Jon Robinson

Jon Robinson

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Monday, 19 December 2011

St. Joseph Communications has installed a new HP Indigo 7500 press at its Ottawa Print Centre. The Indigo 7500 is engineered for high-volume production with a monthly page volume rated at 3.5 million colour pages or 6.5 million monochrome pages, while reaching a top speed of up to 120 A4 pages per minute (ppm) in full colour or 240 ppm in either monochrome or 2 colours.

“The HP Indigo 7500 Printer allows us to meet the growing expectations of our current clients, while at the same time allowing us to bring new and exciting solutions to new and expanding markets,” said Pierre Ness, VP and GM of the St. Joseph Ottawa Print Centre. “The ever expanding role that web-based and mobile media play in our business and personal lives today has created a cultural shift in society’s expectations. Our programmers and developers are continually being challenged by our clients to provide new technology solutions for marketing and communications.”

After 15 years of working with the printing of variable data, St. Joseph states it has one of the largest digital printing platforms in Canada. The company will, in part, drive the new HP Indigo 7500 through its patented, Web-to-print applications. This includes U-Book, which is a personalized University recruiting magazine, and ESUBMITit, which is an end-to-end logistics solution currently used by various Canadian Federal Government departments.

Thursday, 01 December 2011

A week after filing for bankruptcy protection in an Augsburg court, German press maker manroland AG today secured a Euro 55 million credit facility to support its worldwide operations.

The provisional insolvency administrator Werner Schneider reached an agreement for what is referred to as “Massekredit,” which is similar to debtor-in-possession financing.

“Continuation of production and business operations at manroland is therefore secured. The company can continue to do business with customers and suppliers and we are sending a very positive signal to the market,” said Schneider, a financial auditor. “Immediate action was essential as an interruption of production does harm the company and makes the desired sales process more difficult.”

Earlier this week, Vince Lapinski, CEO of manroland North America, commented on how the filing will affect the company’s North American operations, based in Chicago with a satellite office in Toronto: “manroland North America is currently operating in a 'business as usual' status. We would like to assure the industry that manroland Inc. North America is fully operational, and we are continuing to provide the best possible service for our customer."

The new credit facility has a volume of Euro 55 million, which includes Euro 10 million in the form of a cash drawing facility. A further Euro 45 million is to be used as a “partial” mass credit in which the lending banks release part of the forgone loans. The release ensures the required liquidity without the banks having to provide new debt.

manroland states that the financing secures fulfillment of liabilities with customers and suppliers that have placed or received orders with manroland after the company has filed for insolvency. Liabilities originated before the filing will be dealt with as part of the insolvency proceedings later in the process.

Monday, 17 October 2011

Calgary-based Emerson Clarke, led by Len Knight, Rich Berg and Dave Smith, becomes the first commercial printing company in Canada to purchase Kodak’s recently introduced NexPress SX3300 press.

The new press, purchased through Coast Paper (a division of PaperlinX Canada), is integrated with an optional long sheet feeder, which allows for working with a 14 x 26-inch sheet, while the standard feeder works with a size of 14 x 20.47 inches.

“We were losing a lot of the bigger digital jobs because our printer was just too small,” said Len Knight, Operations Manager of Emerson Clarke, who is a partner in the company with Rich Berg and Dave Smith. Emerson Clarke also runs offset presses, including a five-colour, 29-inch press with a coater.

The NexPress SX3300 has been fitted with Kodak’s Print Genius image processing and a fifth imaging unit, which allows for watermarking, protection coating, glossing, MICR printing, gamut expansion, red fluorescing ink for security applications, and in-line dimensional printing.

According to Kodak, the NexPress SX platform prints on more than 700 standard offset substrates, including coated, uncoated, FSC, plastics, magnets, linens, static clings, and micro-perforated substrates. It is rated for a monthly duty cycle of up to 4.4 million pages and hits printing speeds of 91, 109 or 131 ppm when printing on 26-inch long sheets.

Monday, 22 August 2011

The Alberta Rural Development Network is providing NorQuest College with eight $1,000 subsidies to be used for its 4-day Executive Forum, which begins on September 28 at the Banff Centre.

The subsidies are available to any printing company located in rural Alberta, which excludes operations located within the corporate limits of Edmonton or Calgary. They will be awarded on a first-come, first-serve basis and remitted to participants when the workshop is complete. The total cost of the workshop is $1,390 before September 2 and then $1,690 after the early-bird rate.

“[Alberta Rural Development Network] recognizes the value of having printers within Alberta’s rural communities and this is their way to support companies in those communities to take part in a world-class educational event,” said Josh Ramsbottom, Principal of NorQuest’s Centre for Excellence in Print Media, which is organizing the event. “ARDN, I believe, has recognized the importance print has within Alberta and I am very thankful of their support of the industry.”

NorQuest’s Executive Forum is to be led by Heidelberg’s Print Media Academy (PMA). The 4-day PMA workshop in Banff is not centered around Heidelberg technologies, but rather on professional development for owners and managers in the print industry.

The Alberta Rural Development Network is a non-profit partnership of Alberta’s 21 publicly funded and governed colleges, universities, and technical institutes, which aims to support and enhance rural development in the province.

More information about the subsidies is available by contacting NorQuest’s Michelle Braun at 780-644-6480 or by email

Monday, 15 August 2011

Tassos Siriopoulos founded Tower Litho Co. in 1971 with a single-colour press and 750 square feet on The Danforth. Now led by his sons, Dino and Paul, the trade-only shop runs three 40-inch Heidelbergs, a 28-inch perfector and full finishing.

“Growing up with a craftsman and perfectionist was a challenging experience at times,” writes Dino Siriopoulos, in a document describing Tower’s 40-year rise in Toronto's printing market. “I remember working the summers at Tower Litho when I was 13 years old. Indeed, it was not the most pleasing memory considering all my friends were playing outside and I was inside making boxes and sweeping floors.” 

Paraphrasing his father’s advice from those early days, Dino Siriopoulos then describes what he refers to as valuable lessons in both life and character: “Work and do your best and the rewards will come, without taking any shortcuts. Don’t look for the rewards, just look to do a good job.”

Tower Litho has been a referral-based business for the past 40 years, which is why the Siriopoulos brothers are still comfortable in describing their operation as trade-only despite the blurring customer lines of today’s marketplace.

The company is now housed in a 25,000-square-foot facility, which Tassos moved into back in 1989. Tower actually only reached a maximum employee level of nine, including five family members, over its first 20 years. Paul and Dino joined the company soon after university and have been instrumental in Tower’s growth for the past two decades. 

“We all worked and considered the company as our company, not my dad’s job,” writes Dino Siriopoulos.

The company now employs over 40 people and lists several clients who have been bringing Tower work for more than 20 years. Today, Tower is fully colour managed and runs a significant amount of its work at 400-lpi, based on Heidelberg’s hybrid-screening technology. The company’s finishing department holds over 10 pieces of machinery, including a 4-pocket Muller Martini saddle stitcher, a 6-pocket Heidelberg ST-100 stitcher, three Stahl folders, and Polar and Lawson cutters.

“Our father still comes in the shop every day and the three of us have lunch together and discuss Tower Litho, amongst other topics,” writes Dino, who recalls the times he boarded a bus with his mother to bring Tassos dinner after the shop first opened. “The family atmosphere still and always will prevail.”

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Last week at its facility in Illinois, Fujifilm North America hosted journalists and analysts for a hands-on look at its new J-Press 720 technology. First unveiled at drupa 2008 in Germany, the J-Press 720 is a B2-format, sheetfed-based inkjet press that Fujifilm is aiming at the commercial-printing market.

After announcing its commercial availability in late-2010 at the Graph Expo trade show, Fujifilm last week announced that Gilson Graphics of Grand Rapids, Michigan, is scheduled to install North America’s first J-Press 720 sometime this Fall. Fujifilm installed the continent’s first J-Press at its own facility back in May. Fujfilm indicates there are currently three J-Press beta sites in Japan.

With around 160 employees and US$23 million in annual sales, Gilson is a medium-sized commercial printing company running three 40-inch manroland presses, toner-based Indigo presses for colour, which it got into in the late-1990s, and wide-format machines from Fujifilm, HP and Mimaki.

The J Press 720 is built around a Fuji Dimatix inkjet engine with 17 Samba piezo-electric print-heads – each holding 2,048 nozzles – allowing for 4-colour process printing of water-based inks. The 20.8 x 29.5-inch format press currently runs at a single speed of 2,700 B2 sheets per hour, while producing a maximum resolution of 1,200 by 1,200 dots per inch – four greyscale levels.

The machine employs a pre-coating unit to handle both coated and uncoated stock, in a range from 70-lb text up to 14-point board. After the work is dried by six halogen lamps and heating elements, the J Press 720 relies on a CCD camera to read a test bar (one colour per sheet) and analysis nozzle effectiveness. The J Press 720 ships with Fujifilm’s XMF workflow.

Tuesday, 09 August 2011

Nipson SAS of France, which develops the DIGIFlex and VaryPress presses, has named Bryan Palphreyman as CEO of its Nipson America Inc. and UK Ltd. subsidiaries.

Formerly Managing Director of Nipson UK, Palphreyman is a 20-year veteran of the printing industry, having previously served as a principal consultant for Digital Print Consulting Ltd., within that company’s inkjet division called Sensient Imaging Technologies. He also worked with a technology start-up called Inski Ltd., as well as Xaar plc, Logopak Systeme GmbH and Willett International.

Palphreyman will work closely with the regional sales managers, Wayne Kornack and Mike Paschall. “We are pleased to appoint Bryan Palphreyman to CEO of Nipson America and UK,” said Ghislain Segard, President of Nipson SAS. “His experience, industry knowledge and impressive track-record of success make him an exceptional leader and we look forward to his guidance and support.”
The DIGIFlex and VaryPress presses are built around a unique printing process that combines what the company refers to as dry toner magnetography and xenon flash fusing.

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Twelve leaders directly involved in Canada’s printing industry will work together later this year to determine some of the country’s best and most-innovative printing work, based on criteria within PrintAction’s Canadian Printing Awards (CPA) program.

CPA entries are due on September 15, 2011 (please visit the program's dedicated Website).

The CPA program is organized into three sections, including: five Environmental Printing categories, 20 Quality Printing categories, and four Industry Achievement categories. The Industry Achievement categories are a free, nominations-based initiative to recognize leadership in Canadian printing.

PrintAction will host the Canadian Printing Awards gala, with a sit-down dinner produced by executive chef Joe Levesque, on the first night of Graphics Canada (November 10, 2011) in Toronto.

To date, the judging panel includes:

Ian Baitz, Chair, Graphic Communications Management, Ryerson University,

Susan Corbeil, Director, Specification Sales, Unisource Canada,

Ray Fagan, Product Manager, Large Format Presses, Heidelberg Canada

Chris Fraser, Director of New Business Development, Movable,

Rye Goodyear, Emeritus Professor, Ryerson University,

Dr. Martin Habeskost, Professor, Graphic Communications Management, Ryerson University,

Nick Howard, President, Howard Graphic Equipment

Al Kershaw, President, The Print Wizard,

Michael Mugavero, Vice President of Sales, Canada and East United States, manroland,

Sonya Popovich, Production Manager, The Works Design Communications

Neil Stewart, President, Anstey Book Binding, and

Bob Weller, Sales Manager, Transcontinental.

Monday, 04 July 2011

Vancouver-based Canopy, a non-profit organization that works primarily with the book, newspaper, magazine and print industries to phase out the use of endangered forests and toxic bleaches in paper-making, has launched a new awards program under its long-standing Ancient Forest Friendly brand.

According to Canopy: “In a time when stamps of approval are awarded for meager efforts and unsubstantiated environmental gain, an Ancient Forest Friendly award from Canopy is a true mark of integrity and sets the gold standard for meaningful action when it comes to paper purchasing and forest conservation.”

Companies can apply for the Ancient Forest Friendly awards by completing a survey to measure their environmental policy implementation.

Award categories include Ancient Forest Friendly Gold, Ancient Forest Friendly Silver, “Most Improved” and “Conservation Supporter.”

Tuesday, 03 May 2011

Robert Beaudoin becomes the Western Canada Sales Manager for NuStream Graphic Inc. His appointment signals a national expansion for the Montreal-based technology distributor, which focuses on offset-, wide-format- and flexography-based production, as well as finishing and software technologies.

NuStream Graphic is represented in Quebec by Sales Manager Steve Daigle and in Ontario by Sales Manager Jonathan Rogers.

Beaudoin is a 25-year veteran of the Canadian printing industry. He most recently served as a Regional Manager for Ernest Green and Son Ltd. Beaudoin has also held various technical support and account management positions with Graphic Resources, Heidelberg Canada and Fujifilm Canada.

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