Industry News

At the end of April, Messe Düsseldorf released its 5th drupa Global Trends Report, based on a survey of approximately 1,000 senior managers across the printing world. Specifically, this includes 708 printers with the majority from Europe, 421, and rest of the world represented in all regions by 287 respondents. On the supplier side there were 234 participants, of which 160 reported on Europe.
Kodak announced today it is creating a volunteer printer network that will produce thousands of children’s books and school supplies in 2018 for some of the world’s most disadvantaged populations using sustainable Kodak printing products, such as Kodak Sonora Process Free Plates.
Consumers and small business owners find comfort and prefer tangible, printed materials despite an increasingly digital and on-demand society, according to a new survey by FedEx Office, a provider of printing, packing and shipping services and a subsidiary of FedEx Corp.
On May 4, Ontario Lieutenant Governor Elizabeth Dowdeswell visited the Xerox Research Centre of Canada’s innovation hub in Mississauga, Ont., which aims to help foster Canadian innovation and advanced materials manufacturing breakthroughs.
On April 25 at approximately 10 pm, the head Vancouver office and pressroom of Metropolitan Fine Printers was destroyed by a fire, according to a statement from the British Columbia-based company.
In a statement issued late Tuesday, Xerox announced it reached an agreement with shareholders Carl Icahn and Darwin Deason to resolve a pending proxy contest and ongoing litigation related to the company’s proposed combination with Fuji Xerox Co. Ltd., a subsidiary of Fujifilm, which would allow Fujifilm to take the controlling interest in Xerox.
Canpak Trade Print & Services, a trade printer located in Richmond Hill, Ont., has recently acquired a Chameleon finishing system for standard and specialized folding, gluing, taping and affixing of die-cut products.
Smurfit Kappa says it has installed a new industrial-scale HP PageWide C500 digital press for corrugated printing to provide greater customization and flexibility for its customers.
Best Deal Graphics and Printing, a trade printer located in Scarborough, Ont., has recently added a second Komori 40-inch press to its lineup of equipment. The 16,000 sheets-per-hour press is being installed by Komcan Inc. and is expected to be operational within the next week.
The Print Three franchise on Matheson Blvd. East in Mississauga, Ont., has installed a Multigraf Touchline CF375 high speed creaser folder, purchased from Print Digital Solutions (PDS).
Canada’s national statistical agency Statistics Canada recently installed a Standard/Horizon automated AFC-564A folding system in its print department.
Barricades and Signs Ltd., with multiple locations in Alberta to deliver traffic control products and service, has installed a SEAL 62 Pro S laminator through GBC Canada.
The SEAL 62 Pro S, according to Barricades and Signs, was largely purchased to keep up with the company’s new wide-format UV printer, while also providing the right features and capabilities for growth. Barricades and Signs is a family company, led by CEO Jan Van Bruggen, with a goal of becoming North America's most preeminent traffic control companies.
Quadient is welcoming Christian Hartigan as its new President and General Manager of the Americas, where he will help customers and partners accelerate their evolution to a digital experience platform.
After its initial announcement earlier this month, the Xerox Board of Directors has formally appointed John Visentin as Chief Executive Officer and Vice Chairman of the Board. He succeeds Jeff Jacobson, an advocate of a proposed $6.1-billion deal with Fujifilm Holdings Corp. of Japan that was recently scrapped in a settlement with Xerox stakeholders Carl Icahn and Darwin Deason.
Komori America has promoted Mark Milbourn to Vice President of Sales, where he will manage, lead and support the district sales managers for offset and digital press sales and solutions.
Massivit 3D, a provider of large format 3D printing solutions, has appointed Kevin Sykes president for North America.
Bozana Markovic has joined Insource Corp. as a Senior Consultant, Integration Expert, supporting the company’s drive to provide technology and process improvements within printing operations across Canada.  With more than 15 years of industry experience, Markovic is grounded in Lean Six Sigma principles. She has spent the past 10 years supporting mail-and-distribution service offerings for all Canadian Xerox service sites, as well as consulting services to Non-Xerox clients. Before joining Xerox in 2007, Markovic also spent five years with Pitney Bowes as an Account Manager.At Insource, Markovic will focus on helping clients by delivering strategic implementations with a focus on innovation, operational improvements and business process optimization.
Canadian Andrew Gunn becomes Director of Production Marketing for Xerox’ North American Operations. His team will support the go-to-market strategy for all of Xerox sales channels for North America in the production print space, from entry-level systems and the iGen series to the company’s growing push in high-end inkjet presses.Before joining Xerox in mid-2011 to help lead the company's product marketing in Canada, Gunn worked with Eastman Kodak in various executive roles supporting print and workflow. He also previously worked with IKON Office Solutions and Hewlett-Packard in marketing and business development roles.
Platinum Equity has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Pitney Bowes’ Document Messaging Technologies (DMT) production mail business and supporting software for $361 million, subject to certain adjustments. The company anticipates proceeds from the sale of approximately $270 million, net of estimated closing costs, transaction fees and taxes.
DATA Communications Management (DCM) has entered into an agreement to acquire privately-held Perennial Group of Companies for a total purchase price of roughly $12 million. DCM has arranged a $12-million non-revolving term loan facility, of which $7 million will be used to fund the upfront cash component of the acquisition.
Transcontinental Inc.’s Media Sector, TC Media, on April 27 completed the sale of 30 publications. The transaction includes 21 weeklies in the Montréal area, the Métro Montréal weekday newspaper, as well as eight publications in the Québec City area to Transmet Logistics & Metropolitan Media, led by President and Montréal businessmen Michael Raffoul. Transcontinental launched a process to sell its Québec and Ontario newspapers one year ago, and today only five of those 93 titles remain under the company’s control.“It is with much pride that we have served the Montréal and Québec City communities for many decades with the local newspapers and the reputed Métro Montréal weekday newspaper,” said François Olivier, President and Chief Executive Officer of TC Transcontinental. “We [now] hand over these publications to Michael Raffoul, an entrepreneur who is active in print media-related services.”

The transaction includes all Web properties related to the titles sold as well as the Québec Hebdo Website. In total, 119 employees of the various publications and 20 employees from TC Media’s Production team are transferred to the acquirer. TC Transcontinental also concluded a multi-year agreement for the printing of all of these titles, as well as for the distribution, with the exception of Métro Montréal, which is already under contract with Raffoul’s print media distribution company. Raffoul said: “The print media industry has been at the heart of our business for a long time. Because of this unique relationship that binds us together, we truly understand the importance of newspapers in the communities. The acquisition of these quality publications thus reinforces our position in the industry, furthering our growth and development opportunities.”In addition to the Métro Montréal newspaper, the Montréal-area publications included in this transaction are: Ambiance/Rendez Vous, L’Avenir de l’Est, Cités Nouvelles, Courrier Ahuntsic, Courrier Bordeaux-Cartierville, Corriere Italiano, L’Express d’Outremont – L’Express Mont-Royal, Le Flambeau Mercier-Anjou, Le Guide Montréal-Nord, Le Magazine de l’Île-des-Sœurs, L’Informateur de Rivière-des-Prairies, Journal de Rosemont, Messager Lachine & Dorval, Le Messager LaSalle, Le Messager Verdun, Nouvelles Hochelaga-Maisonneuve, Les Nouvelles Saint-Laurent News, Le Plateau, Progrès Saint-Léonard, Villeray–Parc-Ex Petite Patrie and La Voix Pop. For the Québec City area: L’Actuel, L’Appel, L’Autre Voix, Beauport Express, Charlesbourg Express, Le Jacques-Cartier, Journal Habitation and Le Québec Express, as well as the Québec Hebdo Website.“To conclude, I would like to mention how satisfied and pleased we are with the outcome of the ongoing sale process for our local newspapers in Québec and Ontario launched a year ago,” noted François Olivier. “With the transaction announced today, only five of the 93 newspapers up for sale are left in the process and we continue to have discussions with potential buyers.”
Supremex, a North American manufacturer and marketer of envelopes and a growing provider of packaging and specialty products, has concluded the acquisition of Groupe Deux Printing (G2) and its related company Pharmaflex Labels Inc. of Laval, Que. The parties say the transaction was concluded for total cash consideration of $11.25 million on a cash-free and debt-free basis subject to customary adjustments for working capital and other items.“With packaging representing close to 30 percent of our revenues on a pro-forma basis, we are now one step closer to reach our 50/50 diversification objectives, which is critical to our long-term success as the secular decline in the Canadian envelope market continues,” said Stewart Emerson, Supremex President and CEO.Emerson says the acquisition “perfectly complements” its previous packaging acquisitions and growing labels business. “We can now provide a complete range of packaging solutions to the pharmaceutical industry including related inserts, leaflets and labels, essentially becoming a one-stop-shop for our growing multinational customer base in the pharmaceutical, cosmetics and food industries,” he added.G2 is a family-owned fully integrated manufacturer of folding cartons with annual revenues of approximately $12 million over its most recent 12-month period, including its related labels business, Pharmaflex. Employing 60 people across its two facilities, G2 offers in-house prepress operations and printing. “[G2 is] delighted to be part of the growing Supremex family. With access to their manufacturing and distribution platform in Canada and the U.S., we expect to expand our reach and continue to grow," said Giancarlo Mirabelli, who assumes the role of Director, Business Development, Folding Carton, at Supremex.Supremex operates facilities across seven provinces in Canada and three facilities in the United States, and employs approximately 865 people.
Transcontinental Inc. this morning announced an agreement to acquire Coveris Americas for C$1.72 billion, subject to customary closing adjustments, in the Montreal company’s continuing push to become a North American leader in flexible packaging. Coveris Americas is a business held by Coveris Holdings S.A., a portfolio company of Sun Capital Partners.The acquisition, which remains subject to closing conditions and receipt of applicable antitrust approvals, has been approved by the boards of directors of both TC Transcontinental and Coveris Americas. The acquisition is expected to be completed in the third quarter of TC Transcontinental’s fiscal year 2018.Since entering the market in 2014, this is TC Transcontinental’s seventh flexible packaging acquisition,  including its March 2018 purchase of Multifilm Packaging Corporation.Coveris Americas, explains Transcontinental, is one of the Top 10 converters of flexible packaging and other value-added products in North America based on revenues for its fiscal year ended December 31, 2017. Headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, Coveris Americas manufactures a variety of flexible plastic and paper products, including rollstock, bags and pouches, coextruded films, shrink films, coated substrates and labels. As of December 31, 2017, Coveris Americas operated 21 production facilities worldwide, primarily in the Americas, the United Kingdom and Australasia. Coveris Americas has over 3,100 employees, the majority of whom are located in the Americas. For its fiscal year ended December 31, 2017, Coveris Americas generated US$966 million in revenues and US$128 million in Adjusted EBITDA.“Today’s announcement marks a turning point in TC Transcontinental’s 42-year history. This transaction crystallizes our strategic shift toward flexible packaging and solidifies our commitment to profitable growth,” said Isabelle Marcoux, Chair of the Board, Transcontinental. “We are convinced that this transformational acquisition will be a driver in the creation of long-term value for all of our stakeholders. It is with pride that we begin the next chapter of our successful journey with Coveris Americas, its employees and customers, building on our values of respect, teamwork, performance and innovation.”Based on Coveris Americas’ financial results for its fiscal year ended December 31, 2017, and on TC Transcontinental's financial results for its fiscal year ended October 29, 2017, the pro forma consolidated revenues and Adjusted EBITDA for the combined entity for fiscal 2017 are estimated at C$3.3 billion and C$564 million, respectively, with flexible packaging accounting for approximately 48 percent of total revenues.“We are thrilled to announce such a game-changing transaction for TC Transcontinental and to bring our vision of becoming a North American leader in flexible packaging to life,” said François Olivier, President and CEO of TC Transcontinental. “The acquisition of Coveris Americas adds significant depth and scale to our existing platform, with flexible packaging operations now expected to be our largest division in terms of TC Transcontinental's pro forma revenues based on its fiscal year 2017.“This transaction complements and bolsters our existing product offering in several flexible packaging end markets including dairy, pet food and consumer products,” continued Olivier. “Additionally, it allows us to enter new and attractive flexible packaging end markets such as agriculture, beverage and protein.”
Mark Andy, which develops technologies for the label and packaging industries, has acquired Presstek, a global supplier of DI (direct imaging) offset plates and presses, and CTP solutions. With the Presstek acquisition, Mark Andy explains it now serves as one of the only full-complement solutions providers to the global graphic arts and print industry.
Presstek’s Zahara waterless plates division, which is not being acquired by Mark Andy, will be spun into a new company, Verico Technology, led by former Presstek CEO Yuval Dubois. Verico Technology will focus on expanding its market share for cut sheet aluminum waterless plates and coating technologies in the printing industry as well as venturing into new market segments. “Mark Andy’s acquisition of Presstek is a big win for customers from both organizations,” said Dubois. “We are pleased for the long-term benefits that this initiative will bring to the market.”Presstek’s team of over 60 technical professionals will be integrated within Mark Andy’s service infrastructure, which the company states makes it the largest, regionally staffed service organization in North America. Certified technicians will support equipment service for brands such as Presstek, ABDick, Ryobi, Heidelberg, Xerox, KBA, Epson and more.Mark Andy and Presstek have maintained a strong partnership over the years, with Mark Andy Print Products (MAPP) fulfilling all orders in North America for Presstek DI and CTP products.“Presstek has been a force in the small- and medium-format offset segment for many years. Presstek’s DI plates and equipment and CTP solutions are well respected throughout the industry, and I am happy to welcome the Presstek employees and products into the Mark Andy family,” said Kevin Wilken, CEO, Mark Andy. “We expect Presstek’s customers to benefit from Mark Andy’s stable leadership, tremendous customer service and unmatched product offerings, including MAPP offset print supplies and consumables and Mark Andy digital print equipment.”Stuart Gallup, appointed as Vice President, Offset Business, Mark Andy, said, “Today's print buyers are seeking shorter print runs, faster turnaround and no compromises in print quality. Mark Andy has a strong commitment to its customers, supporting them with the best solutions to guide them in a direction for success. It’s a privilege to now offer the single point of contact customer experience and streamlined processes that our commercial and in-plant customers have previously enjoyed.”At the leadership level, Gallup will be accompanied by Ian Pollock, Director, Presstek EAMER, and Ralph Jenkins, Director MAPP Offset Sales in North America.
This story about printed catalogs originally appeared in Volume 7 of Domtar’s Blueline Magazine via Domtar's newsroom.In the not-so-distant past, printed catalogues were the top choice for marketers to showcase their goods to captive audiences. But along came online shopping, bringing with it an all-new dimension to consumers’ purchasing paths, along with digital marketing tools to drive purchasing behaviour.Yet even the most compelling digital marketing methods haven’t dampened the power of printed catalogues. In fact, instead of disappearing, printed catalogues have only gotten smarter, more targeted, more strategic and just flat-out cooler — making them true rock stars in the marketing mix.Our Brains Naturally Love PrintIn 2015, the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General worked with Temple University neuroscientists to conduct a study using fMRI brain scans to compare participants’ responses to digital and physical media. The study showed that paper advertising activates the ventral striatum — the part of the brain that assigns value and desirability to featured products — more than digital media. Increased activity in the ventral striatum can signal a greater intent to purchase.Our natural cognitive connection with print is great news for marketers. Many savvy brands have recognized the power of print’s multisensory experience and are using it to their advantage. According to a 2015 study by Mequoda, 69.6 percent of adult Americans had read an average of 2.91 print magazine issues in the 30 days prior to being surveyed. It seems that consumers still love a good printed piece to hold in their hands.The “Magalog” is a Sourcebook of IdeasBridget Johns, current head of marketing and customer experience at Retail Next, noted in a 2015 interview that “catalogues are being geared more towards content over product. It’s very much about the styling and the lifestyle and the connection to the brand.”Printed catalogues have become profoundly more creative. A mix of products, narratives, photos and other creative content provides consumers with unique and inspiring ways to connect with brands on a sensory level.IKEA, known for affordable home goods, uses its printed catalogues to showcase articles on how furniture isn’t just furniture; rather, it facilitates a way of life. Additionally, the catalogues often include interviews with IKEA furniture designers, allowing readers to better connect with the product and the company. With this type of newfound creative and editorial stance, marketers use these so-called magalogs — a blend of magazine-like editorial content and traditional catalogue information — less as immediate sales tools and more as brand opportunities for their customers.A Printed Catalog Works Well with Other Marketing ChannelsMultichannel shopping is the new standard in the retail experience. Customers who engage with a brand through multiple channels are the most sought-after by savvy retailers. Printed catalogues encourage multichannel consumer behavior. Twenty-five percent of printed catalogues trigger a website visit, and 33 percent trigger a visit to a retail store, according to a Canada Post Study.Print creates natural connections with multiple points in the buying experience, leading consumers online to product review and brand websites, or to shop from an app on their phone. The use of augmented reality (AR) has also enhanced printed catalogues by allowing the once-static space to deliver a digital experience for consumers.IKEA pioneered the trend by offering an app for consumers to virtually try out furniture from the catalogue. Today, many retailers are following their lead. Converse offers an app that allows consumers to virtually try on shoes, by pointing their phone at their foot. Northern Lighting, a Nordic company specializing in the design and manufacture of luxury in-home lights, invites consumers to see lighting on the table or floor by using the AR feature paired with their printed brochure.Mixed-Media Marketing Leads to Targeted MailingGone are the days of generic mass mailing. Today, printed catalogues have become targeted and strategic. With the help of customer data, printed catalogues now can be customized to include items an online shopper may have viewed but not purchased. Mailings also can be sent specifically to buyers who have previously made online or in-store purchases.Customer data can also alert brands to potential sales opportunities, such as birthdays, anniversaries, graduations or new-home purchases. Nordstrom, for example, chooses to select a few key pieces to advertise in its printed catalogues. With the Nordstrom app, readers can shop the item online, get additional information on sizes and colours and even access styling details. Catalogue mailings triggered by data collected from these actions can then be highly customized, allowing for more meaningful and personal connections with consumers at exactly the right time.Printed Catalogues Are Here for the Long HaulThere’s nothing quite like a beautiful printed piece to imply permanence and credibility. Neiman Marcus, a brand synonymous with luxury, reinforces its high-end status by making an aggressive statement with its annual holiday catalogue, which features outrageous, over-the-top fantasy gift offerings like a Valkyrie private plane and a limited-edition Infiniti sedan. More and more, retailers are turning to the powerful brand engagement only print can offer by crafting printed catalogues that are meant to be perused, enjoyed and even displayed on the coffee table.Print Marketing Makes MoneyEvery marketer knows that each medium in a marketing mix has to contribute to the growth of the brand. Print is a proven performer, leading the way in many buyers’ journeys. Approximately 92 percent of consumers get ideas for household shopping trips from the printed flyers they receive in the mail, according to a Canada Post study. Printed catalogues engage the reader, create an experience and build brand loyalty — and they instigate purchases.For marketers who seek to tell a well-rounded brand story, it’s an exciting time to explore print. With its proof of cognitive engagement and sales funnel performance, print has found a powerful place in the consumer buying experience and continues to be a force to be reckoned with.SOURCE: Domtar Newsroom.
New innovations in printed designs for Canadian AEC firms provide opportunityThe demise of printed designs in the Canadian architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) industry may have been greatly exaggerated. With the sector rather stagnant, increasing numbers of AEC firms are now looking to print for its potential value to their businesses as opposed to a troublesome cost centre that needs to be reduced or eliminated. Indeed, a recent ARC Document Solutions study found that only 38 percent of AEC firms plan to go paperless. What’s behind the surprising fondness for hard copy design drawings? It turns out that recent large-format printing innovations are making it possible for AEC firms in Canada – especially SMBs – to efficiently and cost-effectively churn out high-quality printed materials that differentiate them in the market. At the same time, these new innovations are bringing the costs down when those firms turn to their local print service providers. In fact, according to the recently released 2015-2020 Wide Format Forecast from InfoTrends, media revenue in North America is now growing at a compound annual rate of 12.8 percent compared to 10.1 percent for the rest of the world. There are some key reasons why many smaller Canadian AEC firms are turning to large format printers. While larger enterprises have entire departments responsible for managing and maintaining large-format printers, many smaller and midsized AEC shops haven’t traditionally been able to afford that. The costs of acquiring printers, maintaining them and training staffs would simply be too high – especially where colour was involved.Smaller firms often leaned on print shops for every single geographic information systems (GIS) map, drawings and rendering they needed to produce.Today, however, more options are available. Prices for large-format printers have dropped considerably, making them much more affordable options for the average AEC firm looking to reduce their outsourcing spend. At the same time, savvy large-format print shops are enabling AEC companies to produce high-quality black-and-white and colour jobs at a faster speed from a single printer. Previously, companies had to buy both monochrome and colour printers to accomplish the same task or work with a print shop that had multiple devices.And this capability is particularly important to AEC firms today as many Canadian municipalities require design drawings to be submitted in colour. These regulatory requirements underscore where the industry is headed, as AEC firms are designing in colour. Keeping these details and documentation in colour lets designers move this knowledge through colour coding from their screens right into the field. We’re seeing AEC firms across the globe purchasing wide-format colour multi-function printers over monochrome-only solutions and Canada is certainly no exception.Another key reason for the AEC adoption of large-format is simply for faster turnaround times. Canadian AEC companies are increasingly required to turn around designs and blueprints on the fly – both at their offices and on job sites. Modern wide-format printers are faster than previous generations – up to 60 percent faster in some cases – and are suitable for use in the field and office. Additionally, a broad range of applications and technological innovations that expedite workflow are now available for use in conjunction with the wide-format printers. New workflow software for managing the print process from end to end makes large-format printing much more efficient. For example, such software allows AEC shops to spontaneously detect and correct corrupted PDFs, automatically switch between small- and large-format pages, and enable on-screen document proofing. Coupled with the speed of the new printers, this can significantly enhance efficiency.This improved efficiency also contributes to a lowered cost, which is an increasingly important factor for the many AEC firms operating in slowed down economies such as Alberta’s oil sector, for example. In terms of quality, large-format printing is not the same as making office copies. Control over quality is key because the large-format documents that an AEC firm must produce are mission-critical. For example, customers often assume they’ll be able to receive brilliant, colourful printed materials because powerful computer-aided design (CAD) software has made that so commonplace. These designs are also incredibly complex. For AEC firms to compete in this environment, they must have the ability to deliver on that expectation. Fortunately, an emerging generation of large-format printers excel at producing colour documents with crisp lines, fine detail and smooth grayscales that are arguably superior to LED prints. Newer pigments also provide dark blacks, vivid colours, and moisture and fade resistance – even on uncoated bond paper at high speeds.For Canadian AEC firms to compete in these challenging economic times, they need to be focused on producing the highest quality printed materials as efficiently and cost-effectively as possible. The ability to do that has never been greater.Small and midsized AEC firms no longer have to invest in huge fleets of printers to keep pace with larger competitors. So, paper lives on as an important instrument in their tool belts – now and for the foreseeable future.
North American-wide trade printer 4over of Glendale, California has introduced a new product called Painted Edge Business Cards, which is an extension to the company’s Majestic Product line.4over explains the 32-pt stock Painted Edge Business Cards line can include a vibrant colour to the business card’s edge. This includes a range of metallic colours like blue, gold, green, hot pink, purple or classic white.
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.
On May 9 and 10, Insource Corp., a technology supplier and service and solutions provider for the mailing and fulfillment, printing, packaging and bindery markets, held its Insource Expo at its head office and technology showroom in Markham, Ont.
PrintAction visited Print Digital Solutions’ daylong open house today where the company is showcasing new printing systems that it distributes in the market. 
Representatives were there from Mutoh, Multigraf, Duplo and Okidata.
The Toronto Club of Printing House Craftsmen Awards Dinner took place on April 11 at the Duncan House, Don Mills, ON, led by master of ceremonies Ralph Pike and President Bill Kidd.   View the embedded image gallery online at: https://www.printaction.com/index.php?option=com_k2&Itemid=8&lang=en&layout=latest&view=latest#sigProGalleriad71d3477ae Leading graphic communications students from the Greater Toronto area received awards in two distinct programs, including the Tai Chi Awards, which considers academic standing, and the Graphic Challenge Awards, which evaluates graphic design. Now in its 43rd year, both Toronto Craftsmen programs provide scholastic funding to the students. This year’s recipients include:
Toronto Craftsmen Chai Tse Award RecipientsIvory Garlock Centennial College, The Centre for Creative CommunicationGeorge Papadopol,Central Technical Secondary SchoolStefany BakelaarGeorge Brown College School of DesignCalla Simpson George Brown College School of DesignTanja Schnell Georgian College Design and Visual ArtsAamer SethGordon Graydon Memorial Secondary SchoolAaron Inocencio Humber College Graphic Design ProgramCarman Fan Ryerson University School of Graphic ManagementMichael Membreno Seneca College School of Creative Arts and Animation
Graphic Challenge Award Recipients
Post SecondaryCherina Entena Seneca College School of Creative Arts and AnimationMichelle Paquot Humber College Graphic Design ProgramSecondary SchoolsStephan Giczey Central Technical Secondary SchoolVianna Chow Gordon Graydon Memorial Secondary SchoolTianqing (Toby) Li Gordon Graydon Memorial Secondary School
A technology update from the floor of EskoWorld, hosted by one of the world’s most powerful suppliers in the packaging worldEskoWorld is Esko’s annual user conference and was most recenlty held in the NASCAR hometown of Charlotte, North Carolina, from May 9 to 11, 2017. Esko executives, product managers, and support engineers mingled with more than 500 technology users from across the United States and Canada.Packaging printers and converters attended in a cavernous hotel ballroom and smaller break-out sessions in Mac and PC computer labs. Several partners including DuPont, EFI, MacDermid, were on-hand to support product integrations and assist with purchasing decisions.Esko’s product portfolio stretches from structural design in packaging (ArtiosCAD, CAPE, Plato) to visualization and design software (DeskPack, Store Visualizer) to colour in brand packaging (Equinox, Color Engine). Flexo plate making is core to Esko with the CDI plate makers and Kongsberg cutting tables. One of the main areas of interest amongst Canadian attendees (apart from seeking warmer weather, which they got!) was updates in automation (WebCenter, Automation Engine). Esko’s core workflow tool at the heart of their workflows is Automation Engine (AE), which is updated every alternate year at EskoWorld. In 2017 the new release is AE version 16.1.Automation Engine gets new look
Automation Engine is one of the most powerful “kitchen sinks” for label converters and flexo prepress, allowing everything from PDF processing to trapping and step and repeat operations.New improvements to the UI are a simplified HTML5 browser interface code named “UX”. Another significant development is DeviceManager that connects AE to the CDI plate setter, the Kongsberg table and HP Indigo digital presses. “We are seeking to integration AE with WebCenter for every task in our shop that an employee can do,” says Anthony Memme, Atlantic Packaging, Scarborough.Enhanced packagingEsko’s Studio Store Visualizer allows a user to walk through a store and pick up items. 3D design in product packaging is an area seeing new products and visualization tools. The store shelf is being replaced with Amazon purchases via an iPhone. Designers and brand owners were offered tools including augmented reality virtual walkthrough of a department store where they could pick up and hold and rotate products to view the label. With compliance and regulatory requirements in a global product development life cycle of brand development, these tools are essential for brand owners and agencies. Marriott Winchester, President, sgsco Americas, says, “We have a new digital store shelf and our large team here at EskoWorld is strongly involved in tools to create the enhanced pack shot and buyer experience.”CDI goes flat screenIn a radical departure from the rotary, drum mounting of flexo plate expose units, Esko launched a flat-bed, LED expose unit called Crystal XPS. Esko’s plate making devices have evolved from CTP plate imaging using traditional CDI to Flexo HD (High Definition) and now to Crystal XPS.The new design is a flatbed device with a bank of UV LED sources that expose the back creating a plate floor, and another row on the top creating the plate exposure and raised relief. In normal plate making, the back exposure is done separately and while operators are aware that the photoinitiated polymerization is affected by the time between the front and back exposure, this is rarely controlled. In the new Crystal XPS series, the front and back exposure can be set to be simultaneous or with a minimum time lag. Photopolymer plates are laid flat on the table, and along with time improvements, the new imaging configuration creates greatly improved flat-top dots. All brands of photopolymer plates are supported and in use in the 20 companies today. The CDI goes flat in the new Crystal XPS device, allowing simultaneous front and back exposure that creates cleaner, better shaped dots.Esko acquires MediaBeacon At EskoWorld a press announcement revealed that Esko acquires MediaBeacon for digital asset management and stock libraries. MediaBeacon helps in the publication of content for digital and physical channels and social media and integrated marketing. Allison Hunter, Jones Packaging, London, says that “pharmaceuticals, life sciences, retail, can all benefit from marketing asset management tools that can help in omnichannel marketing.”Buckle up for NASCAR A large number of Canadian packaging printers, designers and converters from Vancouver to Montreal, travelled to the United States for packed presentations and roadmaps from senior Esko executives. On the social calendar, a closed private evening at the NASCAR Hall of Fame, allowed brave printers to practice being a pit stop crew. If you are into packaging, put next year’s users conference on your calendar. EskoWorld 2018 takes place in New Orleans, June 4 to 6, 2018.
More than 60 people attended the Digital Imaging Association’s latest monthly meeting at Canon Canada’s headquarters in Brampton, Ontario. The 180,000-square-foot facility was built around 16 months ago.Canon began the night describing its global position to attendees, explaining its 2016 fiscal year generated net sales of $29.2 billion (profit of $1.3 billion) through 367 consolidated subsidiaries and 197,673 employees around the world. The global group in 2016 generated 53.2 percent of its revenue through the printing segment, which accounts for office and production printers, including wide-format. Slightly more than 32 percent of the revenue was generated in imaging systems such as cameras and projectors, while medical, security, micrometers comprise the company’s remaining 17 percent of revenue generation. 

The company then focused on its inkjet position with the Océ Varioprint i300 and new ProStream inkjet press technology. In terms of short-run packaging initiatives, Canon described its new Océ Arizona 6100 Series with High Flow Vacuum, which features completely new vacuum systems for printing on difficult materials like corrugated cardboard, plywood and light and medium density fiberboard, among others.   View the embedded image gallery online at: https://www.printaction.com/index.php?option=com_k2&Itemid=8&lang=en&layout=latest&view=latest#sigProGalleria78c87354e6
Ryerson University’s School of Graphic Communications Management in mid-November celebrated student achievement by handing out dozens of scholarship awards. (Photos of the awards celebration, held at the Mattamy Centre in downtown Toronto, provided by Andrew Ouzounis).These top Ryerson GCM students receive a large portion of the financial assistance provided annually by the Canadian Printing Industries Scholarship Trust Fund, which this year awarded a total of $75,500 in scholarships to students across Canada for the current school year. Ryerson’s four-year GCM degree program provides a comprehensive grounding in modern technologies and business skills, helping to create highly skilled graduates prepared for all levels of the printing industries.   View the embedded image gallery online at: https://www.printaction.com/index.php?option=com_k2&Itemid=8&lang=en&layout=latest&view=latest#sigProGalleria85455985d9
Langley Holdings, owners of Manroland Sheetfed in addition to a group of industrial and engineering companies, published its IFRS Annual Report & Accounts for the year ended December 31, 2017.Tony Langley, Chairman of Langley Holdings, described 2017 as “another remarkably successful year” with underlying profits before tax up by 7 percent over the previous year.The reported profit before tax for 2017 was €111.8 million ($173.5 million in Canadian funds) versus €122.7 million (CDN$189.3) in 2016, but Langley Holdings explains the 7 percent increase in profits is arrived at when accounting for currency effects. With its adjustment of currency, this puts Langley Holdings’ year-end totals at €113.1 million for 2016 and €120.8 million for 2017.Langley Holdings explains that Manroland, although profitable and having returned the group’s initial 2012 purchase investment in 2017, was “below par’ with its contribution. Headquartered in Offenbach, Germany, Manroland in 2017 generated revenue of €286.3 million (CDN$442 million), employing 1,545 people. The group’s Piller (power supply systems) and ARO (welding technologies) divisions both recorded record revenue and profit years, but its Claudius Peters (material handling) division missed its target.The group reported that revenues were almost flat at €903.5 million when compared with the €900.9 million mark generated in 2016. The group comprises five operating divisions, based principally in Germany, France and the United Kingdom, with a substantial presence in the United States and more than 80 subsidiaries worldwide, employing around 4,300 people.The group made one small acquisition during its 2017 financial period and Active Power, acquired in November 2016, made a profit for the first time since its Initial Public Offering in 2001. Tony Langley also commented that the group is continuing to seek out acquisition opportunities.
Eastman Kodak Company reported its financial results for the third quarter 2017, ended September 30, 2017, delivering a net loss of US$46 million on revenues of US$379 million. The company generated net earnings of US$12 million in its corresponding 2016 quarter. Revenues for the quarter of US$379 million compared with revenues of US$411 million for the third quarter of 2016, a decline of $32 million or eight percent. The GAAP results include US$58 million, net of tax, of non-cash impairments related to the write-off of goodwill in the Print Systems segment and assets for the previously announced exit from copper mesh touch screen products. This includes the construction of a new Flexcel NX manufacturing line in Weatherford, OK, and a contingent consideration payment related to the divestiture of Kodak Alaris in 2013.In terms of key product lines, the volume for Kodak’s Sonora process-free plates grew by 24 percent for its most recent quarter. Sonora plates now account for 19 percent of the division’s total plate unit sales. Volume for Flexcel NX plates in 2017 Q3 grew by 11 percent and annuities revenue for Prosper inkjet grew by nine percent.In releasing its results, Kodak pointed to a range of factors impacting its 2017 outlook, including a slowdown in the commercial printing industry and higher costs adversely impacting Print Systems Division, Software and Solutions Division and Enterprise Inkjet Systems Division. “An overall print market slowdown and rising aluminum costs have impacted our commercial print business,” said Jeff Clarke, Kodak Chief Executive Officer.The company maintained its range for 2017 full year revenue of US$1.5 billion to US$1.6 billion and adjusted its forecast for 2017 Operational EBITDA to be within a range of US$60 million to US$65 million. The Print Systems Division (PSD), Kodak’s largest division, had Q3 revenues of US$232 million, a decline of US$18 million, or seven percent, compared with Q3 2016. The Flexographic Packaging Division (FPD) includes Flexcel NX systems and plates, as well as other packaging businesses like analog flexographic plates and letterpress plates, proofing products and services. FPD revenues for Q3 were US$34 million, flat with the same period a year ago.
Appleton Coated of Combined Locks, Wisconsin, has filed a voluntary state Chapter 128 petition for receivership to allow the company’s operations to continue under the supervision of a court-appointed receiver named by the Outagamie County Circuit Court.Company officials said the petition and appointment of a receiver will allow Appleton Coated to continue operations under the direction of the receiver, who will lead a process aimed at selling the company’s assets to a buyer who will continue operations.Appleton Coated is a manufacturer and distributor of coated, uncoated, specialty and technical papers sold under Ethos, Utopia and other brand names. The company’s products are used in commercial printing, textbook publishing, label papers, transactional printing and a variety of specialty and custom applications.In December 2014, Appleton Coated was purchased by Virtus Holdings LLC, a new company formed by members of Appleton Coated’s management team. The company’s manufacturing facility has an annual production capacity of 400,000 tons on three paper machines, and an adjacent coating and finishing complex with processing capacity of 280,000 tons. The company employs around 570 workers.“Despite the best efforts of our employees and ownership group and the introduction of new products, this step is the best option at this point,” said Doug Osterberg, Appleton Coated’s CEO. “While the company has made significant progress in diversifying its product offerings and entering new markets, the overall business climate is very challenging, and operating under a state court-appointed receiver is the best route to transition the business to sustained profitability.”Osterberg stated that profitability in the North American graphics paper sector has deteriorated in recent years due to digitization of communications and currency exchange rates that favour imports. These factors produced a decline in domestic demand, excess capacity and aggressive price competition in the company's traditional coated and uncoated paper businesses, he said. Osterberg also noted that these market conditions combined with recent increases in raw material costs, especially market pulp, yielded lower sales volumes and declining profit margins.Osterberg said the filing will also relieve the company’s burdensome debt and help attract an appropriate buyer. Operating results, he said, are expected to improve in the near term as the company fills unused capacity by moving into both the high-value graphics and commodity segments of containerboard packaging.Osterberg said the company’s bank has agreed to fund operations during the receivership and that the business will continue to operate during the transition. He added the company will be able to pay salary and wages and fund benefits for current employees.“The strategic location of Appleton Coated, coupled with the experience, knowledge and work ethic of its employees and the size and capabilities of its paper making machines and equipment, make it a logical candidate to transition to high value segments of the packaging market,” stated Osterberg. “We therefore, expect, but cannot guarantee that a suitable buyer will be identified who will value the company’s strong workforce and be willing to invest in the future.“This has not been an easy decision for the ownership group that bought Appleton Coated three years ago,” Osterberg continued, “but market changes and world-wide economic conditions have forced our hand, and as difficult as this decision is, it’s the best move at this point.”
Resolute Forest Products of Montreal, Quebec, released its preliminary 2017 second quarter results, including a net loss for the quarter ended June 30, 2017, of $74 million (all figures in US funds) compared to a net loss of $42 million in the same period in 2016. Sales were $858 million in the quarter, down $33 million, or four per cent, from the second quarter of 2016. Excluding special items, the company reported a net loss of $3 million compared to net income of $2 million in the second quarter of 2016.“This quarter's performance was a clear improvement from the first quarter,” said Richard Garneau, president and chief executive officer. “The results of our wood products segment were strong given higher prices associated with the U.S. imposition of trade barriers, while our market pulp segment recorded a solid performance despite production curtailments associated with annual outages. “In tissue, the improvement in our profitability continued but remained short of expectations,” continued Garneau. “Paper segments continued to be impacted by adverse market conditions, particularly in specialty grades.” The company recorded an operating loss of $47 million in the 2017 second quarter, compared to an operating loss of $6 million in the first quarter of 2017, while adjusted EBITDA increased by $22 million over the same period, to $83 million.The company explains its operating results were positively impacted by overall increases in pricing, particularly in its wood products and market pulp segments. Those improvements were partially offset by lower volumes in its market pulp, continued Resolute, and paper segments, as well as higher maintenance expenses related to annual outages at a number of facilities.  The company also incurred $60 million of non-cash impairment charges in the second quarter in connection with the indefinite idling of a paper machine at Catawba (South Carolina), as well as to reflect the write-down of assets at the Coosa Pines (Alabama) facility.Focusing on market pulp specifically, operating income in this segment was $16 million, $9 million more than the first quarter. Following price increases implemented from the beginning of the year, realized prices in the segment rose by seven per cent, or $39 per metric ton, to $632 per metric ton. Shipments to third parties fell by 17,000 metric tons compared to the first quarter. Resolute explains this largely resulted from annual outages in Calhoun (Tennessee), Thunder Bay (Ontario) and Coosa Pines, and lower demand for recycled grades during the period. The operating cost per unit rose by $8 per metric ton, reaching $583 per metric ton, resulting mostly from the maintenance outages. EBITDA per unit was $71 per metric ton compared to $42 per metric ton in the previous quarter. Finished goods inventory was substantially flat when compared to the first quarter.  In the tissue segment, Resolute’s overall shipments rose by 1,000 short tons. The wood products segment recorded operating income of $45 million for the quarter, an improvement of $25 million against the previous quarter. The newsprint segment for Resolute incurred an operating loss of $7 million in the quarter, compared to a loss of $4 million in the first quarter. The specialty papers segment recorded an operating loss of $7 million during the second quarter, a decline of $11 million from the previous quarter.“As our results continue to improve, we remain focused on our short-term priorities of increasing sales in our tissue segment, battling unfair U.S. countervailing and anti-dumping duties and managing our indebtedness and liquidity to be in a position to continue our long-term transformation,” said Garneau. “Now that the uncertainty surrounding trade duties in lumber has started to dissipate, we expect market conditions to remain favourable. In pulp, we are cautiously optimistic that market conditions will remain relatively favourable at least through the third quarter.”
Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG reports its current fiscal year (April 1 to June 30, 2017) began with an increase in sales and earnings; and that it is on course to achieve its annual targets. The company highlighted its ambitions to consolidate a new corporate culture and return to growth with the motto “Heidelberg goes digital.”“We are making good progress in transforming Heidelberg into a digital company,” said Rainer Hundsdörfer, CEO of Heidelberg. “We have already had our initial successes in the first quarter, thanks to our new digital presses and two constructive acquisitions.”During the first quarter of the current financial year, Heidelberg sales were slightly higher than the previous year at €495 million  (same quarter of previous year was €486 million) and its net result after taxes improved by more than €20 million to €–16 million. The sales increase, explains the company, was attributable primarily to Western Europe and China. At €629 million, incoming orders were below those of the same quarter of the previous year (€804 million), which saw a particularly high level of incoming orders from the drupa trade show. The order backlog increased by over 20 percent from €497 million at the end of the financial year to €603 million as at June 30, 2017.Heidelberg sees itself as being on course to achieve the company targets for 2022 that were announced in June: Company sales ~€3 billion; EBITDA of €250 to €300 million; and net result greater than €100 million.By taking over software supplier DOCUFY, Heidelberg states it is reinforcing the new digital platforms business area and expanding its Industry 4.0 portfolio. In the segment of consumables, business with coatings and pressroom chemicals has been further expanded in the EMEA region, explains Heidelberg, following the acquisition of this area from Fujifilm. Profitability, as expressed in EBITDA and EBIT, increased in the quarter under review compared to the previous year’s values. At €14 million, Heidelberg explains EBITDA was far better than in the same quarter of the previous year (€1 million), while EBIT amounted to €–3 million (previous year: €–16 million). Due to lower financing costs, Heidelberg explains the financial result improved to €–13 million (same quarter of previous year: €–16 million). Including income taxes, the net result after taxes of €–16 million was an improvement over the previous year’s figure (€–37 million). Free cash flow in the first three months was negative at €–13 million (previous year: €6 million).
Print The Future, described as an omni-channel 3D printing company that allows clients to print ideas on demand, plans to file an Initial Public Offering with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Once approved by the SEC, Print The Future will offer 2,000,000 shares of Print The Future common stock at US$10.00 per share, with a minimum investment of 50 shares. Print The Future explains its public offering will allow designers, engineers, architects, and other interested parties the opportunity to participate in the increasingly growing 3D printing market. The company states it plans to open 200 brick and mortar stores around the globe. In these stores, both amateur and professional designers will be able to design and print unique objects to fit their spaces.“We are at the forefront of the 3D printing space and have an ambitious vision for the future of our company as well as the industry. What Starbucks is to coffee, Print The Future will be to 3D printing; synonymous with its product,” said Neil Patel, Founder and CEO of Print The Future, who is based in Vancouver, BC. “The goal is to make 3D printing technology and design as experience-focused and expansive as the coffee chain.”Print The Future describes itself as the world’s first ubiquitous 3D printing store, where someone can think up an idea on the spot and walk out with it. Print The Future will allow consumers around the world affordable, local access to large-scale 3D printing.
Printing technology company OKI Data Americas announced the addition of Grant Graphics, a supplier of large-format printers, supplies and support, to its ColorPainter Authorized Reseller Program.
Apex International, described as the world’s largest anilox roll manufacturer, expanded its existing distribution relationship with Anderson & Vreeland Canada (AVC). Starting in January 2018, AV Canada became the Apex North America exclusive partner for sales and support for all Canadian provinces for the anilox market. AVC has serviced the Quebec and Eastern Canadian provinces for the last 12 years for Apex.“The AV team which is led by Sean Sawa, Sales Director for AV Canada, working with Claude Pineault heading up the anilox team, has really helped Apex [North America] become the significant anilox roll solution provider for all of Canada,” Dave McBeth, Vice President for Apex North America. “The significant growth of our Canadian market in 2017 now calls for a wider coverage and AV can offer this to Apex’s existing and new customer base.”McBeth explains, that in addition to his current role as VP of Apex North America, he will continue working directly with some key longstanding strategic Canadian customers and will also be a support channel for the AV team working with Pineault, who is the key contact for AV for the Canadian anilox market.“We believe that when choosing partners, not only do our sales and strategy goals need to align; but of equal importance is that our values and philosophies are shared," said Sawa. "We found all of this in Apex, and cannot wait to deliver these shared benefits to the rest of Canada in 2018 and beyond.”
Nustream Group becomes a new distributor for Flexa in Canada. Founded 25 years ago, Flexa develops short-run finishing technologies particularly for small and wide format digital printing, signage, 3D pins and labels, Plexiglas and polycarbonate objects, and thermal transfer on fabrics.Flexa’s product range includes hot and cold laminators, automatic, electric and manual cutters, roll-slitters, pneumatic and manual eyelet machines and different accessories for the visual communication.“This collaboration will help to strengthen the sales of our company in this big country and creating new business opportunities,” said Andrea Sottana, Flexa, Sales Director. Nustream focuses on providing the technologies for commercial, label and packaging, photographic and art reproduction printers.
PDS announced Robert E. Thistle of Toronto becomes a dealer for PDS, authorized to sell the Multigraf Touchline lineup of folding, creasing and perforating equipment. In September 2016, PDS became the Canadian master distributor of Multigraf Touchline technoologies. This line-up of technologies has been constantly evolving since Multigraf, headquartered in Switzerland, became one the first companies to focus on the short-run finishing market in 1984. In addition to the Touchline products, Multigraf produces a range of banding and stacking systems. Canadian distributor Robert E. Thistle was founded in 1972.
Grimco today is opening its first office location in Edmonton Alberta, after serving the area with sign and graphic supplies for more than 25 years from its Calgary location. The new office is located at 15427 115A  Avenue in Edmonton. “We are extremely excited about the opening of our new branch in Edmonton, Alberta,” said Mike Bolinger, President, Grimco Canada. “We are committed to providing the best products and service across Canada, and opening a location in Edmonton allows us to service our customers better in this market and beyond.”Grimco Canada, which also has Canadian locations in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, Montreal and Dartmouth, is a wholly owned subsidiary of Grimco Inc., which is based in St. Louis. The company was originally founded in 1875 as a single-location stamp and badge provider. The full-service sign supply company now operates in 52 locations across the U.S. and Canada.
Asia Pulp & Paper Canada has expanded its sales network to provide paper and packaging products to printers, publishers and paper converters in Eastern Canada. “The market for paper products, especially for food and other packaging, continues to grow at a global rate of approximately 4.3 percent,” said David Chin, President of Asia Pulp & Paper Canada (APP Canada). “But some of the smaller markets, that traditionally had less demand, were still not being serviced to the same level as larger centres and had a hard time procuring cost-effective products.” APP’s new sales network began to directly ship to Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and the Prince Edward Island in June 2017. Its line of paper and paperboard products from Indonesia and China include wood-free coated and uncoated text and cover, opaque printing paper, gloss and silk paper, copy papers, and packaging boards for all types of printing and packaging needs.“Customers have come to expect quality paper products that perform well during the printing process but that also exceed the environmental standards demanded by the end user,” said Chin. “The type of businesses from which we will see the biggest business opportunity, are the ones that cannot forgo the white and bright paper that comes from virgin fibre but want a biodegradable product to stand apart from their competition.”APP Canada carries the ProPrint, Inspira, Enova, Paperline and Zenith brands. This distribution expansion to Canada’s east coast comes on the heels of another recent announcement by the company about a sales network expansion to Saskatchewan. Currently, the company has offices and warehousing facilities in Ontario, Quebec, British Columbia and Manitoba. APP Canada is part of the APP group which is an importer/distributor of printing papers from APP’s mills in Indonesia and China. The company serves the Canadian printing industry with warehouse inventories of coated, uncoated and opaque stocks in sheet and roll form, C1S and C2S board, photocopy paper and cut size stock.
Toronto, Ontario-based Additive Metal Manufacturing (AMM) is offering Mohawk College’s Mechanical Engineering Technology and Non-Destructive Testing students an opportunity to work directly with industry on research and development projects aimed at helping manufacturers adopt additive manufacturing technology.
Avanti Computer Systems Limited has announced that its award-winning Avanti Slingshot is the first print MIS to integrate with MarcomCentral JobDirect Plus.MarcomCentral’s SaaS-based JobDirect Plus offers an online portal which allows customers to engage with print providers, build orders, customize features and finishing options, preview submissions and submit through almost any application.The integration with Avanti Slingshot manages backend processes such as reporting, estimating, imposition, inventory management, scheduling, shipping, billing and more.The combination of the JobDirect Plus and Slingshot makes workflow automation for print jobs easy, efficient and cost effective.
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.”
Dan Murias, franchise owner of the Minuteman Press in Red Deer, Alberta, has moved into a new 6,800-square-foot facility in the North Hill area of Red Deer, Alberta. Murias has been in business since 2005 and is a member of the Minuteman Press International President's Million-Dollar Circle for top performers, providing a range of design, marketing and printing services.“The vast majority of industry and commerce in Red Deer is on the North Side. We are strategically located in the centre of the area,” said Murias. “We thought through location versus price and weighed it carefully. I believe we made the right choice in our location, which provides easy access, fantastic visibility and is centrally located. This has given us an increase in new customer walk-in traffic. It is a standalone building with our own parking and a large staff parking lot with great access for couriers."Prior to franchising with Minuteman Press, Murias was a 23-year veteran of the printing industry, which is unique in many franchise-printing operations where owners are often new to the industry. “I worked for a printing company for 23 years and I knew I didn't want to work for someone else for the next 20 so I went to a franchise show as I did not have business experience,” he explained. “As a result, it made sense to partner with a franchise as they have a greater success rate than independent business startups.” Murias explains his business goal is to grow by 15 percent and to have staff trained to be able to take more of the quoting for orders. “The goal is only the first part; you need to have a plan to make the goal a reality,” he said. “It sounds old but marketing door to door is still number one. Mailings, getting involved in your community, golf course, curling club, hockey rinks and social clubs are also important."
Konica Minolta Business Solutions (Canada) Ltd. in mid-November celebrated the renovation of its corporate office in Edmonton, Alberta. The original building was built 23 years ago and the transformation took 10 months to complete with an investment of more than $1 million. Konica Minolta currently generates more than $18 million annually in the Edmonton area, employing 55 full-time employees, supplying imaging and office technologies to businesses of all sizes in the region. The tech company is rooted in the area through numerous community initiatives and serves as a preferred partner of the Edmonton Oilers and Eskimos.“We are committed to supporting local economies across Canada and Edmonton is the most recent in a series of large investments we have made to prepare for future growth,” said Chris Dewart, President and CEO, Konica Minolta Business Solutions (Canada). “Another strong reason for the revitalization of many of our older locations is to align with our corporate vision of improving how people work,” continued Dewart. “Our innovative Workplace of the Future strategy is as important for us as a business, as it is for our customers.” In late-2016, Konica Minolta Business Solutions Canada relocated its headquarters to a new state-of-the-art facility at the Airport Corporate Centre in Mississauga, Ontario.To mark the completion of its Edmonton building project, the company held a grand re-opening on November 9, 2017, with a ribbon-cutting ceremony that included dignitaries, software vendors and customers. The event featured a special keynote from Stew MacDonald, Vice President of the Edmonton Oilers, who addressed the role detailed planning, partnerships and technology plays in today’s fast-changing work environment.
Kodak hosted customers and community leaders at an April 20th ground-breaking ceremony in Weatherford, Oklahoma, to celebrate a $15 million capital investment to accommodate a new flexo plate line for the production of Kodak Flexcel NX plates. The ceremony included a ribbon cutting by Kodak CEO Jeff Clarke and Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin.“Today’s celebration brings a focus on the new face of flexo” said Clarke. “Kodak’s differentiated flexo technology is helping our customers to drive growth, break new ground and transform flexographic printing and the packaging industry as a whole.The Weatherford plant is in its 50th anniversary year. The new flexo plate manufacturing line is a sister operation to Kodak’s existing plate manufacturing facility in Yamanashi, Japan. The $15 million investment represents one of the company’s largest capital investments since 2000.Kodak explains its Flexcel NX plate sales volume grew 16 percent in 2016 compared to the prior year, a rate four times the projected growth rate of the flexible packaging market itself, according to Smithers Pira.The new Oklahoma flexo plate line is expected to be in full production by early 2019 and will initially focus on supply of Flexcel NX plates to customers in the Unites States, Canada and Latin America. The expansion of this manufacturing Oklahoma facility follows a range of ongoing Kodak investment in flexographic printing technology worldwide, which includes the recent opening of a Flexo Packaging Technology Center in Shanghai in March 2017.                                                                                              At Kodak’s Weatherford ribbon cutting are (left to right): Weatherford, OK, Mayor Mike Brown; Boon Tien Pang, director of operations for flexographic packaging division; Kodak CEO Jeff Clarke; Speaker Pro Tempore of OK House of Reps Harold Wright Jr.; President of Flexographic Packaging Solutions, Chris Payne; Governor of Oklahoma, Mary Fallin; Oklahoma Secretary of Commerce and Tourism, Deby Snodgrass; and Kodak Weatherford Plant Manager, Gene Meier.
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.”

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