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At the upcoming Canadian Printing Awards gala, taking place on November 10, 2016, at the Palais Royale in Toronto, PrintAction magazine will honour four individuals who have had a significant impact on the Canadian printing industry. The gala is expected to attract more than 200 industry leaders from across Canada, as well as attendees from the United States and Europe.



Now entering its 11th year in 2016, the Canadian Printing Awards program is designed to recognize printing innovation in the country through three distinct awards sections, grouped in Printing, Environmental and Technology categories, which are determined by an independent panel of judges.

In 2008, PrintAction introduced the Industry Achievement Awards to the program to honour outstanding leadership as demonstrated by members of the Canadian printing community.

Three of the four 2016 Industry Achievement Award recipients, determined by PrintAction magazine, include:

Printing Leader of the Year
Jamie Barbieri
President, PDI Group Inc., Montreal, QC
Director, Quebec Graphic Arts Association
Secretary-Treasurer, Canadian Printing Industries Association

Emerging Leader of the Year
Todd Cober
Vice President, Cober, Kitchener, ON

John A. Young Lifetime Achievement Award
Hadi Mahabadi
Founder, CanWin Consulting Inc.
Former Director, Xerox Research Centre of Canada, Mississauga, ON

Community Leader of the Year
Jeff Ekstein, President, Willow Printing Group Ltd., Concord, ON

For more information about the 2016 program and gala, please visist Canadianprintingawards.com

Back in January 2016, Jones Packaging Inc., headquartered in London, Ont., as a global provider of packaging solutions for healthcare and consumer brands, announced it was entering into a commercial partnership with Norway's Thin Film Electronics ASA (Thinfilm), which develops printed electronics and smart systems, including technologies for Near Field Communications (NFC).

Together the two companies planned to integrate Thinfilm’s recently branded NFC OpenSense technology into paperboard pharmaceutical packaging and, at the same time, develop what Jones describes as key manufacturing processes for its high-speed production lines. The London packaging company has now successfully completed this integration to deploy OpenSense tags at its converting facility.

The customized Jones production line can apply and read up to 15,000 tags per hour. Jones explains Thinfilm’s Tag Talks First protocol is a key feature of the OpenSense tag and enables a read-speed that is up to 20 times faster than conventional NFC solutions. This read-rate is well suited, Jones explains, for its high-speed, high-volume production lines.

Jones and Thinfilm will also collaborate to engage top global pharmaceutical companies to integrate the smart technology into Rx and over-the-counter product packaging. The Jones/Thinfilm smart packaging collaboration is funded, in part, by grants from both the Swedish and Canadian governments.

Jones explains NFC OpenSense tags are thin, flexible labels that can detect both a product’s “factory sealed” and “opened” states and wirelessly communicate contextual content with the tap of an NFC-enabled smartphone. The tags contain unique identifiers, continues Jones, that make it possible for pharmaceutical companies to authenticate products and track them to the individual-item level using software and analytics tools. In addition, Jones explains the tags remain active even after a product’s factory seal has been broken, which enables both brands and medical staff to extend the dialogue with consumers and patients.

The partners published a two-minute video that visually conveys the automated process – setup of the carton, application of the tag, reading of the NFC chip, recording of key information, and ejection of compromised packages.
Glenmore Custom Print + Packaging of Richmond, BC, has successfully completed its Eagle Cold Foil Certification Course (ECFC). The 8-hour program is not only geared toward improving production understanding and techniques of press operators, but, as Eagle Systems explains, the certification program incorporates the executive management level to focus on Return On Investment, as well as quality production.
 
“We first installed our Eagle Cold Foil systems in June 2015 and it’s lived up to every promise made by Eagle President Mike King,” said Stefan Congram, Operations Manager, Glenmore. “We’ve learned to not only respect Mike but trust him. When he suggested the class for our operation we knew we’d reap significant benefits.”
 
Eagle conducted the Eagle Cold Foil Certification Course (ECFC) at Glemore’s Richmond facility in mid-July, 2016, to address real-world production factors and influences. Eagle has designed a unique test form, designed for failure, to run off each applicant’s system. Eagle explains the press is then finite-tweaked to maximize performance out of each operation’s adhesives, foils and blankets. This in-house certification approach allows for the elimination of former process obstacles, such as pin-holing and mud cracking.

“It’s an understatement to say it’s thorough, but more importantly it’s effective,” said Congram, a 15-year veteran of the commercial printing industry, who has spent his the last eight year with Glenmore. “The press staffers now have an in-depth working knowledge and understanding of the cold foil process. Not just the what’s, as in what to do, but the why’s and how’s. Our people are now as dialed in as our system is. We are reaping the rewards every single shift with faster make-readies and noticeable quality jumps.”

Founded by Glenn Rowley in 1981, Glenmore Custom Print + Packaging has evolved from a one-person shop to a significant Canadian printing operation of more than 90 employees in just under 35 years. The company provides a range of services like conventional, UV, offset, digital and wide-format printing, as well as pre- and post-press capabilities. The family-owned and operated company has advanced into a second-generation phase under the managerial leadership of the founder’s son James Rowley.
Canada Post and the Canadian Union of Postal Workers on August 30 reached what the organizations describe as tentative short-term agreements – for both the urban and RSMC bargaining units – with the help of a Federally appointed mediator.

The new agreements, must be ratified by Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) members, are for a period of two years instead of the typical four-year contracts that have been negotiated in the past. The tentative collective agreements have been recommended by the majority of CUPW’s National Executive Board. Member voting will occur over a period of five or six weeks.

CUPW noted over the next 13 months that it plans to work on a third-party pay-equity report regarding RSMCs, which are estimated to make 30 percent less than their urban counterparts for doing work of equal value.

The agreements avert a work disruption, noted Canada Post, as businesses head into the holiday shipping season. Canada Post also noted this 2-year approach provides more time for thoughtful discussion and analysis on how to best address significant challenges facing the crown corporation – primarily declining mail volumes and a growing pension obligation.
Supremex Inc., headquartered in LaSalle, Quebec, expands its presence in the United States with the purchase of assets of Bowers Envelope Company Inc. Supremex is a North American manufacturer of stock and custom envelopes, in addition to providing packaging and specialty products, with facilities across seven Canadian provinces and three facilities in the United States – employing approximately 700 people.

Bowers Envelope is a manufacturer and printer of envelopes based in Indianapolis, Indiana. "This acquisition, while relatively small, aligns with our strategy to extend our reach in key markets and to expand our value added offering in packaging and specialty products," said Stewart Emerson, President and CEO of Supremex. "Bowers Envelope is a well-known brand strategically located less than 300 kilometres from Chicago… in a robust envelope market and a major hub for e-commerce distribution.”

Founded in 1928, Bowers Envelope Company Inc. employs approximately 50 people at its 75,000-square-foot Indiana facility. In 2015, Bowers generated approximately US$8.5 million in revenues from the sale of stock and custom envelopes. Mike Daniel, Bowers’ current General Manager, will continue to lead the local operation.

"We believe our cross-country Canadian operations, our Massachusetts, New York and now midwest facilities' capabilities and scale, allows us to be a bona fide regional player in the U.S. Market,” said Emerson. “With the addition of Bowers Envelope, Supremex is now well-positioned to serve approximately 60 percent of the U.S. envelope market.”
Twenty-five industry and academic thought leaders gathered last Wednesday at the Xerox Research Centre of Canada (XRCC) in Mississauga for the Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters (CME) Industrie 2030 Roundtable. The group’s discussion focused on the critical success factors affecting innovation and profitable value creation in an ever-changing digital world.
 
The Industrie 2030 roundtable, led by the CME, together with partners, was aimed at understanding the obstacles that stand in the way of commercializing new products, adopting advanced technologies, and growing business in Canada, and creating a plan to overcome them.
 
Xerox explains insights generated from the roundtable will provide a foundation for an action plan to double value-added manufacturing by 2030. The action plan will be released at the CME’s National Summit being held in Ottawa, October 18 – 19, 2016. The plan will help form policy advice provided to the Government of Canada through the Minister of Innovation Science and Economic Development’s national Innovation Agenda consultation process.

UPDATE AUGUST 30: Canada Post and the Canadian Union of Postal Workers have again agreed to extend mediation aimed at resolving their labour dispute by another 24 hours. Both sides will continue to negotiate through a special mediator into Tuesday.

POSTED AUGUST 29: The Canadian Union of Postal Workers on Thursday, August 25, provided Canada Post with 72-hour strike notices. As a result, the union was in a legal position to commence strike action on Sunday, August 28.

Canada Post and the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) spent this past weekend negotiating with the help of a special mediator. On Monday morning, August 29, the two sides agreed to extend mediation by 24 hours.

Shortly after CUPW issued its 72-hour strike notices this past Thursday, MaryAnn Mihychuk, Canada’s Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour, appointed a special mediator to assist in negotiations. Canada Post stated: “We hope that the assistance of a neutral third party will help both parties address the real challenges facing the postal service caused by declining mail volumes and increasing pension obligations.”

The current collective agreements remained in effect until late-Monday night, barring another extension or settlement.

Langley Holdings, owner of Manroland Sheetfed, has released its interim results for the six months ended June 30, 2016, which includes sales of €417.1 million for the entire group of companies. This includes an increase in pre-tax profits to €48.9 million, up from €37.9 million at the same point in 2015.  

Group operating profit for the period was €48.1 million (2015: €37.1 million). The company’s forecasts for the full-year result predicted a six percent improvement on 2015 with pre-tax profits expected to reach €112 million on sales of €930 million.

Tony Langley, Chairman of Langley Holdings, stated the first six months of 2016 had been a very satisfactory trading period for the group with the overall half-year result exceeding expectations. “Both the trading for the first six months and the outlook for the full year, are very positive,” Langley said. “Moreover, the group is financially secure with substantial resources, not only for its existing operations, but also has sufficient surplus to continue its development independently.”

Manroland Sheetfed saw an expected slow-down in orders ahead of drupa, explained the company, but this was brought back on track following drupa with the Offenbach factory “optimally loaded from backlog in the first six months.” Langley said this would remain the case until the year end and that profits in the division were in line with expectations.

German printing consumables business Drück Chemie, acquired in 2014, was trading in line with expectations and was “exceeding the company’s benchmark minimum 20 percent return on capital employed.”

Tony Langley said he expected any Brexit impact on business to be minimal and a slump in demand to be unlikely. “Although some 20 percent of the group’s profits are derived from the UK, the majority of this is from the UK subsidiaries of our German and French divisions, all of which compete entirely with other European producers for UK trade.

“Our actual UK based businesses represent only a nominal percentage of the group as a whole and, therefore, I do not expect Brexit to have a substantial impact on the group one way or the other,” continued Langley, “although UK assets are currently devalued by some 10 percent in euro terms.”

Langley said the business was continuing to look for potential acquisitions and that a number of candidates had been considered during the period but that none were currently being followed up. The group employs around 4,200 people across its five divisions and 80 companies.
KBR Graphics, which is celebrating its 40th year in business in 2016, is expanding its distribution of RYOBI MHI Graphic Technology sheetfed offset printing presses to include all of Canada. In mid-July 2016, KBR Graphics moved its head office to a new modern facility in Laval, Quebec, which is prepared to support future business through its larger sales, service and support teams.

Previously, KBR Graphics had been the RYOBI MHI Graphic Technology (RMGT) distributor in Central and Eastern Canada since 2012. “We are pleased to offer the entire line of RMGT presses – the RMGT 3, 5, 7, 9, 10 and 11 models – across Canada, both direct and through our dealer network,” said Karl Belafi. Jr., Vice President, KBR Graphics.  “We have been selling RMGT presses for four years and enjoy a great relationship with RYOBI MHI. We’ve been very successful in the eastern part of the country and aim to further develop our presence throughout Canada.”

In addition to its line of offset presses, the expanded distribution agreement also includes the new digital press line that RMGT introduced this past spring at the drupa trade fair in Germany. Sales representatives and dealer partners are being added throughout different locations in Canada so that the RMGT product line can be supported across the country for sales and technical service.

“Announcements will be made in the very near future about our new additions and, by the end of this year, our Western region teams will grow even more,” said Belafi.

High school students in a specialized communications program work with a local Ottawa company to learn about the printing trade.

Young adults routinely participate in interactive online activities ranging from Facebook and Twitter to sophisticated multi-player games, chat rooms and blogs. It only makes sense, that for today’s students, an experiential approach to learning is a priority.

Merivale High School’s FOCUS program offers students in the Ottawa Carleton District School Board a unique opportunity to complete a concentrated one semester Communication and Design program that will prepare them for post secondary diploma and degree programs in graphic design, animation, photography and interactive multi media.

So although students will require a digital camera and some computer skills for their Graphic Design, Photography and Animation courses, they should also be prepared to arrive at visual solutions using a variety of pencils, ink pens and paint as well as with current vector drawing software. The program has a 25 seat Mac Lab and also boasts an intaglio press, which makes printmaking exercises possible, and a 10-station darkroom for developing and printing 35 mm film. Students primarily use Adobe software, but spend time with QuarkXPress and other applications they may encounter.

The FOCUS also involves a thorough immersion in printing technologies, and for the program’s offset lithography unit, the school enlisted the services of senior account and customer experience manager Jonathan Stokes of TRICO Evolution in Ottawa.

Poster objective
TRICO serves clients across Canada and the northern United States from its offices in Montreal, Ottawa, Kingston and Vancouver, accounting for 350,000 square feet. In September 2015, Delta Business Solutions and TRICO entered into an agreement to combine forces and operate as one company under the TRICO brand. With more than 240 employees, the company focuses on products and services across six lines of business: contract packaging, warehousing and logistics, display and signage, commercial printing, direct marketing, and marketing analytics and insight.

The FOCUS students’ objective at TRICO was to have the entire class contribute artwork for a poster marking Star Trek’s 50th year on television. The first series, now referred to as The Original Series, debuted in 1966 and followed the galactic adventures of James T. Kirk and crew of the starship Enterprise, an exploration vessel of a 23rd-century United Federation of Planets.

Students were given their choice of media, with the understanding that their final artwork would appear only in black and white. Some of the students chose to do artwork with traditional tools, others used Adobe Illustrator to make vector drawings. Because the sequels, movies, animated films and graphic novels are so easily accessible, and a much-hyped new series is in the works (planned for a January 2017 release), the students were all familiar with all the characters.

After the initial artwork was completed, all images were scanned at the proper resolution and then imported into a QuarkXPress document where the appropriate typographic notes were added. The finished poster was exported to PDF and FTPed to Stokes at TRICO.

When the class arrived at TRICO to see offset lithography in action, students were first shown how a printing job is scheduled and how files are processed when they come to the plant, reinforcing the time-sensitive nature of the business.

Stokes brought the FOCUS program students to the plate-processing station and there a skilled technician burned an aluminum plate of the Star Trek poster job and gave it to us for display at our school art show.

In the pressroom
The class next entered the printing area, where one of the TRICO pressmen had our poster printing plate mounted on the large litho press ready to go. The students were able to observe all the fine tuning done before a job enters production.

The class, whose printing experiences for the most part only included photocopiers, laser and inkjet printers were surprised at the speed and fidelity of offset lithography. They were also impressed by how efficiently large amounts of paper could be cut and trimmed with such accuracy. Our day at TRICO evolution finished on a high note in the board room, with Stokes showing impressive samples of critically acclaimed work done for corporate clients. Each student left with a few copies of their Star Trek poster and a greater appreciation and respect for the printing trade.

Author Irving Osterer is the Department Head Fine Arts and Technology Merivale High School in Ottawa, Ontario. For more information about Merivale’s Fine Arts and Focus Program go to www.merivalefinearts.wikispaces.com.

Pollard Banknote Limited of Winnipeg, Manitoba, has been awarded a four-year contract to serve as the primary scratch game supplier to the Minnesota State Lottery. Under this agreement, Pollard Banknote will continue as the Lottery's primary scratch game vendor, but expects to increase ticket volumes supplied, with a guarantee in the new contract of at least 70 percent of all scratch games purchased for every year of the contract.

The new contract runs until June 30, 2020 with the potential for two one-year contract extensions. The contract value is estimated to be approximately US$11.2 million over the four years.

Pollard Banknote is currently a lottery partner to more than 60 lotteries worldwide.
The company was first awarded a secondary scratch game contract for the Minnesota Lottery in 2007 and was elevated to primary supplier in 2010. By focusing on industry innovations and winning strategies, the scratch game category generated 69 percent of total Minnesota Lottery sales for FY2015.

“Leveraging Pollard Banknote's experience working with a variety of lottery jurisdictions worldwide, our strategies incorporate the best of the best in utilizing innovations to maximize scratch ticket sales that raise money for good causes,” said Byron Peterson, Director, Sales & Marketing, Pollard Banknote. “The Minnesota State Lottery does a fantastic job of executing those strategies.”

To date, the Minnesota Lottery has brought a range of Pollard Banknote's products and licensed brands to market, including the PlayBook, Scratch FX and Spectrum Scratch FX. It was also the first Lottery to launch Scratch FX at the $20 price point.

Most recently, the Lottery's launch of a $5 Frogger game (a licensed brand offered exclusively by Pollard Banknote) had five-week average sales that were 82 percent higher than all other $5 games launched in Minnesota since 2013. It was the lottery's best-selling ticket at this price point.

"We are very excited to continue our strong partnership with Pollard Banknote," said Michael Vekich, Acting Director, Minnesota Lottery. "We rely heavily on our primary printing partner for design, marketing and strategy leadership – a partner proven to help the Lottery drive its scratch sales. Pollard Banknote offers everything we seek from a scratch game printer – guidance and expertise in research, marketing and product innovation.”
Koenig & Bauer Group (KBA) released its second quarter results for 2016 noting it will raise revenue and earnings targets for the full fiscal year. The positive financial expectations, according to the German press maker, are backed by what it describes as a successful drupa (May 31 to June 10, 2016) and a high order intake of €352.5m in its second quarter.

At €352.5 million, group order intake from April to June was up 17.2 percent year-on-year, although the group's figures for this quarter only contain around a third of orders placed at the drupa trade show which were in the triple-digit million euro range. The catch-up effect, explains KBA, will ensure additional stimulus in the second half-year as KBA traditionally only books orders that are fully documented and financially secure.

KBA reported half-year revenue of €553.9 million which is 30 percent above the prior year’s period. After six months, group order intake of €618.8 million was 1.9% percent higher than the prior year, which KBA also describes as strong. Revenue increased over the same period by 29.7 percent to €553 million.

KBA’s complete order backlog of €639.8 million secures workload beyond 2016. “This is a solid buffer for the second half-year and gives us ample security to raise our targets for 2016 despite existing economic and political turbulence,” said Claus Bolza-Schünemann, KBA President and CEO. “ We now expect an EBT margin of around four percent with group revenue between €1.1 and €1.2 billion."

KBA explains a rise of 30 percent in revenue compared to 2015, strong capacity utilization at KBA's facilities and cost savings from its restructuring program completed at the start of the year had a positive impact on earnings after six months despite high trade show and development costs. The company’s EBIT improved to €20.7 million compared to the prior-year loss of –€8.3 million A slightly negative interest result of –€2.9 million led to a group pre-tax profit (EBT) of €17.8 million. After deducting income tax expenses, group net profit came to €17.2 million (2015: –€9.3 million).

The company’s free cash flow stands at –€14.4 million, compared to –€25.2 million 12 months ago. Funds at the end of June 2016 came to €168.7 million. Less bank loans, KBA's net liquidity stood at €154.5 million.

KBA explains from the drupa trade show, which again brought in orders in the triple-digit million euro range for KBA's largest segment, sheetfed, around a third of these orders were already visible in the group's figures for the second quarter and the other two thirds will be booked in the coming months.
Sun Chemical moved to acquire Flint Group’s publication gravure ink business in Europe, which would include the transfer of all products. Completion of the sale is subject to customary closing conditions, including the approval of the competition authorities.

“Sun Chemical remains committed to all its publication businesses,” said Felipe Mellado, Chief Marketing Officer and board member at Sun Chemical. “The acquisition of Flint Group’s publication gravure ink business reaffirms our commitment to this sector and will enable us to further strengthen and enhance the performance of our own publication gravure plants.”

Sun Chemical, a member of the DIC group, is headquartered in Parsippany, New Jersey, and produces printing inks, coatings and supplies, pigments, polymers, liquid compounds, solid compounds, and application materials. Together with DIC, Sun Chemical has annual sales of more than US$7.5 billion and over 20,000 employees around the world.
After spending three days in Düsseldorf, the positive vibe and innovation displayed at  drupa 2016 illustrates print is far from dead, even if how and when it will be produced is changing significantly.

This year I had the privilege to attend the drupa tradeshow again. I was in good company with seven students from the Graphic Communications Management program at Ryerson University and six of my colleagues. We spent three days at drupa exploring the trade show.

First of all, I would like to say that the whole show carried a very positive and energetic vibe. It was like a fest, almost a party, compared to the sombre tone from 2012. The halls were bustling with people from more than 188 different countries. Many pieces of equipment carried a Sold to... sign. I see this as a positive trend towards the future of the printing industry. Companies are investing again to modernize their equipment and add new services.

Yes, the hype of the show was HP, which had hall 17 completely to itself, as well as Landa, Kodak and Highcon. There were many exhibits in regards to 3D printing, functional printing and so on, but the majority of exhibitors were focused on supporting existing businesses and their needs from new inks to better knifes for a cutter. The paper manufacturers had a hall to themselves to show off many new products. What I also liked was the hustling and bustling in hall 1, occupied by Heidelberg.

Overall, 260,000 visitors visited the 1,837 exhibitors who themselves came from 54 different countries. These numbers are little bit less than statistics from drupa 2012, but, as I said before, the spirit was quite positive throughout the show. Messe Düsseldorf states 54 percent of the visitors came to drupa with concrete investment intentions and 29 percent placed orders and another 30 percent plan to place orders after drupa.

Digital print trends
Although previous drupa trade shows have been labelled as the digital drupa, this 2016 version was for sure the digital drupa. Benny Landa’s famous saying  “Anything than can be printed digital, will be printed digital” was clearly on display at the show. The speed of digital presses using inkjet technology is continuing to increase and the print resolution is also getting better. Sometimes you really have to look closely (with a magnifying glass) to see the difference. Also more and more special inks are being developed for digital printing presses, which used to be available only in offset or flexo ink sets.

Kodak showed interesting new inkjet technology with the introduction of its Ultrastream platform, which was incorporated into its Prosper 6000C press. Landa, meanwhile, stated it will finally ship machines after the show to a number of beta customers.

Automation is still a big topic by all accounts. Due to the increasing number of short run jobs, the changeover between print jobs has to be as quick as possible. Expanded gamut printing is not only a trend for digital printing, it also for conventional printing. Expanded gamut printing uses CMYK plus OGV (Orange, green and violet, sometimes also called blue), to cover up to 95 percent of the Pantone book. Using expanded gamut printing eliminates wash-up or ink changing between press run. Digital presses and conventional presses were shown at drupa that used this technology during live demonstrations and the changeover time was a few minutes for new plates or plate cylinders before the next print job started printing.

Pantone just released a book that shows the Pantone colours and how they can be achieved using expanded gamut printing. Just think of it as the Pantone Bridge book, but instead of four colours, seven colours are being used. I also saw quite a number of vendors showing MIS technology. One would think that this is somewhat of an old hat, but there still seems to be quite a need for it. Another important item seems to be Digital Asset Management (DAM) systems. Local and cloud-based solutions were shown. I found it interesting that each user can have different levels of access, from low resolution, for position only, up to full editing rights. The important DAM trend is that the original image does not get edited, it is always a copy that is being modified. The DAM systems can also be searched to see which image was used for which product or campaign.

A clear indication of the changing print industry was that HP had hall 17 completely to itself. In 2008 HP had a relatively small booth in a hall. In 2012, the company occupied half of a hall, and it was one of the busiest booths at that show. In 2016, HP was the largest exhibitor at drupa 2016 with its hall measuring 6,200 square metres. It would be possible to write a complete article on all of the things HP showed in hall 17, but I am focusing on just a few items that sparked my interest. The first item is the HP T490 HD PageWide inkjet web press. It can run webs from 16 to 42 inches wide. The press can run in two modes, called performance and quality mode. In quality mode, the press runs at 500 feet per minute and at 1,000 feet per minute in performance mode. I asked a representative from HP what the amortization period for such a press would be and received the answer of 20 years. It was pointed out to me that the press is field upgradable in regards to the inkjet heads and also in regards to the digital front end (DFE). I also asked about ink costs. Although the inks costs are twice as much as offset inks, there are no costs for plates, make-ready or wash-up.

HP prides itself in the fact that the T-series machines are made from solid metal, even the small gears, and therefore built to last. HP is also experimenting with different kind of inks that used to be only available for conventional print processes. The company is experimenting with colour-shifting and glitter inks, fluorescents, spot gloss, adhesive, thermochromic ink, silver ink and also with digital lenticular ink. In order to show off the versatility of the inks, HP displayed a board with print samples produced on coated paper, compressed cardboard, synthetic paper, SBS, fluted PP, foam PVC, PE film, Acrylic and Polyester film.

HP’s 3D printer is set to mix-up the 3D print market. The difference to most current models is that it does not matter if one copy or 10 copies of the same item are made, as long as they fit on the table inside the device. HP leverages Jet Fusion technology that uses bonding and fusing agents that are applied separately after the material has been deposited. Another unique feature of the 3D system is its ability to print in colour.

Kodak, as mentioned, introduced its Prosper 6000C inkjet press with Ultrastream technology, which is based on a continuous-feed inkjet system to achieve high print speeds. This allows users to print at an equivalent resolution of 1,200 x 1,200 dpi. The web width on this machine can range from eight to 97 inches. The web speed can reach up to 500 feet per minute and is limited to 150 feet per minute for vinyls and plastics. The inks are safe for indirect food contact. Due to the high printing speed of the Propser 6000C inkjet press, the roll unwind is handled by a MEGTEC roll stand and the in-line folding operation is done by a manroland websystems’ Foldline technology.

The new NexPress zx3900 has five printing units and can print white ink and MICR ink. The operator also has the option to change the fusion roller to achieve a different gloss on the printed material. This press can be equipped with a fusion roller for a glossy finish or a matte finish, without changing the toner.  

Xeikon is known for its toner-based digital print machines delivering a high print quality. At drupa 2012, the Trillium toner technology was introduced, but at this year’s drupa a working roll-to-roll press using this technology was shown. The interesting thing about Trillium toner technology is its use of a liquid toner. The liquid toner gets transported via an anilox roller and a doctor roller onto the photoconductor drum. From the photoconductor drum, the image is then transferred onto an intermediate rubber-covered cylinder before the transfer to the substrate takes place. All this time, the toner is in a carrier oil. The Trillium technology is slated towards short-run book printing, transactional direct mail and transpromo printing. Xeikon also showed machines geared toward the short-run label market. The printing machine can be  equipped for heat transfer or in-mold labels.

Delphax, a Canadian player in the inkjet printing market, uses the Memjet print head technology in its Elan 500 press. Interestingly, this machine has a relatively high speed for cutsheet inkjet printing. The top speed hits 500 sheets per minute in A4/letter size. The maximum print resolution can be 1,600 dpi and full duplex is possible in one pass. The maximum sheet size for the Elan 500 is 18 x 26 inches and the paper weight can range from 20 to 130 lb.

At drupa 2012, Benny Landa introduced the printing world to his Nanography branding. Nanography uses nano-sized pigment particles in a water-based inkjet ink. The difference to current inkjet technology is that the water gets removed from the inkjet ink before the printed image gets transferred to the substrate. In Nanography, the image is jetted onto a heated transfer belt, which removes all the water from the ink and turns the ink into a semi-plastic, before it gets transferred to the substrate. The design of the S10 sheetfed press has changed a lot from drupa 2012. The machine looks more like a conventional printing press with a cockpit at the end. The press also has coating capabilities if the customer so desires. Beta machines of the S10 presses will soon be delivered to selected beta-site customers. Quad-Graphics is one the selected customers for North America.

Landa positions its technology in terms of production between current digital print technology and offset print technology, at the run lengths between 1,000 and 10,000. This was shown during its theatre style presentation. It was also stressed that the quality of the printed dot on coated and uncoated paper is higher compared to current inkjet technologies. Images were on display that demonstrated this fact. Another advantage for Landa is, that the CMYK gamut of its inks is wider than the conventional CMYK gamut, as is the case with most inkjet systems. Landa can also print with an expanded gamut set that covers almost all of the Pantone colours. Interestingly, the ink containers are made from cardboard and can be flattened and recycled once the plastic bag that contains the ink concentrate is empty. The plastic bag for the ink can be recycled in the current plastic recycling stream.  Prints made with Nanographic inks are also recyclable according to the INGEDE test method.

Landa also unveiled a new technology brand called Metallography, which is set to replace foil stamping for any kind of metallic ink effect on any kind of printing. The Metallography application unit can be retrofitted onto an existing press. This concept was shown on a narrow-web flexographic press. Metallography uses nano-silver which is attracted to the printed material via a trigger image and a donour roll applies the metallic flake to the print. Metallography can save a lot of metallic foil material. It was said that one kg of this silver material replaces 3,000 kg of foil stamping material. Another advantage of this process is that prints with Metallography can be used in a microwave without causing any fires or damaging electric discharges.

Conventional print trends
Although most of the hype at drupa was around digital printing, current industry powers were not sitting on their hands and waiting for things to happen. Many inventions were shown in press technology for offset and flexography that drive the use of automation and shorter time frames between printing jobs. True press and print automation can only be done if the press operator prints to the numbers. Some of the lifting that used to be done in the press room needs to take place in the pre-media portion of any job through profiling, but also the press has to be set for printing at optimal print conditions.

Heidelberg’s hall was quite full the day I visited. Many people were talking with representatives from Heidelberg and a flair of excitement was in the air.

Heidelberg showed its Speedmaster XL106-8-P with UV LED curing, which is technology I saw at other well-know press manufacturers. It seems that UV LED, although not new, is to become more mainstream. On the XL 106, Heidelberg introduced the concept of autonomous manufacturing, printing one job after another with the operator there to stop the press, not to start it. Heidelberg calls this principle Push to stop. During the short presentation of the XL 106, three small jobs were completed. The operator only needed to take the plates from job #1 out from the automatic plate changer and load the plates for job#3 into the plate loading system. The press starts automatically based on the lined-up jobs.

Of course, the main attraction for me in the Heidelberg hall was the Primefire 106, a digital inkjet press built in co-operation with Fujifilm. Heidelberg contributed the paper handling and coating unit, while Fujifilm provided its inkjet print heads. The showcased press was configured for 7-colour printing with expanded gamut and the print resolution is 1,200 x 1,200 dpi. One feature I liked a lot on this press is the fact that the operator gets a pulled sheet by the touch of a button on the control table.

Gallus showcased its Labelfire 340 which is based on UV-inkjet technology with in-line finishing. The press prints at 1,200 x 1,200 dpi with up to eight colours. The 8th colour is white plus CMYK and OGV. Again, expanded gamut printing is used. The print speed ranges from 50 to 150 feet per minute.

I walked onto the KBA booth when a demonstration of the Flexotechnica XD LR started. The common impression cylinder flexographic printing press showed that it is possible to print with water-based inks on clear PET film. The press can also be configured to run EB-curable inks. Another development from KBA, in co-operation with Xerox, is the 40-inch VariJET 106 for the folding carton market. This press prints at 4,500 iph and is geared toward short-run applications of folding cartons. The press can be configured with coating, cold-foil, rotary die-cutting, creasing and perforating units.

Esko shared a booth with other companies now belonging to Danaher, including X-Rite, Pantone and Enfocus. Together with seven GCM students and six colleagues we had an extended tour of the booth. For nine out of 10 major brands, Esko solutions are used to produce packaging. One interesting new Esko product is the CDI Crystal 5080 imager, which can be used for HD Flexo and Full HD flexo plates. Esko has simplified the operation of this imager with a touchscreen mounted to the left of the device. The operator more or less just pushes a start or stop button. The machine features a fully automatic plate loading and ejecting system. The imager can be combined with the XPS Crystal 5080 for the exposure of the plates. The unique feature of the plate exposure unit is that front and back exposure are done in the same moment through an exposure bar that travels over the plate with UV LED exposure for the back exposure.
Esko also introduced a combination of a robotic loading and unloading with a Kongsberg table for cutting and scoring. The unique thing is that the cutting table and robotic loading arm “talk” to each other, so both machines know what the other one is doing and do not try  to execute conflicting operations.

The German company Bobst might be familiar to most people for its die-cutting machines, but it also builds flexo and gravure printing presses. Bobst showed its M6 flexographic printing press for food packaging. The demonstrated press ran in extended gamut configuration with UV-flexographic inks. The press has two unique features, including tracking the curing of the UV ink after each print unit and the ability to change plate cylinders on the fly. The press has one plate cylinder in use, while the other one is in a waiting position. When the operator presses the button for a complete plate change, the press slows down to make-ready speed and a system lifts the current plate cylinder into a storage position, while the other one slides into printing position. The automatic register control system adjusts the register quickly and the press can ramp up to production speed. Bobst claims that the press has an uptime of 95 percent. After the new plate cylinders are in use, the plate cylinders from the previous job can manually be removed from the press and fitted with plates for the next job. This is a highly productive printing press.

The surprise of the show was the exhibit from Highcon, an Israeli company that has specialized in manufacturing 3D objects with the help of laser-cutting. Its machines can cut up to two-mm thick material. Depending on the machine type, the 3D object can either be manually assembled or the machine can do it for you. On display was a wine-bottle stand that took roughly 30 minutes to cut and assemble out of cardboard.  The displayed wine stand was at least one metre tall. Trying to create the same item with 3D printing would have taking quite a number of hours. Highcon first introduced its technology to the print world at drupa 2012, but its products in 2016 made quite an impact on the visitors at the show.

Key takeaways
Although it is simply impossible to see everything at the drupa there is always an overall trend most visitors get out of the show. For me, the overall trends from this drupa are: Print is alive and coming back strong, the how and when has changed, and digital printing is making strong inroads into the offset print market with increased print speeds and high quality.

It was great to attend drupa again and see where the printing industry is headed. Its landscape will become quite diverse, but it will still be print.

Organizers of Graph Expo 2016, scheduled to run from September 25 to 28 in Orlando, Florida, have released their annual list of Must See 'Ems. Exhibitors of the trade show can enter an unlimited number of products, with a $250 entry fee per product, that are then evaluated across 11 categories by a selection committee. The top vote getter in each category wins the best-of-category Must See 'Ems award.

Listed below, in alphabetical order, are the 2016 MUST SEE 'EMS award winners in each of the 11 categories:

Sales and Order Entry
Infigo Software Ltd., Catfish-Mega Edit
Pixopa Inc., Web-to-Print Solutions
Radix Software Services Pvt. Ltd., Unified-W2P Advanced B2B nConnect

Prepress and Premedia
CGS Publishing Technologies, ORIS Flex Pack // Web Visualizer
Electronics for Imaging, Optitex Collaborate
Ultimate TechnoGraphics Inc., Impostrip Automation v10 AutoNesting
Xerox Corp., Xerox FreeFlow Core version 5.0
Xerox Corp., Xerox FreeFlow Digital Publisher

Colour Management and Quality Control
Canon U.S.A., PRISMAsync Color Print Server - G7 Calibration
Electronics for Imaging, EFIFiery Color Profiler Suite G7 calibration and verification
Lake Image Systems Inc., Discovery Roll Inspector

Variable, Transactional and Multi-Channel
Electronics for Imaging, EFI Digital Marketing Automation Platform
HP Inc., Link Technology
XMPie (Xerox), Campaigns-on-Demand

Pressroom: Analog Presses
RYOBI MHI Graphic Technology, RMGT 920ST-5-A+LED-UV

Pressroom: Digital Presses
Canon U.S.A., Océ VarioPrint i300
Electronics for Imaging, EFI Nozomi C18000
HP Inc., HP Indigo 12000 Digital Press
HP Inc., HP PageWide Web Press T390 HD
MGI USA, Meteor Unlimited Colors Press Series
Xeikon, Trillium One
Xerox Corp., Xerox Brenva HD Production Inkjet Press

Pressroom: Wide-Format
Electronics for Imaging, EFI AquaEndure Inks
Electronics for Imaging, EFI Armor Erase UV Coating
Epson America Inc., Epson SureColor S80600

Postpress and In-line Finishing
C.P. Bourg Inc., Bourg Preparation Module
MGI USA, JET Varnish 3D Evolution
Scodix, Scodix Ultra Pro Digital Print Enhancement Platform with Scodix Foil

Imprinting, Mailing, Shipping and Fulfillment
BCC Software, Integratec API Platform
Neopost USA, MACH 6
Neopost USA, Neopost AS-650
Solimar Systems, Inkjet Mailing and Efficiency Solution

Management Systems
Electronics for Imaging, EFI and Esko integrated workflow for digital packaging
Electronics for Imaging, EFI Corrugated Packaging Suite
HP Inc. - HP PrintOS

The Future of Print
MGI USA , AIS SmartScanner
PrinterPresence, PrinterPresence app for Zapier
Xerox Corp., Xerox Direct to Object Inkjet Printer

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