The 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.
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.
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 Winners
Perflex Label – Canada
Yerecic Label – USA
Uniprint Labels – South Africa
Unique Photo Offset Services – India
Deco Labels & Flexible Packaging – Canada
Consolidated Label – USA
Model Graphics – USA
Pemara – Australia
Alaska Polygrafoformlenie – Russia
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.
“We first installed our Eagle Cold Foil systems in June 2015 and it’s lived up to every promise made by Eagle President Mike King,” said Stefan Congram, Operations Manager, Glenmore. “We’ve learned to not only respect Mike but trust him. When he suggested the class for our operation we knew we’d reap significant benefits.”
Eagle conducted the Eagle Cold Foil Certification Course (ECFC) at Glemore’s Richmond facility in mid-July, 2016, to address real-world production factors and influences. Eagle has designed a unique test form, designed for failure, to run off each applicant’s system. Eagle explains the press is then finite-tweaked to maximize performance out of each operation’s adhesives, foils and blankets. This in-house certification approach allows for the elimination of former process obstacles, such as pin-holing and mud cracking.
“It’s an understatement to say it’s thorough, but more importantly it’s effective,” said Congram, a 15-year veteran of the commercial printing industry, who has spent his the last eight year with Glenmore. “The press staffers now have an in-depth working knowledge and understanding of the cold foil process. Not just the what’s, as in what to do, but the why’s and how’s. Our people are now as dialed in as our system is. We are reaping the rewards every single shift with faster make-readies and noticeable quality jumps.”
Founded by Glenn Rowley in 1981, Glenmore Custom Print + Packaging has evolved from a one-person shop to a significant Canadian printing operation of more than 90 employees in just under 35 years. The company provides a range of services like conventional, UV, offset, digital and wide-format printing, as well as pre- and post-press capabilities. The family-owned and operated company has advanced into a second-generation phase under the managerial leadership of the founder’s son James Rowley.
High school students in a specialized communications program work with a local Ottawa company to learn about the printing trade.
Young adults routinely participate in interactive online activities ranging from Facebook and Twitter to sophisticated multi-player games, chat rooms and blogs. It only makes sense, that for today’s students, an experiential approach to learning is a priority.
Merivale High School’s FOCUS program offers students in the Ottawa Carleton District School Board a unique opportunity to complete a concentrated one semester Communication and Design program that will prepare them for post secondary diploma and degree programs in graphic design, animation, photography and interactive multi media.
So although students will require a digital camera and some computer skills for their Graphic Design, Photography and Animation courses, they should also be prepared to arrive at visual solutions using a variety of pencils, ink pens and paint as well as with current vector drawing software. The program has a 25 seat Mac Lab and also boasts an intaglio press, which makes printmaking exercises possible, and a 10-station darkroom for developing and printing 35 mm film. Students primarily use Adobe software, but spend time with QuarkXPress and other applications they may encounter.
The FOCUS also involves a thorough immersion in printing technologies, and for the program’s offset lithography unit, the school enlisted the services of senior account and customer experience manager Jonathan Stokes of TRICO Evolution in Ottawa.
TRICO serves clients across Canada and the northern United States from its offices in Montreal, Ottawa, Kingston and Vancouver, accounting for 350,000 square feet. In September 2015, Delta Business Solutions and TRICO entered into an agreement to combine forces and operate as one company under the TRICO brand. With more than 240 employees, the company focuses on products and services across six lines of business: contract packaging, warehousing and logistics, display and signage, commercial printing, direct marketing, and marketing analytics and insight.
The FOCUS students’ objective at TRICO was to have the entire class contribute artwork for a poster marking Star Trek’s 50th year on television. The first series, now referred to as The Original Series, debuted in 1966 and followed the galactic adventures of James T. Kirk and crew of the starship Enterprise, an exploration vessel of a 23rd-century United Federation of Planets.
Students were given their choice of media, with the understanding that their final artwork would appear only in black and white. Some of the students chose to do artwork with traditional tools, others used Adobe Illustrator to make vector drawings. Because the sequels, movies, animated films and graphic novels are so easily accessible, and a much-hyped new series is in the works (planned for a January 2017 release), the students were all familiar with all the characters.
After the initial artwork was completed, all images were scanned at the proper resolution and then imported into a QuarkXPress document where the appropriate typographic notes were added. The finished poster was exported to PDF and FTPed to Stokes at TRICO.
When the class arrived at TRICO to see offset lithography in action, students were first shown how a printing job is scheduled and how files are processed when they come to the plant, reinforcing the time-sensitive nature of the business.
Stokes brought the FOCUS program students to the plate-processing station and there a skilled technician burned an aluminum plate of the Star Trek poster job and gave it to us for display at our school art show.
In the pressroom
The class next entered the printing area, where one of the TRICO pressmen had our poster printing plate mounted on the large litho press ready to go. The students were able to observe all the fine tuning done before a job enters production.
The class, whose printing experiences for the most part only included photocopiers, laser and inkjet printers were surprised at the speed and fidelity of offset lithography. They were also impressed by how efficiently large amounts of paper could be cut and trimmed with such accuracy. Our day at TRICO evolution finished on a high note in the board room, with Stokes showing impressive samples of critically acclaimed work done for corporate clients. Each student left with a few copies of their Star Trek poster and a greater appreciation and respect for the printing trade.
Author Irving Osterer is the Department Head Fine Arts and Technology Merivale High School in Ottawa, Ontario. For more information about Merivale’s Fine Arts and Focus Program go to www.merivalefinearts.wikispaces.com.
The new contract runs until June 30, 2020 with the potential for two one-year contract extensions. The contract value is estimated to be approximately US$11.2 million over the four years.
Pollard Banknote is currently a lottery partner to more than 60 lotteries worldwide.
The company was first awarded a secondary scratch game contract for the Minnesota Lottery in 2007 and was elevated to primary supplier in 2010. By focusing on industry innovations and winning strategies, the scratch game category generated 69 percent of total Minnesota Lottery sales for FY2015.
“Leveraging Pollard Banknote's experience working with a variety of lottery jurisdictions worldwide, our strategies incorporate the best of the best in utilizing innovations to maximize scratch ticket sales that raise money for good causes,” said Byron Peterson, Director, Sales & Marketing, Pollard Banknote. “The Minnesota State Lottery does a fantastic job of executing those strategies.”
To date, the Minnesota Lottery has brought a range of Pollard Banknote's products and licensed brands to market, including the PlayBook, Scratch FX and Spectrum Scratch FX. It was also the first Lottery to launch Scratch FX at the $20 price point.
Most recently, the Lottery's launch of a $5 Frogger game (a licensed brand offered exclusively by Pollard Banknote) had five-week average sales that were 82 percent higher than all other $5 games launched in Minnesota since 2013. It was the lottery's best-selling ticket at this price point.
"We are very excited to continue our strong partnership with Pollard Banknote," said Michael Vekich, Acting Director, Minnesota Lottery. "We rely heavily on our primary printing partner for design, marketing and strategy leadership – a partner proven to help the Lottery drive its scratch sales. Pollard Banknote offers everything we seek from a scratch game printer – guidance and expertise in research, marketing and product innovation.”
The winners of the 2016 Premier Printing Awards competition, hosted by the Printing Industries of America, have been announced and four Canadian printing companies are amongst the Best of Category recipients, who receive the Benny Award named after Benjamin Franklin.
Friesens and C.J. Graphics each won two Benny Awards with one each being won by Prime Data Communications and Mi5 Print and Digital Communications, as detailed below:
C.J. Graphics Inc., Toronto, ON
Project: C.J. Graphics Open House Invitation
Category: Invitations (1, 2, or 3 colors)
Project: Blue Dragon Chop To Chopsticks
Category: Digital Printing-Cookbooks
Friesens Corporation, Altona, MB
Project: Can You Dig It
Project: MIT Technique 2016
Category: School Yearbooks
Mi5 Print and Digital Communications, Mississauga, ON
Project: PREMISE Intertain Annual Report 2014
Category: Business and Annual Reports (4 or more colors, printers with 21-50 employees)
Prime Data Communications, Aurora, ON
Project: Coolest Variable Print Project in the World
Category: Customized/Personalized/Variable-Data Digital Printing
“Production prints from KKP Barrie demonstrate the capabilities of the Ricoh Pro C7100 Series Press with white toner. When combined with Color-Logic, the Ricoh device enables KKP to access new market applications and offer new services to their clients,” said Color-Logic's Director of Sales and Marketing, Mark Geeves. “The world today is about differentiation and KKP Barrie’s design and production capabilities will make it a positive experience for their clients to see what is possible in print.”
The cut-sheet Ricoh Pro C7100x was introduced in late-2014 with a fifth colour station for printing with either white or clear toners. The press prints at 80 pages per minute (ppm) with a maximum sheet size of 13 x 19.2 inches and a rated maximum monthly volume of 240,000 letter-size pages. The Ricoh Pro C7100x produces 1,200 x 4,800-dpi resolution on a range of medias of up to 360 gsm in both simplex and duplex.
“We are always on the lookout for new techniques and technology to offer our customers,” said John Morton, President of KKP Barrie. “We are very excited to now be able to offer Color-Logic. Our clients are amazed at the effects that can be created, and we look forward to all the exciting projects we will be able to produce for them.”
The Ad Cubes product line includes both adhesive (printed on 50-lb offset stock) and non-adhesive (70-lb offset) versions in standard sizes or either full-cube or half-cube versions. The Ad Cubes can be produced with digitally printed full colour images on the sides and the tops of the individual sheets can be printed via spot colours or 4-colour process.
Adhesive note pads are available in sizes ranging from 2 x 3 inches up to 8 x 6 inches, in standard sheet counts of 25, 50 or 100 sheets per pad. Jay-Line’s Adhesive note pads (50 lb offset stock) can also be produced in custom shapes, such as a light bulb, house or heart.
Jay-Line operates out of a 50-employee, 35,000-square-foot facility with processes for sheetfed offset, web offset, toner sheetfed, envelope printing, flexography, roll and flatbed wide-format, roll labels, screen printing, pad printing, hot stamping, die cutting, digital die cutting and routering, scoring, folding, packaging and assembly. The company also has a complete promotional button manufacturing and assembly line, in addition to a range of promotional items from fridge and outdoor-vehicle magnets to plastic bookmarks, and playing cards.
The new service called Marquis Express, which began in October, is to manage the printing in Europe of books from Canadian publishers and the printing in Canada of works from European publishers.
The companies explain the Marquis Express platform, spearheaded by SoBook, is well suited for single-copy print orders, as well as for micro-runs, rapid restocking and combined printing of several titles in similar formats. Marquis Express also allows for the synchronized release of new books across all markets. The agreement grants Marquis exclusive use and the North American marketing of the digital print workflow solutions developed by SoBook.
“We are expanding our positioning in the various markets our publishing partners want to tap into,” said Serge Loubier, President of Marquis, noting the strategy of thinking globally and printing locally. “More and more, publishers are looking to bring book printing closer to its final destination in order to be able to reach its readers faster. A number of publishers are already seeing the logistical and financial benefits that come from this model.”
Marquis explains that a book ordered online is rarely already printed, and some European books are still too-often shipped by boat. The workflow technologies developed by SoBook provide publishers access to Marquis’ printing platform and SoBook's virtual inventory management.
Established in Montmagny in 1937, Marquis provides a range of printing processes for content owners in the publishing and communications industries throughout Canada, the United States and Europe. Marquis also operates its Interscript division and Marquis Le Laurentien for the management and printing of agendas and yearbooks.
Over the last two weekends in August, all IKEA Canada stores have installed what the company refers to as social media vending machines which, at the push of a button, gives each user a unique #PIN number that when tweeted to @IKEACanada with #GrabLifeByTheCatalogue, will generate a variety of prizes, including the opportunity to win a grand prize.
“We know that Canadians like to engage and connect through social media,” said Stefan Sjostrand, President, IKEA Canada. “Throughout August we hope to excite our customers about the new 2016 IKEA Catalogue and inspire them to turn their dream home décor projects into reality.”
The remaining stores using the promotion, through August 27 to 30, include: IKEA Boucherville, IKEA Coquitlam, IKEA Edmonton, IKEA North York and IKEA Vaughan.
IKEA Canada has 12 stores in total, which are visited by over 25 million people every year. The company has 361 stores in 50 countries worldwide, which are visited by more than 800-million people every year. Last year the IKEA.com Websites attracted 1.1 billion visitors.
The OTC Group of London, Ontario, which focuses on combining the production of packaging with data management, has worked with Xerox to develop a unique tracking solution to thwart counterfeiting and theft of pharmaceutical packaging.
Xerox explains package theft and counterfeiting in the pharmaceutical industry costs an estimated $75 billion to $200 billion globally each year, while the sale of counterfeit medications puts human lives at risk. To address this issue, OTC Group is leveraging the Xerox Automated Packaging Solution (XAPS) with its own workflow process and packaging approach.
The process developed by OTC Group is built around four inline production components, including printing, coating, stacking and die cutting. It allows the OTC Group to efficiently produce folded cartons with advanced anti-counterfeiting measures.
“While many in the pharmaceutical industry struggle with the ability to conform to serialization and track-and-trace accountability, we’ve engineered a process that works,” said Adam Egan, OTC Group’s VP of High-Performance Packaging, noting the use of the Xerox iGen and XAPS solution. The process developed by the OTC Group and Xerox goes beyond legal requirements introduced in 2013 by the United States Drug Quality and Security Act.
For one current client requiring an 800,000 printed carton production run, OTC Group estimates that the solution eliminated millions of dollars of risk exposure by providing traceability at every level, with the ability to account for every package printed – including waste – and providing that data to the client in electronic format.
The venture fits the company’s growing trade focus on promotional products available online, including template applications like large-format, packaging (primarily product boxes), marketing products like postcards and brochures, and pure promotional items like hang tags, rack cards, table tents, and T-shirts.
The new 3D Printing initiative is being offered out of the company’s headquarters in Glendale, California. 4over employs a 3D manufacturing method called Fused Deposition Modeling, which is well suited for the creation of prototypes, samples for packaging development, and original items.
“Our goal is to give our customers a simple and affordable 3D Printing solution to offer their own customers,” said 4over's CEO Zarik Megerdichian. “This technology brings with it so many benefits that traditional methods of manufacturing or prototyping don't offer. We're confident that 3D Printing will give our customers access to new markets, enabling them to grow their businesses faster, and to be more relevant than ever before.
Earlier this month, 4over also announced it has opened the doors to a brand new operation facility in Central Florida to better service its growing East Coast customer base. “We’re delighted to be expanding our reach, once again,” said Megerdichian. “This new Central Florida operation centre means our existing customers now have easier access than ever before to fast turnarounds and free delivery on all of their favorite products. It also means we can service brand new sets of customers, thus perpetuating the unwavering growth trend we've been experiencing since 4over's inception.”
Goss International has completed a press enhancement project with Innotech installing a full-colour Panorama Gatefold System to produce unique advertising formats in The New York Times.
Innotech, a New York based manufacturer of press auxiliary equipment, has been building customized equipment for commercial and newspaper printers for the past 25 years. The Panorama System uses what is referred to as INNOFORMER, the geometric air bar plow, for high speed folding with no set-up time. Innotech has installed many such systems, primarily retrofitted on existing presses, in China, India, Germany and Colombia.
Completed to a tight schedule of around 20 weeks from initial order to the first test run, The New York Times Panorama project involved retrofitting each of two existing Goss Colorliner press lines.
“Obviously, for a publisher operating on the scale of The New York Times, there is no time to lose and there can be no disruption to ongoing daily production,” said Dan Picco, Regional Sales Manager at Goss. “We had to establish failsafe processes from the outset and make sure we achieved the highest level of teamwork.”
The gatefold system now running at The New York Times enables the Goss Colorliner presses to produce an additional four-page wide centrefold or a separate eight-page pull-out section, up to a maximum format of 48 x 22 inches (1,219 x 559 mm). In addition, it is possible to make smaller gatefolds or coupon folds at one or both edges for special promotions providing new display areas for advertisers. It is also possible to make gatefolds in the cover page or have the gate folded section as a wrap around the main section.
“Goss and Innotech engineered a solution that gave The New York Times ultimate flexibility with regard to the positioning of specialized sections within the newspaper, without the need to purchase a new press,” said Vinod Kapoor, President at Innotech.
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