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PDS is now the Canadian master distributor of Multigraf Touchline creasers, perforators and folders. This line-up of technologies has been constantly evolving since Multigraf became on the first companies to focus on the short-run finishing market in 1984.

Multigraf AG is an equipment manufacturer based out of Muri, Switzerland. In addition to the Touchline products, Multigraf produces a range of banding and stacking systems.
Jeff Ekstein, President and CEO of 63-year-old Willow Printing Group in Concord, Ontario, has been named PrintAction’s 2016 Community Leader of the Year, as part of the 11th annual Canadian Printing Awards program.

Ekstein joins three other Canadian printing industry leaders who last week were named as PrintAction’s 2016 Industry Achievement winners, including:

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

Ekstein’s Community Involvement
As one of the most recognizable faces of Canada’s printing industry, Ekstein for more than two decades has volunteered his own time to help promote and grow printing across North America.

In addition to serving as the leader and third-generation owner of Willow Printing, Ekstein is the current Chair of the Canadian Printing Industries Scholarship Trust Fund (CPISTF). He was elected to this critical position in June 2016 following the retirement of CPISTF Chair Don Gain, who served in the position for 11 years.

Established in 1971, CPISTF provided $56,000 in scholarships to 35 students in 2015. A total of $38,000 was provided to 23 new students enrolled in the first year of an approved course of study and $18,000 in scholarships was given to 12 students continuing in a program.

Ekstein was an Officer on the Printing Industries of America’s (PIA) Board from 2007 to 2015 and a member of its Executive Committee from 2011 to 2015. He served as Chairman from 2013 to 2014 and was only the fourth Canadian to hold this office in the 130-year history of the organization.

He has also been a Premier Print Awards judge (aka The Benny Awards) since 2006. He served as the Education Committee Chairman 2009 to 2011 and currently sits on the following PIA Committees: Finance, Education, Nomination, Trade Show & President’s Conference.

In addition to his involvement with the CPISTF and Printing Industries of America, Ekstein has served as Co-Chair of CPISC (Canadian Printing Industries Sector Council) as well as Past Chair, Government Affairs Committee Chair and long-time Director of CPIA (Canadian Printing Industries Association) and also served as a Director with the OPIA (Ontario Printing & Imaging Association) from 1998 to 2003 to highlight a few of his volunteer activities. In 2007, he was awarded the CPIA Distinguished Service Award for excellence, achievement and dedication to the printing industry, and was named as one of the Top 20 Most Influential Printers in 2010 (as voted in PrintAction magazine).

Ekstein carries his volunteerism into fundraising for various charities and was included in the top fundraising category in the Heart and Stroke Foundation’s “Ride for Heart” and CCC’s (Crohn’s and Colitis Canada) “Gutsy Walk”. Willow Printing has also been recognized for it longtime contribution and support to the Dr. Jay Children’s Grief Centre and Tourette Canada.

Ekstein was inducted into the Ben Franklin Honor Society in 2015 for his many industry contributions.
HP Inc. reached a definitive agreement to acquire Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd.’s printer business in a deal valued at US$1.05 billion. HP states the acquisition positions it to disrupt and reinvent the US$55 billion copier industry. This is the largest print acquisition in HP’s history.

The company explains copiers are outdated, complicated machines with dozens of replaceable parts requiring inefficient service and maintenance agreements. Samsung, according to HP, has built a formidable portfolio of A3 MFPs and some with as few as seven replaceable parts.

HP plans to integrate Samsung’s printer business’ products, it their mobile-first and cloud-first user experience, with its own next-generation PageWide technologies.

“When we became a separate company just 10 months ago, it enabled us to become nimble and focus on accelerating growth and reinventing industries,” said Dion Weisler, President and CEO of HP. “We are doing this with 3D printing and the disruption of the US$12 trillion traditional manufacturing industry, and now we are going after the US$55 billion copier space. The acquisition of Samsung’s printer business allows us to deliver print innovation and create entirely new business opportunities with far better efficiency, security, and economics for customers.”

Samsung’s printer business also brings an intellectual property portfolio of more than 6,500 printing patents and a workforce that includes nearly 1,300 researchers and engineers with advanced expertise in laser printer technology, imaging electronics, and printer supplies and accessories to support continued innovation in print market solutions.

“HP Inc. has been a valued partner and customer of Samsung,” said Dr. Oh-Hyun Kwon, vice chairman and CEO of Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. “We can now leverage our combined capacity for innovation to further enhance the value of our relationship."

The acquisition is expected to be accretive in the first full year following closing, with cost synergies and a strong financial model. The transaction is expected to close within 12 months pending regulatory review and other customary closing conditions. After closing, Samsung has agreed to make a US$100 million to US$300 million equity investment in HP through open market purchases.
Agfa Graphics has won three Product of the Year awards at SGIA Expo for the second year straight, including two systems built in the companies Canadian manufacturing facility based in Mississauga, Ontario.

The brand new Anapurna H3200i won in the UV Hybrid category ($100-500k), the Jeti Mira won in the UV Flatbed ($200-500k) category and the Jeti Tauro won top honors in the UV Hybrid High Volume Production Class category.

The competition recognized the latest equipment and supplies currently on the market that are advancing the specialty imaging industry.
 
“These awards confirm the dedication of the worldwide Agfa Graphics team and their dedication to bringing high quality, high productivity and innovative technology to market,” said Deborah Hutcheson, Director of Marketing, Agfa Graphics, North America. “We design our products with the customer needs in mind. The Product of the Year awards validate our efforts to deliver sophisticated products that provide increased efficiency and profitability to our customers.”

The Anapurna H3200i LED 3.2m hybrid offers air-cooled LED UV curing and enables printing on a broader range of media. The system features a solid frame construction, user-friendly RTR media loading as well as quick system up-time, energy savings and overall reduced operational expenses.

Built in Mississauga, the Jeti Tauro with ¾ automation is a high-end, six colour + white 2,5-m wide, UV hybrid system positioned for the higher end of the sign and display market with print speeds up to 275 m²/hour. The Jeti Tauro’s scissor-stacker off loading system provides continuous feeding of rigid media. The system prints up to 2.5 meter-wide on rigid or roll media.

Built in Mississauga, the Jeti Mira is designed for heavy industrial workloads. It features optional varnish and unique 3D Lens Technology which produces a three dimensional varnish effect without the need for lenticular substrates. The systems “print and prepare” technology allows quick media loading while the printer is in operation. The Jeti Mira has six colour plus white with optional primer or varnish.
 
A total of 170 entries in 49 product categories were submitted for this SGIA competition. Prints were judged on overall colour appeal, tonality, image detail, objective colour matching and greyscale colour cast. Graphics has won a total of seven Product of the Year awards since its first submission in 2014.
Eleven industry leaders have gathered today at the Toronto Botanical Gardens to pour over more than 200 entries submitted into the 2016 Canadian Printing Awards program. Some of the world’s best printing will then be celebrated at the 11th annual gala taking place on November 10, 2016, at the Palais Royale in Toronto. The gala is expected to attract more than 200 industry leaders from across Canada, as well as attendees from the United States and Europe.

The 2016 Canadian Printing Awards judging panel will spend a full day analyzing and evaluating entries through a blind scoring system. Judges are tasked with considering issues like printing process, run length and repeatability across submitted samples. The judges will determine the top projects across more than 20 categories.

The day will conclude with a half-hour discussion and multiple rounds of voting to determine the 2016 Best of Show project.

2016 Canadian Printing Awards Judging Panel
Ray Fagan, Heidelberg Canada
Martin Habekost, Ryerson University
Emily Wong, Penguin Random House
Nick Howard, Howard Graphic Equipment
Tony Karg, Ricoh Canada
Al Kershaw, The Print Wizard
Mark Norlock, KBA Canada
Sean Springett, Manroland Sheetfed North America
Marc Raad, Esko
Abhay Sharma, Ryerson University
Mark Thomas, Unigraph International

Access Labels of Amherst, Nova Scotia, has acquired the pressure-sensitive label manufacturing division of Farnell Packaging of Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. Access Labels explains the acquisition, which has been in the works for six months, will allow both companies to continue to grow and focus on their core business.

“We thank Farnell for choosing to partner with us and wish them luck as they move forward to concentrate on their Polyethylene business,” said Robert Sams, General Sales Manager of Access Labels. “We will be working closely with them during this transition, as well as moving forward. Farnell has a long-standing tradition of providing a high level of quality service, and we welcome their customers to our family.”

The purchase will increase the capacity at the Access Labels facility by between 20 to 30 percent. This also means the addition of several new full-time jobs in Amherst.

“In choosing to partner with Access Labels for this transition, we believe that we are consolidating our label business with the most reputable and responsive competitor in the region,” said Bill Morash, CFO of Farnell Packaging Ltd.  “We have every confidence that Access Labels will do their very best to professionally service and supply all pressure-sensitive label needs in the months and years ahead.”

This transition will be completed by the end of October. There will be no job losses at Farnell, according to the companies, as the workers who were employed in the sold division will move into other divisions of the company.

“We do not expect any interruption in service for any customers as we increase the capacity at our Amherst facility in order to provide all customers with the excellent service that they have come to know and look forward to,” said Sams. “We are excited to move forward with delivering top quality service and products to even more great clients.”

Founded by Paul Carr in 1993, Access Labels specializes in printing labels, as well as selling and servicing equipment including label dispensers, applicators, and thermal printers.

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.

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