A technology update from the floor of EskoWorld, hosted by one of the world’s most powerful suppliers in the packaging world

EskoWorld is Esko’s annual user conference and was most recenlty held in the NASCAR hometown of Charlotte, North Carolina, from May 9 to 11, 2017. Esko executives, product managers, and support engineers mingled with more than 500 technology users from across the United States and Canada.

Packaging printers and converters attended in a cavernous hotel ballroom and smaller break-out sessions in Mac and PC computer labs. Several partners including DuPont, EFI, MacDermid, were on-hand to support product integrations and assist with purchasing decisions.

Esko’s product portfolio stretches from structural design in packaging (ArtiosCAD, CAPE, Plato) to visualization and design software (DeskPack, Store Visualizer) to colour in brand packaging (Equinox, Color Engine).

Flexo plate making is core to Esko with the CDI plate makers and Kongsberg cutting tables. One of the main areas of interest amongst Canadian attendees (apart from seeking warmer weather, which they got!) was updates in automation (WebCenter, Automation Engine).

Esko’s core workflow tool at the heart of their workflows is Automation Engine (AE), which is updated every alternate year at EskoWorld. In 2017 the new release is AE version 16.1.

Automation Engine gets new look
Automation Engine is one of the most powerful “kitchen sinks” for label converters and flexo prepress, allowing everything from PDF processing to trapping and step and repeat operations.

New improvements to the UI are a simplified HTML5 browser interface code named “UX”. Another significant development is DeviceManager that connects AE to the CDI plate setter, the Kongsberg table and HP Indigo digital presses.

“We are seeking to integration AE with WebCenter for every task in our shop that an employee can do,” says Anthony Memme, Atlantic Packaging, Scarborough.

Enhanced packaging
Esko’s Studio Store Visualizer allows a user to walk through a store and pick up items. 3D design in product packaging is an area seeing new products and visualization tools. The store shelf is being replaced with Amazon purchases via an iPhone.

Designers and brand owners were offered tools including augmented reality virtual walkthrough of a department store where they could pick up and hold and rotate products to view the label. With compliance and regulatory requirements in a global product development life cycle of brand development, these tools are essential for brand owners and agencies.

Marriott Winchester, President, sgsco Americas, says, “We have a new digital store shelf and our large team here at EskoWorld is strongly involved in tools to create the enhanced pack shot and buyer experience.”

CDI goes flat screen
In a radical departure from the rotary, drum mounting of flexo plate expose units, Esko launched a flat-bed, LED expose unit called Crystal XPS. Esko’s plate making devices have evolved from CTP plate imaging using traditional CDI to Flexo HD (High Definition) and now to Crystal XPS.

The new design is a flatbed device with a bank of UV LED sources that expose the back creating a plate floor, and another row on the top creating the plate exposure and raised relief.

In normal plate making, the back exposure is done separately and while operators are aware that the photoinitiated polymerization is affected by the time between the front and back exposure, this is rarely controlled.

In the new Crystal XPS series, the front and back exposure can be set to be simultaneous or with a minimum time lag. Photopolymer plates are laid flat on the table, and along with time improvements, the new imaging configuration creates greatly improved flat-top dots.

All brands of photopolymer plates are supported and in use in the 20 companies today. The CDI goes flat in the new Crystal XPS device, allowing simultaneous front and back exposure that creates cleaner, better shaped dots.

Esko acquires MediaBeacon
At EskoWorld a press announcement revealed that Esko acquires MediaBeacon for digital asset management and stock libraries.

MediaBeacon helps in the publication of content for digital and physical channels and social media and integrated marketing.

Allison Hunter, Jones Packaging, London, says that “pharmaceuticals, life sciences, retail, can all benefit from marketing asset management tools that can help in omnichannel marketing.”

Buckle up for NASCAR
A large number of Canadian packaging printers, designers and converters from Vancouver to Montreal, travelled to the United States for packed presentations and roadmaps from senior Esko executives.

On the social calendar, a closed private evening at the NASCAR Hall of Fame, allowed brave printers to practice being a pit stop crew. If you are into packaging, put next year’s users conference on your calendar. EskoWorld 2018 takes place in New Orleans, June 4 to 6, 2018.

Amarula, the South African producer of cream liqueur, is now releasing a special edition of 400,000 bottles with its well-known elephant branding individualized by HP Indigo digital printing. The goal of the project is to raise global awareness for the remaining 400,000 African elephants, where are endangered. The African elephant has been the icon of Amarula Cream Liqueur since its inception. This limited edition of Amarula Cream Liqueur is an added dimension to the brand’s Name Them, Save Them African elephant conservation project.

In collaboration with HP, SA Litho, a Cape Town-based premium label producer, transformed Amarula’s Cream liqueur bottles into unique pieces using an HP Indigo WS6800 press with HP SmartStream Mosaic variable design technology. Established in 1903, SA Litho is locally and internationally recognized for producing premium quality sheetfed and reelfed labels for a variety of market leaders in various industry sectors.

“Individualizing Amarula bottles is a powerful way to reinforce the message that every elephant is an individual with a unique personality,” said Saramien Dekker, Global Marketing Manager for Amarula. “We have always had a special bond with these magnificent creatures. This campaign is about creating a connection between humans and elephants, and becoming actively involved in raising awareness and saving our elephants.”

In the first stage of the elephant conservation campaign, people could go to the Amarula Website to design, name and share a virtual African elephant, as a way to increase awareness of the danger facing these animals from ivory poachers, explains the company. Each of the bottle labels features an elephant with a completely unique graphic design together with its name. The number of bottles corresponds to the latest census estimation of African elephants remaining alive in the wild. The cream liqueur is produced from the fruit of the African marula tree, explains Amarula, which only grows on the sub-equatorial plains of Africa. The fruit is uncultivated, organic and consumed by elephants.

The production of the one-of-a-kind labels was made with HP SmartStream Mosaic, using two seed patterns in a variable design software algorithm, and the Indigo WS6800 press. In less than a week, HP explains SA Litho completed the printing of the 400,000 labels, produced on a metallic substrate using HP Indigo ElectroInk CMYK and white.

“HP SmartStream Mosaic is yet another way we add value through innovation. We brought this technology to South Africa in early 2015, and employed a brand and communications manager the same year to drive Mosaic and digital printing in Africa,” said Leon Witbooi, Managing Director, CTP Packaging Western Cape. “Months were spent researching strong, proudly South African brands that could use our technology in a way that would add value to the marketplace. This approach was strongly supported by HP Indigo and local supply partner, Kemtek.”
EFI hosted its annual worldwide user conference, called EFI Connect, at the Wynn in Las Vegas from January 23 to 26, 2018, launching a range of new products for different markets – hinting at how the company has broaden its portfolio over the past decade. Here, I take a look specifically at EFI’s new products and updates for the packaging market.

On the first day of the conference, Guy Gecht, CEO of EFI, hosted a fireside chat with two customers from Europe. These customers were a couple of the first to install a Nozomi C18000 digital UV LED inkjet press for the corrugated market. This machine is intended for corrugated packaging, corrugated display and high-quality graphics for integrated corrugaters and independent converters. It can be run in single-lane mode were the corrugated board is as wide as the feeder of the press or in dual-lane mode, which prints the corrugated pieces side-by-side in one pass. In this dual-lane mode, the print speed reaches up to 6,600 sheets per hour.

The first customer that Guy Gecht spoke with was Eric Barcourt, CEO of Hinojosa Packaging Solutions in Spain. This company has 12 production sites in Spain and they use offset, flexo and gravure as their main print technologies. They service the middle-market to the small customer. One important statement was that big customers do not do value-added production of their packaging products. Hinojosa started out by serving the shoe and textile industry in Spain by printing simple, single-colour boxes for the shoe industry. This is now changing with the outside of packaging products becoming more and more colourful and individualized.

In the past some of Hinojosa’s customers transferred their packaging printing to low-cost countries to save money, but now they are bringing their business back to Spain, because they require relatively short delivery times between the finished printed product and getting it to the end customer. In Europe, the market is consolidating and production and shipping costs need to be reduced. The internal processes in a print company also have to optimized to make a company successful. This includes also the office, back office and the design department. It is important to combine people, technology and means to achieve an efficient corrugated packaging business.

Eric Barcourt pointed out that they were the first customer to install a Nozomi C18000. He stated that the Nozomi offers the best image quality for the substrates they use and it allows them also to print on substrates which not always 100 percent flat. The Nozomi press allows them to service their customers with faster turnaround times and more customized and individualized solutions.

The second Nozomi customer was Mal McGowan, CEO of McGowan Print in Ireland. His business is a bit different than that of Hinojosa Packaging in Spain. He has a digital print company, mostly small-format printing. They also use Indigo technology to satisfy their customer needs. One of the special finishing technologies they use is Scodix. 

McGowan Print produces mostly outdoor media, advertisement for bus shelters and banners. They use PVC banner material and mesh fabric. These are usually printed on one of the company’s five flatbed machines. This gives an idea what they are doing in their business.

McGowan explains that for them digital printing is growing, the technology is getting better and they can print better and faster than screen printing companies. The purchase of a Nozomi C18000 allowed McGowan Print to get into corrugated packaging and now they are producing work for companies like L’Oreal. The Nozomi allows them to get into the production of floor displays, which they now sell to the UK and Europe. The purchase of the Nozomi, explains McGowan, was a game changer for the company.

During the Wednesday keynote at Connect, Marc Olin, CFO of EFI, stated that EFI has purchased the FreeFlow RIP software technology from Xerox and has integrated this technology into its lastest Fiery RIP products. This allows the use of 5- and 6-colour digital toner-based machines that support the application of gold, silver and white colour together with CMYK. The customer can choose to print one of the metallic inks in print station one and either white or the other metallic colour in print station six. This unique ability allows for some interesting colour effects on any small-run packaging applications.

A new flatbed printer was announced at EFI Connect 2018. It was the HSF4, a 3.2-metre-wide machine with print speeds of up to 225 boards per hour. It is designed for the corrugated packaging market.

Also at EFI Connect, productivity suite 6.0 for the corrugated box converting and folding carton industry was announced. This suite offers productivity gains in the areas of new revenue generation through cross-media marketing, eCommerce/Web to Print, customer relationship management and fulfillment and warehousing. Efficiencies and Profitability can be enhanced through dynamic intelligent estimating, global resources scheduling and optimized layout and planning. In the areas of pre-production the suite offers improvements in imposition and composition, complex versioning, personalization and integration with pre-press. The suite also offers benefits for the production through shop floor data management, direct machine interface and integrated digital front end (DFE) and job management.

Trough the cooperation between Xeikon and EFI in the area of the Jetrion digital label printers synergies are achieved. Xeikon will provide service, sales and support for the Jetrion presses, while EFI will continue to manufacture inks for these presses. Xeikon manufactures digital presses for packaging and labels. Its LED technology allows true 1,200-dpi resolution. Digital label printing is one of the core strengths of Xeikon, which usually offers toner-based digital presses for label printing, folding cartons and commercial presses.

During an interview session with the press Guy Gecht, he said that the flexible packaging is a very interesting market for EFI. Unfortunately, but he would not provide more information in regards to this statement at the moment. From what transpired during EFI Connect is the fact that once they get into a market they are very dedicated to offer their customers the best possible solutions that allows them to be profitable in that market segment that they are currently in or intended to go into.

Friesens Corporation of Altona, Manitoba, has purchased Canada’s first Manroland Sheetfed Evolution press, scheduled to be delivered this spring. One of North America’s leading book manufacturers, Friesens will install an Evolution R708P featuring LED technology, marking the company’s first foray into offset-UV technology.

Webcom of Toronto, Ontario, has invested in short-run casebinding machinery from GP2 Technologies as the publishing printer continues to expand its core digital inkjet production capabilities. The company’s inkjet production is primarily built around HP inkjet web presses.

Webcom’s new casebinding solution is ideally suited for short-run hardcover book orders in quantities of 1 to 1,000, which fits well with Webcom’s existing stable of digital print and binding equipment.

“Today, publishers can combine the best digital inkjet book-printing technologies with the best short-run hardcover bookbinding technology available,” said Mike Collinge, President and CEO of Webcom, describing the company’s new finishing solution. “The result is great-looking casebound books, efficiently manufactured in one plant at a low cost to meet demanding turnaround cycles. Our new short-run casebinding solution is ideal for book publishers’ POD, automatic stock replenishment, end-of-life and niche market book challenges.”

Webcom explains, that like its existing softcover products, text for hardcover books will be available in monochrome or four-colour printing. The new casebinding equipment is primarily designed for book sizes from 5 ½ x 8 1/2 inches to 8 1/2 x 11 inches, as wel as spine thicknesses from 1/8 to 3 inches.

In the first phase of the project, Webcom will produce flat-back hardcover books with optional hard or flexible spines. Four-colour covers will be produced using 100-lb gloss offset paper with Mylar film lamination. In the coming months, Webcom plans to add additional cover materials and will also produce dust jackets.

The new casebinding equipment will also support BookOnDemand, Webcom’s print-on-demand solution designed to produce books in logical batches to optimize cost and turnaround for short-run requirements.
Farnell Packaging Limited of Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, has achieved certification by the Sustainable Green Printing Partnership (SGP) organization. Established in 1961, Farnell is a family-owned and operated company focusing on providing high-quality, innovative flexible packaging work. 

Nearly two-thirds of Farnell’s flexible packaging work is produced for the food industry with the balance being used in markets for tissue, personal care, horticulture, and other industrial applications.

“The Sustainable Green Printing Partnership belief that sustainability is a means of continuous improvement for every aspect of your business is very much in line with Farnell Packaging’s sustainability and continuous improvement practices – from process, to people, to profitability,” said Bill Morash, CEO, Farnell Packaging. “Part of our culture is understanding our impact on the world. Finding ways to improve our facility’s energy efficiency through our SGP certification was aligned with our culture of continuous improvement and our entrepreneurial spirit which keeps us asking, what’s next?”

Morash continues to explain that Farnell’s SGP certification process resulted in the creation of a cross-functional energy team, developing leaders for the company while growing revenue and ultimately reducing the company’s annual electrical consumption by more than 156,00 kWh.

Farnell, in announcing its SGP certification, explains sustainability in business is a longstanding corporate culture and business strategy, focusing on a people-centred safety culture, their community, facility, and the process, materials, energy management and transportation, as well as reducing, reusing, and recycling opportunities.

“With the SGP certification process, [our] accomplishments include an Energy Profile, an Energy Assessment, an Energy Team, an updated Energy Policy, a Performance Tracking model an Energy Savings Opportunity Register, and to top it off a Bright Business Engagement Award for our staff who have always been at the heart or our company’s environmental successes,” said Morash. “We are confident that our infrastructure changes are creating a more sustainable continuous improvement culture that will continue to create value, savings, and other energy efficiencies for years to come.”

The late-January agreement reached by Fujifilm Holdings to acquire Xerox, following the proposed combination of Xerox and Fujifilm Xerox, for approximately US$6.1 billion, will first need to resolve a shareholder lawsuit filed by Darwin Deason on February 13, 2018, in the Supreme Court of the State of New York.

The acquisition protest from Deason, Xerox’ third largest shareholder, was joined by fellow Xerox shareholder Carl Icahn. Collectively, they control 15 percent of the company. Deason’s main argument is that the Xerox board failed shareholders by approving a deal that undervalues the company and disproportionately favours Fujifilm.

In response to Deason’s litigation, Xerox issued a statement in response to the proposal by Icahn and Deason that shareholders reject this transaction, including the following excerpts:

The Board of Directors of Xerox Corporation had reviewed the February 12, 2018, letter signed by Carl Icahn and Darwin Deason. To date, the Board has chosen not to engage in a public debate with our two large shareholders. However, we believe their misleading and inaccurate Letter warrants a written response to ensure the facts are clear for all Xerox shareholders.

The proposed combination of Xerox and Fuji Xerox, announced on January 31, 2018, followed a year-long comprehensive and exhaustive review of value-enhancing alternatives available to the Company. That review found that the Transaction, as currently proposed, delivers significantly more value to Xerox shareholders than would be achievable on a standalone basis.

Mr. Icahn and Mr. Deason propose that Xerox shareholders reject this value-creating Transaction in favour of putting Xerox’s future and the investment of its shareholders at risk… We will take each of the Letter’s mischaracterizations in turn:

CLAIM #1: The Transaction undervalues Xerox and favors Fujifilm.
FALSE. Mr. Icahn and Mr. Deason suggest through suspect math that investors are “selling control of Xerox for a cash flow multiple barely exceeding 2.3x.” This analysis is just plain wrong. As discussed in prior presentations to investors, Xerox shareholders receive in the Transaction (i) a $2.5 billion dividend at closing; (ii) 49.9% of the combined Xerox and Fuji Xerox; and (iii) 49.9% of the benefit of the value created from at least $1.7 billion of annual cost savings, including $1.25 billion in cost synergies that are only achievable via this Transaction. These calculations are highlighted on page 4 in the supporting materials accompanying this letter.

A foundational driver of this Transaction is that combining Xerox with Fuji Xerox will create a company that has a significantly-enhanced competitive position and will, for the first time, be able to fully realize the benefits of industry-leading scale and global reach. Our shareholders will have the opportunity for significant participation in this value creation, which Mr. Icahn and Mr. Deason conveniently ignore.

As shown on page 5 of the supporting slides, additional value is being transferred to Xerox shareholders by virtue of the pro forma ownership achieved in the Transaction. On the basis of implied relative value of Xerox and Fuji Xerox, Xerox shareholders would own 42%-46% of the combined company, compared to the 49.9% they receive in the Transaction. Based on a $9.4 billion equity valuation of Fuji Xerox (implied by the midpoint of 7x – 8x Fuji Xerox 2018E EBITDA), Xerox shareholders are receiving more than a 15% premium to Xerox’s unaffected share price, before any value attributed to synergy realization.

Finally, the assertion that the “one-time special dividend [is] financed with our own assets” is misleading. Although it is not contributing cash, Fujifilm, as owner of 50.1% of the combined company, will bear the debt incurred to finance the dividend as the combined company will be fully consolidated by Fujifilm without receiving any portion of that dividend.

CLAIM #2: Xerox should terminate the Fuji Xerox joint venture agreements.
FALSE. Mr. Icahn’s and Mr. Deason’s suggestion of “freeing the company from the shackles of the Fuji Xerox joint venture” is not a viable strategy. The joint venture between Xerox and Fujifilm has existed in various forms since 1962. The current structure dates to 2001, when Fujifilm acquired additional shares in the joint venture to bring its ownership to 75%. The agreement is a binding legal document that cannot be simply wished away, renegotiated or dissolved because Mr. Icahn and Mr. Deason desire it so.

Through the joint venture, Xerox annually buys approximately $1.6 billion of equipment, parts and consumables, including more than two-thirds of Xerox’s equipment needs. It is important to note that Fuji Xerox is the only potential supplier that is not a direct competitor of Xerox and would therefore be aligned in its interests to provide competitive pricing for those materials.

Walking away from the joint venture would require Xerox to completely rebuild its supply chain and manufacturing infrastructure, which would be extremely expensive, result in significant disruptions to our business and customer relationships, and take years to implement. Ultimately, this would be highly destructive to Xerox’s competitive positioning and shareholder value.

Mr. Icahn knows this because his representative, Jonathan Christodoro, served on the Xerox Board between June 2016 and December 2017. During that time, he and Mr. Icahn had full access to all documents governing the joint venture, as did Mr. Deason at the time he sold his company, ACS, to Xerox. These documents have since been publicly disclosed. For any of them to assert that these agreements were “shrouded in mystery” is disingenuous, at best.

CLAIM #3: Xerox shareholders will become passive minority owners, with no opportunity to receive a control premium.
FALSE. Xerox’s Board negotiated strong minority protections to ensure that the rights and value of current shareholders remain protected after the Transaction closes. These were detailed in our February 9 presentation to shareholders and include, among other things, that the combined company Board will initially consist of 12 directors, including seven designated by Fujifilm and five independent directors designated by the current Xerox Board. The five independent Xerox designated directors will serve for five years or select their replacements. Thereafter, they may be replaced by independent directors selected by Fujifilm and reasonably acceptable to the then-serving independent directors.

Jeff Jacobson will represent one of the seven Fujifilm Board designees and serve as CEO of the combined company.

In addition, the Transaction includes extensive contractual provisions that protect the existing Xerox shareholders. Among other protections, these provisions limit the ability of Fujifilm to engage in interested party transactions and to obtain disparate consideration in connection with a future sale.

Perhaps more importantly, inherent in Mr. Icahn’s and Mr. Deason’s statement is the assumption that Xerox is foregoing a more attractive control premium than an unidentified third party may someday be prepared to pay.

While Fujifilm controls the existing Fuji Xerox joint venture, Xerox has a number of governance rights that it would lose if Xerox were to be acquired by or combined with one of a number of “named competitors.” Indeed, the joint venture would be terminable by Fujifilm in such an event, even though Fuji Xerox’s exclusive distribution rights in Fuji Xerox territories would remain through 2021.

We believe the existence of the Fuji Xerox joint venture negatively impacts value in any other merger transaction. More likely, it would simply make such a transaction unattractive to any other strategic buyer. It is also not something that needs speculation: since the public speculation of a potential transaction with Fujifilm on January 10, 2018, no potential strategic buyer contacted Xerox, or its advisors, with any credible proposal or alternatives.

CLAIM #4: Projected synergies can be realized without consummating this Transaction.
FALSE. As we made clear numerous times in our disclosures, of the $1.7 billion in total annual cost reductions by 2020, $1.25 billion is related to what we can achieve only by integrating the two companies, while the remaining $450 million comes from a Fuji Xerox-specific cost reduction program. All of these amounts are incremental to Xerox’s ongoing Strategic Transformation. We are targeting to achieve approximately $1.2 billion of the $1.7 billion total annual cost savings by 2020, and the vast majority of cost savings are expected to flow through to the bottom line.

Both Xerox and Fujifilm have a proven track record of executing significant transformations in the past, and are fully committed to realizing the full synergy upside from the combined company. The current Xerox management team has outperformed its cost transformation targets this past year and will not settle for anything less going forward.

The compelling Transaction synergies extend far beyond typical corporate overhead cost reductions cited in most similar transactions, and are grounded in the highly complementary nature of the two businesses based on detailed, bottoms-up analysis. These include capturing manufacturing efficiencies, optimizing consumables production and integrating R&D capabilities to capitalize on best of breed technologies. Moreover, the combination creates a global industry leader with significant revenue growth opportunities that were far less certain and actionable for Xerox shareholders on a standalone basis, including $1.0 billion in revenue synergy opportunities already identified.

CLAIM #5: Xerox’s revenue and margins have continued to decline in the last three years.
FALSE. Xerox recently announced that margins increased from 12.5% in fiscal year 2016 to 12.8% in fiscal year 2017. Moreover, the margins we have recently delivered are the highest the Company has seen in years. Only one other company in our industry has been able to consistently demonstrate double-digit margins.

As Mr. Icahn is well aware, we have been successfully executing on the comprehensive strategy initially announced in December 2016 – which we note was developed and approved during Mr. Christodoro’s board tenure. We have since overachieved on our Strategic Transformation targets, delivering $1.3 billion of total savings through 2017 and have made significant progress strategically reorienting the revenue trajectory towards growth. Revenue attributable to strategic growth areas increased by 5% in the fourth quarter of 2017 through successful new product launches and channel expansion, particularly in the SMB market.

Our full-year 2017 results clearly demonstrate that the strategy we have implemented is working as we met or exceeded every financial metric we guided to in 2017 – Adjusted EPS was above Xerox’s guidance range; Strategic Transformation was $80 million higher than expected; Adjusted Operating Cash Flow was above the midpoint of Xerox’s guidance range; and revenue was within Xerox’s guidance range.

In conclusion, Mr. Icahn and Mr. Deason fail to provide an actionable plan or any cogent ideas to make their scheme a reality. Following their playbook would be both highly irresponsible and unlikely to succeed, particularly given the terms and constraints of the existing Fuji Xerox joint venture agreement, and the realities of today’s competitive environment.

The combination of Xerox and Fuji Xerox will create a stronger, more competitive company with enhanced growth prospects. The opportunity for Xerox shareholders to benefit from ownership of the combined company, as well as the substantial dividend to be paid upon closing, represents the creation of significant value for Xerox shareholders. The Board remains committed to maximizing value for all shareholders and securing the future of Xerox.

Heidelberg introduced one of its first customers to invest in the press maker’s new subscription pricing model, which comprising presses, software, services, and consumables under one subscription agreement. The customer is folding-carton producer FK Fürther Kartonagen, based in Mayen, Germany, which forms part of the WEIG network of companies.

This move by Heidelberg fits its growing push toward creating new digital business models, particularly with the company's new digital packaging (Primefire for carton) and label (Gallus) presses. The subscription model, however, will also be applied to Heidelberg’s industrial offset customers, as the press maker and its customers work together toward productivity and growth targets laid out in subscription agreements.

“Establishing pay-per-use models in industrial offset printing is the result of our company’s ongoing digital transformation, and also our software and data expertise,” said Ulrich Hermann, member of the Heidelberg’s Management Board and its Chief Digital Officer. “Heidelberg offers customers a smart complete system comprising press, services, consumables, and software solutions.

“The stable management of a system of this kind is inconceivable without big data applications – in predictive maintenance, for example – and our Push to Stop approach to autonomous printing,” said Hermann. Heidelberg explains its new subscription model, which will typically be based on 5-year agreements, follows the growing pay-per-use trend in mechanical engineering and aims to move away from growth based solely on selling and installing printing capacity.

Under the Heidelberg subscription model, customers only pay for the number of sheets actually printed. Under a conventional business model, printing companies typically buy the presses and pay separately for consumables or services. With Heidelberg’s new digital business model, all the equipment, all consumables required – like printing plates, inks, coatings, washup solutions and blankets – and a range of services geared to availability are included in the price per sheet to be charged.

Heidelberg explains this new approach also differs significantly from the click-charge model previously introduced by digital press suppliers. Although these suppliers also charge per sheet, explains Heidelberg, they mainly base this on their own costs and not on the customer’s business model.

“Under the Heidelberg subscription model, the economic responsibility for optimum technical availability, increased productivity, and maximum utilization of the installed equipment no longer rests solely with the customer, but for the first time also with the supplier,” said Hermann. “After all, a customer only enters into a long-term agreement with us if the benefits are permanent. We ensure this will be the case with our operator model.”

Under its subscription model agreement with Heidelberg, two new Speedmaster XL 106 presses from the drupa 2016 generation – with Push to Stop and Multicolor technology – are being installed at FK Fürther Kartonagen’s Emskirchen folding-carton plant. The subscription model in its totality also includes all service components, replacement and wear parts, all consumables required to operate the presses, and a training and consulting service aimed at increasing availability. In addition, WEIG is using the new Heidelberg Assistant digitization solution, which went into series production at the end of 2017.

The Heidelberg Assistant is being developed into the central control panel for equipment and components communicating independently. Maintenance requirements and wear will be identified at an early stage, using Heidelberg Assistant, to enable joint predictive service planning. Heidelberg Assistant was initially released in four countries to provide customers with digital support throughout the life cycle of their products.

“We’re looking to turn our Emskirchen site into a folding carton business that leads the way when it comes to availability and flexibility,” said Toni Steffens, Commercial Director of WEIG Packaging. “We’re therefore entering into a partnership with Heidelberg in which our strategic and business interests are aligned. Under the new business model, Heidelberg will no longer make its money by supplying press components, but solely by achieving agreed productivity and growth targets.”
ePac Flexible Packaging, an all-digital flexible packaging converter with six planned locations in the United States, has purchased 10 additional HP Indigo 20000 digital presses to expand operations through mid-2019. The new order quadruples production capacity for ePac and is the largest packaging deal for HP to date.
The purchase is ePac’s second expansion with the HP Indigo 20000 flexible packaging press since launching just 18 months ago with one HP Indigo unit. ePac currently uses three HP Indigo 20000 presses in Madison and Boulder, and the 10 new units will be deployed in new facilities opening in Los Angeles, Houston, Chicago and Miami.
“ePac helps simplify how brands of all sizes buy flexible packaging. Rapid turnaround time, low minimums, customization, graphics quality, and the ability to print to demand differentiate ePac from conventional flex pack converters,” said Jack Knott, CEO, ePac Flexible Packaging. “Printing is the core enabling technology we have built ePac on, with the HP Indigo 20000 serving as the foundation of our manufacturing platform.”
The 30-inch (76 cm) Indigo 20000, explains HP, provides converters the freedom to produce nearly any flexible packaging application, in addition to labels, and shrink sleeves on film or paper – with unlimited variation and support for growing SKUs, alongside benefits like reduced waste from minimal setup and production of only the quantities needed. Since its release in 2014, converters around the world have purchased more than 115 HP Indigo 20000 presses.

The HP Indigo 20000 is driven in large part by the HP PrintOS, allowing printing company's to monitor press performance in real time, while the HP flexible packaging ecosystem has grown to include solutions like HP Indigo Pack Ready Lamination and now eBeam for surface print protection.
Langley Holdings, owners of Manroland Sheetfed in addition to a group of industrial and engineering companies, published its IFRS Annual Report & Accounts for the year ended December 31, 2017.

Tony Langley, Chairman of Langley Holdings, described 2017 as “another remarkably successful year” with underlying profits before tax up by 7 percent over the previous year.

The reported profit before tax for 2017 was €111.8 million ($173.5 million in Canadian funds) versus €122.7 million (CDN$189.3) in 2016, but Langley Holdings explains the 7 percent increase in profits is arrived at when accounting for currency effects. With its adjustment of currency, this puts Langley Holdings’ year-end totals at €113.1 million for 2016 and €120.8 million for 2017.

Langley Holdings explains that Manroland, although profitable and having returned the group’s initial 2012 purchase investment in 2017, was “below par’ with its contribution. Headquartered in Offenbach, Germany, Manroland in 2017 generated revenue of €286.3 million (CDN$442 million), employing 1,545 people.

The group’s Piller (power supply systems) and ARO (welding technologies) divisions both recorded record revenue and profit years, but its Claudius Peters (material handling) division missed its target.

The group reported that revenues were almost flat at €903.5 million when compared with the €900.9 million mark generated in 2016. The group comprises five operating divisions, based principally in Germany, France and the United Kingdom, with a substantial presence in the United States and more than 80 subsidiaries worldwide, employing around 4,300 people.

The group made one small acquisition during its 2017 financial period and Active Power, acquired in November 2016, made a profit for the first time since its Initial Public Offering in 2001. Tony Langley also commented that the group is continuing to seek out acquisition opportunities.

The Minuteman Press franchise located on Main Street in Penticton was a sponsor of the 2018 Scotties Tournament of Hearts Canadian Curling Championships, won last Sunday by Team Manitoba skipped by Jennifer Jones.

It was Jones’ first win at the Scotties Tournament since 2015 as she tied Colleen Jones for the all-time tournament record with six victories. 

Andre Martin and Barbara Jenic, co-owners of the Minuteman Press in Penticton, attended the nine-day event, held at the South Okanagan Events Centre in Penticton, BC, that brought together Canada’s best female curlers, competing to represent Canada on the world stage in 2018.

“To be a Silver Sponsor for the 2018 Scotties Tournament of Hearts was a real honour,” said Martin. “Sponsoring and attending the event was a great way for Minuteman Press in Penticton to raise our profile with our business community so that people know they can come to us for a wide range of products and services.”

In addition to crowning new women’s curling champions, the 2018 Scotties Tournament included entertainment and charity events like a telethon to raise money for the Sandra Schmirler Foundation, which supports babies who are born premature or  critically ill. The events also help provide scholarship opportunities to junior curlers. “The Scotties Tournament not only brings the best of Canada on the ice, but shows the best of Canada off the ice through the telethon and other great events,” said Martin.

Before joining the Minuteman Press network, Martin worked in the newspaper industry for over 20 years. He and Jenic are active in the community and Martin is currently a member of the Penticton City Council. He also is the Chair of two peer-to-peer development groups.

“Events like the Scotties Tournament provide great opportunities for our franchise owners to market their business,” said Neil MacLeod, Minuteman Press International Regional Vice President for Western Canada. “Andre and Barbara took full advantage of their sponsorship of the event and I am sure they will continue to be active contributors to their community who make a real difference.”

Minuteman Press began franchising in 1975 and has grown to nearly 1,000 business service franchise locations worldwide including the U.S., Australia, Canada, South Africa, and the United Kingdom. “We really liked Minuteman Press International's ability to provide us with the resources to create our strong supply chain, their proprietary business management software that helps us manage the business, and the fact that we were able to buy an established business that already had a local foundation,” said Martin.

Cenveo Inc. released a statement that it is voluntarily filing a Chapter 11 plan of reorganization, under U.S. bankruptcy code 11, in the Southern District of New York, White Plains, which includes its domestic subsidiaries.

The company states the move, which does not include its foreign entities, will significantly increase its financial flexibility by reducing debt and obtaining new financing.

“Since 2005, we have transformed Cenveo from its print-focused roots into the largest envelope manufacturer and one of the largest labels manufacturers in North America,” said Robert Burton Sr., Cenveo’s Chairman and CEO, in the statement. “This court-supervised restructuring process will protect our business operations, as we will continue to operate in the ordinary course… we are confident that Cenveo will emerge from this process with a stronger balance sheet to support its profitable growth in the years ahead.”

Cenveo continued to explain it has negotiated agreements with certain existing lenders to provide Cenveo up to US$290 million of debtor-in-possession financing, which includes US$190 million of ABL financing and US$100 million of Term Loan financing. In total, Cenveo states the debtor-in-possession financing will allow it to access up to US$100 million in incremental liquidity during the Chapter 11 case.

“In previous times of challenge, we have proven our ability to adapt and transform our company with a business solution that is value maximizing. Our work on this debt recapitalization will be no different,” said Burton.
Electronics For Imaging has made a donation of its Pace estimating MIS/ERP software to Ryerson University’s School of Graphic Communications Management (GCM) based in Toronto. The donation includes licenses for 75 concurrent users, allowing the school to provide more integrated premedia systems for training its students.

With a full-time enrollment of 660 students, Ryerson GCM offers the only four-year degree program in Canada focused on graphic communications. It has its own dedicated building on campus with 12 full-time and 10 part-time faculty members.

“Last year, we sat down and discussed our needs for the school,” said Martin Habekost, Associate Chair of Ryerson’s GCM program. “We wanted to teach more real-world estimating, but lacked the proper system to really do it effectively. The students do estimating by hand, but we couldn’t show them a sophisticated MIS system.

“EFI has solutions for almost all digital printing processes. We approached them and they were very responsive,” continued Habekost. “Access to Pace will enable our students to work on an industry standard system and allow for good interconnectivity between the different software solutions on our pre-media side and going into production.”

In addition to the Pace estimating module, EFI was already a key piece of digital infrastructure at GCM with its Fiery digital front ends helping to drive the school’s digital press and proofers. Students also work on EFI Metrix planning and automated imposition component software that is integrated into the Pace MIS.

EFI Pace – a browser-based solution – is the core MIS/ERP software behind EFI’s Midmarket Print Suite business and production management workflow for commercial and superwide-format print providers.

The software provides processes like estimating, scheduling, purchasing, inventory control, data collection, planning, accounting, reporting, and analysis. The system is also designed to optimize resource utilization, eliminate manual touchpoints, and reduce waste.

Ryerson GCM operates sheetfed offset, narrow-web flexo, and cut-sheet digital presses, along with several inkjet proofers, bindery and finishing equipment, and a full pre-media operation. Its curriculum focused on the management side of the printing industry, as well as in design, print production, sales, accounting, communications, marketing and critical thinking.

“We educate our students to go into the management side of the printing industry and be as multifaceted as it is today,” explained Habekost.
Printer Gateway, a printing operation based in the Greater Toronto Area, has been closed by owner Supremex. The operation stopped accepting orders from the market on January 22nd, according to the company, with its assets instead being directed toward internal purposes.

Known as a trade-printing operation, Printer Gateway focused on producing marketing materials like postcards, brochures, booklets and flyers, leveraging Web-to-print technologies. Supremex acquired Printer Gateway on December 23, 2016.

Based in LaSalle, Quebec, Supremex is one of North American’s largest manufacturers of stock and custom envelopes, in addition to its growing interesting in the production of packaging and specialty products.
Fujifilm Holdings Corporation of Japan on January 31, 2018, entered into an agreement which would see it own 50.1 percent of Xerox Corporation shares. This end result would follow other complicated agreements in which Fujifilm’s subsidiary Fuji Xerox Co. Ltd. (Fuji Xerox) becomes a subsidiary of Xerox, which then allows Fujifilm to take the controlling interest in Xerox.

In a press release issued today about the move, Fujifilm outlined some of the reasons for the combination of the two companies, including the fact that Fuji Xerox (a document solutions company founded in 1962) is an entity formed with 75 percent capital invested by the Fujifilm and 25 percent by Xerox.

Fuji Xerox is known as a rare success story for a cross-border joint venture, explained Fujifilm, and the combination of the two companies Fujifilm and Xerox is the optimal conclusion for both. Fuji Xerox is mainly engaged in business in Japan and the Asia Pacific region, while Xerox is mainly engaged in business in U.S. and Europe.

Fujifilm explains it will make Xerox an owned subsidiary after Xerox makes Fuji Xerox a wholly owned subsidiary, and Xerox will be renamed Fuji Xerox. As mentioned, Fujifilm will hold 50.1 percent of the shares of the new Fuji Xerox, which will maintain its listing on the NYSE. It is also planned that the current brands of both Fuji Xerox and Xerox will continue to be used after the combination of the two companies.

Fujifilm explains the new Fuji Xerox will become the largest document solutions company in the world by revenue. Jeff Jacobson, current Chief Executive Officer of Xerox, will be appointed as Chief Executive Officer of the new Fuji Xerox entity.

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