Canopy of Vancouver, BC, has launched its updated Ecopaper Database, described by the non-profit organization as the Holy Grail of directories for North America’s Best Environmental Papers. The 2017 iteration of this online resource features more than 450 printing and writing grade papers, office stationery products and packaging with high recycled, agricultural residue/alternative or Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) fiber content.

All of these papers are available in North America, including nearly 60 products made with straw that is left over from the food grain harvest or other alternative fibers. The database is supported by the Environmental Paper Network.

“Not all ecopapers are created equal when it comes to their environmental benefits. Canopy’s Ecopaper Database helps customers discern which papers have the smallest impact on our forests and climate,” said Nicole Rycroft, Canopy’s Founder and Executive Director. “It’s a go-to for busy executives looking for the best ecopapers on the market – be it for their next annual report, copy paper or packaging.”
Canopy developed the directory more than a decade ago and has been regularly updating it ever since. The 2017 Ecopaper Database focuses on category leaders, including those products in each paper grade with the highest recycled or agricultural residue contents, rather than listing every paper with any recycled content.

Over the past decade there has been a substantial increase in the availability of environmental papers, explains Canopy, spurred on by growing demand and expectations from green-savvy customer companies. One hundred percent post-consumer recycled papers receive top rankings as leading life cycle analysis reports continue to show that 100 percent recycled papers have a significantly smaller footprint than papers with virgin content.
“There are now so many papers with some environmental qualities on the market that the Ecopaper Database can increasingly focus on those products that offer paper customers the greatest gains towards their sustainability goals and minimizing their carbon footprint,” said Neva Murtha, Senior Corporate Campaigner. “These products also offer the least risk of being sourced from ancient and endangered forests.”
The 2017 Eco Paper Database also now features links to what Canopy bills as robust procurement policies posted by select mills with commitments to not source from ancient and endangered or high conservation value forests.

Also new in 2017 are 222 papers which are designated Ancient Forest Friendly by Canopy. Publishers, printers and brands using these papers may be able to use the AFF logo on these papers pending an agreement with Canopy. The new data also includes links to leading LCA’s done by paper companies in conjunction with environmental organizations, which are more comprehensive than usual industry analysis.
The searchable Ecopaper Database includes book, magazine and newspaper grade papers, as well as copy papers, commercial printing papers, tissue, office products stationery, fine-text-writing papers, packaging, board, and now molded food service containers. All papers listed in the database have been screened according to The Paper Steps, a paper-grading tool developed by members of the Environmental Paper Network.
A new report by Future Market Insights estimates the demand for digital printing in packaging will grow at 15.3 percent to surpass US$52 billion in revenues by 2026. This growth figure is based on what the research organization estimates the current demand for digital printing in packaging to be valued at over US$11 billion in 2016.

According to the report, the key factors fuelling demand for digital printing in packaging include growing preference for conventional/analogue plates and their application in printing jobs of shorter run lengths. Adoption of digital printing in packaging, explains Future Market Insights, is also growing on account of its convenience, to reduce turnaround time, over conventional presses.

The shifting preference from conventional printing is also fuelled by variable data printing and personalized printing. Leading packaging companies are adopting variable data printing, explains the organization, owing to its use in direct marketing. While Future Market Insights maintains a positive outlook on the global digital printing in packaging market, it is of the opinion that high variable costs and limited opportunities in indirect sales channels can impede widespread adoption.

Production by electrophotography (digital toner presses) is the largest segment, accounting for over half of revenue share by technology type. In terms of revenues, this segment was valued at just over US 6 billion in 2016. FMI projects it to grow at 16.6 percent CAGR and surpass US$32 billion in revenues by 2027.

By product type, labels is the largest segment, accounting for over US$7.1 billion in revenues in 2016. Future Market Insights estimates demand for labels to increase at 16.7 percent CAGR to reach US$38 .4 billion in revenues.

The food sector remains the largest end-user of digital printing in packaging. According to Future Market Insights, demand for digital printing in packaging was pegged at over US$4.5 billion in 2016. This is expected to increase at a CAGR of 16.6 percent during the forecast period 2016-2026.

Future Market Insights, in its report, offers market forecast and analysis on the basis of region, technology type, product type, and end-use. Printers profiled by Future Market Insights in its report include Quad/Graphics Inc., Tailored Label Products Inc., Creative Labels Inc., Reynders Label Printing, DS Smith Plc, THIMM Group GmbH + Co. KG, Traco Manufacturing Inc., WS Packaging Group Inc., Elanders AB, and Colordruck Baiersbronn W. Mack GmbH & Co. KG.
On June 14, PrintAction magazine is hosting a 1-day conference and exposition in Burnaby, British Columbia, designed to provide technological and strategic insight to printers on the West Coast. To register for PrintForum West, which is free to attend, and for more details visit PrintForum.ca.

The conference currently includes four educational sessions, including a kick-off panel discussion with some of Canadian printing’s emerging leaders, including Nikos Kallas, President, MET Fine Printers; Richard Kouwenhoven, President, Hemlock Printers; and James Rowley, Vice President, Glenmore Custom Print + Packaging.

The hour-long session, moderated by PrintAction Editor, Jon Robinson, will focus on how this next generation of business leaders views the future of the printing industry in terms of technology, strategy and innovation.

Session two features Neva Murtha and Catherine Stewart, Senior Campaigners Partnering with Printers of Vancouver-based Canopy, who have more than 20 years combined experience developing visionary procurement policies for printers and publishers, including TC Transcontinental, RR Donnelley, EarthColor and Hemlock. Their session will provide real-world examples of printers working with some of North America's largest printing consumers through modern procurement practices.

They will provide attendees with new findings from The Blueline Ranking 2017 report to be released this June, which analyzes and ranks the environmental progress driving some of North America’s top performing printers. Stewart will highlight how policies have lead to innovative conservation solutions in partnership with forest and paper companies, creating a more certain supply. Murtha will also provide an update on the manufacture and future of straw paper and other agricultural residue paper initiatives.

The afternoon sessions will provide a more technical overview of the progress of printing, including three technology leaders. First, Kodak’s William Li and Patrick Kerr, both based out of Kodak’s Vancouver facility, which is heavily focused on developing the parent company’s software products, will jointly present a forward-looking technical session aimed at improving printing company profitability. Li, who has been a software engineer with Kodak since 1997 (including Creo), will focus on the impact of colour technologies in relation to how printers can find and then maintain new business. Kerr, who has focused on workflow solutions with Kodak since 2003, will focus on how printing companies can leverage cloud computing and what it means for the business of print.

The fourth session of the day, titled The Smart Print Shop, will be presented by Heidelberg’s Andy Rae, who in April was appointed as Global Head of Marketing for the printing technology giant. Rae will discuss 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 will also discuss Heidelberg’s Push to Stop operating philosophy for print manufacturing, which provides a new way for thinking about automation and efficiency, productivity and most importantly profitability.
Following the passing of Dick Kouwenhoven, one of the icons of Canadian printing for more than four decades, a Celebration of Life has been planed for Saturday, May 27 at the Vancouver Convention Centre.

“Firstly, on behalf of our family, I would like to thank everyone for all of the support that we have received in the form of calls, emails, cards and flower arrangements. Each of these kind gestures has helped us during a challenging time,” wrote Richard Kouwenhoven, President and COO, Hemlock Printers. “I can now confirm the date and time of Dick’s Celebration of Life which is open to family, friends and his many business colleagues.”

To assist in planning for the event, Hemlock is asking for people to RSVP (including guest names) by emailing This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Dick Kouwenhoven, Celebration of Life
Saturday, May 27, 2:00 – 4:30pm
Vancouver Convention Center (West Building)
Rooms 301-305

Read PrintAction's article on the passing of Dick Kouwenhoven
Printing For Realtors, an online printing service aimed at helping realtors is officially launching this week. It is described as a printing company located in Toronto that specializes in providing business cards and direct-mail postcards.

With a focus on realtors, the company aims to provide what it describes as high quality, fast and efficient service via the Web portal Printingforrealtors.ca, targeting the turnaround needs of its prospective clients.

“We believe that our unique focus on realtors allows us to provide the best service for anyone looking to sell houses,” said Raymond Wali, CEO of The World Is Global, of Printing For Realtors’ parent company, which hopes to expand past the market in Ontario into other provinces.
Quark software has announced that the newest version of its fully-integrated graphic design and layout software, QuarkXPress 2017, will be released Wednesday, May 24.

Customers can expect new design features, including non-destructive image editing, transparency blend modes, new shape tools, multicolour gradient enhancements, item format painters, text stroking and shading, column spanning and splitting, and smart quotes. Customers can also expect developments to digital publishing, including free iOS single apps creation, adaptive layout conversion for digital, and responsive HTML5 publications.

Quark has made improvements based specifically on user requests, including proportional leading, UI enhancements on Mac and Windows, adaptive layout conversion for print, enhanced word import, and the most recent fonts.
Dick Kouwenhoven, one of the icons of Canadian printing for more than four decades, passed away on April 25. Kouwenhoven was the Founder, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Hemlock Printers Ltd., based in Burnaby, BC, one of the most highly revered commercial printing operations in North America and indeed known throughout the printing world for its industry leadership.

Kouwenhoven was Hemlock’s Chairman and CEO for the past four years after stepping down from running the company’s day-to-day operations for the previous 47 years. Less than a year after immigrating to Canada from The Netherlands in 1961, Kouwenhoven began to form what is now recognized around the world as a trailblazing printing company not just in terms of its high-end sheetfed perfecting capabilities, digital printing prowess and adoption of cutting-edge imaging technologies, but also in its environmentally progressive position.

Kouwenhoven was diagnosed with esophageal cancer a little more than a month ago. Describing his father as “a gentle person who quietly went about his business,” Richard Kouwenhoven explains his father remained active in life and business until the family understood how aggressive the cancer was.

“He set an example for so many people in our industry. Within Hemlock, he set a tone, an ethic that is held throughout our business today. It is part of our identity and it came through all of his dealings in the industry. The example he set is going to impact our industry for a long time,” says Richard, President and Chief Operating Officer of Hemlock.

In a letter sent to industry colleagues last night, Richard shared that he, along with his mother Clara and sister Vanessa, were by Dick’s side when he passed; that his brothers Frits, Bill and Frank were able to spend precious time with him while he was in hospital. “Myself, Frits and members of our Leadership Team met with the Hemlock staff today,” he wrote, “We shared our deep sadness and appreciation for his amazing vision, energy and leadership that created the special community we experience every day at Hemlock. We also thanked him for the legacy that he leaves behind and the wonderful example that he has set for us.”
Plans for a family funeral service as well as a celebration of life are underway. The celebration of life event, which will be open for staff, industry colleagues and friends, will likely occur at the latter part of May, explains Richard, but the venue and exact date have not yet been determined.

The following excerpts are taken from Dick Kouwenhoven’s speech in December 2015, when he received PrintAction’s Lifetime Achievement Award, answering questions he was commonly asked about his life in print:

How did you get into the printing trade?
As most of you know, I was born in the Netherlands, in a beautiful old city named Delft. My hometown became a city in 1246, about 250 years before Columbus ran into North America, on his way to Asia.

In the 17th century, Delft was famous for brewing the best beer, in numerous small breweries, but also for printing beautiful bibles. It is said that the number of breweries were equal to the number of churches in the city. That was reasonable balance to secure continuity for both industries.

I was born during the Second World War, as the ninth child of what would become a family of 12 children. Big families were very common in the Netherlands at that time. The Netherlands was occupied by Germany at that time. My older siblings (some in their teens) were in hiding to stay out of view. They were understandably very difficult times for all people in Holland. One of my first memories was the joyful crowds in the streets, with Dutch flags flying, when the country was liberated in early May of 1945. I was three years old, but I have a clear image of that scene of hundreds of happy people in the streets after spending most of my early years inside the house.

My father was a contractor/builder; second generation, continuing in his dad’s footsteps after he passed away. We had an impressive carpentry workshop behind the house, and as small kids we managed to get into the shop frequently. They made beautiful wooden windows and doors, heavy, structural stuff. We knew the craftsmen by name, and we were shown how they shaped the wooden components, and joined them with wooden dowels.

I knew at an early age that I wanted to work with my hands, creating beautiful stuff. My Dad did carpentry work for a local printer occasionally, and he was always fascinated by what he saw there. When I started to miss my marks in High School, he encouraged me to take a look at the printing trade, and arranged an interview. I learned about the practical combination of 4 days at work and 1 day at school, with a diploma after 5 years. So I became an apprentice compositor, signing my life away with a 6 year iron clad employment contract.

My Dad deserves much credit for his skills as a career councillor. I loved the work, the rapid learning curve, and the comradery of the workplace, much more than being a full time student.

When and why did you immigrate to Canada?
After eight years of learning and working in the trade in the Netherlands, including courses in estimating and accounting, I took the step (together with my brother John) to immigrate to Canada. That was not a big deal, because we already had three brothers who were established in Vancouver.

Much to my surprise, I found employment the day after I arrived in Vancouver, and started work on the following Monday. Too fast, I found, but they needed a typesetter desperately.

When did you start Hemlock Printers?
About six months after my arrival, I was approached by a gentleman who had just purchased a small storefront printery by the name of Hemlock Printers. He had no previous experience in printing, but he had great contacts in the business community, and could fill that little place with orders, no problem. All he needed was an all-round typesetter/printer who could make things happen in the shop.

So I accepted, and worked hard to keep him and his clients happy. He learned about selling print, and I learned about managing expectations, and deliver nicely printed letterheads, envelopes, business cards and wedding invitations etc. on time.

In fairly rapid succession, I invested some money, and became a 50% partner. I learned that a partnership is a poor ship to sail on, and I bought my partner out in 1968, incorporated the little company, borrowed some money, installed some new, better presses, and hired some staff, and moved to larger premises.

Looking back, what were the major events that put Hemlock on a path of growth?
With a move to larger premises just about every 5 years, we again faced a move from about 15,000 overused square feet in 1986. This time there were installations of some new and bigger presses involved and a big pre-press department to feed a total of 17 Heidelberg Speedmaster units. We were fortunate to find just the right place just a block away.

It was big. Too big at first glance. At 54,000 square feet, it looked like an airplane hangar. “We’ll never grow out of this one” was the conclusion of our staff. And they were right. We are still there after nearly 30 years.

Coinciding with an economic boom in Vancouver just before and after Expo’86, Hemlock experienced more than 20 percent growth per year in succession – with this growth in business, our team, our capacity and our capabilities expanded with the demands of the local market we served.

What are some things that make you proud of Hemlock’s success?
During the 47 years since 1968, we were fortunate to make so many friends in the industry and to build lasting relationships with customers, suppliers, employees and the larger community. The quality of our work and service standards make us proud, every day. In my daily walk through the plant, I am in awe of the dedication of our staff to serving our clients to the best of their ability. Our clients know it. There is a passion to excel that you can see and feel.

We have adopted and refined our environmental and social sustainability commitments, and shared our programs and practices freely, to help us all towards a better tomorrow. While it takes time, effort and investments, we feel that we must continuously improve.

I am also proud of the contributions of my family who have played such an important role in Hemlock’s success. Clara, my sweet wife of 48 years, my dear brother and business partner John, who passed away in 1997, dynamic brother Frits, selling up a storm in the USA, Richard responsible for day-to-day from the corner office, and all others who support our efforts.

What does the future hold for Hemlock?
Under Richard’s leadership, we will be expanding our on-line presence and facilities. Our well-oiled fulfillment centre will be expanded in response to increasing demands. And always stay the course with our employees and all our stakeholders to maintain Hemlock’s values and principles, which are pivotal to its continued success.
Ryerson University’s School of Graphic Communications Management, located in downtown Toronto, is hosting a three-day G7 Training course from May 16 to 18. This is a theory-based program, offering a blend of lab instruction and lecture on how to apply the G7 method on any type of printing process.

The G7 Methodology will be demonstrated across various output devices (G7 Certified Systems) that may include: Epson 7900 inkjet, Ricoh 901 MFP, Fiery FS-100 system. A method of calibrating G7 by hand (The Fan Graph Method) is reviewed during the training course and all materials related to this calibration are available free of charge and are part of the course handouts.

Idealliance explains the course is geared toward digital press operators, offset press operators, pressroom supervisors, prepress supervisors and technicians, quality assurance managers and printing equipment suppliers.

Idealliance has also made its online Color Management Professional (CMP) Fundamentals course available complimentary to registered attendees. CMP Fundamentals covers the principles of colour management. Successful completion of the CMP Fundamentals will certify those who take it as a Color Management Professional. Idealliance strongly recommends taking the CMP course prior to the G7 Training.

Event registration
Transcontinental has launched a process to sell all of its newspapers in Quebec and Ontario, which are controlled under the Montreal company’s TC Media operation. The sale process, which Transcontinental expects to span several months, involves 93 local and regional publications and their related web properties, including the Métro Montreal newspaper.

The move comes just days after Transcontinental sold its publication portfolio in Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador, and New Brunswick to SaltWire Network Inc. That the transaction included the sale of 28 brands and Web-related properties, as well as four printing plants. In June 2016, Transcontinental sold its publishing assets in the province of Saskatchewan in a transaction that includes the sale of its 13 local newspapers and associated Web properties to Star News Publishing.

The new process to sell all of its newspapers in Quebec and Ontario excludes, among others, the following activities, to which Transcontinental reiterated its commitment: TC Media's specialty brands for the business, financial and construction sectors, its educational book publishing activities as well as the distribution activities operated through Publisac and Targeo in the printing division.

“In light of TC Transcontinental's business transformation strategy, already underway with steps including the sale of our media assets in Saskatchewan in 2016 and of our media properties in Atlantic Canada last week, we also undertook a strategic review of our local newspaper publishing activities in Quebec and Ontario,” explains François Olivier, President and CEO of TC Transcontinental. “As a result of this analysis conducted over the past few months, we have decided to put TC Media’s local and regional newspapers up for sale. We are convinced that selling these assets to local players is the best course of action in order to contribute to the continued sustainability of local media and to foster greater connections with the advertisers and communities they serve.”
Xitron, the developer of RIP and workflow products has shipped more than 4,500 units of its Screen interface kit, which allows computer-to-plate devices to be driven with any RIP or workflow.

The Screen interface kit is capable of driving all of the PIF-based platesetters, including the 4000, 6000 and 8000 series engines and the large-format Ultima 16000, 24000, 32000, 36000 and 40000 systems.

The interface can be coupled with Xitron’s Navigator RIP and like engines are also supported.

Xitron drives CTP devices from Agfa, ECRM, Creo, Kodak, Presstek, Heidelberg, Fuji and Screen.
Eastman Kodak Company announced it plans to retain its Prosper inkjet business after initially announcing plans to sell these assets in March 2016 after engaging advisors and banks to manage to process. In late December of that year, Kodak again announced it was still in talks with potential buyers.

However, on April 7, 2017, the imaging technology giant announced plans to retain the business after what it describes as an in-depth management review of business operations and multiple discussions with prospective buyers.

“This is a pragmatic decision given the improvements in the business and the offers received,” said Jeff Clarke, Chief Executive Officer, Kodak. “Prosper performed well in 2016 with a 40 percent increase in annuity sales for the full year. We expect our Enterprise Inkjet Systems Division [EISD] to be profitable this year, including our next-generation Ultrastream investment.”

Kodak explains it continues to invest in the Ultrastream program and has entered into letters of intent with partners, which the company expects to create new applications that drive market.

Kodak will begin delivering Ultrastream evaluation kits to 17 companies, including Fuji Kikai, GOSS China, Matti, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Printing & Packaging Machinery (MHI-PPM) and Uteco, to explore the integration of Ultrastream into their future printing solutions. Kodak expects products built on Ultrastream technology to go to market in 2019.

”The sale process for Prosper which we conducted over the past year was robust,” said David Bullwinkle, Chief Financial Officer, Kodak. “We hired Sagent Advisors, which solicited interest from global organizations. Strong interest in the business and technology existed throughout the process. While we had multiple offers, the range of consideration did not reflect the value of the business today.”
Landa Group today announces its final 2017 beta customer line-up around its S10 Nanographic Printing Press. The first shipment of this press is scheduled to take place in July 2017 to Graphica Bezalel, an Israel-based folding carton, packaging and label convertor.

In November 2017, Landa plans to ship North America’s first Landa S10 press to U.S.-based Imagine!, which focuses on point-of-purchase printing and services with more than 1,600 employees in various U.S.-based facilities.

In December 2017, Germany’s Edelmann, which produces board and paper packaging, is scheduled to become the first European beta customer for the Landa S10 Nanographic Printing Press.

Built as an offset operation, Graphica Bezalel is installying the Landa S10 as its first digital printing technology. “Nanography is the first technology to tempt us into the world of digital print,” said Eyal Harpak, Director of Graphica Bezalel.” Until we saw what the Landa S10 could produce, we couldn’t believe that any digital press could match offset print quality at the high-speeds required to open-up the medium-run folding carton market

Harpak continued to explain that Graphica Bezalel provides work for major brands like Calvin Klein, Carlsberg, Nestlé, Coca-Cola and SodaStream, pointing to what he describes as the S10’s advantages in colour gamut and production flexibility, such as versioning for customized packaging and special promotions. Landa and Graphica Bezalel will hold a worldwide customer event during the week of September 12, 2017, to demonstrate the Landa S10 in a customer production environment.

As announced at Drupa 2016, Imagine!, which produces point-of-sale displays and instore signage, is scheduled to become the first beta site for the Landa S10 in North America. “We bought this press because of Benny Landa’s track record in developing innovative, industry-changing technology,” says Bob Lothenbach, Founder at Imagine!. “We don’t usually chase technology trends, however we believe in Nanography and want to be instrumental in the digital-for-mainstream revolution.”

Specializing in packaging solutions for health care, beauty care and consumer brands, Edelmann has production plants in nine countries with sales exceeding 300 million euros. The company produces more than 5.5 billion packages and leaflets per year. “Our business is all about customer service. Staying in tune with the market and delivering what it needs, but also anticipating, innovating and then proactively offering what it didn’t know it needed,” said Dierk Schröder, Chairman, Edelmann. “We’re excited to be working with Landa; this is a value-based partnership that will drive long-lasting end customer relationships.”

Headed by Indigo founder, Benny Landa, the Landa Group is comprised of four units: Landa Digital Printing, which oversees Nanographic Printing presses; Landa Labs, which explores nanotechnology for use in alternative energy, industrial coatings, cosmetics, packaging, drug delivery and other fields; Landa Ventures, which invests in early stage companies; and the Landa Fund, which helps underprivileged youth pursue higher education.

“I am thrilled that after many years of development, we are now reaching the milestone of delivering our first Landa Nanographic Printing Presses to customers. We are very proud that these industry leaders, and others who share their vision, have chosen to become our beta partners in this program,” said Benny Landa. “As promised, Landa press stability, print quality and speed are now consistently high. It’s exciting to think that in only a matter of months we will see Nanographic print in the market, representing a paradigm shift in print economics and empowering brands like never before.”
Koenig & Bauer AG (KBA), the German printing press manufacturers, has started construction on a new digital and flexographic press demo centre in Würzburg, Germany.

On March 14, Chairman Claus-Bolza-Schünemann, CEO of KBA and Christoph Müller of KBA-Flexotecnica, who will rent the demo space from its parent company, laid the foundation stone of the new building.

The demo centre has a usable area of around 2.100 square metres, modernised premises of 21,164 square metres and was an investment of 6 million euros (about C$8.66 million). It will feature a RotaJET digital printing press for commercial, publication and decor printing, a flexo rotary press for flexible packaging and a sheetfed flexo press for direct printing on corrugated cardboard.

The location of the demo centre was chosen for its easy access to Frankfurt International Airport for international customers. It is the latest in a series of new buildings in Würzburg, following a logistics centre and design building in 2001, two production halls in 2003 and 2008 and a new foundry in 2012.

The demo centre is due to be ready for occupancy in autumn 2017.
Last week in Rochester, NY, at Eastman Kodak’s headquarters, Informco’s Sandy Stephens received the 2016 Sonora Plate Green Leaf Award, which was previously announced in early 2017. Informco was one of eight printers from around the globe to win the award based on a program Kodak launched in 2014 to recognize customers who have demonstrated market-leading environmental progress 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 environmental benefits. The winning printers are also judged on practices like monitoring of energy and water usage, participation in community sustainability programs, and the use of eco-conscious materials and supplies. Sonora plates remove the need for a 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.

Beyond its use of Sonora plates, Kodak explained, “Informco has long exemplified what it means to be a servant of the environment.” The Scarborough, Ontario, printing operation has been an ISO 14001 certified company for 18 years. “Their Environmental Management System enables them to set and achieve environmental policy objectives,” stated Kodak, about Informco. “Progress is monitored throughout the year and used to set goals for the following year. The company monitors energy and water consumption and VOC emissions and has made significant reductions in all areas.”

Kodak continued to explain that Informco recycles materials like packaging, chemicals, ink, paper, electronic components, plates, web cores and scrap metal, while also using vegetable-based inks, alcohol-free solvents, and FSC paper. Informco was the first printer in Canada to win the CCME (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).
Expanded gamut printing continues to grow in popularity, but does this process to exclude spot colours have long-term staying power for commercial printers to invest. At Ryerson University’s 2017 GCM Colloquium, called SPECTRUM+ by its student organizers, three industry leaders weigh in: Colour scientist John Seymour; Kyle McVey, Director of Client Services, Jones Packaging; and Nawar Mahfooth, Chief Science Officer, ColorXTC.

Expanded gamut is an idea tracing back to 1960 when the printing process was first applied to the production of Hallmark Cards, many of which used pastel pinks and blues found on the extreme edges of the CMYK gamut. The card company developed a scheme where it added a light blue and a light pink, as well as some fluorescents to some of the inks, and created its trademarked BigBox Color system. Today, 57 years later, the money-saving potential of expanded gamut printing is on the minds of thousands of printers around the world.

Applied mathematician and colour scientist John Seymour, speaking at Ryerson University’s Graphic Communications Management 2017 Colloquium, called SPECTRUM+ by its student organizers, describes the Hallmark Card scenario as the first-known example of expanded gamut work. Seymour began his career in advanced product development in 1992 for QuadTech, working with instruments for improving the measurement and control of colour in print manufacturing.

He is one of three speakers to discuss the opportunities of expanded gamut at the February SPECTRUM+ event, in addition to Kyle McVey, Director of Client Services, Jones Packaging, and Nawar Mahfooth, Chief Science Officer, ColorXTC. McVey described three days of recently completed expanded gamut trails undertaken by Jones, one of North America’s most-prominent packaging printers, and Mahfooth focused on ColorXTC’s Dynamic Press Profiling (DPP) technology, a remote offset press profiling service to provide press characterization data without the expense of dedicated runs. Instead of running more than 1,600 patches in testing, DPP applies proprietary algorithms to a smaller profiling target (150 patches) gathered in an regular production run.

Seymour’s presentation, entitled When an Idea’s Time Has Come, focused on the maturation of expanded gamut and the opportunities it provides for printing companies. He contends the new awakening of expanded gamut (EG) revolves almost exclusively around saving money – not building a better mousetrap, but rather a cheaper mousetrap.

Building mousetraps
It took eight years after Hallmark Cards’ 1960 BigBox Color system, Seymour explains, for an expanded gamut patent to be filed in 1968 by Dainippon Screen, whose patent abstract explains, “[printing plates] are produced for reproducing colour images with inks other than the standard inks.” The year 1985 brought the next major EG patent filed by Harald Kueppers, whose work, Seymour explains, did not go far because it was manually intensive to go beyond four process colours, making separations.

Kueppers’ work, however, is recognized as a foundation of EG development, as described by his patent abstract: “Whereby the elemental surfaces which form the chromatic component are printed with a maximum of two of six chromatic printing inks, yellow, magenta-red, violet-blue, cyan blue, green and black.” A range of base ink colours, of course, can be added to traditional CMYK to expand a gamut for a reoccurring printing process, but the prevailing model is most likely to be determined by the sector’s colour power of the day. “In expanded gamut printing, we move from four-colour printing to seven-colour printing and our base set of process colourants is now seven colour, which can be different for different systems,” writes Dr. Abhay Sharma, one of the world’s foremost colour experts and professor with Ryerson University. “For example, the new Pantone+ Extended Gamut swatch book is printed using CMYK plus Orange, Green and Violet (OGV)... The swatch book is available as a traditional swatch book as well as in software – Pantone Color Manager – and shows how spot colours would be reproduced in seven colours, CMYK + OGV.”

Seymour explains Pantone filed a significant EG patent in November 1994, part of a one-year period the colour scientist refers to as the heyday of expanded gamut printing patents. Invented by Richard Herbert, son of Pantone’s founder, this work became known as Hexachrome based on the use of six extra-pure inks (CMYK + OG), some containing fluorescent components. Hexachrome books were around for 20 years before fading away.

From March 1994 to March 1995, ink and imaging scientists with Pantone, Du Pont, Kodak, Barco Graphics, Opaltone and Linotype-Hell developed a range of EG innovations. Du Pont’s work was led by Don Hutcheson, well known for the G7 calibration process and GRACoL, who is now a driver behind Idealliance’s newly minted XCMYK methodology for EG printing. XCMYK remains a four-colour CMYK process but uses inks that are blended to be much purer than regular inks. Promoting the idea that more ink means more colour, leveraging FM screening, the XCMYK dataset and profiles can reproduce a larger gamut than that of GRACoL. Idealliance emphasizes XCMYK is not a replacement for GRACoL but rather an alternative colour space.

“FM screening actually gives you a bigger profile, a bigger gamut, not because the solids are pushed up,” says Seymour. “Obviously, FM screening doesn’t make the solids any richer, but it bows your profile up so you pick up more of the pastels.”

Opaltone, also patented during the mid-90s EG heyday, is still being used today primarily in toner-based printing. None of these heyday patents attempted to encapsulate the entire concept of EG, but rather coincided with a significant printing evolution. “Patents are almost always for incremental processes, small improvements on what is already there,” says Seymour, who himself has 22 patents. “So we have five patents and they may overlap a little bit, but they are all distinctly different.”

Seymour explains the EG heyday patents arrived during the widespread adoption of digital prepress technologies, bolstered by a matured desktop publishing sector. “Innovation happens when you have a need that also needs technology,” he says. “You finally have the digital technologies to allow you do to the [EG] separations – that is when innovation becomes possible.”

In reference to the need itself, Seymour points to the desire for the printing industry at large to create better quality pictures within an expanded gamut process. “You do get more colour. You can get more gamut out of it when you have those additional inks,” he says. This colour-punch need reverberates with designers and consumers. On the pressroom floor, however, the potential benefits of EG are measured in time and resources – dollars – saved.

Seymour relates the awakening of EG directly to the printing industry’s need to increase margins in a market of overcapacity and technological innovation. “The market for a better mousetrap is pretty small because if [the current trap] already catches most of your mice, are you going to spend a lot of money getting a new one, a better one – I don’t think so,” he says. “How about getting a cheaper mousetrap – yeah, there is a market for that. This is a large market.”

There are enormous cost savings available to a printer who can regularly run an EG gamut – without the need to wash-up after each run – on press to reproduce or closely simulate a range of brand colours, which have traditionally been printed with special spot colours poured into the fifth-plus press unit, which needs to be cleaned up when the run is done. The ability to simulate brand colours without press wash-up is the main draw of EG printing. It relates to decreasing the need to buy spot colour inks and hold inventory. Running an EG process with a consistent larger gamut also holds the potential to gang-run more high-value work up on a sheet, instead of low-margin CMYK jobs – often holding less than four process colours.

“The driving force of expanded gamut is not so much the ability to make pretty pictures. It is about saving money, that is the whole reason why we are trying to get into it,” says Seymour. “That is why you are spending so much money for those three days on press, pulling out your hair, trying to figure out how to make this happen… trying to save money.”  

Expanded gamut trials
McVey began working at Jones Packaging of London, Ontario, in 2003 as a graphic designer, after graduating from Fanshawe College, and showed an affinity for learning about the printing process, working in prepress design and structural packaging. In addition to printing, Jones’ two other divisions include contract packaging services (bulk handling of pharmaceuticals) and a health-care division working directly with hospitals and pharmacies across North America and into Spain and the United Kingdom. Taking on a managerial position, McVey then began working in Jones’ plate room and consulted with the pressroom on technical issues – a liaison between sales and production, running both litho and flexo presses.

A year and a half ago, McVey began working with Jones’ pressroom supervisor on a three-day trial of expanded gamut printing. A prospective client, described as very large with product across North America, approached Jones and other existing print suppliers, with a desire to run EG for packaging. EG is primarily applied in commercial print today, but beginning to find its way into the packaging sector where brand owners relish the pop of colour available in an expanded gamut, for example, to make flowers vibrant or people look less washed out – often accomplished today with expensive ink modifications or second hits of the same colour.

Moving to EG printing, however, would mean forgoing the power of brand-specific inks, which is the CMYK-plus-spot environment in which McVey developed his career, witnessing firsthand the pressure it puts on the prepress world. The prospective EG client ask involved CMYK + OG, not the full Orange, Green, Violet Pantone EG spectrum.

Jones would trial the work on its six-colour Heidelberg Speedmaster press, with coater. The client wanted the print suppliers to produce 10 of its leading brand packages using six-colour process expanded gamut print. Each package was identified and measured using two brand colour patches, which were Pantone EG matches of their brand colours. “L*a*b* values, ink densities, and tonal value increases were supplied to us through a Kodak proof… and for each brand defined target patch there was a request that it did not exceed 2.5 delta E,” says McVey, “which I think is being pushed as a kind of industry standard. This is where printers are going to have a problem with expanded gamut.”

Jones’ EG testing applied conventional CMYK + OG water-based inks and coatings across all products, running on coated recycled board, as opposed to preferred SPS board, the latter of which accounts for more than 90 percent of Jones’ substrate usage. The artwork separation was done by a prepress house using Esko software to create a Euclidean dot. McVey explains the ink sequence on press was Green KCMY and Orange, based on the fact that Jones currently runs the Heidelberg’s centre four units as KCMY – acknowledging an ongoing debate in packaging, where a majority of shops run a more traditional CMYK sequence. “We chose to put green at the front of the press because it had the least impact on all of the brands that we were printing,” says McVey, “so the dot gain would be minimized on that specific colour and we put orange at the end.”

McVey explains Jones ran 12 press tests, purposely changing conditions, to adjust their plate curves and create a solid linear set for approximately 20 brands colours on the press form, aiming to get as many of those brand colours under 2.5 delta E as possible. L*a*b* values built from the perfect the dots and laydown of the Kodak proof presented an immediate challenge. “There may be some colours that were already at a 2 delta E just on the Kodak alone, so we basically had a 0.5 delta E to work with printing on a press, with all of the variables.”

Among common press issues like registration, ink density and ink trapping ink, the latter variable would prove to be most challenging in the EG tests. Jones produced the full range of 20 brand colours at under 2.5 delta E using EG, but not without some fixes. “At about 75 percent of a colour with certain blends, specifically cyan and magenta, we were seeing a lot of ink-trapping issues,” says McVey, noting how conventional water-based inks have a tendency to blend on a litho press. “Printing cyan and magenta [at] 100-100 laydown is not predictable and due to that, due to the ink trap of those two values, this was our hardest colour to try and match, to keep under 2.5.”

Jones’ production team was able to average 2.3 delta E in its cyan-magenta tests, but they had to actually reduce the magenta ink. “This is not what you want to do in expanded gamut. It is not consistent throughout the jobs… now you have a different ink and you might as well [put] a spot colour in there,” says McVey, noting this information was passed on to the client. Understanding the importance of setting expanded gamut expectations, Jones provided the client with a long list of recommendations, such as the challenges of working with perfect Kodak proofs, the importance of ink sequence and tight press controls, and ultimately the consulting of print expertise in addition to a prepress house.

“Expanded gamut printing is just one tool in the printing industry’s massive tool box,” says McVey. “Really take it upon yourself when you are in a discussion about expanded gamut to actually learn about what is necessary to make it successful for that application.”
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