Linzbach, age 60, will continue to serve the company until the scheduled end of his contractual term in August 2017, providing the board time to find a suitable replacement.
Linzbach succeeded Bernhard Schreier as Heidelberg’s CEO at the start of 2013. Schreier had led Heidelberg for 13 years.
The Supervisory Board of Heidelberg noted Linzbach’s intensive work and strong dedication in connection with the restructuring of the German press maker. In particular, his efforts have focused on the company’s growing digital, services and packaging segments.
“There is a lot of life left in these InfoPrint toner production printers, and we’re ready to assist anyone who needs service virtually anywhere in North America,” said Jim Feely, Senior VP of Global Service Solutions. “Our Services team has the parts, supplies and technical know-how to provide the support needed to keep these printers up and running for years to come.”
Bell and Howell states it has a network of hundreds of service technicians throughout Canada and the United States to perform maintenance or repair on a production printer, mail machinery or other industrial mechatronics systems from over 50 brands.
The company also explains it can service all InfoPrint associated pre/post equipment from Lasermax, Hunkeler, Tecnau, RSI, Stralfors, ESP and others. This includes providing preventive maintenance, scheduled maintenance/tune-up, replacement parts, certified refurbishing, and converting systems to accept lower-cost orange cap toner.
The continued growth of inkjet printing systems was once again the major force at drupa, eight years removed from the cutting-edge system introductions of Fujifilm’s cutsheet Jet Press 720 and HP’s PageWide web press platform, which presented new possibilities to a sector largely dominated by the continuous-feed systems of Océ and Ricoh. At drupa 2012, another range of primarily concept production-inkjet machines were introduced by powerful players like KBA, Komori, Konica Minolta, Landa, Miyakoshi and Xerox.
At drupa 2016, all of these companies and many more had expanded their production-inkjet platforms with serious new players like EFI and Heidelberg joining the mix, setting sights on the packaging world. Several new technology partnerships between paper-transport experts (offset press makers) and print-head developers speak to a concerted effort to drive inkjet into the mainstream.
The past decade of inkjet R&D investment alone, collectively stretching into the tens of billions of dollars, by so many prominent technology suppliers rings the loudest chorus of reality – inkjet is building a new foundation for the future of printing. Still, the question remains with most printing companies for when inkjet systems, even with an ability to match 40-inch format size (unlike toner’s electrophotographic drum), will be ready for prime time in the commercial printing market. Key issues like quality and speed, press and consumable costs, have been a major challenge for the mass adoption of inkjet, even as this fascinating printing process has been disrupting pockets of publishing, transactional and direct-mail printing.
Commercial print influence
Alec Couckuyt is one of Canada’s most-experienced printing leaders in the field of digital printing. Twenty years ago, serving as Vice President of Direct Marketing at Transcontinental’s innovative Yorkville plant, Couckuyt was driving variable data to Xeikon’s Chromapress to produce personalized automobile booklets. Building files from VIN numbers, the facility printed cover forms featuring specific car models and colours, while also applying variable text and dealership locations, to entice customers into a new rig before their leases ran out.
“We were forerunners at that time, but it was far from being fast enough and you had to be in a highly controlled environment,” recalls Couckuyt, who was also integrating inkjet print heads on web presses at Yorkville. “Twenty years later, look at how far we have come… you can feed [an inkjet press] with so much data and the output is so cost efficient. The sky is the limit and this is an exciting time.”
Prior to his digital-printing work with Yorkville, Couckuyt began his career in 1983 as a Product Manager for Agfa Canada, ultimately serving as the company’s Vice President of Graphics Arts Systems for 10 years until joining Transcontinental in 1996. Today, as Senior Director of Canon Canada’s Professional Printing Solutions Group, he holds a unique knowledge set to describe the adoption of production-inkjet systems in Canadian commercial printing.
“We are targeting commercial printers right now with the experience that we have acquired in the transaction market, combined with the quality levels that inkjet has reached, when you talk about the VarioPrint i300 and the ImageStream, as well as the capabilities of printing on coated offset stock,” says Couckuyt. He joined Océ in 2008, as Vice President of Production Printing Systems, shortly before the company (purchased by Canon in 2012 for approximately $1 billion) installed one of Canada’s first web-fed production inkjet systems.
“We have more than eight years of experience with a similar technology that has evolved to a point where it is now ready for prime time in commercial printing,” he says. “You always have to take into account the volume, the production capabilities of equipment, and I think there is bigger potential for cutsheet inkjet devices in the Canadian market, more so than continuous-feed inkjet.”
Near the back of Canon’s drupa 2016 booth, the company ran a new web-fed ImageStream inkjet press, which is a class of technology Couckuyt feels some commercial printers will look at depending on their needs. “It is the same technology,” he says, relating the VarioPrint i300 to the ImageStream platform. “You are using 1,200 x 1200 native inkjet heads, combined with smaller droplets, different types of inks, coated stocks, proper drying systems, and now you are playing into the commercial printing field.”
Web-fed inkjet, traditionally referred to as continuous-feed systems, has a significant existing install base because its paper transport naturally runs substrates much cleaner through the imaging system, whereas a turned-up ear can easily jam a cutsheet press. This cutsheet inkjet challenge is being addressed, however, as offset press makers become heavily involved with inkjet development. Despite the experience advantages of web-fed systems, Couckuyt points to the business realities of Canadian commercial printing, which for decades has been built around cutsheet workflow. “It would only be a logical step to also add an inkjet cutsheet device,” he says. “Basically, it offers quite a bit of additional application opportunities to the commercial printer.”
Downtime becomes uptime
“When you run an offset press, you are always making sure that you have the least downtime possible, which must be minuscule when you look at your total production time,” says Couckuyt. “In digital printing, people talk about uptime – just the opposite. If they had 50 to 60 percent uptime [on toner] they were happy, but that doesn’t cut it for an offset printer.”
Canon’s cutsheet VarioPrint i300 system is promoted as having an uptime of more than 90 percent, often approaching 95 percent: “Now you are talking about a production machine – in addition to the quality and capabilities of printing on multiple papers – that fits right into the offset world,” says Couckuyt. “Those factors are extremely critical and the reasons why we believe it is ready for the commercial printer.”
To improve cutsheet inkjet uptime, for example, the VarioPrint i300 is a self-contained system, meaning it is temperature and humidity controlled, and all external elements have been eliminated (a noticeable trait looking at the body of the machine). Even the input trays of the i300 are sealed for temperature control. The unit has to be decompressed when opening up its doors. With its doors open, the first thing you notice about the i300 is a massive drying system. Canon engineers ultimately surmised a sheet needed to travel in the drying system for two seconds at full running speed to properly condition the paper – hitting it with infrared, conventional heat and air systems – before reentering the duplex imaging system.
Couckuyt explains this unique drying system is critical because operators do not need to slow down the i300 when applying heavy ink coverage. “It is actually a production machine and it is built in such a way that even if you have high coverage you will not slow down the press,” he says. To further improve uptime, the i300 employs a Sentry Unit that ejects wavy, earmarked or unwanted papers, again at speed, before first entering the imaging system. “A jam in digital printing on a cutsheet device is always your biggest nightmare.”
Commercially released more than a year ago, there were 42 i300 systems installed globally before the opening of drupa 2016, which actually marked the system’s availability in the Canadian market. A key new feature of the i300 introduced at drupa is called ColorGrip, which applies a primer specifically where expensive inkjet ink needs to go, instead of blanketing the sheet.
A critical goal for all inkjet system developers, particularly for commercial printing adoption, is to improve their inks to a level that can more easily adhere to both coated and uncoated papers without the need for applying a primer. This will take time, but systems like ColorGrip, which actually immobilizes the ink to stop it from convalescing into big, ugly dots, are providing a vastly superior level of quality output than older generation inkjet systems. “ColorGrip keeps the right colour in the right position,” says Couckuyt, “so you are basically extenuating and giving more pop to your colour – Even a good sheet, you make a lot better.”
One of the greatest advantages of digitized sheetfed offset presses, and why the technology remains core to the vast majority of printers, is application flexibility – an ability to throw almost any commercial print job at it, regardless of ink coverage, stock or format. For a printer to invest more than a $1 million into an inkjet press, even if today’s systems can handle a greater range of work, it becomes critical to understand the production cost of specific applications.
“With the VarioPrint i300, where it becomes viable for a commercial printer to enter into that field, you are looking at a million and up impressions per month – all the way up to 10 million,” says Couckuyt, explaining a typical web-fed system requires at least five million impressions to become a viable investment.
“We spend an extreme amount of time with the customer before a sale takes place,” says Couckuyt. Canon will run a job file from a printer’s existing offset infrastructure at its Océ facility in Boca Raton, Florida. “We will make a complete analysis of the files, ink consumption, press time, everything, so that the client really knows in advance what they are embarking on.”
PAC is a not-for-profit corporation that includes over 2,100 members throughout the packaging value chain. Established in 2014, the Canadian Printable Electronics Industry Association (CPEIA) focuses on the Canadian printable, flexible and wearable electronics sector and ecosystem.
intelliPACK will be a series of workshops focused on what the collaborators describe as smart packaging systems and printed electronics, including applications for high value-added products like wine and spirits, electronics, food & beverages, luxury, health and beauty, apparel and pharmaceuticals.
The applications will focus on, for example, products that help extend shelf life, monitor freshness, display information, improve safety, security and improve convenience. The workshops will feature brand owners and technology experts sharing their approaches and experiences with intelligent and smart packaging systems.
In addition to expanding its services into the United States, Planet Paper explains the acquisition also enhances its end-to-end display, packaging and merchandizing offerings. The family-owned business, with more than 300 employees, will operate as Planet Display & Packaging Inc. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
“Leveraging the Planet Groups' excellent design capabilities and implementing their proven manufacturing best practices will provide our customers with exceptional display and packaging solutions and provide our employees and business partners significant opportunities for growth," said Dave Ticchione, General Manager, Planet Display and Packaging Inc.
Both Planet Paper and Tricor – focusing on packaging, point of purchase display and retail signage– serve retailers and consumer packaged goods customers in pharmaceuticals, health and beauty, electronics, stationaries, food, beverage, consumer product, household and personal care segments.
Planet Paper Box is the company’s primary sheet plant in Concord, Ont., accounting for 150,000 square feet, which has supplied corrugated cartons and sheets to a variety of businesses since 1963.
“ASAP's reputation for excellent service and quality are recognized in the market and will complement the 4over brand and strategy going forward,” said 4over CEO Zarik Megerdichian. “The acquisition also means that we will now have a presence in the southeast and mountain states, strengthening our delivery network more than ever before. We are excited to bring ASAP into the 4over family while continuing to provide unparalleled value to our customers.”
4over describes itself as an industry leader in print order fulfillment for print brokers and industry professionals and as a print provider of more than 40,000 industry professionals.
In additon to planned operation opening in Atlanta, 4over's 16 existing locations across North America include:
San Jose, CA
Salt Lake City, UT
EPS, founded by Julian Joffe in 1985, has built its business through supplying customized and bespoke printing solutions for a variety of market sectors including promotional, packaging, medical, automotive, apparel, appliances, sports equipment and toys. One of its focuses has been to develop flexible and cost effective digital inkjet solutions. In 2015, EPS generated $14m of revenue and today employs 60 staff.
“The product printing market is served by multiple print processes today and the fastest growing is inkjet,” said Doug Edwards, CEO of Xaar. “Here, just as with other industry sectors, there is great potential to accelerate the adoption of inkjet. EPS has established a successful business and is well positioned to continue to grow. Xaar gains a strong customer base and footprint in North America, a region Xaar has been targeting for growth. The integration capabilities EPS brings to Xaar will enable us to provide greater support to our existing and new OEM partners.”
“Stakeholders in today’s industry operate in a highly competitive, high-technology field that requires a superior level of technical expertise and management acumen,” said Idealliance President and Chief Executive Officer David Steinhardt. “Consumers are digesting content in new ways, requiring buyers of print and digital communications to meet an ever-evolving demand for orchestrated content across a variety of print substrates and digital media.”
Idealliance explains its resources are segmented within six primary service areas, including: Best practices and working groups, certification and training, advocacy and advancement, strategy and consulting, education and events, and publications and research.
Steinhardt continues to explain Idealliance will serve as a united voice for the graphic and digital communications industries, from content creators and brand managers to marketers, printers, mailers, and fulfillment experts.
Idealliance will continue core programs and services in research and trends analysis, including the annual State of the Industry Report; strategic business development consulting; and industry standards defining color, digital, mail, and media workflow, including G7, GRACoL, Mail.dat, PRISM, and SWOP.
“We are pleased to have reached a settlement with HP,” stated Len Lauer, CEO of Memjet. “We will continue to stay focused on creating innovative printing technology that enables our customers to realize optimal speeds, quality and costs.”
In August 2015, Memjet has a patent infringement lawsuit against Hewlett-Packard in the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. The lawsuit alleges infringement of eight Memjet patents related to its Waterfall printing technology. Memjet’s lawsuit also claimed it is entitled to recover damages resulting from HP’s use of patented technology in HP's PageWide printer products.
The HP PageWide products using the patented technology, according Memjet, included HP’s Pro X generation of office printers, the T-Series commercial presses, and PageWide XL series products. Memjet also pointed to HP statements around its intention to use PageWide Technology in future wide-format and 3D printers.
Memjet claims to hold several thousand U.S. and foreign patents in the page-wide inkjet printing space.
On July 4, photographer Todd Kroll helped produce a photo essay called, Inside the last days of the Toronto Star's printing plant.
View Kroll's photo essay.
The winners of the 2016 Premier Printing Awards competition, hosted by the Printing Industries of America, have been announced and four Canadian printing companies are amongst the Best of Category recipients, who receive the Benny Award named after Benjamin Franklin.
Friesens and C.J. Graphics each won two Benny Awards with one each being won by Prime Data Communications and Mi5 Print and Digital Communications, as detailed below:
C.J. Graphics Inc., Toronto, ON
Project: C.J. Graphics Open House Invitation
Category: Invitations (1, 2, or 3 colors)
Project: Blue Dragon Chop To Chopsticks
Category: Digital Printing-Cookbooks
Friesens Corporation, Altona, MB
Project: Can You Dig It
Project: MIT Technique 2016
Category: School Yearbooks
Mi5 Print and Digital Communications, Mississauga, ON
Project: PREMISE Intertain Annual Report 2014
Category: Business and Annual Reports (4 or more colors, printers with 21-50 employees)
Prime Data Communications, Aurora, ON
Project: Coolest Variable Print Project in the World
Category: Customized/Personalized/Variable-Data Digital Printing
Newly purchased Robbie Manufacturing specializes in on-site packaging needs for grocery stores, shrink wrap packaging of multipack consumer goods, and packaging solutions for food processors. With more than 175 employees, the generated US$50 million in annual revenues in its most recent fiscal year.
“This acquisition is great news for the ongoing development of our flexible packaging division, an important area of growth for the corporation," said François Olivier, President and CEO of TC Transcontinental. "The acquisition of Robbie Manufacturing is strategic on two fronts. It allows us to enter into two new packaging niches while also creating opportunities for synergies with our existing facilities nearby.”
Robbie Manufacturing was founded in 1970 by Bernard Robinson and his son Irv, and had just six employees focusing on perforated film to wrap produce.
“It's a privilege for Robbie Manufacturing and the entire team to join the ranks of TC Transcontinental, a solid, well-established family-controlled corporation led by seasoned leaders and driven by a vision for the future," said Irv Robinson, CEO of Robbie Manufacturing.
TC Transcontinental has close to 8,000 employees in Canada and the United States, and generated revenues of $2.0 billion in 2015.
Canada Post late Friday issued a brief statement that it has withdrawn its lockout notice, explaining the move “will allow both parties to focus their efforts on serious negotiations.”
Canada also stated it is prepared to negotiate within a “cooling off period” over the next 30 days to reach a settlement with the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW). If both parties are unable to successfully conclude negotiations within that period, states Canada Post, both parties must agree to binding arbitration.
Canada Post and CUPW have been in discussions since late 2015, with 60 days of conciliation and almost 30 more days with Federal mediators. The parties, however, remain far apart on key issues, particularly around the pension plan.
Canada Post continues to point to the drop in mail volume as its primary concern over the future of the government corporation, which explains the amount of mail deposited across its network was down more than 80 percent compared with July 8 of last year.
UPDATE FROM JULY 6
Canada’s Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour, MaryAnn Mihychuk, has asked both Canada Post and the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) to submit to binding arbitration to resolve the current impasse at negotiations.
Canada Post released a statement that it has agreed to voluntarily submit to binding arbitration, thereby, acknowledging it is unlikely that a settlement can be negotiated between the two parties.
As a result Canada Post announced this morning it is extending the current 72-hour lockout notice period to Monday at 12:01 am. The union had not yet confirmed it would voluntarily submit to binding arbitration at the time of Canada Post’s statement.
UPDATE FROM JULY 5
Canada Post this morning informed the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) that it is issuing a 72-hour lockout notice, creating the possibility of a work stoppage by Friday, July 8, 2016. The lockout would affect 50,000 workers and potentially shutdown Canada’s postal system until a new agreement is reached.
Canada Post also explained this morning that the terms and conditions of the current collective agreements will no longer apply starting this Friday. Employees will continue to receive regular pay and some benefits such as applicable prescription drug coverage. Other items will be cancelled as per Canada's Labour Code, which provides Canada Post with the flexibility to adjust staffing.
“We knew this was their game all along,” stated Mike Palecek, President of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers. “They are sabotaging the public review of the post office. They refused to negotiate fairly with us and now they’re locking the doors and will try to starve us into submission.”
CUPW also points out Canada Post locked postal workers out in 2011 until the Federal Conservative government forced them back to work with legislation that has since been ruled unconstitutional.
UPDATE FROM JULY 4
The negotiation vitriol has intensified between Canada Post and the Canadian Union of Postal Workers in reaction to offers made by both sides over the past few days.
On the evening of July 1, Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) tabled its new Global Offers, six days after Canada Post’s latest offer, for both the urban and RSMC collective agreements.
Under the Canada Labour Code, explains the union, once the parties have obtained the legal right to strike or lockout, no action can occur unless one of the parties has provided 72-hour notice, which has not yet happened (at time of article posting).
A day before tabling its Global Offer, CUPW issued a statement entitled Why Is Canada Post Hiding The Huge Surplus In The Pension Plan? The union points out, as Canada Post spokespeople continue to point to a deficit in the Canada Post Pension Plan, there was a pension surplus for 2015 of $2.7 billion, even as the pension solvency deficit was reduced from $6.8 billion to $6.1 billion.
In reaction to CUPW’s July 1 offer, which included an outline for wage increases for its members, Canada Post stated it is “extremely disappointed” with the offer because it would add $1 billion in new costs to run the postal system, without addressing what the government describes as long-term issues with the employee pension plan.
In its offer, states Canada Post, the union rejected any changes to the pension, more than tripled the government’s proposed wage increases and demanded the immediate reinstatement of changes agreed to in the last round of negotiations in 2012.
CUPW, meanwhile, called Canada Post’s assertion, that the latest union offer would add $1 billion costs, "bogus"; and then cited several examples from past labour negotiations when Canada Post stated union demands would cost $1 billion. The union asserts Canada Post is only interested in headlines instead of further negotiations.
In its July 1 Global Offers, CUPW explains it believes service expansion is one of the best ways to provide new revenues for Canada Post, including a model for seven-day parcel delivery on weekends, mornings and evenings.
Canada Post, however, explains that while its parcel business has been improving in the last few years, the corporation continues to face the impact of a decade of decline in Lettermail, which continues. Last year alone, Canada Post explains it delivered 1.6 billion fewer pieces of mail than it did in 2006.
ARTICLE FROM JUNE 28:
Canada Post yesterday issued a statement regarding a potential work disruption as labour negotiations between Canada Post and the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) continue. Talks have been ongoing since November 2015 and, while there is still time to reach new agreements, a legal work disruption could occur as early as July 2.
Canada Post explains it will not operate in the event of a labour disruption. Mail and parcels will not be delivered, and no new items will be accepted. Any mail and parcels within Canada's postal system during a work disruption will be secured and delivered once operations resume.
On Saturday, June 25, 2016, Canada Post tabled offers for the separate negotiations under way with the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW-Urban and CUPW-RSMC), which represent both delivery and plant employees.
Canada Post explains the new offers do not present any changes to the pension for all current employees and their job security remains unchanged; and that all employees would see an increase in their take-home pay.
Future hires would receive a Defined Contribution pension plan as part of a new, compensation package that aims to address Canada Post’s ongoing pension challenge in the long term.
The new offer presented would allow Canada Post to establish temporary and part-time jobs to deliver parcels on weekends and evenings, which aims to better manage costs, as opposed to the current approach of providing this service while paying double-time.
In addition, Canada Post has included more flexible size specifications for Neighbourhood Mail to respond to requests from businesses and marketers for more options.
Ekstein’s appointment comes following the retirement of CPISTF Chair Don Gain, who served in the position for 11 years, and Treasurer Wayne Burroughs. Ekstein has been heavily involved with the Printing Industries of America, Canadian Printing Industries Association (CPIA), and Canadian Printing Industries Sector Council (CPSIC).
Mike Collinge, President of Webcom Inc., has been appointed as Vice Chair of CPISTF and Sean Murray, President of Advocate Printing and Publishing, as Treasurer.
The CPISTF provided $56,000 in scholarships to 35 students in 2015. A total of $38,000 was provided to 23 new students enrolled in the first year of an approved course of study and $18,000 in scholarships was given to 12 students continuing in a program.
At a May 2015 CPISTF meeting of trustees, the board approved to increase the scholarship amount received by each student from $1,250 to $1,500 per year, to help offset the increasing cost of tuition.
Webcom explains the multi-phased technology collaboration of HP OneBook leveraged Webcom’s knowledge of book publishers’ pain points, digital inkjet production expertise and demonstrated its leadership in efficient book production from one book to thousands.
“HP customers, such as Webcom, are leveraging HP OneBook and the PrintOS platform to offer end-to-end publishing solutions to efficiently deliver customized books, journals, magazines, and catalogues to publishers and end users on demand in the exact quantities needed,” said Eric Wiesner, VP and GM of HP’s PageWide Web Press division. Wiesner continued to explain print providers and book manufacturers need to add greater efficiency and value to publishers through production flexibility, increased automation and customized on-demand book production.
Webcom BookOnDemand is designed to integrate with HP PageWide web presses and HP Indigo presses in a highly automated production workflow. BookOnDemand allows publishers to send their files from multiple channels, which are automatically routed through the OneBook systems for inkjet printing in formats of either 4- or 1-colour books. Finished books are then delivered directly to end-customer locations.
“Publishers need to keep their fingers on the pulse of their inventory, reduce costs and streamline their supply chain models. With our BookOnDemand systems we are able to offer a world-class print-on-demand platform that will address publishers’ needs for strategic cost-saving initiatives, including order management cost reduction, a wider range of on demand book products and ability to scale in peak publishing seasons using high speed inkjet production,” said Mike Collinge, President and CEO, Webcom.
BookOnDemand extends Webcom’s suite of services including BookFWD, customized workflow integration and inventory management programs based on the Total Cost of Ownership model. “BookOnDemand provides publishers with a streamlined and cost-effective solution for short- and ultra-short-run orders while significantly reducing production cycle time,” said Michael Corbett, Webcom’s Director of Operations.
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