Webcom Inc. of Toronto signed an agreement to acquire York Bookbinders, a 34-year-old business specializing in hardcover book-bindery services. The deal is expected to close on April 27, 2018, and will add 7.5-million hardcover books per year to Webcom's manufacturing capacity.

The acquisition also boosts Webcom’s digital book manufacturing investments, which the company pegs at $30 million over the past few years. Webcom explains the purchase reconfirms its commitment to meet a growing publisher demand for unique casebinding capabilities.

This is Webcom’s second expansion of its casebinding services in 2018, following the recent investment in digital casebinding systems from GP2 Technologies.

“The integration of York Bookbinders into Webcom’s Toronto manufacturing facility significantly improves Webcom’s capacity to support book publishers with cost competitive, responsive service for hardcover books in quantities ranging from book of one to thousands of copies,” said Mike Collinge, President and CEO of Webcom. “This acquisition will augment Webcom’s current POD, ASR, digital inkjet and softcover production capabilities supporting Canadian and global book publishers with an efficient, full-service North American book manufacturing and distribution hub.”

New capabilities allow Webcom to meet the high-quality standards for NASTA-compliant educational titles, library bookbinding and a range of elaborate casebound book formats. Webcom explains the addition of York Bookbinders’ skilled hardcover book operators, customer base and modern binding equipment aligns with its goal of full service manufacturing support of global and mid-size publisher needs.  
“York Bookbinders’ current customer base of Canadian trade printers, brokers and agencies mirrors Webcom’s Coatings Canada division customer base,” said Collinge, “It is an opportunity to improve our competitiveness and create compelling product offerings for our trade customers by combining coating finishing and bindery services.”

The management of both companies is developing a 6-month transition plan to consolidate equipment and operations at Webcom’s plant.
At Dscoop Dallas 2018, HP unveiled the PrintOS Marketplace, described by the company as a new solutions community for the HP PrintOS cloud-based print production operating system. Designed to provide tools for printers using HP technologies, Marketplace will offer production and design tools and services from both HP and third parties.

Opening this summer, Marketplace will be open to any vendor to offer subscription-based apps for PrintOS members that help HP customers automate production, expand offerings and grow business. Today, PrintOS has 5,400 printing providers subscribed to the system, including owners of HP Indigo, HP PageWide Industrial and HP Scitex presses.

“Our partners have innovative solutions. The PrintOS Marketplace will serve as a platform to spread the innovation and will help customers to adapt faster to the changing print market,” said Alon Bar-Shany, General Manager, HP Indigo, HP Inc.

OneFlow System Systems and HYBRID Software are the first two partners enrolled in the PrintOS Marketplace. Pre-release versions of their app solutions were demonstrated in the HP Dscoop showcase.

OneFlow’s AutoFlow solution automates manual prepress operations including artwork fetching, checking, fixing and manipulation. HYBRID Software’s PACKZilizer is a cloud-based application to prepare packaging files for production.

Additionally, some 20 HP solutions partners have already integrated their solutions with PrintOS.
Asia Pulp & Paper opens up its Indah Kiat Perawang mill to illustrate five years of work to become a progressive paper producer with interests rooted in its concession communities

For a pictorial report of APP Indonesia, visit PrintAction's February 2017 article, A Look Inside Asia Pulp & Paper.

Asia Pulp & Paper in February 2018 reached the five-year anniversary of its seminal Forest Conservation Policy, which set into motion a series of massive and aggressive initiatives to transform one of the world’s largest integrated pulp and paper corporations. Its decision to place sustainability at the heart of its operations was actually formalized a year earlier in its Sustainability Roadmap Vision 2020, when Asia Pulp & Paper (APP) committed to zero deforestation. This commitment was then formalized in the Forest Conservation Policy (FCP) based on APP developing a plantation-driven business model and putting an immediate end to sourcing pulpwood materials from suppliers involved with natural forest clearance.

Today, all 38 of its external wood suppliers are evaluated for FCP compliance and the company explains, that outside of two minor breaches that were quickly resolved, it has maintained its FCP commitments. “Five years ago we turned our company around and it has been a good story of change,” says Ian Lifshitz, VP of Sustainability & Stakeholder Relations, Americas, APP. “We have really seen a shift in our organization in the way we approach the community, forest conservation and zero deforestation. The key thing is five years later the FCP is holding. We have not broken our policy. We continue to maintain and evolve.”

FCP commitments are rigorously reviewed every six months at an APP-hosted forum with environmental stakeholders like Greenpeace, which years earlier targeted APP’s practices through highly public campaigns. Greenpeace and similar NGO stakeholders, as well as government agencies, engaged in the FCP process are now commending APP for its progress and work on the ground, which has since moved well beyond forestry protection into a holistic approach to help develop prosperity for Indonesia.

Opportunities of the forest
According to 2017 numbers provided by the Indonesian Ministry of Environment and Forestry, 27.8 million Indonesians live in poverty and 36.7 percent, or 10.2 million people in the country, are below the poverty line in rural areas where forestry and/or agriculture are the main source of economic livelihood. Indonesia’s forest area comprises 126.1 million hectares, equivalent to 66.9 percent of the country’s total landmass. Some 1.3 million jobs – directly and indirectly – are created by the pulp and paper industry.

“It is important for us to put our industry in the context of the most critical issue facing Indonesia today, which is poverty,” says Veronika Renyaan, Sustainability and Stakeholder Engagement, APP Indonesia. She explains APP now invests more than $13 million annually in community development programs, including the company’s unique Integrated Forestry and Farming System introduced in 2015 with its own investment budget of $10 million until 2020.

Under Indonesian regulations every forest concession holder must set aside 20 percent of the land for community use and 10 percent for conservation. APP is currently operating beyond these marks providing 22 percent of its concessions for community use and 21 percent for conservation, with the remaining 57 percent being used as plantation forest. The Integrated Forestry and Farming System (IFFS) is a key driver of these percentages in APP’s effort to support the economic development of 500 villages in landscapes surrounding its concessions.

“There are 180 villages within our concessions, but we also map out villages outside of our concession areas to a radius of 10 kilometres,” says Neglasari Martini, Head of Sustainability and Stakeholder Engagement, APP, noting this accounts for 799 villages, which may hold anywhere from around 100 people to larger size communities of more than 1,000.

Martini explains the 500 chosen villages are based first on the approximate 200 touching APP’s concessions and the other 300 are based on social mapping, in terms of location, land conflicts and potential threats to APP’s forest concessions, which constantly face illegal logging and the potential for third-party fires being started in, or crossing over into, its concessions.

“Fire is a very complex issue in Indonesia… often it is because of land disputes. People may want to claim land so they burn it and then plant palm oil. It is very complex to pinpoint,” explains Martini. APP has invested more than $103 million since 2015 on forest fire management. It began working with British Columbia’s TREK Wildland Services and Working on Fire from South Africa to help train its fire teams, build fire towers and to establish better hotspot detection for real-time monitoring, understanding this is a critical issue for APP’s efforts to work with communities.

Before the IFFS program begins within a community, a business plan must be put together to understand how the land will be used, which typically involves planting vegetables or fruit, managing cows, or developing more schooling or housing. The program also requires the establishment of a village institution to manage the money within a cooperative model.

“It is like micro-financing and they need an evolving fund, so some of their profit returns to the institutions for the other villagers to use the money,” says Martini.
This approach not only improves farming yields and the development of more skills and services for the village as a whole, it also provides forest protection and conservation. A facilitator is based in the village to help implement the program.

“The HR manager [from APP’s Indah Kiat Perawang mill] runs a farming community program,” says Lifshitz, “so there is crossover from employees at the mill who actually work on the program, directly impacting them.”

Perawang pulp and paper
The Indah Kiat Perawang mill is enormous covering a square footage area of more than 2,400 hectares, holding nine paper machines, four pulp lines and six large-size tissue lines in addition to smaller machines. When last checked, more than 40 kilometres of pipe – often of large diametre – is used to feed and relieve the mill’s operations. One of the mill’s current capital investment projects focuses on updating its power cycle, which has an install capacity of 1,000 megawatts.

The project will also help power local communities, which is an existing APP initiative. “Sometimes the government power supply is not enough and we always have spare capacity that we can sell,” says Sufianto Alfian, Head of BU Commodity Division at Indah Kiat Pulp & Paper Perawang. “But we are not making profit from it, rather creating a good relationship with the community.”

The Perawang mill has a pulp capacity of around 8,000 metric tonnes per day, about 50 percent of which is used for paper production, with its own output of 3,000 to 4,000 metric tonnes per day. This equates to anywhere from 100,000 to 120,000 metric tonnes of paper produced per month. The mill’s Paper Machine 3 (PM3), as an example, has a target running speed of 1,350 metres per minute and an average uptime operating efficiency of between 85 and 90 percent. PM3 typically runs 24/7 for about 40 days before shutting down for a day of maintenance. It takes about one hour for PM3 to produce what the team refers to as a jumbo roll – 50 tonnes – and around 1,200 tonnes per day.

Hinting at the scale of Perawang’s vertical integration, which includes a new Bielomatik-driven converting plant, its pulp production is fueled by around 50 percent of APP’s wood supply (creating black liquor), with the other half converted into usable fibre. Alfian explains, “The integration is quite extensive here, from the seedlings that turn into fibre production and even the final products going to customers – all of it from seeds.”

APP started its forestry research program at Perawang in 1990, which was then replicated in Jambi province in 1995, followed by three other regional research centres in 2005. The company develops Eucalyptus and Acacia for its commercial plantations. “We need to find the best quality of wood to fulfill the needs of our mill,” says Yodim Kusuma, who leads Seed Development, in the Perawang mill’s research facility.

The company’s research facilities face more pressure since the beginning of FCP and its zero deforestation pillar, as APP must focus more on growth and yield assessments to determine if there will be enough wood supply for its mills. Its first projections done in 2013, to the year 2020, identified a small gap in 2019, but it will be easily overcome with improvements in yield and other operational efficiencies. Updated projections in 2015, looking toward 2025, also indicate there will be enough wood supply in APP’s plantation model.

Previously, APP harvested its trees in eight-year cycles at the high end, but the work of the research team allows for harvesting more often after just five years. “Only after five years will the eucalyptus properties meet the criteria of the mill, because they have wood density, the hardness of the wood, and also cellulose content and lignin content criteria,” explains Kusuma. “After two years, the wood is not hard enough so the wood consumption is still low. But after five to eight years, it will be too hard and it will be difficult for the wood-chipping process.”

Using a spacing of three by two metres, Kusuma explains the company can grow 1,666 trees per hectare, which creates an ultimate yield target of 225 cubic metres per hectare. The operation is currently hitting 150 cubic metres per hectare, with a survival rate of between 70 and 80 percent. Perawang’s research team continues to work with Eucalyptus hybrid clones – without DNA manipulation as regulated by the government – to develop what it describes as plus trees.

“When we find a plus tree, we will multiple it on a large scale,” says Kusuma. “For Eucalyptus, we can produce by cutting, but for Acacia we use seeds because we have not optimized our cutting production for Acacia.” The Eucalyptus clones are created from cuttings after about three months of various quality control and fertilization stages in the lab. They are then placed in the nursery and ultimately back into the plantation to restart tree growth for the future.

For a pictorial report of APP Indonesia, visit PrintAction's February 2017 article, A Look Inside Asia Pulp & Paper.
On April 3, 2018, students of Ryerson University’s School of Graphic Communications Management will host the program’s annual GCM Colloquium at the Mattamy Athletic Centre (formerly Maple Leaf Gardens) in Toronto. This year’s GCM Colloquium includes a Business Plan Expo component, creating a larger networking event for GCM students and members of Canada’s printing industry. 

Idealliance, an organization focused on workflow processes and technologies for the printing industry, recently awarded G7 System Certification and G7 Press Control System Certification to two Koenig & Bauer colour control and colour reporting systems: Instrument Flight Color Control by System Brunner and the newest version of its QualityPass software for sheetfed presses. Koenig & Bauer explains it is now the only press manufacturer to hold two G7 System Certifications.

“Our organization has continually invested in development and cooperation’s to ensure our customers produce the highest quality printing with colour control and colour reporting that can be specifically monitored throughout the print run,” said Chris Travis, Director of Technology for KBA North America. “This clearly sets us apart from our competitors and demonstrates our ongoing commitment for the highest quality standards.”

Last fall, the Idealliance G7 Press Control System Certification program confirmed that Koenig & Bauer’s Instrument Flight Control technology by System Brunner can monitor and control a production press run according to G7 gray balance and tonality specifications.

Koenig & Bauer explains its Instrument Flight Control technology by System Brunner is the world’s first press control system to elevate G7 from a calibration procedure to a complete process control system from prepress to pressroom.

In addition to G7 metrics, Instrument Flight also monitors and controls TVI (dot gain) in the individual colours, the spread of TVI, solid ink densities, L*a*b* colorimetric targets and more of a reference print condition or standard such as GRACoL, ISO 12647-2, the System Brunner Globalstandard or any specific company targets.

Instrument Flight is able to prioritize the different metrics according to different requirements, such as G7 settings. The real-time print process diagnostics and quality rating informs the press operators at any time during print production if they print in the target specification.

“The key for consistent colour match lies in observing and controlling all variables influencing the offset printing process,” said Michael Eichler, KBA North America Sales Director of Service Select. “System Brunner Instrument Flight is an outstanding tool which goes way beyond ink density and L*a*b* in order to achieve and maintain the best result according to G7 tonality specifications.

"Instrument Flight elevates G7 from a calibration procedure to a complete process control system," continued Eichler. "The initial System Brunner on-site support service and training brings the press in line with the company’s specific workflow, a big benefit which increases the performance of the whole printing system.”

Idealliance has also certified the newest Version 8 of Koenig & Bauer’s QualityPass software for sheetfed presses. Version 8 of QualityPass produces reports on the quality and consistency of print produced and provides a score as a percentage against the required fields of the ISO 12647-2 standard, such as CIE LAB values, dot gain (TVI) and trapping.

QualityPass software allows sheetfed printers to be able to demonstrate colour consistency throughout a production run via the reports produced at the end of the job by the software and provides reassurance for a printers’ customers.

QualityPass reports are generated as a PDF for every job produced and contain every measurement taken by either the ErgoTronic Color Control device or the QualiTronic ColorControl inline system. The viewer of the report can analyze the quality of print produced and make the required adjustments to improve the scoring, for example; tensioning blankets or making alterations to the plate output curves.

The Koenig & Bauer QualityPass software system was evaluated by the G7 System Certification Program for the calibration of a printing device to meet the G7 grayscale definition using four 1-D curves and support the application of the G7 methodology in process control.

Accompanying each G7 Certified System is an Application Data Sheet (ADS), designed to assist print producers and end users in the proper use and operation of their system. Utilizing a G7 Certified System ensures the ability to operate a consistent G7-managed workflow, which has been proven to expand efficiencies, reduce costs of operation, and speed time to market of printed materials.
Eastman Kodak Company reported financial results for the fourth quarter and full year 2017. Revenues for the full year 2017 were US$1.5 billion, down seven percent (or US$112 million) from 2016. The revenue decline, explains Kodak, was driven by volume and pricing declines within the company’s commercial print business and volume declines in the company’s consumer inkjet and industrial film and chemicals businesses.

The company, however, reported GAAP net earnings of US$94 million for the year ended December 31, 2017, which includes a tax benefit of US$101 million due to the release of a valuation allowance in the fourth quarter of 2017.

“2017 was a year of investment in our strategic growth priorities which bodes well for the future,” said Jeff Clarke, Chief Executive Officer, Kodak. “We also eliminated several business initiatives while continuing to reduce cost and drive greater efficiency in the company. We enter 2018 with a stronger growth profile and more productive operations.”

Kodak explains key product lines achieved strong year-over-year growth for the full year 2017, including: Volume for Flexcel NX Plates grew by 17 percent, volume for Sonora Process Free Plates grew by 21 percent; and annuity revenues for the Prosper inkjet platform grew by 13 percent. The company ended the year with a cash balance of US$344 million, compared with US$434 million at the end of 2016.

“Our use of cash in 2017 included meaningful investments in the Ultrastream inkjet platform, Flexcel NX packaging, Sonora X plates, advanced materials and brand licensing which will contribute to growth,” said David Bullwinkle, Kodak’s Chief Financial Officer. “In the fourth quarter of 2017, we reprioritized our investments to focus on shorter payback periods and reduced costs which will improve our ability to generate cash in 2018 and beyond.”

Print Systems Division (PSD), Kodak’s largest division, had Q4 revenues of US$261 million, a six percent decline compared with Q4 in 2016. Operational EBITDA for the quarter was US$16 million, compared with US$39 million for the same period a year ago.

Print Systems Division had full-year 2017 revenues of US$942 million, a seven percent decline compared with 2016. Full-year Operational EBITDA was US$58 million, a decline of US$48 million compared with the prior year. Kodak explains the decline was due primarily to industry pricing pressures, higher aluminum costs and an overall commercial print industry slowdown.

Enterprise Inkjet Systems Division (EISD) had fourth-quarter revenues of US$39 million, down from US$43 million in the same period in 2016. Operational EBITDA was US$3 million, an increase of US$1 million compared with the fourth quarter of 2016.

For the full year 2017, EISD revenues were US$144 million, compared with US$166 million in 2016. Operational EBITDA for the full year 2017 increased by US$21 million from 2016 to US$5 million in 2017. The results, explains Kodak, reflect the positive impact of cost control actions and continued strong growth in Prosper annuities. Kodak’s next-generation inkjet writing system, Ultrastream, is scheduled for launch in 2019.

Flexographic Packaging Division (FPD) had 2017 revenues of US$145 million, compared with US$132 million in the prior year, or a 10 percent improvement. Full-year Operational EBITDA of US$31 million is an improvement of Us$7 million compared with the prior year.

Software and Solutions Division (SSD) had 2017 revenues of US$85 million, down from Us$90 million last year. Full-year Operational EBITDA remained flat compared with the prior year.

Consumer and Film Division (CFD) revenues for the full year were US$198 million, down from US$221 million in 2016. Operational EBITDA for the division was down US$32 million for the year.

Advanced Materials and 3D had Operational EBITDA for the full year of negative US$26 million. Kodak explains this division took significant cost actions in Q4 and sharpened its focus on investments in light-blocking particles, printed electronics and advanced materials.

2018 guidance is for revenues of US$1.5 billion to US$1.6 billion and Operational EBITDA of US$60 million to US$70 million.
Printing Industries of America issued a response to the recent announcement by the United States Department of Commerce regarding preliminary anti-dumping duties on Canadian imports of Uncoated Groundwood (UGW) Paper.

Tariffs on Canadian UGW paper, explains Printing Industries of America (PIA) will unnecessarily burden printing companies and their customers with cost headaches while forcing alternatives to print.

“Yesterday, the Department of Commerce announced preliminary anti-dumping duties of up to 22.16 percent on Canadian imports of Uncoated Groundwood Paper. This is compounded by preliminary countervailing duties averaging 6.5 percent on the same product announced in January,” explained Michael Makin, President and CEO of the PIA, in a written statement. “These tariffs will negatively impact paper used for newsprint, directories, book publishing, and advertising circulars, raising costs for production and, ultimately, print customers. In an industry in which it is difficult to absorb forced cost increases, the effect will likely be less production, fewer pages printed, a faster shift to digital content of news and books, and more diversion of advertising from print to electronic platforms.”

Makin continued to explain this tariff havoc has been caused by one company in the paper industry filing a trade remedy case alleging unfair trade practices by Canada. He explains that the majority of U.S. newsprint manufacturers and trade associations representing the industry, as well as U.S. customers, oppose the trade petition on UGW paper.

“Demand for newsprint has declined by 75 percent in North America since 2000 due to electronic diversion and change of customer reading habits, not because of unfair competition,” Makin continued to explain in the association’s statement. “PIA believes firmly in the power of print to deliver news and information, and its member companies work daily to innovate and maintain print’s relevance in today’s world of multi-channel communication delivery. Tariffs on Canadian UGW paper will unnecessarily burden printing companies and their customers with cost headaches while forcing alternatives to print.

“PIA and its allies in the Stop Tariffs on Printers and Publishers (STOPP) Coalition have gone directly to the Department of Commerce and Capitol Hill to make the case opposing tariffs on UGW paper imported from Canada and will continue to urge the Trump Administration to reject this trade case in light of the harmful impact such tariffs will have on a key segment of the American manufacturing economy.”

Additionally, Makin made the following statement regarding the recently announced Trump Administration policy on imported steel and aluminum:

“Promoting job growth in domestic manufacturing is at the core of PIA’s mission and we appreciate President Trump highlighting the importance of the manufacturing sector and its workers. However, there are 800,000 jobs associated with the U.S. printing industry and PIA’s first and foremost goal is to ensure the companies that provide those jobs are able to purchase equipment – including printing plates made of aluminum – without higher production costs associated with potential tariffs.

"PIA is closely monitoring the details of the recently announced steel and aluminum tariff to determine potential negative impact on printing facilities, possible exemptions for key components of printing equipment, and other aspects of the tariff case as the specifics of the policy unfold.”
Fujifilm’s Ed Pierce, Komcan’s Brett Rogers, Canon’s Alec Couckuyt and RISO’s Andre D’Urbano describe sheetfed inkjet press advances, challenges, and why commercial printers should invest.

Ed Pierce, Product Marketing Manager, Fujifilm North America, Graphic Systems Division

Why is it important for commercial printers to consider an inkjet press?
Pierce: As run lengths continue to decline, regardless of the reason whether it be inventory cost driven or targeted marketing driven, it becomes increasingly difficult to provide a quality product at a price that is profitable for the print provider. As run lengths decrease, the expectation of quality does not decrease along with it. Toner technologies only go so far and production inkjet drives it home beyond the capabilities of a toner device.

This should also be considered an opportunity for commercial printers. By staying ahead of the curve and investing in new technology that addresses this need; will put the printer in a much better competitive position to attract and win this book of business that is not a trend but rather a new reality in the market. With the integrated technologies of the J Press 720S the print provider can produce a smaller initial quantity and reprint in a week, a month and so on the exact same quality and colour of the initial print run by simply calling up the same job with the same media profile and hitting the print button. There are no plates, there is not running up to colour and there is no extra labour required to reproduce a simple reprint order.  

What is currently your company’s best inkjet press for a typical commercial printer?
Pierce: The Fujifilm J Press 720S was not only the first B2/half-size production inkjet press brought to market, it is now in its second generation and the most widely adopted B2 inkjet press with over 100 installations globally. 

The J Press 720S uses the industry benchmark Fujifilm Dimatix Samba print heads along with Fujifilm’s cloud-based ColorPath SYNC colour management, Fujifilm VIVIDIA aqueous pigment inks, VERSA Drop jetting technology and proprietary screening algorithms to deliver what many describe as better than offset quality printed output.  And by running standard coated and uncoated offset stocks, the commercial printer and print buyer do not have to change the stocks they use or purchase stocks that carry a premium cost.  

What key challenges still exist for production inkjet?
Pierce: There is still a perception in the market that production inkjet has yet to achieve offset quality. At least in the case of the J Press 720S from Fujifilm, this market need has been met. Commercial printers tend to look at their current book of business when considering the purchase of a production inkjet press and plugging these numbers into their ROI. The reality is that just about all printers that have adopted production inkjet technology have achieved new business with their investment.

Brett Rogers, Technical Sales Manager, Komcan (Canadian Komori distributor)

Why is it important for commercial printers to consider inkjet?
Rogers: The primary shortfalls of digital printing technologies have been twofold. Volume and Quality, you can maybe have one, but not the other. With production Inkjet, we are seeing that elevated crossover point, and unmatched quality in the digital space.

We have also come to a point with traditional toner-based digital equipment, that quality and other factors such as substrate limitations, and post-press application, are limiting. Inkjet bucks all of those and allows for A) high level of quality, B) continually increasing crossover point, C) substrate freedom (in some cases), and D) post-press durability.

What is currently your company’s best inkjet press for a typical commercial printer?
Rogers: The Komori IS29 is a leader in all four aspects of quality, low to higher volume printing, substrate freedom, and post press durability. The larger format, 23 x 29 inches, allows for 50 percent more up per press sheet, at 8.5 x 11 inches, without sacrificing press speed [3,000 sheets per hour].

Print quality produced by the IS29 is fantastic. Colour consistency throughout the run is solid. Perfecting, UV curing, substrate freedom, including off-the-shelf non-porous substrates, and litho based sheet transport with excellent register, make the IS29 an excellent investment, while maintaining the digital advantages, such as full colour variable. The crossover point is rising.

What key challenges still exist for production inkjet adoption?
Rogers: Preconceptions regarding quality exist because previous incarnations of inkjet technology had shortcomings. This is no longer the case and inkjet printing has now surpassed quality levels seen in the toner world.

Further, the cost of introduction has been an objection heard in the market. The same price objections that were heard when toner based technologies, CtP, or even the Linotype machine came out. Technologies, while in their infancy, are expensive. No different than DVD players, VCRs or 8 Tracks. Inkjet, however, is past the infancy stage, and even past the toddler stage; and as such, improvements are being made, turning these objections obsolete.

Andre D’Urbano, Director of Dealer Sales, RISO Canada

Why is it important for commercial printers to consider an inkjet press?
D’Urbano: For years the print consumer has been told that colour is more expensive. To this day we have organizations that are forced to limit or ban the use of colour as it is deemed a luxury. Inkjet allows those on a budget to shift a majority of their monochrome printed material into the colour arena but at an affordable price. Colour inkjet has a cost of 1 to 2 cents per page and can be sold at 4 to 6 cents per page, a far cry from the 10 to 15 retail cents for colour toner. The end user gains in increased colour printing while the print shop benefits from the higher margins of inkjet compared to monochrome toner.

What is currently your company’s best inkjet press for a typical commercial printer?
D’Urbano: RISO offers production, colour, cut-sheet printing at a speed of 9,600 letter-size pages per hour. The GD9630 offers improved 5-colour output at the low cost that is expected from inkjet. The RISO solution is one of the few – if not the only – high-speed, cut-sheet production devices priced at about $100,000 or less. It is the least expensive way to dip your toe into the inkjet waters. If a print shop has seen the demand for inkjet grow but cannot justify the investment of some of the larger devices in the market, RISO will provide the shallow financial ramp needed to get in the game.

What key challenges still exist for production inkjet?
D’Urbano: Inkjet quality has and continues to be widely accepted by end users everywhere. The challenge comes from those selling inkjet printers along with those at the print shop level who need to sell inkjet printed material to their clients. These are the ones with a critical eye and some cannot get past anything less than toner that is baked onto coated paper. The fact is that there are many non-profit organizations convinced that colour is out of reach. They have for years been told that a colour image will cost more. As such, they revert back to monochrome. A print shop that prints 60 percent monochrome and 40 percent colour annually can easily transfer half that monochrome work to colour inkjet as it is more affordable than toner.

Alec Couckuyt, Senior Director PPSG, Canon Canada

Why is it important for commercial printers to consider inkjet?
Couckuyt: In this rapidly evolving communications industry the commercial printer is faced with five critical dynamics: 1. Shorter run lengths, 2. Faster turnaround times, 3. Increasing job complexity like variable content/images, 4. Expansion of products and services offerings like data management, commercial print, display graphics, fulfillment, and 5. Relentless pressure on cost avoidance. These dynamics dictate the degree of relevance of print within the communications omni-channel venues. Inkjet technology gives the commercial printer an additional critical tool to stay on top of these dynamics and make print highly relevant.

What is currently your company’s best inkjet press for a typical commercial printer?
Couckuyt: The answer has to be twofold – one press does not fit all. If the commercial printer deals with a high number of different types of short run jobs with fast turnaround, an ability to print on a wide range of media, including coated offset, the answer is the VarioPrint iSeries, our highly productive inkjet cutsheet colour press. If the commercial printer’s requirements are based on higher volumes, variable content/images the answer is the ProStream. This 22-inch-wide web press with a native 1,200 x 1,200-dpi multi-level droplet modulation, runs at 80 metres per minute, prints on coated offset media, with a monthly duty cycle of 35 million impressions, and a colour gamut beyond offset.

What key challenges still exist for production inkjet adoption?
Couckuyt: The two biggest challenges a commercial printer faces today are 1) The clear understanding of ink consumption, in order to properly estimate job costs, and 2) The understanding of what paper media a specific inkjet press can print on. It is essential for the commercial printer that during the discovery phase the vendor clearly defines these two aspects.
For many commercial printing leaders, inkjet has reached a tipping point as the process becomes a relevant, quality production tool, initiating a third wave of technological change.

Variety, The Spice of Life Media catalogue, is a Canon-produced self-promotion project using 15 different papers to highlight the media versatility of the Océ VarioPrint i300. First introduced in Canada in 2016, this production-strength sheetfed press is equipped with iQuarius technology to enable inkjet printing at high speeds. It is designed to bridge the gap between the application flexibility of toner presses, the efficiency of offset sheetfed presses, and the economy and productivity of web-fed systems. It enables print providers to handle new and diverse applications with an eye toward productivity and profitability – benefits all inkjet press makers are leveraging.

Canon’s Variety project also highlights the use of Océ VarioPrint i-Series’ optional ColorGrip technology, which enables printing on a wider range of media, expanding the application range. ColorGrip enhances the image quality on papers not designed for inkjet. It expands the media range to include some coated offset stocks.   
Production inkjet jobs can now include a variety of coated, uncoated and treated stocks and the printing system automatically adjusts the print parameters for each media type on a sheet-by-sheet basis.

ColorGrip and iQuarius, and of course the VarioPrint i-Series, are unique to Canon, but the movement toward commercial-printing relevance by new generation inkjet technologies from other leading vendors is becoming a reality in the offset-dominated world of printing.         

The Variety project highlights that the days when inkjet presses could not effectively print on coated offset stocks are gone. Gone are the days when the quality of inkjet was considered almost there. And gone are the days when commercial printers once felt like they had to ask that million-dollar question, offset or inkjet?

Waves of change
If the question is no longer offset or inkjet, then what should printers ask themselves and their suppliers when considering capital investment for the present and future health of their businesses? In order to figure this out, I began tapping into my years of experience in this ever-evolving industry. Over the past 30 years, I’ve had the privilege to work for companies such as Agfa in Belgium, Germany and Canada; Transcontinental Printing at its large-scale plants in both Canada and the United States; Symcor – one of North America’s largest transactional printers in Canada; and, for the last 10 years, with Canon Canada. Throughout my career, I have been able to witness firsthand the many waves of technological change in our industry.

During my career, the first significant wave of change started with the introduction of the Macintosh computer in the mid-1980s, the subsequent digitization of prepress, and ultimately the launch of Computer-to-plate technologies – the latter largely pinned on Canadian-led development. This digitization of print basically eliminated many vertical processes like typesetting, imposition, colour separation and plate-making.

The wave of digitization in print created a business shift, allowing – if not forcing – printers to create a more streamlined process to move directly from file preparation to plate-making. The industry underwent massive consolidation because of digitization. I remember Agfa buying Compugraphic and soon after Hoechst – and subsequently how dramatically the graphic arts dealer network changed across the country.

The second wave of change started in the mid-1990s with the introduction of the first rudimentary standalone digital presses and digital inkjet print heads. Print jobs exceeding million-plus run lengths started to disappear and we entered into versioning and personalization. I remember installing the first one-inch Scitex inkjet heads on our half-web offset presses and the acquisition of our first Xeikon digital colour press at Yorkville Printing, owned by Transcontinental.

During this wave, we also saw the evolution of toner-based platforms (cut-sheet and continuous-feed marvels) in an adjacent industry. The transactional printing industry was dealing with large amounts of variable data coming off mainframes, printing transaction records on preprinted offset shells. At that time, transaction printers only printed in black-and white, no colour, and obviously all variable.

As the millennium year 2000 approached, transaction printers and commercial printers were operating in divergent spaces, serving different verticals.

Then came inkjet
We installed our first high-volume inkjet presses in 2008 in Toronto and Montreal at a leading transactional printer. These full-colour inkjet web presses ran 22-inch wide rolls of paper (52 inches in diameter) at speeds of nearly 500 feet peer minute. Massive amounts of transaction data and CMYK colour data were processed on the fly, now driven by powerful servers. More importantly, the introduction of printing full colour in a “white paper factory” model eliminated the need for pre-printed offset shells. This dramatically impacted overall efficiencies, including warehousing and logistics.

Inkjet printing fundamentally reshaped the transactional printing segment of the industry. Early adopters of this technology gained a major competitive advantage, captured considerable market share, and – again – market consolidation ensued. Inkjet had evolved but was not ready for commercial printing – not yet. But the once distinctive lines between transaction and commercial printers began to blur.

For many in the commercial printing world, drupa 2016, also dubbed Inkjet 2.0, was the tipping point for when inkjet became a relevant, quality production tool, initiating the third wave of change. The demand for short runs, full colour, quick turnarounds, and variable print work increased exponentially as the need for long print runs decreased substantially. Since the turn of the millennium, maturing toner-based, cut-sheet production platforms fulfilled these initial print consumer demands for short-run, full-colour print. Their inherent limited production speed and higher cost structures, however, limited the type of applications one could profitably take on.

The current generation of inkjet presses have now eliminated these production limitations and are breaking down cost structure barriers. Additionally, the range of capabilities and the quality output of inkjet presses make them suitable for at least 80 percent of all commercial printing work. But these are not the primary advantages of inkjet, they are a given. The single most-important attribute of inkjet is the capability of producing relevant printed products.

Inkjet is not just a technological evolution or change, above all it is the cornerstone in helping printing businesses stay relevant in a changing world of omni-channel communications – a world flooded by print, e-mail, apps, text, any number of smartphone capabilities, Web, streaming, virtual reality, etcetera. Inkjet gives commercial printers the tools to mass produce customized and personalized integrated print pieces almost instantaneously, and to be an integral part of the omni-channel communications sphere.

The ultimate question commercial printers should ask, therefore, is how do inkjet and offset fit into my business model and enhance the relevance of my offerings within the world of omni-channel communications. These are indeed exciting times for an exciting industry.

St. Joseph Communications this spring is launching what it describes as a new flyer distribution model, under its media brand name Best Life, for Canadian retailers to reach consumers.

The flyers are being packaged with St. Jopeph’s new editorial magazine, Best Life, which is a weekly editorial lifestyle magazine published by the company’s St. Joseph Media division. St. Joseph Media is the publisher of brands like Toronto Life and FASHION Magazine. The first Best Life package will reach Canadian mailboxes for a controlled test in the London, Ontario, market on April 27, 2018.

St. Joseph explains this model presents a more cost-effect solution than current Canada Post flyer delivery programs, as well as what the company describes as a cluttered delivery environment. Best Life will be deposited directly into the mailboxes of targeted houses, apartments and condos.

“We’re excited to present this new flyer delivery model for Canadian retailers that is cost-effective and provides a great consumer experience, tapping into Canadians’ affinity for flyers and high-quality editorial,” said Tony Gagliano, CEO of St. Joseph Communications. “Over the last 12 months, we have worked to develop and create the ultimate model that addresses what’s lacking in flyer delivery in Canada today: a compelling, relevant, targeted, differentiated, timely – and affordable solution."

St. Joseph’s Strategic Content Labs recently conducted an online study and found that 75 percent of respondents somewhat/strongly agree that flyers are an important source of shopping information.

The survey also found that 80 percent of respondents would read the Best Life magazine, while 66 percent would notice the package more than other types of flyers. St. Joseph also reports the concept scored well with those who do not currently enjoy receiving flyers.

Finance Minister Bill Morneau and Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz on March 8, 2018, unveiled Canada’s new $10 bank note featuring Viola Desmond. Held on International Women’s Day, to highlight the pioneering contributions of Desmond, the unveiling ceremony took place at the Halifax Public Library.

Once issued into circulation in late-2018, the new bank note will mark the first time that a Canadian woman is portrayed on a regularly circulating Bank of Canada note.

Viola Desmond was selected for the new $10 bank note by Minister Morneau following an open call to Canadians to nominate an iconic Canadian woman for the next redesigned bank note (See Notably Canadian below).

A successful Black Nova Scotian businesswoman, Bank of Canada explains Desmond refused to leave a whites-only area of a movie theatre in 1946 and was subsequently jailed, convicted and fined. Her court case, explains the Bank, is one of the first known legal challenges against racial segregation brought forth by a Black woman in Canada.

The new $10 note is the first vertically oriented bank note issued in Canada. This allows for a more prominent image of Viola Desmond, explains the Bank, and differentiates this new $10 note from its other current polymer notes.

“Two years ago today – on International Women’s Day – Prime Minister Trudeau and I announced that the time had come for a Canadian woman to be represented on Canada’s bank notes,” said Minister Morneau. “Since then, thanks in large part through her sister Wanda, more and more Canadians have come to know Viola Desmond’s remarkable personal story of courage and dignity.

“Her story serves as inspiration to all Canadians and acts as a powerful reminder of how one person’s actions can help trigger change across generations,” continued Morneau. “As we strive for equality across our economy and in every facet of our country, we hope this constant reminder of Viola’s story will help inspire a new generation of women, men, girls and boys to fight for what they believe, take their place and create a better future for themselves and all Canadians.”
Notably Canadian
The following article describes the process used by the Bank of Canada to choose Viola Desmond for the $10 bank note. It was first published in PrintAction’s March 2017 print issue:

The Bank of Canada will soon make a commemorative bank note available to mark this year’s 150th anniversary of confederation for the country, which has only seen three other such commemorative notes since the Bank was founded. In honour of the 100th anniversary of Confederation, a modified version of the 1954 $1 note was issued, bearing the date 1967. The centennial logo was added to the front of the note and a view of Canada’s original Parliament Buildings, destroyed by fire in 1916, was substituted for the prairie landscape that appeared on the original 1954 $1 note.

A commemorative $25 note bearing the date May 6, 1935, was issued in honour of the Silver Jubilee of King George V. Similar to the 1935 series. This denomination was available in either French or English. And finally, the Bank issued a commemorative bank note that is a variation of the existing $20 note in the Polymer series in late 2015 to recognize Queen Elizabeth II, whose image adorns the popular note, becoming the longest-reigning sovereign in Canada’s modern era.

Commemorative notes provide welcome press time for the Bank’s print suppliers and related service providers and the new 150th anniversary $10 note will soon be superseded by a new national milestone note in 2018. On International Women’s Day, March 8, 2016, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau launched a process for Canadians to help select who would become the first Canadian woman to have their portrait featured on a regularly circulating Bank of Canada note. The Twitter-fuelled #bankNOTEable campaign launched by the Bank yielded more than 26,300 submissions by April 15, 2016.

The #bankNOTEable push resulted in 461 eligible candidates, who had Canadian citizenship and had been dead for at least 25 years. An independent Advisory Council composed of Canadian academic, sport, cultural and thought leaders narrowed down the list to five candidates for consideration by the Minister of Finance.

In December 2016, Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz announced that Viola Desmond will be featured on a new $10 note, expected in late 2018. Desmond, an icon of the human rights and freedoms movement in Canada, was selected from a short list of five iconic Canadian women by Minister of Finance Bill Morneau, in accordance with the Bank of Canada Act. A successful Nova Scotia businesswoman, Viola is known for defiantly refusing to leave a whites-only area of a movie theatre in 1946. She was subsequently jailed, convicted and fined. Her court case was the first known legal challenge against racial segregation brought forth by a Black woman in Canada.

The other short-listed women included Pauline Johnson, daughter of a Mohawk Chief and an Englishwoman, best know for the poetry she wrote celebrating her Aboriginal heritage; Elizabeth MacGill, the first woman in Canada to receive a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering (University of Toronto, 1927) and a master’s degree in aeronautical engineering (University of Michigan, 1929); Fanny Rosenfeld, who held Canadian records in the running and standing broad jump and in the discus; Idola Saint-Jean, primarily known as a feminist and pioneer in the fight for suffrage in Quebec; and Pitseolak Ashoona, an Inuit graphic artist known for prints and drawings showing.

“Many extraordinary women could have been on this next bank note, and the search and decision-making process were extremely thorough,” said Minister of Status of Women Patty Hajdu. “The choice of Viola Desmond reminds us that Canada is a diverse country where everyone deserves equality and respect.” Minister Morneau said, “Viola Desmond’s own story reminds all of us that big change can start with moments of dignity and bravery. She represents courage, strength and determination—qualities we should all aspire to every day.”

This new Viola Desmond $10 note, explains the Bank of Canada, reflects the broader themes of social justice and the struggle for rights and freedoms. It will be the first note in the next series. To continue to celebrate more iconic Canadians, the next $5 note will also feature a new Bank NOTE-able Canadian, launching another consultation process to seek input from Canadians.

Canada’s first Prime Minister, Sir John A. Macdonald, and our first francophone Prime Minister, Sir Wilfrid Laurier, will be honoured on Canada’s higher-value bank notes. This change will take place when the higher-value notes are redesigned for the next series. These changes mean that former Prime Ministers William Lyon Mackenzie King and Sir Robert Borden will no longer be portrayed on bank notes. The $20 denomination will continue to feature the reigning monarch.

Students of Ryerson University’s School of Graphic Communications Management are preparing to host the program’s annual GCM Colloquium on April 3, 2018, at the Mattamy Athletic Centre (formerly Maple Leaf Gardens) in Toronto.

This year’s GCM Colloquium also includes a Business Plan Expo component, creating a larger networking event for GCM students and members of Canada’s printing industry. This combination is reflected in the 2018 event’s name, Evolve: Startups, Mergers & Acquisitions in the Graphic Arts Industry.

The Business Plan Expo is scheduled to run from 4:00 pm to 8:00 pm, while the Colloquium is scheduled for 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm.

The GCM Colloquium is organized by student volunteers featuring keynote addresses, a panel discussion, and an information reception. This year’s industry participants include Jay Mandarino of C.J. Graphics Inc., Deanne Sinclair of Cambridge Label Inc., and Peter Tran and Rhodi Iliadou of Equal Parts Studio.

GCM’s Business Plan Expo is organized around new business ideas being presented by more 140 graduating students. This includes the opportunity for industry members to speak with the students and see interactive demonstrations of their business ideas.

To register, visit Evolve.
Kodak introduced its new Nexfinity sheetfed toner press platform, which builds from its NexPress systems, with availability scheduled for spring 2018. The new platform is built with Dynamic Imaging Technology (DIT), a patented Kodak technology for digital printing.

DIT technology works by applying algorithmic adjustments to specific areas of an image, explains Kodak, which optimizes image quality and consistency based on the image content in each area. Kodak explains this imaging technology produces crisp text, hard lines, soft skin tones, and beautiful skies on the same page.

Featuring a new high resolution and multi-bit LED writing system, Nexfinity is designed to work with a range of applications, including direct mail, commercial print, publishing, and packaging. The press runs at speeds of 83 to 152 pages per minute, working with expanded sheet lengths of up to 48 inches and is capable of handling stocks up to 24 pt.

“With Nexfinity press, printers get a robust digital printing platform that delivers offset quality while driving down costs and equipping them with the flexibility and speed to handle an expansive range of applications for their customers, whether it’s an order for a few hundred or millions of impressions,” said Chris Balls, General Manager, Equipment and VP, Print Systems Division of Kodak.

Nexfinity delivers the industry's highest information density, according to Kodak, at more than 1.8 billion pieces of image information per square inch. The system can reproduce fine details on the fly, like highlight areas and consistency in mid-tones by adjusting the exposure levels for incredibly high levels of print quality. The LED writing system provides 256 levels of exposure on the imaging cylinder, explains Kodak, compared to laser systems that only are on or off.
3D printing begins to move past consumer hype into industrial design and onto the production floor, as manufacturing and logistics companies plan for significant changes to their business models.

Financial institution ING in late-2017 reported the current trajectory of 3D printing could result in one-quarter of world trade being wiped out by 2060. This was its Scenario I, in which 3D printing continues to evolve at an annual growth rate of 19 per cent, with the possibility of locally 3D printed goods cutting trade by 40 percent. Scenario II presented by ING considers an accelerated growth rate in 3D printing of 33 percent, which would wipe out two-fifths of world trade by 2040. ING’s analysis also predicts, that at current growth rates, conservatively half of all manufactured goods will be printed in 40 years.

These long-term predications cannot possibly consider all future supply-and-demand variables, of course, but today 3D printing constitutes less than one percent of global manufacturing revenue. Wohlers Associates, an independent consultancy specializing in 3D printing research, estimates 3D printing will eventually capture five percent of the global manufacturing capacity, which would make it a $640 billion industry (all figures in U.S. dollars). A 2016 report called 3D Printing: The Next Revolution in Industrial Manufacturing, published by logistics giant United Parcel Service (UPS), estimates today’s 3D printing market to be worth anywhere from $7 billion to $9 billion, predicting it could reach $21 billion by 2020. Consultancy firm McKinsey estimates the 3D printing market will grow to reach anywhere from $180 to $450 billion by 2025.

The range of these growth predictions largely comes from the inability to fully understand how massive corporations – with the ability to shift markets – might alter their manufacturing models to leverage 3D printing. It is unlikely that 3D printing will predominately replace – or even penetrate – mass production processes in several product sectors, but it does hold the potential to touch most any category of discrete manufacturing. IT research firm Gartner estimates 10 percent of all discrete manufacturers will be using 3D printers by 2019 to make parts for the products they sell or service.

Watching 3D grow
3D printing is currently best suited for making complex, small-batch products, as illustrated by its heavy usage for prototypes and parts. The UPS report describes parts production as the fastest-growing application of 3D printing, specifically functional parts at 29 percent and prototypes at 18 percent. In November 2016, UPS invested in a company called Fast Radius to launch a new logistics model for parts production via 3D printing.

Fast Radius’ primary production facility is now located in what it describes as the world’s largest packaging facility, UPS WorldPort (Louisville, Kentucky), which also serves as the logistics giant’s global air hub. Fast Radius explains this “strategic end-of-runway location” provides it with up to six hours of additional production time versus using a near-site location, typically controlled by a third-party. 3D printing will likely experience growth under a service-bureau model as technologies mature, in terms of both function (speed and quality) and cost. More manufacturers and product companies will also change their business models to install 3D printing systems.

Research released in 2017 by IT consulting firm Gartner shows interest in establishing in-house 3D printing capabilities is “rapidly gaining traction.” Gartner predicts 40 percent of manufacturing enterprises will establish what it calls 3D printing Centers of Excellence (COE) by 2021, pointing to existing industrial-scale efforts by Boeing, Johnson & Johnson, Rolls Royce and Siemens. In September 2016, Fortune.com reported 3D-print startup Carbon received $81 million from a group of investors, including GE Ventures (General Electric), BMW Group, Nikon and JSR, as an extension of a $100 million funding round in August 2015 led by Google Ventures.

In December 2017, Yahoo Finance reported Carbon closed on $143 million of a new funding round to accelerate its global expansion. “Once completed, this round will bring the Silicon Valley-based company’s total raise to a whopping $422 million and reportedly boosts its valuation to a mighty $1.7 billion,” writes Beth McKenna. “To provide some context, the two largest publicly traded pure-play 3D printing companies, Stratasys and 3D Systems, have market caps of $1.14 billion and $1.13 billion, respectively.”

The prospects for 3D printing growth are buoyed by venture-capital investments with the participation of established companies like UPS, which holds the world’s largest network of distribution centres. Billed as The Global Platform for Part Production, Fast Radius enables companies to manage the design, engineering, prototyping and production of end-use parts. Its in-house 3D printing capabilities are supported by partnerships with third-party providers of traditional parts manufacturing techniques like metal extrusion, CNC machining and injection molding.

3D printing can help reduce the use of expensive processes to create tools, molds and modifications for production lines. In 2017, imaging giant Ricoh began replacing some of its traditional metal tooling with lightweight 3D printed jigs and fixtures for a large-format-printer assembly line in Japan, where an operator typically handles more than 200 parts a day. Ricoh is specifically assembling an electronic component using a 3D printed fixture produced in anti-static ABS plastic on a Stratasys Fortus 900mc printer.

“Because we are producing an enormous number of parts, it takes a lot of time and effort to identify the right jigs and fixtures for each one. This manual process has become even lengthier as the number of components grows, requiring that an operator examine the shape, orientation and angle of each part before taking out a tool and placing it back in its original fixture,” explained Taizo Sakaki, Senior Manager of Business Development, Ricoh Group. “[Now] we are able to customize the tools according to the part and produce them on demand, which is helping us restructure and modernize our production process.” Sakaki explains Ricoh would typically outsource machine cut tools that could take two weeks or more to produce. Ricoh’s operators can now determine the shape and geometry of a fixture that corresponds to its associated part through 3D CAD software and 3D print it in one day.

“Prototyping is the reason 3D printing exists, because there is nothing better to make one-offs particularly if it is a small part with high detail,” said Stephen Nigro, VP, Inkjet and Graphic Solutions for HP Inc., which launched its Multi Jet Fusion products in 2016. HP – an inkjet printing pioneer – plans to disrupt the 3D printing market with this new high-speed, relatively low-cost platform. HP explains on a current high-cost, high-quality laser sintering machine, for example, 1,000 gears would take at least 38 hours to fabricate, while those same 1,000 gears could be produced within three hours on Multi Jet Fusion technology.

UPS shared a telling quote from an engineer/senior industrial designer at a consumer electronics company: “Our prototype turnaround time reduced from three to six months to two to three weeks. Time-to-market for new products reduced by 40 to 60 percent. 3D printing is viewed as an enabler here for expanding into new markets. We initially used it once a week, but now it’s used daily.” UPS explains the next big 3D printing opportunity for consumer electronics is in smartphones, which comprise an estimated 35 percent of total consumer electronics sales.

As early adopters, the consumer electronics and automotive industries each contribute 20 percent of the total 3D printing revenue, according to UPS, with aerospace following closely behind. Mercedes-Benz Truck in 2017 began its first 3D-printed spare parts service, allowing customers to 3D print more than 30 different spare parts for cargo trucks. Logistics giant DHL, in its own 2017 3D printing report, explains hundreds of millions of spare parts from across all industries are kept in storage. DHL used data from Kazzata – an online marketplace for 3D printed parts – to estimate the share of excess inventories can exceed 20 percent.

“[3D printing] may never be as efficient as a 3-story stamping press at banging out ribbons of metal into panels, but, in one shot, 3D printers can form complex – indeed impossible-to-make – parts that a press could never solve,” wrote Pete Basiliere, Research VP at Gartner, which first used its highly regarded Hype Cycle Report to analyze 3D Printing in 2016. “Our Predicts research highlights three industries – medical devices, aircraft and consumer goods – that are making significant strides in implementing advanced manufacturing practices enabled by 3D printing. To a significant extent, the experiences of these industries can be applied to all manufacturing industries.”

Gartner research predicts 75 percent of new commercial and military aircraft will fly with 3D-printed engine, airframe and other components by 2021 – “After 20 years of use, Boeing has additive manufacturing at 20 sites in four countries and more than 50,000 3D-printed parts are flying on both commercial and defense programs.” He also points to how GE Aviation’s new Advanced Turboprop engine design converted 855 conventionally manufactured parts into 12 3D-printed parts, resulting in 10 percent more horsepower, 20 percent fuel savings, a shorter development cycle and lower design costs.

Basiliere also describes how Airbus is utilizing 3D printing in the construction of its airplanes, having already introduced more than 1,000 3D-printed parts in its A350 model. In 2016, Airbus unveiled a completely 3D-printed drone called Thor consisting of 50 3D-printed parts and two electric motors, explains Basiliere – “This aircraft, which is four metres long and weighs 21 kg, was constructed in just four weeks.” Lockheed Martin in 2017 announced it is using 3D printing for titanium satellite components, reducing cycle times by 43 percent and costs by 48 percent.

The evolution of 3D printing is poised to generate new applications with DHL pointing to 4D printing, as developed at MIT, which adds the dimension of change to 3D-printed objects: “4D-printed items can self-assemble and adjust shape when confronted with a change in their environment like temperature. Imagine water pipes that shrink or expand depending on water flow, or tires that adapt to wet surfaces and change back to their original size and pressure when the roads are dry again.”  The potential of 4D printing or similar market-boosting innovations is supported by the ability to print electronics under conditions similar to 3D printing. 
CRON Machinery & Electronics Co., which describes itself as the largest global CTP manufacturer, announced it is forming a new business unit to serve the global flexo industry. It will be called the CRON-ECRM Flexo Business Unit (FBU). CRON first entered the North American graphic communications market in 2014.

The new unit will be led by Alex Lee, as the General Manager and Global Sales Director, and Marshall Hogenson has been appointed Vice President Americas, Flexo Business Unit. Hogenson will specifically be responsible for driving the flexo business in North, Central, and South America by naming dealers, handling key accounts, and developing regional strategic partnerships.

“This is an extremely exciting opportunity,” said Hogenson. “CRON’s reputation as a high quality, affordable flexo CTP option is growing rapidly. The potential is massive and CRON is well positioned to become a major player in the market.”

In addition to the Americas, CRON's FBU will also focus on three additional regions: China, Asia, and EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa). Each region will have its own Vice President to drive growth in that market.

Hogenson joined CRON-ECRM in July 2017 as the Director of Sales, Flexo. He previously held positions at Creative Edge Software, which focuses on package design software products; Eastman Kodak, where he was the Business Development Manager, Country Manager, Canada, Packaging; OEC Graphics, where he served as the Corportae Director of Sales; and EskoArtwork, where he was the Global and Strategic Accounts Sales Manager and Director of Brand Owner Solutions.

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