Industry News

Fujifilm’s Ed Pierce, Komcan’s Brett Rogers, Canon’s Alec Couckuyt and RISO’s Andre D’Urbano describe sheetfed inkjet press advances, challenges, and why commercial printers should invest.   View the embedded image gallery online at: Ed Pierce, Product Marketing Manager, Fujifilm North America, Graphic Systems Division Why is it important for commercial printers to consider an inkjet press?Pierce: As run lengths continue to decline, regardless of the reason whether it be inventory cost driven or targeted marketing driven, it becomes increasingly difficult to provide a quality product at a price that is profitable for the print provider. As run lengths decrease, the expectation of quality does not decrease along with it. Toner technologies only go so far and production inkjet drives it home beyond the capabilities of a toner device.
This should also be considered an opportunity for commercial printers. By staying ahead of the curve and investing in new technology that addresses this need; will put the printer in a much better competitive position to attract and win this book of business that is not a trend but rather a new reality in the market. With the integrated technologies of the J Press 720S the print provider can produce a smaller initial quantity and reprint in a week, a month and so on the exact same quality and colour of the initial print run by simply calling up the same job with the same media profile and hitting the print button. There are no plates, there is not running up to colour and there is no extra labour required to reproduce a simple reprint order.  What is currently your company’s best inkjet press for a typical commercial printer?Pierce: The Fujifilm J Press 720S was not only the first B2/half-size production inkjet press brought to market, it is now in its second generation and the most widely adopted B2 inkjet press with over 100 installations globally.  
The J Press 720S uses the industry benchmark Fujifilm Dimatix Samba print heads along with Fujifilm’s cloud-based ColorPath SYNC colour management, Fujifilm VIVIDIA aqueous pigment inks, VERSA Drop jetting technology and proprietary screening algorithms to deliver what many describe as better than offset quality printed output.  And by running standard coated and uncoated offset stocks, the commercial printer and print buyer do not have to change the stocks they use or purchase stocks that carry a premium cost.  What key challenges still exist for production inkjet?Pierce: There is still a perception in the market that production inkjet has yet to achieve offset quality. At least in the case of the J Press 720S from Fujifilm, this market need has been met. Commercial printers tend to look at their current book of business when considering the purchase of a production inkjet press and plugging these numbers into their ROI. The reality is that just about all printers that have adopted production inkjet technology have achieved new business with their investment. 
Brett Rogers, Technical Sales Manager, Komcan (Canadian Komori distributor) Why is it important for commercial printers to consider inkjet?Rogers: The primary shortfalls of digital printing technologies have been twofold. Volume and Quality, you can maybe have one, but not the other. With production Inkjet, we are seeing that elevated crossover point, and unmatched quality in the digital space. We have also come to a point with traditional toner-based digital equipment, that quality and other factors such as substrate limitations, and post-press application, are limiting. Inkjet bucks all of those and allows for A) high level of quality, B) continually increasing crossover point, C) substrate freedom (in some cases), and D) post-press durability.What is currently your company’s best inkjet press for a typical commercial printer?Rogers: The Komori IS29 is a leader in all four aspects of quality, low to higher volume printing, substrate freedom, and post press durability. The larger format, 23 x 29 inches, allows for 50 percent more up per press sheet, at 8.5 x 11 inches, without sacrificing press speed [3,000 sheets per hour]. Print quality produced by the IS29 is fantastic. Colour consistency throughout the run is solid. Perfecting, UV curing, substrate freedom, including off-the-shelf non-porous substrates, and litho based sheet transport with excellent register, make the IS29 an excellent investment, while maintaining the digital advantages, such as full colour variable. The crossover point is rising.What key challenges still exist for production inkjet adoption?Rogers: Preconceptions regarding quality exist because previous incarnations of inkjet technology had shortcomings. This is no longer the case and inkjet printing has now surpassed quality levels seen in the toner world.Further, the cost of introduction has been an objection heard in the market. The same price objections that were heard when toner based technologies, CtP, or even the Linotype machine came out. Technologies, while in their infancy, are expensive. No different than DVD players, VCRs or 8 Tracks. Inkjet, however, is past the infancy stage, and even past the toddler stage; and as such, improvements are being made, turning these objections obsolete. Andre D’Urbano, Director of Dealer Sales, RISO Canada Why is it important for commercial printers to consider an inkjet press?D’Urbano: For years the print consumer has been told that colour is more expensive. To this day we have organizations that are forced to limit or ban the use of colour as it is deemed a luxury. Inkjet allows those on a budget to shift a majority of their monochrome printed material into the colour arena but at an affordable price. Colour inkjet has a cost of 1 to 2 cents per page and can be sold at 4 to 6 cents per page, a far cry from the 10 to 15 retail cents for colour toner. The end user gains in increased colour printing while the print shop benefits from the higher margins of inkjet compared to monochrome toner. What is currently your company’s best inkjet press for a typical commercial printer?D’Urbano: RISO offers production, colour, cut-sheet printing at a speed of 9,600 letter-size pages per hour. The GD9630 offers improved 5-colour output at the low cost that is expected from inkjet. The RISO solution is one of the few – if not the only – high-speed, cut-sheet production devices priced at about $100,000 or less. It is the least expensive way to dip your toe into the inkjet waters. If a print shop has seen the demand for inkjet grow but cannot justify the investment of some of the larger devices in the market, RISO will provide the shallow financial ramp needed to get in the game. What key challenges still exist for production inkjet?D’Urbano: Inkjet quality has and continues to be widely accepted by end users everywhere. The challenge comes from those selling inkjet printers along with those at the print shop level who need to sell inkjet printed material to their clients. These are the ones with a critical eye and some cannot get past anything less than toner that is baked onto coated paper. The fact is that there are many non-profit organizations convinced that colour is out of reach. They have for years been told that a colour image will cost more. As such, they revert back to monochrome. A print shop that prints 60 percent monochrome and 40 percent colour annually can easily transfer half that monochrome work to colour inkjet as it is more affordable than toner. Alec Couckuyt, Senior Director PPSG, Canon Canada Why is it important for commercial printers to consider inkjet?Couckuyt: In this rapidly evolving communications industry the commercial printer is faced with five critical dynamics: 1. Shorter run lengths, 2. Faster turnaround times, 3. Increasing job complexity like variable content/images, 4. Expansion of products and services offerings like data management, commercial print, display graphics, fulfillment, and 5. Relentless pressure on cost avoidance. These dynamics dictate the degree of relevance of print within the communications omni-channel venues. Inkjet technology gives the commercial printer an additional critical tool to stay on top of these dynamics and make print highly relevant.What is currently your company’s best inkjet press for a typical commercial printer?Couckuyt: The answer has to be twofold – one press does not fit all. If the commercial printer deals with a high number of different types of short run jobs with fast turnaround, an ability to print on a wide range of media, including coated offset, the answer is the VarioPrint iSeries, our highly productive inkjet cutsheet colour press. If the commercial printer’s requirements are based on higher volumes, variable content/images the answer is the ProStream. This 22-inch-wide web press with a native 1,200 x 1,200-dpi multi-level droplet modulation, runs at 80 metres per minute, prints on coated offset media, with a monthly duty cycle of 35 million impressions, and a colour gamut beyond offset.What key challenges still exist for production inkjet adoption?Couckuyt: The two biggest challenges a commercial printer faces today are 1) The clear understanding of ink consumption, in order to properly estimate job costs, and 2) The understanding of what paper media a specific inkjet press can print on. It is essential for the commercial printer that during the discovery phase the vendor clearly defines these two aspects.
For many commercial printing leaders, inkjet has reached a tipping point as the process becomes a relevant, quality production tool, initiating a third wave of technological change.Variety, The Spice of Life Media catalogue, is a Canon-produced self-promotion project using 15 different papers to highlight the media versatility of the Océ VarioPrint i300. First introduced in Canada in 2016, this production-strength sheetfed press is equipped with iQuarius technology to enable inkjet printing at high speeds. It is designed to bridge the gap between the application flexibility of toner presses, the efficiency of offset sheetfed presses, and the economy and productivity of web-fed systems. It enables print providers to handle new and diverse applications with an eye toward productivity and profitability – benefits all inkjet press makers are leveraging. Canon’s Variety project also highlights the use of Océ VarioPrint i-Series’ optional ColorGrip technology, which enables printing on a wider range of media, expanding the application range. ColorGrip enhances the image quality on papers not designed for inkjet. It expands the media range to include some coated offset stocks.     Production inkjet jobs can now include a variety of coated, uncoated and treated stocks and the printing system automatically adjusts the print parameters for each media type on a sheet-by-sheet basis.ColorGrip and iQuarius, and of course the VarioPrint i-Series, are unique to Canon, but the movement toward commercial-printing relevance by new generation inkjet technologies from other leading vendors is becoming a reality in the offset-dominated world of printing.         The Variety project highlights that the days when inkjet presses could not effectively print on coated offset stocks are gone. Gone are the days when the quality of inkjet was considered almost there. And gone are the days when commercial printers once felt like they had to ask that million-dollar question, offset or inkjet?Waves of change If the question is no longer offset or inkjet, then what should printers ask themselves and their suppliers when considering capital investment for the present and future health of their businesses? In order to figure this out, I began tapping into my years of experience in this ever-evolving industry. Over the past 30 years, I’ve had the privilege to work for companies such as Agfa in Belgium, Germany and Canada; Transcontinental Printing at its large-scale plants in both Canada and the United States; Symcor – one of North America’s largest transactional printers in Canada; and, for the last 10 years, with Canon Canada. Throughout my career, I have been able to witness firsthand the many waves of technological change in our industry.During my career, the first significant wave of change started with the introduction of the Macintosh computer in the mid-1980s, the subsequent digitization of prepress, and ultimately the launch of Computer-to-plate technologies – the latter largely pinned on Canadian-led development. This digitization of print basically eliminated many vertical processes like typesetting, imposition, colour separation and plate-making. The wave of digitization in print created a business shift, allowing – if not forcing – printers to create a more streamlined process to move directly from file preparation to plate-making. The industry underwent massive consolidation because of digitization. I remember Agfa buying Compugraphic and soon after Hoechst – and subsequently how dramatically the graphic arts dealer network changed across the country. The second wave of change started in the mid-1990s with the introduction of the first rudimentary standalone digital presses and digital inkjet print heads. Print jobs exceeding million-plus run lengths started to disappear and we entered into versioning and personalization. I remember installing the first one-inch Scitex inkjet heads on our half-web offset presses and the acquisition of our first Xeikon digital colour press at Yorkville Printing, owned by Transcontinental.During this wave, we also saw the evolution of toner-based platforms (cut-sheet and continuous-feed marvels) in an adjacent industry. The transactional printing industry was dealing with large amounts of variable data coming off mainframes, printing transaction records on preprinted offset shells. At that time, transaction printers only printed in black-and white, no colour, and obviously all variable.As the millennium year 2000 approached, transaction printers and commercial printers were operating in divergent spaces, serving different verticals.Then came inkjetWe installed our first high-volume inkjet presses in 2008 in Toronto and Montreal at a leading transactional printer. These full-colour inkjet web presses ran 22-inch wide rolls of paper (52 inches in diameter) at speeds of nearly 500 feet peer minute. Massive amounts of transaction data and CMYK colour data were processed on the fly, now driven by powerful servers. More importantly, the introduction of printing full colour in a “white paper factory” model eliminated the need for pre-printed offset shells. This dramatically impacted overall efficiencies, including warehousing and logistics. Inkjet printing fundamentally reshaped the transactional printing segment of the industry. Early adopters of this technology gained a major competitive advantage, captured considerable market share, and – again – market consolidation ensued. Inkjet had evolved but was not ready for commercial printing – not yet. But the once distinctive lines between transaction and commercial printers began to blur.For many in the commercial printing world, drupa 2016, also dubbed Inkjet 2.0, was the tipping point for when inkjet became a relevant, quality production tool, initiating the third wave of change. The demand for short runs, full colour, quick turnarounds, and variable print work increased exponentially as the need for long print runs decreased substantially. Since the turn of the millennium, maturing toner-based, cut-sheet production platforms fulfilled these initial print consumer demands for short-run, full-colour print. Their inherent limited production speed and higher cost structures, however, limited the type of applications one could profitably take on.The current generation of inkjet presses have now eliminated these production limitations and are breaking down cost structure barriers. Additionally, the range of capabilities and the quality output of inkjet presses make them suitable for at least 80 percent of all commercial printing work. But these are not the primary advantages of inkjet, they are a given. The single most-important attribute of inkjet is the capability of producing relevant printed products.Inkjet is not just a technological evolution or change, above all it is the cornerstone in helping printing businesses stay relevant in a changing world of omni-channel communications – a world flooded by print, e-mail, apps, text, any number of smartphone capabilities, Web, streaming, virtual reality, etcetera. Inkjet gives commercial printers the tools to mass produce customized and personalized integrated print pieces almost instantaneously, and to be an integral part of the omni-channel communications sphere.The ultimate question commercial printers should ask, therefore, is how do inkjet and offset fit into my business model and enhance the relevance of my offerings within the world of omni-channel communications. These are indeed exciting times for an exciting industry.
St. Joseph Communications this spring is launching what it describes as a new flyer distribution model, under its media brand name Best Life, for Canadian retailers to reach consumers.The flyers are being packaged with St. Jopeph’s new editorial magazine, Best Life, which is a weekly editorial lifestyle magazine published by the company’s St. Joseph Media division. St. Joseph Media is the publisher of brands like Toronto Life and FASHION Magazine. The first Best Life package will reach Canadian mailboxes for a controlled test in the London, Ontario, market on April 27, 2018.St. Joseph explains this model presents a more cost-effect solution than current Canada Post flyer delivery programs, as well as what the company describes as a cluttered delivery environment. Best Life will be deposited directly into the mailboxes of targeted houses, apartments and condos. “We’re excited to present this new flyer delivery model for Canadian retailers that is cost-effective and provides a great consumer experience, tapping into Canadians’ affinity for flyers and high-quality editorial,” said Tony Gagliano, CEO of St. Joseph Communications. “Over the last 12 months, we have worked to develop and create the ultimate model that addresses what’s lacking in flyer delivery in Canada today: a compelling, relevant, targeted, differentiated, timely – and affordable solution."

St. Joseph’s Strategic Content Labs recently conducted an online study and found that 75 percent of respondents somewhat/strongly agree that flyers are an important source of shopping information. The survey also found that 80 percent of respondents would read the Best Life magazine, while 66 percent would notice the package more than other types of flyers. St. Joseph also reports the concept scored well with those who do not currently enjoy receiving flyers.
Finance Minister Bill Morneau and Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz on March 8, 2018, unveiled Canada’s new $10 bank note featuring Viola Desmond. Held on International Women’s Day, to highlight the pioneering contributions of Desmond, the unveiling ceremony took place at the Halifax Public Library.
Once issued into circulation in late-2018, the new bank note will mark the first time that a Canadian woman is portrayed on a regularly circulating Bank of Canada note.Viola Desmond was selected for the new $10 bank note by Minister Morneau following an open call to Canadians to nominate an iconic Canadian woman for the next redesigned bank note (See Notably Canadian below).A successful Black Nova Scotian businesswoman, Bank of Canada explains Desmond refused to leave a whites-only area of a movie theatre in 1946 and was subsequently jailed, convicted and fined. Her court case, explains the Bank, is one of the first known legal challenges against racial segregation brought forth by a Black woman in Canada.The new $10 note is the first vertically oriented bank note issued in Canada. This allows for a more prominent image of Viola Desmond, explains the Bank, and differentiates this new $10 note from its other current polymer notes.“Two years ago today – on International Women’s Day – Prime Minister Trudeau and I announced that the time had come for a Canadian woman to be represented on Canada’s bank notes,” said Minister Morneau. “Since then, thanks in large part through her sister Wanda, more and more Canadians have come to know Viola Desmond’s remarkable personal story of courage and dignity.“Her story serves as inspiration to all Canadians and acts as a powerful reminder of how one person’s actions can help trigger change across generations,” continued Morneau. “As we strive for equality across our economy and in every facet of our country, we hope this constant reminder of Viola’s story will help inspire a new generation of women, men, girls and boys to fight for what they believe, take their place and create a better future for themselves and all Canadians.”  
Notably Canadian
The following article describes the process used by the Bank of Canada to choose Viola Desmond for the $10 bank note. It was first published in PrintAction’s March 2017 print issue:

The Bank of Canada will soon make a commemorative bank note available to mark this year’s 150th anniversary of confederation for the country, which has only seen three other such commemorative notes since the Bank was founded. In honour of the 100th anniversary of Confederation, a modified version of the 1954 $1 note was issued, bearing the date 1967. The centennial logo was added to the front of the note and a view of Canada’s original Parliament Buildings, destroyed by fire in 1916, was substituted for the prairie landscape that appeared on the original 1954 $1 note.A commemorative $25 note bearing the date May 6, 1935, was issued in honour of the Silver Jubilee of King George V. Similar to the 1935 series. This denomination was available in either French or English. And finally, the Bank issued a commemorative bank note that is a variation of the existing $20 note in the Polymer series in late 2015 to recognize Queen Elizabeth II, whose image adorns the popular note, becoming the longest-reigning sovereign in Canada’s modern era.Commemorative notes provide welcome press time for the Bank’s print suppliers and related service providers and the new 150th anniversary $10 note will soon be superseded by a new national milestone note in 2018. On International Women’s Day, March 8, 2016, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau launched a process for Canadians to help select who would become the first Canadian woman to have their portrait featured on a regularly circulating Bank of Canada note. The Twitter-fuelled #bankNOTEable campaign launched by the Bank yielded more than 26,300 submissions by April 15, 2016.The #bankNOTEable push resulted in 461 eligible candidates, who had Canadian citizenship and had been dead for at least 25 years. An independent Advisory Council composed of Canadian academic, sport, cultural and thought leaders narrowed down the list to five candidates for consideration by the Minister of Finance.In December 2016, Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz announced that Viola Desmond will be featured on a new $10 note, expected in late 2018. Desmond, an icon of the human rights and freedoms movement in Canada, was selected from a short list of five iconic Canadian women by Minister of Finance Bill Morneau, in accordance with the Bank of Canada Act. A successful Nova Scotia businesswoman, Viola is known for defiantly refusing to leave a whites-only area of a movie theatre in 1946. She was subsequently jailed, convicted and fined. Her court case was the first known legal challenge against racial segregation brought forth by a Black woman in Canada.The other short-listed women included Pauline Johnson, daughter of a Mohawk Chief and an Englishwoman, best know for the poetry she wrote celebrating her Aboriginal heritage; Elizabeth MacGill, the first woman in Canada to receive a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering (University of Toronto, 1927) and a master’s degree in aeronautical engineering (University of Michigan, 1929); Fanny Rosenfeld, who held Canadian records in the running and standing broad jump and in the discus; Idola Saint-Jean, primarily known as a feminist and pioneer in the fight for suffrage in Quebec; and Pitseolak Ashoona, an Inuit graphic artist known for prints and drawings showing.“Many extraordinary women could have been on this next bank note, and the search and decision-making process were extremely thorough,” said Minister of Status of Women Patty Hajdu. “The choice of Viola Desmond reminds us that Canada is a diverse country where everyone deserves equality and respect.” Minister Morneau said, “Viola Desmond’s own story reminds all of us that big change can start with moments of dignity and bravery. She represents courage, strength and determination—qualities we should all aspire to every day.”This new Viola Desmond $10 note, explains the Bank of Canada, reflects the broader themes of social justice and the struggle for rights and freedoms. It will be the first note in the next series. To continue to celebrate more iconic Canadians, the next $5 note will also feature a new Bank NOTE-able Canadian, launching another consultation process to seek input from Canadians. Canada’s first Prime Minister, Sir John A. Macdonald, and our first francophone Prime Minister, Sir Wilfrid Laurier, will be honoured on Canada’s higher-value bank notes. This change will take place when the higher-value notes are redesigned for the next series. These changes mean that former Prime Ministers William Lyon Mackenzie King and Sir Robert Borden will no longer be portrayed on bank notes. The $20 denomination will continue to feature the reigning monarch.
Students of Ryerson University’s School of Graphic Communications Management are preparing to host the program’s annual GCM Colloquium on April 3, 2018, at the Mattamy Athletic Centre (formerly Maple Leaf Gardens) in Toronto.This year’s GCM Colloquium also includes a Business Plan Expo component, creating a larger networking event for GCM students and members of Canada’s printing industry. This combination is reflected in the 2018 event’s name, Evolve: Startups, Mergers & Acquisitions in the Graphic Arts Industry.The Business Plan Expo is scheduled to run from 4:00 pm to 8:00 pm, while the Colloquium is scheduled for 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm.The GCM Colloquium is organized by student volunteers featuring keynote addresses, a panel discussion, and an information reception. This year’s industry participants include Jay Mandarino of C.J. Graphics Inc., Deanne Sinclair of Cambridge Label Inc., and Peter Tran and Rhodi Iliadou of Equal Parts Studio.GCM’s Business Plan Expo is organized around new business ideas being presented by more 140 graduating students. This includes the opportunity for industry members to speak with the students and see interactive demonstrations of their business ideas.

To register, visit Evolve.
Kodak introduced its new Nexfinity sheetfed toner press platform, which builds from its NexPress systems, with availability scheduled for spring 2018. The new platform is built with Dynamic Imaging Technology (DIT), a patented Kodak technology for digital printing. DIT technology works by applying algorithmic adjustments to specific areas of an image, explains Kodak, which optimizes image quality and consistency based on the image content in each area. Kodak explains this imaging technology produces crisp text, hard lines, soft skin tones, and beautiful skies on the same page.Featuring a new high resolution and multi-bit LED writing system, Nexfinity is designed to work with a range of applications, including direct mail, commercial print, publishing, and packaging. The press runs at speeds of 83 to 152 pages per minute, working with expanded sheet lengths of up to 48 inches and is capable of handling stocks up to 24 pt. “With Nexfinity press, printers get a robust digital printing platform that delivers offset quality while driving down costs and equipping them with the flexibility and speed to handle an expansive range of applications for their customers, whether it’s an order for a few hundred or millions of impressions,” said Chris Balls, General Manager, Equipment and VP, Print Systems Division of Kodak. Nexfinity delivers the industry's highest information density, according to Kodak, at more than 1.8 billion pieces of image information per square inch. The system can reproduce fine details on the fly, like highlight areas and consistency in mid-tones by adjusting the exposure levels for incredibly high levels of print quality. The LED writing system provides 256 levels of exposure on the imaging cylinder, explains Kodak, compared to laser systems that only are on or off.
The Lowe-Martin Group installed a Standard/Horizon RD-4055 DMC rotary die cutter at its production facility in Mississauga, Ontario. Purchased through KBR Graphics, the RD-4055 DMC is a recent addition to the Standard/Horizon portfolio and it includes a range of robust, innovative features for short-run die-cutting of digital and offset work.

KBR Graphics explains the RD-4055 DMC is a reliable, precise system that can die-cut, crease, perforate, slit, hole-punch and round corner in one process, both digital and offset-printed sheets up to 0.5 mm. Its repeat-register function enables the running of multiple-up imposed applications with a smaller die to reduce costs (up to five repeats in a single pass). The RD-4055 runs at speeds up to 6,000 cycles per hour.
Since operators can also run male and female dies simultaneously, KBR Graphics explains that finished products come out clean with sharp creases and without cracking or slitting. The RD-4055 DMC is ideally suited for applications like shaped promotional items, business cards, greeting cards, playing cards, coasters, door hangers, coupons, tickets, packaging, stickers (pressure-sensitive, gum back, static), merchandise labels, pocket folders, and unique mailers. “Lowe-Martin is now far more efficient, and turnaround times are much faster,” said Karl Belafi Jr., Vice President of KBR Graphics. “In fact, they've doubled capacity with this innovative and cost-effective method. The flexible cutters are more accurate and jobs can be initiated from a PDF file, making the set-up times faster with less material wastage. This is always an important factor when considering digital printing.” Belafi also notes the RD-4055 DMC adds more creativity and flexibility to Lowe-Martin's existing range of products and services.
Lowe-Martin has production facilities in Ottawa, Ontario, where it is headquartered, and Mississauga. One of Canada’s largest printing operations, Lowe-Martin provides integrated printing and communication solutions that span an range of products and services like offset, digital large-format and security printing; direct mail; marketing; bindery services and more.
Simpson Print of Bloomingdale, Ontario, in February 2018 installed a new SwissQPrint Nyala LED large-format inkjet system to expand its range of digital services.Founded more than 50 years ago, Simpson Print is one of the country’s most-diverse printing operations running high-quality screen printing presses, a 40-inch Komori LS640 UV press and digital presses, including a 6-colour HP Indigo, as well as a range of post-production capabilities – with a team of kitting specialists.“The Swiss Q represents the future of our digital wide format legacy,” said Simpson Print President, Carla Johanns. “Simpson Print views investment in technology as critical to our clients' print marketing and branding requirements. Each of our new acquisitions furthers our commitment to our all-under-one-roof capability. This is a wonderful new addition to our UV offset and high-resolution screen print capabilities.”Simpson Print’s new Nyala is a high-speed, 8-colour + White (CMYKlclm – Violet, Orange and White) system. The company plans to focus its new large-format technology on a range of display graphics applications like P.O.P, banners and decals, among similar marketing work.The Nyala LED was introduced in May 2017 as an updated version of swissQprint's existing engines, based on the addition of LED-curing technologies and a range of mechanical improvements. For example, the system’s beam architecture was reworked for more stability and swissQprint also ensured that the flatbed is indeed perfectly flat over its entire surface – 3.2 × 2 metres with the Nyala LED.
Ellis Paper Box, a member of the Ellis Group, Canada’s largest privately held manufacturer of folding cartons, is providing produciton details from its recently installed Optima 106 K die cutter from KBA-Iberica. The purchase is part of Ellis Group’s investment in new automated high-speed die cutters across its three facilities, with another new die cutter purchased from KBA North America set to be installed at its Ellis Packaging facility later this year.The Optima 106 K die cutter installation at Ellis Paper Box will be targeted at the demanding standards required by the pharmaceutical industry. “We’re successful due in part to our commitment to the industry, commitment to our employees, and our relentless pursuit to remain the most progressive carton company in Canada,” said Dave Ellis. “We offer a total in-house capability to control all aspects of structural design, electronic proofing, and die making. Our three-phase electronic verification is critical to our assurance of full responsibility for product quality and compliance to Good Manufacturing Practices.”Over the past several years, Ellis Paper Box explains it has detected a number of important trends in terms of production throughput at its 60,000-square-foot facility in Mississauga, Ontario. By investing in new equipment, Ellis explains it has become a one-stop shop producing as little as 500 cartons with spot colours to five million eight-colour specialty work with inline inspection. The facility holds 100 percent inline carton inspection systems to handle its international clientele, requiring a variety of languages imprinted on the boxes.Recently, KBA explains new legislation enacted in Canada has deemed that all pharmaceutical boxes must be redesigned to include additional compliance information for plain English text. Ellis has been instrumental in working with its clients to increase the size of the folding carton or add a fifth panel to existing styles to accommodate this legislation. In addition, the packaging producer reports its over-the-counter packaging is being designed with more value-added properties, such as inline cold and hot foil, embossing, inline Braille, and specialty coatings such as matte and high gloss.“The KBA-Iberica Optima 106 K die cutter has become our workhorse in the die cutting department,” said Ellis. “It is capable of handling production of paper, cardboard, plastic and corrugated boards up to 1.5 mm. It is running at 8,000 sheets per hour. We currently operate it two to three shifts per day, five days a week. Our preference is to schedule all jobs containing detailed embossing and critical print to cut registration on this new machine.”Not only is Ellis receiving these benefits but it has also recorded the machine’s efficiency and savings. For example, the firm has witnessed a 63 percent increase in throughput and a 32 percent increase in run speed compared to the last six running months over the previous machine. This allows Ellis to provide faster speed-to-market and get its product to its customers in two weeks or less. It has also recorded a 20 percent to 40 percent reduction in makeready due to the Optima 106 die cutter. Ellis is also blanking more difficult jobs thereby reducing its stripping costs by $35,000 per year.“The improvements to our die cutting department have been staggering,” said Ellis. “Due to the Optima 106 K’s increased automation, there are less tools involved and our employees are pleased with its push button automation. Our quality has improved due to this new die cutter and we have no downtime because the machine is so dependable. Improvements to uptime and quality have resulted in improved bottom line. The new die cutter from KBA-Iberica has had a fantastic impact on our company.”Founded in 1946, the Ellis Group is comprised of over 250 employees at Ellis Packaging, Ellis Paper Box and Ellis Packaging West servicing and specializing in the food, confectionary, pharmaceutical, neutraceutical and beverage industries.
ICON of Markham, Ontario, has installed a Konica Minolta AccurioJet KM-1 UV inkjet press. Founded in 1995, ICON now holds four divisions, including ICON Visual, Media, Motion and Print, specializing in large format and display graphics, digital signage, film production and commercial printing, respectively. (The company was featured in PrintAction’s February 2017 issue, All things visual, inside ICON Digital.)
“The 23 x 29-inch sheet size, speed and quality output of Konica Minolta’s [AccurioJet KM-1] technology is a perfect marriage that combines desirable traditional press attributes, with the power of digital creativity and the ability to print on the widest range of substrates,” said Juan Lau, President, ICON. “We see the KM-1 as game-changer in the digital-marketing and variable-print arenas; and as a company constantly striving to be different, we feel this system will really set us apart in the marketplace.”The AccurioJet KM-1’s 23 x 29.5-inch sheet size allows for 6-up, full-bleed letter-size printing at 3,000 pages per hour (18,000 letters per hour). The press, explains Konica Minolta, prints on traditional offset stocks, as well as textured, synthetic and canvas medias. It is capably of handling materials like 17-lb vellum and 24-point weights, without any substrate pre-coating. The press also features automatic perfecting/duplexing up to 18 point.ICON generated sales of approximately $37 million in 2016 with offices in Toronto, Montreal and NYC. The company’s primary markets include fragrance, cosmetics, retail, sports apparel, lifestyle and luxury CPG companies, corporate and event marketing, auto dealerships, financial institutions, hospitality, transportation, health care, property development, and digital out-of-home advertising and promotion.
Swiss Print International of Etobicoke, Ontario, is adding a Komori LS 440 sheetfed offset press to its facility, which has two existing 40-inch presses. The company’s incoming press, purchased through Komcan Inc., includes a tower coater and extended delivery, as well as a full automation package.Swiss Print describes itself as a full-service printer with the ability to run a range of work from business cards to large format, through its digital and offset printing machines. The company also provides full finishing capabilities, graphic design, photography, copywriting, website design, data asset management, and warehousing and fulfillment.
Associated Labels and Packaging of Coquitlam, British Columbia, a premium label printing and flexible packaging company, has added a new HP Indigo 20000 digital press to its service offerings. The converting and printing company, based just outside of Vancouver proper, works with clients throughout Canada and United States in sectors like food and beverage, pharmaceutical, nutraceutical food, personal care, wine making and household cleaning products. The company began as a small label printing plant in 1981 and has since grown to occupy more than 100,000 square feet with 24-hour-per-day press runs.  The HP Indigo 20000 doubles the digital capacity for Associated Labels and Packaging (ALP), which until now had been providing digital printing services with two HP Indigo WS6800 digital presses. The company explains its new 30-inch press will allow it to deliver digitally printed flexible packaging and pouch applications to complement its wide-web flexo printing. 
 “The addition of the Indigo 20000 will allow us to provide the market with unlimited short-run packaging,” said Shaun Ashworth, President of ALP. “In the past, it was cost prohibitive due to minimum orders. With this technology we can now produce smaller runs for market testing and development, and also stay profitable on smaller runs from existing key customers.”

The converter explains that it has also invested in a sustainability program as a strategic company mission, developing what it describes as a unique backyard compostable stand-up pouch product. The film is able to run on the HP Indigo 20000, which the company explains to open new marketing opportunities.“With digital printing on eco film, these innovative products can enjoy high-quality packaging SKUs, test market interest and also stay true to their eco-values,” said Jay Ashworth, Marketing and Sustainability Manager, who notes specialty brands, including boutique organic and natural products, are increasingly interested in a fully sustainable packaging solution as part of their product marketing.
Mark Norlock takes on the role of Production Specialist for Canon Canada Inc., headquartered in Brampton, Ontario.Norlock brings Canon more than 30 years of experience within the Canadian printing industry. He most recently worked with KBA Canada Inc., as Regional Sales Manager, for just over five years. Norlock’s printing career began with Linotype-Hell Canada before taking on a role with Indigo Canada to help that company launch its digital press technology in the country. He then spent six years with Scitex America before joining Xerox for four years. Norlock moved into the world of offset press makers in 2003 as a Sales Manager with MAN Roland. He then worked for Kodak as a Sales Specialist in that company’s new Inkjet Printing Solutions division, before moving back into offset presses with KBA.
Norlock is also heavily involved with the Digital Imaging Association, serving as the organization’s Secretary/Treasurer.
Electronics For Imaging completed three additions to its Silicon Valley-based senior leadership team. Gene Zamiska, the former senior vice president of finance, corporate controller and chief accountant for Verifone, is joining EFI this month as its new chief accounting officer (CAO). Another veteran accounting executive, Mark Allred, has joined EFI as the company’s new vice president of corporate accounting. EFI has also hired Jill Norris, a long-time mobile industry tech leader, as its new chief information officer (CIO). EFI explains Zamiska, who is a licensed CPA, comes to the CAO position with a long record of successful tech sector financial management and reporting. In the past two years in his executive role at Verifone, he led a team of more than 200 employees to direct the company’s reporting, SEC financial filings, accounting and Sarbanes-Oxley Section 404 compliance. Prior to that position, Zamiska held senior finance positions at several tech companies, including serving as CAO for Juniper Networks. He also spent 18 years in finance and accounting roles at Hewlett Packard.Allred is also a licensed CPA, previously worked at technology and manufacturing businesses in his native Oregon, including forestry, agriculture and construction equipment company Blount International, where he was vice president and corporate controller. Prior to that position, he was vice president of finance and corporate controller of microscope technology manufacturer FEI Co.EFI explains Jill Norris is an IT, services and operations executive with extensive experience helping organizations make the most effective use of their technology. She most recently served as vice president of global IT services for semiconductor company Globalfoundries. Prior to that, Norris held engineering IT positions for Motorola and held CIO, Chief Service Officer and India expat positions for mobile start-up Good Technology. She also previously worked for Sprint as vice president of IT service delivery.
Jürgen Gruber becomes Digital & Web Service National Sales Manager for KBA North America. In this newly created role, he will specifically oversee sales of the RotaJET digital printing press as well as sales and support for the web service group. Gruber will report to Jeff Dietz, VP of Web and Specialty Presses. “We are excited to welcome Jürgen to the Koenig & Bauer team,” said Dietz. “He brings with him a wealth of industry experience that will make him a valued resource for both our customers and organization.”   Gruber brings sales and engineering background to his new position. He most recently served with Fujifilm North America’s Graphic Systems Division, where he was since 2012, after working with NELA for the previous 12 years, including seven years as its Director of Sales. 
 Gruber holds a Master Industrial Technology degree from the State College for Master Studies in Lahr, Germany, as well as a Technical Engineering degree from the College of Technical Engineering in Emmendingen, Germany. KBA North America is based in Dallas, Texas, and a member of the Koenig & Bauer Group, which was established 200 years ago in Würzburg, Germany.
Pierre Marcoux becomes President of TC Transcontinental’s media sector, TC Media, with a range of brands for the business, finance and construction sectors, including an event-planning component. TC Media is the largest publisher of French-language educational resources in the country. The company, which began divesting its newspaper assets last year, describes these sectors as key to its strategic shift.Marcoux’ objectives include further developing the sector’s specialty product and service offering; growing market share in educational book publishing; and evaluating targeted acquisition opportunities. He has been working in the family business for more than 15 years.“I am especially proud to appoint Pierre Marcoux as President of TC Media,” said François Olivier, President and Chief Executive Officer of TC Transcontinental. “We have full confidence in Pierre as he assumes his mandate of executing the Media Sector's business development strategy in order to always better meet the needs of our customers and audiences. He has successfully climbed the ranks to be entrusted with this key role of responsibility, combining his talent as a senior-level manager, his inherent business sense, as well as his profound knowledge of publishing, journalism and multiplatform content.”Marcoux joined TC Transcontinental in 2000 as a journalist, before taking on a role as Content Manager and Director of Business Development for business publications in the media sector. He then became Vice President of the Business Solutions Group. Five years later, he served as Senior Vice President of the Business and Consumer Solutions Group, a position he held for four years in Toronto, and was then appointed Senior Vice President, Business and Education.Marcoux holds a bachelor's degree from Université de Sherbrooke and a Master’s in Media Management from Northwestern University. He also completed various training programs at Kellogg School of Management and Harvard Business School. As part of his community involvement, he supports organizations such as the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital, On the Tip of the Toes Foundation and Centraide of Greater Montreal, and also serves as governor of the Fondation de recherche en administration (administration research foundation) of Université de Sherbrooke.TC Media media brands include Les Affaires, Événements Les Affaires, Finance et Investissement, Investment Executive, Conseiller, Advisor's Edge, Avantages, Benefits Canada, and Constructo and Contech, as well as Chenelière Éducation, Les Éditions Transcontinental, Les Éditions Caractère and Groupe Modulo, grouped within TC Media Books.TC Transcontinental has close to 6,500 employees in Canada and the United States, generating revenues of $2 billion in 2017.
James Rowley has taken on the role of President of Glenmore Custom Print + Packaging, based in Vancouver, BC. He previously served as General Manager, from late 2012, helping to establish the family company as one of Western Canada’s premier printing operations. Founded in 1981 by his father Glen, Glenmore now has more than 130 employees and is one of Canada’s most prominent independent custom print and folding carton manufacturers, while also venturing into roll label printing and continuing its high-end offset litho work. Rowley was named PrintAction’s Emerging Leader of the Year in 2017.
Gordon de Savoye joins Printer’s Parts & Equipment as its Ontario Region Sales Representative. Founded in 1973, Printer’s Parts & Equipment is one of Canada’s leading suppliers of graphic arts equipment, consumables and parts, representing brands like Xante, Ideal/MBM and Roland DG among others. 
Gordon de Savoye’s sales career began in Ottawa, Ontario, representing Globe Envelopes, a major manufacturer of commercial envelopes. He was promoted to take on the market in Montreal, Quebec, before taking a position to represent CCL Labels, where he specialized in the pharmaceutical field. He has also gained commercial printing experience serving as a broker for several major corporations. 

de Savoye obtained a CLU designation as a Chartered Life Underwriter with Sun Life of Canada, while also developing his marketing skills through a range of sales courses in Canada and the United States.
Sun Chemical acquired the metal deco ink business of PPG, a U.S.-based global supplier of paints, coatings and specialty materials. PPG and Sun Chemical are both long-standing players in the metal packaging industry.

Sun Chemical explains the acquisition reflects its strategy to grow by acquiring businesses that complement its existing operations. The company explains adding PPG will expand both its operational territories and its overall position in the global metal deco market. The purchase, according to Sun Chemical, creates the widest ink portfolio in the metal decoration market.“With changes in consumer tastes and lifestyles across the world driving increased demand for canned food and beverages, brands are constantly seeking new ways of decorating the metal packaging of their products to differentiate them from the competition,” said Felipe Mellado, CMO and Board Member at Sun Chemical. “The acquisition of PPG’s metal deco ink business means that Sun Chemical will now be able to offer customers an enhanced range of metal deco solutions to help them achieve their marketing goals.”
Transcontinental Inc. today announced that it has acquired Multifilm Packaging Corporation, a flexible packaging supplier located near Chicago in Elgin, Illinois. Employing more than 70 people, Multifilm focuses on the high-end candy and chocolate packaging verticals in North America, and specializes in piece-wraps and high-barrier laminates for the confectionery, snacks and dry foods markets. Since entering the market in 2014, this is TC Transcontinental’s sixth flexible packaging acquisition, including its previously most recent acquistion of Flexipak in November 2017. Today, the company’s packaging division has close to 1,000 employees and its North American platform comprises seven production plants and one premedia studio.  Transcontinental explains Multifilm is built around an integrated manufacturing process and distinguishes itself through expertise in cast film extrusion, metallization and demetallization, as well as aluminum foil printing.“The acquisition of Multifilm Packaging Corporation is aligned with our growth strategy for the packaging division and presents tremendous opportunities,” said François Olivier, President and CEO of TC Transcontinental. “This transaction allows us to enter new high-end confectionery packaging niches and to bolster our offering in this market. Multifilm expands our manufacturing capabilities, namely with aluminum foil printing and demetallization, thereby enabling us to leverage these sought-after processes within our North American packaging platform.”Multifilm Packaging Corporation has been owned since 2008 by four owner-managers, who will be joining TC Transcontinental. “We are truly proud to join TC Transcontinental, a large corporation with a 42-year history and track record of success,” said Chris Rogers, President of Multifilm. “We are inspired by the long-term growth vision and entrepreneurial spirit of its executives, and we are confident that, together, we will continue to help Multifilm thrive by building on its success, as we have always done."
Goss International’s printing press business and manroland web systems announced plans to merge by mid-2018, subject to regulatory approval. The Contiweb business of Goss International is not included in this transaction. The current shareholders of Goss, American Industrial Partners, and of manroland web, Possehl Group (Lübeck), will continue to co-own the combined company.Both manufacturers produce web offset printing systems and services for newspapers, commercial products and packaging, and hold what the companies describe as complementary geographic footprints that will help the new entity provide value to clients, particularly in the area of aftermarket services.
“manroland is on the path for continued success. We want to continue to develop this path by creating synergies, fostering the further development of our R&D activities and strengthening our innovation focus,” said Alexander Wasserman, CEO of manroland web.
Mohit Uberoi, CEO of Goss, stated: “This combination will enable us to achieve extensive synergies that will help us optimally serve our customers into the future. The combination will strive to provide a best-in-class product offering and customer service.”The companies explain, that in addition to the new machinery and service business, the expansion of the business with retrofits and upgrades, and the systematic expansion of e-commerce activities will be major areas of focus.
Muller Martini has taken over the perfect binding and bookline business from Kolbus, which also includes the service and spare parts business for all Kolbus bookbinding systems installed worldwide. Kolbus in turn is setting its focus on the packaging and case making business, parts manufacturing and its foundry business.
“Structural change has changed the graphic arts industry in recent years and our market has become much smaller and versatile at once,” said Bruno Müller, CEO of Muller Martini. “Customers need innovations on a regular basis, which have to be financed with lower sales quantities. Above all, our customers benefit from the efficiency gains bringing together the bookbinding activities.”The bookbinding business of Kolbus is transferred to the new business unit Müller Martini Buchbinde-Systeme GmbH, which will be integrated into the Muller Martini group with around 250 employees as an independent factory in Rahden, Germany. “This secures the future of the softcover and hardcover business of both the customers and the two machine manufacturers – and thus also jobs in the graphic arts industry,” said Müller.With 900 employees, Kolbus will remain under the direction of CEO Kai Büntemeyer. “In recent years, the packaging market was growing consistently. We see a good potential and will vigorously expand our current activities in this business,” said Büntemeyer. “There are also very good perspectives in the segment of component manufacturing for sophisticated mechanical engineering companies including Müller Martini Buchbinde-Systeme GmbH and Kolbus Luxury Packaging.”Muller Martini, a family business that was founded in 1946, has its headquarters in the city of Zofingen (in the Swiss canton of Aargau). It has around 1,800 employees active in the development and production of industrial system solutions for print finishing.
Bell and Howell has acquired the assets of Connecticut-based Gunther International Ltd. to expand its mail-inserting product portfolio. This acquisition follows the purchase of Sensible Technologies one year ago and, most recently, the introduction of CX Touchpoints, described as Bell and Howell’s omnichannel communications platform.“Acquiring Gunther is another strategic move that strengthens Bell and Howell’s leadership position in an area that is fundamental to our success as a company,” said Ramesh Ratan, CEO, Bell and Howell. “We are committed to the production-mail space and are making substantial investments that will enable us to better serve our customers.”Gunther International is a manufacturer of high-volume, software-driven mailing systems to the insurance and banking industries. It specializes in complex, high-page-count mail finishing via high-throughput machines, integrity at every stage of the insertion process, and machines that can process both flat and folded mail. Its Champion software, explains Bell and Howell, is a sophisticated and extremely flexible operating system in mail-finishing equipment control and management systems. “We are excited to add top technical talent to the Bell and Howell service team,” said Jim Feely, Bell and Howell’s Senior VP of Global Service Solutions.
Graphic Packaging Holding Company has completed the combination of Graphic Packaging's existing businesses with International Paper's North America Consumer Packaging business. Graphic Packaging owns 79.5 percent of the combined company and will be the sole manager. International Paper will own 20.5 percent of the combined company. Graphic Packaging has assumed $660 million (all figures in U.S. dollars) of International Paper debt and concurrently has amended and restated its senior secured credit agreement. There is no change to Graphic Packaging's current Board of Directors or leadership team. International Paper has a 2-year lock-up on the monetization of their ownership interest and cannot purchase GPK shares for a period of 5 years, subject to limited exceptions.On a combined basis, Graphic Packaging is now one of the world’s largest integrated paper-based packaging companies with approximately $6 billion of projected revenue and approximately $1 billion of projected EBITDA post-synergies. Graphic Packaging is one of the largest producers of folding cartons and paper-based foodservice products in North America, has strategic folding carton and foodservice converting positions globally, and holds leading market positions in solid bleached sulfate paperboard, coated unbleached kraft paperboard and coated-recycled paperboard.“We are excited to close this transformative transaction at the start of the New Year… [We] expect the transaction will significantly increase our mill production and converting scale… The combination meaningfully increases our exposure to the growing foodservice market,” said Graphic Packaging President and CEO Michael Doss.Headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, Graphic Packaging holds two Canadian operations in Cobourg and Mississauga, Ontario. In November 2017, Graphic Packaging agreed to acquire the assets of Canada’s Seydaco Packaging Corp. and its affiliates National Carton and Coating Co., and Groupe Ecco Boites Pliantes Ltée.
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.
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:
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:
The Digital Imaging Association last night in Toronto celebrated its 30th anniversary at Cirillo's Culinary Academy. Award-winning Chef John Cirillo divided the 50 attendees of the sold-out event into teams to prepare, cook and serve three Canadian courses, including: Bay of Fundy Salmon, Seafood and Tomato, Corn Veloute (Atlantic Canada); Smoked Bacon Wrapped Beef Tenderloin (Alberta) with Whisky Jus, Barley and Cranberry Risotto, Glazed Golden Beets and Fine Beans; and Maple infused Apple Rose in Puffy Pastry with Blueberry Compote (Ontario and Quebec).   View the embedded image gallery online at:
More than 100 printing professionals attended PrintForum West, held last week at the Delta Chelsea in Burnaby, BC. The day began with an hour-long panel discussion featuring three of Canada’s youngest printing leaders: Nikos Kallas, President, MET Fine Printers, Richard Kouwenhoven, President, Hemlock Printers, and James Rowley, Vice President, Glenmore Custom Print + Packaging.   View the embedded image gallery online at: Neva Murtha and Catherine Stewart, both Senior Corporate Campaigner with Vancouver-based Canopy, discussed the need for transparency in making environmental production claims. They also provided attendees with a sneak peak of The Blueline Ranking 2017 to be released this July. The annual report analyzes and ranks the environmental progress driving some of North America’s top performing printers, which includes several Canadian companies in the top 10, such as Hemlock Printers, MET Fine Printers and The Lowe-Martin Group.After lunch, two of Kodak’s technology leaders, based in the company’s nearby facility in Burnaby, which continues to make CTP devices and provide innovation, discussed technical advancements for improved profitability. William Li, Color Technology Manager for Kodak and Co-Chair of International Color Consortium, focused on the impact of colour technologies and standards in relation to how printers can find and then maintain new business. Patrick Kerr, Product Manager, Unified Workflow Solutions, Kodak, then focused on how printing companies can leverage cloud computing.Andy Rae, who was appointed as Global Head of Marketing, Heidelberg AG, in April 2017, discussed the impact of Big Data and Industry 4.0 in printing, including the concept of The Smart Print Shop, which relates to leveraging print and media workflows to facilitate the complete automation of production processes. Rae also discussed Heidelberg’s Push to Stop operating philosophy for print manufacturing.The day concluded with a panel discussion on the state of production inkjet, featuring four of Canada’s technology leader, including: Alec Couckuyt, Senior Director, Canon Canada, Professional Printing Solutions Group; Brad King, Vice President, Graphics Communications, Xerox Canada; Ray Fagan, Sheefed Product Manager, Heidelberg Canada; and Edward Robeznieks, Vice President Sales, Ricoh Canada.
More than 350 people last Thursday attended the 35th annual Gala Gutenberg at the ballroom of the Bonsecours Market in Montreal to celebrate excellence in print achievement. In total, 17 trophies, Technical Challenge and Innovation Challenge categories, were awarded to a range of printing industry companies from the province of Quebec. (Photos provided by Gala Gutenberg.)   View the embedded image gallery online at: “The Gutenberg [program] pushes the boundaries of each individual and responds to the challenges raised by the talent and creativity of businesses, communication agencies and print buyers in Quebec, regardless of the size of the companies. And this year, our industry has once again demonstrated that it is a great event,” Said Patrick Choquet, President, Gravure Choquet, and President of Gutenberg 2017.2017 Gutenberg Technical Challenge Award WinnersCategory: PackagingProject: Collection Serveurs Nuutok LAKLÉ INC.Category: PublishingProject: 887 InterglobeCategory: LabelsProject: Romeo’s Gin Imprimerie Ste-JulieCategory: Marketing Client Project: MUMO L’EmpreinteCategory: NewspapersProject: Perforation en ligne 'Die cut on line' Winner: Journal Métro/Les producteurs de lait du Québec Métropolitain Category: Flexible Packaging Project: Combinaison Archibald 4 x 473ml (6 dessins) Winner: Les industries Pro-palsCategory: Finishing Project: Exalted Third Edition-Novagraf Marketing Winner: Multi-ReliureCategory: MagazinesProject: Rolland Inc- Magazine Paper Loop Winner: L’EmpreinteCategory: BrochuresProject: Panneaux pour l'exposition "Ceci n’est pas un parapluie ", Biosphère Winner: MP REPRO Category: Self PromotionProject: Pop-Art Rose-Fluo         Winner: Pazazz2017 Gutenberg Innovation Challenge Award WinnersCategory: Self PromotionProject: Sacs réutilisables Winner: PNH SolutionsCategory: Flexible PackagingProject: Organic Kefir Cup Winner: Les Étiquettes IML Inc.Category: Édition Project: Jaquette Desjardins Winner: TransmagCategory: Marketing ClientProject: Programme souvenir 30e anniversaire Gala reconnaissance Estrie Winner: Groupe PrécigrafikCategory: FinishingProject: Great Comet Winner: InterglobeCategory: BrochuresProject: Conférence « New Cities Summit Montreal » Winner: PDI Solutions Grand Format Category: PackagingProject: A-Trax – In The Loop: A Decade of Remixes Winner: Ross-Ellis
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.
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.
CET Color, a manufacturer of wide-format UV flatbed and hybrid printers, has added Nustream Group to its dealer channel to look after Quebec and Eastern Canada. Located in Montreal, Nustream provides technological distribution and services to commercial, label and packaging, photographic and art reproduction printers.
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.”
Xaar plc, which makes industrial inkjet technology, and Lawter, along with its parent company Harima Chemicals Group (HCG), are now collaborating to optimize the performance of a line of nanosilver conductive inks in the Xaar 1002 industrial inkjet print-head. The combined solution, according to the companies, will be of interest to manufacturers of consumer electronics goods looking for a method to print antennas and sensors with silver nanoparticle ink as part of their manufacturing processes. Xaar explains inkjet is a cleaner process than other methods of printing silver inks; this is especially relevant when printing onto a substrate, such as a display, in which any yield loss is expensive. With inkjet, manufacturers can precisely control the amount of ink dispensed in certain areas of a pattern, continues Xaar, so that the ink or fluid deposited can be thicker in some areas and thinner in others – adding that inkjet enables the deposition of a much thinner layer of fluids than traditional methods, which is significant for the manufacturers looking to produce thinner devices. Inkjet is also one of the few technologies able to print a circuit over a substrate that has a structured surface.“This is an excellent opportunity to showcase our latest technological breakthroughs and demonstrate the unique value that our revolutionary nanoparticle inkjet solutions can play as part of an integrated system solutions in the PE world,” said Dr. Arturo Horta, Business Development Manager for Lawter Innovation Group. HCG claims to have pioneered the development and manufacture of silver nanoparticle conductive inks for the printed electronics industry over 20 years ago and has over 100 patents related to its nanoparticle dispersion technology.
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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