Lalonde brings more than 25 years of printing industry experience, including seven years he recently spent with Fujifilm’s Canadian operation, where his responsibilities included product marketing management and product obsolescence. He also previously held positions with Boehmer Box, Beresford Box, Pfizer and Sunlife, involved in a range of roles from prepress to packaging design.
In his new role, Lalonde will focus on driving sales and increasing revenue by identifying new opportunities in Canada, as well as building on relationships with existing Canadian Zünd customers and resellers.
Ma was competing against finalist Sunny Turner from Appalachian State University in North Carolina. The two competitors on July 8 worked through the four print problems live via video link in front of participants of the International Circle Conference held at California Polytechnic State University.
Their task was to solve four sets of print problems within a 10-minute limit for each. The winner was chosen on the basis of best quality and optimum productivity (simulated time and waste). The exercises become progressively harder to solve and concerned registration, inking, blankets and various mechanical issues. Contestants were tasked to understand the problems, analyze the possible causes, decide how to solve the problems and see results and cost of their action (or inaction).
The North American Print Skills Contest contest lasted for several months. It was open to all International Circle members, printers and related schools of North America. The simulator was supplied by download and integrated with a Heidelberg Speedmaster user interface.
With her victory, Ma has prequalified (and, therefore, does not have to go through new qualifying rounds) for the global competition at next year’s drupa tradeshow in Dusseldorf, Germany.
The first, Affinity Designer, was launched in October last year (reviewed by Zac Bolan in PrintAction’s February 2015 issue, More Vector, Less Money).
Affinity Photo was originally launched as a public beta in February (culminating in over 230,000 downloads), including capabilities such as RAW processing, PSD import and export, 16-bits per channel editing, and ICC colour management.
The release version of the app features a full set of tools for professional processing, including camera lens and exposure corrections, accurate adjustments, live filter layers, controls for channels and masks, advanced layer handling, and built-in frequency separation editing.
Serif also promotes its speed, explaining whether working on a 100-megapixel image or a complex composition with thousands of layers, a user can still pan and zoom at 60 fps and see live views of all adjustments, brushes, blend modes and filters with no compromise.
Schnoll, who assumed his new SiHL position back in May 2015, is to focus on the company’s expansion efforts. He has held key roles in five graphic media companies and with one software startup company. For the last 16 years, Schnoll has provided consulting services to a range of organizations in marketing and sales.
"I am honored to be a part of such an important company within the graphics industry. The SiHL Group produces some of the highest quality substrate materials found anywhere in the world for the growing digital print marketplace,” said Schnoll. “With many new product opportunities to be imminently released for our customers to grow their profitability, this is definitely an exciting time.”
Brother Industries formally completed the acquisition of Domino Printing Sciences plc, having met all the conditions of the offer first announced on March 11, 2015.
Domino is a global developer and manufacturer of inkjet-based coding, marking and printing equipment, as well as the supply of aftermarket products and customer services. Brother Industries noted its desire to delve deeper into the inkjet printing sector as a key reason for the purchase.
Brother Industries indicates the Domino brand and management structure is to remain unaltered, with Domino Printing Sciences operating as an autonomous division within Brother.
“Brother respects and values Domino’s brand equity, technologies and strategic vision for the business and the markets it serves,” said Nigel Bond, CEO of Domino Printing Sciences. “As such, the companies will be working closely together on natural growth opportunities, as well as explore collaborative possibilities to develop new products.”
Founded in 1978, Domino now employs 2,600 people worldwide and sells to more than 120 countries through a global network of 25 subsidiary offices and more than 200 distributors. Domino’s manufacturing facilities are situated in China, Germany, India, Sweden, Switzerland, U.K. and U.S.
Brother Industries, based out of Japan, has more than 34,988 employees and generated just over $5 billion in revenues last year.
The 3.2-metre (126-inch) HP Latex 3500 and 3100 printers join a portfolio with more than 26,000 Latex printers already installed worldwide. The new systems feature what HP describes as heavy-duty roll handling of 300 kg (660 lb) and 10 litre ink supplies, meaning the systems are capable of unattended, overnight printing. The machines also hold dual-roll split spindles for what HP describes as safer handling of oversized rolls; as well as inline slitters to reduce bottlenecks in finishing; and built-in LED lights to support on-the-fly proofing.
HP describes its Latex 3100 printer as being well suited for large sign and display operations that handle a range of work. It prints at indoor quality at speeds of up to 77 m2/hr (830 ft2/hr). The HP Latex 3100 and 3500 printers, and complementary HP Latex mobile app, are expected to be available worldwide in August 2015. A new bright white, FSC-certified HP Premium Poster Paper for use with HP Latex printers will also be available worldwide through licensing partner Brand Management Group (BMG).
HP also introduced the new Scitex 17000 corrugated press, driven by the company’s HDR Printing Technology, features the recently introduced HP Scitex Corrugated Grip and HP HDR230 Scitex Inks. Also scheduled for release in August 2015, the Scitex 17000 is designed to reach speeds of up to 1,000 m2/hr (10,764 ft2/hr).
Prints made with the HP HDR230 Scitex Inks on a representative coated media, according to HP, have been independently certified as having Good Deinkability. HP is also introducing the HP Smart Uptime Kit for HP Scitex Presses, a cloud-based inventory management system enabling customers to log parts, track usage and extract reports.
To satisfy its loyal following, Quark, during its development, committed to include the Top 10 most-requested enhancements in the new version of QuarkXPress, based on a voting system. A list of the most prominent features follows. For a more complete preview of what to expect in QuarkXPress 2015, read The Quark Alternative written by PrintAction’s technology columnist Zac Bolan in February.
New key features in QuarkXPress 2015 include:
Verified PDF/X-4 output,
Larger page sizes,
Dedicated orthogonal line tool,
Fixed layout interactive e-books,
Custom paper sizes,
Relink any picture in the usage dialogue,
Collect for output for complete project,
User-definable shortcut keys on Mac,
Automatic footnotes and end notes
Faster table tool for Excel integration with table styles,
Text variables for automatically populating reoccurring fields (running headers),
Tool Palette, Measurement Palette and Palette Group Docking on Windows
Duratex Composite PVC/PET/PVC Blockout Film is a new media described by the company as non-curling and completely opaque for high-resolution single- or double-sided printing. It is designed for applications like display systems, retractable banner stands and scrolling displays.
The new Duratex Super White Foamboard is described by Agfa as one of the strongest and most-rigid products on the market. It is comprised of a 94 white point paper surface sandwiched with an extruded polystyrene foam core. The company states that it features strong ink adhesion and cutting performance, designed for point-of-purchase displays, retail display graphics and interior signs.
The fourth new product is called Duratex Foam PVC Board, which Agfa describes as a rigid foam PVC substrate for high-definition, wide-format inkjet printing in applications like high-end signs, POP displays and exhibition backdrops.
Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG today signed an agreement with investment company CoBe Capital for Heidelberg to acquire the European Printing Systems Group (PSG) headquartered in the Netherlands. Through this acquisition, for which the purchase price is to remain undisclosed, Heidelberg would expand its services and consumables business.
Heidelberg expects the acquisition of the PSG Group, which is subject to regulatory approval, to result in additional sales of around €130 million for the Heidelberg Group, primarily through services and consumables business. The medium-term goal at Heidelberg is for services and consumables to account for over 50 percent of total Group sales. The figure currently stands at around 40 percent.
PSG has approximately 400 employees in the Benelux countries (Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg) and southern Europe. It has worked closely with Heidelberg for several decades. PSG currently generates over half of its revenue through the sale of services and consumables, with Heidelberg products accounting for the majority of the company’s equipment sales.
“PSG’s strength in the services and consumables business and its outstanding access to customers are very attractive to us,” said Gerold Linzbach, CEO of Heidelberg. “Having eliminated unprofitable portfolio items, we’re now starting to actively expand our portfolio in order to return the company to growth."
Featured in PrintAction magazine's February 2015 issue, now available online, Vic Stalam describes his new role as President of Highcon Americas and why the company's unique Euclid cutting and creasing technology can disrupt one of printing’s most enduring long-run sectors. The full article is available in the print edition or via PrintAction's digital archive.
How is Highcon’s Direct to Pack technology unique?
Vic Stalam: Nothing else exists today in terms of what we have to offer… Highcon is the first to offer a totally digital Direct to Pack solution to the folding-carton market. It also handles both [worlds]. It doesn’t have to be digitally printed, it can also be analogue. Truth be told, most of the volume is still analogue and we need to support that. So, in this sense, it is not only the technology that is unique, but also the fact that we support both digital and analogue.
What stands out most about Highcon’s DART technology?
VS: The paper movement is right to left and, in stage one, once the paper is registered… the polymer is UV-cured and then it produces the creasing lines. It is very unique in that sense. Because it can address any point on the paper, you have opportunities to create very, very unique applications. Once the line is creased – and it is folded through the creasing lines – the next major stage is the laser, which does the actual cutting.
What’s unique about our technology is, not only DART and the way the polymer is laid, but also the way it is creased and then how it is registered for the laser to cut it. Typically when you use a high-powered laser you can burn all kinds of other things like paper or folding carton. Our technology takes care of [this challenge] so that you do not see any of that. It is a very clean process.
How are Euclid’s digital optics important to the laser-writing process?
VS: With the optics you not only have edge registration, which is mechanical, but we also have optical registration. With traditional die cutting, you just do not have the precision of a laser, so everything you see [off the Euclid] is going to be a higher quality product, as it relates to registration and the quality of the cut itself.
What advantage does Highcon, relative to printing’s historic postpress players, have when it comes to developing new approaches for finishing folding-carton work?
VS: I always think of the great Canadian Wayne Gretzky and a famous quote. Somebody in the press asked him, “You are not a big guy, what makes you great?” He said, which always sticks in my mind, “I always try to be one step ahead. I always try to get to where the puck is going to be next and I do not worry about where the puck is now.” I think that is where Highcon is going… positioning ourselves as customers move to digital – how is it going to help them in the future?
How would you compare Highcon’s potential impact to another stage of printing evolution, such as when film was eliminated in prepress?
VS: The world is going to be very different in just a few years – I guarantee you that. This is the disruption and we are going to be a big part of that on the finishing side. Remember how we used to have these film-based companies called trade shops – absolutely, same analogy. Trade finishers have an opportunity to embrace this new technology and grow or else they are going to fall by the wayside.
How can a technology like Euclid ease the ability for commercial printers to get into packaging?
VS: Having spent a lot of my life in both commercial printing and packaging, 70 percent of what commercial printers do is the same as what packaging printers do… There are differences. One is the language they speak. Commercial printers talk about pages and packaging printers obviously do not. There is an issue around substrates. Then there is an issue around specialty colours. Commercial printers now do six, seven colours. With packaging customers it is not unusual to see 10, 12, 14 with all of the varnishes, all of the metallics.
But when it comes to digital technology, the one thing I like about commercial printers is that they are trying hard to get digital right. I think they are probably five to 10 years ahead of packaging printers as far as digitization is concerned. I give them credit for that. Given their experience with digital technology, given their desire to get into packaging, I think solutions like Euclid will help.
How does Highcon benefit from the growth in digital press development for packaging?
VS: We are in constant dialogue with all of these digital press companies, whether it is HP, Xerox, Xeikon, Landa or Kodak, whoever, because the nature of the relationship between us is very symbiotic. We need each other, because if we can get a lot of short-run jobs printed with digital that will make the Euclid system very successful. They need us because they can do all of the digital printing, but it comes to a screeching halt if they have to depend on an analogue process for finishing. We are the missing link to complete that whole digitization process for end customers.
What type of printing company should be looking at Euclid?
VS: We are looking for companies who are very progressive and innovative, who want to look at new technology. That is one vector. The second one is we are looking for companies who either have digital or, more importantly, they are in the process of moving toward digital. We have a few customers who do not have any digital and are just putting it in now, after they put in the Euclid, because it also supports analogue. The third vector we are looking for is customers who want to grow with new applications, who are willing to work with their customers, the brand owners, to help them grow.
What type of industry sectors are being targeted for Euclid as a starting point?
VS: There are about three major sectors. One is clearly commercial printers who are doing folding carton. This is going to be key. Two is packaging printers who are doing a lot of the other stuff like labels. And the third sector is trade finishers, the prepress houses of the finishing business. Those are the three big ones as we move ahead.
There are also some very creative design applications to take advantage and we will build on that as we go forward in time.
How much investment is needed to add Euclid in your facility?
VS: Just as a ballpark, the entry-level product is around $690,000. That is where it starts and then you can add things to it.
What savings can be realized through Euclid, specifically by eliminating traditional die-cutting processes?
VS: It takes about 15 minutes to set up a job in terms of the Euclid. In the case of die cutting, first of all, probably you have to send the job outside. You have to schedule it and then it takes typically anywhere from one to three days. The actual set up time is between four to eight hours on the die-cutting side depending on the complexity of the job versus 15 minutes, so there is a huge difference in the set-up times.
In the case of die cutting, they will have to store [a new die] in the event that they may have to reuse it at some point, which means they need a huge inventory management system and storage space. Think of the old days of film; how you had to store film and then go find it when needed. It is just a mess. Go back to the days of stripping a piece of film on a light table. And it also depends on the experience of the operator.
How many Euclid systems are currently installed in North America?
VS: We have four in North America right now, with one currently going in. We just launched the product in North America at Graph Expo [September 2014].
Do you have projections for how many Euclid systems should be installed on an annual basis?
VS: No, it is too early to tell. One of my jobs is to size the market, how big the opportunity is. As the new guy, I am going to go look at it with a fresh set of eyes. Ask me in three months.
How is Euclid’s consumables opportunity attractive to Highcon?
VS: There are three consumables that go with the system. The first one is the polymer. And this is the polymer I talked about earlier, which creates the creasing line. The polymer is first put on the foil and then it is UV hardened and then it creates a creasing line on the substrate.
The second one is the foil onto which the crease lines are written. And those two are one to one. For every job, you need a polymer and you need a foil. And the last consumable is called the counter substrate, which supports the high-quality creasing. It is replaced approximately every 120 jobs on average, so that is probably once every two months, depending on how many jobs you run.
Is the foil and polymer developed by Highcon or a third-party?
VS: Highcon develops it all. It is optimized to run – absolutely.
What hidden costs should printers consider before investing in Euclid?
VS: There are two things. The power requirement. Make sure they have enough power in the plant. And two is the chilling unit. Make sure there is enough accommodation for the chilling unit.
How does Euclid deal with waste material?
VS: This is a very important point. We are also unique in terms of how we automatically strip off all of the waste materials into a collection bin, which is totally automated. You cannot do that with traditional die cutting. It is a mess when you look at a traditional die-cutting machine – carton board is all over the place.
How will Highcon reach the market in the Americas, particularly here in Canada?
VS: Today, we have an agent out of Winnipeg called Canadian Printing Equipment. I’m going to be coming up in the next few weeks and doing an assessment on what do we need. At the same time, we continue to work with digital press partners. But right now it is definitely a dealer model for Canada, given how big the country is and what we need to do.
What technology challenges does Euclid still face?
VS: We continue to listen and learn from cutomers and we will not be a one-trick pony. We are committed to being an R&D powerhouse in this space and we are building a portfolio of products. One of the reasons why I joined the company is because of its strong commitment to R&D and the desire to listen and continue to iterate on the product. In my experience, with new products, that is the only way to do it.
What struck you most on your recent tour of Highcon’s facility in Israel?
VS: I believe in the technology. I believe in the value of what it will do for our customers and their customers. I have had the opportunity over the years to work with several Israeli companies. Their passion in terms of technology and their hard-work ethic is just incredible. I was there for four days. I was trying to cram in as much as possible. I was there every day from 8 o’clock to 8 o’clock, before we went for dinner, and I saw almost the whole team working. That is passion in terms of new technology.
What excites you most about Highcon’s technology and its potential impact?
VS: The single biggest thing that I am excited about is the fact that for brand owners, especially for folding-carton end customers, it means that now they can push for short runs without a lot of additional cost, at a very affordable rate. Today short run [folding carton] is not affordable because the finishing is very, very expensive. We are going to bring a lot of value to brand owners in terms of helping them grow their brand. I think that is going to have a major impact.
It is also going to cut down on the amount of time they need to bring a new product out. Brand owners take months and months when they have a new product to get on the shelf, so every day counts. Also new applications, which you could never produce with traditional die cutting.
What is your most important message to PrintAction’s readers?
VS: There is a major shift going on within the folding-carton market, to go digital. And we are going to be a major part of it. We are going to make it happen because it brings value to our customers and their customers. There is going to be a seismic shift even if today a lot of the volume is still traditionally printed. It is just a matter of time before the shift happens.