Industry Events

Yesterday Spicers and Kodak held a seminar at Spicers' offices, just north of Toronto entitled Drupa in a Day. The event featured Jim Hamilton, Group Director of Infotrends, who spoke to attendees about the trends and technologies stemming from drupa this past May. More than 60 people took part in the morning and afternoon sessions. The event also featured demonstrations of Kodak technologies including a preview of Prinergy 6, the latest Sonora process-free plate, and Kodak's ColorFlow Software. Spicers and Kodak also held a similar event in Vancouver on Monday. 

Hamilton presented the outlook of the industry, including developments in the B2 format digital machines, both inkjet and liquid toner to the audience. He maintained that although there will be a shift towards digital cutsheet machines, that it will be gradual and that many of the machines demonstrated at drupa would not be available for several years. 




The CONSAC Imagemakers 2012 show was held last Friday and Saturday at the International Centre in Mississauga, Ontario. Hundreds of industry members gathered to witness the latest in sign and display printing technologies.

The Mackenzie Newspaper and Printery Museum of Niagara Falls, Ontario, held its seventh annual golf tournament last week. More than 50 people showed their support through a best-ball tournament at the Whirlpool Golf Course, under sunny skies and mild temperatures.

The team consisting of Jay Fleming, Chris Petis, Scott Nicholl (all three of Advanced Office Solutions), and Lou Gagnon (of Xerox Canada) was victorious with a score of 11 under par. 

The Mackenzie Newspaper and Printery Museum is an institution located in the restored home of publisher William Lyon Mackenzie and shows off 500 years of printing technology within its period print shop. It is a volunteer-run, non-profit organization aimed at passing along print's history in Canada to a new generation.

North American printers attending Graph Expo 2012, running from October 7 to 10 in Chicago, can take in a myriad of new technologies first introduced five months ago at the massive, quadrennial drupa trade show in Germany.

The effect of this close proximity between two large printing exhibitions is seen in a robust list of Must See ‘Em awards (27 products in total), which Graph Expo organizers, based on a judging panel of consultants and analysts, present every year to exhibitors with interesting new products and who participate in the program.

Avanti Computer Systems, a Canadian company focused on print-management software, is once again amongst the Must See ‘Em products. At Graph Expo, the Toronto firm is showcasing its new Advanced Fulfillment module featured in version 12.4 of its Graphic Arts Management System. Named as a Must See ‘Em product, the Advanced Fulfillment module includes a contract management system, where print providers can manage and track their customers’ finished goods, as well as manage the billing of those goods.

A complete list of Graph Expo 2012 Must See ‘Em products is presented below by category:

Sales and order entry

EFI DSFdesign Studio
EFI M500
XMPie uStore Facebook Connect

Prepress and premedia

EFI Fiery SeeQuence JobMaster
Esko Studio 12
Ricoh Clickable Paper

Analogue presses
Heidelberg Prinect Image Control

Digital presses

Kodak NexPress Gold Dry Ink
HP Indigo 10000
HP Indigo WS6600

Epson SureColor S50670
HP Designjet L26500
Xante Excelagraphix 4200

Small-format postpress 

MGI JETvarnish 3D
Xerox IntegratedPLUS

Wide-format postpress

EFI Layout Option for Fiery
Esko Kongsberg XN

Imprinting, mailing, shipping and fulfillment

Avanti Computer Advanced Fulfillment V12.4
Bowe Systec Fusion Cross
Pitney Bowes Mailstream Wrapper

Management systems
EKodak INSITE Version 6.5
EFI PrintFlow, Employee & Tool Constraints
XMPie Circle

Future print
Kodak FLEXCEL Direct System
PadPublisher and PadCloud
Pageflex Dynamic Media

German press manufacturer Heidelberg has told Ipex show organizers that it does not intend to exhibit at the 2014 event in London.

"We are very disappointed in Heidelberg’s decision to withdraw from Ipex 2014 – one of the industry’s major global events," said Trevor Crawford, Event Director. "Heidelberg has long been synonymous with printing and has a long association with Ipex. As organizers of a range of exhibitions around the world, we will continue to have an ongoing dialogue with them."

A quadrennial show, IPEX 2014 marks the first time in 30 years the show will be held in London. Previous years saw the show held in Birmingham.

Earlier this summer saw HP announce it does not intend to exhibit at the show, despite having the largest presence during IPEX 2010.

The show organizers, Informa Exhibitions, state that of the top 33 key exhibitors for the show 29 have increased their floorspace in relation to 2010. Companies who have already made their commitment to the show include: Canon, CMC, Duplo, EFI, Epson, Fujifilm, Hans Gronhi, Horizon, Hunkeler, Impika, Kern, Kodak, Komori, Konica Minolta, Muller Martini, Pitney Bowes, Presstek, Screen, W&D, Xeikon and Xerox.

The first two stops of Harper Corporation's annual Roadshow featuring two Canadian cities, Montreal, Quebec and Mississauga, Ontario, were declared a major success by the company. The shows were held at the Quebec Institute of Graphic Communications and Gordon Graydon Memorial Secondary School, respectively.

Held in the middle of June, the shows provided presentations and hosted discussions about developments in the flexographic industry. Attendees learned about the opportunities and challenges facing the industry and had a chance to network with industry professionals.

Christine Roberts, Vice President of Canflexographics Limited, says she has received excellent feedback regarding the resources, content, speakers, and venue of the Mississauga event.

Ian Baitz, Chair of the School of Graphic Communications Management at Ryerson University, commented: "Thanks very much for inviting Ryerson to today's Harper Roadshow, and for bringing it back to Toronto. It was a great event with a very positive group of people. These types of education events are great for our industry and a nice chance to get together."

The Harper Roadshow will continue throughout the summer, supplying invaluable information, presentations, and networking opportunities to flexographic professionals across North America. The next stop will be in Minneapolis on August 1, followed by Clemson, South Carolina on August 23, Union City California on October 3, and concluding in Rochester, New York on October 24.

EskoWorld 2012 wraps up tomorrow in New Orleans, where more than 500 people, including 42 Canadians, have come to see the latest developments from one of the world’s most powerful technology companies in the packaging sector.

Mark Quinlan, President of Esko Americas, points to three primary factors for the strong EskoWorld 2012 attendance, which equates to a 30 percent increase over last year’s record-setting 350 attendees, including: EskoWorld taking place just five weeks after drupa; Esko’s maturing product line; and the increasing need for printers and packagers to drive costs out of their business.

“A lot of the tools we have help them manage their costs better and also, in this business, if you don’t keep up with technology your competitors are going to leave you in the dust,” says Quinlan. “I see convertors being on the squeeze. The people they are selling to want a lower price and then their raw material costs, health care costs, labour costs, everything else is going up.”

Quinlan has a unique understanding of such pressures for a high-level vendor executive, after running the graphics division of NCR, where he oversaw 15 factories, 2,000 employees and $500 million in annual sales. He also spent 10 years as a Product Manager and, therefore, puts a strong emphasis on the EskoWorld user's conference to move the company forward.

“I feel the value that a company creates for its customers comes from the product managers, because they develop the solutions,” says Quinlan. “The rest of us are in deployment, carrying those solutions to customers, installing them, selling them. EskoWorld is very important to us.”

Esko received a boost in mid-2011 when it was purchased by Danaher Corp., a diversified technology company that generated US$1.9 billion in earnings in its most-recent fiscal year. While many technology suppliers in the printing industry have been cutting R&D and staffing, Esko has been growing its presence in both the United States and Canada over the past several months. Danaher's power in the graphic communications industry grew leaps and bounds at the end of May, when the company completed its US$625-million acquisition of X-Rite, which controls Pantone. The partnering technology platforms of X-Rite and Esko are sure to grow the presence of both in the industry.

“We sell more in the U.S. than in any other country,” says Quinlan describing Esko's presence in North America. “A few years ago we served Canada from the U.S., but my opinion is that you need feet on the street in the country, which is why we have hired people like Marc [Raad] and Jean-Francois [Lacombe] in Montreal.”

The Canadians attending EskoWorld 2010 are from some of the country’s largest printing operations when compared to the commercial-printing space. “They are looking at the whole portfolio and how it ties into what they already have or what they want to bolt on, because all of our products are modular,” says Esko Account Manager Marc Raad, when describing the Canadian contingent's interests here at EskoWorld. “They are looking to add more automation into their systems. We see an annual following of the same clients who come back every year to get an education from us. They want to see what the future holds for our products.”

Quinlan is also focusing on adding more service technicians in the Canadian market, largely spurred on by what he describes as a pent-up demand for Esko technology in the country. Esko drew over 100 people at its most-recent roadshow in Toronto, which caught the company’s attention. Such roadshow events typically draw between 30 and 50 people in major U.S. cities. “Canada is very important to us. We really need to keep adding more resources there and we will.”

UPDATE: May 15

drupa organizer Messe D
üsseldorf has released final numbers for the show, which ran from May 3 to 16. In all 314,500 people from 130 countries attended, down 75,500 from 2008's show.

“This decrease does not come as a surprise for us and the sector as a whole. In Germany alone the printing industry lost some 3,900 companies with over 61,000 employees between 2000 and 2011. During the same time, more than 7,700 printing operations closed in the U.S.,” explained Werner Matthias Dornscheidt, President & CEO of Messe Düsseldorf. “Against this backdrop it is not surprising that fewer visitors came to drupa 2012. However – and this is the key point – customers now no longer come to drupa as large delegations or on group corporate trips. It is much more top managers who travel to Düsseldorf. drupa is clearly the decision-makers’ trade fair and the trade fair for business.”

Interim numbers from the organizer of drupa have revealed that attendance figures for the quadrennial show is expected to be roughly 20 percent lower than numbers from 2008. Despite this, the show reports the mood in its halls to be "good" with several vendors locking in concrete orders on the first day.

“drupa 2012 again demonstrated its outstanding function as a sales fair, a source of ideas and platform for the exchange of solutions and successful business models,” says Bernhard Schreier, President of drupa and Board Chairman at Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG.

According to the organizer, at the half-way mark of the show, some 170,000 people from 115 countries visited the show's 19 halls. The show saw increases from the Central American and African regions (up 1.1 percent and 1.4 percent, respectively). “These figures show we reflect the situation in the sector. In view of the far-reaching structural change in the European and North American print and media sector we had to assume this drop in visitor numbers,” said Werner Matthias Dornscheidt, CEO at Messe Düsseldorf.

The show, in which 1,850 exhibitors from 52 nations participated, concludes tomorrow.

drupa, the largest printing trade show, kicked off last week and more than 350,000 printers, vendors and journalists are expected to pass through its halls within its 14 day duration.

PrintAction was there to cover the latest initiatives of the industry's vendors.

Look forward to more detailed coverage within the upcoming months. In the meantime, get a taste of the atmosphere of the show through the photos below.

Mississauga’s Mayor, Hazel McCallion, was on hand to help 4over Inc. CEO, Zarik Megerdichian, officially open his new 50,000-square-foot plant in the city, which has quietly become Canada’s sixth largest metropolis.

“We have the potential to meet any expansion plans,” Mayor McCallion joked, while welcoming 4over Inc., a California-based trade printer, to Mississauga. The city is now home to 63 Fortune 500 headquarters, while holding 80 total locations of Fortune 500 companies, along with over 55,000 businesses – and a population of around 730,000.  

McCallion has been building Mississauga for 34 years as its Mayor, while 4over Inc. has been on its own rapid trajectory for the past decade, after Megerdichian and his wife, Tina Hartounian, President of 4over, founded the company in 2001. Today, 4over runs seven production plants across North America, including the new Mississauga location that began producing work in December 2011 under the leadership of printing veteran Tom Hogan.

Hogan played a key role in the printing of The Globe and Mail newspaper with outsourcing production to Interweb Ontario. He was also involved with the start-up and development of Transcontinental Metropolitain, which produces La Presse newspaper in Montreal. During the 4over Canada grand opening, McCallion spoke about closely working with Hogan, years ago, when he was involved with the Mississauga Booster community newspaper.

While Mayor McCallion was open to welcoming another 4over site in the city, Megerdichian is currently in the process of opening up a ninth facility in Seattle to boost his trade-only, hub-and-spoke business model in the Northwest region of North America. 4over claims to have served over 53,788 trade customers across its entire operation, experiencing annual triple-digit growth.

“We are very happy to be here and we will do our best to serve you,” Megerdichian told a sizable crowd of printers and suppliers gathered in 4over’s Mississauga plant. In addition to an existing 29-inch Komori, he spoke about plans to bring in a 40-inch press, as well as a press for plastic applications, while noting the close proximately of 4over plants in Ohio and New Jersey. “There is an organization that stands behind the [Mississauga location] for this plant to be successful.”

4over Inc. has a unique business model in North American printing, as a multi-facility trade-only printer, driving most of its business through a members-only online entity called The company is also a chosen printer for B2C online print retailer

Along with the 29-inch Komori sheetfed, which, as with all 4over plants, promises to run at 500-line screen, 4over’s Canadian plant also includes a sizable bindery area and a large-format inkjet department, which Megerdichian began to introduce into his facilities, under the name of Grand4mat, back in 2009.

C.J. Graphics, led by President Jay Mandarino, received a combined total of 71 Gold Awards in the International and Canadian Gallery of Superb Printing competitions, held annually by the IAPHC – known locally as the Craftsmen Club.

Six Toronto-area printing companies split a total of 197 awards – amid Gold, Silver, Bronze and Honourable Mention levels – within the IAPHC’s Canadian and International competitions, with C.J. Graphics taking home 153.

In the Canadian gallery competition, C.J. Graphics won the Best of Show award, sponsored by Heidelberg Canada, while Colour Innovations took home the Best Use of Ink award, sponsored by Taniguchi Ink. The remaining Gold Award winners from the Craftsmen competition included Colour Innovations, Metro Label, Polytainers, The AIIM Group, and The Lowe-Martin Group.

During the award celebrations, held last night at the Duncan House of Fine Dining, the Toronto Craftsmen chapter of the IAPHC organization also displayed its continued support of students pursuing post-secondary education in the graphic communications industry.

Student awards were handed out to seven people, including: Elina Shafigullina of Gordon Graydon Secondary, who will attend Ryerson’s Graphic Communications Management (GCM) program next year; Daria Shepelenko of George Brown College; Nasereen Ahmad of Humber College; Katherine Pires of Ryerson GCM; Christopher Barry of Phoneix Print Shop; and Olesya Milosevic of Centennial College.

Milosevic was also the runner up in the Craftsmen’s inaugural Graphic Design Challenge, in which students from across Canada submit a single print project (poster, brochure, banner, stationery, etc.) to win funding for their graphic arts studies. The competition’s top award went to Lakia Won from George Brown’s School of Design program.

The evening also featured a presentation from Ryerson GCM students Brian Bako and Mark Brejnik, who shared their experiences from the recent Technical Association of the Graphic Arts (TAGA) conference in Florida. As part of the RyeTAGA team, Bako and Brejnik described the process of creating RyeTAGA’s student journal, which included a thermochromic-ink cover and won three top awards at the TAGA conference, including: Best in Publication Design, Best in Production Quality, and Best in Overall Quality.

Bako and Brejnik took time to thank the Toronto Craftsmen Club for its continued support of the RyeTAGA initiative.

drupa Spotlight: In the third article of PrintAction’s online feature series, Barney Cox, a veteran industry consultant with InfoTrends Europe, discusses which technology trend will dominant the world’s largest printing exhibition this May.

By Barney Cox

Previous drupa's have been defined by a dominant technology trend, last time in 2008 it was the inkjet drupa and prior to that the show has been defined as the JDF drupa, the digital drupa, the CTP drupa and others further back in the mists of time. So what will the theme be for 2012? The clearest theme to emerge is that there will be multiple key trends rather than one over-riding theme in 2012. 

“It will be the & drupa,” says Kodak EAMER managing director Philip Cullimore. “The media is an & world – print & apps, print & online, print & tablets, print & mobile. And, it’s not just print & other media. There’s also the combination of different print processes, where the sum equals more than the parts. It’s digital and offset.”

Transformation and transition are also emerging as themes for drupa 2012, and how vendors can help with that change through business development tools. 

"At Ricoh we believe that drupa 2012 will be about transformation,” says Ricoh Europe Director of Production Printing Business Group, Graham Moore. “Technology will continue to progress but the challenge for the print service provider is bringing it all together and getting the real business development support to manage change. Examples of that transformation are from offset or digital to offset and digital, from supplying just print to supplying cross media services – and the related transition from print service provider to marketing services provider."

Maps and guides to the new business landscape
“For printers to become marketers, they need a lot of help, which is where the business development tools of the vendors become important,” says industry analyst Andy Tribute. 

“Historically drupa has been a technology show but it’s also about business processes and innovation,” says Canon Europe Professional Print Director David Preskett. “We will show how our clients have innovated in business processes; visitors can get a taster that may we hope will inspire them and lead to further things.”

There is recognition that for print to play its part in the cross-media world it has to prove that it is effective against, and with, other media. One of the phrases that will be everywhere at the show is ROMI – return on marketing investment.

Francois Martin, HP’s GSB Worldwide Marketing Director, believes that the perception of print by brand owners is already starting to change: “It is moving from being seen as slow moving medium in competition with online that also creates waste to one that adds value with desired documents that create positive feeling and emotion when properly used.”

Alongside the increased focus on the purpose and the business of print there will, of course, be lots of the latest technology on display, as whatever application you print and whomever you produce it for, better tools are an essential way of meeting the latest challenges.

Offset stands its ground
Digital, and inkjet in particular, may have been in the limelight at the last drupa, and will be this time, but it’s important to remember despite the inroads digital print has made just how much printing is still produced using analogue processes, and isn’t ready to go digital yet either. We’re nowhere near the turning point where digital print volumes overtake offset argues Agfa Graphics Head of Product Marketing, Ralph Hilsdon, who says, “The change is coming but you will see offset standing its ground.”

The focus in offset press development has been to improve the automation, which can reduce operating costs. Much of that focus is on reducing make-ready and changeover times to support shorter runs and quicker turnaround times. It isn’t the only benefit though. Every step towards automation helps to reduce the unit cost of the printed piece, an important factor when fighting to maintain a margin and print itself needs to prove its cost-effectiveness as a marketing medium.

“We will see improvements in sheetfed offset, to the point where you can almost eliminate the operator,” predicts Andy Tribute. He believes features such as on-press measurement, will evolve to measure and control colour faster, and to be able to read the whole sheet to identify print quality defects such as hickeys. These developments will help to continue to reduce the run length at which offset is viable to a couple of hundred sheets, firmly in the territory occupied by digital today.

Reducing makeready and changeover times through automation is crucial for getting work through the press hall quicker, but is only of limited use if the sheets then need to sit around for an age before they are dry enough to be handled for the next stage of production. Look out at drupa for several different approaches to eliminate that dead drying time. One approach is through UV-cured ink. The latest generation of lamps and associated inks are designed to run cool and long, promising low power consumption, longer lamp life, wider stock choice and no need for expensive cooling and ozone extraction. UV is just one option and may only be practical if you are investing in a new press.

Those not in the market for a new press should check out the latest development from ink suppliers, which promise rapid setting of conventional inks in some of their latest formulas. You can bet that even if they cost more than a bog standard offset ink, in comparison to toner or inkjet their price pales into insignificance. Another example of how offset suppliers are making the process more viable for shorter and shorter runs and quicker and quicker turnarounds to fight against the encroachment of digital.

The web-offset press sector will also see developments. “The focus is on reducing waste labour and ultimately the cost needed to produce a given volume of pages, whether that is through bigger presses or through automation,” says Goss International Marketing Manager, Greg Norris, who believes the next step may eliminate some changeovers and make-readies altogether.

This more agile form of web-offset may mean it can win some work that used to be the preserve of sheet fed presses too, proving that it’s not just analogue vs. digital but it’s also important to consider the type of paper transport employed and whether it makes sense to use sheetfed/cut-sheet or web-fed/continuous feed.

The inkjet drupa (again)
If 2008 was The Inkjet drupe then what will 2012’s predominant digital theme be? It will be the inkjet drupa, again. “2008 was the inkjet concept drupa, 2012 will be the inkjet delivered drupa,” predicts Fujifilm Europe Graphic Systems Marketing Communications Manager, Graham Leeson. “On show will be more inkjet machines for many more applications.” In the past four years, inkjet has made significant inroads into the digital printing market and is set to continue.

“In 2008, high-speed production inkjet printers only accounted for about 10 percent of the global digital colour print volume,” says InfoTrends Group Director Jim Hamilton. “That figure is rising rapidly and by drupa 2012 will be a quarter of the total volume and by 2014 will be more than a third.”

Developments in continuous feed inkjet have been rapid with most suppliers such as HP moving from a single machine to a range of widths, speeds and capabilities. Tribute believes that the next category of inkjet presses to emerge will be for more affordable continuous feed products with a speed of 50mpm with a price tag of $500,000, extending the range of printers who will buy the devices, the applications they are used for and the volumes of print produced using this technology.  But what of the cut sheet B2 inkjet machines? Leeson explains: “Continuous feed got off to a quicker start after the last show because the quality requirements and therefore technology employed is less cutting-edge than for sheetfed.”

The question is, will Fujifilm’s and Screen’s machines be joined by other B2 sheetfed inkjet machines? At the time of writing it was too early to call, although there will be developments. The picture that is emerging is that the next generation of digital (inkjet) presses, which we may see at drupa 2012, will be aimed at the applications that are currently the mainstay of the market, and as such are produced on B2 sheetfed offset presses. However, just because that is the form factor of the leading litho technology, doesn’t mean that it necessarily follows that whatever replaces the B2 offset press as the printing industry’s workhorse needs to be the same in all respects except the imaging method.

Automation and integration
Regardless of the printing processes employed joining up – that is integrating – the ordering, managing, producing and distributing a job are crucial to meet demands for lower cost, more effective and faster to market printed products. Once those processes are integrated, it also makes it easier to automate them. “One key aspect of digital print that is often overlooked is its ability to be used in automated workflows,” says Jim Hamilton. “Reducing operator intervention and expanding the tasks that a single operator can handle holds critical importance in today’s production environments.”

But it’s not just in production where the benefits can come from automation and integration. As run lengths reduce and the number of jobs swell administration and customer service become increasingly significant costs of each job, putting the emphasis onto upstream systems and how you deal with clients. “We will continue to see further automation in the workflow, and more integration of systems, especially beyond the walls of the business to customers and between content systems and business processes,” says Agfa’s Hilsdon.

Hybrid printing, more than the sum of the parts
There is undoubtedly competition between digital and analogue print processes. The wise visitor to drupa will investigate thoroughly the latest developments – whether it is offset’s shift to shorter runs, or digital’s migration to higher volume – which may mean that they need to reconsider their own production capabilities. At the same time, it is becoming clear that it isn’t just an either or situation but as Kodak’s Cullimore said it’s the & drupa. There are benefits of using the two technologies together. That may be in hybrid printing systems that use digital to overprint variable data onto offset, or by running both analogue and digital presses and routing the work to the most appropriate for that job.

“The transformation of printed pages to digital is not a jump from analogue, it includes blending and merging,” argues Cullimore. “For some printers it’s just not possible to move their applications totally digital, hybrid systems that use digital to customise higher-volume products, can add something to litho. 

Goss’ Greg Norris adds: “We see an opportunity to integrate web offset with digital print in hybrid systems.” While there may still be a battle between the two processes in certain sectors, there is also agreement that they each have strengths, and the best approach is to combine them.

 “We describe the job splitting between offset and digital printing as follows: printers can use their offset press for long-run jobs,” says manroland VP of Corporate Marketing and Communications, Thomas Hauser. “Consequently, when they also have a digital printing press, their offset operations are more profitable. The workflow is the central point in a mixed production environment. We want our customers to use existing workflows with a joint metadata workflow that controls the digital printing press and finishing equipment. Thus offset users can remain in their familiar environment with the digital printing press seamlessly integrated in the offset dataflow.” 

manroland isn’t alone in that. While it’s partnership with Oce may have been the first to be announced between an offset and a digital vendor it was followed by Heidelberg teaming up with Ricoh, and KBA with RR Donnelley, the former to resell Ricoh digital printers to complement offset and the latter to develop new digital printing platforms that combine KBA’s prowess for building presses with RR Donnelley’s digital and hybrid printing experience and intellectual property. There may yet be more alliances where firms that were thought of as adversaries become partners.

“To benefit from a trade show, one needs to  get away from the day-to-day pressures of business and  take the chance to meet people and exchange ideas,” says Canon’s David Preskett. “You can see applications, you can network allowing you to share information.  Big exhibitions are one of the few opportunities to get away from your business and gain a clear insight to future business ideas and innovation.”

Canon’s Preskett adds: “I think it’s difficult to call a theme. It only really becomes apparent a few days into the show when it becomes clear what it is that the visitors have come to see.“ 

Whether it’s automation drupa, the & drupa, the cross-media drupa, the inkjet drupa, the litho strikes back drupa, the transformation drupa, or any other drupa, the show is what you make it. To make the most of it you have to be there to experience first-hand, to form your own opinions and to take away what is relevant to your business. It’s your drupa, see you in Dusseldorf.

Frank Romano’s drupa through the ages:

1972 - The small commercial press drupa
1977 - The colour electronic prepress drupa
1982 - The phototypesetting drupa
1986 - The fully-composed-film drupa
1990 - The digital drupa
1995 - The improved productivity drupa (CTP, DI, digital colour printing)
2000 - The press and workflow automation drupa
2004 - The JDF drupa
2008 - The inkjet drupa
2012 - The inkjet on steroids and inline finishing drupa

A team of Ryerson University students acting under the RyeTAGA banner are preparing for the mid-March TAGA conference in Jacksonville, Florida, where they hope to recapture the prestigious Helmut Kipphan Cup.

RyeTAGA, comprised of students from Ryerson’s Graphic Communications Management program, has been awarded the Kipphan Cup twice over the past four years, as part of TAGA’s annual competition amongst international post-secondary printing programs to produce the best overall technical journal.

In addition to compiling and preparing some of its research, students are involved in every aspect of the journal’s production, from imposition, proofing, and plate-making to press runs, binding and finishing.

Production of this year's journal began in January, with the support of Toronto-area printing companies Flash Reproductions and RP Graphics. The journal’s sheetfed-offset cover also applies a screen-printing process with thermochromic ink for a touch-sensitive effect. "We wanted to do something far-out and unique,” says RyeTAGA member, Mary Tran. “Standing out and setting yourself apart from the competition is how to get noticed, and we always like to push the boundaries of what print can do.”

While its ultimate goal this March is to once again capture the Kipphan Cup, RyeTAGA traditionally has done very well in all of the competition’s categories. The initiative also allows the student group to become engaged with Canada’s community of printers and suppliers. “It’s a really good opportunity for you to get out there and meet people and see what’s outside the school doors. Networking is a life skill that is important to have and going to a conference like TAGA is the greatest opportunity to hone that skill,” says Brian Bako, RyeTAGA’s Marketing Director.

RyeTAGA counts on Canada’s printing community for mentoring and financial support. “Printers and suppliers are a great help to us because they are the industry support we need to boost our book internally and externally,” says Kaneesha Serjue, Fundraising Director for RyeTAGA. “We value all forms of donations be it money, supplies, or expertise. And we help them get their name out, and get them in contact with student talent. Partnering with reputable companies in the industry is good moral support for students, which is important since students are the future of tomorrow.”

Contact RyeTAGA via email to help support its run for the Kipphan Cup and future.

Visit RyeTAGA for more information on the program.

Leading up to drupa 2012, May 3 to 15 in Germany, PrintAction presents a weekly series of feature-length articles written by journalists and consultants from around the world. The first online drupa Spotlight article is produced by Enrico Barboglio, President of Italy’s 4IT Group.

The Road to Digital Success: Being Analogue
By Enrico Barboglio

The next decade may be marked by some tough conditions. Firstly, instability as a structural condition because of the ever-deepening interconnectivity between different parts of the world and different people and the speed with which information and money can flow. Secondly, asymmetric economic and demographic growth in Europe, in the absence of important corrective measures, that will result in weak demand together with high-cost raw materials, as a consequence of demand in other parts of the world. Finally, high sovereign debt will become a driver for substantial changes in habits, behaviour and culture.

The ‘and’ paradigm
The consequences will be global changes in many sectors, because the difficulty of predicting demand will put extra strain on production flexibility and structural costs. The graphics industry will continue to see its structural model significantly challenged as it prepares to respond to ever more stringent demands in terms of time, and ever-changing, more integrated requirements with regard to production objectives.

We could say that the successful companies will be those that can address the needs of a digital nature (print/non print, long run/short run, paper/electronic) by adopting an analogue strategy, which can be summarized in what we could call the AND-paradigm: Innovation AND Tradition, Quality AND Quantity, Costs AND Revenue, Volume AND Margins, Short AND Long Term, Collaboration AND Competition.

In these six key areas, the Printing Service Provider (PSP), as an entrepreneur in graphics and communication, must therefore use its capabilities to satisfy its clients and also be prepared to respond to the new requirements that are emerging in the paper print sector.

It has been widely claimed and argued that paper print will not actually disappear, but what is certain is the market share of printed products will surely decrease. The importance of digital and mobile communication is growing by the day, as evidenced by usage statistics from sources like SMS, tweets, posts on various social media, email and Webpages in general. Integration of the communication channels is the challenge that has faced printing service providers for several years now, based on the fact that today’s user does not generally have information to consume, but a range of information to integrate, and very often also to share.

Initially, this process was more relevant to those who operated in variable data digital management systems (so-called 1:1 marketing), but today it also involves print where variable data is not the main feature or does not determine the need for a digital output.  

How to respond to B2B and B2C needs
Until today, PSPs were considered a link in the communication chain only when it came to producing the final document, brochure or direct-mail piece, and had to deal mainly with the client’s purchasing department or their communications agency.

Now, marketers are challenged to segment their markets more efficiently and effectively, attract new customers with continuity campaigns that cultivate engagement, support multiple distribution channels with comprehensive materials aligned to each specific channel, identify cross-selling and up-selling opportunities, and maximize the lifetime value of the customer.  

All these are issues that a PSP with business clients cannot ignore. They must begin a transformation from PSP (Printing Service Provider) to CSP (Communication Service Provider) or MSP (Marketing Service Provider).

The world of photo-books is a clear example of this. The consumer’s increasing confidence in digital imaging is making the use of digitally printed photo albums more and more popular. The initial tendency to keep photos only in their digital electronic form is changing, and this may be further encouraged through an offering that is essentially Web based, available 24/7, and offers the consumer the chance to create unique and personalized products.

The photo album can become a true photo story or personalized book; sending greetings cards or party invitations can be left completely to the final user. This has been done, for example, by Penwizard or TinyPrints recently acquired by Shutterfly. The latter was one of the first companies to enable the creation of photo-books directly inside the Facebook environment. In these and similar, cases the support of digital printer suppliers has often been critical in the planning phase.

Opening up to clients through W2P
Whether PSPs are aiming to create an offering for the business market or for consumers, they must ensure that they open up their own production areas to clients. The proposition of on-demand services will be impoverished if clients are not allowed to generate their demand at any time in the 24/7 context that they nowadays consider it their right to ask for. This is why adopting Web2Print (W2P) is no longer merely an application to be included in the user interface in order to obtain online orders. It has become an important and integral part of the company management process. At the same time, it is a tool no longer the reserve of print companies specializing in online printing, but a solution which more and more traditional print companies are turning to, so that they can respond to new ways of managing demand and orders from their clients.

B2B solutions are provided by print service providers for their corporate customers. Corporations then use these solutions to manage their supply chain and print procurement process. These types of solutions are traditionally branded with the corporate logo and colour scheme and access to the site is typically restricted to employees or business partners who can log in to the system with a username and password. Some features that most B2B solutions offer include storefronts that can be branded with a corporate identity, configurable permissions for a variety of corporate users, catalogue and template ordering, approval workflows that automatically request management approval when necessary, and support for purchase order and cost-centre billing.

B2C solutions are used for selling print products and services directly to consumers. These solutions typically require intensive marketing efforts to drive consumer traffic to the site. Consumers can order print using a B2C solution without having a pre-established relationship with the PSP. Some features that most B2C solutions offer include adhoc file submission and template-driven ordering, support for credit card payment processing, real-time shipping quotes via integration with the parcel courier, and the ability for consumers to track the status of their job online.

The ability to integrate third-party solutions within a W2P solution is another added-value feature. This is the case, for example, with Hiflex Webshop, an open system that allows the integration of third-party functionality. Alongside the already implemented PDF Online Designer, for instance, it is possible to integrate external tools that offer Webshop visitors the functions of professional DTP applications.  In this way, individual print products can be created quickly and easily. is an interesting simulation of a printing Web shop

The optimization and automation of prepress is the key to being more competitive by reducing internal costs. Prisma Graphic Corporation strongly believes this. Originally a boutique print shop, it has added two successful Web-based storefronts known as Dokshop and Print Power to complement its commercial print business.

Dokshop serves corporate customers, while Print Power represents a Web-to-print solution targeting consumers. With the use of Prinergy Connect workflow and Kodak's Rules-Based Automation Software (RBA), Prisma Graphic has improved prepress processes with more automation. “We have to produce a product that costs less money today than it did five years ago,” said Steve Carlson, Operations Manager, Prisma Graphics. “The efficiencies we’ve gained with Kodak’s workflow have freed up some available time in the rest of the plant, either on the digital or offset side. We can do parts of a job ahead of time and optimize press utilization.”

“The main benefit of Kodak’s solutions are their scalability,” says Nigel Street, General Manager, Unified Workflow Solutions, EAMER. “They are also customizable and can integrate seamlessly with third-party systems, making it very easy for our customers to see immediate results.”

HP has partnered with RedTie and the combined offering creates an end-to-end solution that enables the production of personalized, effective and clever campaign materials. "Some of the world's most powerful brands are using digital print and web-to-print solutions to stand out in the marketplace with complex and creative cross-media marketing materials," said Julia Cole, HP Indigo UK & Ireland marketing manager.

Prepress is the area where the graphic firm can enhance competitiveness. The producers of software for workflow management and file management know it well. They are actually offering more advanced solutions in this field.

Global Graphics has more 20 years experience of developing printing and e-document technology. Its Harlequin and Jaws RIP products offer native PostScript and PDF processing for faster performance and more accurate file rendition. The Harlequin RIP’s rich feature set includes many prepress processes that normally run on separate applications, such as colour management, trapping and imposition. The Jaws RIP is a kernel interpreter around which application developers can wrap layers of functionality and incorporate third party tools.

Also a key market players is EFI, which since its inception in 1989 by Efi Araz (founder of Scitex) has always developed new products. It now has the richest portfolio of solutions for centralized management of printing and graphics workflows, variable data streams management and for the realization of comprehensive W2P solutions. Digital StoreFront is the tool that allows any PSP to implement a web platform that can meet the diverse printing needs of its customers, including the ordering of custom prints.

Customers can send new documents from their desktop computers from anywhere worldwide, using Digital StoreFront's automatic PDF conversion capabilities or the solution’s easy-to-use ticketing features to specify how they want their jobs produced. Site visitors can also choose pre-defined jobs from a visual catalogue, as well as variable data printing and non-print items like advertising specialties, logo merchandise and apparel, and even kits.

In July 2011, EFI also acquired Entrac Technologies, a  provider of self-service and payment solutions, and this could lead to further innovations in the way of providing print services 24/7.

Being relevant to customers in the cross-media era
Once the print provider has been transformed into a CSP offering services available 24/7, their next challenge is to become relevant to their clients.

To achieve this they need to start from an important consideration: the market is ready and the time for getting into cross-media marketing communications is now. Various market trends support this recommendation: Consumers are demanding more relevant communications, marketers need help identifying the right solution for improving marketing performance, and marketers are ready to participate in cross-media. They are actively seeking technology and partners to help make their lives easier by improving the productivity and ROI of their marketing efforts. While printers can provide more and more answers as they complete the transition from a print service provider into a marketing service provider (MSP). 

Providing the right information in the right context (Relevancy in Content), to the right people (Relevancy in Contact), delivering this information to the right device in the right format (Relevancy in Channel), when and as needed to meet the client’s needs (Relevancy in Time). To provide this level of relevancy, a printer must implement the infrastructure (technical, sales, and consultative skills) to develop solutions for efficient communications.

Demand and the embracing of customized communications are being fueled by technology enhancements and market awareness. Advances in the speed and quality of digital colour technology, along with rapid adoption of automation and online technologies, is driving application development. At the same time, the cost of producing digital colour pages is declining while Customized Communications adds value and market awareness is growing. Lastly, targeted and relevant cross-media marketing is now gaining traction in terms of market adoption.

Print providers who act as marketing service providers meet client needs by offering products and services that are targeted, relevant and measurable.  They remain competitive by differentiating their business with higher value products and services.  They generate revenue opportunities from the services associated with delivering customized communications. And customized communications can drive volume to digital press.

In this way we have an overall cycle covering both print and digital communication. Driving this cycle is the right path to take.

The first annual Canadian Printing Awards were presented last night in front of over 250 industry members at Graphics Canada.

The evening featured an appearance by Toronto Mayor Rob Ford and his brother City Councillor Doug Ford. The duo presented PrintAction, the gala organizers, with a special commendation and gave a short speech about the importance of small business. Doug Ford also encouraged visitors to consider Toronto's many industrial areas as prime locations to establish new printing ventures.

Earle O'Born of The Printing House received the first John A. Young Lifetime Achievement Award and kicked off the evening's theme of entrepreneurship, with many other award recipients acknowledging humble beginnings. Jay Mandarino, the recipient of the Community Leader of the Year Award, made it a point to highlight the importance of fostering ties with the community, and how it even led him to produce an award-winning annual report piece.

St. Joseph Communications' Tony Gagliano, upon receiving the Printing Leader of the Year Award, emphasized how Canada and Canadians were central to the growth of his father's basement printing business. Gagliano envisioned St. Joseph Corporation heading into the international stage as the company heads toward its next milestone.

The evening, presented by Dragons' Den Canada host, Dianne Buckner, was capped off with the presentation of over 60 awards for printing quality and environmental leadership. The award winning pieces and companies are as follows:

Self Promotion
Bronze: Parker Pad & Printing, Fantasy of Flight
Silver: C.J. Graphics, Lightening our Step
Gold: The Lowe-Martin Group, Zero C Invitation

Bronze: St. Joseph Print, 2012 Fiat 500
Bronze: C.J. Graphics, Ornge brochure
Silver: Colour Innovations, Arcadian Court Booklet
Gold: Kempenfelt Group, Hostmann-Steinberg Product Selector Guide

Business Cards
Bronze: Kempenfelt Group, Brandora
Silver: Flash Reproductions, Scratch Design
Gold: Flash Reproductions, Bucket & Whisk

Stationery packages

Bronze: C.J. Graphics, The White Room
Silver: Hemlock Printers, Level Ground Trading
Gold: C.J. Graphics, Sullivan Owen

Variable Data Printing
Silver: Pazazz Printing, My MNY
Gold: The Lowe-Martin Group, The Co-operators RRSP Mailer

Direct Mail
Bronze: Colour Innovations, Fairmont Hotels President's Club
Silver: C.J. Graphics, MINI Cooper Pamphlet
Gold: St. Joseph Print, Fiat 500 Welcome Package

Handset Printing

Bronze: Anstey Book Binding, The Anstey Portfolio
Silver: Ambrosi Printers, Handset Self Promotion
Gold: Anstey Book Binding, The Oscar Peterson Folio

Business & Annual Reports
Gold: C.J. Graphics, VF Corporation Annual Report

Magazines & Catalogues
Bronze: Rhino Print Solutions, Montecristo Magazine, Autumn 2011
Bronze: St. Joseph Print, Sharp, The Book for Men
Silver: Hemlock Printers, Finchley Paper Arts Passport
Gold: Hemlock Printers, Inventory Magazine, Issue #04

Bronze: Pazazz Printing, Samfet Corporate Showcase Book
Bronze: Hemlock Printers, Blood, Sweat & 10 Years
Silver: Specialties Graphic Finishers, Alberta College of Art & Design
Gold: C.J. Graphics, Edward Burtynsky, Pentimento
Gold: Flash Reproductions, 0 to 100 Faces

Display Graphics
Silver: Promoflex International, Campbell’s Food Roll Banner
Gold: Promoflex International, Budweiser Pennants

Bronze: Hemlock Printers, Butchart Gardens 2012
Bronze: Colour Innovations, Canadian Army Calendar 2012
Silver: Thunderbird Press, Wall Calendar
Gold: C.J. Graphics, Toronto Parks and Trees Foundation

Packaging Printing

Bronze: Goldrich Printpak, Dunlea Farms Tidy Feeder
Silver: Netpak, Snow Box
Gold: Goldrich Printpak, Euoko Cosmetic Box

Bronze: Pazazz Printing, Beaupre Labels
Silver: Pazazz Printing, Base Can Promotion
Gold: The Lowe-Martin Group, Year of the Rabbit, Souvenir Sheet

Bronze: Anstey Book Binding, Colourful Conventions
Silver: Specialties Graphic Finishers, The Secret to Making a Difference
Gold: Anstey Book Binding, Edward Burtynsky Pentimento

Most Environmentally Progressive Printing Project
Bronze: C.J. Graphics, Toronto Tree Portraits 2012 Calendar
Bronze: MET Fine Printers, Montecristo Magazine Summer 2011
Silver: MET Fine Printers, Connected World Magazine
Gold: MET Fine Printers, TED Conference Guide

Most Environmentally Progressive Packaging Project
Silver: C.J. Graphics, Ikea 2010 Sustainability Carton
Gold: Farnell Packaging, Gorton’s Fish Portions

Most Environmentally Progressive Printing Technology

Bronze: Sun Chemical, GFI MX12 Ink Dispenser
Bronze: manroland, Cold Foil Indexing with InlineFoiler Prindor
Silver: Webcom, BookFWD
Gold: Cascades Fine Papers, Breakey Fibres Deinking

Most Environmentally Progressive Printing Company, 1 to 249 employees

Bronze: Promoflex International
Silver: Webcom
Gold: Hemlock Printers

Most Environmentally Progressive Printing Company, 250+ employees
Bronze: St. Joseph Communications
Silver: Symcor ISS
Gold: The Lowe-Martin Group

Best of Show
The Lowe-Martin Group, Year of the Rabbit Souvenir Sheet

PrintAction would like to thank all the participants of the Canadian Printing Awards for making it such a huge success. For full coverage of the evening, please stay tuned to a future issue of PrintAction Magazine.

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