Adobe of San Jose, California, states that it has achieved equal pay between men and women in the United States, describing it as an important milestone in the company’s ongoing efforts to create an innovative and productive work environment for all employees.

Women are now making $1.00 for every dollar earned by male employees in the U.S., explains Adobe, up from 99 cents a year ago. As previously announced, non-white employees are earning as much as white employees.

Over the last year, Adobe explains it undertook a review of its job structure and analyzed its compensation practices, and then made small adjustments based on this review. As part of its effort to pay parity, Adobe explains it will disclose its U.S. pay parity results annually as part of the Adobe corporate responsibility report.

“We were already close to pay parity in the U.S. through our strong people practices, and now we are proud to have achieved and documented this last step of full parity,” said Donna Morris, Executive VP of Customer & Employee Experience at Adobe. “It means a lot to our U.S. employees, and we’re excited to extend that same commitment to our global employee base in the upcoming year.”

Building on this U.S. milestone, Adobe explains it will continue to work to achieve global pay parity. The company is poised to achieve pay parity in India, its next largest employee population, early next year. The company first outlined its U.S. and India parity timelines in September 2017.
The Digital Imaging Association on December 6 held its annual Holiday Luncheon at The Boulevard Club on Toronto’s lakeshore. The event featured a keynote address from Scott Stratten, named as one of the Top 5 Social Media Influencers in the world by Forbes.com.

Stratten, President of Un-Marketing and author of five best-selling books, spoke about The Age Of Disruption: Everything Has Changed and Nothing Is Different. He discussed how the business climate is changing at an unprecedented rate, with new strategies and technologies changing the landscape on a seemingly endless trajectory.

Earlier in the day, the Digital Imaging Association (DIA) confirmed its executive board for the year ahead, which includes:

Jason Hamilton, Hughes Decorr

First Vice President
Paul Tarvydas, Tsus4

Second Vice President
Larry Stewart, KBR Graphics

Mark Norlock

Past President
George Sittlinger, Maracle Press

Jim Dickson, Xerox Canada
Ray Fagan, Heidelberg Canada
Andrea Leven Marcon, Spicers Canada
Stephen Longmire, PrintAction
Paul McCarthy, HP Canada
Mike Millard, Ellis Packaging
Ed Rooney, R.R. Donnelley
Dino Sinnathurai, Cober Evolving Solutions
Randall Stevenson
Bob Weller

Director Emeritus
Karl Schmed, Global Colour
Avanti Computer Systems expanded its footprint moving into a new office on Consumers Road in North York, Ontario. This is the fourth move in the past 10 years for the growing software developer, focused on providing print MIS solutions since it is was founded in 1984.

The recent ground-up development of its Avanti Slingshot technology is described by the company as the most open industry solutions to run multiple lines of business, handling large format, print and mail workflows. Integrated modules extend from online order entry through to production and billing.

Some of the highlights from the company’s 33-year history of providing Management Information Systems to the printing industry include:

1984 Company founded to provide an estimating tool to offset printers who struggled to accurately quote jobs

1999 Avanti introduces a Windows version of its MIS software

2004 New management team arrives at Avanti, including current leaders Patrick Bolan and Stephen McWilliam

2012 Avanti holds its 20th User Group Conference

2013 Imaging giant Ricoh makes a strategic investment in Avanti, which in the same year launches its new Slingshot MIS, built from the ground up for modern printing needs

2014 Avanti turns 30 years old as Slingshot receives its first of three Must See ‘Em Awards at Graph Expo

2015 Avanti Slingshot receives prestigious JDF certification, making it the first JDF-certified and cloud-based print MIS on the market

2016 Avanti Slingshot becomes the first print MIS to be integrated with HP’s PrintOS platform

2017 Ricoh acquires Avanti

Isabelle Marcoux, Transcontinental Inc.’s Chair of Board of Directors, was inducted into the Women's Executive Network (WXN) Hall of Fame in Toronto. This recognition follows her three career nominations by WXN – in 2010, 2012 and 2016 – as one of Canada's 100 Most Powerful Women. The induction focuses on both Marcoux's professional and philanthropic accomplishments during her career.

“I am sincerely honoured to join the ranks of the Women's Executive Network Hall of Fame,” said Marcoux. “I am proud to ensure the continued growth of TC Transcontinental, a company that delivers results responsibly and that sets itself apart through its values. This recognition reflects positively on TC Transcontinental as a whole. Moreover, I am continuously aiming to further the causes which are close to my heart. This honour is a testament to my sustained commitment towards the advancement of women into executive and board member roles. I would like to thank WXN for shining the light on Canadian women who distinguish themselves every year."

Marcoux has been Transcontinental's Chair of the Board since February 2012. She was Vice Chair of the Board from 2007 and Vice President, Corporate Development, from 2004. In this latter role, she was responsible for the strategic planning process and mergers and acquisitions. Between 1997 and 2004, Marcoux held various positions within the Corporation. Before joining Transcontinental, she was a lawyer at McCarthy Tétrault LLP.

In 2017, Marcoux became the first Canadian to win the Visionary Award for Strategic Leadership from the global organization WomenCorporateDirectors Foundation (WCD), most notably in recognition of her proven leadership in making strategic decisions to ensure the organization's long-term growth. In 2016, she was awarded the prestigious Medal of the National Assembly of Quebec, recognizing the impact of her continuous community involvement.

Sherri Stevens, President and CEO of PhaseNyne, the parent company of Women's Executive Network, Canadian Board Diversity Council (CBDC), and the Stevens Resource Group, added: “Canada's Most Powerful Women: Top 100 Awards showcases the leaders that are helping to drive positive change, and remind us of the importance of empowering women in the workforce and in the community. Isabelle Marcoux is one such leader in action and it is a great honour for us to inscribe her name into our Hall of Fame. We are proud of the steps taken by women, and the organizations that support them, and are thrilled that we have now surpassed a major milestone with over 1,000 women honoured since the awards were launched in 2003.”

In addition to her current role as Chair of the Board of Transcontinental, Marcoux serves on the boards of George Weston Ltd., Rogers Communications and Power Corporation of Canada. She is also a member of the board of The Montreal Children's Hospital Foundation. Beyond her professional achievements, Marcoux is highly involved in the community, particularly with Centraide of Greater Montreal, for which she will serve as Chair of the Major Donors’ Circle starting in 2018. She was also co-chair of the Centraide of Greater Montreal 2016 campaign.

On Friday December 1, hundreds of guests from Greater Toronto’s printing and design communities attended C.J. Graphics’ annual holiday party, held for the first time in the company’s new 240,000-square-foot facility in Mississauga, Ontario.

The open house and fundraiser also serves as a benefit event for the Daily Bread Food Bank, with guests asked to bring food or cash conations. C.J. Graphics’ President and CEO, Jay Mandarino, also serves as a live auctioneer during the party to raise funds, in addition to a silent auction. Final donation numbers from the event have not yet been released, but proceeds are put toward the special-needs programs provided by the C.J. Skateboard Park & School.
GCM student Jenna Peters achieved a number of firsts relating to G7 calibration at Ryerson University. Peters is the first student to create a pass for G7 Grayscale calibration on the school's Epson 7900 inkjet proofer.

This was the first time that the new version of Curve software was used, with Peters having access to the latest release Curve4 through support from Chromix. This was the first time that Don Hutcheson’s new horizontal format target – P2P51H – was used.

Peters generated the required correction in Curve4 and applied it using curves in Photoshop. This was a project in a new course called GCM 360 Colour Management. Peters, a third-year student in Ryerson’s School of Graphic Communications Management, is studying print media, magazine publishing, sign and display graphics, and 3D printing.

Ryerson invites industry members to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it on the projects its students are doing in colour management involving CRPC6, GRACoL, expanded gamut, spot colours, and colour management for 3D, among others.

The key to lower cost and higher profits in the printing industry revolves around managing new world automation

Today’s printing industry is a capital-intensive business that is a hybrid of production, distribution, and ancillary services. In this article, I examine the relationship between productivity and profitability in print, using independent industry data for sheetfed commercial printers covering primarily commercial and advertising, direct mail and packaging, while the budgeted hourly rates are from an industry accepted source.

First, let’s define productivity from an economic perspective. Productivity is the connection between inputs (resources used to produce a good or service) and outputs (the quantity of goods or services produced). Productivity goes up if we can produce more output for the same amount of inputs or produce the same amount of output with fewer inputs.

In the printing industry, typical economic metrics for productivity are sales per employee, sales per factory employee, or value added per employee or factory employee. Here I focus on the value-added component. A comparison of these metrics for sheetfed printers dramatically demonstrates how much more productive profit leaders (top quartile of profitability) are than those with profit potential (lower quartile of profitability). For example, profit-leading printers produce in excess of 44 percent more value added per production worker than those with profit potential.

It is important from a business’ perspective to understand what underlying reasons for this differential. A vital reason for this competitive advantage in productivity is the difference in machinery and equipment per factory employee. Data indicates high-profit printers are much more likely to substitute capital for labour. In fact, high-profit printers have almost double the investment per factory employee compared to low-profit printers.

Why is capital investment an important factor in profitability? Higher investment on the factory floor equates to less labour in the factory. Indeed, high-profit printers use approximately 30 percent fewer factory employees per million dollars of sales. For comparison purposes, a $10-million profit-leading printer would have 17 fewer factory employees than a printer with profit potential. This reduction in staffing significantly impacts the profitability of the printer.

This comparative focus on equipment and efficiency allows high-profit printers to achieve a big reduction in direct labour cost as a percentage of value added with a savings of around seven percent (Figure 2).

It is important to understand how this lower cost is achieved. The cost to manufacture an item is comprised of material costs, cost to produce it (budgeted hourly rate or BHR), and how many of the item can be produced over a period of time (productivity). Let’s consider a simple case of two manufacturing scenarios for the same item. The first has a BHR of $300 and net productivity of 1000 items per hour, while the second has a BHR of $360 and net productivity of 1500 items per hour. In the first case it costs $0.30 per item, while in the second it costs $0.24 per item.

The second manufacturing scenario, while at a higher BHR, has a lower manufacturing cost. This clearly demonstrates that both BHR and productivity should be considered in tandem when evaluating your manufacturing costs.

Now, let’s examine in more detail the connection between the cost of equipment (in this case a press), the BHR, and press productivity. In general, the depreciation and finance cost of a new press makes up between 20 to 35 percent of budgeted hourly rates. The remainder of the BHR is composed of manufacturing labour, other manufacturing costs, and sales and administrative costs.

On this basis, higher equipment costs translate to only approximately a 6- to 10-percent increase in BHR depending on the factors above. This could be considered a significant difference in a competitive industry like printing. However, this difference is significantly impacted by any productivity difference in equipment as indicated above.

In the example for a typical two-shift operation, a 25-percent premium in equipment costs is equalized by an 8.75-percent difference in equipment productivity, a factor defined as the productivity equalizer. In general, productivity is three times more important than price differential between equipment. Therefore, in this case, at any productivity difference above 8.75 percent, the business would reduce costs and increase profitability despite paying 25 percent more for the equipment.

The bottom line is that productivity driven by automation, innovation, and technology-embedded equipment drives down costs and increases financial performance. The key to managing this complex process is to understand the dynamics of the interactions better than your competitors.

Impact of cost on profitability
Pinpointing how costs impact profitability in the printing industry is critical for printers to understand and leverage in their businesses. The underlying drivers of profitability are sales or total revenues, prices they charge, and cost structure.

In general, increased sales, higher prices, and lower costs all add to the bottom line and the profitability of companies. Last year, a typical sheetfed printer’s costs comprised just under 98 percent of total sales, leaving only two-percent profits across the industry. Often in today’s print market, there is a “street price” for the product, above which the printer cannot increase their pricing unless there are additional value-added services. Printers can increase profitability by analyzing their sales and operations, making business changes that increase sales volumes, and or lowering their manufacturing costs.

The complex recipe for print production results in over 100 separate cost-expense items for a typical printer’s chart of accounts. However, these can be grouped into the main categories shown in Figure 1 (top of page 14). In this data, for an average sheetfed printer the manufacturing costs cover the majority of the costs at 76 percent. This is made up from the factory payroll (all factory employees, benefits, etc.), factory expenses (rent, insurance, power, etc.) paper, materials, and outside services.

Admin and selling costs account for 22 percent, leaving just over two-percent average profitability. Clearly, reducing the costs indicated above will impact companies’ profitability. So what happens to profits as companies reduce costs? As profit margins are typically slim, profits increase disproportionally to a given percentage-cost decrease. For example, a one percent decrease in manufacturing costs (factory expenses and payroll, paper and other materials/outside services) translates to a 34-percent increase in profits, other things remaining equal. Therefore, achieving a three-percent reduction in the manufacturing costs doubles profits! A one-percent decrease in overall total costs translates to a 43-percent jump in profits.

There are two key drivers for lower costs: First, more equipment, specifically newer and more productive equipment, for manufacturing. Second: fewer but more productive and higher-paid people. These two factors working in tandem are the crucial determinants of the profit gap between industry profit leaders (sheetfed printers in the top quartile of profitability) and the rest of the industry (the other 75 percent of the industry) where over the last 10 years there has been, on average, a 10-percent profit differential between these groups.

A primary path to higher profitability for printing companies is lowering cost. This will also, by definition, increase the sales conversion rate and therefore also increase total sales. By leveraging manufacturing efficiency, printers can turbocharge their profitability.

Transcontinental Inc., in a move to consolidate its newspaper-printing activities in Québec into three plants, announced the closure of its Montréal-based Transcontinental Métropolitain, scheduled to take place in late January 2018. A day later, Transcontinental announced the sale of 21 of its Quebec and Ontario-based publications to to Icimédias Inc.

Métropolitain’s printing activities will be mainly transferred to the Transcontinental Transmag plant in Montréal, which is described as holding state-of-the-art equipment. The regional plants of Transcontinental de la Capitale in Québec City and Transcontinental Qualimax in Gatineau will also take in volume upon transfer of activities, which will take place progressively beginning in early January.

Transcontinental stated its decision was made in the context of the decline in the newspaper printing market, and more specifically in connection with the upcoming end of the printing of La Presse newspaper.

The Transcontinental Métropolitain plant currently has close to 60 employees. TC Transcontinental explains it will be able to offer employment opportunities to the majority of the workers within its other business units, while noting some job losses will result from the closure of the plant.

Transcontinental Métropolitain was built in 2003 and, in its early days, was primarily dedicated to printing La Presse daily newspaper and its related products. Over the years, other products, namely newspapers of independent publishers and those of TC Media, were added on to the plant's book of business.

A day after announcing the closure of Métropolitain, Transcontinental announced the sale of 21 of its publications and their related Web properties, as well as its InMemoriam.ca site to Icimédias Inc., a company led by its President Renel Bouchard, with Marc-Noël Ouellette as Managing Director.

In total, 140 employees of these various publications and 28 employees from TC Media's Production team are transferred to Icimédias. TC Transcontinental also concluded a multi-year agreement for the printing and distribution of all of these publications. This represents the largest transaction to date in the process for the sale of TC Media's local and regional newspapers in Québec and Ontario. With the completion of this transaction, close to 50 percent of the titles included in this process are now in the hands of local owners.

The publications sold to Icimédias are: L'Avenir de l'Érable, La Nouvelle union – Wednesday edition and La Nouvelle union – Sunday edition, in Centre-du-Québec; Beauce Média, L'Éclaireur Progrès, Hebdo Régional, La Voix du Sud and Courrier Frontenac, in Chaudière-Appalaches; Le Progrès de Coaticook and Le Reflet du Lac, in Estrie; Le Courrier Sud, L'Écho La Tuque/Haut-St-Maurice, L'Écho de Maskinongé, L'Hebdo du St-Maurice and L'Hebdo Journal, in Mauricie; L'Avenir et des Rivières, Granby Express, Journal Le Guide, Le Canada Français, Le Richelieu and Coup d'œil, in Montérégie.

“The sale of 21 of our publications in a single transaction today marks a significant step in the process for the sale of our local newspapers in Québec and Ontario,” said François Olivier, President and CEO of TC Transcontinental. “It is with pride that we pass the torch to Renel Bouchard and Marc-Noël Ouellette, long-standing business partners of TC Transcontinental, who are eager to contribute to the sustainability of these publications.”

Transcontinental Inc. has more than 7,000 employees in Canada and the United States, and generated revenues of $2 billion in 2016.
Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG of Germany released a financial update for its first half of 2017/18, April 1 to September 30, 2017, stating profitability improved significantly. The company’s operations resulted in a half-year net profit after taxes of €+0.3 million for the first time since financial year 2007/08.

“The process of converting our company into a state-of-the-art digital technology group is progressing well,” said Rainer Hundsdörfer, CEO of Heidelberg. “With the launch of new subscription models for our customers and our portfolio of innovative products for the eMobility growth sector, we’re moving into new territory that offers enormous potential for growth. Heidelberg will be setting new standards when it comes to technologies of the future, digitization, and efficiency. The necessary cultural shift has only just begun.”

In terms of its shift toward digitally printed packaging and labels, Heidelberg explains it is well positioned in this sector based on its digital label presses from Gallus. This was underlined by what the company describes as numerous orders for the new Gallus Labelfire at the Labelexpo trade show in Brussels at the end of September.

The period under review also saw shipment of its industrial digital packaging printing press, Primefire. Series production for these digital printing systems is scheduled to start at the beginning of 2018. The company states it is already fully booked in this area for two years.

In the second quarter, Heidelberg also began the pilot phase for launching new business models. This involves offering customers a full package of machinery, services, consumables, and software in a subscription model.

In the last few weeks, Heidelberg explains additional successful steps have been taken for new product offerings that are intended to generate around €50 million in additional sales over the next few years.

Heidelberg Industry boasts substantial expertise in control and power electronics for industrial and eMobility applications. After establishing itself as a supplier over a number of years, the company is now marketing high-performance wallboxes and intelligent charging cables for electric vehicles under its own name. In conjunction with Berlin-based technology startup Big Rep, a large-format 3D printing solution has also been developed that has been in series production since October.

In operational terms, the figures for the first half of financial year 2017/18 were as planned. Despite negative exchange rate effects of €18 million and the systematic reduction of trading activities with remarketed equipment, sales after six months were €1,054 million, almost the same as the previous year’s level of €1,072 million.

As expected by the company, incoming orders in the post-drupa year of €1,234 million were below the previous year’s figure (H1 2016/17: €1,408 million). The order backlog was a solid €630 million compared to the €765 million at September 30, 2016, which was boosted by drupa.

Profitability rose significantly on the previous year’s figures. EBITDA excluding restructuring result was up from €45 million to €60 million after two quarters, with the EBITDA margin reaching 8.2 percent in the second quarter, following 7.5 percent in the same period of the previous year.

“Heidelberg is on a very sound financial footing, with financing secured for the long term. This will enable us to independently fund the strategic measures and the growth we are aiming for,” said Dirk Kaliebe, CFO at Heidelberg. “Systematically harnessing the potential from the efficiency program will also secure our medium-term profitability targets.”
Last night at the Palais Royale in downtown Toronto more than 200 people from across the country, including the program’s largest-ever contingent from Quebec, attended the 12th annual Canadian Printing Awards, organized by PrintAction and its parent company Annex Business Media. More than 80 Gold, Silver and Bronze awards were presented to printers and technology suppliers. (Photos by Matthew Kozovski Photography)

The awards program is organized into four sections based on Printing, Technology and Environmental categories, as well as Industry Achievement to recognize the contributions of four leaders. Sponsors of the 2017 Canadian Printing Awards program include Veritiv (Platinum); Canon, Fujifilm, Huber Group, Kodak, Koenig & Bauer, Manroland Sheetfed and Sun Chemical (Gold); and Domtar, Heidelberg, Komcan and Spicers (Silver).

The 2017 Best of Show Award, chosen from among all printing category entries, went to Friesens Corp. of Altona, Manitoba, for its production of the hardcover book Canada 150th Anniversary, Through Ottawa. The book was produced in a 10,000 piece run on a 4-colour, 50-inch Manroland (text) and 6-colour 40-inch Heidelberg (cover).

As previously reported, this year’s Industry Achievement winners includes Bob Cockerill, who retired in 2015 as Senior Vice President of SGK Inc. and President and COO of Schawk Canada. Cockerill continues to serve as Chairman of PAC - Packaging Consortium, helping to lead many of that organization’s world-class research and certification initiatives around production and environmental sustainability.

Sean Murray, President and CEO, Advocate Group of Companies based in Pictou, Nova Scotia, was named the 2017 Printing Leader of the Year. Founded in 1891, Advocate is the largest independent printer in Atlantic Canada with four facilities in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, while controlling 10 newspapers, 21 trade and regional magazines, a flyer distribution organization, among other commercial printing initiatives.

John Hueston, President, Aylmer Express Graphics Group in Aylmer, Ontario, received the Community Leader of the Year Award for a range of programs he has been involved with across Elgin County, including founding of the 3 Port Tour, which has raised more than $70,000 in seven years. Hueston also helps lead Aylmer Express’ Thanksgiving Food Drive and is a Past President of the Aylmer Kinsmen in addition to involvement with the Ontario Community Newspaper Association, St. Thomas Elgin Public Art Centre and Aylmer Chamber of Commerce, among a range of other programs.

James Rowley, General Manager, Glenmore Custom Print + Packaging in Vancouver, British Columbia, received the Emerging Leader of the Year Award for his efforts in establishing Glenmore as a one of Western Canada’s premier printing operations. Founded in 1981, Glenmore now has more than 130 employees and is one of Canada’s most prominent independent custom print and folding carton manufacturers, while also venturing into roll label printing and continuing its high-end offset litho work.

Award winners in the printing, technology and environmental categories include:

2017 Best of Show
Canada 150th Anniversary, Through Ottawa

Self Promotion, printing company
Gold: Fou, Fou, Fou!
Impression Paragraph

Silver: think4D Marketing Kit

Bronze: Hemlock Holiday Wrap
Hemlock Printers

Self Promotion, technology supplier
Gold: Variety
Canon Canada

Brochures & Booklets, offset
Gold: Cirque du Soleil: Luzia
Impression Paragraph

Gold: Watson Soul, Walk on This
C.J. Graphics

Silver: Sun Towers, The Centre
Hemlock Printers

Bronze: 2017 BC Lions Season Pass Package
Glenmore Custom Print + Packaging

Brochures & Booklets, digital
Gold: Bradshaw Delicacies From the Sea
C.J. Graphics

Silver: Introducing Biolage R.A.W.
Impression Paragraph

Bronze: Premium Lobster
Advocate Printing & Publishing

Books, hardcover offset
Gold: Canada 150th Anniversary, Through Ottawa (Best of Show)

Gold: Berlin Coffee Table Book (Best of Show Finalist)
Simpson Print & Litho

Silver: Intercom on Starting Up
Hemlock Printers

Silver: Toronto Jazz Treasures
Alymer Express Graphics Group

Bronze: AB Scale Model - Anniversary Book
MET Fine Printers

Books, softcover offset
Gold: Design Thinkers 2017 Program
MET Fine Printers

Silver: Horseshoe Bay Books
MET Fine Printers

Silver: Gaslight District Book
Simpson Print & Litho

Bronze: Brigus Mark Book
The Lowe-Martin Group

Bronze: Une ile d'Arbres
Marquis Book Printing

Books, digital
Gold: Mildred’s Temple
C.J. Graphics

Gold: Keys to Recovery
CBN Commercial Solutions

Silver: The Power to Create Change Book
PDI Inc.

Bronze: Close up and Marco Photography by Robert Thompson

Web Offset
Gold: Danica Studio Catalogue
Mitchell Press

Silver: LogiMonde
Impart Litho

Bronze: TASTE Magazine
Mitchell Press

Business & Annual Reports    
Gold: The Heart of the City, St. Michael's Foundation
Alymer Express Graphics Group

Silver: ATB 2017 Annual Report
CBN Commercial Solutions

Bronze: Tricon 2016 Annual Report
Moveable Inc.

Direct Mail    
Gold: IGA Holiday Promotion
PDI Inc.

Silver: Copperleaf Mailer
Hemlock Printers

Bronze: NBCC Alumni Association
Advocate Printing & Publishing

Gold: Audi Magazine
St. Joseph Print

Silver: Pure Luxury, 2017 March/April
The Lowe Martin Group

Silver: Mountain Life
Hemlock Printers

Bronze: Lush Magazine
C.J. Graphics

Gold: Daytimer
Simpson Print & Litho

Silver: Bombardier Business Aircraft 2017 Desk Calendar
PDI Inc.

Bronze: Engagement Calendar

Gold: ROCVALE Catalogue 2017 (Best of Show Finalist)
PDI Inc.

Silver: Bugaboos Eyewear, 2018 Ryders Catalogue
Hemlock Printers

Bronze: Polygon Realty, Seven Peaks Book
MET Fine Printers

Labels, offset
Bronze: Johnnie Walker Black Label
C.J. Graphics

Silver: Crown Royal World's Greatest Dad Label
C.J. Graphics

Gold: Crown Royal Celebrates Canada 150 Label
C.J. Graphics

Labels, flexography or gravure
Gold: Monarch Late Harvest (Best of Show Finalist)
Artcraft Label

Silver: Kacaba Susans Sauvignon Blanc
Artcraft Label

Bronze: Kacaba Pinot Gris
Artcraft Label

Gold: Leap Popcorn Bags

Silver: Big 8 Beverages
Farnell Packaging

Bronze: Beswick

Rigid Packaging
Gold: Laura Secord, Cognac Chocolates
Impression Paragraph

Silver: Norham Beverages Legends
Glenmore Custom Print + Packaging

Bronze: Vancouver Candle Co.
MET Fine Printers

Bronze: Canadian Club Premium Original 1858
C.J. Graphics

Business Cards
Gold: Crisp Fine Foods Business Cards
Pronto Reproductions Ltd.

Silver: Toyota Air Freshener Business Cards
C.J. Graphics

Bronze: New Era Cards
New Era Print Solutions

Stationery & Invitations    
Gold: Deloitte Technology Fast 50 Exclusive Invitation
C.J. Graphics

Silver: Maple Lodge Zabiha Halal Kit Folder
Simpson Print & Litho

Silver: C.J. Graphics Open House Invitation
C.J. Graphics

Bronze: Camp Brightworks 2017 Summer Party Invitation
C.J. Graphics

Gold: Doctors of the Game

Silver: GCM Grad Book
Ryerson University

Silver: Onboard Booklet – McMillan
The Lowe-Martin Group

Bronze: Auto House - Private Automotive Galleries & Social Club
C.J. Graphics

Specialty Project
Gold: Alberni by Kengo Kuma
MET Fine Printers

Silver: Getting Started with OFEV, Boehringer Ingleheim
Alymer Express Graphics Group

Silver: USC Football Season Tickets
CBN Commercial Solutions

Bronze: Griffin Poetry Price

Specialty Effects
Gold: Flying Monkeys Hoptical Illusion (Best of Show Finalist)

Silver: PrintAction September 2017
Boss Logo

Bronze: Cling Promotion
Pronto Reproductions

Technology Category Awards (Only Gold Presented)

Most Progressive Printing Technology, offset
Multi-Cassette Unit Energy Savings and Footprint Reduction Kodak Platesetters

Most Progressive Printing Technology, digital
NexPress White Opaque Dry Ink with Auto White Blend

Most Progressive Printing Technology, inkjet
Impremia IS29

Océ Colorado 1640 with UV Gel Technology

Environmental Category Awards

Most Environmentally Progressive Printing Project
YVR Sustainability Report
Hemlock Printers

Most Environmentally Progressive Technology Company    
Gold: Canon Canada, HP Canada

Most Environmentally Progressive Printing Company    
Gold: Hemlock Printers, The Lowe-Martin Group
Epic Creative Print of the UK has retrofitted UV LED lamps to its 6-colour Mitsubishi press, leveraging Flint Group’s XCURA EVO technology. “Installing UV LED broadens our opportunity to sell creativity,” said Mark Downey, Managing Partner of Epic Creative Print, based in the prehistoric market town of Dorchester in South West England.

In 2013, Epic launched its unique HiLite service to produce special effects and textures, run through its Mitsubishi Diamond 1000 press, and more recent investments, Indigo and a Scodix enhancement press.

“Our customers began asking for larger print runs of some of our most highly creative designs which we were producing on our Scodix and Indigo, but longer print runs doesn’t mean reduced unit cost in this case, so we began investigating the possibilities UV LED might offer,” said Mark Downey. “We use all kinds of substrates, from light uncoated stock, 100 percent recycled boards and specialist substrates, through to silvers like Mirri Pak, our own in-house foil papers and laminated substrates. We thought we may be able to transfer some of the longer run length work to litho with UV LED.”

Flint Group’s technology partner AMS Spectral UV now part of Baldwin Technology Co. were responsible for installing the UV LED lamp, chiller and control unit. They installed it with the option to move the LED array from the end of the press, after the coater unit, to a position after unit two, giving the flexibility to double hit with fluorescent or opaque white for example. The 6 colour with coater Mitsubishi took two days to convert to UV LED once all the rollers had been changed to UV compatible.

The Graphic Systems Division of Fujifilm North America will be increasing the prices of its offset printing plates. The company plans to increase the price of its offset printing plates from December 1, 2017, by up to eight percent, with the actual increase passed on to printers dependent on local market situations. The move comes a month after Kodak announced similar plate price increases.

The price increase is a result of raw material cost increases, explains Fujifilm, most significantly driven by substantial increases in the cost of raw aluminium, shifting costs of labour, among other related costs in plate manufacturing.

Fujifilm continues to explain efficiencies in manufacturing have also been negatively impacted by decreasing volumes in traditional plates due to changes in market demands.

“We have absorbed cost increases of raw materials, labour, and other production costs for the last 12 months to try and avoid passing on price increases to our customers,” said Todd Zimmerman, Division President, Fujifilm North America Corporation, Graphic Systems Division. “These price increases are a necessary step to maintain our production capabilities and continue to service our customers.”

Electronics For Imaging and Xeikon, a division of Flint Group, have entered into an exclusive partnership around the EFI Jetrion label and narrow web inkjet printing systems. Under the partnership, Xeikon will service, support and supply the worldwide Jetrion customer base, and continue the direct sales of Jetrion label printing systems as part of the Xeikon portfolio of digital dry toner and UV inkjet presses for the self-adhesive label market.

“EFI Jetrion printing systems have helped to establish the market for industrial digital inkjet label production, and the numerous innovations developed for high-resolution Jetrion technology – including high-end, production-class LED imaging, superior opaque white ink and true all-in-one integrated print, varnish, cut and slit systems – have given EFI Jetrion the largest installed base of UV inkjet label presses in the world,” said Guy Gecht, EFI CEO. “As we expand our portfolio of industrial inkjet products, we prioritized our go to market investment and resources. It was a clear choice for us to pick Xeikon, one of the undisputed leaders in digital label printing, as the ideal partner to continue a trustworthy sales and service operation for the Jetrion product line.”

Xeikon has a field presence with more than 100 service and support personnel worldwide.

Benoit Chatelard, President and CEO, Digital Solutions, Flint Group, stated: “With over 500 digital label presses installed worldwide, we are an acknowledged leader in the self-adhesive label market. Xeikon has the broadest digital label printing offering in the market, including workflow, presses, embellishment modules and converting equipment, and a worldwide service and support network that is unparalleled in the label market. All our customers are fully trained, serviced and supported through direct, first-line contact with Xeikon engineers, and this will be no different for the Jetrion customers.”

The Jetrion product line will complement Xeikon’s digital label press portfolio, which includes the Xeikon Cheetah Series and entry-level Xeikon 3000 Series of dry toner label presses, as well as the Xeikon Panther Series of UV inkjet label presses.
The Canadian Printing Industries Scholarship Trust Fund is providing a total of $75,500 in scholarship funding to students for the current school year. A total of $33,000 was awarded to 22 new students enrolled in the first year of an approved course of study. A further $37,500 was provided to 25 continuing students already enrolled in the scholarship program.

The primary objective of the Fund, explains the organization, is to attract the most talented young people available to the printing industry by providing financial assistance to them while they are enrolled in an approved graphic arts management or technical program.

“Every year the Board of Trustees is challenged to select the best and brightest as recipients of our scholarships and this year was no exception,” said Jeff Ekstein, Chairman of the Fund and President of Willow Printing Group. “We are pleased to be able to support 48 students in their pursuit of a career in the graphic communications industry.”

The value of each annual scholarship is $1,500 in addition to the annual presentation of the Warren Wilkins Memorial Scholarship with a value of $5,000. This year’s recipient of the Warren Wilkins award went to Kay-Lynn Saunders who is attending Ryerson University’s Graphic Communications Management program.

The Canadian Printing Industries Scholarship Trust Fund (CPISTF), since its founding in 1971, has provided more than $1 million in funding through the generosity of firms and individuals associated with the printing industries in Canada.

The current members of the Board of Trustees are:

Bruce Bond, Toronto, ON
Mike Collinge (Vice-Chairman), Webcom, Toronto, ON
Jeff Ekstein (Chairman), Willow Printing Group, Vaughan, ON
Harold Hoff, Heidelberg Canada, Mississauga, On.
Mike Mcinnes, Transcontinental Printing, Brampton, ON
Sean Murray (Treasurer), Advocate Printing and Publishing Co. Ltd., Pictou, NS
Ron Schroder, Canadian Flexographic Training Committee, ON
Cory Turner, Spicers, Vaughan ON
Rob Young, Pollard Banknote Limited, Winnipeg, Manitoba
Ian Baitz, Ryerson University
Wayne Collins, British Columbia Institute of Technology
Deep inside our Howard Iron Works Museum sits an odd looking offset press. Cast in the frame the words Komori along with the once familiar Bat logo. I managed to finagle this press from the hands of an English dealer. It took years to finally pony up enough cash to get him to sell it to me. For he was a lifelong Komori man and took great pride in having this press displayed in his factory. I was told it was built in 1928, but as hard as I tried, I was never able to verify this.

We had to make a couple gears for it. So after measuring we were all surprised to learn this little machine was built to imperial measurements and not metric. Why such interest? Container Corp.’s director of research said it best: “If you don’t remember the past. And are not conscious of the present, you have no future.” There are literally thousands of lessons to be learned and amazing stories to be told about our industry’s pioneers. Komori is but one excellent example.

Early Tokyo years
You don’t learn much about the early days for this Tokyo-based company and, as with all Japanese engineering firms, Komori is extremely careful with its reputation. It all started on October 20, 1923, when Komori Machinery Works was formed as a private business. The print world was just awakening to the new phenomenon called offset lithography and Komori seemed to take the position – quite rare in Japanese manufacturing – to enter an immature market instead of building what everyone else was, namely letterpress machines.

As near as I can research, the press we have, which is hand-fed, is a near clone of either the British Furnival or American R. HOE. After the U.S. discovery in 1904, lithographic offset sprang to life in Japan. Prior to 1920, the Harris Automatic Press Company had sold several machines into the empire and to rave reviews. Most likely companies like Komori had taken notice.

During the early 1920s, few westerners knew anything about the Japanese. Besides the arts-and-crafts business, Japan exported very little and travel was rare. In 1925, Komori’s first produced machine was a Planographic hand press (stone printing). This was a copy of America’s Fuchs & Lang lithographic press and of a very simple design. By 1928, Komori built a 32-inch hand-fed offset press – similar to the press in our museum. Early designs stemmed from duplication of English and American machines.

The Komori firm was run by the Komori family who today continue to control a large portion of its equity. The next three decades were rather uneventful and with the country’s military action in Manchuria, soon followed by entry into World War II, Japan was systematically locked out of technological developments that were taking place in America, Britain and Europe. Komori could only sit and watch while they busied themselves servicing the antiquated Japanese printing industry, as well as making attachments to allow automatic feeding of hand-fed machines.

In a 1997, a World Bank report explained, that after World War II, Japan lagged far behind the west technologically and didn’t compete internationally, but imported technology, which allowed them to enter a high-speed growth period referred to as the Gerschenkron model. This means it was a latecomer enjoying the accumulation of innovations developed in advanced countries. The Japanese word Manabu (to learn) and Manebu (to imitate) are key elements in all well respected Japanese manufacturer’s early beginnings. Komori was no exception and, considering its factory was destroyed by fire during the war, the company had few options but to rebuild, accumulate knowledge and try again. By December 28, 1946, Komori Machinery Works was finally incorporated into a joint-stock or public company.

By 1952, big things started to happen. Komori had finally built an automatic feed offset press. This press was fitted with the American Dexter feeder and delivered to Kyodo Printing Company. By 1956, one of its very first presses, a model KW-2 with a sheet size of 26 x 39 inches was exported to Canada. It went to Montreal.  Years later that press made its way to the Quebec city of Sherbrooke and by the late 1970s sold again to a printer in Oakville, Ontario. It was scrapped in the early 1980s. In 1957, Komori Currency was started and a range of Intaglio Simultan-like presses were established. Komori presses have printed Japan’s banknotes ever since much to the chagrin of KBA-Giori.

The company continued to develop products, releasing a four-colour UM-4C in 1957, a five-colour in 1961 and a six-colour in 1963. That same year saw the introduction of the Kony and the Unikom models. Later the monster Kosmo, a unitized press built in the 45- and 50-inch formats, was launched. Komori marketed the Kony Super 9, then Super 10, in North America and Europe, but not the Kosmo.

Opening up Japan
The 1950s opened up Japan as much as the constrained government would allow. This proved beneficial to all manufacturers as many set sail for the engineering capitals of the world. Komori did the same, for the company was already well known in Japan. The period between 1950 and 1970 was an enigmatic time for most westerners when they viewed Japanese industry. In the graphic arts a scattering of firms made mostly facsimiles of almost everything. Even in the early 1970s, the famed English Wharfdale letterpress was still being manufactured in Japan. Hitachi Seiko also made a copy of the Heidelberg OHC cylinder press. As Japanese industrialization geared up, there was a lot going on besides cars and transistor radios.

Aside from a few exports there remained no western market for Japanese printing equipment. In fact, Germany never seemed too concerned about licencing technology to fledgling engineering firms. Sumitomo – a very large corporation – was building Miller-Johannisberg presses. Yoshino, perfect binding and trimming machines from Sheridan and Martini. Even KBA had its little KRO Rapida made for a while by Ryobi. But Japan did have its close neighbours and equipment flowed all over the area from China and Korea to Indonesia and the Philippines. Komori slowly carved out a market even though by the early 70s Mitsubishi, Ryobi, Shinohara, Fuji, Sakurai and Akiyama were playing in the same sandbox. Especially in the domestic market, Mitsubishi MHI proved to be a constant irritant and major competitor. Heidelberg continues to be a major presence in Japan to this day.

But few were building web presses. In 1970, Komori entered this market with the first of its blanket-to-blanket System series presses – System 25. Besides TKS, Hitachi and Toshiba, few dared competing in this segment. Goss for many years had some of its newspaper presses built here and the locals seemed to always prefer machines from the west. The 546-mm cut-off remains a favoured size in Japan and most of Asia and Komori catered to this cut-off, continuing to build this size today.   

Also in 1970 someone must have seen the MAN or ColorMetal back printer. Komori added this feature to its Kosmo presses as an option. The back printer, or as Komori called it, reverse printer (RP), became a mainstay and well received addition. The RP continued with the Lithrone and won orders in carton printing for heavy board perfecting without the difficulty of building a perfector.

1970 was indeed a big year. Not only did Komori’s web program arrive, but this was the year of the Sprint series. The Sprint was a 25-inch press that started off as a one- and two-colour and then in 1971 a four-colour. These presses caught fire and featured a German Mabeg Jr. feeder head and electronic in-feed controls made by Omron (now house built as Eyekom).  The Sprint series was so popular that it remained in production for more than 35 years. Press operators found it easy to run and it had very creative ancillaries over the years like delivery controlled plate register and Komorimatic continuous flow dampening. The later would graduate to the full line of sheetfeds and web presses. In 1976, the company name was changed to Komori Printing Machinery Co. Ltd.

Komori’s real breakthrough year was 1981. In that year, after exhaustive study and research, Komori came out with a press like no other, the Lithrone. This would be the moment German builders woke up and started to pay attention. What was this little company running out of three rather small manufacturing sites – Toride, Yamagata and Sekiyado – doing? And how could they possibly? I’m almost sure the former Heidelberg rebuild centre in Waldorf, Germany, was just a bit smaller than Toride.

Over the next four decades, starting with the Lithrone, Komori would drive a range of innovations into the press-building world with offset innovations, factory builds, metals, and now inkjet system transports and partnerships.

Lithrone impact
To get a grasp of the monumental changes that were brought by the engineer design of Komori’s new Lithrone platform in 1981, you must look back to 1965 and a company known as Planeta, in the former East Germany. Planeta was also rather isolated, locked behind The Iron Curtain, but the press maker had some brilliant ideas. Few in the rest of West Germany and Europe paid much attention when Planeta launched its Variant press platform, but Komori certainly did. The Japanese press maker quickly saw the benefits of the double-size impression and transfer cylinders on the Variant. Although the Kosmo was a unitized press, the Kony was a bit of a discombobulation of upper and lower unitized units. Komori saw the light and embraced the Planeta Variant’s forward-thinking unitized double-size cylinder design. Planeta is now a part of Koenig & Bauer.

Not everything Planeta was borrowed. Komori retained the upper swing arm first used on Miehles, then Rolands, and made its own version of the Mabeg feeder head and essentially improved or re-engineered every part of the Planeta design principles with a press that remains today as a watershed beacon of Komori engineering achievement. And it was fast. At 13,000 iph, the Lithrone eclipsed both Roland and Heidelberg by 3,000 iph in 1981. I could go on and on about various features but suffice to say the Lithrone made Komori what it is today. Twenty-six-, 28-, 44- and 50-inch Lithrones would soon enter production.

During the early 1980s, the packaging industry soon discovered the benefits of using aqueous coatings instead of varnishes. Komori became the first to build a factory tower coater. True – Planeta had done so earlier but these were simply printing units less the inker. Komori fashioned its own three-roll coating apparatus and followed Planeta’s lead by offering extended deliveries. Unless you ordered a hollow transfer Lithrone, however, running short-grain carton was not ideal. Both the solid and skeleton, or hollow cylinder, still only allowed substrates of up to .032 inches (0.8 mm). Roland and Heidelberg (1986) already eclipsed this and of course Planeta had the widest range up to 1.4mm or over .050 inches. This is why even today Koenig & Bauer still carries the reputation as the ultimate carton press. In 2017, when every manufacturer can essentially run the same caliper of board (including Komori), Planeta’s early penetration into that market continues to pay dividends for Koenig & Bauer.

Buoyed by its strong sales – especially into the U.S. and Europe, Komori pushed to acquire the Harris Graphics Corporation in 1988. In fact, Komori had made what it assumed to be a deal with the principle owner AM International, and even released a press statement confirming the acquisition. At that time, Harris web division was a leader in commercial and insert printing web systems. When the dust settled, however, Komori was trumped at the final hour by Heidelberger Druckmaschinen. No doubt anger sidelined Komori executives, but not for long as Komori swooped in to buy the small French specialist packaging narrow-web manufacturer Chambon. In retrospect, considering the depressing state of the web-offset business today, Komori may have been done a favour.

It’s in the metal
Komori grasped another sales tool. When Japanese exports took off in the early 1970s, the West handed out the moniker of “Japanese Junk,” from early cars that would rust away to machinery that would break from poor foundry methods. There were a lot of consumer products leaving Japan that had only one saving grace – price. This story is an old one and we have seen it reappear again with China’s entry onto the world stage. In short, made-in-Japan in 1970 meant inferior goods at very cheap prices. It’s incredible to consider how this has changed in less than 50 years.

I don’t know about you, but I can go for days without thinking about cast iron. But to machine builders, it’s a very important topic. Komori was well aware of the uphill battle it faced trying to export a machine that was about 80 percent cast iron. In fact just about every heavy machinery exporter did too.

Nebiolo S.p.A. of Italy faced the same backlash. With a tarnished reputation, Nebiolo turned to Meehanite to prove to the world their cast was as good as any. So Komori did a smart thing. Komori’s major castings come from a company called Kasakura Metech Co. and Kasakura became a certified Meehanite foundry in 1981, although its roots go back to 1919. Meehanite is a process to increase the quality of grey castings. It was developed back in the 1920s by the Ross Meehan Foundry in Chattanooga, Tennessee.  Meehanite Corporation was formed to, among other things, license third parties to use the technology which essentially increased the Perlite and removed Ferrite from the cast, strengthening it.

Heidelberg, which owns its own foundry, already had a century of skill making superior castings, but Komori’s supplier was unknown outside Japan. Now Komori would emblazon their castings with the famous “M” logo in bas relief to show the world it could supply castings as strong as anyone. Ironically, Mitsubishi took a slightly different path when it did the unthinkable by having a non-Japanese company (Beiren of China), make much of theirs. Kasakura now has a foundry in China, too.

No one today should question the superior engineering of Komori presses. After all the upheaval in the offset business, Komori has remained the undisputed leader in Japan and one of the world’s top three press manufacturers in the world. Quite a feat for a company that always holds its cards close to the vest. Like Heidelberg, KBA and Manroland, Komori too finds the lithographic business dwindling from the highs of the 1990s as digital devices take more and more of offset’s position away.

Made in Japan and Israel
Landa Digital’s S10 press is already made up of Komori transport, coating and perfecting components. Komori signed an agreement with Landa to both provide traditional press components and also exclusively market its own version of the Landa S-10 as the Komori Impremia NS-40. Since there is no way yet to determine the success or failure of this platform, the industry sits and ponders if these very expensive Landa presses will be stars or dogs. Knowing Komori, I’d put my money on the former. However at eye-watering prices even as a success others will make that determination.

Konica Minolta also partnered with Komori on the smaller Impremia IS29. Komori even started selling its own guillotines in 2014. I didn’t really think the world needed another guillotine but... All the while Komori keeps selling new generation GL(X) 29- and 40-inch presses and perfectors to a satisfied user group of commercial printers. The crafty HUV-doped UV, which uses much less power and produces less heat, was a Komori-Iwasaki-EYE invention that for a brief few years had the market all to themselves. Now pretty much everyone has a low-energy UV alternative to offer.

Rarely first with new designs, Komori researches the market well. If a competitor’s leap is deemed important enough, you will see it worked into a Komori press. Just look at the up and over delivery from Manroland, vacuum feeder from Roland and Heidelberg, or even the Wallscreen and Inpress concepts from Heidelberg. They all made it into the Komori GL40 a few years later. There is also a flat line across all major press makers today as everyone makes an outstanding press.

Few know the inner workings behind the Japanese mystic, even fewer care. Mitsubishi MHI’s recent exiting of its sheetfed business, handing the keys to Ryobi, has not done much to eliminate a competitor. If, as many suspect, the Mitsubishi Web program may be shuttered or sold off entirely, the landscape may only alter inches not feet.

There is a source of puzzlement when benchmarking Made in Japan with the rest of the world. Certainly exporters are heavily supported by government incentives (as well as periodic tax benefits for the domestic market), and almost all Japanese branch units run lean with very low head counts. With such world-acclaimed products, some find it ironic that basic functions such as spare parts and communication vary greatly from region to region.  The Germans remain leaders with greater transparency in customer relations. In short, to outsiders it seems the only thing holding back Japanese companies is in fact themselves.

When Toyota was named the world’s largest car company in 2016, it might have been a statement that some in the automotive industry questioned. Not the fact that Toyota was the largest and so successful, but why it took them so long.    

Virtually every manufacturing segment has a Japanese company ranked at or near the top. Komori is no exception. The new super factory/assembly hall opened in 2003 in Tsukuba, Japan, was years in the planning and built with the next technology leap in mind. KANDO, the new catchword meaning, as Komori interprets: “Beyond Expectations... is an expression of who Komori wants to be and why it’s important to you.”

Every press manufacturer has a few product embarrassments in their closets. Some more than others. No one is exempt. In Komori’s case they have been rather fortunate in successfully dodging major blunders over its 94 years. Not only do they have a dedicated following but their management team has taken great pains to run a conservative, profitable world-class company.

The year 2018 marks Komori’s 95th year in business and a very good reason to celebrate a special company that from 1923 to now has been in the offset business almost exclusively.  You may not see Komori race out in front of the pack in a marathon, but you will sure see them at the finish line.

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