North American trade printer 4over has launched its new Strategic Print Advisory Program to help commercial printers generate revenue growth and expand their customer base without the stress of overhead costs.

The program will be led by Joe Stramel, who has more than 40 years of consulting experience in print having worked for companies like MAN Roland and Komori America.  

The program’s main objective is to determine growth strategies that don’t require taking on additional debt. They’ll work closely with printers to foster new revenue streams with products and services such as EDDM, Printer Bridge (W2P), Large Format and more,

4over explains in-depth consultation will also be provided in the buying and selling of equipment, print-to-broker conversions, merger and acquisition solutions, and succession planning with acquisition workouts.
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.
Mitchell Press of Burnaby, BC, became one of 14 printing companies around the world to received Kodak’s 2017 Sonora Plate Green Leaf Award. The program, now in its fourth year, recognizes printers whose products, services and operations set an example for sound operational initiatives that reduce their environmental impact. All of winning printers also use Kodak Sonora Process Free Plates.

Kodak explains Mitchell Press, a high-speed, premium-quality commercial printer based in Vancouver, received the award for its expansive recycling program, including materials like paper, ink, cardboard, wood and plastics. The company also collects key data on projects to aid its clients’ efforts to track their environmental footprint, paper usage, distribution and transport data. Kodak also points to Mitchell’s advanced HVAC and IT systems that save energy.

The complete list of 2017 Sonora Plate Green Leaf Award winners include: Alcom Printing (U.S.), Mitchell Press Ltd. (Canada), Druckerei Lokay (Germany), School Lane Colour Press (UK), Litotec (Ecuador), Cartocor S.A. (Argentina), Southern Colour Print (New Zealand), Colour King (South Africa), Zühal Ofset (Turkey), ASCON CO., LTD. (Japan), Hongbo Co., Ltd. (China), Golden Cup Printing Co., Ltd. (Hong Kong), Changsung P&Tech (Korea), and Viva Printing Sdn Bhd (Malaysia).
Sun Chemical today announced plans to increase the prices for its offset inks, coatings and consumables in North America, effective February 15, 2018. The company explains the pending change, which follows a trend from other suppliers, is based recent price increases of a variety of raw materials including carbon black, oil and pigments.

“While Sun Chemical has done all it can to offset the price increases of our suppliers, it has now become necessary to pass some of these increases on to our customers,” said Felipe Mellado, Chief Marketing Officer, Sun Chemical. “We regret having to take this action, but remain committed to providing the products and services that address all of our customers’ needs.”

Prices will vary depending on the product line, according Sun Chemical, but in general most prices will go up by a percentage in the high single digits.

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.
Minuteman Press International has been rated as the number one printing and marketing franchise by Entrepreneur in 2018. This is the 15th straight year, and 26 times overall, that the printing franchisor has received the distinction. Minuteman Press’ franchise network holds nearly 1,000 locations across the United States, Canada, Australia, South Africa and the United Kingdom.

Minuteman Press International is also once again a part of the join the Entrepreneur Franchise 500. “It is a testament to our Minuteman Press franchise owners who follow our tried and proven system, our corporate staff, our regional franchise support teams, and our franchise business model that we are the number-one ranked marketing and printing franchise by Entrepreneur in 2018,” said Bob Titus, Minuteman Press International President & CEO.

In 2018, Minuteman Press International stated it plans to continue a pattern of franchise growth and expansion. Started in 1973 by Roy Titus and his son, Bob, Minuteman Press began franchising in 1975 and, as mentioned, has grown to nearly 1,000 business service franchise locations worldwide. Franchise Business Review also named Minuteman Press International to its 2017 Top Franchises and 2017 Top B2B Franchises lists.
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.
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.”
ModusLink Global Solutions Inc., which is controlled by Steel Partners Holdings, completed the acquisition of privately held IWCO Direct, one of North America’s largest producers of data-driven direct marketing, for US$476 million in cash.

“We have been looking to acquire a profitable business with attractive operations and financials, and with a strong management team in order to leverage our approximately US$2.1 billion in net operating loss carryforwards and cash,” said Warren Lichtenstein, Executive Chairman of ModusLink. “We found a great fit in IWCO Direct. We essentially double the size of our company and add significant earnings and free cash flow.”

Lichtenstein also pointed to IWCO Direct’s client base with a range of Fortune 500 companies, and significant opportunities to drive both top- and bottom-line results. “We intend to aggressively grow IWCO Direct,” he said, “organically and through acquisitions.”

IWCO Direct, which becomes a wholly owned subsidiary of ModusLink Global Solutions, will continue to be run by Jim Andersen, who has been CEO since 1999. Jack Howard, President of Steel Partners, and William Fejes Jr., President of Steel Services Ltd., join the ModusLink board of directors.

For the last 12 months through October 2017, IWCO Direct had net revenue of US$470.6 million, net income of US$18.9 million and Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation and Amortization (EBITDA) of US$82.2 million.

For the last 12 months through October 2017, ModusLink had net revenue of US$417.8 million, a net loss of US$22.5 million and negative EBITDA of US$3.8 million, although net loss and EBITDA improved by US$32.5 million and US$28.0 million year-over-year, respectively.

IWCO Direct’s range of services includes strategy, creative and production for multichannel marketing campaigns, as well as postal logistics programs for direct mail. Through its Mail-Gard product, IWCO Direct also offers business continuity and disaster recovery services to protect against unexpected business interruptions, along with providing print and mail outsourcing services.

IWCO Direct claims to be the largest direct mail production provider in North America, with the largest platform of continuous digital print technology and a growing direct marketing agency service.
The London Chamber of Commerce has awarded Jones Packaging with the 2018 Corporate Icon Award, determined annually by the Chamber’s board of directors. The organizers of the award explain, “The Corporate Icon Award is presented by the board of directors each year to a corporation that has demonstrated particular excellence or achievement in business, making either an immediate impact on, or a substantial long-term contribution to, the economic progress of our community.”

Past winners of the London Corporate Icon Award include McCormick Canada, Libro Credit Union, Goodlife Fitness, TD Canada Trust, 3M Canada and London Life, among others. Jones Packaging will be recognized at the London Business Achievement Awards on March 21, 2018.

Jones was founded in 1882, under the name Lawson & Jones Inc., as a regional manufacturer of drug boxes and specialty drug labels. The company has evolved into a global power in delivering innovative packaging and medication dispensing solutions. “The London community has played an important role in our business for over 135 years, and we wish to extend many thanks to everyone who has helped make us who we are today,” said co-owner and Principal, Corporate Development Chris Jones Harris.

In announcing its 2018 winner, the London Chamber of Commerce explains “[Jones Packaging] grew its roots in London as a regional manufacturer of drug boxes and specialty drug labels until 1920, when founder Henry Jones established Jones Box and Label based on Dundas Street East. While the company’s role in the pharmacy industry continued to expand, it also began to support the primary packaging needs of some of the most recognized global pharmaceutical and consumer brands through the middle of the century.”

The company became known as Jones Packaging Inc. in the mid-1990s under the ownership of fourth generation Jones family members Ron Harris and Chris Jones Harris. Jones then moved to its current 135,000-square-foot primary printing and converting facility just off of Veterans Memorial Parkway in London, Ontario.
“Jones has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to innovation throughout its history, from introducing the first pre-gummed prescription label for pharmacies in the early 1900s to distributing the first child-safe vial to the Canadian market in the 1970s and co-developing the first compliance card for multi-medication regimes in the 1980s,” noted a statement by the London Chamber of Commerce. “Over the past several years, the company has participated in key international alliances, acquired European compliance packaging leader Venalink Ltd., as well as contract packaging leader Ivers-Lee Ltd., adding a new, 76,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art contract packaging facility in Toronto to its locations in 2013.”
Jones provides what it describes as integrated printed and contract packaging solutions including intelligent packaging, folding cartons, labels, leaflets, pouching, blistering, vial filling and secondary packaging. The company also offers a range of medication dispensing and delivery products for many of the largest pharmacy groups and independent pharmacies, hospitals and long-term care facilities across Canada and Europe.

“Our journey has been based on quality and trust with our customers – both long-standing and new – while adapting our business to respond to their needs,” said Jones Harris. “Today, we have grown to become a global leader in delivering leading-edge packaging, medication dispensing solutions and a technology portfolio that continue to drive many market firsts.”
The London Chamber of Commerce also noted Jones Packaging’s corporate giving plan and ongoing participation in local capital campaigns for London Health Sciences Centre, the Children’s Hospital and Thames Valley Children’s Centre, to name a few. Over 200 of the company’s 350 employees work and live in London and its surrounding area.
HP Inc. in late December announced the first delivery of an HP PageWide C500 Press to a customer site for what the company describes as digital mainstream corrugated direct-to-board printing. Announced at drupa 2016, the first HP PageWide C500 commercial units are due to be installed in 2018 at launch customers in Europe and the United States.

The first such customer, Carmel Frenkel, will serve as the testing site for the PageWide C500 Press, now moving a step closer toward commercialization. The Caesarea, Israel-based converter supplies packaging production primarily for the food and beverage industry.

“The installation marks a significant milestone in the launch of the HP PageWide C500 Press. This groundbreaking technology can address the broadest range of digitally post-printed corrugated packaging applications, including the growing segment of food packaging,” said Eric Wiesner, GM, HP PageWide Industrial Division, HP Inc.

HP explains the PageWide C500 provides an alternative for offset lamination and flexo production with direct-to-board work on both coated and uncoated papers. With its water-based ink formulation, HP continues to explain the PageWide C500 will enable converters to print food applications that can help comply with global food safety regulations and industry guidelines.

“Unlike some other digital printing alternatives, HP PageWide water-based Inks are 100 percent free of UV-reactive chemistries. Thus, these inks enable robust and trusted food-safe printing for both primary and secondary corrugated packaging,” said Wiesner.

The HP PageWide C500 prints on  on 1.3 (W) x 2.5 (L) metre-sized boards with a maximum speed of 75 linear m/min (246 linear ft/min).

TC Transcontinental Inc. of Montréal will stop printing the San Francisco Chronicle newspaper effective April 2, 2018. The company reached an agreement to transfer its printing operations in Fremont, California to Hearst, which owns the San Francisco Chronicle.

The San Francisco Chronicle, which is the largest newspaper in Northern California and the second largest on the West Coast, is printed in the Fremont facility. Under the terms of the agreement, TC Transcontinental will continue printing the newspaper in Fremont for a transition period.

TC Transcontinental will receive a cash payment of US$42.8 million from Hearst as compensation for the early termination of the printing agreement, for the sale of some of its printing equipment, and for services to be rendered as part of a Transitional Service Agreement.

TC Transcontinental reached a 15-year agreement to print the newspaper in 2006 and in 2009 began production at the newly built, $230-million, 338,000-square-foot plant in Fremont.

TC Transcontinental maintains ownership of its Fremont, California, plant and will be renting the facility to Hearst until the end of 2024. On April 2, TC Transcontinental employees working at the Fremont plant will be transferred to Hearst.

The Corporation will transfer the remaining equipment in Fremont to other TC Transcontinental Canadian plants in 2018, focusing on its retail printing platform. TC Transcontinental will also transfer the retail volume from the Fremont operation to other plants in its printing network.

Thirty of the most-influential business developments from the past year to drive the direction of Canada’s printing industry, based on the following criteria: Impact on printers; impact on the Canadian industry as a whole or within a given region; and impact of technological or strategic innovation.

1. Transcon drops newspapers, grows packaging
A November deal to acquire Les Industries Flexipak Inc. is Transcontinental’s fifth North American packaging acquisition since 2014, as Canada’s largest printer pivots away from newspapers ownership. In April  2017, Transcontinental launched a process to sell all of its newspapers in Quebec and Ontario, involving 93 local and regional publications. Earlier in 2017, Transcontinental sold its publication portfolios in Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador, and New Brunswick (27 newspapers) in addition to a 13-newspaper sale in Saskatchewan in mid-2016 – giving rise to print-media players like SaltWire and Icimédias.

2. DATA CM consolidation
Generating revenues of $278.4 million in its most recent fiscal, DATA Communications Management of Brampton continued its consolidation path in 2017 with the February acquisitions of Eclipse Colour & Imaging and Thistle Printing. Later in 2017, DATA moved its Multiple Pakfold operations into its primary 269,000-square-foot Brampton plant. In November, DATA purchased BOLDER Graphics of Calgary, to be integrated into its existing nearby plant, growing with sheetfed, digital and wide-format. DATA began 2017 with a $2.1 million investment in Xerox presses, a year after investing $6.7 million with Xerox.

3. C.J. Graphics opens new plant
C.J. Group of Companies in October opened its new 240,000-square-foot facility in Mississauga, an expansion consolidating three facilities and the company explains with an additional technology investment of $25 million. The new facility saw the addition of a third 6-colour Heidelberg XL 106 (for Push To Stop printing), two new Agfa Jeti systems, and new Xerox presses. From a consolidation standpoint, C.J. Graphics in 2017 merged Annan & Sons after acquiring Clixx, one of the largest mailing facilities in Canada, from WestRock Company.

4. Xerox and Conduent separate
Xerox began 2017 completing its separation into two publicly traded companies, including the print-tech entity maintaining the corporate name and Conduent, a Business Process Outsourcing company. With approximately $14 billion in 2015 revenue and 39,000 employees, Xerox remains a Fortune 500-scale company, as does Conduent with $9 billion in 2015 revenue and 96,000 employees. Conduent touches two-thirds of all insured patients and more than half of all mobile phone subscribers in the U.S.

5. Passing of a print icon
In April, Dick Kouwenhoven, one of the icons of Canadian printing for more than four decades, passed away. Co-founder, Chairman and CEO of Hemlock Printers in Burnaby, BC, he developed one of the most highly revered commercial printing companies in world based on innovative, high-end sheetfed perfecting. Kouwenhoven, who immigrated to Canada from The Netherlands in 1961, also helped lead the world printing community into a critical era of environmental stewardship, proving such progressive investments are as sound for the planet as they are for  business.

6. CCL acquires Innovia
CCL Industries, headquartered in Toronto, in 2017 acquires Innovia Group for approximately $1.2 billion. It is described by the company, which bills itself as the world’s largest label company, as another transformative acquisition. Innovia provides strength in the disruptive polymer banknote market and depth in materials science with proprietary BOPP films technology. CCL’s label production business contributes around 66 percent to its total sales. By leveraging expertise in consolidation, as described by Canadian Business, in the first quarter of 2016 alone, CCL revenue grew by 22.9 percent year-over-year to reach $866.8 million, while net income jumped 31 percent. Over the past five of years, CCL’s share price has shot up nearly 600 percent.

7. Canadian Bank Note retools
Canadian Bank Note (CBN) in May installed a new 12-colour, 41-inch Koenig & Bauer Rapida 106 press to produce secure identity products like passports, drivers’ licenses and identity documents for customers in Canada and throughout the world. It was delivered in record time following a devastating fire in June 2016. Earlier that year, the company’s 45,000-square-foot McAra Unicom facility in Calgary, following the purchase of Unicom Graphics in 2015, rebranded as CBN Commercial Solutions to build a larger presence in the commercial market. A year early, CBN won the coveted Banknote of the Year Award for its production of a New Zealand polymer note.

8. CPISTF provides $75,500
The Canadian Printing Industries Scholarship Trust Fund at the start of the 2017/18 school year provided $75,500 in scholarship funding to students pursuing a career in printing. A majority of the funds went to Ryerson GCM, which saw approximately 130 students graduate last year. Since its founding in 1971, CPISTF has provided more than $1 million in scholarship funding.

9. Mi5’s new Toronto plant
After a decade of aggressive M&A growth, Mi5 Print and Digital was putting the finishing touches on its new 180,000-square-foot facility in Toronto. This includes the addition of a used Heidelberg M130 web press originally scheduled to be operational in mid-2017. In its short 14-year history, Mi5 has grown to become one of Canada’s largest privately owned commercial printing operations with more than 150 employees generating revenues of $29 million in its most recent fiscal year.

10. ICON adds commercial
In February, ICON Digital Productions Inc. acquired Toronto Trade Printing, a well-known 20,000-square-foot operation running two 40-inch sheetfed offset presses. Its move into the litho market is unique based on ICON’s historic position as a large-format inkjet pioneer, services that occupy the majority of its 90,000-square-foot facility in Markham. The TTP purchase came weeks after ICON Digital underwent a rebranding effort in December 2016 to create three distinct divisions: ICON Visual, ICON Media and ICON Print. In October, ICON acquired a controlling interest in Asterisk Media to add an ICON Motion division.

11. Landa starts S10 beta work
In April, Landa Group unveiled its 2017 beta customer line-up around its S10 Nanographic Printing Press. The first press began operating at Graphica Bezalel, an Israel folding carton and label convertor. North America’s first S10 was slated to reach U.S.-based Imagine! with more than 1,600 employees. German packaging giant Edelmann, with plants in nine countries and sales exceeding 300 million euros, is running Europe’s first S10 press.

12. Rise of B2B and Renaissance Printing
In March, Renaissance Printing became a new Toronto-area printer  under the majority ownership of Annex Publishing & Printing. Running a five-unit Mitsubishi Diamond web press, Renaissance was formed after the purchase of the remaining primary assets from Web Offset Publications’ receiver. The new company focuses on printing for publishers and marketers primarily in Ontario, as well as New York State, Pennsylvania, Quebec and New England. Annex is the parent of PrintAction and Canada’s largest B2B publisher – holding industry-leading CASL compliance.

13. HP buys Samsung print business
HP in November completed its purchase of Samsung Electronics’ printer business in a deal valued at $1.4 billion. The move was first announced in September 2016, when HP stated the acquisition – the third largest in its history – positions it to disrupt the $71 billion copier industry. The Samsung acquisition also strengthens HP’s position in A4 laser printing, in addition to providing intellectual property of more than 6,500 print patents and a workforce of nearly 1,300.

14. Springett becomes CEO of Manroland Sheetfed
Canadian Sean Springett begins 2017 as the Chief Executive Officer of Manroland Sheetfed GmbH’s North American subsidiaries, based in Chicago, Illinois, and Vaughan, Ontario. Springett, age 43, joined Manroland Sheetfed in 2008 and most recently served as its VP of Sales & Marketing. Manroland Sheetfed GmbH is a wholly owned subsidiary of the privately owned U.K. engineering group, Langley Holdings plc.

15. Agfa Canada inkjet
The 116,000-square-foot Canadian manufacturing facility for Agfa Graphics’ Jeti platform remains a key piece of the Belgium company’s future. Beyond its formidable healthcare division, which attracted a CompuGroup conditional takeover offer in late 2016 that did not materialize, the company’s graphics growth is largely tied to wide-format-inkjet imaging, with more than 3,000 systems installed around the world. The Canada operation launched the Jeti Ceres RTR3200 LED at the beginning of 2017 and in December 2016 the Jeti Mira UV LED with 3D lens printing.

16. Hundsdörfer becomes CEO of Heidelberg
Rainer Hundsdörfer became the CEO of the world’s largest press maker Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG in November 2016, while longtime board member Harald Weimer plans a mid-2017 departure. The executive shake-up comes as Heidelberg heavily promotes a restructuring focused on digital transformation. “Heidelberg goes digital,” said Hundsdörfer in February 2017. “We are getting the company fit for the digital future.” In its final quarter of the financial year 2016/2017, Heidelberg records its best sales and result since 2008.

17. KBA celebrates 200 years and rebrands
More than 700 people from around world on September 21 gathered at the Vogel Convention Center in Würzburg, Germany, to celebrate the 200th anniversary of Koenig & Bauer. The world’s second-largest printing press manufacturer began its third century by introducing a new branding position leveraging its founder’s surnames, Koenig & Bauer. Thebranding includes a new logo and product design to be implemented immediately for new products.

18. Pollard acquires INNOVA
In August, Pollard Banknote of Winnipeg, Manitoba, moves to purchase all outstanding common shares of INNOVA Gaming Group Inc. based in Los Angeles for approximately $51 million. INNOVA’s primary product is its third generation Lucky Tab machine, an instant ticket vending machine that dispenses tickets while simultaneously displaying the results of each ticket on a video monitor. Pollard has been a world leading supplier of instant tickets for more than 30 years and serves over 60 lottery and charitable gaming organizations worldwide. Its business position is as unique as it is stable, with services like market research, validation expertise, algorithm development, lottery management services, licensed games, player loyalty clubs, Internet and mobile strategies, and retail development.

19. Corley to lead Xerox Canada
John Corley in February became President of Xerox Canada, returning home after recently serving as President of the company’s global Channel Partner Operations and as VP for Xerox Corp. in the United States. A 22-year Xerox veteran, Corley has held a variety of executive positions including time as VP of Canadian Operations.

20. Hemlock Harling Distribution
Printing powerhouse Hemlock Printers of Burnaby created a new entity called Hemlock Harling Distribution Inc., which is described as a company dedicated to providing data-driven marketing, postal and third-party distribution services to customers throughout North America. Hemlock Harling opened the doors of its 40,000-square-foot facility on February 1, 2017, coinciding with the acquisition of Kirk Marketing.

21. Ricoh acquires Avanti
In January, Ricoh announced its acquisition of Toronto-based Avanti Computer Systems, a leading developer of MIS dedicated to the printing industry for three decades. As the printing industry enters an era targetting Industry 4.0, IIoT, and front-end automation, Avanti’s Slingshot technology, built in 2013 from the ground up, positions the Toronto firm with key technology and the financial power of an imaging giant.

22. Heidelberg prepares for Primefire and digital future
Late 2017 saw shipments begin for Heidelberg’s Primefire digital packaging press, developed in partnership with Fujifilm print heads. Series production for these critical presses for the company is scheduled to start at the beginning of 2018. The company states it is already fully booked in this area for two years. With a $72 million German state loan, Heidelberg in 2017 also focused on completing its new development centre. It will be home to 1,000 workers in what Heidelberg projects to become the world’s most state-of-the-art research facility for printing.

23. Canadian print awards
More than 200 people from across the country, including the program’s largest-ever contingent from Quebec, attended the 12th annual Canadian Printing Awards in Toronto, organized by PrintAction. More than 80 Gold, Silver and Bronze Awards were presented to printers and technology suppliers, in what has become the country’s largest national celebration of print. The program allows printers to network and build a stronger sense of community.

24. Gala Gutenberg celebrates Quebec excellence
More than 350 people 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, which remains as one of North America’s strongest printing markets in terms of innovation.

25. Burke acquires McCallum
In May, the Burke Group of Companies acquired McCallum Printing Group, bringing together two of the leading print and media companies in the region. It creates an entity with a range of commercial printing services operating out of Edmonton, Alberta. Darren Pohl, McCallum Printing’s former President and CEO has committed to stay on in a senior management capacity to oversee sales and sales management.

26. Kruger investing $378M to diversify Québec mills
Kruger Inc. announced a $377.6 million transaction to diversify operations at four Quebec facilities, including mills in Brompton and Wayagamack that will focus on specialty niches, such as flexible food packaging, labelling and digital printing. The project, undertaken in partnership with the Government of Québec, will help to maintain more than 500 jobs in the Mauricie and Estrie regions. Kruger and the Government of Québec have formed a partnership by which Investissement Québec, acting as the government’s agent, will grant loans and a loan guarantee totalling $59.8 million.
 27. Hampson National Sales Manager for Fujifilm Canada
Phil Hampson in January 2017 became the National Sales Manager, Canada, for the Graphic Systems division of Fujifilm North America. With more than 20 years in the graphics industry and extensive wide-format-inkjet expertise, he becomes a key piece of the company’s market position, managing the sale of all imaging and printing systems throughout Canada.

28. InterTech Awards
Fourteen technologies in July received the 2017 InterTech Award, a program of the Printing Industries of America that began in 1978 to recognize products expected to advance the performance of the printing industry The winners include: AMS LED UV System by Baldwin’s AMS Spectral operation; ORIS Flex Pack / Web Visualizer by CGS Publishing; ColorAnt 4.0 by ColorLogic; XPS Crystal by Esko; Labelfire 340 by Gallus; Prinect Press Center XL 2 with Intellistart 2 by Heidelberg; PageWide Web Press T490HD by HP; PrintOS by HP; LED moduLight – Dual Illuminant D50/D65 by JUST Normlicht; Impremia IS29 by Komori; AIS SmartScanner by MGI; Ultra Pro with Foil by Scodix; Truepress Jet 520HD by Screen Americas; and Image Test Labs – Image Grader by TechnologyWatch.

29. McCarthy to lead HP Indigo in Canada
In November, Paul McCarthy became Indigo Country Manager for HP Canada. The transition comes after he spent more than 18 years with Konica Minolta Business Solutions Canada, helping that company, most recently as Director of Print Production, develop a strong position with commercial printers. He also serves as a board member of the Digital Imaging Association.

30. Coke showcases the power of print
Based on a partnership that began back in 2013 as a unique Share a Coke label printing campaign, HP and The Coca-Cola Company have worked together in successive years to show the world the power of digital print. There is little doubt major brands around the world have paid close attention to the program. In 2014, Coca-Cola using HP Indigo and SmartStream Mosaic technology printed two million unique Diet Coke labels. In 2016, Coca-Cola inked another deal for the custom printing of Diet Coke bottles for a marketing campaign called It’s Mine. In July 2017, HP’s Monique Cohen told Packaging Europe that since the Share A Coke campaign began it has resulted in the printing of more than 500 billion labels worldwide and led to a four percent rise in sales across the markets where it appeared.
eStruxture Data Centers has acquired The Gazette's former printing facility in Montréal, with plans to create a brand new, 30 megawatts power capacity data centre. The Québec-based company explains this $150 million investment will allow it to pursue growth with a world-class infrastructure and unique proximity to downtown Montréal.

"As part of our strategy to expand and acquire data centres nationally, we are thrilled to breathe new life into this historic building, whose size and strategic location offer the perfect site to better serve the growing IT services industry in Montréal and around the world,” said Todd Coleman, President and CEO of eStruxture. “The conversion of this printing facility is great news for Montreal as well as a compelling demonstration of the city's transition to the digital economy.”

The 156,000 square-foot building, located on Saint-Jacques St. in Notre-Dame-de-Grâce, was left vacant since The Gazette closed its facility in 2014. Upgrading and expansion work was to begin immediately, with the new data centre set to open in spring 2018. With 30 megawatts of power capacity – equivalent to a city of 25 000 homes – and a redundant fiber loop connecting the site to eStruxture's existing downtown data centre, the company explains it will become one of the most important data centre facilities in the region.

“Montréal's leadership as a digital hub and magnet for data centres is undeniable. International companies, especially from the United States, are increasingly establishing themselves in Montréal to meet their data centre needs. We are proud to participate in this economic shift, which comes with job creation and new foreign direct investment,” said Todd Coleman.

This will be the second data centre operated in Montréal by eStruxture, a company founded with the support of major Canadian investors including the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, Canderel and Fengate Real Asset Investments.

"With the growth of e-commerce and the digital transformation underway in Québec, companies are facing a steadily rising need to efficiently process and store their cloud data. As such, we are pleased to see eStruxture deepen its roots in Montréal. These new facilities will help the company accelerate its growth in Québec and Canada," stated Christian Dubé, Executive Vice-President, Québec at la Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec.
The Federal Communications Commission in the United States on Thursday voted 3-2 to repeal rules aimed at protecting net neutrality. Brought into effect in 2015 by the Obama administration, these net neutrality rules mean Internet Service Providers cannot deliberately speed up or slow down Internet traffic from specific Websites or apps, including favouring their own content or the content of providers willing and able to pay for superior access.

The potential loss of net neutrality, which will surely be fought in U.S. courts or through legislative measures in the U.S. Congress, creates the possibility of an Internet economy powered by the business elite. The shift in policy led by the Republican-driven FCC, allowing ISPs to influence content online, can have a major impact on innovation, corporate growth and individual prosperity.

The Internet sector, according to the Internet Association, represents an estimated six percent of U.S. GDP, totaling nearly US$1 trillion and accounts for more than 10.4 million American jobs – 86 percent of which are outside major tech hubs.

The following reactions of technology giants and political figures based on Thursday’s vote to repeal net neutrality were collected from multiple sources, including CNN.com, Theverge.com, Deadline.com, Foxnews.com, Businessinsider.com, Independent.co.uk and Engaget.com, as well as direct emails to Manufacturing AUTOMATION and corporate websites.

For a take on how net neutrality relates to the historic influence of print read PrintAction's December 2017 editorial, Net and Print Neutrality.

Google Corporate Statement, via Twitter: “We remain committed to the net neutrality policies that enjoy overwhelming public support, have been approved by the courts, and are working well for every part of the internet economy. We will work with other net neutrality supporters large and small to promote strong, enforceable protections.”

Werner Vogels, Chief Technology Officer, Amazon, via Twitter: “I am extremely disappointed in the FCC decision to remove the #NetNeutrality protections. We'll continue to work with our peers, partners and customers to find ways to ensure an open and fair internet that can continue to drive massive innovation.”

Stuart Carlaw, Chief Research Officer, ABI Research, via email to Manufaturing AUTOMATION: “The repeal of the net neutrality legislation will enable the communications industry to work within the bounds of a more natural market condition.  It will allow those companies that are burdened with the massive expense of rolling out new networks to support 5G (both fixed and wireless) and IoT solutions to be able to generate sufficient revenues to justify investment.  If anything, this legislative move will likely provide the much-needed boost to timelines for more meaningful technological deployments that will enable companies to transform digitally and allow consumers to benefit from technology driven improvements in service from multiple industry segments based on best of breed communications.”

Sheryl Sandberg, Chief Operating Officer, Facebook, via Facebook: “Today's decision from the Federal Communications Commission to end net neutrality is disappointing and harmful. An open internet is critical for new ideas and economic opportunity -- and internet providers shouldn't be able to decide what people can see online or charge more for certain websites. We're ready to work with members of Congress and others to help make the internet free and open for everyone.”

Brad Smith, Chief Legal Officer, Microsoft, via Twitter: “The open internet benefits consumers, business & the entire economy. That's jeopardized by the FCC's elimination of #netneutrality protections today.”

Netflix Corporate Statement, via Twitter: “We're disappointed in the decision to gut #NetNeutrality protections that ushered in an unprecedented era of innovation, creativity & civic engagement. This is the beginning of a longer legal battle. Netflix stands w/ innovators, large & small, to oppose this misguided FCC order.”

Alexis Ohanian, Co-Founder, Reddit via Twitter: “We cannot let this happen to our internet in the US. We must keep fighting for #NetNeutrality.”

Vimeo Corporate Statement, via Twitter: “It's disheartening that the #FCC chose to ignore the public and approve a policy that benefits the few and powerful at the expense of creators, and the stories they work to tell. We look forward to challenging this misguided decision in court. #NetNeutrality.”

AT&T Corporate Statement, via Twitter: “We do not block websites, nor censor online content, nor throttle or degrade traffic based on the content, nor unfairly discriminate in our treatment of internet traffic. These principles, which were laid out in the FCC's 2010 Open Internet Order and fully supported by AT&T, are clearly articulated on our website and are fully enforceable against us. In short, the internet will continue to work tomorrow just as it always has.”

Twitter Corporate Statement, via Twitter: “The @FCC's vote to gut #NetNeutrality rules is a body blow to innovation and free expression. We will continue our fight to defend the open Internet and reverse this misguided decision.”

Cory Booker, U.S. Democratic Senator, via Twitter: “This is an outrageous assault on a fair and open internet. Mark my words, this decision will not last! We will reverse it by winning future elections.”

Ted Cruz, U.S. Republican Senator, via Twitter: “I commend @AjitPaiFCC & the FCC for repealing these oppressive Obama-era regulations and restoring freedom to the internet. The message for gov regulators & Congress should be simple- the internet should be free of taxation, censorship, & regulation.”

Bernie Sanders, U.S. Democratic Senator, via Twitter: “This is the end of the internet as we know it. In Congress and in the courts we must fight back. #NetNeutrality.”

ACLU Statement, via Twitter: “BREAKING: The FCC just voted to dismantle #netneutrality. This represents a radical departure that risks erosion of the biggest free speech platform the world has ever known.”

Brian Chesky, Cofounder and CEO, Airbnb, via Twitter: “The FCC’s vote to repeal net neutrality is wrong & disappointing. A free & open internet is critical to innovation, an open society, & widespread access to economic empowerment. @Airbnb will continue to speak out for net neutrality.”

Mozilla Corporate Statement, via Twitter: “[Mozilla is] incredibly disappointed that the FCC voted this morning – along partisan lines – to remove protections for the open internet.”

Electronic Frontier Foundation, via Twitter: “The FCC's decision to abandon its traditional role in protecting an open and free Internet will go down as one of the biggest mistakes in Internet policy history. We will fight in the courts, in the states, and in Congress to restore #NetNeutrality.”

Michael Beckerman, President and CEO of Internet Association, via Internetassociation.org: “The internet industry opposes Chairman Pai's repeal of the 2015 Open Internet Order. Today's vote represents a departure from more than a decade of broad, bipartisan consensus on the rules governing the internet. Relying on ISPs to live up to their own 'promises' is not net neutrality and is bad for consumers.

“Let's remember why we have these rules in the first place. There is little competition in the broadband service market — more than half of all Americans have no choice in their provider — so consumers will be forced to accept ISP interference in their online experience. This is in stark contrast to the websites and apps that make up Internet Association, where competition is a click away and switching costs are low.

“The fight isn't over. Internet Association is currently weighing our legal options in a lawsuit against today's Order, and remains open to Congress enshrining strong, enforceable net neutrality protections into law.”
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