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Dick Kouwenhoven, one of the icons of Canadian printing for more than four decades, passed away on April 25. Kouwenhoven was the Founder, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Hemlock Printers Ltd., based in Burnaby, BC, one of the most highly revered commercial printing operations in North America and indeed known throughout the printing world for its industry leadership.

Kouwenhoven was Hemlock’s Chairman and CEO for the past four years after stepping down from running the company’s day-to-day operations for the previous 47 years. Less than a year after immigrating to Canada from The Netherlands in 1961, Kouwenhoven began to form what is now recognized around the world as a trailblazing printing company not just in terms of its high-end sheetfed perfecting capabilities, digital printing prowess and adoption of cutting-edge imaging technologies, but also in its environmentally progressive position.

Kouwenhoven was diagnosed with esophageal cancer a little more than a month ago. Describing his father as “a gentle person who quietly went about his business,” Richard Kouwenhoven explains his father remained active in life and business until the family understood how aggressive the cancer was.

“He set an example for so many people in our industry. Within Hemlock, he set a tone, an ethic that is held throughout our business today. It is part of our identity and it came through all of his dealings in the industry. The example he set is going to impact our industry for a long time,” says Richard, President and Chief Operating Officer of Hemlock.

In a letter sent to industry colleagues last night, Richard shared that he, along with his mother Clara and sister Vanessa, were by Dick’s side when he passed; that his brothers Frits, Bill and Frank were able to spend precious time with him while he was in hospital. “Myself, Frits and members of our Leadership Team met with the Hemlock staff today,” he wrote, “We shared our deep sadness and appreciation for his amazing vision, energy and leadership that created the special community we experience every day at Hemlock. We also thanked him for the legacy that he leaves behind and the wonderful example that he has set for us.”
 
Plans for a family funeral service as well as a celebration of life are underway. The celebration of life event, which will be open for staff, industry colleagues and friends, will likely occur at the latter part of May, explains Richard, but the venue and exact date have not yet been determined.

The following excerpts are taken from Dick Kouwenhoven’s speech in December 2015, when he received PrintAction’s Lifetime Achievement Award, answering questions he was commonly asked about his life in print:

How did you get into the printing trade?
As most of you know, I was born in the Netherlands, in a beautiful old city named Delft. My hometown became a city in 1246, about 250 years before Columbus ran into North America, on his way to Asia.

In the 17th century, Delft was famous for brewing the best beer, in numerous small breweries, but also for printing beautiful bibles. It is said that the number of breweries were equal to the number of churches in the city. That was reasonable balance to secure continuity for both industries.

I was born during the Second World War, as the ninth child of what would become a family of 12 children. Big families were very common in the Netherlands at that time. The Netherlands was occupied by Germany at that time. My older siblings (some in their teens) were in hiding to stay out of view. They were understandably very difficult times for all people in Holland. One of my first memories was the joyful crowds in the streets, with Dutch flags flying, when the country was liberated in early May of 1945. I was three years old, but I have a clear image of that scene of hundreds of happy people in the streets after spending most of my early years inside the house.

My father was a contractor/builder; second generation, continuing in his dad’s footsteps after he passed away. We had an impressive carpentry workshop behind the house, and as small kids we managed to get into the shop frequently. They made beautiful wooden windows and doors, heavy, structural stuff. We knew the craftsmen by name, and we were shown how they shaped the wooden components, and joined them with wooden dowels.

I knew at an early age that I wanted to work with my hands, creating beautiful stuff. My Dad did carpentry work for a local printer occasionally, and he was always fascinated by what he saw there. When I started to miss my marks in High School, he encouraged me to take a look at the printing trade, and arranged an interview. I learned about the practical combination of 4 days at work and 1 day at school, with a diploma after 5 years. So I became an apprentice compositor, signing my life away with a 6 year iron clad employment contract.

My Dad deserves much credit for his skills as a career councillor. I loved the work, the rapid learning curve, and the comradery of the workplace, much more than being a full time student.

When and why did you immigrate to Canada?
After eight years of learning and working in the trade in the Netherlands, including courses in estimating and accounting, I took the step (together with my brother John) to immigrate to Canada. That was not a big deal, because we already had three brothers who were established in Vancouver.

Much to my surprise, I found employment the day after I arrived in Vancouver, and started work on the following Monday. Too fast, I found, but they needed a typesetter desperately.

When did you start Hemlock Printers?
About six months after my arrival, I was approached by a gentleman who had just purchased a small storefront printery by the name of Hemlock Printers. He had no previous experience in printing, but he had great contacts in the business community, and could fill that little place with orders, no problem. All he needed was an all-round typesetter/printer who could make things happen in the shop.

So I accepted, and worked hard to keep him and his clients happy. He learned about selling print, and I learned about managing expectations, and deliver nicely printed letterheads, envelopes, business cards and wedding invitations etc. on time.

In fairly rapid succession, I invested some money, and became a 50% partner. I learned that a partnership is a poor ship to sail on, and I bought my partner out in 1968, incorporated the little company, borrowed some money, installed some new, better presses, and hired some staff, and moved to larger premises.

Looking back, what were the major events that put Hemlock on a path of growth?
With a move to larger premises just about every 5 years, we again faced a move from about 15,000 overused square feet in 1986. This time there were installations of some new and bigger presses involved and a big pre-press department to feed a total of 17 Heidelberg Speedmaster units. We were fortunate to find just the right place just a block away.

It was big. Too big at first glance. At 54,000 square feet, it looked like an airplane hangar. “We’ll never grow out of this one” was the conclusion of our staff. And they were right. We are still there after nearly 30 years.

Coinciding with an economic boom in Vancouver just before and after Expo’86, Hemlock experienced more than 20 percent growth per year in succession – with this growth in business, our team, our capacity and our capabilities expanded with the demands of the local market we served.

What are some things that make you proud of Hemlock’s success?
During the 47 years since 1968, we were fortunate to make so many friends in the industry and to build lasting relationships with customers, suppliers, employees and the larger community. The quality of our work and service standards make us proud, every day. In my daily walk through the plant, I am in awe of the dedication of our staff to serving our clients to the best of their ability. Our clients know it. There is a passion to excel that you can see and feel.

We have adopted and refined our environmental and social sustainability commitments, and shared our programs and practices freely, to help us all towards a better tomorrow. While it takes time, effort and investments, we feel that we must continuously improve.

I am also proud of the contributions of my family who have played such an important role in Hemlock’s success. Clara, my sweet wife of 48 years, my dear brother and business partner John, who passed away in 1997, dynamic brother Frits, selling up a storm in the USA, Richard responsible for day-to-day from the corner office, and all others who support our efforts.

What does the future hold for Hemlock?
Under Richard’s leadership, we will be expanding our on-line presence and facilities. Our well-oiled fulfillment centre will be expanded in response to increasing demands. And always stay the course with our employees and all our stakeholders to maintain Hemlock’s values and principles, which are pivotal to its continued success.
Ryerson University’s School of Graphic Communications Management, located in downtown Toronto, is hosting a three-day G7 Training course from May 16 to 18. This is a theory-based program, offering a blend of lab instruction and lecture on how to apply the G7 method on any type of printing process.

The G7 Methodology will be demonstrated across various output devices (G7 Certified Systems) that may include: Epson 7900 inkjet, Ricoh 901 MFP, Fiery FS-100 system. A method of calibrating G7 by hand (The Fan Graph Method) is reviewed during the training course and all materials related to this calibration are available free of charge and are part of the course handouts.

Idealliance explains the course is geared toward digital press operators, offset press operators, pressroom supervisors, prepress supervisors and technicians, quality assurance managers and printing equipment suppliers.

Idealliance has also made its online Color Management Professional (CMP) Fundamentals course available complimentary to registered attendees. CMP Fundamentals covers the principles of colour management. Successful completion of the CMP Fundamentals will certify those who take it as a Color Management Professional. Idealliance strongly recommends taking the CMP course prior to the G7 Training.

Event registration
Transcontinental has launched a process to sell all of its newspapers in Quebec and Ontario, which are controlled under the Montreal company’s TC Media operation. The sale process, which Transcontinental expects to span several months, involves 93 local and regional publications and their related web properties, including the Métro Montreal newspaper.

The move comes just days after Transcontinental sold its publication portfolio in Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador, and New Brunswick to SaltWire Network Inc. That the transaction included the sale of 28 brands and Web-related properties, as well as four printing plants. In June 2016, Transcontinental sold its publishing assets in the province of Saskatchewan in a transaction that includes the sale of its 13 local newspapers and associated Web properties to Star News Publishing.

The new process to sell all of its newspapers in Quebec and Ontario excludes, among others, the following activities, to which Transcontinental reiterated its commitment: TC Media's specialty brands for the business, financial and construction sectors, its educational book publishing activities as well as the distribution activities operated through Publisac and Targeo in the printing division.

“In light of TC Transcontinental's business transformation strategy, already underway with steps including the sale of our media assets in Saskatchewan in 2016 and of our media properties in Atlantic Canada last week, we also undertook a strategic review of our local newspaper publishing activities in Quebec and Ontario,” explains François Olivier, President and CEO of TC Transcontinental. “As a result of this analysis conducted over the past few months, we have decided to put TC Media’s local and regional newspapers up for sale. We are convinced that selling these assets to local players is the best course of action in order to contribute to the continued sustainability of local media and to foster greater connections with the advertisers and communities they serve.”
Xitron, the developer of RIP and workflow products has shipped more than 4,500 units of its Screen interface kit, which allows computer-to-plate devices to be driven with any RIP or workflow.

The Screen interface kit is capable of driving all of the PIF-based platesetters, including the 4000, 6000 and 8000 series engines and the large-format Ultima 16000, 24000, 32000, 36000 and 40000 systems.

The interface can be coupled with Xitron’s Navigator RIP and like engines are also supported.

Xitron drives CTP devices from Agfa, ECRM, Creo, Kodak, Presstek, Heidelberg, Fuji and Screen.
New surface treatments for paper might enable significant savings in the use of commercial inkjet presses, which remains one of the biggest challenges for wide-spread adoption of what most envision as the future of printing


At PaperWeek Canada, the annual conference of the Canadian pulp and paper industry held in Montreal the week of February 13, 2017, one of the presentations discussed a new surface treatment for paper that could allow high-speed inkjet printers to improve quality and save money on their high quality print jobs.

Inkjet printing is achieved by spraying fine ink droplets on the printing medium from a print head. In order to obtain a good quality image on paper, the ink droplet arriving on the surface of the sheet must be immobilized, to prevent spreading of the ink and blurring of the image. There are two types of inkjet ink: pigment-based and dye-based. Pigment-based inks contain solid coloured particles which remain on the surface of the sheet. Dye-based inks, which are cheaper, absorb into the sheet and often produce duller images.

Commercial high-speed inkjet printing has shown an annual growth rate of about 15 percent over the last five years in the U.S., according to a study by Poyry. Inkjet printing is already the leading digital printing technique on transactional print jobs such as credit card statements where mostly black ink is used, since dye-based inks are cheaper than toners. It is also increasingly used for new business models such as print-on-demand and custom publishing.

Market shift in print
Commercial inkjet printing is starting to take significant market share away from offset printing. There are many reasons for this, including fast setup time, ease of customization, less waste and lower cost per copy for shorter print runs.

High quality marketing communications such as catalogues and brochures are traditionally printed by offset printing on glossy coated paper. With inkjet machines, printing on these types of papers can be a challenge, because the water phase of the ink must pass through the coating while the colorant remains fixed on the surface. For this type of promotional printing, pigment-based inks are the inks of choice for inkjet printers.

To design a paper surface that works well with inkjet inks, there are two strategies. One is to coat the surface with positively charged particles, which immobilizes negatively charged ink pigment particles. An approach using calcium chloride in the coating formulation was developed jointly by HP and International Paper about 10 years ago and is trademarked as ColorLok technology.

The second strategy is to provide a surface treatment that rapidly absorbs the liquid phase while keeping it near the surface of the sheet, and minimizes the drying time required. Home and office inkjet printers print relatively slowly, and the drying time is not critical, but web-based production inkjet printers often need to use inline drying techniques to run paper webs at several hundred feet per minute without ink smearing.    

KemPrint 17 in Montreal
An interesting research paper presented in Montreal was given by Bob Hardy from Kemira Paper Chemicals. Kemira has developed a new product, KemPrint 17, that can be applied at the size press of a paper machine. The product is a very high surface area cationic pigment and thus it uses both of the above strategies to immobilize the ink and minimize the set time. Ink penetration into the sheet is significantly reduced, creating high ink densities.

Kemira carried out lab printing trials with their product to demonstrate how it compares with a calcium chloride surface treatment, using either pigment-based or dye-based inks. A constant coat weight of 2.3 g/m² was used. The CaCl2 treatments used a 4:1 mixture of oxidized starch and CaCl2.

Two levels of KemPrint were applied, at 1/3 and 2/3 of the coat weight, mixed with oxidized starch. The results indicate, that for pigment inks, the black print density can be matched with KemPrint and coloured print density can be improved. The colour gamut, where a higher colour gamut value equals more vivid colour reproduction, was also improved with the KemPrint treatments.

The tests were repeated with dye-based inks, and here the KemPrint treatments all gave higher values of print density and colour gamut than the CaCl2 (ColorLok) treatment. This makes sense, as dye-based inks are non-ionic, so the cationic nature of the CaCl2 is ineffective at immobilizing this type of ink.  

Print-through tests also showed that the KemPrint product could match or improve the print-through performance of CaCl2, a good indication that liquid penetration into the sheet is being minimized.

High-speed inkjet printers are always looking for the higher print quality for lower cost. This new technology from Kemira, which is now being tried out by a few papermakers and printers, should result in brighter, sharper images, and may allow them in the long run to move from more expensive pigment-based inks to dye-based inks for these high-speed jobs.  

Production inkjet is already driving change in the printing industry, both by enabling new applications and by capturing volumes previously produced with analogue technologies such as offset and flexography. Over the past couple of years, there have been major advances in both technology and pricing models, with ink and substrates being front and centre in the future success of the production inkjet model.

Eastman Kodak Company announced it plans to retain its Prosper inkjet business after initially announcing plans to sell these assets in March 2016 after engaging advisors and banks to manage to process. In late December of that year, Kodak again announced it was still in talks with potential buyers.

However, on April 7, 2017, the imaging technology giant announced plans to retain the business after what it describes as an in-depth management review of business operations and multiple discussions with prospective buyers.

“This is a pragmatic decision given the improvements in the business and the offers received,” said Jeff Clarke, Chief Executive Officer, Kodak. “Prosper performed well in 2016 with a 40 percent increase in annuity sales for the full year. We expect our Enterprise Inkjet Systems Division [EISD] to be profitable this year, including our next-generation Ultrastream investment.”

Kodak explains it continues to invest in the Ultrastream program and has entered into letters of intent with partners, which the company expects to create new applications that drive market.

Kodak will begin delivering Ultrastream evaluation kits to 17 companies, including Fuji Kikai, GOSS China, Matti, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Printing & Packaging Machinery (MHI-PPM) and Uteco, to explore the integration of Ultrastream into their future printing solutions. Kodak expects products built on Ultrastream technology to go to market in 2019.

”The sale process for Prosper which we conducted over the past year was robust,” said David Bullwinkle, Chief Financial Officer, Kodak. “We hired Sagent Advisors, which solicited interest from global organizations. Strong interest in the business and technology existed throughout the process. While we had multiple offers, the range of consideration did not reflect the value of the business today.”
Landa Group today announces its final 2017 beta customer line-up around its S10 Nanographic Printing Press. The first shipment of this press is scheduled to take place in July 2017 to Graphica Bezalel, an Israel-based folding carton, packaging and label convertor.

In November 2017, Landa plans to ship North America’s first Landa S10 press to U.S.-based Imagine!, which focuses on point-of-purchase printing and services with more than 1,600 employees in various U.S.-based facilities.

In December 2017, Germany’s Edelmann, which produces board and paper packaging, is scheduled to become the first European beta customer for the Landa S10 Nanographic Printing Press.

Built as an offset operation, Graphica Bezalel is installying the Landa S10 as its first digital printing technology. “Nanography is the first technology to tempt us into the world of digital print,” said Eyal Harpak, Director of Graphica Bezalel.” Until we saw what the Landa S10 could produce, we couldn’t believe that any digital press could match offset print quality at the high-speeds required to open-up the medium-run folding carton market

Harpak continued to explain that Graphica Bezalel provides work for major brands like Calvin Klein, Carlsberg, Nestlé, Coca-Cola and SodaStream, pointing to what he describes as the S10’s advantages in colour gamut and production flexibility, such as versioning for customized packaging and special promotions. Landa and Graphica Bezalel will hold a worldwide customer event during the week of September 12, 2017, to demonstrate the Landa S10 in a customer production environment.

As announced at Drupa 2016, Imagine!, which produces point-of-sale displays and instore signage, is scheduled to become the first beta site for the Landa S10 in North America. “We bought this press because of Benny Landa’s track record in developing innovative, industry-changing technology,” says Bob Lothenbach, Founder at Imagine!. “We don’t usually chase technology trends, however we believe in Nanography and want to be instrumental in the digital-for-mainstream revolution.”

Specializing in packaging solutions for health care, beauty care and consumer brands, Edelmann has production plants in nine countries with sales exceeding 300 million euros. The company produces more than 5.5 billion packages and leaflets per year. “Our business is all about customer service. Staying in tune with the market and delivering what it needs, but also anticipating, innovating and then proactively offering what it didn’t know it needed,” said Dierk Schröder, Chairman, Edelmann. “We’re excited to be working with Landa; this is a value-based partnership that will drive long-lasting end customer relationships.”

Headed by Indigo founder, Benny Landa, the Landa Group is comprised of four units: Landa Digital Printing, which oversees Nanographic Printing presses; Landa Labs, which explores nanotechnology for use in alternative energy, industrial coatings, cosmetics, packaging, drug delivery and other fields; Landa Ventures, which invests in early stage companies; and the Landa Fund, which helps underprivileged youth pursue higher education.

“I am thrilled that after many years of development, we are now reaching the milestone of delivering our first Landa Nanographic Printing Presses to customers. We are very proud that these industry leaders, and others who share their vision, have chosen to become our beta partners in this program,” said Benny Landa. “As promised, Landa press stability, print quality and speed are now consistently high. It’s exciting to think that in only a matter of months we will see Nanographic print in the market, representing a paradigm shift in print economics and empowering brands like never before.”
Koenig & Bauer AG (KBA), the German printing press manufacturers, has started construction on a new digital and flexographic press demo centre in Würzburg, Germany.

On March 14, Chairman Claus-Bolza-Schünemann, CEO of KBA and Christoph Müller of KBA-Flexotecnica, who will rent the demo space from its parent company, laid the foundation stone of the new building.

The demo centre has a usable area of around 2.100 square metres, modernised premises of 21,164 square metres and was an investment of 6 million euros (about C$8.66 million). It will feature a RotaJET digital printing press for commercial, publication and decor printing, a flexo rotary press for flexible packaging and a sheetfed flexo press for direct printing on corrugated cardboard.

The location of the demo centre was chosen for its easy access to Frankfurt International Airport for international customers. It is the latest in a series of new buildings in Würzburg, following a logistics centre and design building in 2001, two production halls in 2003 and 2008 and a new foundry in 2012.

The demo centre is due to be ready for occupancy in autumn 2017.
Last week in Rochester, NY, at Eastman Kodak’s headquarters, Informco’s Sandy Stephens received the 2016 Sonora Plate Green Leaf Award, which was previously announced in early 2017. Informco was one of eight printers from around the globe to win the award based on a program Kodak launched in 2014 to recognize customers who have demonstrated market-leading environmental progress through a variety of initiatives and best practices.  

All of the printers are users of Kodak Sonora process-free plates, which hold a range of environmental benefits. The winning printers are also judged on practices like monitoring of energy and water usage, participation in community sustainability programs, and the use of eco-conscious materials and supplies. Sonora plates remove the need for a plate processor, which requires chemicals, water and energy while generating waste. Kodak predicts that 30 percent of its plate volume will be process-free by 2019.

Beyond its use of Sonora plates, Kodak explained, “Informco has long exemplified what it means to be a servant of the environment.” The Scarborough, Ontario, printing operation has been an ISO 14001 certified company for 18 years. “Their Environmental Management System enables them to set and achieve environmental policy objectives,” stated Kodak, about Informco. “Progress is monitored throughout the year and used to set goals for the following year. The company monitors energy and water consumption and VOC emissions and has made significant reductions in all areas.”

Kodak continued to explain that Informco recycles materials like packaging, chemicals, ink, paper, electronic components, plates, web cores and scrap metal, while also using vegetable-based inks, alcohol-free solvents, and FSC paper. Informco was the first printer in Canada to win the CCME (Canadian Council of the Ministers of the Environment) Pollution Prevention Award in 2002.

The seven remaining 2016 Sonora Plate Green Leaf Award include: Reynolds and Reynolds (United States), Groupe Estimprim (France), Royalpack (Poland), UVO communication (South Africa), Ohshaika Printing (Japan), Kava Printing (China), and NPE Print Communications (Singapore).
Expanded gamut printing continues to grow in popularity, but does this process to exclude spot colours have long-term staying power for commercial printers to invest. At Ryerson University’s 2017 GCM Colloquium, called SPECTRUM+ by its student organizers, three industry leaders weigh in: Colour scientist John Seymour; Kyle McVey, Director of Client Services, Jones Packaging; and Nawar Mahfooth, Chief Science Officer, ColorXTC.

Expanded gamut is an idea tracing back to 1960 when the printing process was first applied to the production of Hallmark Cards, many of which used pastel pinks and blues found on the extreme edges of the CMYK gamut. The card company developed a scheme where it added a light blue and a light pink, as well as some fluorescents to some of the inks, and created its trademarked BigBox Color system. Today, 57 years later, the money-saving potential of expanded gamut printing is on the minds of thousands of printers around the world.

Applied mathematician and colour scientist John Seymour, speaking at Ryerson University’s Graphic Communications Management 2017 Colloquium, called SPECTRUM+ by its student organizers, describes the Hallmark Card scenario as the first-known example of expanded gamut work. Seymour began his career in advanced product development in 1992 for QuadTech, working with instruments for improving the measurement and control of colour in print manufacturing.

He is one of three speakers to discuss the opportunities of expanded gamut at the February SPECTRUM+ event, in addition to Kyle McVey, Director of Client Services, Jones Packaging, and Nawar Mahfooth, Chief Science Officer, ColorXTC. McVey described three days of recently completed expanded gamut trails undertaken by Jones, one of North America’s most-prominent packaging printers, and Mahfooth focused on ColorXTC’s Dynamic Press Profiling (DPP) technology, a remote offset press profiling service to provide press characterization data without the expense of dedicated runs. Instead of running more than 1,600 patches in testing, DPP applies proprietary algorithms to a smaller profiling target (150 patches) gathered in an regular production run.

Seymour’s presentation, entitled When an Idea’s Time Has Come, focused on the maturation of expanded gamut and the opportunities it provides for printing companies. He contends the new awakening of expanded gamut (EG) revolves almost exclusively around saving money – not building a better mousetrap, but rather a cheaper mousetrap.

Building mousetraps
It took eight years after Hallmark Cards’ 1960 BigBox Color system, Seymour explains, for an expanded gamut patent to be filed in 1968 by Dainippon Screen, whose patent abstract explains, “[printing plates] are produced for reproducing colour images with inks other than the standard inks.” The year 1985 brought the next major EG patent filed by Harald Kueppers, whose work, Seymour explains, did not go far because it was manually intensive to go beyond four process colours, making separations.

Kueppers’ work, however, is recognized as a foundation of EG development, as described by his patent abstract: “Whereby the elemental surfaces which form the chromatic component are printed with a maximum of two of six chromatic printing inks, yellow, magenta-red, violet-blue, cyan blue, green and black.” A range of base ink colours, of course, can be added to traditional CMYK to expand a gamut for a reoccurring printing process, but the prevailing model is most likely to be determined by the sector’s colour power of the day. “In expanded gamut printing, we move from four-colour printing to seven-colour printing and our base set of process colourants is now seven colour, which can be different for different systems,” writes Dr. Abhay Sharma, one of the world’s foremost colour experts and professor with Ryerson University. “For example, the new Pantone+ Extended Gamut swatch book is printed using CMYK plus Orange, Green and Violet (OGV)... The swatch book is available as a traditional swatch book as well as in software – Pantone Color Manager – and shows how spot colours would be reproduced in seven colours, CMYK + OGV.”

Seymour explains Pantone filed a significant EG patent in November 1994, part of a one-year period the colour scientist refers to as the heyday of expanded gamut printing patents. Invented by Richard Herbert, son of Pantone’s founder, this work became known as Hexachrome based on the use of six extra-pure inks (CMYK + OG), some containing fluorescent components. Hexachrome books were around for 20 years before fading away.

From March 1994 to March 1995, ink and imaging scientists with Pantone, Du Pont, Kodak, Barco Graphics, Opaltone and Linotype-Hell developed a range of EG innovations. Du Pont’s work was led by Don Hutcheson, well known for the G7 calibration process and GRACoL, who is now a driver behind Idealliance’s newly minted XCMYK methodology for EG printing. XCMYK remains a four-colour CMYK process but uses inks that are blended to be much purer than regular inks. Promoting the idea that more ink means more colour, leveraging FM screening, the XCMYK dataset and profiles can reproduce a larger gamut than that of GRACoL. Idealliance emphasizes XCMYK is not a replacement for GRACoL but rather an alternative colour space.

“FM screening actually gives you a bigger profile, a bigger gamut, not because the solids are pushed up,” says Seymour. “Obviously, FM screening doesn’t make the solids any richer, but it bows your profile up so you pick up more of the pastels.”

Opaltone, also patented during the mid-90s EG heyday, is still being used today primarily in toner-based printing. None of these heyday patents attempted to encapsulate the entire concept of EG, but rather coincided with a significant printing evolution. “Patents are almost always for incremental processes, small improvements on what is already there,” says Seymour, who himself has 22 patents. “So we have five patents and they may overlap a little bit, but they are all distinctly different.”

Seymour explains the EG heyday patents arrived during the widespread adoption of digital prepress technologies, bolstered by a matured desktop publishing sector. “Innovation happens when you have a need that also needs technology,” he says. “You finally have the digital technologies to allow you do to the [EG] separations – that is when innovation becomes possible.”

In reference to the need itself, Seymour points to the desire for the printing industry at large to create better quality pictures within an expanded gamut process. “You do get more colour. You can get more gamut out of it when you have those additional inks,” he says. This colour-punch need reverberates with designers and consumers. On the pressroom floor, however, the potential benefits of EG are measured in time and resources – dollars – saved.

Seymour relates the awakening of EG directly to the printing industry’s need to increase margins in a market of overcapacity and technological innovation. “The market for a better mousetrap is pretty small because if [the current trap] already catches most of your mice, are you going to spend a lot of money getting a new one, a better one – I don’t think so,” he says. “How about getting a cheaper mousetrap – yeah, there is a market for that. This is a large market.”

There are enormous cost savings available to a printer who can regularly run an EG gamut – without the need to wash-up after each run – on press to reproduce or closely simulate a range of brand colours, which have traditionally been printed with special spot colours poured into the fifth-plus press unit, which needs to be cleaned up when the run is done. The ability to simulate brand colours without press wash-up is the main draw of EG printing. It relates to decreasing the need to buy spot colour inks and hold inventory. Running an EG process with a consistent larger gamut also holds the potential to gang-run more high-value work up on a sheet, instead of low-margin CMYK jobs – often holding less than four process colours.

“The driving force of expanded gamut is not so much the ability to make pretty pictures. It is about saving money, that is the whole reason why we are trying to get into it,” says Seymour. “That is why you are spending so much money for those three days on press, pulling out your hair, trying to figure out how to make this happen… trying to save money.”  

Expanded gamut trials
McVey began working at Jones Packaging of London, Ontario, in 2003 as a graphic designer, after graduating from Fanshawe College, and showed an affinity for learning about the printing process, working in prepress design and structural packaging. In addition to printing, Jones’ two other divisions include contract packaging services (bulk handling of pharmaceuticals) and a health-care division working directly with hospitals and pharmacies across North America and into Spain and the United Kingdom. Taking on a managerial position, McVey then began working in Jones’ plate room and consulted with the pressroom on technical issues – a liaison between sales and production, running both litho and flexo presses.

A year and a half ago, McVey began working with Jones’ pressroom supervisor on a three-day trial of expanded gamut printing. A prospective client, described as very large with product across North America, approached Jones and other existing print suppliers, with a desire to run EG for packaging. EG is primarily applied in commercial print today, but beginning to find its way into the packaging sector where brand owners relish the pop of colour available in an expanded gamut, for example, to make flowers vibrant or people look less washed out – often accomplished today with expensive ink modifications or second hits of the same colour.

Moving to EG printing, however, would mean forgoing the power of brand-specific inks, which is the CMYK-plus-spot environment in which McVey developed his career, witnessing firsthand the pressure it puts on the prepress world. The prospective EG client ask involved CMYK + OG, not the full Orange, Green, Violet Pantone EG spectrum.

Jones would trial the work on its six-colour Heidelberg Speedmaster press, with coater. The client wanted the print suppliers to produce 10 of its leading brand packages using six-colour process expanded gamut print. Each package was identified and measured using two brand colour patches, which were Pantone EG matches of their brand colours. “L*a*b* values, ink densities, and tonal value increases were supplied to us through a Kodak proof… and for each brand defined target patch there was a request that it did not exceed 2.5 delta E,” says McVey, “which I think is being pushed as a kind of industry standard. This is where printers are going to have a problem with expanded gamut.”

Jones’ EG testing applied conventional CMYK + OG water-based inks and coatings across all products, running on coated recycled board, as opposed to preferred SPS board, the latter of which accounts for more than 90 percent of Jones’ substrate usage. The artwork separation was done by a prepress house using Esko software to create a Euclidean dot. McVey explains the ink sequence on press was Green KCMY and Orange, based on the fact that Jones currently runs the Heidelberg’s centre four units as KCMY – acknowledging an ongoing debate in packaging, where a majority of shops run a more traditional CMYK sequence. “We chose to put green at the front of the press because it had the least impact on all of the brands that we were printing,” says McVey, “so the dot gain would be minimized on that specific colour and we put orange at the end.”

McVey explains Jones ran 12 press tests, purposely changing conditions, to adjust their plate curves and create a solid linear set for approximately 20 brands colours on the press form, aiming to get as many of those brand colours under 2.5 delta E as possible. L*a*b* values built from the perfect the dots and laydown of the Kodak proof presented an immediate challenge. “There may be some colours that were already at a 2 delta E just on the Kodak alone, so we basically had a 0.5 delta E to work with printing on a press, with all of the variables.”

Among common press issues like registration, ink density and ink trapping ink, the latter variable would prove to be most challenging in the EG tests. Jones produced the full range of 20 brand colours at under 2.5 delta E using EG, but not without some fixes. “At about 75 percent of a colour with certain blends, specifically cyan and magenta, we were seeing a lot of ink-trapping issues,” says McVey, noting how conventional water-based inks have a tendency to blend on a litho press. “Printing cyan and magenta [at] 100-100 laydown is not predictable and due to that, due to the ink trap of those two values, this was our hardest colour to try and match, to keep under 2.5.”

Jones’ production team was able to average 2.3 delta E in its cyan-magenta tests, but they had to actually reduce the magenta ink. “This is not what you want to do in expanded gamut. It is not consistent throughout the jobs… now you have a different ink and you might as well [put] a spot colour in there,” says McVey, noting this information was passed on to the client. Understanding the importance of setting expanded gamut expectations, Jones provided the client with a long list of recommendations, such as the challenges of working with perfect Kodak proofs, the importance of ink sequence and tight press controls, and ultimately the consulting of print expertise in addition to a prepress house.

“Expanded gamut printing is just one tool in the printing industry’s massive tool box,” says McVey. “Really take it upon yourself when you are in a discussion about expanded gamut to actually learn about what is necessary to make it successful for that application.”
This spring, Canopy will publish the annual Blueline Report, a comprehensive guide to the environmental performance of North America’s largest printers. The report, which actually ranks these printers based on environmental performance, is designed to help print consumers identify those suppliers that are being environmentally responsible.

Canopy will be assessing and ranking major printers on a set of 28 criteria, including fibre preference, sourcing policies, certified and recycled paper availability, transparency and CSR reporting.

In 2016, Canopy’s report found that seven of North America’s largest printers had entered the top 10 in the sustainability ranking.

“With customer demand for environmental print continuing to strengthen, we look forward to reporting on significant progress by North America’s leading printers,” Nicole Rycroft, Canopy founder and Executive Director, says.

Printers aiming to improve their ranking must post their sustainability progress on their Websites by April 30.
Landqart AG, a subsidiary of Vancouver, BC-based Fortress Paper Ltd., has agreed to let a new customer use their proprietary substrate, Durasafe, for the production of banknotes.

Fortress Paper expects that Landqart will start shipping Durasafe orders to the new customer in late 2017.

Durasafe is a composite substrate developed by Landqart and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zürich. It is composed of two cotton paper outer layers and a strong, transparent polymer core. In addition to traditional security features such as an easily recognizable texture, the substrate’s unique properties also allow for windows, watermarks and security fibres on the banknote.

This new order will result in the fourth country to produce a banknote on Landqart’s substrate, following Morocco, Kazakhstan and Switzerland.


The upcoming Graphics Canada tradeshow, running from April 6 to 8 at the Toronto International Centre, has added two new sessions to it conference program, including the Girls Who Print, Women of Influence Panel, and the Future of Print Panel 2, A Designer's Perspective.

The Girls Who Print Panel features some of the most influential leaders in Canada’s graphics communications industry, including: Deanne Sinclair, President, Cambridge Label Inc.; Marg Macleod, Association Manager, Digital Imaging Association; Audrey Jamieson, President, Marketing Kitchen Inc.; April Burke, VP Operations & Technology, LM Group; Romy Hahn, Director, Sales & Marketing, Annan & Sons; and Joanne Hisey, Account Manager, Kwik Signs.

To be moderated by Deborah Corn from Print Media Centr, the Girls Who Print Panel will take place on Thursday, April 6, at 4:00 pm in Hall 5, Innovations Theatre, show floor. It is free for attendees.

The Future of Print Panel 2, A Designer's Perspective, features some of Canada’s top creative directors and design agencies principals, including: Dominic Ayre, Creative Director, Hambly & Woolley; Yen Chu, Creative Director of Design, J. Walter Thompson Toronto; Fidel Peña, Co-Founder, Creative Director, Underline Studio; Tony Ponzo, Creative Director, Haft2 Inc.; and Stussy Tschudin, Principal, Forge Media.

To be moderated by Xerox’ Beth Ann Kilberg-Walsh, VP, Marketing Commercial Excellence, the Future of Print Panel 2, takes place on Thursday, April 6, at 2:00 pm on the show floor. It is free for attendees.
Daniel Dejan, ETC print and creative manager at Sappi Fine Paper North America, will deliver a presentation at the Digital Imaging Association Breakfast at Graphics Canada.

Dejan’s presentation, “Print & (everything else) with: Daniel Dejan”, will examine the falsity that “print is dead” and discuss such subjects as demographic preferences, shopping behaviour, niche marketing and how to make print more interactive and tactile.

For more inforamtion about Graphics Canada workshops visit http://www.graphicscanada.com/education/

DIA Event Details

Friday, April 7, 2017
Breakfast
8:00 – 8:30 a.m.
Presentation
8:30 – 10:00 a.m.
International Centre
6900 Airport Rd.
Aviation Room C

The event is free of charge, but space is limited. No admittance without registration. Admission to the Graphics Canada show is included with registration to the DIA Breakfast.

Email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it to register.
Messe Düsseldorf released its 4th drupa Global Trends report tracking key economic and market developments across the global printing industry.

The report is based on the circulation of two separate surveys for printers and suppliers, sharing some common questions, but also asking more specific questions relevant to each group.

A total of 839 printers participated, including 525 from Europe and 314 from the rest of the world. Europe, which accounted for 220 of the 331 respondents, also dominated the supplier survey, but all the other regions were had material representation with 111 respondents.

From the printer respondents, 42 percent described their business as being in “good” economic state in 2016, while only 11 percent reported it as “‘poor”. According to the report, 56 percent of suppliers said their companies were in good economic condition.

The full version (in English) can be purchased for Euro 249 online (around C$355) at drupa.de/2131.

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