Fujifilm Holdings Corporation of Japan on January 31, 2018, entered into an agreement which would see it own 50.1 percent of Xerox Corporation shares. This end result would follow other complicated agreements in which Fujifilm’s subsidiary Fuji Xerox Co. Ltd. (Fuji Xerox) becomes a subsidiary of Xerox, which then allows Fujifilm to take the controlling interest in Xerox.

In a press release issued today about the move, Fujifilm outlined some of the reasons for the combination of the two companies, including the fact that Fuji Xerox (a document solutions company founded in 1962) is an entity formed with 75 percent capital invested by the Fujifilm and 25 percent by Xerox.

Fuji Xerox is known as a rare success story for a cross-border joint venture, explained Fujifilm, and the combination of the two companies Fujifilm and Xerox is the optimal conclusion for both. Fuji Xerox is mainly engaged in business in Japan and the Asia Pacific region, while Xerox is mainly engaged in business in U.S. and Europe.

Fujifilm explains it will make Xerox an owned subsidiary after Xerox makes Fuji Xerox a wholly owned subsidiary, and Xerox will be renamed Fuji Xerox. As mentioned, Fujifilm will hold 50.1 percent of the shares of the new Fuji Xerox, which will maintain its listing on the NYSE. It is also planned that the current brands of both Fuji Xerox and Xerox will continue to be used after the combination of the two companies.

Fujifilm explains the new Fuji Xerox will become the largest document solutions company in the world by revenue. Jeff Jacobson, current Chief Executive Officer of Xerox, will be appointed as Chief Executive Officer of the new Fuji Xerox entity.
Over the past several days, NPES - The Association for Suppliers of Printing, Publishing and Converting Technologies – has made two significant rebranding moves, including a name change that will see the group renamed as the Association for Print Technologies (APT). The association has also designated its PRINT brand as the name for its annual trade show event moving forward, which effectively ends the use of Graph Expo.

In the past, PRINT was used in lieu of the Graph Expo branding in order to mark a larger – more global – trade show every four or five years. First introduced in 1968, the permanent move toward PRINT comes as the APT is now the exclusive owner and producer of this trade show, which typically runs in Chicago at McCormick Place every September or early October.

APT, a non-profit association, indicates 100 per cent of the net proceeds from the trade show are being invested back into the industry through research funding, education, advocacy and standards development.

"With the entire graphic communications industry in a state of major transformation, we are in a unique position to redefine ourselves as an organization and provide a new vision for the future," said Thayer Long, President of APT. "Attracting the largest attendance of any printing, imaging and mailing industry event in the U.S., PRINT convenes our global community and represents our identity and path forward."

In addition to its name change, APT is introduced a new staff department called Community & Industry Development, which aims to advance programming designed to support businesses throughout the industry value chain, including initiatives that will address Workforce Development and Training.

Spearheading this new department will be industry veterans Ken Garner, formerly of Idealliance and NAPL, who joins APT as Vice President of Business Development and Industry Relations, and Julie Shaffer, formerly of Idealliance and PIA, who becomes Associate Vice President of Program and Community Development.

"To drive the industry forward for decades to come, our board made the decision to evolve and reposition the organization. Our new identity, as the Association for Print Technologies, reflects the way forward," said Mark Hischar, APT Chairman and President & CEO, KBA-North America.

PRINT 18 is to be a three-day event taking place in Chicago from September 30 to October 2 at McCormick Place South.
Imprimerie Gauvin Ltée of Gatineau, Quebec, has been granted $800,000 in financial assistance in the form of a repayable contribution through Canada Economic Development’s Quebec Economic Development Program (QEDP), within the larger framework of the Government of Canada's Innovation and Skills Plan.

Together with the Government of Canada, Imprimerie Gauvin's other partners, namely the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) and Investissement Québec as well as the City of Gatineau through Investissement et Développement (ID) Gatineau, are funding this project.

"We are delighted with the support from our partners, which is helping us improve our productivity and continue to grow in a traditional market that was disrupted with the arrival of eBooks. The support will help us access local and international markets," said André Gauvin, Chief Executive Officer, Imprimerie Gauvin.

Imprimerie Gauvin is a family company that has been in the printing business in the Gatineau region for 125 years. More specifically, the printing company produces softcover books and is a significant player in short- and medium-book print runs. Imprimerie Gauvin has more than 200 client-publishers of varying sizes across Canada, the United States and Europe.

The financial assistance will go towards the acquisition of equipment and the company's move to a new plant. The funding awarded will be used for the acquisition of software and hardware for on-demand digital printing.

“Thanks to its innovative ideas and an interest in research and development, Imprimerie Gauvin has developed expertise by building on innovation and creating wealth for residents of Gatineau and the region. I sincerely congratulate the company for this great success, yet another example of Canadian ingenuity,” said Greg Fergus, Member of Parliament for Hull–Aylmer.

Earlier in the year, Imprimerie Ste-Julie, a family business founded 42 years ago, received $750,000 in funding through QEDP for the acquisition of a flexographic press to increase its production capacity and productivity.

As well, MIIP was granted $94,700 in financial assistance through QEDP 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.
A new report by 24/7 Wallstreet shows six companies commonly recognized as having close ties to the printing industry are among the 50 most innovative on the planet. The report is based on patents being granted in 2017 by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO).

Of these six companies, which includes Apple Computer and Seiko Epson, four develop digital toner presses, including: HP, Ricoh, Canon and Xerox. These four printing powers also have significant inkjet printing interests, which is where Seiko Epson’s expertise lies, in addition to a range of imaging assets.

Canon is the top patent recipient among these six printing-industry-related companies. In January 2018, Canon reported it was among the top five companies granted U.S. patents for the 31st consecutive year, ranking third with 3,665, ahead of tech giants like Google (fifth with 2,835) and Intel (sixth with 2,784). IBM was first with 8,088 followed by Samsung with 5,518. In 2015, Canon reinvested 8.6 percent of its net sales back into research and development.

To identify the 50 most innovative companies for its report, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the 1,000 companies receiving the most PTO patent grants in 2017. These grants are based on the entity that applied for the patent, so 24/7 Wall St. combined the grants awarded to a company and also its subsidiaries to arrive at its final numbers.

24/7 Wallstreet indicates that the PTO had granted more than 320,000 patents to companies last year, which was up 5.2 percent from the previous record of 304,126 patents granted the prior year. The research organization also found that American companies accounted for 46 per cent of patents granted in 2017, companies based in Asia accounted for 31 per cent, and European companies accounted for 15 per cent.

Below are the statistics for the six printing-industry-related companies as reported by 24/7 Wallstreet, with number-one IBM included for reference:

1. International Business Machines

2017 patent grants: 9,043
2016 patent grants: 8,090
Country: United States
Products: Data management, IT services, application development

5. Canon

2017 patent grants: 3,285
2016 patent grants: 3,665
Country: Japan
Products: Cameras, camcorders, printers

12. Apple

2017 patent grants: 2,229
2016 patent grants: 2,103
Country: United States
Products: Mobile phones, computers, tablets, software

25. Seiko Epson

2017 patent grants: 1,406
2016 patent grants: 1,650
Country: Japan
Products: Printers, projectors, wearable products

30. Ricoh

2017 patent grants: 1,145
2016 patent grants: 1,412
Country: Japan
Products: Printers, cameras, watches, IT services

33. Xerox

2017 patent grants: 1,026
2016 patent grants: 1,215
Country: United States
Products: Printers

35. HP

2017 patent grants: 984
2016 patent grants: 1,051
Country: United States
Products: Computers, printers

See the full list of 50 Most Innovative Companies compiled by 24/7 Wall Street report, as highlighted in USA Today.
North American trade printer 4over has launched its new Strategic Print Advisory Program to help commercial printers generate revenue growth and expand their customer base without the stress of overhead costs.

The program will be led by Joe Stramel, who has more than 40 years of consulting experience in print having worked for companies like MAN Roland and Komori America.  

The program’s main objective is to determine growth strategies that don’t require taking on additional debt. They’ll work closely with printers to foster new revenue streams with products and services such as EDDM, Printer Bridge (W2P), Large Format and more,

4over explains in-depth consultation will also be provided in the buying and selling of equipment, print-to-broker conversions, merger and acquisition solutions, and succession planning with acquisition workouts.
Mitchell Press of Burnaby, BC, became one of 14 printing companies around the world to received Kodak’s 2017 Sonora Plate Green Leaf Award. The program, now in its fourth year, recognizes printers whose products, services and operations set an example for sound operational initiatives that reduce their environmental impact. All of winning printers also use Kodak Sonora Process Free Plates.

Kodak explains Mitchell Press, a high-speed, premium-quality commercial printer based in Vancouver, received the award for its expansive recycling program, including materials like paper, ink, cardboard, wood and plastics. The company also collects key data on projects to aid its clients’ efforts to track their environmental footprint, paper usage, distribution and transport data. Kodak also points to Mitchell’s advanced HVAC and IT systems that save energy.

The complete list of 2017 Sonora Plate Green Leaf Award winners include: Alcom Printing (U.S.), Mitchell Press Ltd. (Canada), Druckerei Lokay (Germany), School Lane Colour Press (UK), Litotec (Ecuador), Cartocor S.A. (Argentina), Southern Colour Print (New Zealand), Colour King (South Africa), Zühal Ofset (Turkey), ASCON CO., LTD. (Japan), Hongbo Co., Ltd. (China), Golden Cup Printing Co., Ltd. (Hong Kong), Changsung P&Tech (Korea), and Viva Printing Sdn Bhd (Malaysia).
Sun Chemical today announced plans to increase the prices for its offset inks, coatings and consumables in North America, effective February 15, 2018. The company explains the pending change, which follows a trend from other suppliers, is based recent price increases of a variety of raw materials including carbon black, oil and pigments.

“While Sun Chemical has done all it can to offset the price increases of our suppliers, it has now become necessary to pass some of these increases on to our customers,” said Felipe Mellado, Chief Marketing Officer, Sun Chemical. “We regret having to take this action, but remain committed to providing the products and services that address all of our customers’ needs.”

Prices will vary depending on the product line, according Sun Chemical, but in general most prices will go up by a percentage in the high single digits.

Minuteman Press International has been rated as the number one printing and marketing franchise by Entrepreneur in 2018. This is the 15th straight year, and 26 times overall, that the printing franchisor has received the distinction. Minuteman Press’ franchise network holds nearly 1,000 locations across the United States, Canada, Australia, South Africa and the United Kingdom.

Minuteman Press International is also once again a part of the join the Entrepreneur Franchise 500. “It is a testament to our Minuteman Press franchise owners who follow our tried and proven system, our corporate staff, our regional franchise support teams, and our franchise business model that we are the number-one ranked marketing and printing franchise by Entrepreneur in 2018,” said Bob Titus, Minuteman Press International President & CEO.

In 2018, Minuteman Press International stated it plans to continue a pattern of franchise growth and expansion. Started in 1973 by Roy Titus and his son, Bob, Minuteman Press began franchising in 1975 and, as mentioned, has grown to nearly 1,000 business service franchise locations worldwide. Franchise Business Review also named Minuteman Press International to its 2017 Top Franchises and 2017 Top B2B Franchises lists.
The London Chamber of Commerce has awarded Jones Packaging with the 2018 Corporate Icon Award, determined annually by the Chamber’s board of directors. The organizers of the award explain, “The Corporate Icon Award is presented by the board of directors each year to a corporation that has demonstrated particular excellence or achievement in business, making either an immediate impact on, or a substantial long-term contribution to, the economic progress of our community.”

Past winners of the London Corporate Icon Award include McCormick Canada, Libro Credit Union, Goodlife Fitness, TD Canada Trust, 3M Canada and London Life, among others. Jones Packaging will be recognized at the London Business Achievement Awards on March 21, 2018.

Jones was founded in 1882, under the name Lawson & Jones Inc., as a regional manufacturer of drug boxes and specialty drug labels. The company has evolved into a global power in delivering innovative packaging and medication dispensing solutions. “The London community has played an important role in our business for over 135 years, and we wish to extend many thanks to everyone who has helped make us who we are today,” said co-owner and Principal, Corporate Development Chris Jones Harris.

In announcing its 2018 winner, the London Chamber of Commerce explains “[Jones Packaging] grew its roots in London as a regional manufacturer of drug boxes and specialty drug labels until 1920, when founder Henry Jones established Jones Box and Label based on Dundas Street East. While the company’s role in the pharmacy industry continued to expand, it also began to support the primary packaging needs of some of the most recognized global pharmaceutical and consumer brands through the middle of the century.”

The company became known as Jones Packaging Inc. in the mid-1990s under the ownership of fourth generation Jones family members Ron Harris and Chris Jones Harris. Jones then moved to its current 135,000-square-foot primary printing and converting facility just off of Veterans Memorial Parkway in London, Ontario.
“Jones has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to innovation throughout its history, from introducing the first pre-gummed prescription label for pharmacies in the early 1900s to distributing the first child-safe vial to the Canadian market in the 1970s and co-developing the first compliance card for multi-medication regimes in the 1980s,” noted a statement by the London Chamber of Commerce. “Over the past several years, the company has participated in key international alliances, acquired European compliance packaging leader Venalink Ltd., as well as contract packaging leader Ivers-Lee Ltd., adding a new, 76,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art contract packaging facility in Toronto to its locations in 2013.”
Jones provides what it describes as integrated printed and contract packaging solutions including intelligent packaging, folding cartons, labels, leaflets, pouching, blistering, vial filling and secondary packaging. The company also offers a range of medication dispensing and delivery products for many of the largest pharmacy groups and independent pharmacies, hospitals and long-term care facilities across Canada and Europe.

“Our journey has been based on quality and trust with our customers – both long-standing and new – while adapting our business to respond to their needs,” said Jones Harris. “Today, we have grown to become a global leader in delivering leading-edge packaging, medication dispensing solutions and a technology portfolio that continue to drive many market firsts.”
The London Chamber of Commerce also noted Jones Packaging’s corporate giving plan and ongoing participation in local capital campaigns for London Health Sciences Centre, the Children’s Hospital and Thames Valley Children’s Centre, to name a few. Over 200 of the company’s 350 employees work and live in London and its surrounding area.
HP Inc. in late December announced the first delivery of an HP PageWide C500 Press to a customer site for what the company describes as digital mainstream corrugated direct-to-board printing. Announced at drupa 2016, the first HP PageWide C500 commercial units are due to be installed in 2018 at launch customers in Europe and the United States.

The first such customer, Carmel Frenkel, will serve as the testing site for the PageWide C500 Press, now moving a step closer toward commercialization. The Caesarea, Israel-based converter supplies packaging production primarily for the food and beverage industry.

“The installation marks a significant milestone in the launch of the HP PageWide C500 Press. This groundbreaking technology can address the broadest range of digitally post-printed corrugated packaging applications, including the growing segment of food packaging,” said Eric Wiesner, GM, HP PageWide Industrial Division, HP Inc.

HP explains the PageWide C500 provides an alternative for offset lamination and flexo production with direct-to-board work on both coated and uncoated papers. With its water-based ink formulation, HP continues to explain the PageWide C500 will enable converters to print food applications that can help comply with global food safety regulations and industry guidelines.

“Unlike some other digital printing alternatives, HP PageWide water-based Inks are 100 percent free of UV-reactive chemistries. Thus, these inks enable robust and trusted food-safe printing for both primary and secondary corrugated packaging,” said Wiesner.

The HP PageWide C500 prints on  on 1.3 (W) x 2.5 (L) metre-sized boards with a maximum speed of 75 linear m/min (246 linear ft/min).

TC Transcontinental Inc. of Montréal will stop printing the San Francisco Chronicle newspaper effective April 2, 2018. The company reached an agreement to transfer its printing operations in Fremont, California to Hearst, which owns the San Francisco Chronicle.

The San Francisco Chronicle, which is the largest newspaper in Northern California and the second largest on the West Coast, is printed in the Fremont facility. Under the terms of the agreement, TC Transcontinental will continue printing the newspaper in Fremont for a transition period.

TC Transcontinental will receive a cash payment of US$42.8 million from Hearst as compensation for the early termination of the printing agreement, for the sale of some of its printing equipment, and for services to be rendered as part of a Transitional Service Agreement.

TC Transcontinental reached a 15-year agreement to print the newspaper in 2006 and in 2009 began production at the newly built, $230-million, 338,000-square-foot plant in Fremont.

TC Transcontinental maintains ownership of its Fremont, California, plant and will be renting the facility to Hearst until the end of 2024. On April 2, TC Transcontinental employees working at the Fremont plant will be transferred to Hearst.

The Corporation will transfer the remaining equipment in Fremont to other TC Transcontinental Canadian plants in 2018, focusing on its retail printing platform. TC Transcontinental will also transfer the retail volume from the Fremont operation to other plants in its printing network.

Thirty of the most-influential business developments from the past year to drive the direction of Canada’s printing industry, based on the following criteria: Impact on printers; impact on the Canadian industry as a whole or within a given region; and impact of technological or strategic innovation.

1. Transcon drops newspapers, grows packaging
A November deal to acquire Les Industries Flexipak Inc. is Transcontinental’s fifth North American packaging acquisition since 2014, as Canada’s largest printer pivots away from newspapers ownership. In April  2017, Transcontinental launched a process to sell all of its newspapers in Quebec and Ontario, involving 93 local and regional publications. Earlier in 2017, Transcontinental sold its publication portfolios in Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador, and New Brunswick (27 newspapers) in addition to a 13-newspaper sale in Saskatchewan in mid-2016 – giving rise to print-media players like SaltWire and Icimédias.

2. DATA CM consolidation
Generating revenues of $278.4 million in its most recent fiscal, DATA Communications Management of Brampton continued its consolidation path in 2017 with the February acquisitions of Eclipse Colour & Imaging and Thistle Printing. Later in 2017, DATA moved its Multiple Pakfold operations into its primary 269,000-square-foot Brampton plant. In November, DATA purchased BOLDER Graphics of Calgary, to be integrated into its existing nearby plant, growing with sheetfed, digital and wide-format. DATA began 2017 with a $2.1 million investment in Xerox presses, a year after investing $6.7 million with Xerox.

3. C.J. Graphics opens new plant
C.J. Group of Companies in October opened its new 240,000-square-foot facility in Mississauga, an expansion consolidating three facilities and the company explains with an additional technology investment of $25 million. The new facility saw the addition of a third 6-colour Heidelberg XL 106 (for Push To Stop printing), two new Agfa Jeti systems, and new Xerox presses. From a consolidation standpoint, C.J. Graphics in 2017 merged Annan & Sons after acquiring Clixx, one of the largest mailing facilities in Canada, from WestRock Company.

4. Xerox and Conduent separate
Xerox began 2017 completing its separation into two publicly traded companies, including the print-tech entity maintaining the corporate name and Conduent, a Business Process Outsourcing company. With approximately $14 billion in 2015 revenue and 39,000 employees, Xerox remains a Fortune 500-scale company, as does Conduent with $9 billion in 2015 revenue and 96,000 employees. Conduent touches two-thirds of all insured patients and more than half of all mobile phone subscribers in the U.S.

5. Passing of a print icon
In April, Dick Kouwenhoven, one of the icons of Canadian printing for more than four decades, passed away. Co-founder, Chairman and CEO of Hemlock Printers in Burnaby, BC, he developed one of the most highly revered commercial printing companies in world based on innovative, high-end sheetfed perfecting. Kouwenhoven, who immigrated to Canada from The Netherlands in 1961, also helped lead the world printing community into a critical era of environmental stewardship, proving such progressive investments are as sound for the planet as they are for  business.

6. CCL acquires Innovia
CCL Industries, headquartered in Toronto, in 2017 acquires Innovia Group for approximately $1.2 billion. It is described by the company, which bills itself as the world’s largest label company, as another transformative acquisition. Innovia provides strength in the disruptive polymer banknote market and depth in materials science with proprietary BOPP films technology. CCL’s label production business contributes around 66 percent to its total sales. By leveraging expertise in consolidation, as described by Canadian Business, in the first quarter of 2016 alone, CCL revenue grew by 22.9 percent year-over-year to reach $866.8 million, while net income jumped 31 percent. Over the past five of years, CCL’s share price has shot up nearly 600 percent.

7. Canadian Bank Note retools
Canadian Bank Note (CBN) in May installed a new 12-colour, 41-inch Koenig & Bauer Rapida 106 press to produce secure identity products like passports, drivers’ licenses and identity documents for customers in Canada and throughout the world. It was delivered in record time following a devastating fire in June 2016. Earlier that year, the company’s 45,000-square-foot McAra Unicom facility in Calgary, following the purchase of Unicom Graphics in 2015, rebranded as CBN Commercial Solutions to build a larger presence in the commercial market. A year early, CBN won the coveted Banknote of the Year Award for its production of a New Zealand polymer note.

8. CPISTF provides $75,500
The Canadian Printing Industries Scholarship Trust Fund at the start of the 2017/18 school year provided $75,500 in scholarship funding to students pursuing a career in printing. A majority of the funds went to Ryerson GCM, which saw approximately 130 students graduate last year. Since its founding in 1971, CPISTF has provided more than $1 million in scholarship funding.

9. Mi5’s new Toronto plant
After a decade of aggressive M&A growth, Mi5 Print and Digital was putting the finishing touches on its new 180,000-square-foot facility in Toronto. This includes the addition of a used Heidelberg M130 web press originally scheduled to be operational in mid-2017. In its short 14-year history, Mi5 has grown to become one of Canada’s largest privately owned commercial printing operations with more than 150 employees generating revenues of $29 million in its most recent fiscal year.

10. ICON adds commercial
In February, ICON Digital Productions Inc. acquired Toronto Trade Printing, a well-known 20,000-square-foot operation running two 40-inch sheetfed offset presses. Its move into the litho market is unique based on ICON’s historic position as a large-format inkjet pioneer, services that occupy the majority of its 90,000-square-foot facility in Markham. The TTP purchase came weeks after ICON Digital underwent a rebranding effort in December 2016 to create three distinct divisions: ICON Visual, ICON Media and ICON Print. In October, ICON acquired a controlling interest in Asterisk Media to add an ICON Motion division.

11. Landa starts S10 beta work
In April, Landa Group unveiled its 2017 beta customer line-up around its S10 Nanographic Printing Press. The first press began operating at Graphica Bezalel, an Israel folding carton and label convertor. North America’s first S10 was slated to reach U.S.-based Imagine! with more than 1,600 employees. German packaging giant Edelmann, with plants in nine countries and sales exceeding 300 million euros, is running Europe’s first S10 press.

12. Rise of B2B and Renaissance Printing
In March, Renaissance Printing became a new Toronto-area printer  under the majority ownership of Annex Publishing & Printing. Running a five-unit Mitsubishi Diamond web press, Renaissance was formed after the purchase of the remaining primary assets from Web Offset Publications’ receiver. The new company focuses on printing for publishers and marketers primarily in Ontario, as well as New York State, Pennsylvania, Quebec and New England. Annex is the parent of PrintAction and Canada’s largest B2B publisher – holding industry-leading CASL compliance.

13. HP buys Samsung print business
HP in November completed its purchase of Samsung Electronics’ printer business in a deal valued at $1.4 billion. The move was first announced in September 2016, when HP stated the acquisition – the third largest in its history – positions it to disrupt the $71 billion copier industry. The Samsung acquisition also strengthens HP’s position in A4 laser printing, in addition to providing intellectual property of more than 6,500 print patents and a workforce of nearly 1,300.

14. Springett becomes CEO of Manroland Sheetfed
Canadian Sean Springett begins 2017 as the Chief Executive Officer of Manroland Sheetfed GmbH’s North American subsidiaries, based in Chicago, Illinois, and Vaughan, Ontario. Springett, age 43, joined Manroland Sheetfed in 2008 and most recently served as its VP of Sales & Marketing. Manroland Sheetfed GmbH is a wholly owned subsidiary of the privately owned U.K. engineering group, Langley Holdings plc.

15. Agfa Canada inkjet
The 116,000-square-foot Canadian manufacturing facility for Agfa Graphics’ Jeti platform remains a key piece of the Belgium company’s future. Beyond its formidable healthcare division, which attracted a CompuGroup conditional takeover offer in late 2016 that did not materialize, the company’s graphics growth is largely tied to wide-format-inkjet imaging, with more than 3,000 systems installed around the world. The Canada operation launched the Jeti Ceres RTR3200 LED at the beginning of 2017 and in December 2016 the Jeti Mira UV LED with 3D lens printing.

16. Hundsdörfer becomes CEO of Heidelberg
Rainer Hundsdörfer became the CEO of the world’s largest press maker Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG in November 2016, while longtime board member Harald Weimer plans a mid-2017 departure. The executive shake-up comes as Heidelberg heavily promotes a restructuring focused on digital transformation. “Heidelberg goes digital,” said Hundsdörfer in February 2017. “We are getting the company fit for the digital future.” In its final quarter of the financial year 2016/2017, Heidelberg records its best sales and result since 2008.

17. KBA celebrates 200 years and rebrands
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 leveraging its founder’s surnames, Koenig & Bauer. Thebranding includes a new logo and product design to be implemented immediately for new products.

18. Pollard acquires INNOVA
In August, Pollard Banknote of Winnipeg, Manitoba, moves to purchase all outstanding common shares of INNOVA Gaming Group Inc. based in Los Angeles for approximately $51 million. INNOVA’s primary product is its third generation Lucky Tab machine, an instant ticket vending machine that dispenses tickets while simultaneously displaying the results of each ticket on a video monitor. Pollard has been a world leading supplier of instant tickets for more than 30 years and serves over 60 lottery and charitable gaming organizations worldwide. Its business position is as unique as it is stable, with services like market research, validation expertise, algorithm development, lottery management services, licensed games, player loyalty clubs, Internet and mobile strategies, and retail development.

19. Corley to lead Xerox Canada
John Corley in February became President of Xerox Canada, returning home after recently serving as President of the company’s global Channel Partner Operations and as VP for Xerox Corp. in the United States. A 22-year Xerox veteran, Corley has held a variety of executive positions including time as VP of Canadian Operations.

20. Hemlock Harling Distribution
Printing powerhouse Hemlock Printers of Burnaby created a new entity called Hemlock Harling Distribution Inc., which is described as a company dedicated to providing data-driven marketing, postal and third-party distribution services to customers throughout North America. Hemlock Harling opened the doors of its 40,000-square-foot facility on February 1, 2017, coinciding with the acquisition of Kirk Marketing.

21. Ricoh acquires Avanti
In January, Ricoh announced its acquisition of Toronto-based Avanti Computer Systems, a leading developer of MIS dedicated to the printing industry for three decades. As the printing industry enters an era targetting Industry 4.0, IIoT, and front-end automation, Avanti’s Slingshot technology, built in 2013 from the ground up, positions the Toronto firm with key technology and the financial power of an imaging giant.

22. Heidelberg prepares for Primefire and digital future
Late 2017 saw shipments begin for Heidelberg’s Primefire digital packaging press, developed in partnership with Fujifilm print heads. Series production for these critical presses for the company is scheduled to start at the beginning of 2018. The company states it is already fully booked in this area for two years. With a $72 million German state loan, Heidelberg in 2017 also focused on completing its new development centre. It will be home to 1,000 workers in what Heidelberg projects to become the world’s most state-of-the-art research facility for printing.

23. Canadian print awards
More than 200 people from across the country, including the program’s largest-ever contingent from Quebec, attended the 12th annual Canadian Printing Awards in Toronto, organized by PrintAction. More than 80 Gold, Silver and Bronze Awards were presented to printers and technology suppliers, in what has become the country’s largest national celebration of print. The program allows printers to network and build a stronger sense of community.

24. Gala Gutenberg celebrates Quebec excellence
More than 350 people attended the 35th annual Gala Gutenberg at the ballroom of the Bonsecours Market in Montreal to celebrate excellence in print achievement. In total, 17 trophies, Technical Challenge and Innovation Challenge categories, were awarded to a range of printing industry companies from the province of Quebec, which remains as one of North America’s strongest printing markets in terms of innovation.

25. Burke acquires McCallum
In May, the Burke Group of Companies acquired McCallum Printing Group, bringing together two of the leading print and media companies in the region. It creates an entity with a range of commercial printing services operating out of Edmonton, Alberta. Darren Pohl, McCallum Printing’s former President and CEO has committed to stay on in a senior management capacity to oversee sales and sales management.

26. Kruger investing $378M to diversify Québec mills
Kruger Inc. announced a $377.6 million transaction to diversify operations at four Quebec facilities, including mills in Brompton and Wayagamack that will focus on specialty niches, such as flexible food packaging, labelling and digital printing. The project, undertaken in partnership with the Government of Québec, will help to maintain more than 500 jobs in the Mauricie and Estrie regions. 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.
 27. Hampson National Sales Manager for Fujifilm Canada
Phil Hampson in January 2017 became the National Sales Manager, Canada, for the Graphic Systems division of Fujifilm North America. With more than 20 years in the graphics industry and extensive wide-format-inkjet expertise, he becomes a key piece of the company’s market position, managing the sale of all imaging and printing systems throughout Canada.

28. InterTech Awards
Fourteen technologies in July received the 2017 InterTech Award, a program of the Printing Industries of America that began in 1978 to recognize products expected to advance the performance of the printing industry The winners include: AMS LED UV System by Baldwin’s AMS Spectral operation; ORIS Flex Pack / Web Visualizer by CGS Publishing; ColorAnt 4.0 by ColorLogic; XPS Crystal by Esko; Labelfire 340 by Gallus; Prinect Press Center XL 2 with Intellistart 2 by Heidelberg; PageWide Web Press T490HD by HP; PrintOS by HP; LED moduLight – Dual Illuminant D50/D65 by JUST Normlicht; Impremia IS29 by Komori; AIS SmartScanner by MGI; Ultra Pro with Foil by Scodix; Truepress Jet 520HD by Screen Americas; and Image Test Labs – Image Grader by TechnologyWatch.

29. McCarthy to lead HP Indigo in Canada
In November, Paul McCarthy became Indigo Country Manager for HP Canada. The transition comes after he spent more than 18 years with Konica Minolta Business Solutions Canada, helping that company, most recently as Director of Print Production, develop a strong position with commercial printers. He also serves as a board member of the Digital Imaging Association.

30. Coke showcases the power of print
Based on a partnership that began back in 2013 as a unique Share a Coke label printing campaign, HP and The Coca-Cola Company have worked together in successive years to show the world the power of digital print. There is little doubt major brands around the world have paid close attention to the program. In 2014, Coca-Cola using HP Indigo and SmartStream Mosaic technology printed two million unique Diet Coke labels. In 2016, Coca-Cola inked another deal for the custom printing of Diet Coke bottles for a marketing campaign called It’s Mine. In July 2017, HP’s Monique Cohen told Packaging Europe that since the Share A Coke campaign began it has resulted in the printing of more than 500 billion labels worldwide and led to a four percent rise in sales across the markets where it appeared.
eStruxture Data Centers has acquired The Gazette's former printing facility in Montréal, with plans to create a brand new, 30 megawatts power capacity data centre. The Québec-based company explains this $150 million investment will allow it to pursue growth with a world-class infrastructure and unique proximity to downtown Montréal.

"As part of our strategy to expand and acquire data centres nationally, we are thrilled to breathe new life into this historic building, whose size and strategic location offer the perfect site to better serve the growing IT services industry in Montréal and around the world,” said Todd Coleman, President and CEO of eStruxture. “The conversion of this printing facility is great news for Montreal as well as a compelling demonstration of the city's transition to the digital economy.”

The 156,000 square-foot building, located on Saint-Jacques St. in Notre-Dame-de-Grâce, was left vacant since The Gazette closed its facility in 2014. Upgrading and expansion work was to begin immediately, with the new data centre set to open in spring 2018. With 30 megawatts of power capacity – equivalent to a city of 25 000 homes – and a redundant fiber loop connecting the site to eStruxture's existing downtown data centre, the company explains it will become one of the most important data centre facilities in the region.

“Montréal's leadership as a digital hub and magnet for data centres is undeniable. International companies, especially from the United States, are increasingly establishing themselves in Montréal to meet their data centre needs. We are proud to participate in this economic shift, which comes with job creation and new foreign direct investment,” said Todd Coleman.

This will be the second data centre operated in Montréal by eStruxture, a company founded with the support of major Canadian investors including the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, Canderel and Fengate Real Asset Investments.

"With the growth of e-commerce and the digital transformation underway in Québec, companies are facing a steadily rising need to efficiently process and store their cloud data. As such, we are pleased to see eStruxture deepen its roots in Montréal. These new facilities will help the company accelerate its growth in Québec and Canada," stated Christian Dubé, Executive Vice-President, Québec at la Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec.
The Federal Communications Commission in the United States on Thursday voted 3-2 to repeal rules aimed at protecting net neutrality. Brought into effect in 2015 by the Obama administration, these net neutrality rules mean Internet Service Providers cannot deliberately speed up or slow down Internet traffic from specific Websites or apps, including favouring their own content or the content of providers willing and able to pay for superior access.

The potential loss of net neutrality, which will surely be fought in U.S. courts or through legislative measures in the U.S. Congress, creates the possibility of an Internet economy powered by the business elite. The shift in policy led by the Republican-driven FCC, allowing ISPs to influence content online, can have a major impact on innovation, corporate growth and individual prosperity.

The Internet sector, according to the Internet Association, represents an estimated six percent of U.S. GDP, totaling nearly US$1 trillion and accounts for more than 10.4 million American jobs – 86 percent of which are outside major tech hubs.

The following reactions of technology giants and political figures based on Thursday’s vote to repeal net neutrality were collected from multiple sources, including CNN.com, Theverge.com, Deadline.com, Foxnews.com, Businessinsider.com, Independent.co.uk and Engaget.com, as well as direct emails to Manufacturing AUTOMATION and corporate websites.

For a take on how net neutrality relates to the historic influence of print read PrintAction's December 2017 editorial, Net and Print Neutrality.

Google Corporate Statement, via Twitter: “We remain committed to the net neutrality policies that enjoy overwhelming public support, have been approved by the courts, and are working well for every part of the internet economy. We will work with other net neutrality supporters large and small to promote strong, enforceable protections.”

Werner Vogels, Chief Technology Officer, Amazon, via Twitter: “I am extremely disappointed in the FCC decision to remove the #NetNeutrality protections. We'll continue to work with our peers, partners and customers to find ways to ensure an open and fair internet that can continue to drive massive innovation.”

Stuart Carlaw, Chief Research Officer, ABI Research, via email to Manufaturing AUTOMATION: “The repeal of the net neutrality legislation will enable the communications industry to work within the bounds of a more natural market condition.  It will allow those companies that are burdened with the massive expense of rolling out new networks to support 5G (both fixed and wireless) and IoT solutions to be able to generate sufficient revenues to justify investment.  If anything, this legislative move will likely provide the much-needed boost to timelines for more meaningful technological deployments that will enable companies to transform digitally and allow consumers to benefit from technology driven improvements in service from multiple industry segments based on best of breed communications.”

Sheryl Sandberg, Chief Operating Officer, Facebook, via Facebook: “Today's decision from the Federal Communications Commission to end net neutrality is disappointing and harmful. An open internet is critical for new ideas and economic opportunity -- and internet providers shouldn't be able to decide what people can see online or charge more for certain websites. We're ready to work with members of Congress and others to help make the internet free and open for everyone.”

Brad Smith, Chief Legal Officer, Microsoft, via Twitter: “The open internet benefits consumers, business & the entire economy. That's jeopardized by the FCC's elimination of #netneutrality protections today.”

Netflix Corporate Statement, via Twitter: “We're disappointed in the decision to gut #NetNeutrality protections that ushered in an unprecedented era of innovation, creativity & civic engagement. This is the beginning of a longer legal battle. Netflix stands w/ innovators, large & small, to oppose this misguided FCC order.”

Alexis Ohanian, Co-Founder, Reddit via Twitter: “We cannot let this happen to our internet in the US. We must keep fighting for #NetNeutrality.”

Vimeo Corporate Statement, via Twitter: “It's disheartening that the #FCC chose to ignore the public and approve a policy that benefits the few and powerful at the expense of creators, and the stories they work to tell. We look forward to challenging this misguided decision in court. #NetNeutrality.”

AT&T Corporate Statement, via Twitter: “We do not block websites, nor censor online content, nor throttle or degrade traffic based on the content, nor unfairly discriminate in our treatment of internet traffic. These principles, which were laid out in the FCC's 2010 Open Internet Order and fully supported by AT&T, are clearly articulated on our website and are fully enforceable against us. In short, the internet will continue to work tomorrow just as it always has.”

Twitter Corporate Statement, via Twitter: “The @FCC's vote to gut #NetNeutrality rules is a body blow to innovation and free expression. We will continue our fight to defend the open Internet and reverse this misguided decision.”

Cory Booker, U.S. Democratic Senator, via Twitter: “This is an outrageous assault on a fair and open internet. Mark my words, this decision will not last! We will reverse it by winning future elections.”

Ted Cruz, U.S. Republican Senator, via Twitter: “I commend @AjitPaiFCC & the FCC for repealing these oppressive Obama-era regulations and restoring freedom to the internet. The message for gov regulators & Congress should be simple- the internet should be free of taxation, censorship, & regulation.”

Bernie Sanders, U.S. Democratic Senator, via Twitter: “This is the end of the internet as we know it. In Congress and in the courts we must fight back. #NetNeutrality.”

ACLU Statement, via Twitter: “BREAKING: The FCC just voted to dismantle #netneutrality. This represents a radical departure that risks erosion of the biggest free speech platform the world has ever known.”

Brian Chesky, Cofounder and CEO, Airbnb, via Twitter: “The FCC’s vote to repeal net neutrality is wrong & disappointing. A free & open internet is critical to innovation, an open society, & widespread access to economic empowerment. @Airbnb will continue to speak out for net neutrality.”

Mozilla Corporate Statement, via Twitter: “[Mozilla is] incredibly disappointed that the FCC voted this morning – along partisan lines – to remove protections for the open internet.”

Electronic Frontier Foundation, via Twitter: “The FCC's decision to abandon its traditional role in protecting an open and free Internet will go down as one of the biggest mistakes in Internet policy history. We will fight in the courts, in the states, and in Congress to restore #NetNeutrality.”

Michael Beckerman, President and CEO of Internet Association, via Internetassociation.org: “The internet industry opposes Chairman Pai's repeal of the 2015 Open Internet Order. Today's vote represents a departure from more than a decade of broad, bipartisan consensus on the rules governing the internet. Relying on ISPs to live up to their own 'promises' is not net neutrality and is bad for consumers.

“Let's remember why we have these rules in the first place. There is little competition in the broadband service market — more than half of all Americans have no choice in their provider — so consumers will be forced to accept ISP interference in their online experience. This is in stark contrast to the websites and apps that make up Internet Association, where competition is a click away and switching costs are low.

“The fight isn't over. Internet Association is currently weighing our legal options in a lawsuit against today's Order, and remains open to Congress enshrining strong, enforceable net neutrality protections into law.”

The following editorial appeared in PrintAction's December 2017 issue, now availble online.

The ongoing debate over net neutrality was once again ignited in late November as Ajit Pai, Chairman of the United States’ Federal Communications Commission, ramped up a campaign to eliminate Obama-era policies promoting fairness in the access to the Internet – as outlined in a Telecommunications Act.

Pai, a 44-year-old Republican attorney, is spearheading the Trump administration’s regulatory rollback of net neutrality protections. As Olivia Solon of The Guardian explains, “Net neutrality, which some have described as the first amendment of the Internet, is the idea that Internet Service Providers [ISPs] treat everyone’s data equally – whether that’s an email from your mother, an episode of House of Cards on Netflix or a bank transfer. It means that cable ISPs such as Comcast, AT&T or Verizon don’t get to choose which data is sent more quickly and which sites get blocked or throttled based on which content providers pay a premium.”

Net neutrality is every bit as critical to the direction of an economy as free-trade agreements and monetary policies, arguably more so if you consider the World Wide Web to be its own border-less macroeconomic system impacting the growth of nations. There are all sorts of positive and negative externalities in eliminating the open Internet, but one of the most obvious is a danger many pundits have described as resulting in a deeper divide among peoples of the Information Age. Access to information can create an educational separation between the Haves and Have-nots.

In a November Wired.com article called Net Neutrality Is Not the Problem, Harvard professor Susan Crawford writes, “The real problem is a complete absence of leadership and policy aimed at making sure that low-priced, ubiquitous, world-class fibre optic services reach every home and business.” She argues the FCC can deal with the public outrage over losing net neutrality, calling it a shell game, because it is too hard to pin down its meaning down. “On the Hill, the public will be out-lobbied at every turn by the essentially unlimited resources of [telecom giants].” The Guardian reports AT&T, Comcast and Verizon collectively spent $11 million lobbying the U.S. government in the first quarter of 2017.

Considering instead Crawford’s concern over the real problem of Internet access, the availability of access to printed knowledge and educational literacy over the past several centuries had a major impact on the development of various regions of the world. This analogue growth of knowledge among the masses happened at a much slower pace, of course, than what is already possible with today’s breakneck digital information speeds.

It is why Johannes Gutenberg’s automation of the printing press was so impactful from the 1450s onward, allowing mass reproduction of printed material to spread knowledge. Of course, access to that printed knowledge has never been never truly ubiquitous either. This impact of print on society was best described by the late American historian Elizabeth Eisenstein who focused on the transformation of media between the era of manuscript culture and that of print culture.

Describing Eisenstein’s seminal work, James Gleick wrote, “The Printing Press as an Agent of Change, a two-volume, 750-page exploration of the effects of movable type printing on the literate elite of post-Gutenberg Western Europe… focuses on the printing press’ functions of dissemination, standardization, and preservation and the way these functions aided the progress of the Protestant Reformation, the Renaissance, and the Scientific Revolution. Eisenstein’s work brought historical method, rigour and clarity to earlier ideas of Marshall McLuhan and others, about the general social effects of such media transitions.”

Even today there are countries around the world with alarming rates of illiteracy and lack of access to books. Statistics relayed earlier this year from Kodak’s Print for Good program, for example, suggest that in middle-class communities there is an estimated 15 books per child. In underdeveloped areas, however, there is only one book per 300 children. Print for Good is a global initiative to support communities throughout America, Europe, Asia and the Middle East with book drives, donations, and the printing of materials in an effort to increase worldwide literacy.

“An investment in literacy is an investment in the future; and every dollar that’s spent on adult literacy provides society with a return of $7.14, enabling individuals to help themselves, their families and their communities,” said Brad Kruchten, President of Kodak Print Systems. “We feel that print is and will continue to be a critical piece of that solution.”

There is no way to understand how the loss of net neutrality can affect the prospects of print and business, but we have learned access to information might be more of a human right than a privilege.

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