Sun Chemical acquired the metal deco ink business of PPG, a U.S.-based global supplier of paints, coatings and specialty materials. PPG and Sun Chemical are both long-standing players in the metal packaging industry.

Sun Chemical explains the acquisition reflects its strategy to grow by acquiring businesses that complement its existing operations. The company explains adding PPG will expand both its operational territories and its overall position in the global metal deco market. The purchase, according to Sun Chemical, creates the widest ink portfolio in the metal decoration market.

“With changes in consumer tastes and lifestyles across the world driving increased demand for canned food and beverages, brands are constantly seeking new ways of decorating the metal packaging of their products to differentiate them from the competition,” said Felipe Mellado, CMO and Board Member at Sun Chemical. “The acquisition of PPG’s metal deco ink business means that Sun Chemical will now be able to offer customers an enhanced range of metal deco solutions to help them achieve their marketing goals.”
St. Joseph Communications this spring is launching what it describes as a new flyer distribution model, under its media brand name Best Life, for Canadian retailers to reach consumers.

The flyers are being packaged with St. Jopeph’s new editorial magazine, Best Life, which is a weekly editorial lifestyle magazine published by the company’s St. Joseph Media division. St. Joseph Media is the publisher of brands like Toronto Life and FASHION Magazine. The first Best Life package will reach Canadian mailboxes for a controlled test in the London, Ontario, market on April 27, 2018.

St. Joseph explains this model presents a more cost-effect solution than current Canada Post flyer delivery programs, as well as what the company describes as a cluttered delivery environment. Best Life will be deposited directly into the mailboxes of targeted houses, apartments and condos.

“We’re excited to present this new flyer delivery model for Canadian retailers that is cost-effective and provides a great consumer experience, tapping into Canadians’ affinity for flyers and high-quality editorial,” said Tony Gagliano, CEO of St. Joseph Communications. “Over the last 12 months, we have worked to develop and create the ultimate model that addresses what’s lacking in flyer delivery in Canada today: a compelling, relevant, targeted, differentiated, timely – and affordable solution."

St. Joseph’s Strategic Content Labs recently conducted an online study and found that 75 percent of respondents somewhat/strongly agree that flyers are an important source of shopping information.

The survey also found that 80 percent of respondents would read the Best Life magazine, while 66 percent would notice the package more than other types of flyers. St. Joseph also reports the concept scored well with those who do not currently enjoy receiving flyers.

Finance Minister Bill Morneau and Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz on March 8, 2018, unveiled Canada’s new $10 bank note featuring Viola Desmond. Held on International Women’s Day, to highlight the pioneering contributions of Desmond, the unveiling ceremony took place at the Halifax Public Library.

Once issued into circulation in late-2018, the new bank note will mark the first time that a Canadian woman is portrayed on a regularly circulating Bank of Canada note.

Viola Desmond was selected for the new $10 bank note by Minister Morneau following an open call to Canadians to nominate an iconic Canadian woman for the next redesigned bank note (See Notably Canadian below).

A successful Black Nova Scotian businesswoman, Bank of Canada explains Desmond refused to leave a whites-only area of a movie theatre in 1946 and was subsequently jailed, convicted and fined. Her court case, explains the Bank, is one of the first known legal challenges against racial segregation brought forth by a Black woman in Canada.

The new $10 note is the first vertically oriented bank note issued in Canada. This allows for a more prominent image of Viola Desmond, explains the Bank, and differentiates this new $10 note from its other current polymer notes.

“Two years ago today – on International Women’s Day – Prime Minister Trudeau and I announced that the time had come for a Canadian woman to be represented on Canada’s bank notes,” said Minister Morneau. “Since then, thanks in large part through her sister Wanda, more and more Canadians have come to know Viola Desmond’s remarkable personal story of courage and dignity.

“Her story serves as inspiration to all Canadians and acts as a powerful reminder of how one person’s actions can help trigger change across generations,” continued Morneau. “As we strive for equality across our economy and in every facet of our country, we hope this constant reminder of Viola’s story will help inspire a new generation of women, men, girls and boys to fight for what they believe, take their place and create a better future for themselves and all Canadians.”
Notably Canadian
The following article describes the process used by the Bank of Canada to choose Viola Desmond for the $10 bank note. It was first published in PrintAction’s March 2017 print issue:

The Bank of Canada will soon make a commemorative bank note available to mark this year’s 150th anniversary of confederation for the country, which has only seen three other such commemorative notes since the Bank was founded. In honour of the 100th anniversary of Confederation, a modified version of the 1954 $1 note was issued, bearing the date 1967. The centennial logo was added to the front of the note and a view of Canada’s original Parliament Buildings, destroyed by fire in 1916, was substituted for the prairie landscape that appeared on the original 1954 $1 note.

A commemorative $25 note bearing the date May 6, 1935, was issued in honour of the Silver Jubilee of King George V. Similar to the 1935 series. This denomination was available in either French or English. And finally, the Bank issued a commemorative bank note that is a variation of the existing $20 note in the Polymer series in late 2015 to recognize Queen Elizabeth II, whose image adorns the popular note, becoming the longest-reigning sovereign in Canada’s modern era.

Commemorative notes provide welcome press time for the Bank’s print suppliers and related service providers and the new 150th anniversary $10 note will soon be superseded by a new national milestone note in 2018. On International Women’s Day, March 8, 2016, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau launched a process for Canadians to help select who would become the first Canadian woman to have their portrait featured on a regularly circulating Bank of Canada note. The Twitter-fuelled #bankNOTEable campaign launched by the Bank yielded more than 26,300 submissions by April 15, 2016.

The #bankNOTEable push resulted in 461 eligible candidates, who had Canadian citizenship and had been dead for at least 25 years. An independent Advisory Council composed of Canadian academic, sport, cultural and thought leaders narrowed down the list to five candidates for consideration by the Minister of Finance.

In December 2016, Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz announced that Viola Desmond will be featured on a new $10 note, expected in late 2018. Desmond, an icon of the human rights and freedoms movement in Canada, was selected from a short list of five iconic Canadian women by Minister of Finance Bill Morneau, in accordance with the Bank of Canada Act. A successful Nova Scotia businesswoman, Viola is known for defiantly refusing to leave a whites-only area of a movie theatre in 1946. She was subsequently jailed, convicted and fined. Her court case was the first known legal challenge against racial segregation brought forth by a Black woman in Canada.

The other short-listed women included Pauline Johnson, daughter of a Mohawk Chief and an Englishwoman, best know for the poetry she wrote celebrating her Aboriginal heritage; Elizabeth MacGill, the first woman in Canada to receive a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering (University of Toronto, 1927) and a master’s degree in aeronautical engineering (University of Michigan, 1929); Fanny Rosenfeld, who held Canadian records in the running and standing broad jump and in the discus; Idola Saint-Jean, primarily known as a feminist and pioneer in the fight for suffrage in Quebec; and Pitseolak Ashoona, an Inuit graphic artist known for prints and drawings showing.

“Many extraordinary women could have been on this next bank note, and the search and decision-making process were extremely thorough,” said Minister of Status of Women Patty Hajdu. “The choice of Viola Desmond reminds us that Canada is a diverse country where everyone deserves equality and respect.” Minister Morneau said, “Viola Desmond’s own story reminds all of us that big change can start with moments of dignity and bravery. She represents courage, strength and determination—qualities we should all aspire to every day.”

This new Viola Desmond $10 note, explains the Bank of Canada, reflects the broader themes of social justice and the struggle for rights and freedoms. It will be the first note in the next series. To continue to celebrate more iconic Canadians, the next $5 note will also feature a new Bank NOTE-able Canadian, launching another consultation process to seek input from Canadians.

Canada’s first Prime Minister, Sir John A. Macdonald, and our first francophone Prime Minister, Sir Wilfrid Laurier, will be honoured on Canada’s higher-value bank notes. This change will take place when the higher-value notes are redesigned for the next series. These changes mean that former Prime Ministers William Lyon Mackenzie King and Sir Robert Borden will no longer be portrayed on bank notes. The $20 denomination will continue to feature the reigning monarch.

Students of Ryerson University’s School of Graphic Communications Management are preparing to host the program’s annual GCM Colloquium on April 3, 2018, at the Mattamy Athletic Centre (formerly Maple Leaf Gardens) in Toronto.

This year’s GCM Colloquium also includes a Business Plan Expo component, creating a larger networking event for GCM students and members of Canada’s printing industry. This combination is reflected in the 2018 event’s name, Evolve: Startups, Mergers & Acquisitions in the Graphic Arts Industry.

The Business Plan Expo is scheduled to run from 4:00 pm to 8:00 pm, while the Colloquium is scheduled for 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm.

The GCM Colloquium is organized by student volunteers featuring keynote addresses, a panel discussion, and an information reception. This year’s industry participants include Jay Mandarino of C.J. Graphics Inc., Deanne Sinclair of Cambridge Label Inc., and Peter Tran and Rhodi Iliadou of Equal Parts Studio.

GCM’s Business Plan Expo is organized around new business ideas being presented by more 140 graduating students. This includes the opportunity for industry members to speak with the students and see interactive demonstrations of their business ideas.

To register, visit Evolve.
Transcontinental Inc. today announced that it has acquired Multifilm Packaging Corporation, a flexible packaging supplier located near Chicago in Elgin, Illinois. Employing more than 70 people, Multifilm focuses on the high-end candy and chocolate packaging verticals in North America, and specializes in piece-wraps and high-barrier laminates for the confectionery, snacks and dry foods markets.

Since entering the market in 2014, this is TC Transcontinental’s sixth flexible packaging acquisition, including its previously most recent acquistion of Flexipak in November 2017. Today, the company’s packaging division has close to 1,000 employees and its North American platform comprises seven production plants and one premedia studio.  

Transcontinental explains Multifilm is built around an integrated manufacturing process and distinguishes itself through expertise in cast film extrusion, metallization and demetallization, as well as aluminum foil printing.

“The acquisition of Multifilm Packaging Corporation is aligned with our growth strategy for the packaging division and presents tremendous opportunities,” said François Olivier, President and CEO of TC Transcontinental. “This transaction allows us to enter new high-end confectionery packaging niches and to bolster our offering in this market. Multifilm expands our manufacturing capabilities, namely with aluminum foil printing and demetallization, thereby enabling us to leverage these sought-after processes within our North American packaging platform.”

Multifilm Packaging Corporation has been owned since 2008 by four owner-managers, who will be joining TC Transcontinental. “We are truly proud to join TC Transcontinental, a large corporation with a 42-year history and track record of success,” said Chris Rogers, President of Multifilm. “We are inspired by the long-term growth vision and entrepreneurial spirit of its executives, and we are confident that, together, we will continue to help Multifilm thrive by building on its success, as we have always done."
Kodak introduced its new Nexfinity sheetfed toner press platform, which builds from its NexPress systems, with availability scheduled for spring 2018. The new platform is built with Dynamic Imaging Technology (DIT), a patented Kodak technology for digital printing.

DIT technology works by applying algorithmic adjustments to specific areas of an image, explains Kodak, which optimizes image quality and consistency based on the image content in each area. Kodak explains this imaging technology produces crisp text, hard lines, soft skin tones, and beautiful skies on the same page.

Featuring a new high resolution and multi-bit LED writing system, Nexfinity is designed to work with a range of applications, including direct mail, commercial print, publishing, and packaging. The press runs at speeds of 83 to 152 pages per minute, working with expanded sheet lengths of up to 48 inches and is capable of handling stocks up to 24 pt.

“With Nexfinity press, printers get a robust digital printing platform that delivers offset quality while driving down costs and equipping them with the flexibility and speed to handle an expansive range of applications for their customers, whether it’s an order for a few hundred or millions of impressions,” said Chris Balls, General Manager, Equipment and VP, Print Systems Division of Kodak.

Nexfinity delivers the industry's highest information density, according to Kodak, at more than 1.8 billion pieces of image information per square inch. The system can reproduce fine details on the fly, like highlight areas and consistency in mid-tones by adjusting the exposure levels for incredibly high levels of print quality. The LED writing system provides 256 levels of exposure on the imaging cylinder, explains Kodak, compared to laser systems that only are on or off.
Goss International’s printing press business and manroland web systems announced plans to merge by mid-2018, subject to regulatory approval. The Contiweb business of Goss International is not included in this transaction. The current shareholders of Goss, American Industrial Partners, and of manroland web, Possehl Group (Lübeck), will continue to co-own the combined company.

Both manufacturers produce web offset printing systems and services for newspapers, commercial products and packaging, and hold what the companies describe as complementary geographic footprints that will help the new entity provide value to clients, particularly in the area of aftermarket services.

“manroland is on the path for continued success. We want to continue to develop this path by creating synergies, fostering the further development of our R&D activities and strengthening our innovation focus,” said Alexander Wasserman, CEO of manroland web.

Mohit Uberoi, CEO of Goss, stated: “This combination will enable us to achieve extensive synergies that will help us optimally serve our customers into the future. The combination will strive to provide a best-in-class product offering and customer service.”

The companies explain, that in addition to the new machinery and service business, the expansion of the business with retrofits and upgrades, and the systematic expansion of e-commerce activities will be major areas of focus.
3D printing begins to move past consumer hype into industrial design and onto the production floor, as manufacturing and logistics companies plan for significant changes to their business models.

Financial institution ING in late-2017 reported the current trajectory of 3D printing could result in one-quarter of world trade being wiped out by 2060. This was its Scenario I, in which 3D printing continues to evolve at an annual growth rate of 19 per cent, with the possibility of locally 3D printed goods cutting trade by 40 percent. Scenario II presented by ING considers an accelerated growth rate in 3D printing of 33 percent, which would wipe out two-fifths of world trade by 2040. ING’s analysis also predicts, that at current growth rates, conservatively half of all manufactured goods will be printed in 40 years.

These long-term predications cannot possibly consider all future supply-and-demand variables, of course, but today 3D printing constitutes less than one percent of global manufacturing revenue. Wohlers Associates, an independent consultancy specializing in 3D printing research, estimates 3D printing will eventually capture five percent of the global manufacturing capacity, which would make it a $640 billion industry (all figures in U.S. dollars). A 2016 report called 3D Printing: The Next Revolution in Industrial Manufacturing, published by logistics giant United Parcel Service (UPS), estimates today’s 3D printing market to be worth anywhere from $7 billion to $9 billion, predicting it could reach $21 billion by 2020. Consultancy firm McKinsey estimates the 3D printing market will grow to reach anywhere from $180 to $450 billion by 2025.

The range of these growth predictions largely comes from the inability to fully understand how massive corporations – with the ability to shift markets – might alter their manufacturing models to leverage 3D printing. It is unlikely that 3D printing will predominately replace – or even penetrate – mass production processes in several product sectors, but it does hold the potential to touch most any category of discrete manufacturing. IT research firm Gartner estimates 10 percent of all discrete manufacturers will be using 3D printers by 2019 to make parts for the products they sell or service.

Watching 3D grow
3D printing is currently best suited for making complex, small-batch products, as illustrated by its heavy usage for prototypes and parts. The UPS report describes parts production as the fastest-growing application of 3D printing, specifically functional parts at 29 percent and prototypes at 18 percent. In November 2016, UPS invested in a company called Fast Radius to launch a new logistics model for parts production via 3D printing.

Fast Radius’ primary production facility is now located in what it describes as the world’s largest packaging facility, UPS WorldPort (Louisville, Kentucky), which also serves as the logistics giant’s global air hub. Fast Radius explains this “strategic end-of-runway location” provides it with up to six hours of additional production time versus using a near-site location, typically controlled by a third-party. 3D printing will likely experience growth under a service-bureau model as technologies mature, in terms of both function (speed and quality) and cost. More manufacturers and product companies will also change their business models to install 3D printing systems.

Research released in 2017 by IT consulting firm Gartner shows interest in establishing in-house 3D printing capabilities is “rapidly gaining traction.” Gartner predicts 40 percent of manufacturing enterprises will establish what it calls 3D printing Centers of Excellence (COE) by 2021, pointing to existing industrial-scale efforts by Boeing, Johnson & Johnson, Rolls Royce and Siemens. In September 2016, Fortune.com reported 3D-print startup Carbon received $81 million from a group of investors, including GE Ventures (General Electric), BMW Group, Nikon and JSR, as an extension of a $100 million funding round in August 2015 led by Google Ventures.

In December 2017, Yahoo Finance reported Carbon closed on $143 million of a new funding round to accelerate its global expansion. “Once completed, this round will bring the Silicon Valley-based company’s total raise to a whopping $422 million and reportedly boosts its valuation to a mighty $1.7 billion,” writes Beth McKenna. “To provide some context, the two largest publicly traded pure-play 3D printing companies, Stratasys and 3D Systems, have market caps of $1.14 billion and $1.13 billion, respectively.”

The prospects for 3D printing growth are buoyed by venture-capital investments with the participation of established companies like UPS, which holds the world’s largest network of distribution centres. Billed as The Global Platform for Part Production, Fast Radius enables companies to manage the design, engineering, prototyping and production of end-use parts. Its in-house 3D printing capabilities are supported by partnerships with third-party providers of traditional parts manufacturing techniques like metal extrusion, CNC machining and injection molding.

3D printing can help reduce the use of expensive processes to create tools, molds and modifications for production lines. In 2017, imaging giant Ricoh began replacing some of its traditional metal tooling with lightweight 3D printed jigs and fixtures for a large-format-printer assembly line in Japan, where an operator typically handles more than 200 parts a day. Ricoh is specifically assembling an electronic component using a 3D printed fixture produced in anti-static ABS plastic on a Stratasys Fortus 900mc printer.

“Because we are producing an enormous number of parts, it takes a lot of time and effort to identify the right jigs and fixtures for each one. This manual process has become even lengthier as the number of components grows, requiring that an operator examine the shape, orientation and angle of each part before taking out a tool and placing it back in its original fixture,” explained Taizo Sakaki, Senior Manager of Business Development, Ricoh Group. “[Now] we are able to customize the tools according to the part and produce them on demand, which is helping us restructure and modernize our production process.” Sakaki explains Ricoh would typically outsource machine cut tools that could take two weeks or more to produce. Ricoh’s operators can now determine the shape and geometry of a fixture that corresponds to its associated part through 3D CAD software and 3D print it in one day.

“Prototyping is the reason 3D printing exists, because there is nothing better to make one-offs particularly if it is a small part with high detail,” said Stephen Nigro, VP, Inkjet and Graphic Solutions for HP Inc., which launched its Multi Jet Fusion products in 2016. HP – an inkjet printing pioneer – plans to disrupt the 3D printing market with this new high-speed, relatively low-cost platform. HP explains on a current high-cost, high-quality laser sintering machine, for example, 1,000 gears would take at least 38 hours to fabricate, while those same 1,000 gears could be produced within three hours on Multi Jet Fusion technology.

UPS shared a telling quote from an engineer/senior industrial designer at a consumer electronics company: “Our prototype turnaround time reduced from three to six months to two to three weeks. Time-to-market for new products reduced by 40 to 60 percent. 3D printing is viewed as an enabler here for expanding into new markets. We initially used it once a week, but now it’s used daily.” UPS explains the next big 3D printing opportunity for consumer electronics is in smartphones, which comprise an estimated 35 percent of total consumer electronics sales.

As early adopters, the consumer electronics and automotive industries each contribute 20 percent of the total 3D printing revenue, according to UPS, with aerospace following closely behind. Mercedes-Benz Truck in 2017 began its first 3D-printed spare parts service, allowing customers to 3D print more than 30 different spare parts for cargo trucks. Logistics giant DHL, in its own 2017 3D printing report, explains hundreds of millions of spare parts from across all industries are kept in storage. DHL used data from Kazzata – an online marketplace for 3D printed parts – to estimate the share of excess inventories can exceed 20 percent.

“[3D printing] may never be as efficient as a 3-story stamping press at banging out ribbons of metal into panels, but, in one shot, 3D printers can form complex – indeed impossible-to-make – parts that a press could never solve,” wrote Pete Basiliere, Research VP at Gartner, which first used its highly regarded Hype Cycle Report to analyze 3D Printing in 2016. “Our Predicts research highlights three industries – medical devices, aircraft and consumer goods – that are making significant strides in implementing advanced manufacturing practices enabled by 3D printing. To a significant extent, the experiences of these industries can be applied to all manufacturing industries.”

Gartner research predicts 75 percent of new commercial and military aircraft will fly with 3D-printed engine, airframe and other components by 2021 – “After 20 years of use, Boeing has additive manufacturing at 20 sites in four countries and more than 50,000 3D-printed parts are flying on both commercial and defense programs.” He also points to how GE Aviation’s new Advanced Turboprop engine design converted 855 conventionally manufactured parts into 12 3D-printed parts, resulting in 10 percent more horsepower, 20 percent fuel savings, a shorter development cycle and lower design costs.

Basiliere also describes how Airbus is utilizing 3D printing in the construction of its airplanes, having already introduced more than 1,000 3D-printed parts in its A350 model. In 2016, Airbus unveiled a completely 3D-printed drone called Thor consisting of 50 3D-printed parts and two electric motors, explains Basiliere – “This aircraft, which is four metres long and weighs 21 kg, was constructed in just four weeks.” Lockheed Martin in 2017 announced it is using 3D printing for titanium satellite components, reducing cycle times by 43 percent and costs by 48 percent.

The evolution of 3D printing is poised to generate new applications with DHL pointing to 4D printing, as developed at MIT, which adds the dimension of change to 3D-printed objects: “4D-printed items can self-assemble and adjust shape when confronted with a change in their environment like temperature. Imagine water pipes that shrink or expand depending on water flow, or tires that adapt to wet surfaces and change back to their original size and pressure when the roads are dry again.”  The potential of 4D printing or similar market-boosting innovations is supported by the ability to print electronics under conditions similar to 3D printing. 
CRON Machinery & Electronics Co., which describes itself as the largest global CTP manufacturer, announced it is forming a new business unit to serve the global flexo industry. It will be called the CRON-ECRM Flexo Business Unit (FBU). CRON first entered the North American graphic communications market in 2014.

The new unit will be led by Alex Lee, as the General Manager and Global Sales Director, and Marshall Hogenson has been appointed Vice President Americas, Flexo Business Unit. Hogenson will specifically be responsible for driving the flexo business in North, Central, and South America by naming dealers, handling key accounts, and developing regional strategic partnerships.

“This is an extremely exciting opportunity,” said Hogenson. “CRON’s reputation as a high quality, affordable flexo CTP option is growing rapidly. The potential is massive and CRON is well positioned to become a major player in the market.”

In addition to the Americas, CRON's FBU will also focus on three additional regions: China, Asia, and EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa). Each region will have its own Vice President to drive growth in that market.

Hogenson joined CRON-ECRM in July 2017 as the Director of Sales, Flexo. He previously held positions at Creative Edge Software, which focuses on package design software products; Eastman Kodak, where he was the Business Development Manager, Country Manager, Canada, Packaging; OEC Graphics, where he served as the Corportae Director of Sales; and EskoArtwork, where he was the Global and Strategic Accounts Sales Manager and Director of Brand Owner Solutions.
Koenig & Bauer announces a price increase of 3.7 percent with effect from April 1, 2018, for its entire product portfolio. The news follows a range of supplier increases on product pricing through the latter half of 2017, mostly around consumables like paper and plates because of raw material costs.

“This price increase is being effected against the background of rising prices and is a necessary step for us to continue offering our customers innovative solutions and an excellent level of service,” said Ralf Sammeck, Executive Vice-President of Sales at Koenig & Bauer. “Our goal is to grow together with our customers, and to continue to be their reliable partner in a constantly changing market.” 

Koenig & Bauer continued to explain the moderate price increase will enable further innovation for its presses, which provide tangible economic benefits through automation, makeready and inline processes.
EFI hosted its annual worldwide user conference, called EFI Connect, at the Wynn in Las Vegas from January 23 to 26, 2018, launching a range of new products for different markets – hinting at how the company has broaden its portfolio over the past decade. Here, I take a look specifically at EFI’s new products and updates for the packaging market.

On the first day of the conference, Guy Gecht, CEO of EFI, hosted a fireside chat with two customers from Europe. These customers were a couple of the first to install a Nozomi C18000 digital UV LED inkjet press for the corrugated market. This machine is intended for corrugated packaging, corrugated display and high-quality graphics for integrated corrugaters and independent converters. It can be run in single-lane mode were the corrugated board is as wide as the feeder of the press or in dual-lane mode, which prints the corrugated pieces side-by-side in one pass. In this dual-lane mode, the print speed reaches up to 6,600 sheets per hour.

The first customer that Guy Gecht spoke with was Eric Barcourt, CEO of Hinojosa Packaging Solutions in Spain. This company has 12 production sites in Spain and they use offset, flexo and gravure as their main print technologies. They service the middle-market to the small customer. One important statement was that big customers do not do value-added production of their packaging products. Hinojosa started out by serving the shoe and textile industry in Spain by printing simple, single-colour boxes for the shoe industry. This is now changing with the outside of packaging products becoming more and more colourful and individualized.

In the past some of Hinojosa’s customers transferred their packaging printing to low-cost countries to save money, but now they are bringing their business back to Spain, because they require relatively short delivery times between the finished printed product and getting it to the end customer. In Europe, the market is consolidating and production and shipping costs need to be reduced. The internal processes in a print company also have to optimized to make a company successful. This includes also the office, back office and the design department. It is important to combine people, technology and means to achieve an efficient corrugated packaging business.

Eric Barcourt pointed out that they were the first customer to install a Nozomi C18000. He stated that the Nozomi offers the best image quality for the substrates they use and it allows them also to print on substrates which not always 100 percent flat. The Nozomi press allows them to service their customers with faster turnaround times and more customized and individualized solutions.

The second Nozomi customer was Mal McGowan, CEO of McGowan Print in Ireland. His business is a bit different than that of Hinojosa Packaging in Spain. He has a digital print company, mostly small-format printing. They also use Indigo technology to satisfy their customer needs. One of the special finishing technologies they use is Scodix. 

McGowan Print produces mostly outdoor media, advertisement for bus shelters and banners. They use PVC banner material and mesh fabric. These are usually printed on one of the company’s five flatbed machines. This gives an idea what they are doing in their business.

McGowan explains that for them digital printing is growing, the technology is getting better and they can print better and faster than screen printing companies. The purchase of a Nozomi C18000 allowed McGowan Print to get into corrugated packaging and now they are producing work for companies like L’Oreal. The Nozomi allows them to get into the production of floor displays, which they now sell to the UK and Europe. The purchase of the Nozomi, explains McGowan, was a game changer for the company.

During the Wednesday keynote at Connect, Marc Olin, CFO of EFI, stated that EFI has purchased the FreeFlow RIP software technology from Xerox and has integrated this technology into its lastest Fiery RIP products. This allows the use of 5- and 6-colour digital toner-based machines that support the application of gold, silver and white colour together with CMYK. The customer can choose to print one of the metallic inks in print station one and either white or the other metallic colour in print station six. This unique ability allows for some interesting colour effects on any small-run packaging applications.

A new flatbed printer was announced at EFI Connect 2018. It was the HSF4, a 3.2-metre-wide machine with print speeds of up to 225 boards per hour. It is designed for the corrugated packaging market.

Also at EFI Connect, productivity suite 6.0 for the corrugated box converting and folding carton industry was announced. This suite offers productivity gains in the areas of new revenue generation through cross-media marketing, eCommerce/Web to Print, customer relationship management and fulfillment and warehousing. Efficiencies and Profitability can be enhanced through dynamic intelligent estimating, global resources scheduling and optimized layout and planning. In the areas of pre-production the suite offers improvements in imposition and composition, complex versioning, personalization and integration with pre-press. The suite also offers benefits for the production through shop floor data management, direct machine interface and integrated digital front end (DFE) and job management.

Trough the cooperation between Xeikon and EFI in the area of the Jetrion digital label printers synergies are achieved. Xeikon will provide service, sales and support for the Jetrion presses, while EFI will continue to manufacture inks for these presses. Xeikon manufactures digital presses for packaging and labels. Its LED technology allows true 1,200-dpi resolution. Digital label printing is one of the core strengths of Xeikon, which usually offers toner-based digital presses for label printing, folding cartons and commercial presses.

During an interview session with the press Guy Gecht, he said that the flexible packaging is a very interesting market for EFI. Unfortunately, but he would not provide more information in regards to this statement at the moment. From what transpired during EFI Connect is the fact that once they get into a market they are very dedicated to offer their customers the best possible solutions that allows them to be profitable in that market segment that they are currently in or intended to go into.
Amarula, the South African producer of cream liqueur, is now releasing a special edition of 400,000 bottles with its well-known elephant branding individualized by HP Indigo digital printing. The goal of the project is to raise global awareness for the remaining 400,000 African elephants, where are endangered. The African elephant has been the icon of Amarula Cream Liqueur since its inception. This limited edition of Amarula Cream Liqueur is an added dimension to the brand’s Name Them, Save Them African elephant conservation project.

In collaboration with HP, SA Litho, a Cape Town-based premium label producer, transformed Amarula’s Cream liqueur bottles into unique pieces using an HP Indigo WS6800 press with HP SmartStream Mosaic variable design technology. Established in 1903, SA Litho is locally and internationally recognized for producing premium quality sheetfed and reelfed labels for a variety of market leaders in various industry sectors.

“Individualizing Amarula bottles is a powerful way to reinforce the message that every elephant is an individual with a unique personality,” said Saramien Dekker, Global Marketing Manager for Amarula. “We have always had a special bond with these magnificent creatures. This campaign is about creating a connection between humans and elephants, and becoming actively involved in raising awareness and saving our elephants.”

In the first stage of the elephant conservation campaign, people could go to the Amarula Website to design, name and share a virtual African elephant, as a way to increase awareness of the danger facing these animals from ivory poachers, explains the company. Each of the bottle labels features an elephant with a completely unique graphic design together with its name. The number of bottles corresponds to the latest census estimation of African elephants remaining alive in the wild. The cream liqueur is produced from the fruit of the African marula tree, explains Amarula, which only grows on the sub-equatorial plains of Africa. The fruit is uncultivated, organic and consumed by elephants.

The production of the one-of-a-kind labels was made with HP SmartStream Mosaic, using two seed patterns in a variable design software algorithm, and the Indigo WS6800 press. In less than a week, HP explains SA Litho completed the printing of the 400,000 labels, produced on a metallic substrate using HP Indigo ElectroInk CMYK and white.

“HP SmartStream Mosaic is yet another way we add value through innovation. We brought this technology to South Africa in early 2015, and employed a brand and communications manager the same year to drive Mosaic and digital printing in Africa,” said Leon Witbooi, Managing Director, CTP Packaging Western Cape. “Months were spent researching strong, proudly South African brands that could use our technology in a way that would add value to the marketplace. This approach was strongly supported by HP Indigo and local supply partner, Kemtek.”

A technology update from the floor of EskoWorld, hosted by one of the world’s most powerful suppliers in the packaging world

EskoWorld is Esko’s annual user conference and was most recenlty held in the NASCAR hometown of Charlotte, North Carolina, from May 9 to 11, 2017. Esko executives, product managers, and support engineers mingled with more than 500 technology users from across the United States and Canada.

Packaging printers and converters attended in a cavernous hotel ballroom and smaller break-out sessions in Mac and PC computer labs. Several partners including DuPont, EFI, MacDermid, were on-hand to support product integrations and assist with purchasing decisions.

Esko’s product portfolio stretches from structural design in packaging (ArtiosCAD, CAPE, Plato) to visualization and design software (DeskPack, Store Visualizer) to colour in brand packaging (Equinox, Color Engine).

Flexo plate making is core to Esko with the CDI plate makers and Kongsberg cutting tables. One of the main areas of interest amongst Canadian attendees (apart from seeking warmer weather, which they got!) was updates in automation (WebCenter, Automation Engine).

Esko’s core workflow tool at the heart of their workflows is Automation Engine (AE), which is updated every alternate year at EskoWorld. In 2017 the new release is AE version 16.1.

Automation Engine gets new look
Automation Engine is one of the most powerful “kitchen sinks” for label converters and flexo prepress, allowing everything from PDF processing to trapping and step and repeat operations.

New improvements to the UI are a simplified HTML5 browser interface code named “UX”. Another significant development is DeviceManager that connects AE to the CDI plate setter, the Kongsberg table and HP Indigo digital presses.

“We are seeking to integration AE with WebCenter for every task in our shop that an employee can do,” says Anthony Memme, Atlantic Packaging, Scarborough.

Enhanced packaging
Esko’s Studio Store Visualizer allows a user to walk through a store and pick up items. 3D design in product packaging is an area seeing new products and visualization tools. The store shelf is being replaced with Amazon purchases via an iPhone.

Designers and brand owners were offered tools including augmented reality virtual walkthrough of a department store where they could pick up and hold and rotate products to view the label. With compliance and regulatory requirements in a global product development life cycle of brand development, these tools are essential for brand owners and agencies.

Marriott Winchester, President, sgsco Americas, says, “We have a new digital store shelf and our large team here at EskoWorld is strongly involved in tools to create the enhanced pack shot and buyer experience.”

CDI goes flat screen
In a radical departure from the rotary, drum mounting of flexo plate expose units, Esko launched a flat-bed, LED expose unit called Crystal XPS. Esko’s plate making devices have evolved from CTP plate imaging using traditional CDI to Flexo HD (High Definition) and now to Crystal XPS.

The new design is a flatbed device with a bank of UV LED sources that expose the back creating a plate floor, and another row on the top creating the plate exposure and raised relief.

In normal plate making, the back exposure is done separately and while operators are aware that the photoinitiated polymerization is affected by the time between the front and back exposure, this is rarely controlled.

In the new Crystal XPS series, the front and back exposure can be set to be simultaneous or with a minimum time lag. Photopolymer plates are laid flat on the table, and along with time improvements, the new imaging configuration creates greatly improved flat-top dots.

All brands of photopolymer plates are supported and in use in the 20 companies today. The CDI goes flat in the new Crystal XPS device, allowing simultaneous front and back exposure that creates cleaner, better shaped dots.

Esko acquires MediaBeacon
At EskoWorld a press announcement revealed that Esko acquires MediaBeacon for digital asset management and stock libraries.

MediaBeacon helps in the publication of content for digital and physical channels and social media and integrated marketing.

Allison Hunter, Jones Packaging, London, says that “pharmaceuticals, life sciences, retail, can all benefit from marketing asset management tools that can help in omnichannel marketing.”

Buckle up for NASCAR
A large number of Canadian packaging printers, designers and converters from Vancouver to Montreal, travelled to the United States for packed presentations and roadmaps from senior Esko executives.

On the social calendar, a closed private evening at the NASCAR Hall of Fame, allowed brave printers to practice being a pit stop crew. If you are into packaging, put next year’s users conference on your calendar. EskoWorld 2018 takes place in New Orleans, June 4 to 6, 2018.

Interpack 2017 took place from May 4 to 10, 2017, at the Düsseldorf, Germany, fairgrounds, familiar to so many of Canada’s commercial printers as the home of the quadrennial drupa trade show. Interpack has a repeat cycle of every three years instead of drupa’s every four years. In the year 2020, both trade shows will take place in the same year, Interpack in May and drupa at the end of June.

Anyone who has been to a drupa trade show knows the sheer size of the fairgrounds in Düsseldorf. Interpack is in no way smaller. All 18 halls were filled with exhibitors and their products. On top of the 18 regular halls, there were also two special exhibits put up in tents, resulting basically in 20 halls and all were in relation to packaging. Although I set foot in every hall, it is impossible to give a complete overview of the trade show.

Interpack had 170,500 visitors to the trade show and approximately 75 percent came from abroad and three-quarters of them were decision-makers. Visitors came from a total of 168 countries. The official survey conducted with visitors at the show gave a 98 percent scoring of satisfied and very satisfied. This is a new record for Interpack in regards to the number of visitors and the satisfaction the visitors felt with attending the show.

From the dizzying array of exhibitors and products, a few topics stood out at the show, including: Industry 4.0 and digitalization, traceability of products, sustainability, and customization.

What is industry 4.0?
Industry 4.0 is about the connectivity of machines among each other, in the whole production line and also back to the manufacturer of the machine(s). Industry 4.0 is also about the full automation of a production process. The human operator is used only to stop the machine if the need arises. Industry 4.0 is about the Internet of Things (IoT), the smart factory and cloud computing. Through the connection of machines, work pieces and systems intelligent networks are created. These networks exist through the entire value chain and these networks can control each other autonomously. Come to think of it, that sounds a bit ominous, but this is a discussion for a different time.

The question for today remains, how does the packaging industry benefit from Industry 4.0? Industry 4.0 will lead to faster, more accurate production of any type of packaging. The number of defective items that won’t make it to the customer will be reduced even more. Systems will be able to self-diagnose and initiate any maintenance that needs to be done. Intelligent systems will allow for more accurate scheduling of production, so clients can be more informed in regards to arrival time of their order. The smart networks in Industry 4.0 will also go beyond a single factory. As I mentioned earlier, these networks will be across the entire value chain, breaking down the barrier of the closed factory.

Traceability of products
The traceability of products was also a big topic at the show. The digital integration of production lines together with marking equipment (laser-etching, ink-jetting batch number, serial number, unique ID numbers), allows for the creation of very traceable products. Quite a number of companies showed very visible ID codes, especially in the pharmaceutical sector, while others showcased ways of giving unique IDs to every single package that came off a production line that were not very visible or only readable with a special reading device. One could ask oneself, why is this all necessary?

The answer is simple. More and more products are getting counterfeited these days and it gets harder and harder to differentiate between the original and the counterfeit product. Being able to produce not only unique batch numbers and lot numbers, but also unique ID numbers for each package produces a new level of product security. Since such a large number of unique ID numbers are created, big data and cloud computing capacities come into play to manage these vast amounts of data.

At the moment, most of these unique ID numbers cannot be verified by the end consumer, but development is being done, so that the consumer can also test a product for it’s validity. Different avenues are currently being tested. Again big data and cloud computing come into play, when the customer will be able to verify a product for being genuine. Maybe this can be done through a phone app, but it remains to be seen what the future will bring.

After my first visit to Interpack in 2011, I wrote in PrintAction about the strides that have been made in regards to using plant-based materials for packaging materials and the use of bioplastics. This trend continued at Interpack 2014 and now at this year’s Interpack. Personally, I was very happy to see that a company has come up with a Stryofoam-type material that is made from plant-based materials and has very similar insulating properties. This material can rot in a commercial composting facility in 90 days, which is the criteria for compostability.

I also talked to a Chinese company that makes plastics based mainly on PLA (Polylactic acid). The representative I talked to said that there is quite the demand for PLA-based plastics. If a Chinese company is getting into this business, it means they have found a way to make this a cost-effective process and they have enough raw materials available to produce in substantial quantities.

Many other companies have shown how they could manufacture their products using less raw materials and less energy and, therefore, lower their overall environmental impact.  A lot of packaging material is still petroleum-based. These materials have great barrier properties, are lightweight and can be formed into all kinds of shapes. This is all very good, but what can happen with the plastic waste? One possibility would be the incineration of this type of garbage for the generating of heat and electricity, but that is not always the best solution. One innovative company showed how to transfer plastic film-type garbage into a material that is shaped into 2×4 type planks, that can be used to build tables and park benches. This material is actually quite strong and not very susceptible to breakdown by outdoor elements.

Surprise of the show
As I was walking through the halls. I ran into Gilad Tzori from Landa. I wrote about Landa in PrintAction in June 2016 in my drupa report. I asked Gilad what he was doing at Interpack and he told me that they had teamed up with the largest folding carton printer in Germany to have an exhibit at Interpack. The print company is one of the beta sites for the Landa S10 machines.

After seeing Tzori, I went to the hall where Landa had its exhibit. I talked to one of their representatives and I was able to get some packaging examples that had been printed on an S10 machine, the same machine that will be used by a folding carton printer in Germany. Personally, I was excited to see that Landa presses are making their way into commercial press rooms. I was also told that Landa is planning to roll out the W10, the roll-to-roll printing machine, before the 2020 drupa trade show.

Packaging trends
A trend that was already emerging at drupa continued at Interpack. This trend was shorter run lengths for a certain SKU, more individualization of packaging and custom ordered packaging. All this is only possible with the use of digital printing technologies. Digital print technologies in combination with different finishing technologies were exhibited.

The combination of digital printing technologies with finishing technologies like cold foiling were also shown. One well-known ink company showcased a collection of tools that will help with achieving a custom colour on a specific substrate a lot faster than how it is currently being done. Through colour measurement, profiling and inkjet proofing and printing of the colour sample, it is possible to cut down on the time that is needed to achieve a good colour match. This ink company is using colour technology hard- and software from world leaders to reach this goal.

Overall, the printed packaging is going to be more colourful, feature more special effect inks, and will react very quickly to market trends and marketing campaigns. All this is done in the name of catching the customer’s attention to sell more of your own product in comparison to the competitor.

My view of Interpack was more through the glasses of a packaging print company than a person interested in robotics, filling lines and sorting equipment. I am well aware that a lot more than that was shown at Interpack, but every visitor came to the show with their own perspective. It was definitely worth going and if you have the chance to go, just go. Attending the Interpack trade show gives you quite a perspective on how large the packaging sector is worldwide.

Friesens Corporation of Altona, Manitoba, has purchased Canada’s first Manroland Sheetfed Evolution press, scheduled to be delivered this spring. One of North America’s leading book manufacturers, Friesens will install an Evolution R708P featuring LED technology, marking the company’s first foray into offset-UV technology.

Subscription Centre

New Subscription
Already a Subscriber
Customer Service
View Digital Magazine Renew

Most Popular

Latest Events

Labelexpo Americas 2018
September 25-27, 2018
Print 18
September 30-2, 2018
October 18-20, 2018


We are using cookies to give you the best experience on our website. By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. To find out more, read our Privacy Policy.