Canon Canada's Alec Couckuyt, Senior Director of Professional Printing Solutions Group, discusses digital printing trends.
Sun Chemical entered into a license agreement to introduce a new family of molecular inks for the printed electronics market with Groupe Graham International (GGI), a developer of user interface technologies in touch applications (machine interfaces), and the National Research Council of Canada (NRC).

The NRC coordinates key industrial areas – including materials, ink, printing, information and communications technology and digital manufacturing – to position Canadian industry stakeholders as early adopters of emerging printed electronics technologies.

The new molecular ink technology developed by GGI and the NRC will be produced by Sun Chemical and promoted collaboratively by all three organizations. Based on ionic molecules processed through a reduction process, Sun Chemical explains the new IPS family of products will offer a viable alternative to conventional polymer thick film conductive inks and serve as a low-cost alternative to nano materials.

“We’re excited to help bring this innovative product line to the market,” said Roy Bjorlin, Global Commercial and Strategic Initiatives Director, Sun Chemical Advanced Materials. “Customers will be pleased to have an option in the marketplace that features fine lines for printed electronics. We look forward to collaborating with GGI and the NRC on this project.”

The IPS family of products include silver and copper metallization options that can be applied by screen, inkjet or other high-speed printing methods. The molecular inks, explains Sun Chemical, feature sub-micron trace thickness that will enable the production of narrow traces in thin dielectric layers on a variety of applications, including: in-mold electronics (IME), printed antenna, displays, EMI/RFI and sensors.
DATA Communications Management is integrating its Multiple Pakfold Operations into its Brampton, Ont. facility. As a result, DATA will exit Multiple Pakfold’s facility before the end of 2017 and relocate the division’s staff and production capabilities into its primary 269,000-square-foot facility.

Multiple Pakfold is a supplier of business forms, cheques and labels to the trade printing market, with approximately 100 employees operating in a 60,000-square-foot facility in Mississauga and with sales offices in Calgary, Mississauga and Montreal. DATA’s Brampton facility is focused on the production of long-run forms, roll products and labels for DATA’s enterprise clients.

“Together with this initiative, we are moving some work between our Drummondville, Quebec, and Brampton plants to prepare for the onboarding of the large financial services client we recently announced, to improve operating margins,” said Michael Sifton, Chief Executive Officer of DATA.

In late-September, DATA announced a new multi-year agreement with an undisclosed “major Canadian Schedule I bank.” The agreement focused on DATA providing procurement, production, inventory management and distribution of the bank’s business communications in Canada. This inlcudes statements, business forms and envelopes.

DATA also announced plans to close and relocate its Granby, Quebec, warehousing operations into its 170,000-square-foot Drummondville facility before the end of 2017. DATA previously moved substantially all of Granby’s production capabilities to Drummondville in the fourth quarter of 2015, but has continued with warehousing and distribution activities as well as other limited administrative functions in the 100,000-square-foot Granby facility.

DATA is also announcing a reduction of 30 jobs in certain indirect labour and selling, general and administrative staff positions.
Just weeks after publishing a report on the future of offset printing to 2022, Smithers Pira releases a new report called The Future of Label Printing to 2022. The label printing market, according to the research organization, is set to expand at an average of 2.8 percent year on year to yield a total value of $39.5 billion in 2022. The Smithers Pira report shows the label printing market in 2017 is worth $34.5 billion globally.

This contrasts with an annual growth rate of just 1.2 percent in the wider print market, explains Smithers Pira, noting that traditional market margins are being eroded by electronic media: “Labels, like packaging are more resilient in the face of this threat, and there is still significant commercial potential especially in newer markets where population are still making the transition to buying more labelled products.”

With over 465 billion A4 sheet equivalents in 2017, according to Smithers Pira, Asia is today 46 percent of the worldwide label market by volume. Above average growth will push this to 48 percent by the end of the Smithers Pira study period. The only region with higher annual expansion across this period is the African market, but its share by 2022 will be less than four percent of global supply.

Smithers Pira notes there is still potential for new label business in mature markets, explaining both the U.S. and EU are set to implement new labelling obligations for pharmaceutical supply chains. For Europe, this is occurring via the Falsified Medicines Directive (FMD), which will be introduced in 2018. It will require each individual package to carry a prescribed unique identifier in a prescribed 2D data matrix format. Tamper evidence features, which are often integrated into label materials for packaging like folding cartons, will also be mandatory under this law.

Smithers Pira continues to explain narrow-web label printers have pioneered the use of digital (toner and inkjet systems) over the past decade, and this trend is far from exhausted with new high volume machines be launched every year.

The value share of digital printing is now 29.3 percent, up from 20.8 percent in 2012 – this will rise to 35.6 percent in 2022. In volume terms, Smithers Pira projects the shares are lower than 13.0 percent in 2017, and 17.9 percent in 2022 – reflecting digital’s concentration in shorter run, higher value applications.
The Government of Canada has awarded nearly $850,000 in financial assistance to two printing-industry businesses in the region of Montérégie, Quebec, to help improve productivity and commercialize new products. The funding, announced by Michel Picard, Member of Parliament for Montarville, will help create around 12 new jobs for the region.

The funding – in the form of repayable contributions – has been granted through Canada Economic Development’s Quebec Economic Development Program (QEDP), within the larger framework of the Government of Canada's Innovation and Skills Plan. “Imprimerie Ste-Julie and MIIP, both of which are involved in the printing and labelling industries, have developed expertise by building on innovation,” said Picard. “In making sure that their teams have access to the latest technologies to do their work, these two businesses can continue to grow and conquer new markets.”

Imprimerie Ste-Julie, a family business founded 42 years ago, received $750,000 in funding for the acquisition of a flexographic press to increase its production capacity and productivity. This investment will also help the company reduce paper wastage through increased efficiency. The press has eight colour stations with the ability to add varnish and gilding through a cold-stamping process.

“Imprimerie Ste-Julie has been a trailblazer in adhesive label and shrink sleeve printing for many years in Quebec. This major investment will help us maintain our enviable position as leader, while we continue to provide our clients with the best in the business,” said Marilène Fournier, Vice-President, Production, Imprimerie Ste-Julie. “Our production capacity is also much greater because the new press can print up to 750 feet of paper per minute when working full tilt. This was an indispensable purchase, given the increasing demand over the past few years for packaging printing.”

MIIP has been granted $94,700 in financial assistance to commercialize its products in the United States and Europe, notably its flagship product, the miipCam, a camera inspection system for the printing and labelling industries. This product was developed in collaboration with Quebec businesses, including Imprimerie Ste-Julie, and is helping users reduce the consumption of paper and other substrates and enhance the efficiency and print quality of their presses.

“Thanks to CED's assistance, MIIP can continue to grow by exporting its products to the United States,” said Alex Gal, Co-founder and Vice-President, MIIP.
Profiling and ranking the environmental performance of North American printers

The 2017 edition of Canopy’s Blueline Ranking was released in July, and while this year’s results are consistent with the trends of the past two years, they also show some interesting and surprising new results.

The Blueline Ranking is a widely used customer tool profiling and ranking the sustainability performance of North America’s largest printers. Printers analyzed in this year’s assessment represent $34 billion in annual sales.

The top three ranking printers this year are, in order, EarthColor, The Printing House, and brand new to the Top 10, Taylor Communications. Taylor also wins the title of the fastest rising printer of 2017, moving up 15 spots from 18th place last year. It achieved this major jump through strong sourcing policy updates, and solid work on implementation.

Overall, Canadian printers are leading their peers to the south in sustainable print practices, with six of the Top 10 printers being Canadian-owned. This is in part a response to customer demand within Canada, but also very likely due to Canopy’s long relationships with the Canadian print and publishing sectors.  The Printing House, TC Transcontinental, Hemlock Printers, MET Fine Printers, The Lowe-Martin Group and Webcom, all made the Top 10. The Blueline Ranking rates major printers on a set of 32 key sustainability criteria and highlights sector leaders to consumer brands.

Printers that top the ranking are outperforming their peers in areas such as:
• Having a industry-leading eco-paper policy;
• Reducing their use of papers that contain ancient and endangered forest fiber;
• Supporting the advancement of forest conservation solutions in places such as Canada’s Boreal forest, North America’s temperate rainforests, the Amazon, and Indonesia’s rainforests;
• Actively supporting development of new environmental papers such as those made with high recycled content or agricultural fibres such as wheat straw; and
• Transparently reporting their sustainability initiatives progress and implementation.  

Printers increasingly understand that to help their customers meet their own sustainability goals (and gain or maintain their business), they have to align with the ambitious environmental goals that brands themselves are setting, as well as provide brands with as much information as possible on their own environmental policies and sourcing efforts.

As a result, we have seen two significant shifts in this year’s Blueline Ranking:
1. There is a definitive move by printers towards adopting more rigorous sustainability policies (as noted with Taylor Communications already, but not isolated to them); and
2. Printers are communicating more transparently on their sustainability practices.

In fact, in three short years, the Blueline Ranking has become a mini phenomenon among environmentally engaged printers, who work hard to meet their sustainable sourcing goals, achieve transparency in their supply chains, and effectively communicate their efforts on these fronts. It’s also become a go-to tool for many North American print customers. Scholastic’s Senior Director of Paper Procurement, Lisa Serra, notes, “As a publisher and distributor of children’s books, Scholastic is committed to the pursuit of environmentally friendly practices and to leading by example. We’re pleased to recommend Canopy’s Blueline Ranking as an invaluable tool for any print customer who shares our goals and wants to reduce their impact on the world’s ancient and endangered forests.”

Active support for forest conservation is another exciting trend in the 2017 ranking. Forty-one percent of Blueline printers now have policies that explicitly state support for ancient and endangered forest conservation and a number of printers actively engaged this year to help advance conservation in a number of key forest landscapes globally. In just under two years, six of North America’s largest printers have developed new policies that include forest conservation language, a trend that we anticipate will grow.

It is well documented that the carbon footprint of printing mainly comes from paper sourcing. Studies have shown that 48 to 79 percent of the carbon footprint of books, magazines and catalogues comes from the manufacturing of paper and only four to 17 percent of the carbon footprint of a major printed product is attributed to the printing process itself.

It is this footprint of most conventional papers that necessitates the need for the development of lower carbon paper and packaging options such as papers made with high-recycled content or straw fibre. Printers have an important role to play in encouraging paper mills to develop these next generation papers as well as support their commercialization by stocking them as house papers.

Print customers have their own CSR goals to achieve, and strong policies and transparency among North America’s largest printers helps them more achieve them more easily.
Digital printing processes, according to a new report by Smithers Pira, will see the fastest growth through the years of 2017 to 2022, stating this will leave the previously dominant offset litho process declining in terms of value.

In 2017, Smithers explains digital printing accounts for 16.2 percent of the global print market value, which equates to $785.1 billion and 2.9 percent of the total print volume. This is up from 2.1 percent of the print volume in 2012 and Smithers explains this transition is accelerating to 3.9 percent of volume by 2022 when new high-performance equipment will be in operation in most applications.

Smithers continues to explain the value of litho will drop from 48.1 percent of all print and printed packaging in 2012 down to 39.5 percent in 2022. Only flexography shows a rise in share among analogue printing processes through the new report.

Litho still dominates in terms of the number of prints and pages, explains Smithers, and by 2022 it will still account for over 70 percent of world print output, but much of it relates to what the research organization describes as relatively low-value newspaper, magazine and book printing.

Even as digital print remains a very small proportion of the volume, growing from 2.1 percent in 2012 to a projected 4.3 percent by 2022, its value is much greater, with Smithers expecting 20 of global print value to be accounted for by inkjet and electrophotography by 2022.

The penetration of digital into the mix of print applications varies considerably. In advertising, direct mail was built on personalized printing using digital systems, while the short run sign and display segments were early adopters of inkjet technologies.

Smithers explains, that in addition to direct mail and signage, inkjet has penetrated deeply into label printing on narrow-web platforms and is now moving to larger formats and other substrates like corrugated board.

Packaging is the growth engine for global print with volumes and values forecast to grow based on the new report, citing this environment is reflected in the number of press launches and concepts at trade shows by both from digital press developers and analogue equipment suppliers.

The strongest growth area for analogue printing is in flexography, according to Smithers, which is being driven by the growing packaging and labels applications. This print process is forecast to grow by 2.5 percent CAGR through to 2022 to reach a global market value of $186 billion.

Digital print is forecast to reach a global market value of $169 billion by 2022 growing on average by 5.9 percent CAGR. Digital print for packaging will be the key market opportunity for digital print as Smithers estimates it will grow by 22 percent CAGR through to 2022 to reach a global market value of around $8.4 billion.
At the upcoming 12th annual Canadian Printing Awards gala, taking place on November 9, 2017, 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 country.

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

The 2017 Industry Achievement Award recipients, determined by PrintAction magazine, include:

John A. Young Lifetime Achievement Award
Bob Cockerill (retired in 2015)
Senior Vice President, SGK Inc.
President & Chief Operating Office, Schawk Canada Inc.
Chairman, PAC - Packaging Consortium
Board Member, IDEAlliance (2010 – 2013)
Board of Governors, Ryerson University (2008 – 2011)

Printing Leader of the Year
Sean Murray
President and CEO, Advocate Group of Companies, Pictou, Nova Scotia
Advocate Printing and Publishing Limited, Advocate Media Inc.

Emerging Leader of the Year
James Rowley
General Manager, Glenmore Custom Print + Packaging, Vancouver, British Columbia

Community Leader of the Year
John Hueston
President, Aylmer Express Graphics Group, Aylmer, Ontario

For more information about the 2017 awards program and gala, please visit Canadianprintingawards.com

Kodak will increase the price of all Kodak offset printing plates globally by up to nine percent. Over the past 12 months, Kodak explains it has been absorbing significant increases in costs for raw materials that are used to produce its offset plates, including: aluminum; chemicals; and packaging materials. The company states the magnitude of the materials cost impact has made it necessary to increase plate prices.

“The printing plates market is both technology-intensive and cost-competitive,” said Brad Kruchten, President, Print Systems Division, Kodak. “As a result, there is no room for us to continue to absorb these escalating raw materials costs without raising our own prices.

“Our approach to implementation will affect our newest and most technically-advanced products the least, while our more mature offerings, which are less efficient and less advanced, will see higher price increases,” he added. “This, in turn, will help drive long-term viability, profitability and sustainability for our printers and our industry partners.”

Plate price increases were previously announced for China in January 2017.
FASTSIGNS International, operating under a franchising business model, has opened two new centres in Canada in the first half of 2017 and signed four franchise agreements to develop additional new locations in Calgary, Winnipeg, and Oshawa in the coming months.

The company expects to sell a projected six to eight locations in Canada in 2017. Currently, there are 36 locations throughout the country.

“Canada has been and will continue to be a huge growth market for FASTSIGNS, so we're excited about our expansion so far this year,” said Mark Jameson, EVP of Franchise Support and Development, FASTSIGNS International. “There are ample opportunities to strengthen our presence through franchise development in key markets such as continued expansion in Ontario, British Columbia and Alberta provinces and planned aggressive growth in Quebec.”

Jameson continued to explain the company is seeking a single unit and a Master or Area Developer for Quebec franchisees to help us grow its footprint across Canada.

FASTSIGNS International was ranked number 1 in the Business Services/Signs category for 2017 and 95 overall in Entrepreneur magazine’s Franchise 500 ranking.
Kruger Inc. announced a $377.6 million transaction to diversify operations at four Quebec operations, including mills in Brompton and Wayagamack that will focus on specialty niches, such as flexible food packaging, labelling and digital printing.

This project, undertaken in partnership with the Government of Québec, will help to maintain more than 500 jobs in the Mauricie and Estrie regions. The announcement was made in mid-September in the presence of Philippe Couillard, Premier of Québec; Dominique Anglade, Minister of Economy, Science and Innovation and Minister responsible for the Digital Strategy; and Joseph Kruger II, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Kruger, as well as Ministers Luc Blanchette, Julie Boulet, and Luc Fortin.

Kruger and the Government of Québec have formed a partnership by which Investissement Québec, acting as the government's agent, will grant loans and a loan guarantee totalling $59.8 million and acquire an equity participation of 37.5 percent, or $44.6 million, in the new entity Kruger Specialty Papers Holding L.P. The new entity comprises the assets of the Brompton and Wayagamack Mills, as well as the Biomass Cogeneration Plant adjacent to the Brompton Mill.

To carry out this diversification project, Kruger Specialty Papers Holding L.P. will invest $107.5 million over the next three years to enable the Brompton and Wayagamack Mills to gradually reduce the production of some publication paper products that are in decline, such as newsprint and magazine paper, while accessing new markets that are on the rise around the world. Investments will be distributed as follows:

    Wayagamack Mill: $32.9 million;
    Brompton Mill: $47.5 million;
    Trois-Rivières Mill: $22.3 million; and
    Biomass Cogeneration Plant (Brompton): $4.8 million.

The project’s other benefits, explains Kruger, include an additional 100,000 metric tonnes of wood chips procured annually, which will have a material impact on Québec's sawmill sector.

The Mills' diversification strategy is based on the complementarity of the Company's various operations, which is why the project calls for investments in the Biomass Cogeneration Plant next to the Brompton Mill and in the Thermo-mechanical Pulp Mill at the Trois-Rivières Mill, which will supply the Brompton and Wayagamack Mills with raw material.

The amounts invested will be used to acquire new production equipment, modify existing equipment, make technical improvements to boost productivity, and for various energy efficiency measures.

The new Kruger Specialty Papers entity will supply products that are in high demand due to changing market trends around the world, specifically increased demand for sustainable packaging and the growing popularity of e-commerce. New specialty products include food packaging paper, labelling products (backing paper) and coated paper for digital inkjet web presses to print mass-circulation catalogues and flyers that can be customized for targeted mailings.

By the end of the project, the Brompton Mill will focus exclusively on specialty products and therefore will no longer manufacture 200,000 metric tonnes of newsprint annually.

The specialty papers developed by Kruger will offer several competitive advantages, including the use of cellulose filaments (CF). This new-generation biomaterial is Kruger's proprietary strengthening additive that is manufactured at the world's first CF plant built by Kruger in Trois-Rivières in 2014. Tests conducted by the company have shown that adding CF helps to make products stronger, lighter and more sustainable.
Bassett Direct has moved to the Toronto Print Campus of St. Joseph Communications’ Print Group located in Concord, Ontario. St. Joseph in late-2016 acquired Bassett Direct, which has long served as one of Canada’s most advanced providers of direct marketing services and variable printing programs.

The Bassett team, along with its fleet of digital-printing equipment, has been relocated to the 150,000-square-foot Print Campus facility. The company explains the move will allow St. Joseph Communications’ Print Group and Bassett Direct’s customers to take advantage of a range of new and expanded capabilities, including advanced direct mail and print-related services all under one roof.

St. Joseph continued to explain acquisition of Bassett fits its vision to become the supplier of choice for brands and retailers requiring multi-channel content and graphic solutions.

“St. Joseph’s acquisition of Bassett Direct provides a major growth opportunity for both our businesses and extended services for our clients,” said Rich Bassett, Vice-President, Direct Mail. “With the stability and backing of one of the Canada’s leading commercial communications companies, Bassett Direct’s customers will benefit from improved products, services and innovation and likewise the services we bring to St. Joseph will enable us to deliver one of the broadest and most unique skill-sets of any printer in Canada.”
The emergence of enhancement and embellishment technologies are generating new possibilities for print to capture the attention of marketers and higher margins for commercial operations.

InfoTrends estimates approximately 30 percent of the total colour pages printed in North America and Western Europe, or nearly 1.8 trillion pages, currently receive some form of special effects enhancements or embellishments. These statistics are pulled from a 2016 report called Beyond CMYK: The Digital Print Enhancement Opportunity, coauthored by Jim Hamilton, Group Director of InfoTrends, who explains this relates to a range of value-add special effects like spot or flood coatings, adding a Pantone colour, metallic inks, opaque whites, fluorescents, security features or any number of CMYK+ features.

The vast majority of these 1.8 trillion enhanced pages are printed offset and finished with conventional methods. In fact, the report found that 46 percent of enhanced offset printed material requires two or more enhancements. There has been recent growth in digitally printed pages receiving enhancements because most toner-press makers now provide a fifth station for inline treatments, but Hamilton estimates this is applied to less than 10 percent of all digital pages and less than three percent of total production colour digital pages receive special effects.

Hamilton also points to the recent uptake in offline digital enhancement systems introduced from companies like Scodix, Konica Minolta (MGI), Duplo and Steinemann to apply spot gloss, dimensional, foil and other effects. Beyond CMYK estimates, however, the digital print enhancement market (both inline and offline) only amounts to about nine billion pages annually. “That may seem like a lot, but it’s just a tiny sliver compared to the total 1.8 trillion print-enhanced colour pages produced each year,” Hamilton explains. “The conclusion is pretty clear. There is a significant growth opportunity for digital print enhancement processes.”

The opportunity in digital enhancement outlined by Hamilton helps to describe two of the three strategic pillars leading the development and commercialization of Scodix technology. Founded in 2007 by Eli Grinberg and Kobi Bar, Israel-based Scodix introduced its first digital enhancement system in 2010 and then caught the attention of the printing world at drupa 2012 for its unique application of polymers to enhance print – both offset and digital pages. Today, these polymers can be used in nine different or combined enhancement applications on three system platforms including the Scodix S, Scodix Ultra and the recently introduced 41-inch Scodix E106.

The Value Category, as described in large part by Beyond CMYK’s research focus, was Scodix’ initial push to the market in 2012 based on the ability to apply spot textures on a page through what are now branded as Sense polymers. Scodix’ introduction of a digital foil enhancement module in late-2015 supported its existing value-add approach, but also introduced a Cost Replacement Category of commercialization for the system maker. The third strategic pillar is referred to by Scodix as the Dream Category, which relates to a printer’s ability to attract completely new work based on enhancing pages.

Cost replacement foil
Scodix’ value and dream categories are often hard to quantify because numbers will shift based on the type of application being produced, run length and a printer’s sales ability to create a demand for enhanced pages. Cost replacement, however, provides printers with solid numbers in their application of digital foil relative to the costs of insourcing or outsourcing such analogue work.

“Scodix is building a story about how they have grown and it is closely linked to the availability of what we call digital foil,” says Christian Knapp, owner of Toronto-based CMD Insight, who serves as the Canadian agent for Scodix. He has worked with Scodix for the past two years and been involved with almost half of the 11 Scodix installations in Canada, with a twelfth nearing completion. “[Texture] is very interesting but somewhat limited in its application and adoption by the market. Once Scodix brought out digital foil they opened up the parameters completely… and they experienced substantial growth simply because the market realizes digital foil fits the cost replacement model and that is what most commercial, and in fact other, printers are going for.”

Approximately 150 Scodix systems were sold during drupa 2016. There are around 50 Scodix installations currently in North America and now more than 250 worldwide. Knapp believes the technology has moved past the early adopter stage, when printers were initially intrigued by texture, into an early majority phase. “Any return on investment calculations for a commercial printer require, on the one hand, to reduce costs in their business and, on the other hand, offer new technology. And digital foil together with texture, what we call Sense printing, gives us that ability,”

Knapp says, relating to the set-up time of traditional hot and cold foiling methods suitable only for long runs, and the direct costs of outsourcing. The ability to apply digital foil naturally fits with the digitalization of prepress and presses, as most commercial printers today face a higher number of daily print-work transactions.

“Once you go from that product life cycle early adopter to early majority, people are starting to look at that in much more detail,” Knapp says. “Now the calculators come out and people need to justify their investments and let’s face it these machines are not inexpensive.”

Knapp explains a base Scodix Ultra system, onto which modules can be added, sells for approximately US$600,000 and the foiling unit is around US$150,000, resulting most often in a machine set up for around US$750,000 all in. “In calculations for customers, I have been able to justify the investment on the foiling unit alone within less than 12 months,” he says, noting the ROI on many full systems can be done in the range of 24 to 28 months. “That is fairly aggressive for a product that is not a small investment.”

Value and profit
In addition to the cost replacement models that help drive Scodix ROI calculations, Knapp also points to the value-add category where printers can simply charge more for print work when it is enhanced. He explains that traditional coating is actually more of an enabling technology relative to true page enhancements applied through systems like those built by Scodix. “Coating enables you to participate in the market, but you cannot really add that much value. Because at that level there is a market price that is highly fought over and there are lot of competitors in this segment,” Knapp explains. It is rare for an offset press to be sold today without a coating unit and coating holds as much customer expectation as sharp CMYK work, as much as service provides client loyalty but not necessarily a premium price.

When discussing value-add, Knapp is directly referring to profit contribution for a printer based on page enhancements. He provides the example of a printing company that generates $10 million turnover, which is a suitable revenue number for Canada’s majority of small- to mid-sized printers. “If you are a good printer, well regarded, and have high productivity, you might make five percent margin so there is $500,000 on a $10 million turnover,” he explains. “Now take the Top 10 percent of your customers and convert that with value-added processes such as Scodix digital foil and digital embossing. For that $1 million, if your profit number is now, to simplify things, 50 percent, you are making $500,000 profit on that volume.”

Knapp explains by maintaining the remaining $9 million of turnover at five percent margin, which is about $450,000 profit, and adding the Scodix profit from VIP clients, a printer might generate around $950,000 for the same $10 million business turnover. “In that example, if you wanted to make $950,000 profit on a five percent margin for a conventional business you would have to produce about $19 million in sales. We all know how difficult it is to grow a commercial print business from $10 million to $19 million.”

The example of achieving 50 percent margin on Scodix print work would certainly need to be adjusted depending on how it is being applied and for what select clients. A high margin figure, however, is not unrealistic for enhanced print. “Special effects printing can be a profitable endeavour,” wrote Hamilton, based on the Beyond CMYK report. “According to InfoTrends’ research, print buyers will pay premiums in the range of 24 to 89 percent for digital print enhancements over CMYK-only work. Interestingly, many buyers expressed a willingness to pay a higher premium for special effects than printers believed they would pay.”

Knapp points to three third-party studies that suggest a premium margin for enhanced print comes in at anywhere from five to 40 percent. These studies, however, focus on a range of enhancements including lower-value coatings and not exclusively Scodix-level work.

Power of vision and touch
The California Institute of Technology (Caltech) conducted an experiment in which the end user price sensitivity was tested in respect to tactile print enhancement. The researchers concluded that price increases are possible by adding soft-touch tactile features to packaging whereby brands could raise prices to end-users by up to five percent.

The British Royal Mail looked at measuring user interaction with direct mail back in February 2015 in a survey called Private Life of Mail, which included looking at the effects of tactile printing on a reader’s emotional responses. The study states: “Behavioural marketing experts, Decode, scanned recent academic literature for us to see what had been discovered about the importance of touch in human psychology. They demonstrated that there are strong reasons why getting consumers to engage physically with a brand is likely to have a strong effect on them. Multi-sensory stimulation seems to alter the way the brain processes messages – often making processing quicker, which is key for driving emotional response to messages or brands.” The Royal Mail’s study found that a sense of ownership over a printed item derived from sight and touch translates into a 24 percent increase in value.

Earlier this year, Canada Post – through True Impact Marketing – produced its own study called A Bias For Action that used brain imaging and eye-tracking technologies to see into the brains of people interacting with physical (direct mail) and digital (email, display) advertising media. The researchers developed two integrated campaigns featuring mock brands, applying the same creative and messaging across both physical and digital media formats. The 270 participants were later given memory tests to assess their recall of branded material.

True Impact Marketing found that it takes 21 percent less thought to process direct mail over digital messaging, and that the paper product creates a 70 percent higher brand recall – that our brains process paper media quicker than digital media. Researchers found the motivation response created by direct mail is 20 percent higher and even better if it appeals to more senses like vision and touch.  “Physical fills a much-needed, and very human, sensory deficit in the virtual world, where we spend most of our time these days...The most important renaissance in advertising has gone largely unnoticed,” wrote Deepak Chopra, CEO of Canada Post, in a guest column for The Globe and Mail about the study.

Research by the Foil & Specialty Effects Association in 2013, in a study called Results of Impact of High Visibility Enhancements, concludes that there are overwhelming responses for what it calls First Fixation of foil stamped packaging. The authors explain, “The ability of a product to attract the shopper’s visual attention has a strong influence on a consumer’s decision to purchase.” The study found that foil can increase sales prices by 10 to 40 percent depending on the end product.

“We have a number of instances where people are charging $30 for 500 business cards, for example,” says Knapp. “Business cards are a dead giveaway market for this type of technology, compared to maybe only $10 for a conventional, standard CMYK business card.” He explains Scodix is currently focused on five target markets where it can add value: Commercial print, Web-to-print (such as business cards), folding-carton convertors (based on the introduction of the 41-inch Scodix E106), book publishing and photo-books.

The cost of polymer, explains Knapp, is always a point of discussion with printers when doing ROI calculations, especially as it relates to value-add, but he does not see it as a significant factor. “We encourage them to not put down too much polymer, because you will then lose the uniqueness, the ability to make this page standout,” he says. Knapp explains the worldwide average of Scodix polymer usage per page on a B2 sheet, 28 x 30 inches, is somewhere in the range of seven percent. “That is fairly low and the cost for a page produced like this is then in the range of 12 to 15 cents U.S. So that is actually not that much, especially if you can sell every one of those pages for a dollar or more, $5 – it depends on the application.”

Dream polymers
The third pillar of commercialization for Scodix, beyond value and cost-replacement, is referred to by the company as the dream category, based on a printer’s ability to increase sales outside of existing product offerings and clients. “It doesn’t fly very well in the hard-nosed business world of commercial printers,” says Knapp, who began his printing career by spending more than two decades selling offset technologies. “We mention it to people because we know this happens, but in a return on investment calculation it is very difficult to quantify.”

It is logical, however, that opening up VIP clients to enhanced print with texture and foil can help attract more of their offset or digital printing work, while at the same time provide a route into new accounts through differentiation. This is also fuelled by the development approach of Scodix based on the fact that most of its research effort is put toward polymers to expand beyond its current nine applications, which are branded as Sense (texture), Foil, Foil on Foil, Spot, Metallic, Glitter, VDP/VDE, Braille, Crystals and Cast&Cure.

Knapp explains Scodix views itself as chemical company more so than just a hardware company, focusing on engineering machine platforms to leverage new polymers and applications. “The future may well have polymers with a specific light frequency that reacts or they may taste or smell,” he says. “There are so many markets where a unique polymer or application would have great benefits. Think of security, foods, packaging in general. There are lots of applications that this technology will go to in the future.”

The polymers are a major differentiator for Scodix in the market relative to traditional inks and coatings, as well as the growth in new electrostatic inks for fifth and sixth imaging units. Knapp explains, “Scodix always determines the ideal and right polymer for the print job. Its modular [system] philosophy is application specific to what the end user needs and it is a very open R&D-centric company.”

Knapp continues to explain the use of polymers also provides an advantage for the vast majority of commercial printers who produce work-and-turn jobs, because Scodix jobs can be processed quickly with efficient drying. He also points to Scodix’ machine build, weighing around 9,500 pounds, and the registration accuracy of the systems as advantages.

“The underlying theme for Scodix, has always been to make printers more profitable,” says Knapp. “That is how I see their differentiation. I can talk technical Olympics for hours if that is what we need to do, but in the end it really comes down to providing tools for printers to be successful.”
More than 700 people from around world on September 21 gathered at the Vogel Convention Center in Würzburg, Germany, to celebrate the 200th anniversary of Koenig & Bauer. The world’s second largest printing press manufacturer began its third century by introducing a new branding position to its guests.

A day before its jubilee celebration on Thursday evening, CEO Claus Bolza-Schünemann unveiled the new brand to a group of 60 journalists who then toured the company’s Würzburg manufacturing facility. Bolza-Schünemann explained the brand KBA, which was introduced in 1990 after the takeover of Albert-Frankenthal AG, is reverting to the original brand of Koenig & Bauer – the surnames of its founders. This brand position includes a new logo and product design.

“Koenig & Bauer AG today has 33 subsidiaries. Twelve of them produce their own products for their own customers. We see the company anniversary as an ideal time to place all activities of the Group, from classic printing to digital printing, including prepress and post-press and top service, under a strong common roof again,” said Bolza-Schüneman. “The relaunch is intended to strengthen the employee’s pride in the history of the company and the pride of new employees, who have joined the Group through acquisitions, in the common brand Koenig & Bauer, and to allow old and new customers to feel the strength of this traditional brand even more, with a modern appearance and product design.”

The company also takes on a new moniker, “We're on it” to describe its position in the market. The ampersand between the surnames of the founders of the company was chosen as the short form of the brand name Koenig & Bauer, designed in the new company font, for promotional activities.

The new product design, which was on display on some of the company’s demonstration and testing presses in the Würzburg facility, is to be implemented immediately for new products, and successively up until drupa 2020 for all other product families of the Koenig & Bauer Group. Koenig & Bauer explains its company colour blue becomes warmer and more accentuated, while its use is reduced, with the use of new dark and light shades of grey.
Ricoh Japan is replacing some traditional metal tooling with lightweight 3D printed jigs and fixtures for its Production Technology Center assembly line dedicated to large-format printers. The assembly line is located in the northeast branch of Ricoh Industries in Miyagi prefecture, Japan.

Ricoh is specifically assembling an electronic component using a 3D printed fixture produced in anti-static ABS plastic on the Stratasys Fortus 900mc production 3D printer. By producing the 3D tools, Ricoh is able to produce each tool according to the part geometry while reducing the tool’s weight. This has enabled Ricoh to improve its manufacturing process in which an operator typically handles more than 200 parts a day.

“Because we are producing an enormous number of parts, it takes a lot of time and effort to identify the right jigs and fixtures for each one. This manual process has become even lengthier as the number of components grows, requiring that an operator examine the shape, orientation and angle of each part before taking out a tool and placing it back in its original fixture,” said Taizo Sakaki, Senior Manager of Business Development at Ricoh Group. “The operators were occasionally annoyed with the many different tools, and we were looking for a way to accelerate tooling to match our manufacturing schedule.

“Now with Stratasys 3D printing, we are able to customize the tools according to the part and produce them on demand,” continued Sakaki, “which is helping us restructure and modernize our production process.”

Ricoh explains it will typically outsource machine cut tools that could take two weeks or more. Now, Ricoh’s operators can determine the shape and geometry of a fixture that corresponds to its associated part through 3D CAD software and 3D print it in one day.

“The Stratasys Fortus 900mc 3D printing solution enables us to realize designs that are difficult for conventional cutting methods to replicate, such as hollow interiors, curves or complex shapes. The material used to 3D print the tools is very strong and anti-static which is important due to the large number of electronic components we are assembling, adding to the advantages of Stratasys 3D printing,” explained Sakaki.

Stratasys is a global player in applied additive technologies for industries. For nearly 30 years, the company has 200 granted and pending additive technology patents to date.

“Ricoh illustrates perfectly how manufacturing aids 3D printed with Stratasys additive technology empower manufacturers to increase their efficiency and flexibility while ultimately becoming more competitive,” said Omer Krieger, President of Stratasys Asia Pacific & Japan. “Customized 3D printed jigs and fixtures can play an important role in enabling companies to get products to market faster and are a great example of how Stratasys applies purposeful innovation to manufacturers’ goals and aspirations. Whenever you can reduce a process from weeks to days – that is a solution worth exploring.”

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