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Agfa Graphics enlisted the facility of one of its long-standing customers to began a yearlong celebration of its 10-year anniversary of Azura technology, described by Agfa as a chemistry-free printing plate that has been used by thousands of customers around the world.

Agfa explains that Azura TS, a negative-working plate designed for commercial sheetfed printing operations, provides simplified platemaking based on its ThermoFuse technology.

With similar Azura anniversary celebrations planned for the rest of the printing world, the first event took place at RJ Multi Litho in late June. Based in Oakville, Ontario, RJ Multi Litho has been using Azura TS plates for more than seven years.

The commercial printer, which runs a range of 40-inch Komori presses, also leverages Agfa Apogee for prepress automation and images its Azura TS plates on an Agfa Avalon CTP system.

Headquartered in Mortsel, Belgium, Agfa is present in 40 countries and has agents in another 100 countries around the globe. The Agfa-Gevaert Group achieved a turnover of 2,620 million euros in 2014.

Sylvia Ma of Ryerson University, after months of problem solving through the SHOTS simulator, will be competing in the live finals of the North American Print Skills Contest.

The first round of the finals are set to take place on July 8 at the California Polytechnic State University, during the 47th annual International Conference for Graphic Communication Educators. The other North American Print Skills Contest finalist is Sunny Turner from Appalachian State University in North Carolina.

Ma and Turner were tested on the cloud-based SHOTS simulator, developed by Sinapse, by first receiving and then solving problems with the lowest production cost.

The winner of the July 8 competition will be prequalified (and, therefore, not have to go through new qualifying rounds) for the global competition at next year’s drupa tradeshow in Dusseldorf, Germany.

J. F. Moore Lithographers Inc. of Scarborough, Ontario, filed a Notice of Intention to Make a Proposal within the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act. The original filing took place back in mid-April, with the case’s trustee presenting its first report in May, followed two court-approved extensions.

A spokesperson from the trustee company indicated J.F. Moore is still in operation and is working through the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act process. The most recent extension for J. F. Moore to file a Notice of Intention (NOI) came on June 23 with an August 10 deadline.

The first report submitted by J.F. Moore’s trustee on May 13 includes a creditors list owed approximately $3.31 million. This accounts for a small group of secured creditors owed around $3.12 million.

The major secured creditors include J.F. Moore owner Dean Baxendale and the Business Development Bank of Canada, predominantly, as well as Frank Pantaleo, who founded J.F. Moore (along with Steve Moore and Joe Dattolico) and took on a VP role when it was sold in 2007. Baxendale led the purchase of J.F Moore Lithographers in late 2007 when the company had more than 50 employees.

Paper distribution companies are owned the largest portion of funds among the remaining unsecured creditors. Collectively three paper distributors are owed just over $80,000 and one ink company is owed around $18,000.

The newest August 10 court extension came following an earlier May 13 extension that had a June 5 submission deadline to receive third-party bids for the operation or its assets, with a June 19 completion date. The June 23 extension gives J.F. Moore until August 10 to file a new proposal.

J.F. Moore, with offset, litho and inkjet printing assets entered into its 30th year of business at the beginning of 2015. The commercial printer runs two 40-inch Heidelberg presses (6-colour CD 102 and 10-colour perfector) and Xerox iGen3 and Nuvera 288 presses.

At the recent Canada Post Expert Partners Program Conference in Toronto, Prime Data Communications of Aurora, Ont., received Canada Post’s Top Performer Award for Excellence in Direct Mail Growth.

Prime Data has been a Canada Post Expert Partner since the program began in 2013. Fewer than 40 companies in Canada qualify as Expert Partners, which, among other capabilities, relates to fast-track opportunities and access to trouble-shooters at Canada Post Corporation.
 
“Our investment in technology is what gives our clients great direct mail results, and that fuels the growth,” said Steve Falk, President of Prime Data. “We’re honoured to receive this award – a result of the hard work and innovative thinking of the entire team at Prime Data.”
 
Prime Data has been providing data-driven marketing services for over 15 years, focusing on the private sector and not-for-profit organizations like hospitals and environmental groups. Prime Data states it was the first private company in Canada to offer elan, a sheetfed inkjet printing system.

During last week’s Sustainable Brands conference in San Diego, Canopy of Vancouver, BC, released its The Blueline Report 2015 with the subhead North American Printers: Sustainability, Transparency, Paper Sourcing & Forest Conservation.

The non-profit organization, which focuses on the paper supply chain, also describes The Blueline Report 2015 as “A Business Consumer Guide & Ranking.” Canopy explains the resource was developed to help guide corporate print customers to the printer that best reflects their brand image and sustainability aspirations.  

In addition to the consumer guide, the Blueline Report also describes how the enviromental progress of the print sector is evolving, in terms of “who leads, who needs to be encouraged and why it matters to brand image and the endangered forests of the world.”

In producing the report, Canopy found the gap is widening between top performing printers and those companies thar are slow to adapt more sustainable printing practices.

Canopy states 25 percent of the top 30 North American printers have now developed endangered forest commitments and are implementing them to stimulate the development of new eco-papers and help drive conservation in forest hotspots such as the Great Bear Rainforest. Leaders amongst the top performing printers identified in the report include TC Transcontinental and EarthColor.

“In six years of working concertedly with the North American print sector we’ve seen a huge change in the environmental practices of these gatekeepers to paper products,” said Nicole Rycroft, founder and Executive Director of Canopy. “However, we’re also noticing the gap is widening between the top performers and those slow to move. Brands need to know where their printers land on the continuum of environmental performance and how to move them up the ladder of responsible practices. This report does that.”

Rankings in the analysis are also available in an online tool that will reflect progress and improvements in printers’ standards and practices. Canopy is inviting printers to update their profiles and rankings until September 30, 2015.

“If the medium is the message, then every business with a corporate sustainability policy needs their printed materials to reflect and uphold the values of their company,” said Rycroft. “By avoiding controversial forest fiber in printed products, businesses reduce reputational risk, advance sustainability objectives and help threatened forest ecosystems.”

Canopy explains, in the absence of detailed, public reporting, an accurate assessment of sustainability is next to impossible. The Blueline Report, however, outlines Canopy’s metrics of reporting in the print sector.

View The Blueline Report 2015

 

Bill Gortemaker, one of Canada’s most influential printing leaders for a couple of decades, passed away in late April at the age of 69.

Born and raised in the Netherlands in October 1945, Gortemaker immigrated to Canada in 1968. He settled in Hamilton, Ontario, where he met his wife of 39 years, Grietje, who survives her late husband.

In 1975, Bill and Grietje moved to Winnipeg, Manitoba, where they were married and eventually had 10 children together. In Winnipeg, Bill began his 39-year career with Premier Printing, where he eventually became President and a partner in the business.

Still based in Winnipeg, Premier Printing continues as one of Canada’s most highly recognized printing operations, running out of a 75,000-square-foot facility in the city’s St. Boniface Industrial Park.
Wally Richards, a former well-known leader within Canada’s printing industry, passed away on Friday, May 8, at age 76. Richards was diagnosed with cancer in June 2014 and given three to six months to live, but he fought to live almost 11 months after his diagnosis.

Richards worked with leading technology vendors like Eastman Kodak, Graphic Litho and Treck Photographic before venturing out on his own with Graffix Distribution and then later purchased Henning Graphics.  

“I worked with him at Graffix and Henning and he was the most amazing boss ever,” says Lisa Egri, Richards’ daughter. “He was fond of telling people that in the dozen years we worked together we only had two fights. He always claimed that both fights were his fault but that may not have been exactly true.” She recalls attending trade shows with her father, who had to stop every few steps to greet someone he knew.

Richards retired to a relaxing and fulfilling life as a painter and writer.
Esko of Ghent, Belgium, is celebrating the 50th anniversary of Esko Kongsberg, a manufacturer of digital finishing systems with many thousands of installations around the globe.

“Digital finishing is a vital part of Esko’s strategy, and Esko Kongsberg is key to our future success and that of our customers,” said Udo Panenka, President of Esko. “Fifty years of constant innovation have provided us with a strong reputation and foundation.”

In the early years, Kongsberg manufactured the first drafting tables used to produce test-parts and verify cutting programs for ship building. The portfolio then expanded to include equipment to engrave print clichés for map printing and then full-size designs for cars and trucks. In the 1980s, the traditional Kongsberg drafting tables were used in both the sign and packaging markets.

In the following years, the company changed owners through a series of acquisitions: first Artios, followed by Barco which transformed in what is today known as Esko. “Our future as a market leader was sealed by the acquisition of the company in 2002 by Esko. Not only could we provide total solutions, but we could also rely on the strength of a global sales force and service network to take us into new markets and seize new opportunities,” said Emil Skarra, Managing Director Norway at Esko.

In 2011, Esko – including its Kongsberg operation – was acquired by Danaher. Today, Esko Kongsberg serves three primary markets: packaging, displays and signage. “We aim to make production as easy, efficient and productive as possible for our customers – starting at the early stages of structural design, right up through the finished product,” said Tom Erik Naess, Esko’s Product Manager CAM.

The current Kongsberg product portfolio ranges from the XE-series of small format table featuring accuracy and speed, to the XN-series for more versatility and robustness and the XP-series for productivity. Last additions to the Kongsberg family are the V-Series of tables for entry-level sign and sample making, and C-series for (very) wide format productivity.

“We increasingly see our digital finishing equipment being used for true production of finished products instead of just prototyping or sample making,” said Panenka. “As a result, we are directing much of our research and development effort toward increasing productivity and industrialization with more automation, tighter linkage to software solutions, more industrial infrastructure, such as material handling, and integration with other machinery.”
As a result, Quad/Graphics states it remains the primary printer for Hearst’s magazines division, manufacturing 20 of Hearst’s 21 U.S.-based magazine titles, including Cosmopolitan, ELLE, Esquire, Good Housekeeping, O: The Oprah Magazine, Popular Mechanics, and Car and Driver, as well as related inserts and custom print products.

Quad/Graphics has been Hearst Magazines’ largest print supplier since 2011, when it began printing Good Housekeeping, Harper’s BAZAAR, House Beautiful, O: The Oprah Magazine, Woman’s Day, ELLE, ELLE DECOR, Car and Driver and Road & Track in addition to Veranda, which the Company has printed since 2007.

With the acquisition of Brown Printing Company in 2014, Quad/Graphics began printing 10 additional Hearst titles: Country Living, Cosmopolitan, Esquire, Food Network Magazine, HGTV Magazine, Marie Claire, Redbook, Seventeen, Town & Country and Popular Mechanics.

“With its exceptional portfolio of magazine titles, Hearst has mastered the art of content creation, demonstrating the power of print in a multichannel world and reaching more than 80-million readers every month,” said Joel Quadracci, Chairman, President & CEO of Quad/Graphics. Quadracci continues to explain this relationship with Hearst positions the company as America’s leading magazine printer.

“Magazines have the power to inspire and transport readers through beautiful images, expert curation and unique points-of-view,” said David Carey, President of Hearst Magazines. “Working with Quad/Graphics, we are able to constantly push the boundaries of what magazines can be, to create memorable, impactful experiences for readers and marketers with every issue.”

Hearst also leverages Quad/Graphics’ range of media, mailing and related distribution solutions to deliver its content. This includes Quad/Graphics’ new Publisher’s Studio Editorial, a branded application to plan and develop content for print and digital editions. Quad/Graphics also supplies Hearst with co-mailing opportunities to create postage savings.

“Magazine content is incredibly valuable in a multichannel world, and through our partnership with Hearst, we have the great opportunity to explore the limitless possibilities of ink on paper and related content delivery,” said Quadracci.

David Walker, an important figure in Canada’s printing industry for decades, recently passed away at age 80 after suffering a stroke. Born in Toronto in 1935, Walker was well known as the long-serving President of Louson-Desonite, a former significant technology supply company based in Don Mills, before eventually moving into a sales position for Heidelberg Canada.

Walker devoted much of his energies to developing Canada’s printing industry through association and educational initiatives. He served as the supplier representative on the Board of Directors of the Canadian Printing Industries Association (CPIA), where he also led the CPIA Awards Committee. He became an Honorary Member of the CPIA in 2005.

“Everyone who knew Dave, recognizes the valuable contributions he made to the printing industry and to the CPIA,” shares Harmony Printing’s Ruby Thomas, former Chairperson of the CPIA and President of the Ontario Printing Industries Association. “His dedication continued even after he retired through his participation in Wayzgoose…  Dave was a true gentleman.”

Walker joined the Honourary Society of the Wayzgoose in 1999, three years after it was founded, and served as Chairman from 1998 to 2000. For the past 14 years, Walker was an active member of the Wayzgoose nominating committee and a driving force of its membership.

“It is difficult to find the right words defining how very influential he was for so many people. He was a mentor, a leader, an inspiration and for most of us a trusted longtime friend,” says Willy Wilkins, former leader of the CPIA, who worked closely with Walker through Wayzgoose. “The Honourary Society of the Wayzgoose will never be quite the same. Dave was dedicated and almost driven to keep the Society strong and growing.”

“Dave was such an imposing industry figure for a long time. He always seemed to be present at any and all events,” shares John Greenhough, former longtime leader of The Data Group, who served on several association boards with Walker, in addition to his Wayzgoose involvement. “He had a serious but yet light hearted style that always contributed to the occasion. We will all miss his marvelous delivery of grace at our dinners and lunches.”

Walker was also one of the founding members of PESDA, an advocacy group focused on the position of technology suppliers in Canadian printing. He became President of PESDA in 1984 and was active in that organization until 2000. Walker is also noted for spending many years helping to raise funds and awareness for the Canadian Printing Industries Scholarship Trust Fund, which continues today.

“Dave always stood out in my mind as a person you just couldn't help but like,” shares Dennis Lynch, former head of Ernest Green & Son. “He knew how to enjoy life, made time to give back to all who called upon him, while balancing his business. I had many occasions over the years to spend time with him and was always impressed with his warm and friendly personality.”

Paper producers from the United States, operating under the Coalition for Fair Paper Imports, filed a petition with the United States’ Department of Commerce and the International Trade Commission charging that Canadian exporters of super-calendered paper are dumping product into the United States.

The Coalition for Fair Paper Imports (CFFPI), according to a report by EUWID Pulp and Paper, a news agency focused on global paper supply, is comprised of U.S. manufacturers Verso Corporation and Madison Paper Industries, a UPM-Kymmene subsidiary. CFFPI is asking that countervailing duties be imposed on the Canadian exporters of the glossy paper product.

According to a report by The Globe and Mail, the petition (filed in late February), alleges that “Canadian [supercalendered] paper has gained market share by underselling the U.S. market prices of U.S. producers.” The Globe article also states the Canadian companies named in the petition, Resolute Forest Products Inc., Port Hawkesbury Paper, Irving Paper Ltd. and Catalyst Paper Corp., are recieving government subsidies.

EUWID reports that the United States imported around 1.1 million tons of super-calendered paper from Canada last year, representing 88 percent of such total imports in 2014. EUWID also reports the petition covers all super-calendered paper grades, from SC A+ and SC A to SC B and SNC (soft nip calender), regardless of basis weight, brightness, opacity, smoothness, or whether they are offered in reels or sheets.
Speedpro Signs Calgary North East, owned by Joanne Ruston, has earned the parent company’s Franchise of the Year Award for 2014. This marks the fourth time Ruston has earned the company’s top award. Ruston also received the Al Crow Memorial Sales Award for achieving the top sales in the country.
 
“Under the management of Joanne Ruston and Joe Yee, Speedpro Signs Calgary North East has exceeded expectations in every category and is a worthy recipient of our Franchise of the Year award,” said Stuart Burns, President of Speedpro Signs of Canada. Some of the categories used in determining Speedpro’s Franchise of the Year Award winner include sales volume and growth, ethics, innovation, employee satisfaction and community involvement.

“We move beyond order taking into a consultative role with our customers,” said Ruston, “ensuring they end up with the type of signage that will satisfy their needs and objectives.”

Burns continues to point out that Speedpro Signs Calgary NE also set new record sales for an individual location en route to its Al Crow Memorial Award. “By creating fantastic client experiences, Speedpro Calgary North East has developed rock-solid loyalty. This is a real team effort in which everyone in this location has played a part in earning.”
 
Ruston entered the sign industry in 2001, following a 20-year career in the service industry. In 2009, she was named as one of Business in Calgary Magazine’s Leaders of Tomorrow.

The Speedpro parent company is headquartered in Winnipeg, Manitoba, and began franchising in 1991. Today, the company has 49 franchises from Victoria to Newfoundland.
Richard Armstrong, who had led Heidelberg Canada as President for the past 14 years, is set to retire at the end of March, inline with the completion of the company’s fiscal year. He has been active in the Canadian printing industry for close to 30 years.

Armstrong spent 18 years of those years with Heidelberg Canada, serving the first four years there as Vice President of Customer Service. He was instrumental in establishing new revenue streams for the press maker’s Canadian operation, through customer support, but primarily in terms of developing a substantial consumables distribution business.

Leveraging Heidelberg’s dominant position in pressrooms across Canada, Armstrong, both through acquisitions and distribution partnerships, developed a consumables network that was eventually mirrored across the printing world by Heidelberg’s other country-based organizations.

“It started in Canada and now it has become a major objective of Heidelberg to grow the consumables side of the business globally,” says Armstrong, who could not yet share details about future plans for Heidelberg Canada’s leadership.

Armstrong was also instrumental in helping to establish a dedicated building for Ryerson University’s School of Graphic Communications Management (GCM). He worked closely with Mary Black, then Chair of Canada’s only degree-level post-secondary program focused on printing and imaging, and a handful of industry leaders to raise necessary funding to have the building built on Ryerson’s downtown university campus.

The GCM building was eventually named the Heidelberg Centre based on the German press maker’s financial commitment to complete the funding needs. Last year, Ryerson GCM had more than 550 full-time students across all four years of the program, making it North America’s largest undergraduate program dedicated to graphic communications. Armstrong has also been a Director of the Canadian Printing Industries Scholarship Trust Fund for 13 years.

Heidelberg, with its enormous footprint across the country, has led much of the community development and technological innovation in Canadian printing over the past three decades, including Armstrong's 14 years of leadership. “We have been fortunate to have great market share and fantastic customers. The team we have at Heidelberg Canada is amazing and it has been a real pleasure to work with all of them," says Armstrong. "Heidelberg has been a great company to work for and I will really miss the customers and staff."

Prior to joining Heidelberg, Armstrong spent a year with Transcontinental Printing as a Project Engineer to develop feasibility studies for the implementation of new printing technologies across its Canadian platform. He also spent five years with Maclean Hunter Printing as an Engineer Manager, which included helping the company consolidate three separate printing facilities, and a year with Southam Murray Printing in the same capacity.

Armstrong joined the printing industry in 1986 when he took on an Industrial Engineer position with Toronto-area book manufacturer Webcom Limited, where he worked the next three years. He previously worked with Canada Wire & Cable Limited and Athabasca Airways Limited.

Distribution of the Yellow Pages print directory, controlled by the Yellow Pages Group, will no longer include delivery to doorsteps in select neighbourhoods and areas across Canada. Instead, the directory will be made available at various distribution points, in many cases alongside the existing real estate publications of Yellow Pages.

These magazines are distributed in newspaper-style, street-level boxes and distribution racks in public areas such as grocery stores and pharmacies across Canada. These distribution points have been re-outfitted with Yellow Pages branding and will now include the Yellow Pages directory in addition to the existing publications.

Yellow Pages states the move comes as it continues to transform heavily in digital media and looks to what the company calls a more efficient distribution of its print media. The company reports more than 50 percent of its total revenues, over $450 million on an annualized basis, is now derived exclusively from digital products, including the YP mobile app, YP.ca, Canada411.ca, YP Shopwise, and RedFlagDeals.com, among others. Yellow Pages plans to make available tablet and desktop versions of its directories over the coming months.

“The print directory side of our business continues to have a solid user base and to fulfill a specific need for the small businesses that use it to market their goods and services,” said Caroline Andrews, VP and Chief Publishing Officer of Yellow Pages. “This evolution of our distribution approach is aligned with the transformation of our company as we look to ensure the directory is making it to those who use it.”

The first directory market areas that will see this change in distribution are Brampton, Mississauga and Oakville, Ontario, with subsequent areas evaluated on a per market basis over the next 12 to 18 months. The Yellow Pages directory is distributed once a year, with the distribution month varying by Canadian municipality.

The Kennedy Heights printing plant of Surrey, British Columbia, which opened in 1997 at a cost of around $150 million to print the Vancouver Sun and The Province newspapers, shuttered its operation on the last day of January.

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