Inc., one of three primary facilities of The Ellis Group, one of Canada’s largest independent packaging manufacturers, has purchased a 41-inch, seven-colour Komori GLX press. This is the third new generation Komori press The Ellis Group has installed across its three Ontario plants over the past few years.The newest machine, sold by Komcan, Komori’s press dealer for Canada, is scheduled to be installed in Ellis Packaging West’s Guelph, Ontario, facility in March 2017. It represents the second Komori GLX technology purchased in Canada after an 8-colour Komori GLX was installed in The Ellis Group’s Pickering plant just over one year ago. (See PrintAction’s November 2015 cover story, Packaging Power, on Ellis Packaging's first GLX installation).“Witnessing the exceptional results achieved by our sister plant over the past year, including the reduction in makeready times, while reducing waste and maintaining very impressive run speeds, convinced us that we had to follow suit in Guelph,” said John Clarke, President of Ellis Packaging West. “[The new Komori GLX will] assure our customers that The Ellis Group will continue to provide the very best quality and value added product in the folding-carton market today.” Ellis Packaging West’s GLX is equipped with Komori’s PQA-S inline inspection system and colour control, which scans each sheet for defects and automatically adjusts for ink consistency. The press will also feature a fully automatic feeder and delivery with logistics package, along with an integrated conveyor system, to enable continual operation at 18,000 sheets per hour. The new seven-colour Komori GLX going into Guelph will also be equipped with low-energy Benford UV curing. Komori states its new line of G series are the first presses to be sold in North America running with food-grade lubricants rather than petroleum based products.
The Dieppe, New Brunswick, operation of Advocate Printing & Publishing in December 2016 installed Canada’s first Kodak NexPress ZX3300 press, which also features Kodak’s Fifth Imaging Unit for applying dimensional clear, gold, clear and light black colours.Advocate’s NexPress ZX3300 includes a one-metre (39.37 inch) long feeder to run sheets into the machine’s offset-press-like paper handling system. The NexPress ZX3300 works with more than 800 qualified substrates.Leveraging NexPress HD Dry Inks, Kodak explains Advocate’s five-colour ZX3300 press features improved imaging-unit components and intelligent software modules to deliver images described by the company as offset-class with smooth, flat tints, richer deeper black and photo quality production. With a Matte Finish option, Kodak explains the printed pieces coming off the NexPress take on a rich aesthetic effect that rivals offset.“The sales team and production staff are excited about the opportunities for sales growth, and customer satisfaction with the recent [NexPress ZX3300] installation,” said Tom Badger, General Manager of Advocate Printing’s Dieppe operation.The Fifth Imaging Unit of the Kodak NexPress ZX Platform provides Advocate with an ability to produce print with a tactile feel through Dimensional Clear toner, which creates a raised/textured 3D effect. Applying Gold through the fifth unit provides metallic impact, while Clear can be used for watermarking, spot or flood coating, and Light Black can be used for producing ultra-high quality printing (photographic quality), particularly with neutral tones, gray layers and flat fields.  “As a diversified print communications company, quality, versatility and speed are imperative.  The Kodak NexPress delivers on all aspects. We expect this strategic acquisition to be transformational for our clients and digital print offerings in general,” said Sean Murray, owner of Advocate Printing and Publishing. “We look forward to optimizing the performance of this technology, enhancing our offerings and strengthening customer relationships”Founded in 1891, Advocate is described as the largest independent printer in Atlantic Canada. The company services clients throughout the Atlantic Provinces, the eastern seaboard and across Canada through printing facilities in Pictou, Bridgewater, Nova Scotia; Dieppe, New Brunswick and St. Stephen, New Brunswick. The print business includes production of a range of work from national flyers, magazines and direct mail to brochures, business cards, and promotional materials.Additionally, Advocate publishes 10 newspapers, 21 trade and regional magazines, runs a flyer distribution organization, and operates commercial photography, creative design and digital services operations. In July 2016, Advocate acquired most of Transcontinental Inc.’s Dartmouth-based commercial printing business, including associated assets, sales force, and the client-services team.
SOHO Printing of Markham, Ontario, has installed a Triumph 7260 cutting system. Purchased through PDS, the 28-inch programmable cutter features patented EASY CUT electronic blade activation bars for two-hand operation; IR light beam safety curtain on front table and a safety cover on rear table, among other safety features.The Triumph 7260 also includes an hydraulic clamp drive and foot pedal for pre-clamping, as well as a power back gauge and 7-inch touchpad control module. The system stores 99 programs with up to 99 steps in each (up to 15 repeat cuts can be integrated as a single step).
The Print Three franchise in Calgary, Alberta, recently installed a Ricoh Pro C9110 press. The Pro C9110 runs a range of media stocks from 52 to 400 gsm, with duplex printing, and reaches speeds of up to 130 pages per minute in both colour and black-and-white production.The press, explains Ricoh, allows users to produce two-sided specialty and oversized projects up to 27.5 inches long, with an ability to print on specialty media like super-gloss, metallic, coated, transparent and other synthetics. The press’ elastic transfer belt and toner transfer technology also allows for working with textured media like vellums and linens.Leveraging Ricoh’s Vertical Cavity Surface Emitting Laser (VCSEL) technology, the Ricoh Pro C9110 reaches imaging resolutions of up to 1,200 x 4,800 dpi.
John Corley becomes President of Xerox Canada Ltd., returning home after recently serving as President of the company’s global Channel Partner Operations and as Vice President for Xerox Corporation in the United States.A 22-year Xerox veteran, Corley has held a variety of executive positions during his tenure with the imaging and systems giant. Prior to his most recent role running global channel operations, he was the Vice President of the Canadian Operations. After joining Xerox in 1994 as a Sales Representative in Toronto, he progressed quickly into senior roles in sales and marketing and was named one of Canada’s Top 40 Under 40 in 2008.“This is an exciting time for Xerox – a remarkable company that I’m privileged to have begun my career with and continue to grow with,” says Corley. “Over the years, Xerox has helped shape the way our clients connect, communicate and work and we continue to build upon a foundation of innovation to grow our leadership in the areas of office and graphic communications technology and document outsourcing services.”Corley succeeds Al Varney who will take on a new role as president of Northern, Southern and Central European Operations.
Agfa Graphics expanded its Canadian sales team with the addition of Rick Gargano, who joins the company as Account Manager servicing the Ontario province, and Gurshawn Hansi, who will serve as National Account Manager for Wide-Format Media and Applications.Gargano is responsible for the entire Agfa Graphics commercial product portfolio. He has been in the graphic arts industry for 33 years, spending most of his time with Fujifilm Canada and McCutcheon Graphics in various roles. Gargano will report to Lawrence Robinson, the Business Manager for Central and Western Canada.Hansi served as a Sales Representative for Transilwrap Co., a manufacturer and converter of printable plastic materials. He has a background in marketing, sales and account management. Hansi will report to Steve Fournier, Business Manager, Wide Format Media and Applications. “Rick and Gurshawn bring a wealth of knowledge in technical sales and support to our growing commercial and wide format business in Canada,” said Ruben Silva, Managing Director of Agfa Inc. Canada. "The addition of Rick and Gurshawn will help our efforts to create more growth opportunities for customers and prospects."
Phil Hampson becomes the National Sales Manager, Canada, for the Graphic Systems Division of Fujifilm North America Corporation.With over 20 years in the graphics industry, Hampson will oversee the sales of Fujifilm’s extensive portfolio of imaging and printing systems throughout all provinces in Canada, from the West Coast to the East Coast. “As a former Inkjet Sales Manager, I’ve developed many outstanding relationships with our customers; I understand the needs of a print buyer,” said Hampson. “They want to turn jobs faster, and offer multi-channel campaigns with variable data. I am eager to continue sharing Fujifilm’s best-in-class products to my fellow Canadians.”  Angus Pady has also joined Fujifilm Canada in the role of Professional Service Consultant serving the central Ontario region.
Ted Markle becomes Chief Operating Officer of Annex Printing & Publishing, the parent company of PrintAction magazine operating under the company’s Annex Business Media arm, which is Canada’s largest business-to-business publishing group.Markle began his role with Annex this week, after spending several months consulting for the company, reporting to President and CEO, Mike Fredericks. Markle will lead Annex’ executive team as the company aims to continue its past several years of expansion.“We are fortunate to have an operator of Ted’s media experience join us,” said Fredericks. “Ted has also become very familiar with the Annex culture over the past year, and in fact has been involved in our Values Project. He understands what makes us unique, but also brings a valuable fresh look at our business and some high level printing experience as well.”Markle spent the previous 17 years with TC Transcontinental, Canada’s largest printing and publishing operation generating more than $2 billion in annual revenues, including his most recent role as President of Transcontinental Media from 2013 to 2016 and before that as Senior VP, Content Solutions, for TC Media beginning in 2011.Markle also gained extensive printing-industry experience with TC Transcontinental, including seven years in various executive roles, primarily helping to lead the company’s newspaper operations.“I am excited to join Annex Business Media,” said Markle. “The values and the culture are a perfect fit. I look forward to contributing to this high-performance team as we continue to grow the business.”Markle has a BA from Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, and has completed Wharton's Executive Development Program at the University of Pennsylvania.
Sean Springett becomes Chief Executive Officer of Manroland Sheetfed GmbH’s North American subsidiaries, based in Chicago, IL, and Vaughan, Ontario. Springett, age 42, joined Manroland Sheetfed in 2008 and most recently served as its VP of Sales & Marketing. His appointment follows the October 19 passing of Manroland Sheetfed’s Mike Mugavaro, who led the press maker’s North American operation since 2012.“As Vice President Sales and Marketing for the USA and Canada for the last four years, with a career in the industry spanning more than twenty years, Sean has held progressively senior leadership positions,” said Rafael Penuela-Torres, CEO of Manroland Sheetfed GmbH. “He is the natural choice to head up our North American operations.”Manroland Sheetfed GmbH of Germany, founded in 1871, is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of sheetfed offset printing presses. Today, the company has subsidiaries in over 40 countries, with its North American operation being a key component of the press maker’s global footprint. Manroland Sheetfed GmbH is a wholly owned subsidiary of the privately owned UK engineering group, Langley Holdings plc.“Manroland Sheetfed is one of those rare companies to have truly revolutionized the offset market through technology, and I couldn’t be more honoured to have been chosen to lead the company in the USA and Canada,” said Springett.Gina Gigliozzi, Director of Sales Administration for Manroland Sheetfed said, “Having worked with him for more than eight years, I feel sure that Sean is the right leader at the right time for Manroland Sheetfed."
The Digital Imaging Association announced its new Officers and Directors for 2017 during its annual holiday lunch, held at The Boulevard Club in Toronto, featuring a keynote from Frank Romano, Professor Emeritus at the Rochester Institute of Technology, called Digital Printing, From Good Enough to Nanography.Officers of the Digital Imaging Association’s (DIA) upcoming year include President: George Sittlinger of Maracle Press in Oshawa, ON; First Vice-President Paul Tarvydas of Tsus4 Inc. in Toronto, ON; and 2nd Vice-President: Jason Hamilton of TiGroup, also in Toronto.Mark Norlock of KBA Canada Inc. will serve as the DIA’s Secretary/Treasurer for the 2017 year, while the remaining officers include Past President Dino Sinnathurai of Kitchener’s Cober and Association Manager Marg Macleod of Friesens.DIA Directors for 2017 include Ray Fagan of Heidelberg Canada, Steve Fournier of Agfa Canada, Ryan Harper of Xerox Canada, Andrea Leven-Marcon of Spicers Canada, Stephen Longmire of PrintAction, Paul McCarthy of Konica Minolta Business Solutions Canada, Mike Millard of Ellis Packaging, Randall Stevenson, Larry Stewart of KBR and Bob Weller. Karl Schmed is the Director Emeritus of the Digital Imaging Association.
DATA Communications Management Corp. entered into separate agreements to acquire Eclipse Colour & Imaging Corp., located in Burlington, Ontario, and Thistle Printing Limited, located in Toronto, Ontario. The acquisitions of Eclipse and Thistle are expected to close on February 22, 2017, subject to customary closing conditions.  DATA will acquire substantially all of the assets of Eclipse, through an asset purchase, for a net price of approximately $8.8 million. The company will acquire the common shares, through a share purchase, of Thistle for a net price of approximately $6.1 million.Eclipse specializes in large-format and point-of-purchase printing with approximately 100 employees operating in an 80,000-square-foot facility. Upon completion of this transaction, DATA intends to relocate its current wide format capabilities from its Mississauga, Ontario, facility to Calgary, Alberta.The Eclipse acquisition significantly expands DATA’s large- and grand-format printing capabilities. Eclipse focuses on providing in-store print, outdoor, transit, display, packaging, kitting and fulfillment services. Eclipse generated approximately $21.3 million in revenues (unaudited) for the fiscal year ended November 30, 2016. DATA notes that over the past three years, Eclipse has experienced average revenue growth rates of approximately 10 percent per year. “Ralph Misale, COO, and Grant Malcolm, CFO, the two principals of Eclipse, have built a tremendous business since they acquired Eclipse in 2010 by way of a management buyout,” said Michael Sifton, CEO of DATA.  “We are excited to have Ralph, Grant and the entire Eclipse team join DATA.”Thistle is a commercial printing company with approximately 65 employees operating in a 42,000-square-foot facility. This purchase will allow DATA to insource commercial printing capabilities which it has historically outsourced to local suppliers. The acquisition also adds expertise in design, prepress and bindery services to DATA's portfolio, and complements DATA’s current capabilities in direct mail, fulfillment and data management.Thistle generated approximately $16.4 million in revenues (audited) for the fiscal year ended October 31, 2016. “Thistle's capabilities are highly complementary to our own,” said Sifton. “While we have the leading commercial print capabilities in Western Canada located in our Calgary, Alberta centre of excellence, DATA has not had meaningful commercial print capabilities in Eastern Canada, historically relying on third party production partners.“We believe that the acquisition of Thistle will enable our sales force to capitalize on having a dedicated Eastern production facility, close to the important downtown Toronto market,” continued Sifton, “and we expect to be able to enhance our margins that we would otherwise have had to share with outsourced providers.”DATA's net purchase price of approximately $8.8 million for the assets of Eclipse will include approximately: $2.9 million payable in cash on closing; $1.3 million through the issuance of 634,263 common shares of DATA; and $4.6 million in the form of a non-interest bearing vendor take back note, which will be payable in two equal installments on each of the first and second anniversaries of closing of the Eclipse transaction. The purchase price will be subject to certain closing adjustments relating to working capital. DATA's net purchase price of Thistle for approximately $6.1 million will include approximately: $1.1 million payable in cash on closing; $1.5 million through the issuance of 644,445 common shares of DATA; and $3.5 million in the form of a non-interest bearing vendor take back note, to be payable over a 24 month period in equal monthly payments. The purchase price will be subject to certain closing adjustments relating to working capital.  In connection with the two acquisitions, DATA will assume a total of approximately $8.0 million in outstanding long term indebtedness, including capital lease obligations, and intends to draw approximately $7.8 million under its revolving credit facility on closing to refinance certain indebtedness of the two companies and for related transaction expenses. DATA also announced it has arranged an increase in the total available commitment under its senior revolving credit facility with a Canadian chartered bank by $10 million to up to $35 million. The move provides DATA with a total borrowing base of up to $72 million from $50 million.
ICON Digital Productions Inc. has acquired Toronto Trade Printing, a well-known 20,000-square-foot operation running two 40-inch sheetfed offset presses less than four kilometers away from ICON’s 90,000-square-foot facility in Markham, Ontario. The purchase comes less than two months after ICON Digital underwent a rebranding effort in December 2016 to create three distinct divisions operating under the names of ICON Visual, ICON Media and ICON Print.The ICON Visual division generates more than half of the parent company’s annual revenue, which in its most recent fiscal year amounted to just under $40 million, based on one of Canada’s most powerful large-format imaging infrastructures. ICON Visual, generating around 80 percent of its revenue through roll-fed Durst machines, traces its roots back to the company’s founding in 1995 as a pioneer in the display graphics sector.ICON Media is responsible for managing national digital-signage networks for Blue Chip clients like Shoppers Drug Mart, as well as high-profile regional clients like Pearson Airport – way-finding screens – and Toronto’s Dundas Square. The division was established in 2009 after ICON purchased Gridcast and today works with clients to deploy signage networks with the ability to procure all of the necessary hardware, develop business plans and manage ever-changing content.ICON Print is the third pillar of the company’s rebranding strategy, now focused on producing offset work in-house after it has been outsourcing such jobs for its client base. Last year alone, ICON oversaw the printing of more than 20-million direct-mail pieces in addition to a range of offset-produced marketing collateral. The company’s executive team spent the past several months looking at printing operations to purchase in the Greater Toronto Area.With the acquisition of 25-year-old Toronto Trade, led by the printing expertise of President Kieron Pope and Vice President Steven Niles, ICON projects it will reach approximately $50 million in revenue by the end of its current fiscal year. “We look at print not so much as old technology. We look at it as just another communications medium. In fact, our numbers tell us there is a lot of growth in print still,” says Juan Lau, President and CEO of ICON Digital, who co-founded the company in 1995 with business partners Peter Evans and Peter Yeung. “The last three or four years we kept looking at our financial statements and, ironically, the fastest growing service sector was commercial printing – and we were not even trying.”Kieron Pope and Steven Niles are to remain in their leadership roles with the offset-printing operation. “This secures a bright future and legacy for our staff and customers and we couldn't be more excited to be part of a progressive organization like ICON,” said Pope, in a press release about the acquisition.
Multi-Bookbinding has purchased the assets of Quebec City's Spiraplast, a producer of high-quality PVC wire for spiral binding. Founded in 1988 by André Primeau, Spiraplast has a fleet of equipment which includes a Deltaplast D45 extruder line and four spiral forming machines from Renz and Bomco. All of this equipment has now been integrated into Multi-Bookbinding's 57,000-square-foot plant in Shawinigan, Quebec, positioned in the middle of the main printing centres of Montreal, Quebec City, Beauce, Montmagny and Ottawa. Spiraplast’s client base consists of binderies, copy centres, printers, and professional offices throughout Quebec and Ontario. “We’re proud with this addition to our services. There are only two other companies in Canada that produce spirals made from PVC particles,” said Yvon Sauvageau, President of Multi-Bookbinding. “Binderies are always under pressure to deliver in record time. Vertical integration is one solution, plus we create new jobs in our versatile team of 60 employees.”Sauvageau has led Multi-Bookbinding as President since 2008, shortly after he and a group of associates began a process to acquire the company following the passing of its founder (1988), Suzanne Ferron. The company, with 60 employees, is known for being one of the largest case binderies in the country and also as a large producer of perfect binding, creating more than six million bound units a year.
Xerox Corporation and Electronics For Imaging entered a new strategic partnership to develop what the company's describe as a next generation digital front end (DFE) to drive Xerox production presses. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.The agreement includes the sale of Xerox’s FreeFlow Print Server (FFPS) DFE business to EFI. Under the terms of the deal, EFI will continue to produce and support FFPS to avoid interruptions for current software customers.“Customers will gain a powerful solution with more efficiencies, performance and quality to meet the most demanding production requirements,” said Andrew Copley, President, Graphic Communications Solutions, Xerox.Xerox functionality from FFPS is to be integrated with EFI’s Fiery product. The companies explain that EFI sales and technical field resources will work side-by-side with Xerox equipment sales reps, in regard to FFPS installations.“This next step in our strategic alliance will give customers the industry’s highest performing DFE with unparalleled imaging and colour management,” said Guy Gecht, CEO of EFI. “EFI integration among the DFE, workflow software, and management information systems products deliver the higher levels of automation and productivity that are key to print businesses taking full advantage of the opportunities with digital printing.” Xerox and EFI have a long-standing partnership in terms of integrating technologies. Most recently, Xerox collaborated with EFI to develop a new print server, the Xerox IJ Print Server powered by Fiery, to drive the recently introduced Xerox Trivor 2400 inkjet press. The DFE handles a range of data streams, while enabling integration, colour management and integration with existing workflows.The next generation DFE coming from this new partnership will be integrated with EFI’s Productivity Suites, which includes management information systems like PACE, PrintSmith Vision, Monarch, and Radius ERP. Additionally, the DFE will integrate with Xerox FreeFlow Core and XMPie workflows, as well as third-party prepress software like Agfa Apogee, Heidelberg Prinect and Kodak Prinergy.The agreement, explains the company, is for FFPS only and does not impact the Xerox workflow solutions that carry a FreeFlow sub-brand name (FreeFlow Core, FreeFlow VI Suite, FreeFlow Makeready and FreeFlow Digital Publisher).
Hubergroup, one of the world’s largest ink producers, has introduced a new sheetfed printing ink series, called Mga Natura, for the high-volume printing of food packaging.Described by Hubergroup as an extremely fast-setting ink series, Mga Natura Is well suited for what the company labels as fast post-print processing. Hubergroup points to major market demands in the printing of food packaging like large-format prints produced at high speeds, cheaper substrate grades, and a great awareness for quality and safety that demand special printing-ink systems.hubergroup is replacing its Natura Mga series with its latest Mga Natura series starting  on February 1, 2017. The company explains the new series holds greatly improved in-press performance and it satisfies the requirements of the major food manufacturers. The company also notes the new ink has very good organoleptic properties, especially when fast post-print processing is required.Natura Mga will be available as process inks, as spot inks in line with the classic colour guides and also as bespoke corporate design colours.
Ricoh today announced its acquisition of Toronto-based Avanti Computer Systems, which has been a leading developer of Management Information Systems dedicated to the printing industry for approximately three decades.In July 2013, Ricoh made a strategic investment in Avanti as the MIS developer was preparing to launch its new generation Avanti Slingshot solution, which was released in the fall of that year at Graph Expo. One of the most-advanced MIS products in today's print market, Slingshot was built around a completely new coding infrastructure and the MIS sector’s highest level of JDF certification for automation.Avanti’s Slingshot product, which can be cloud-based or hosted onsite, was in development for over three years before its launch, built from the ground-up to handle multiple lines of business, including large-format inkjet, toner and offset lithography, mailing and fulfillment workflows, as well as creative, marketing and data management services from one platform. The development of Avanti Slingshot was featured as the cover story of PrintAction’s August 2013 issue, The Slingshot Effect.)“We are committed to continual portfolio advancements aimed at helping our customers grow their businesses and improve their efficiency,” said Jeff Paterra, Senior VP and GM, Technology & Solutions Development, Ricoh, about the Avanti acquisition. “We know that in order to achieve this, they need complete solutions which address their business needs. While our Ricoh Pro Series continues to grow market share globally thanks to its high quality and high productivity, customers look to Ricoh to resolve wider issues surrounding upstream and downstream systems. Our acquisition of Avanti helps us more effectively do just that.” Previously, Ricoh acquired MarcomCentral (formerly known as PTI Marketing Technologies) in December 2014, a move to help build the company’s position in providing Web to print, marketing asset management, and variable data printing tools. With the addition of Avanti, Ricoh explains the acquisition of Avanti enables its software portfolio to cover the entire production workflow. “Ricoh’s initial strategic investment in Avanti three years ago gave us an unparalleled opportunity to advance product development and further deliver innovative MIS solutions,” said Patrick Bolan, President of Avanti. “The acquisition by Ricoh sets the stage for Avanti to accelerate growth into the global marketplace.”
Two Canadian printing companies are among the worldwide winners of the 12th Annual Narrow Web Print Awards, organized by Flint Group, to recognize specialized applications like UV flexo, UV screen, UV LED, shrink sleeve, water-based flexo, specialty inks and coatings. Perflex Label of Toronto and Deco Labels & Flexible Packaging of Etobicoke, Ontario, were among nine winning companies from around the globe.Flint explains a common trend among this year’s print entires was UV LED technology and combination printing.  “Every year, the quality of entires continues to demonstrate that there are no limits when it comes to printing labels,” said Niklas Olsson, Flint Group Narrow Web Global Brand Manager. “As a supplier, we continue to expand the capabilities of our converter clients and push the boundaries of narrow web.”Each entry, explained Flint, was individually and carefully reviewed by industry experts. Criteria for judging follow the guidelines that are standards set by the industry associations FINAT and TLMI. These included: registration, smoothness of dot/vignette, overall print quality and degree of difficulty. 2016 Annual Narrow Web Print Awards WinnersPerflex Label – Canada Yerecic Label – USAUniprint Labels – South Africa Unique Photo Offset Services – IndiaDeco Labels & Flexible Packaging – CanadaConsolidated Label – USAModel Graphics – USAPemara – AustraliaAlaska Polygrafoformlenie – Russia 
Back in January 2016, Jones Packaging Inc., headquartered in London, Ont., as a global provider of packaging solutions for healthcare and consumer brands, announced it was entering into a commercial partnership with Norway's Thin Film Electronics ASA (Thinfilm), which develops printed electronics and smart systems, including technologies for Near Field Communications (NFC).Together the two companies planned to integrate Thinfilm’s recently branded NFC OpenSense technology into paperboard pharmaceutical packaging and, at the same time, develop what Jones describes as key manufacturing processes for its high-speed production lines. The London packaging company has now successfully completed this integration to deploy OpenSense tags at its converting facility. The customized Jones production line can apply and read up to 15,000 tags per hour. Jones explains Thinfilm’s Tag Talks First protocol is a key feature of the OpenSense tag and enables a read-speed that is up to 20 times faster than conventional NFC solutions. This read-rate is well suited, Jones explains, for its high-speed, high-volume production lines. Jones and Thinfilm will also collaborate to engage top global pharmaceutical companies to integrate the smart technology into Rx and over-the-counter product packaging. The Jones/Thinfilm smart packaging collaboration is funded, in part, by grants from both the Swedish and Canadian governments.Jones explains NFC OpenSense tags are thin, flexible labels that can detect both a product’s “factory sealed” and “opened” states and wirelessly communicate contextual content with the tap of an NFC-enabled smartphone. The tags contain unique identifiers, continues Jones, that make it possible for pharmaceutical companies to authenticate products and track them to the individual-item level using software and analytics tools. In addition, Jones explains the tags remain active even after a product’s factory seal has been broken, which enables both brands and medical staff to extend the dialogue with consumers and patients. The partners published a two-minute video that visually conveys the automated process – setup of the carton, application of the tag, reading of the NFC chip, recording of key information, and ejection of compromised packages.
Glenmore Custom Print + Packaging of Richmond, BC, has successfully completed its Eagle Cold Foil Certification Course (ECFC). The 8-hour program is not only geared toward improving production understanding and techniques of press operators, but, as Eagle Systems explains, the certification program incorporates the executive management level to focus on Return On Investment, as well as quality production. “We first installed our Eagle Cold Foil systems in June 2015 and it’s lived up to every promise made by Eagle President Mike King,” said Stefan Congram, Operations Manager, Glenmore. “We’ve learned to not only respect Mike but trust him. When he suggested the class for our operation we knew we’d reap significant benefits.” Eagle conducted the Eagle Cold Foil Certification Course (ECFC) at Glemore’s Richmond facility in mid-July, 2016, to address real-world production factors and influences. Eagle has designed a unique test form, designed for failure, to run off each applicant’s system. Eagle explains the press is then finite-tweaked to maximize performance out of each operation’s adhesives, foils and blankets. This in-house certification approach allows for the elimination of former process obstacles, such as pin-holing and mud cracking.“It’s an understatement to say it’s thorough, but more importantly it’s effective,” said Congram, a 15-year veteran of the commercial printing industry, who has spent his the last eight year with Glenmore. “The press staffers now have an in-depth working knowledge and understanding of the cold foil process. Not just the what’s, as in what to do, but the why’s and how’s. Our people are now as dialed in as our system is. We are reaping the rewards every single shift with faster make-readies and noticeable quality jumps.”Founded by Glenn Rowley in 1981, Glenmore Custom Print + Packaging has evolved from a one-person shop to a significant Canadian printing operation of more than 90 employees in just under 35 years. The company provides a range of services like conventional, UV, offset, digital and wide-format printing, as well as pre- and post-press capabilities. The family-owned and operated company has advanced into a second-generation phase under the managerial leadership of the founder’s son James Rowley.
High school students in a specialized communications program work with a local Ottawa company to learn about the printing trade.Young adults routinely participate in interactive online activities ranging from Facebook and Twitter to sophisticated multi-player games, chat rooms and blogs. It only makes sense, that for today’s students, an experiential approach to learning is a priority.Merivale High School’s FOCUS program offers students in the Ottawa Carleton District School Board a unique opportunity to complete a concentrated one semester Communication and Design program that will prepare them for post secondary diploma and degree programs in graphic design, animation, photography and interactive multi media.So although students will require a digital camera and some computer skills for their Graphic Design, Photography and Animation courses, they should also be prepared to arrive at visual solutions using a variety of pencils, ink pens and paint as well as with current vector drawing software. The program has a 25 seat Mac Lab and also boasts an intaglio press, which makes printmaking exercises possible, and a 10-station darkroom for developing and printing 35 mm film. Students primarily use Adobe software, but spend time with QuarkXPress and other applications they may encounter.The FOCUS also involves a thorough immersion in printing technologies, and for the program’s offset lithography unit, the school enlisted the services of senior account and customer experience manager Jonathan Stokes of TRICO Evolution in Ottawa.Poster objectiveTRICO serves clients across Canada and the northern United States from its offices in Montreal, Ottawa, Kingston and Vancouver, accounting for 350,000 square feet. In September 2015, Delta Business Solutions and TRICO entered into an agreement to combine forces and operate as one company under the TRICO brand. With more than 240 employees, the company focuses on products and services across six lines of business: contract packaging, warehousing and logistics, display and signage, commercial printing, direct marketing, and marketing analytics and insight.The FOCUS students’ objective at TRICO was to have the entire class contribute artwork for a poster marking Star Trek’s 50th year on television. The first series, now referred to as The Original Series, debuted in 1966 and followed the galactic adventures of James T. Kirk and crew of the starship Enterprise, an exploration vessel of a 23rd-century United Federation of Planets.Students were given their choice of media, with the understanding that their final artwork would appear only in black and white. Some of the students chose to do artwork with traditional tools, others used Adobe Illustrator to make vector drawings. Because the sequels, movies, animated films and graphic novels are so easily accessible, and a much-hyped new series is in the works (planned for a January 2017 release), the students were all familiar with all the characters.After the initial artwork was completed, all images were scanned at the proper resolution and then imported into a QuarkXPress document where the appropriate typographic notes were added. The finished poster was exported to PDF and FTPed to Stokes at TRICO. When the class arrived at TRICO to see offset lithography in action, students were first shown how a printing job is scheduled and how files are processed when they come to the plant, reinforcing the time-sensitive nature of the business.Stokes brought the FOCUS program students to the plate-processing station and there a skilled technician burned an aluminum plate of the Star Trek poster job and gave it to us for display at our school art show. In the pressroomThe class next entered the printing area, where one of the TRICO pressmen had our poster printing plate mounted on the large litho press ready to go. The students were able to observe all the fine tuning done before a job enters production.The class, whose printing experiences for the most part only included photocopiers, laser and inkjet printers were surprised at the speed and fidelity of offset lithography. They were also impressed by how efficiently large amounts of paper could be cut and trimmed with such accuracy. Our day at TRICO evolution finished on a high note in the board room, with Stokes showing impressive samples of critically acclaimed work done for corporate clients. Each student left with a few copies of their Star Trek poster and a greater appreciation and respect for the printing trade.Author Irving Osterer is the Department Head Fine Arts and Technology Merivale High School in Ottawa, Ontario. For more information about Merivale’s Fine Arts and Focus Program go to www.merivalefinearts.wikispaces.com.
Pollard Banknote Limited of Winnipeg, Manitoba, has been awarded a four-year contract to serve as the primary scratch game supplier to the Minnesota State Lottery. Under this agreement, Pollard Banknote will continue as the Lottery's primary scratch game vendor, but expects to increase ticket volumes supplied, with a guarantee in the new contract of at least 70 percent of all scratch games purchased for every year of the contract. The new contract runs until June 30, 2020 with the potential for two one-year contract extensions. The contract value is estimated to be approximately US$11.2 million over the four years.Pollard Banknote is currently a lottery partner to more than 60 lotteries worldwide.The company was first awarded a secondary scratch game contract for the Minnesota Lottery in 2007 and was elevated to primary supplier in 2010. By focusing on industry innovations and winning strategies, the scratch game category generated 69 percent of total Minnesota Lottery sales for FY2015.“Leveraging Pollard Banknote's experience working with a variety of lottery jurisdictions worldwide, our strategies incorporate the best of the best in utilizing innovations to maximize scratch ticket sales that raise money for good causes,” said Byron Peterson, Director, Sales & Marketing, Pollard Banknote. “The Minnesota State Lottery does a fantastic job of executing those strategies.”To date, the Minnesota Lottery has brought a range of Pollard Banknote's products and licensed brands to market, including the PlayBook, Scratch FX and Spectrum Scratch FX. It was also the first Lottery to launch Scratch FX at the $20 price point. Most recently, the Lottery's launch of a $5 Frogger game (a licensed brand offered exclusively by Pollard Banknote) had five-week average sales that were 82 percent higher than all other $5 games launched in Minnesota since 2013. It was the lottery's best-selling ticket at this price point."We are very excited to continue our strong partnership with Pollard Banknote," said Michael Vekich, Acting Director, Minnesota Lottery. "We rely heavily on our primary printing partner for design, marketing and strategy leadership – a partner proven to help the Lottery drive its scratch sales. Pollard Banknote offers everything we seek from a scratch game printer – guidance and expertise in research, marketing and product innovation.”
The winners of the 2016 Premier Printing Awards competition, hosted by the Printing Industries of America, have been announced and four Canadian printing companies are amongst the Best of Category recipients, who receive the Benny Award named after Benjamin Franklin.Friesens and C.J. Graphics each won two Benny Awards with one each being won by Prime Data Communications and Mi5 Print and Digital Communications, as detailed below:C.J. Graphics Inc., Toronto, ONProject: C.J. Graphics Open House InvitationCategory: Invitations (1, 2, or 3 colors)Project: Blue Dragon Chop To ChopsticksCategory: Digital Printing-CookbooksFriesens Corporation, Altona, MBProject: Can You Dig ItCategory: CookbooksProject: MIT Technique 2016Category: School YearbooksMi5 Print and Digital Communications, Mississauga, ONProject: PREMISE Intertain Annual Report 2014Category: Business and Annual Reports (4 or more colors, printers with 21-50 employees)Prime Data Communications, Aurora, ONProject: Coolest Variable Print Project in the WorldCategory: Customized/Personalized/Variable-Data Digital Printing
Frank Romano, Professor Emeritus at the Rochester Institute of Technology and well-known printing pundit based on more than 40 years of industry analysis, on December 2 provided a keynote speech at the Digital Imaging Association’s annual holiday luncheon, held on Toronto’s waterfront at The Boulevard Club. The title of Romano’s DIA keynote, Digital Printing, From Good Enough to Nanography, describes one of the most-pressing issues facing printers as they prepare to make investment decisions around the commercial-printing possibilities of inkjet technologies.Romano spent an hour providing the crowd of some 100 people with his insights on the evolution of printing technologies, beginning with his take on the industry’s historical transitions into offset, toner and wide-format inkjet. The last 20 minutes of his speech then focused on both the opportunities and challenges facing further adoption of digital printing, with an emphasis on production-strength inkjet printing, ending with his perspective on Landa Digital’s Nanography-branded presses.Discussing the challenges facing further adoption of digital-printing technologies, particularly inkjet, Romano points to three primary issues. First, he explains, is the continuing, misguided marketing of technology developers that promote digital-printing growth via page volume. “The way they measure the output from these machines is page impressions. If you reduce everything to just a page, you have denigrated it – you have insulted it – because a page has no value,” says Romano. “When the page is in a brochure it has value. When a page is in a book it has value… They are not pages, they are parts of a product and that product has value. And if we keep making that a page, we reduce the value in the product and that is an issue.”The second primary obstacle to digital-printing growth, according to Romano, is the absurd number of sheet sizes needed to accommodate unique imaging formats on most every single digital press – both historic installations and new systems coming to market. “Let’s get rid of all of these stupid sizes. We cannot deal with every different sheet size you can imagine,” says Romano. “I’m sorry, the paper companies are not going to support you – they can’t anymore. They do not have the resources. They do not even have the warehouse space.”Romano then walked the crowd through a third significant challenge facing the further adoption of digital and inkjet presses: “The problem is that the majority of these machines are CMYK and yet we all know that we have to handle brand colours – Pantone colours… That is one of the reasons why Indigo sells so well. HP has done a very good job because of the fact that you can match almost every Pantone colour, every brand colour. That is why they are so dominant in the label market.”Romano continues to explain flexography remains so vital in the packaging world because of the ability to invest in 6, 8, 10-unit presses on which just about any brand colour can be dropped into the machine. He notes, however, that inkjet presses today can print on just about any polymer or plastic. “It is just a matter of time, but the problem is without the brand colours they are not going to get into the packaging market… And, by the way, telling me you can do 80 percent of the Pantone colours with CMYK does not hit it. Sorry, but that is not an argument.”After visiting drupa 2016, Romano notes the incredible range of production inkjet systems entering the market and their ability to print on most any substrate. He uses the growth in wide-format inkjet as an example of this ever-expanding application range, primarily leveraging mature UV technologies. "The next generation is going to print on new kinds of substrates. It is going to go way beyond paper... The home decor market, make the pattern of your sofa match your wall paper, if you so desire. Make your windows look like Tiffany glass. You can do that now very easily with wide-format inkjet."Romano envisions a strong future in the use of UV inking on production-strength systems, particularly with water-based UV inkjet technologies as opposed to oil-based UV. “I think the next big movement has to be water-based UV,” he says. “UV is really a key system because it can print on almost anything. It is impervious to the weather. That is going to be a key technology.”The use of water-based inking systems ties directly into the potential of Landa Digital’s Nanography-branded printing systems, which Romano does not view as standard inkjet presses, despite their use of print heads, because they jet liquid toner. Landa’s unique consumable is water based and evaporates in the imaging process to provide vibrant colours with a very low ink coating relative to existing inkjet systems.“A lot is going to change when Landa actually starts shipping… When that machine comes out there are several things about it that are unique,” says Romano. “You look at what [Benny Landa] is doing with that ink, it is going to change the world. The question is, will he make the machine affordable.”Without singling out Landa Digital, Romano continues to point to the challenge printers face given the high costs of production inkjet systems in the market today. “The thing that bothers me more than anything else is that we are a capital-intensive business and these machines are not cheap anymore,” he says. “[Technology suppliers] figure we all have money and yet that is one of my issues – we don’t. If you could get the machine at a reasonable price, we could then build a business and buy more machines, and buy more consumables… But right now I think they have priced them a little bit too high.”
More than 200 industry leaders, students and family members on November 9 attended the annual awards night to celebrate the achievement of dozens of students in Ryerson University’s School of Graphic Communications Management. The ceremony, which highlighted the program’s close ties to the Canadian printing industry, was held in the Sears Atrium of the George Vari Engineering Building.Ryerson Graphic Communications Management (GCM) students Jim Poopalapillai and Melissa Williams hosted the evening, which began with an address from the Chair of the school, Ian Baitz, who noted the program’s growth – with around 180 new students enrolled this year – and its important relationship with industry.In addition to several awards donated by a range companies, GCM students were acknowledged for their achievements through the Canada Printing Industry Scholarship Trust Fund, which provided $59,000 to students across Canada this year – a majority of which are studying at Ryerson. (Photos provided by Ryerson student Andrew Ouzounis.)   View the embedded image gallery online at: http://www.printaction.com/index.php?option=com_k2&Itemid=8&lang=en&layout=latest&view=latest#sigProGalleriadd5b63da37
Printers and technology suppliers from across Canada gathered in Toronto on November 10, at the Palais Royale, to celebrate their industry at the 11th Canadian Printing Awards Gala, hosted by PrintAction magazine. A total of 87 awards were presented to leaders of Canadian printing in front of more than 200 attendees.The following sponsors were critical in the success of the 2016 Canadian Printing Awards, including: Platinum sponsor, Veritiv; Gold sponsors, Canon, HP, Huber Group, KBA, Kodak, Manroland Sheetfed and Sun Chemical; and Silver sponsors Domtar, Fujifilm, Heidelberg and Spicers.The 2016 awards program will be detailed in the January 2016 issue of PrintAction. Follow this link for more information about the gala held last week and a complete list of award winners. Photos by Paul Hillier, www.paulhillier.com.   View the embedded image gallery online at: http://www.printaction.com/index.php?option=com_k2&Itemid=8&lang=en&layout=latest&view=latest#sigProGalleriadfd027559a
The foursome from Hanna Paper Fibres won the recent Toronto Craftsmen’s annual golf tournament at the Royal Woodbine Golf Club. The main objective of the golf tournament, along with other Toronto Craftsmen events, is to generate funds for the organization’s annual scholarship awards.In April of this year, a group of secondary and post-secondary students were honoured with scholarships for their achievements in industry-related programs and the annual Toronto Craftsmen Graphic Challenge Competition. Bill Kidd, President of the Toronto Craftsmen, explains 54 submissions from eight educational programs were entered into this year’s Graphic Challenge, which has grown since its inception six years ago when 15 students submitted work from four institutions. The Craftsmen scholarship program has been running for 41 years and is now called the Tai Chi Awards in honour of a promising student who passed away shortly after graduating from Ryerson University’s Graphic Communications Management program.
From September 23 to 25, sign and printing industry professionals gathered at The International Centre in Mississauga, Ontario, to attend the 2016 version of Sign Expo Canada. The annual trade show is produced by Sign Association of Canada and allows printing companies to see some of the newest large format technologies available in the market, along with a range of substrates and key trends like car wrapping. The trade show also provides a range of digital-only signage applications, along with workflow and a range of related trade services.   View the embedded image gallery online at: http://www.printaction.com/index.php?option=com_k2&Itemid=8&lang=en&layout=latest&view=latest#sigProGalleria3309ecbbf5
Releasing results for the third quarter of its current fiscal year, Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG states it is still on course to increase its annual profit as planned. During the third quarter (October 1 to December 31, 2016), the company’s operating result (EBITDA) and the net result after taxes improved further compared to the same quarter of the previous year. After nine months, Heidelberg explains its current fiscal sales of €1.7 billion were slightly below the previous year’s levels of €1.8 billion, as it expected, also stating a large number of orders placed at drupa, with longer delivery times, will be supplied on schedule in the fourth quarter.Over the same period, incoming orders at €1.99 billion were approximately 4.5 percent higher than the previous year’s value (€1.90 billion). At €739 million, the order backlog was around 26 percent up on the previous year’s figure (€586 million). As a result, Heidelberg explains it has a good platform for achieving the significant sales growth planned in the fourth quarter. “The improvements in results in the third quarter show that Heidelberg is on the right course to achieve sustainable profitability,” said Rainer Hundsdörfer, CEO of Heidelberg. “We anticipate we will further increase our annual profit with a strong final quarter.” Heidelberg, in releasing its Q3 results, stated it is realigning its organization to accelerate its digital transformation for high-growth customer segments in the years ahead. In future, Heidelberg explains there will be a division that will develop, manufacture and supply appropriate digital technologies and products for new business models. Another division, according to the company, will devise and market these models.“Heidelberg goes digital. We are getting the company fit for the digital future,” said Hundsdörfer. “To do that, we will develop and roll out our own innovative business ideas. However, we will also be strengthening our position in this area through acquisitions.”Heidelberg’s current third quarter EBITDA, excluding special items, improved to €49 million in the third quarter (previous year: €40 million). The total figure after nine months was €94 million (previous year: €119 million). At €-2 million, special items in the quarter under review equaled the figure for the same quarter of the previous year (€-2 million). The total figure after nine months was €-8 million (previous year: €-24 million). The financial result for the period under review matched the previous year’s level at €-42 million. Consequently, the net result after taxes in the quarter under review increased substantially to €18 million (previous year: €7 million). At €-10 million for the nine-month period, it was on a par with the corresponding period of the previous year (€-7 million).Free cash flow in the third quarter was slightly negative at €-10 million, and overall, after nine months, it was also at €-10 million. Compared to the financial year-end on March 31, 2016, the equity of the Heidelberg Group dropped to €246 million as at December 31, 2016. This was primarily due, according to the company, to changes in the actuarial interest rates for pensions. “We have the financial strength to actively shape our route into the digital world,” said Dirk Kaliebe, CFO. “The balanced financing framework also gives us the freedom to drive forward new business models through targeted acquisitions.”Thanks to the solid incoming orders and the rise in the order backlog, Heidelberg states it remains focused on its targets for 2016/2017. Although planned acquisitions have not been implemented yet, the company is still striving for marginal sales growth in light of a strong final quarter of the year. Despite the inputs for the accelerated expansion of the digital and the service business, it also expects to achieve an EBITDA margin before special items on par with the previous year’s level in the 2016/2017 financial year. At the same time, the financial result will improve further on account of declining interest expenses. Thus, Heidelberg is still aiming for a moderate year-on-year increase in its net result after taxes for the year as a whole.
Electronics For Imaging announced its preliminary results for the fourth quarter and year ended December 31, 2016. For the quarter ended December 31, 2016, the company reported record fourth quarter revenue of $266.7 million (all figures in US dollars), up four percent compared to fourth quarter 2015 revenue of $256.5 million. GAAP net income was $20.5 million, up 99 percent compared to $10.3 million for the same period in 2015 or $0.43 per diluted share, up 105 percent compared to $0.21 per diluted share for the same period in 2015. Cash flow from operating activities was $65.2 million, up 141 percent compared to $27.1 million during the same period in 2015 For the year ended December 31, 2016, the company reported revenue of $992.1 million, up 12 percent year-over-year compared to $882.5 million for the same period in 2015. GAAP net income was $45.5 million, up 36 percent compared to $33.5 million for the same period in 2015 or $0.95 per diluted share, up 36 percent compared to $0.70 per diluted share for the same period in 2015. "EFI delivered another record revenue quarter and our team's execution drove significant improvements in margins, cash flow, and earnings per share, despite the negative impact of foreign currency," said Guy Gecht, CEO of EFI.  "As we start the New Year we are even more excited about the road ahead, especially with our upcoming introduction of the Nozomi platform targeted at digital printing for packaging."
In its goal to become a $1 billion company by the end of the current fiscal year, Electronics For Imaging Inc. of Freemont, California, continues to report record quarterly revenue results. For it third quarter of 2016, ended September 30, 2016, with revenues reaching US$245.6 million, an increase of seven percent compared to third quarter 2015 revenue of US$228.7 million. "Our balanced business model was again the story in the third quarter,” said Guy Gecht, CEO of EFI.  “We are delighted with the strong organic growth in our Industrial Inkjet and Productivity Software segments, coupled with a rebound in cash from operations. We are entering the home stretch of 2016 with a robust pipeline of opportunities to partner with customers around the world in transforming and growing their businesses."GAAP net income was US$17.7 million for the company’s current third quarter, up 76 percent compared to US$10.3 million for the same period in 2015. Non-GAAP net income was US$27.6 million, up 16 perccent compared to non-GAAP net income of US$24.1 million for the same period in 2015.For the nine months ended September 30, 2016, EFI reported revenue of US$725.4 million, up 16 percent year-over-year compared to US$626.0 million for the same period in 2015.
Langley Holdings, owner of Manroland Sheetfed, has released its interim results for the six months ended June 30, 2016, which includes sales of €417.1 million for the entire group of companies. This includes an increase in pre-tax profits to €48.9 million, up from €37.9 million at the same point in 2015.  Group operating profit for the period was €48.1 million (2015: €37.1 million). The company’s forecasts for the full-year result predicted a six percent improvement on 2015 with pre-tax profits expected to reach €112 million on sales of €930 million.Tony Langley, Chairman of Langley Holdings, stated the first six months of 2016 had been a very satisfactory trading period for the group with the overall half-year result exceeding expectations. “Both the trading for the first six months and the outlook for the full year, are very positive,” Langley said. “Moreover, the group is financially secure with substantial resources, not only for its existing operations, but also has sufficient surplus to continue its development independently.”Manroland Sheetfed saw an expected slow-down in orders ahead of drupa, explained the company, but this was brought back on track following drupa with the Offenbach factory “optimally loaded from backlog in the first six months.” Langley said this would remain the case until the year end and that profits in the division were in line with expectations. German printing consumables business Drück Chemie, acquired in 2014, was trading in line with expectations and was “exceeding the company’s benchmark minimum 20 percent return on capital employed.”Tony Langley said he expected any Brexit impact on business to be minimal and a slump in demand to be unlikely. “Although some 20 percent of the group’s profits are derived from the UK, the majority of this is from the UK subsidiaries of our German and French divisions, all of which compete entirely with other European producers for UK trade.“Our actual UK based businesses represent only a nominal percentage of the group as a whole and, therefore, I do not expect Brexit to have a substantial impact on the group one way or the other,” continued Langley, “although UK assets are currently devalued by some 10 percent in euro terms.”Langley said the business was continuing to look for potential acquisitions and that a number of candidates had been considered during the period but that none were currently being followed up. The group employs around 4,200 people across its five divisions and 80 companies.
Koenig & Bauer Group (KBA) released its second quarter results for 2016 noting it will raise revenue and earnings targets for the full fiscal year. The positive financial expectations, according to the German press maker, are backed by what it describes as a successful drupa (May 31 to June 10, 2016) and a high order intake of €352.5m in its second quarter. At €352.5 million, group order intake from April to June was up 17.2 percent year-on-year, although the group's figures for this quarter only contain around a third of orders placed at the drupa trade show which were in the triple-digit million euro range. The catch-up effect, explains KBA, will ensure additional stimulus in the second half-year as KBA traditionally only books orders that are fully documented and financially secure. KBA reported half-year revenue of €553.9 million which is 30 percent above the prior year’s period. After six months, group order intake of €618.8 million was 1.9% percent higher than the prior year, which KBA also describes as strong. Revenue increased over the same period by 29.7 percent to €553 million. KBA’s complete order backlog of €639.8 million secures workload beyond 2016. “This is a solid buffer for the second half-year and gives us ample security to raise our targets for 2016 despite existing economic and political turbulence,” said Claus Bolza-Schünemann, KBA President and CEO. “ We now expect an EBT margin of around four percent with group revenue between €1.1 and €1.2 billion."KBA explains a rise of 30 percent in revenue compared to 2015, strong capacity utilization at KBA's facilities and cost savings from its restructuring program completed at the start of the year had a positive impact on earnings after six months despite high trade show and development costs. The company’s EBIT improved to €20.7 million compared to the prior-year loss of –€8.3 million A slightly negative interest result of –€2.9 million led to a group pre-tax profit (EBT) of €17.8 million. After deducting income tax expenses, group net profit came to €17.2 million (2015: –€9.3 million). The company’s free cash flow stands at –€14.4 million, compared to –€25.2 million 12 months ago. Funds at the end of June 2016 came to €168.7 million. Less bank loans, KBA's net liquidity stood at €154.5 million.KBA explains from the drupa trade show, which again brought in orders in the triple-digit million euro range for KBA's largest segment, sheetfed, around a third of these orders were already visible in the group's figures for the second quarter and the other two thirds will be booked in the coming months.
Electronics For Imaging yesterday announced results for its second quarter of 2016, ended June 30, 2016, with a record second quarter revenue of $245.7 million (all dollar amounts in U.S. funds), up 21 percent compared to second quarter 2015 revenue of $202.7 million. “The EFI team delivered a solid quarter despite the disruption caused by global events during the last week of the quarter,” said Guy Gecht, CEO of EFI. “At the same time, EFI’s market position at the drupa tradeshow validated both our strategy and product roadmap, and we’re particularly encouraged by the exceptional reception to our new Nozomi platform.The drupa momentum is feeding into the strength we are seeing in the Industrial Inkjet and Productivity Software segments,” continued Gecht, “which keep us on track to deliver our stated goal of $1 billion in revenues for the year.”For the six months ended June 30, 2016, the company reported revenue of $479.8 million, which was also up 21 percent year-over-year compared to $397.3 million for the same period in 2015. GAAP net income was $7.3 million compared to $13.0 million for the same period in 2015.
Mimaki USA, which is part of the Japanese-based imaging giant, is opening its first branch location in Canada. Located at the intersection of Jane Street and Highway 7 in Toronto, the location is to include a technology centre, Mimaki’s seventh such centre in North America, for running demonstrations of its wide-format imaging technologies.Lucas Crossley, Canada Sales Manager for Mimaki, will lead the new Canadian location, which will include trained sales, support and service staff to help support its dealers in the country. The 11,000-square-foot technology centre will also hold Dealer Technician Certification courses in addition to applications training.The company is holding a grand opening celebration for its new technology centre on October 11, 2016 , with a ceremony taking place at 11:00 am.
Delphax Technologies Inc, with its primary press manufacturing operation based in Mississauga, Ontario, has reached a joint partnership agreement with Weihai Printing Machinery Co. Ltd. to provide the Delphax elan 500 inkjet press in the Chinese printing market. “Weihai’s investment in Delphax’s innovative elan 500 provides an attractive alternative to other technologies in fulfilling our clients printing needs,” said Gu Yonghui, General Manager of Weihai Printing Machinery. “The Weifeng EL500 is a product that will create a new model for opportunity in multiple print markets here in China.”The seven-year agreement for multiple systems will yield in excess of 35 systems, with the unit marketed under the name Weifeng EL500. In establishing this agreement, Delphax explains it has realigned its operations to primarily support and focus on the continued expansion,  development and manufacture of the elan 500 product line, fulfilling increased demand in the North American, EMEA and Chinese markets.The Delphax elan 500 is a colour sheetfed inkjet press with the ability to produce up to 500 duplex letter images per minute or 3,750 SRA2 (450 x 640 mm) sheets per hour. The press is driven by Memjet print head technology, whereby every stationary print head on the elan 500 has 70,400 jets that produce up to 700 million drops of ink per second. The elan 500 allows for printing on a range of substrates, from 20 to 130 Ib (60 to 350 gsm) and up to 8 x 8 to 18 x 25.2 inches (203 x 203 mm to 450 x 640 mm-SRA2). Duplex printing is performed at full speed, explains Delphax, with no degradation due to the unique SST paper path.“Weihai Printing Machinery provides us with a strong partner in China, providing both the commercial and technical support capabilities required to service the Chinese market.” said Richard Lee, Director of Operations at Delphax Technologies. “We look forward to working jointly with Weihai over the forthcoming launch and commercial release of the Weifeng EL500 and expect this relationship to generate significant new growth and profitability for our respective businesses”.Weihai Printing Machinery Co., founded in 1954, was the first major enterprise and the first major high technology company established under the Torch Plan of China within the Printing Machinery Sector. Under the Torch Plan, Weihai Printing Machinery Company was granted the right of open importation and exportation.
PDS is now the Canadian master distributor of Multigraf Touchline creasers, perforators and folders. This line-up of technologies has been constantly evolving since Multigraf became on the first companies to focus on the short-run finishing market in 1984.Multigraf AG is an equipment manufacturer based out of Muri, Switzerland. In addition to the Touchline products, Multigraf produces a range of banding and stacking systems.
KBR Graphics, which is celebrating its 40th year in business in 2016, is expanding its distribution of RYOBI MHI Graphic Technology sheetfed offset printing presses to include all of Canada. In mid-July 2016, KBR Graphics moved its head office to a new modern facility in Laval, Quebec, which is prepared to support future business through its larger sales, service and support teams.Previously, KBR Graphics had been the RYOBI MHI Graphic Technology (RMGT) distributor in Central and Eastern Canada since 2012. “We are pleased to offer the entire line of RMGT presses – the RMGT 3, 5, 7, 9, 10 and 11 models – across Canada, both direct and through our dealer network,” said Karl Belafi. Jr., Vice President, KBR Graphics.  “We have been selling RMGT presses for four years and enjoy a great relationship with RYOBI MHI. We’ve been very successful in the eastern part of the country and aim to further develop our presence throughout Canada.” In addition to its line of offset presses, the expanded distribution agreement also includes the new digital press line that RMGT introduced this past spring at the drupa trade fair in Germany. Sales representatives and dealer partners are being added throughout different locations in Canada so that the RMGT product line can be supported across the country for sales and technical service.“Announcements will be made in the very near future about our new additions and, by the end of this year, our Western region teams will grow even more,” said Belafi.
Bell and Howell Global Services released a statement that it will begin to service Ricoh InfoPrint presses in Canada, based on that company’s decision to no longer support the InfoPrint 3900 printer. Bell and Howell plans to support the following IBM/Ricoh InfoPrint models in Canada: 3300, 3800, 3900, 4000 and 4100.“There is a lot of life left in these InfoPrint toner production printers, and we’re ready to assist anyone who needs service virtually anywhere in North America,” said Jim Feely, Senior VP of Global Service Solutions. “Our Services team has the parts, supplies and technical know-how to provide the support needed to keep these printers up and running for years to come.”Bell and Howell states it has a network of hundreds of service technicians throughout Canada and the United States to perform maintenance or repair on a production printer, mail machinery or other industrial mechatronics systems from over 50 brands.The company also explains it can service all InfoPrint associated pre/post equipment from Lasermax, Hunkeler, Tecnau, RSI, Stralfors, ESP and others. This includes providing preventive maintenance, scheduled maintenance/tune-up, replacement parts, certified refurbishing, and converting systems to accept lower-cost orange cap toner.
Larry Stewart becomes Regional Sales Manager for technology and service supplier KBR Graphics, based in Montreal, Quebec. Stewart joins KBR Graphic’s Ontario sales team and is responsible for the entire range of KBR equipment and services. He will coordinate all aspects of new client acquisition for the Eastern portion of the Greater Toronto Area as well as other parts of Ontario. Stewart has more than 28 years of experience as a sales professional in the printing industry.  “Larry's extensive background and strong knowledge of print and finishing machinery as well as his established reputation in the industry will help our customers position their businesses for future success,” said Karl Belafi Jr., Vice President of KBR Graphics. Steve Klaric, a longstanding KBR Graphics Regional Sales Manager, continues in his responsibilities for the Western part of the Greater Toronto Area as well as other parts of Ontario.
Organizers of Graphics Canada 2017, running from April 6 to 8 at the Toronto International Centre, have provided an update of educational sessions to take place at the biannual printing trade show.Print Media Centr, led by Deborah Corn, will be running Graphics Canada’s Innovations Theatre nd organizers have posted their preliminary agenda on the show’s website. All sessions in the Innovations Theatre are free to attendees.IDEAlliance is also returning to the 2017 version of Graphics Canada with its G7 Summit running on the morning of April 6. More detailed information about this event can be found on the trade show’s Website.Organizers explain LabelExpo will participation in Graphics Canada 2017 with a Label Forum.Other primary educational attractions listed on the trade show’s website include intelliPACK workshops, sublimation zone, specialty graphics opportunity zone, Crossmedia Canada Conference, and the Printing Sales Training Day, among others.
Xaar of Cambridge, United Kingdom, reached an agreement with Xerox Corporation to partner in the development of bulk piezoelectric inkjet printheads. Xaar is soley focused on the production of industrial print heads, while Xerox holds a range of hardware, software and service technologies for the printing industry."Continued investment in technology and product development, together with strategic partnerships, are key elements of our 2020 vision," said Doug Edwards, CEO of Xaar.Xaar states the partnership capitalizes on each company's expertise in bulk piezo printhead development and will leverage both companies’ technologies. Xaar also explains the partnership allows it to provide customers with a broader range of bulk piezo printheads.
Agfa Specialty Products and LCsys Systèmes Industriels have launched ABSOLUT-ID, a joint solution for the production of high security ID cards, resulting from a development and sales partnership between the companies.In its role, Agfa supplies the technology and consumables for the printing of personalization data and LCsys provides process engineering and equipment manufacturing. The two partners will unveil ABSOLUT-ID to the global ID card industry on a joint exhibition booth at Trustech 2016, running from November 29 to December 1 in Cannes, France.Agfa’s print technology allows positioning the personalization image and data on ABSOLUT-ID cards underneath the traditional guilloche printing instead of on top of the product. The company explains this facilitates the visual detection of tampering and increases the reliability thereof, because the smallest flaw or interruption of a single guilloche line will instantly reveal fraud. Additionally, since the personalization data of each individual card are generated in a half tone resolution without pixels or screen dots, Agfa explains ABSOLUT-ID cards are considered virtually impossible to counterfeit or even to manipulate.The production of ABSOLUT-ID cards, using consumables on roll, is a web-based process that integrates all the customary stages of card production: printing of the personalization image and data, lamination, die cutting and chipping. This continuous process offers tremendous time and cost efficiency, explains Agfa, as well as security benefits compared to the conventional approach of sequential and often geographically distributed steps. Agfa explains that because the process starts with the personalization stage, the ABSOLUT-ID concept eliminates the cost of laborious card preparations before a single card can be issued. It also avoids the storage of semi-finished cards that have high value only in terms of immobilized cash and represent a high risk of security breach in case of theft; a risk that can only be countered by increasing the cost even more with security infrastructure investments or surveillance.“In today's globalized world, more than ever, reliable ID security is of great importance to society and to all of us individually," said Marc Van Damme, VP Marketing and Sales, Agfa Specialty Products. “Agfa is pleased to contribute to more reliable and affordable security with state-of-the-art technology that builds on our long-standing expertise in imaging and shows at its best when quality is at stake to make a real difference.”
Jones Packaging Inc., headquartered in London, Ont. as a global provider of packaging solutions for healthcare and consumer brands, has entered into a commercial partnership with Norway's Thin Film Electronics ASA (Thinfilm), which develops printed electronics and smart systems, including technologies for Near Field Communications (NFC).Together the two companies will integrate Thinfilm’s recently branded NFC OpenSense technology into paperboard pharmaceutical packaging and, at the same time, develop what Jones describes as key manufacturing processes for its high-speed production lines.Jones and Thinfilm will also collaborate to engage top global pharmaceutical companies to integrate the smart technology into Rx and over-the-counter product packaging. The Jones/Thinfilm smart packaging collaboration will be funded, in part, by grants from both the Swedish and Canadian governments. Jones explains NFC OpenSense tags are thin, flexible labels that can detect both a product’s “factory sealed” and “opened” states and wirelessly communicate contextual content with the tap of an NFC-enabled smartphone. The tags contain unique identifiers, continues Jones, that make it possible for pharmaceutical companies to authenticate products and track them to the individual-item level using software and analytics tools. In addition, Jones explains the tags remain active even after a product’s factory seal has been broken, which enables both brands and medical staff to extend the dialogue with consumers and patients. “Our strategy of developing printed electronics solutions for the healthcare market led us to this important collaboration with industry pioneer Thinfilm,” stated Chris Jones Harris, Principal, Strategic Initiatives and Alliances with Jones. “Thinfilm’s unique printed NFC solution addresses multiple needs within the pharmaceutical channel, particularly around product integrity and patient safety, and allows our customers to connect the world of physical packaging to virtual and dynamic content on the internet – it’s a very unique and compelling proposition.”Thinfilm’s “Tag Talks First” protocol is described as a key feature of the NFC OpenSense tag and enables a read-speed that is up to 20 times faster than conventional NFC solutions. The companies explain this makes NFC OpenSense an ideal technology for use within the high-speed, high-volume production lines found in Jones’ manufacturing facilities. The work conducted by Jones and Thinfilm will also include the integration of ferrite shield labels with the NFC OpenSense tags. Jones explains this will enable the NFC technology to function on metalized packaging, such as blisters commonly used for cold/flu medication. The company states this is perfectly aligned with its contract packaging capabilities in the area of customized blister packaging solutions for solid dose products including tablets, caplets, capsules and gel caps.“Jones has been in business for well over a century and is a trusted partner to many of the most recognized global pharmaceutical and consumer brands,” said Davor Sutija, CEO of Thinfilm. “We are very excited to be partnering with a true innovator in the packaging industry and look forward to helping them deliver this leading-edge NFC solution to the pharmaceutical space.”
Xaar plc, which makes industrial inkjet technology, and Lawter, along with its parent company Harima Chemicals Group (HCG), are now collaborating to optimize the performance of a line of nanosilver conductive inks in the Xaar 1002 industrial inkjet print-head. The combined solution, according to the companies, will be of interest to manufacturers of consumer electronics goods looking for a method to print antennas and sensors with silver nanoparticle ink as part of their manufacturing processes. Xaar explains inkjet is a cleaner process than other methods of printing silver inks; this is especially relevant when printing onto a substrate, such as a display, in which any yield loss is expensive. With inkjet, manufacturers can precisely control the amount of ink dispensed in certain areas of a pattern, continues Xaar, so that the ink or fluid deposited can be thicker in some areas and thinner in others – adding that inkjet enables the deposition of a much thinner layer of fluids than traditional methods, which is significant for the manufacturers looking to produce thinner devices. Inkjet is also one of the few technologies able to print a circuit over a substrate that has a structured surface.“This is an excellent opportunity to showcase our latest technological breakthroughs and demonstrate the unique value that our revolutionary nanoparticle inkjet solutions can play as part of an integrated system solutions in the PE world,” said Dr. Arturo Horta, Business Development Manager for Lawter Innovation Group. HCG claims to have pioneered the development and manufacture of silver nanoparticle conductive inks for the printed electronics industry over 20 years ago and has over 100 patents related to its nanoparticle dispersion technology.
Komori Corporation and Screen Holdings Co., Ltd. announced that Komori America Corporation and Screen GP Americas, LLC, a division of Screen Graphic and Precision Solutions (Screen GP) group, have entered into a strategic selling agreement that effectively joins the two companies’ sales organizations. Komori America will be the sole distributor in the United States of Screen GP's new Truepress Jet520HD, a high-speed, high-definition inkjet press powered by the Equios Digital Front Workflow solution. Screen GP Americas brings its knowledge and expertise in the inkjet marketplace to the partnership with Komori America.Eiji Kajita, Director and Operating Officer of Komori Corporation says, “This is a great opportunity for both Komori and Screen GP.  By joining our US sales teams we will have double the workforce to take both Komori's offset and Screen GP's digital products to the marketplace. But more importantly, we know our customers will benefit from the combined expertise of our two teams.”Katsuhiko Aoki, President of Screen GP said, “We have a longstanding relationship with Komori and it just makes good business sense to take the strength of our two product lines and the technical expertise of our sales teams to join together to grow our market share. We are looking forward to the future and we are confident commercial printers will see real value in working with one organization that is focused on their success regardless of the technology platform.”
Sappi Limited last week approved a range of projects in Europe and the United States, including a US$165 million capital project to expand Sappi North America's manufacturing capabilities. The purpose of the investment on Paper Machine No. 1 at its Somerset Mill in Skowhegan, Maine, is to provide flexibility in the production of paper-based packaging products. At the same time, the US$165 million project in Maine aims to maintain Sappi's position in the graphic paper market, increasing annual production capacity at this mill to almost one million tons per annum. The Paper Machine No. 1 project, which is scheduled to come online in early in 2018, will provide an 180,000 metric ton capacity increase“This move complements our long term 2020Vision strategy, which seeks opportunities to substantially increase our group EBITDA,” said Steve Binnie, CEO of Sappi Limited.Sappi is one of the world’s largest producers of diversified woodfibre products, focused on converting wood pulp, paper pulp and paper-based products to direct and indirect customers in over 160 countries. Headquartered in Johannesburg, South Africa, Sappi has more than 13,000 employees and manufacturing operations on three continents in seven countries and group sales of US$6 billion.Sappi North America, headquartered in Boston, generates revenue for its parent company through four business units, including high quality Coated Printing Papers, Specialised Cellulose, Release Papers and Specialty Packaging. “Somerset's existing world class infrastructure together with its talented workforce and access to high quality fiber makes the mill an excellent and obvious choice for this investment," said Mark Gardner, President and CEO of Sappi North America. “Increasing our flexibility and expanding the paper mill's capability and capacity will ensure that we continue to make superior products at Somerset for years to come.”
Informco of Scarborough, Ontario, is one of eight printing operations from around the world chosen by Kodak to receive its 2016 Sonora Plate Green Leaf Award. The program, which first launched in 2014, recognizes customers who have demonstrated outstanding efforts to reduce their environmental impact through a variety of initiatives and best practices.  All of the printers are users of Kodak Sonora process-free plates, which hold a range of environmentally progressive benefits, while also being judged on practices like monitoring of energy and water usage, participation in local community sustainability programs and the use of eco-conscious materials and supplies. Sonora plates remove the need for the plate processor, which requires chemicals, water, and energy while generating waste. Kodak predicts that 30 percent of its plate volume will be process-free by 2019.“It’s an honour to select eight of our customers to receive this prestigious award. Printers around the world continue to see the real benefits that sustainable printing practices deliver to their bottom lines,” said Richard Rindo, Kodak’s General Manager, WW Offset Print, and Vice President, Print Systems Division. Founded 65 years ago, Informco provides integrated communications solutions – design, print and distribution – to clients across a range of industries. In presenting the award to the company, Kodak explains, that for over 18 years, Informco has integrated active environmental practices into its day-to-day operations – “ISO-certified since 1999, the company has made significant reductions in energy usage, water consumption, and VOC emissions through rigorous monitoring programs.” Kodak also notes Informco was the first printer in Canada to win the Canadian Council of the Ministers of the Environment Pollution Prevention Award in 2002.              The seven remaining 2016 Sonora Plate Green Leaf Award include: Reynolds and Reynolds (United States), Groupe Estimprim (France), Royalpack (Poland), UVO communication (South Africa), Ohshaika Printing (Japan), Kava Printing (China), and NPE Print Communications (Singapore).
The British Columbia Institute of Technology, based in Burnaby, BC, received a software donation from Aleyant, which provided the school’s Graphic Communications Technology Management (GTEC) program with both Aleyant Pressero and eDocBuilder for its Web-to-print curriculum.“We are very lucky to have the full support of the local printing industry and industry suppliers for our institution, and our thanks go out to Aleyant for their generosity in donating this software,” said Wayne Collins, who leads the GTEC program and is its only full-time employee. “Our unique model at this polytechnic institution started by partnering with the BCPIA industry association to seek high-level managers as instructors, who typically teach one class per term,” continued Collins. “This keeps our curriculum current, and what we really deliver is a two-year diploma that trains entry-level managers into the industry. It’s like a two-year job interview.”Aleyant’s donation includes both the software and student access to the company’s online training videos. “Our students have a lot to accomplish over a 14-week course, and assigning them videos to watch as homework helped boost the course content.”BCIT’s most recent GTEC Web-to-print course was taught by MET Fine Printers manager Steve Tomljanovic, and students have already been using Aleyant Pressero’s Web-to-print tool and its eDocBuilder variable data tool to create Websites and documents, which are then used to produce their products in a production lab with electrophotographic, inkjet, offset and flexo presses.In addition to document creation and production, Collins explains he plans to investigate adding curriculum around pricing tables and their connection to MIS, as well as other aspects of advanced Web-to-print solutions to round out the student experience. “If a group of students just coming into the industry can get the tools, use them that quickly and develop the kinds of products our students produced,” he said, “I am confident they will be well-prepared to join a company upon graduation and get a profitable Web-to-print operation up and running right away.”
In January 2017, Xaar plc, a world leader in the development of industrial inkjet technologies, is set to open its Xaar 3D Centre in Nottingham, United Kingdom. The new facility is engineered to deliver 3D printing services and equipment to OEMs, material suppliers and end users. Xaar’s new 3D team is headed up by Professor Neil Hopkinson, who joined the company in March 2016 to develop its 3D business. With 19 years of experience in additive manufacturing technology, Hopkinson is the inventor of High Speed Sintering (HSS) technology, which uses inkjet print heads and infrared heaters to manufacture products layer by layer from polymer powder materials at much higher speeds than other additive manufacturing processes. HSS is of interest to companies looking to use 3D in volume manufacturing.  In 2016, Hopkinson was scheduled to complete a three-year project to develop supply chain and full-scale production capabilities for novel additive manufacturing technologies for applications in major industrial sectors through three key partners, including Unilever (FMCG), BAE Systems (aerospace) and Cobham Technical Services (space and communications). Xaar’s role in this project focused on optimizing the performance of specialist third-party fluids in combination with its print heads. The expansion of Xaar’s 3D business is a key part of the company’s 2020 strategic vision. Since joining Xaar, Hopkinson has been building his 3D team and in early 2016 appointed project managers and 3D engineers who are now based at the Xaar 3D Centre. The team in Nottingham will focus on the development of materials and applications with a range of global brand partners.  In addition, the Xaar 3D team this month been expanded to include an experienced group of engineers working in Copenhagen, Denmark. The Xaar Copenhagen team will provide design and process development expertise to help the company’s partners commercialize HSS equipment.  “I am delighted to confirm our investment in the Xaar 3D Centre in Nottingham and our 3D team including the new group in Copenhagen,” said Neil Hopkinson. “As we build our business in 3D it is vital that we have the in-house expertise to support our partners. The addition of the team in Denmark further extends our capability.”
Canon Canada at the start of December hosted a couple dozen journalists for a 2-hour tour of its new 180,000-square-foot headquarters in Brampton, Ontario, home to the company’s domestic business interests in consumer, medical, security and print-production imaging. Built on more than 18 acres, the open, Kyosei-inspired interior of building is highlighted by a 5,000-square-foot interactive space that showcases the past, present and future of Canon innovation. From Canon cameras, printers and projectors to medical imaging equipment, copiers and production systems, the showroom will house the newest Canon products for customers and prospective customers. The company’s printing technologies occupy the majority of space in the showroom, including systems like the imagePRESS 10000VP and Oce VarioPRint 6320 Ultra+.While print-production remains a major pillar of Canon’s business, second only to the company’s historic consumer-imaging sector, the new Canadian headquarters is designed to support its growing interests in both security and medical imaging systems. In 2014, Canon surprised the security industry with its acquisition of Milestone Systems, one of the world’s leading providers of video management software, and then in February 2015 spent approximately $2.8 billion to acquire security-systems giant Axis Communications.Located at the corner of Mississauga Road and Steeles Avenue West, the new building brings together more than 400 Canon employees who will play a major role in driving the company’s diverse imaging interests across Canada.   View the embedded image gallery online at: http://www.printaction.com/index.php?option=com_k2&Itemid=8&lang=en&layout=latest&view=latest#sigProGalleriacce828c6d6
Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG today launched its new development centre project at the company’s Wiesloch-Walldorf site in Germany. Targeting a completion date for 2018, the centre will be home to 1,000 workers in what Heidelberg projects will become the world’s most state-of-the-art research facility for the printing industry.The company unveiled its development centre plans in the presence of its new CEO, Rainer Hundsdörfer, and Theresia Bauer, Minister of Science, Research and the Arts for the German state of Baden-Württemberg. Heidelberg is investing some €50 million ($72 million Canadian) in this new innovation hub for an industry that, according to the press maker, has a global annual turnover of around €400 billion.“This investment represents a new beacon in Baden-Württemberg’s research landscape,” said Bauer. “Building a development center of this size and quality proves that Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG bases its decisions on a long-term strategy and makes the future worth looking forward to.”Heidelberg explains, despite a difficult economic situation in recent years, the company at no time cut its research budget, focusing instead on developing new, innovative products and services.“We deliberately chose Baden-Württemberg because it combines an excellent environment with highly qualified experts,” said Hundsdörfer. “A highly modern and future-oriented working environment will be created in Wiesloch-Walldorf, designed to support interdisciplinary and cross-functional development processes.”The printing industry now requires new applications and control technologies, explained the company in relation to the creation of its new centre, in addition to the ongoing development of traditional offset and digital printing technologies. Heidelberg also points to  printing on three-dimensional objects made from all kinds of materials, enabling the customized printing of glass, wood, plastic, and other materials. Heidelberg noted, as an indication of its continuing transformation, that there are now more than 250 software specialists working for the company. The company has also started employing chemists, for example, for developing and producing its own environmentally progress inks for new applications.“The example of Heidelberg is demonstrating that even a large company can reinvent itself,” said Bauer.

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