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Multi-Bookbinding has purchased the assets of Quebec City's Spiraplast, a producer of high-quality PVC wire for spiral binding. Founded in 1988 by André Primeau, Spiraplast has a fleet of equipment which includes a Deltaplast D45 extruder line and four spiral forming machines from Renz and Bomco.
 
All of this equipment has now been integrated into Multi-Bookbinding's 57,000-square-foot plant in Shawinigan, Quebec, positioned in the middle of the main printing centres of Montreal, Quebec City, Beauce, Montmagny and Ottawa. Spiraplast’s client base consists of binderies, copy centres, printers, and professional offices throughout Quebec and Ontario.
 
“We’re proud with this addition to our services. There are only two other companies in Canada that produce spirals made from PVC particles,” said Yvon Sauvageau, President of Multi-Bookbinding. “Binderies are always under pressure to deliver in record time. Vertical integration is one solution, plus we create new jobs in our versatile team of 60 employees.”

Sauvageau has led Multi-Bookbinding as President since 2008, shortly after he and a group of associates began a process to acquire the company following the passing of its founder (1988), Suzanne Ferron. The company, with 60 employees, is known for being one of the largest case binderies in the country and also as a large producer of perfect binding, creating more than six million bound units a year.
Xerox Corporation and Electronics For Imaging entered a new strategic partnership to develop what the company's describe as a next generation digital front end (DFE) to drive Xerox production presses. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

The agreement includes the sale of Xerox’s FreeFlow Print Server (FFPS) DFE business to EFI. Under the terms of the deal, EFI will continue to produce and support FFPS to avoid interruptions for current software customers.

“Customers will gain a powerful solution with more efficiencies, performance and quality to meet the most demanding production requirements,” said Andrew Copley, President, Graphic Communications Solutions, Xerox.

Xerox functionality from FFPS is to be integrated with EFI’s Fiery product. The companies explain that EFI sales and technical field resources will work side-by-side with Xerox equipment sales reps, in regard to FFPS installations.

“This next step in our strategic alliance will give customers the industry’s highest performing DFE with unparalleled imaging and colour management,” said Guy Gecht, CEO of EFI. “EFI integration among the DFE, workflow software, and management information systems products deliver the higher levels of automation and productivity that are key to print businesses taking full advantage of the opportunities with digital printing.”

Xerox and EFI have a long-standing partnership in terms of integrating technologies. Most recently, Xerox collaborated with EFI to develop a new print server, the Xerox IJ Print Server powered by Fiery, to drive the recently introduced Xerox Trivor 2400 inkjet press. The DFE handles a range of data streams, while enabling integration, colour management and integration with existing workflows.

The next generation DFE coming from this new partnership will be integrated with EFI’s Productivity Suites, which includes management information systems like PACE, PrintSmith Vision, Monarch, and Radius ERP. Additionally, the DFE will integrate with Xerox FreeFlow Core and XMPie workflows, as well as third-party prepress software like Agfa Apogee, Heidelberg Prinect and Kodak Prinergy.

The agreement, explains the company, is for FFPS only and does not impact the Xerox workflow solutions that carry a FreeFlow sub-brand name (FreeFlow Core, FreeFlow VI Suite, FreeFlow Makeready and FreeFlow Digital Publisher).
Somerset Graphics of Mississauga, Ontario, closed its doors on January 31 and entered receivership. The high-end commercial printing operation, well known across the Greater Toronto Area, was running out of a 20,000-square-foot facility, built by Jack and Beth Youngberg 37 years ago. Their two sons, Chris and Jeff, had been involved with the company for 21 and 17 years, respectively.

“Beth and I always agreed that we never wanted our business to become a hobby,” says Jack Youngberg, when asked why the company was shut down. “To continue to succeed in the current market was a factor in our decision. Our industry has become very competitive and commoditized.”

Somerset’s 29-inch, 6-colour Kormori HUV press, which was installed in mid-2013, has been sold to an unclosed printer. It was equipped with automatic plate changers and wash-up systems, with an ability to be used for both conventional printing or UV. Youngberg explains they are working on the sale of all other assets.

Youngberg explains they did not sell Somerset’s book of business, providing each account representative with the opportunity to maintain their current accounts and take them where ever they go.

“The industry is saturated. Everyone is chasing the same dollars. Supply outweighs demand,” says Youngberg. “The industry for the most part has been a very exciting wonderful area to work in. Somerset's employees, clients and suppliers have all contributed to our success.”
Electronics For Imaging announced its preliminary results for the fourth quarter and year ended December 31, 2016. For the quarter ended December 31, 2016, the company reported record fourth quarter revenue of $266.7 million (all figures in US dollars), up four percent compared to fourth quarter 2015 revenue of $256.5 million.

GAAP net income was $20.5 million, up 99 percent compared to $10.3 million for the same period in 2015 or $0.43 per diluted share, up 105 percent compared to $0.21 per diluted share for the same period in 2015. Cash flow from operating activities was $65.2 million, up 141 percent compared to $27.1 million during the same period in 2015
 
For the year ended December 31, 2016, the company reported revenue of $992.1 million, up 12 percent year-over-year compared to $882.5 million for the same period in 2015. GAAP net income was $45.5 million, up 36 percent compared to $33.5 million for the same period in 2015 or $0.95 per diluted share, up 36 percent compared to $0.70 per diluted share for the same period in 2015.

"EFI delivered another record revenue quarter and our team's execution drove significant improvements in margins, cash flow, and earnings per share, despite the negative impact of foreign currency," said Guy Gecht, CEO of EFI.  "As we start the New Year we are even more excited about the road ahead, especially with our upcoming introduction of the Nozomi platform targeted at digital printing for packaging."
Lucien De Schamphelaere, the founder of Xeikon, one of the printing world’s most innovative technology companies over the past two decades, passed away on January 20 at the age of 85. Xeikon was purchased by Flint Group in mid-2015.

After a 40-year career with Agfa-Gevaert, where he was instrumental in forming the company's Electronic Imaging System Department, De Schamphelaere wanted a new challenge. So, in August 1988 he established the limited liability company, Ellith NV, which started with just five employees. That name would soon be changed into Xeikon NV, the composition of the Greek words xeros (dry) and eikon (image)

Five years later, at Ipex 1993, the company unveiled its prototype of the DCP-1. The digital colour press provided the basis for the company's full-scale product line. In November 1994, the company introduced its Variable Data System, which allowed single-pass personalizing of individual pages.

Xeikon went public in March 1996 by listing on the NASDAQ stock exchange. It was only the second Flemish company to do so. Less than six months later it launched the Xeikon DCP/32D digital colour press. The introduction of the Xeikon second generation helped net profits to reach more than US$1.8 million.

In 1997, Xeikon introduced the DCP/50D, which the company describes as the first digital colour press capable of printing B2. Now with 340 employees, the company also moved to new, larger, premises in Antwerp.

Year 1998 saw the sale of its 1,000th digital colour press and a fifth colour unit was introduced to its presses, as well as an opaque white toner. The same year De Schamphelaere went on to found Triakon NV, a digital printing company specializing in point-of-sale.

Xeikon went on to be acquired by Flint Group on 2015. It also launched the Xeikon CX3 digital label press and the Xeikon 9800 dry toner digital colour press. A year later it introduced Trillium One.

“We were so saddened to hear the news of Lucien’s death,” said Wim Maes, Xeikon CEO. “He had an amazing passion for digital printing and unstoppable drive that lead him to achieve such an incredible amount in his lifetime. His dedication and pioneering approach remains a key cornerstone of Xeikon today.”

Lucien De Schamphelaere was born on April 3rd, 1931 in Gijzenzele, Belgium. He graduated in 1952 as an engineer in electronics and started working that same year for the N.V. Gevaert Photo-Products physics lab. In 1958, he transferred to instrumentation, a young department that had been created to automate machines and workflows at Gevaert. The department changed a lot during the fourteen years De Schamphelaere spent at its head. It grew from a small group of employees to a department of about 100 employees, and at the beginning of the seventies, Agfa-Gevaert was far ahead in automation.

In the seventies, De Schamphelaere became more and more convinced that traditional photochemistry would irreversibly be replaced by electronic imaging, and he quietly started working on an electronical printing machine with a group of close associates. In 1979, he started a new department, "Electronical Imaging Systems", with the support of former company executives André Leysen and Etienne De Wolf. Only 3 years later, the small team could present the P400, its first digital black and white printing press, at the Hannover trade show.

In 1988, De Schamphelaere was awarded the Otto-Bayer Medal, the first in a series of international prizes he would receive over the years for his contribution to digital imaging.

The continuous search for new challenges was a constant in his career. “Once a project gets rolling, I tend to lose interest. I’m happiest at the start of it, when I can develop what doesn’t yet exist”, he said in an interview with newspaper “De Tijd”.

From 1986, as president of Agfa’s Venture Capital Fund, he was given the time to look for the most promising applications in digital imaging. By 1988, he had a blueprint ready for what would later become "Xeikon".

For this new project, a limited liability company named “Ellith NV” was established in 1988. That name was shortly after changed into “Xeikon NV”, the composition of the Greek words "xeros” (dry) and "eikon” (image). Agfa took a minority participation in this company, the rest of the equity was brought in by six additional investors.

By the summer of 1993, the time was ripe and Xeikon introduced the DCP-1, a digital colour printing press that could print without an ink sheet. The renowned magazine Seybold called it a "new standard for the colour printing market. The impact of the DCP-1 on colour printing is probably as big as the impact Apple LaserWriter had on black and white printing”.

In 1996, Xeikon got listed on the NASDAQ Stock Market, it was the second Belgian company to ever take such a step. At the age of 67, De Schamphelaere retired from his position as Chief Executive Officer and in 1998, he left the presidency of Xeikon.

In 1999, De Schamphelaere established Triakon, a printing centre used to further develop digital color printing. All these years, he was a member of the Boards of Directors of Imec, Option, Melexis, Materialise and Hydrogen Systems.

De Schamphelaere received multiple distinctions for his pioneering work in the graphics industry, including the GATF-award, the IS&T Award and the prestigious Cary Award (1997).
Solisco of Montreal, Quebec, has announced a partnership with Trade Secret Web Printing Inc., a Toronto-based printing company focused on providing trade services. Solisco explains the partnership will give customers access to more extensive equipment in two different regions of Canada.

“The printing market is consolidating and Solisco is a leading player in this rapidly changing industry,” said Alain Jacques, President of Solisco.” With this partnership, we are strengthening our presence in Ontario and increasing our production capacity.” Solisco explains it has worked closely with Trade Secret for some time and wanted to take their business relationship further.

In the past year, Solisco, now in its 25th year of operation, has moved forward with various initiatives like acquiring YQB Média (now Maison 1608 by Solisco), a content development and magazine publishing firm, launching SoIX, an augmented reality app, and now partnering with Trade Secret Web Printing Inc.

Solisco has more than 400 employees and provides a range of printing and communications services primarily for publishers and retailers across North America.
Organizers of Graphics Canada 2017, running from April 6 to 8 at the Toronto International Centre, have provided an update of educational sessions to take place at the biannual printing trade show.

Print Media Centr, led by Deborah Corn, will be running Graphics Canada’s Innovations Theatre nd organizers have posted their preliminary agenda on the show’s website. All sessions in the Innovations Theatre are free to attendees.

IDEAlliance is also returning to the 2017 version of Graphics Canada with its G7 Summit running on the morning of April 6. More detailed information about this event can be found on the trade show’s Website.

Organizers explain LabelExpo will participation in Graphics Canada 2017 with a Label Forum.

Other primary educational attractions listed on the trade show’s website include intelliPACK workshops, sublimation zone, specialty graphics opportunity zone, Crossmedia Canada Conference, and the Printing Sales Training Day, among others.
Hubergroup, one of the world’s largest ink producers, has introduced a new sheetfed printing ink series, called Mga Natura, for the high-volume printing of food packaging.

Described by Hubergroup as an extremely fast-setting ink series, Mga Natura Is well suited for what the company labels as fast post-print processing. Hubergroup points to major market demands in the printing of food packaging like large-format prints produced at high speeds, cheaper substrate grades, and a great awareness for quality and safety that demand special printing-ink systems.

hubergroup is replacing its Natura Mga series with its latest Mga Natura series starting  on February 1, 2017. The company explains the new series holds greatly improved in-press performance and it satisfies the requirements of the major food manufacturers. The company also notes the new ink has very good organoleptic properties, especially when fast post-print processing is required.

Natura Mga will be available as process inks, as spot inks in line with the classic colour guides and also as bespoke corporate design colours.
Fastsigns International, franchisor of Fastsigns printing entities, signed 63 franchise agreements in 2016 with new and existing franchisees in the U.S., Canada and U.K. In the company’s most recent third quarter, the brand inked 22 new agreements, including 13 locations in western and midwestern states like California, Texas, Kansas, New Mexico and Washington.

In addition, Fastsigns opened 35 new centres in 2016 in new and existing markets with a projected 45 additional opening in 2017.

Fastsigns International currently more than 650 independently owned and operated locations in nine countries worldwide, including the U.S., Canada, England, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Grand Cayman, Mexico and Australia (where centres operate as Signwave).

The Fastsigns brand also signed a Master Franchise Agreement in the Dominican Republic and U.S. Virgin Islands, adding new countries to Fastsigns’ global footprint.

“2016 was another record year for Fastsigns. Our network generated over $446,000,000 in sales with strong sales growth in all regions and countries. We have the highest franchisee satisfaction ratings in the industry,” said Catherine Monson, President and CEO, Fastsigns International.

Fastsigns International was recently ranked number 1 in the Business Services/Signs category and 95th overall in Entrepreneur magazine’s Franchise 500, a globally recognized comprehensive franchise ranking.

“Growth like this definitely underscores the power of the Fastsigns brand and strength of our business model. We look forward to continuing this rapid expansion as 2017 brings a strong focus on the Northeast corridor, New England, Southern California and beyond, including entering new countries,” said Mark Jameson, EVP of Franchise Support and Development, Fastsigns International, Inc.

In addition to more than 400 U.S. and Canadian markets targeted for development, Fastsigns has more than 65 international locations open for continued expansion.
DATA Communications Management Corp. of Brampton, Ontario, has completed an additional investment in its printing platform, including an emphasis on label production, and announced upcoming consolidation of some of its existing nine facilities spread out across the country.

The new round of capital equipment investment focuses around another Xerox iGen 5 press, together with other upgrades and technology enhancements to its current label presses, in the first quarter of 2017. The total investment in these enhanced capabilities is approximately $2.1 million.

"These investments dramatically increase our capabilities in key growth segments of our business,” said Michael Sifton, CEO, DATA Communications. “We remain the leading cutsheet digital colour manufacturing company in Canada and our expanded label capabilities will further establish DATA as one of the leading providers of label products and solutions in the country.”

In January 2016, DATA, then operating as The DATA Group, announced an investment of $6.7 million to acquire multiple new Xerox presses, which Xerox described as one of the single largest toner-production upgrades by a Canadian printing company in 2015. Installations of the new Xerox equipment began in December 2015.

In addition to its new equipment investment, DATA is also announced plans to consolidate its Regina, Saskatchewan, manufacturing and warehousing operations into its Calgary, Alberta facility.

The company also plans to close its Brossard, Quebec Document Process Outsourcing facility, effective March 31, 2017, in addition to the outsourcing of its call centre facility to a third-party business process outsourcing provider, effective March 1, 2017.  The Company expects to incur total restructuring costs of approximately $0.9 million in connection with these initiatives.

“Our goal 18 months ago was to focus on business where we excel, are profitable, and have the ability to grow," said Sifton. “With these initiatives, we have completed our transition and now have five centres of manufacturing excellence across the country.”

In addition to these changes, DATA also announced the departure of Jeff Gladwish, Vice President, Marketing and Corporate Development. “Jeff has served the company well through our transition and we wish him well in his future endeavours,” said Sifton. “The direction we are taking centres on expanding our services with existing customers and capturing growing segments within the print production and data management areas. As such, our marketing push will be highly targeted and customer centric.”

DATA’s core capabilities include direct marketing, print services, labels and asset tracking, event tickets and gift cards, logistics and fulfilment, content and workflow management, data management and analytics, and regulatory communications. The company serves clients in vertical markets such as financial services, retail, healthcare, lottery and gaming, not-for-profit, and energy.
Ricoh today announced its acquisition of Toronto-based Avanti Computer Systems, which has been a leading developer of Management Information Systems dedicated to the printing industry for approximately three decades.

In July 2013, Ricoh made a strategic investment in Avanti as the MIS developer was preparing to launch its new generation Avanti Slingshot solution, which was released in the fall of that year at Graph Expo. One of the most-advanced MIS products in today's print market, Slingshot was built around a completely new coding infrastructure and the MIS sector’s highest level of JDF certification for automation.

Avanti’s Slingshot product, which can be cloud-based or hosted onsite, was in development for over three years before its launch, built from the ground-up to handle multiple lines of business, including large-format inkjet, toner and offset lithography, mailing and fulfillment workflows, as well as creative, marketing and data management services from one platform. The development of Avanti Slingshot was featured as the cover story of PrintAction’s August 2013 issue, The Slingshot Effect.)

“We are committed to continual portfolio advancements aimed at helping our customers grow their businesses and improve their efficiency,” said Jeff Paterra, Senior VP and GM, Technology & Solutions Development, Ricoh, about the Avanti acquisition. “We know that in order to achieve this, they need complete solutions which address their business needs. While our Ricoh Pro Series continues to grow market share globally thanks to its high quality and high productivity, customers look to Ricoh to resolve wider issues surrounding upstream and downstream systems. Our acquisition of Avanti helps us more effectively do just that.”
 
Previously, Ricoh acquired MarcomCentral (formerly known as PTI Marketing Technologies) in December 2014, a move to help build the company’s position in providing Web to print, marketing asset management, and variable data printing tools. With the addition of Avanti, Ricoh explains the acquisition of Avanti enables its software portfolio to cover the entire production workflow.

“Ricoh’s initial strategic investment in Avanti three years ago gave us an unparalleled opportunity to advance product development and further deliver innovative MIS solutions,” said Patrick Bolan, President of Avanti. “The acquisition by Ricoh sets the stage for Avanti to accelerate growth into the global marketplace.”
On January 13, 2017, The C.J. Group of Companies concluded the sale of its three existing buildings, accounting for approximately 125,000 square feet of space on 4.5 acres of land in Etobicoke, Ontario.

The company, led by President and CEO Jay Mandarino, has purchased the current Veritiv facility located at 560 Hensall Circle near Cawthra and Dundas Streets in Mississauga, Ontario. Sitting just west of the Etobicoke border, the new location is approximately 10 minutes away from C.J. Group’s current locations.

Veritiv is currently completing the build of its brand new headquarters, to be housed in a 450,000-square-foot facility, also in Mississauga. The new Veritiv building is scheduled to be complete by around April 2017 with move-in planned for shortly after.

C.J. Group is scheduled to take possession of the current Veritiv building, which is located on eight acres, with two floors and approximately 230,000 square feet of space, in May 2017. The printing company plans to be moved into its new facility, which features 27-foot-high ceilings and more than 300 parking spots – by October 2017. Mandarino describes the new C.J. Group facility as the largest independently owned facility for printing and communications in Canada.

Mandarino continues to explain the company plans to add to add full mailing services, a new sheetfed litho press, a new large format press, and a new digital press as it moves into the plant, in addition to expansion of its bindery and other divisions. The new facility will also house SBC Media, a sports magazine operation, which C.J. Group acquired in late-2015.

With purchase of the new building, renovations and new equipment, C.J. Group explains it will be investing more than $25 million in its expansion.

C.J. Group's previous most-recent expansion was featured in PrintAction's January 2015 issue.
Xaar of Cambridge, United Kingdom, reached an agreement with Xerox Corporation to partner in the development of bulk piezoelectric inkjet printheads. Xaar is soley focused on the production of industrial print heads, while Xerox holds a range of hardware, software and service technologies for the printing industry.

"Continued investment in technology and product development, together with strategic partnerships, are key elements of our 2020 vision," said Doug Edwards, CEO of Xaar.

Xaar states the partnership capitalizes on each company's expertise in bulk piezo printhead development and will leverage both companies’ technologies. Xaar also explains the partnership allows it to provide customers with a broader range of bulk piezo printheads.
Deschamps Impression of Québec City, Québec, has acquired another of the province’s best-known commercial printing operations in Imprimerie Litho Chic. With this acquisition, Deschamps will have more than 200 employees and increase its annual sales to over $33 million.

The Litho Chic acquisition compliments a year of capital-equipment investment by Deschamps. In May 2016, the printing company bought a new Xerox iGen5 press, as well as binding and finishing equipment for its Montreal plant.

In December 2016, Deschamps Impression expanded its Québec City facility by almost 5,000 square feet. In January 2017, the company is installing a brand new 5-colour Heidelberg CX-102 press in its’ Quebec City facility.

“Our first objective in buying this company is to increase our presence in the Québec market where we have been in business for more than 90 years,” said Jean Deschamps, President and Chief Operating Officer of Deschamps Impression.

Founded in 1987, Imprimerie Litho Chic specializes in commercial work with both offset and digital printing systems. Jean Bilodeau and Michel Leclerc of Litho Chic will continue to play key roles within the Deschamps Impression organization.

“The clients from both companies will be the first to benefit from this transaction as we will improve our turnaround time, our production capacity, and a wider variety of services provided,” said Jean Bilodeau.

On top of high-end commercial printing, Deschamps Impression focuses on providing clients with prepress services, security and digital printing, as well as pharmaceutical and cosmetic folding-carton and box printing, in addition to bindery and finishing services.
Family and friends of the late Tim Upton, who passed away in October 2015 at age 83 after a storied career as one of Canadian printing’s best-known technology leaders, gathered in mid-December at Howard Graphic Equipment’s new facility in Mississauga, Ontario, to inaugurate a new library in his honour.

Helen Upton, daughters Julie and Heather, son Anthony, their spouses and grandchildren, were joined by printing-industry leaders from the past and present for the Timothy O. Upton Library dedication.

The Upton Library is part of the Howard Iron Works Museum (www.howardironworks.org), run by Nick and Liana Howard. The museum focuses on the preservation and history of the printing industry, restoring and showcasing machinery with a specific focus on the years 1830 to 1950. The Upton Library is the centre point of the facility and holds over 1,000 books dedicated to the printing art and its technology.

Upton spent his working life in the graphic arts. In 1959, he emigrated from Britain to Canada and went to work for Sears Ltd., which represented several leading printing and bindery brands with offices across Canada. He eventually moved to Edmonton as a Branch Manager for Sears, followed by a posting in London, Ontario, before arriving in Toronto as Vice President of Sales for Sears.

In 1984, Upton continued his career with the newly minted Heidelberg Canada in the role of Senior Vice President of Sales, where he remained until 1994, before spending his final 10 working years with Howard Graphic Equipment Ltd. Founded in 1967, Howard Graphic Equipment provides pre-owned late model machinery to the graphic arts, conducting business in over 74 countries across the globe.

“Tim was prompt: Do not ever be late, because he never was. Do not make silly excuses because Tim never did. Be honest, truthful – even if it hurts. I knew my place and it was firmly two steps back of Tim most of the time. Of all the salespeople I have known, Tim was the best – bar none. Why? Because he was real,” wrote Nick Howard upon Upton’s passing.

“He never played games, sucked up to ownership or thought of anyone as being better than himself. Tim’s nickname The Bulldog is fitting,” continued Howard. “One might assume it came from his rugby days, but, no, Tim was just a selfless and tireless man, who, as Churchill once said, never gave up.”

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