Friesens Corporation of Altona, Manitoba, recognized as one of North America’s leading book, yearbook and packaging printers, has installed a new 8-colour, format 8, R900 HiPrint XXL perfecting press from Manroland Sheetfed.

With approximately 350,000 square feet of production space, Friesens’ new 73-inch wide XXL press provides for an imposition of up to 64 pages, printed both sides, in one pass. The company also has capabilities to slit down a 64-page format into a 2-up, 32-page imposition, inline.

“What Friesens has accomplished is very rare, they increased their productivity by four times their current workflow,” said Sean Springett, U.S. & Canadian Marketing Manager for Manroland Sheetfed. “The combination of perfecting, press speed and sheet size, all in a single pass press has afforded a competitive edge unmatched by other book printers in a sheetfed press, specifically in North America."

Friesens’ R908 HiPrint XXL is equipped with InlineColorPilot for colour management, which, according to Manroland, is capable of registering full ink reads within three sheets, at full press speed. Once read, the ink train makes any required colour change parameters. Coupled with InlineRegister, Friesens is able to control circumferential, diagonal and lateral register on the fly, automatically during any sheet read sequence.

“We are extremely excited to push the boundaries of size, speed and automation with the addition of the XXL press to our production line-up,” said Curwin Friesen, CEO of Friesens. “This installation demonstrates our long-term commitment to our book publishing customers and ensures our employee owners have advanced equipment to help them succeed in the North American print market.”

The new sheetfed press is also equipped with Manroland’s press management system, called IntegratedPilotPlus, a CIP3- and JDF-compliant system where job parameters are automatically sent to the press from prepress, including air settings or ink profile changes. Any modifications to the original file are saved and automatically updated to the original job specifications.

“Our Manroland project is one of the most complex and involved expansions in our history,” said Byron Loeppky, Production Manager with Friesens. “Our staff and team did a tremendous job in achieving a successful installation all the while meeting the delivery needs of our customers. A major installation like this requires teamwork on every level and our staff and leaders delivered brilliantly.”

M&T Printing Group, headquartered in Kitchener, Ontario, completed the installation of a Canon Océ Arizona 460 GT UV flatbed printer into its recently opened wide format production centre in Guelph, Ontario.

The new Arizona 460, featuring white-ink capability, joins M&T Printing’s existing large-format cutter and an eco-solvent roll-to-roll device at the Guelph facility.

M&T Printing Group has been in operation for more than 45 years, primarily focusing on the print-on-demand market. M&T has 11 locations throughout southwestern Ontario, including the cities of Kitchener, Waterloo, Cambridge, Brantford and London.

Halton Commercial Printers Ltd. of Georgetown, Ontario, has purchased an automatic Triumph 5260, which has a cutting width of up to 20 3/8 inches and a cutting height of up to three inches.

The programmable Triumph 5260 cutter, purchased through PDS, features an automatic clamp, power back gauge, digital touchpad, and IR safety light beams on front table, as well as patented EASY CUT electronic blade activation bars for two-handed operation. The blade and cutting stick can be changed without removing covers.

The system also features a 37-inch working height and stores 99 programs with up to 99 steps in each (up to 15 repeat cuts can be integrated as a single step). It is pre-programmed for standard paper sizes and includes a memory key for repeat cuts.

Middleton Group of Markham, Ontario, added the new Inca Onset R40-LT wide-format UV flatbed inkjet press. Founded in 1952, Middleton provides a range of design, merchandising and printing services primarily aimed at the large-format display market.

The Onset R40-LT, sold exclusively through Fujifilm, is Middleton’s third Inca press, after purchasing its first system in 2005. “It met our needs, and we ran it all the time,” remembers Craig Riethmacher, Chief Operating Officer, Middleton Group. “As technology advanced we bought the Columbia Turbo, which was another giant leap. We ran two shifts constantly for seven years; it was our only digital machine at the time of purchase.”

Built utilizing Inca’s scalable architecture, the company’s new Onset R40LT produces high quality prints at speeds of up 40 beds (5 x 10 feet) an hour. It can be field upgraded to boost speed, as well as enhance the press productivity, ultimately reach the printing structure of a full Inca Onset R40i.

“We are in the visual display business. We need to be able to print on thick substrates, with a variety of highly creative outputs,” said Riethmacher. “Our new R40-LT has been fantastic thus far. Having the option to upgrade the R40-LT over time is perfect for our business model; it complements our other equipment nicely.”

Middleton Group is using Fujifilm’s Uvijet OZ ink on its new R40-LT. “One of our current projects involves heat-bending, while printing on quarter-inch acrylic with a curve, for a globally known high-end vacuum manufacturer, and the adhesion is amazing,” explains Riethmacher. The Markham printing company is also leveraging Uvijet white ink. “We manage a lot of work on black signage, and this process is very efficient on the R40-LT. I see us using a lot of white ink.” Riethmacher also points to the new machine’s gloss mode as printing like a UV clear.


Boehmer Box of Kitchener, Ontario, is scheduled to add an 8-colour, 56-inch manroland R908 HiPrint press in the late-June, early-July timeframe, as the company pushes deeper into high-end packaging applications.

“At Boehmer Box, our efforts are to exceed our customer’s current expectations and this is achieved by investing in the right technology, investing in our work force, and co-operation with our customers to ensure we meet their goals,” said Corey Deschamps, Director of Manufacturing at Boehmer Box.

Founded in 1874, Boehmer Box is housed in one of Canada’s most advanced folding carton manufacturing plants spanning over 320,000 square feet, which produces approximately 700 million cartons annually. The company provides a range of packaging manufacturing from full-scale production and shorter carton runs to product samples, and promotional or test market kits.

“Boehmer's early adoption and continued use of an extended colour gamut technology will be further enhanced with the advanced colour control technology of the Manroland R900 series press,” said Karl Broderick, Vice-President of Sales at Boehmer Box. “It is imperative to have a press equipped with the most advanced color control technology, like the manroland R900 series press, with its ColorPilot Plus option, Boehmer now has the fastest, most efficient and user friendly color control system.”

The printing company also emphasizes its high-end finishing department, which includes a range of technology like multiple, high-speed Bobst die cutters, straight-line gluers equipped with auto packers and code readers, right-angle gluers with four- and six-corner features and auto-bottom capabilities, waxers capable of two-sided pattern waxing with high gloss finishing for frozen food packaging, and a windower/susceptor applicator

“With the addition of the HiPrint [manroland] press, Boehmer Box will reduce their lead-time and inventory, as well as add increased capacity for many years to come,” said Sean Springett, US & Canadian Marketing Manager for manroland Sheetfed.

Boehmer Box and board manufacturer, Strathcona Paper LP, make Canampac ULC, its Toronto-based parent company, one of the largest independent paperboard manufacturers specializing in private label food packaging.
Artcraft Label of Burlington, Ontario, has established a high-quality prepress division for flexography with the installation of an Esko CDI 2530 flexo plate imager and Esko HD Flexo, which is driven by software like Esko DeskPack to prep files and Automation Engine to direct Esko Color Engine.

Founded in 1977, Artcraft Label is a high-end pressure-sensitive label manufacturer specializing in smaller volume premium brands in the wines, artisan cheese, and beauty care consumer goods markets, primarily with customers in the region.

The company, with 15 employees, operate three flexo presses and two small-format digital devices in a 20,000 square-foot facility. In 2008, Artcraft became the first label printer in Canada to produce water wash digital plates. In 2013, with the arrival of Alain Paquette as co-owner and President, Artcraft invested in new management information software and initiated Lean Six Sigma manufacturing practices.

PrintAction magazine’s upcoming May 2015 issue features a Q&A with Paquette discussing several of the new directions Artcraft has taken over the past three years.
PrismTech Graphics of Burnaby, British Columbia, installed a 30-inch reconditioned POLAR cutter sold through Colter & Peterson of New Jersey. The new system joins PrismTech’s existing 57-inch POLAR cutter.

PrismTech, owned by Paul Milburn, who serves as President of the company, began as a small screen-printing operation in 1994. Today, the company’s 35,000-square-foot operation provides a range of commercial printing services for Greater Vancouver region, as well as a few United States-based clients in Washington State.

The Burnaby printer focuses on point-of-purchase work, as well as outdoor (posters and vinyl banners) and applied graphics; wall, floor, and window graphics; and vehicle wraps. PrismTech’s largest account is described as a large national retail franchise chain with stores from British Columbia to Ontario. “We print between 10 and 10,000 impressions for the majority of the jobs, sometimes more,” said Milburn. “The new cutter is giving us the capability to take on more work.”

The company’s smaller 30-inch POLAR is being used for trimming smaller products like retail shelf strips and decals. This include a number of decals as small as 5/8 x 1-inch for clients like British Columbia Automobile Association, which has more than 800,000 members, serving one of every four households in the province. PrismTech also works with the Western Canada Lottery Corporation.

“We accommodate our customers’ timelines and run two shifts during the week, and day shifts on the weekends when necessary. Last month we didn’t take a day off,” said Milburn, who spent 20 years in the industry before opening his own company. “Everything here is about producing quality work and finding solutions. We have a highly skilled staff and they needed little training before this cutter was handling as much work as the larger one.”

Founded in 1932, Colter & Peterson describes itself as North America’s largest independent distributor of paper cutters and paper handling equipment. The company, with approximately 50 people, is also the manufacturer of the Microcut line of retrofit back gauge controllers and the worldwide distributor of Prism and Saber paper cutters, as well as C&P and Schneider Engineering Peripheral equipment.
FASTSIGNS of Vancouver, one of the largest and longest-running franchises of the growing sign-making brand, added a new Esko Kongsberg V finishing table to its 5,400-square-foot production facility.

Paul LeBlanc, owner of FASTSIGNS of Vancouver, invested in his franchise, the second in Canada, in January 1996. At the time, the only other franchise in Canada was thousands of kilometres away in Newfoundland. LeBlanc moved from Nova Scotia to Vancouver and to start up his FASTSIGNS operation (originally 1,800 square feet) in a large city. LeBlanc moved into his current 5,400-square-foot facility in 2008 and now employs 10 people running two roll-fed printers, a flatbed printer, and a thermal transfer printer.

“We originally had a saw on our wall and a hand saw we used for cutting on production tables,” said LeBlanc. “A lot of the materials took a good amount of muscle to cut. On some occasions when clients needed a good number of retail signs and shapes, we sent them out to a subcontractor to be cut.”

During a recent FASTSIGNS convention, LeBlanc recalls several other franchise owners discussing their decision to purchase industrial cutting tables, which he explains aided his decision to purchase the Esko Kongsberg V system.

Esko launched the Kongsberg V entry-level cutting table in May 2014. The system designed for sign-and-display work (a second machine focuses on packaging) is based on a MultiCUT tool head for cutting and routing. The MultiCUT has various insert options with an air-cooled milling spindle of up to 45,000 rpm, suitable for acrylics and other synthetics.
PointOne Graphics Inc. adds a new Morgana DigiFOLD PRO finishing system to its 70,000-square-foot trade-printing operation in Etobicoke, Ontario.

The Morgana DigiFOLD PRO, purchased through Sydney Stone, is rated to crease and fold up to 6,000 A4-size sheets per hour.

PointOne has been providing trade-printing services out of the Greater Toronto Area for more than 15 years. In the past couple of years, the company, led by President Dennis Low, has boosted its production with a range of new equipment, such as a Heidelberg XL 106 perfector, two Heidelberg Suprasetters, two Ricoh Pro C901 digital presses and a Vivid UV coater.
Annex Business Media, on the heels of acquiring Glacier Media assets in late January, has purchased a 40-inch, 8-colour Komori LS perfecting press, which is scheduled to be operational in the company’s Simcoe, Ontario, facility this summer.

The press, purchased through KOMCAN Inc., comes equipped with a range of automation features, including: APC fully automatic plate changers, PDC-SII close-looped colour control, AMR automatic make-ready, fully automatic wash-up systems and KHS Komori high-speed inking. Operating from Georgetown, Ontario, KOMCAN is the authorized dealer for Komori equipment sales, parts and service in Ontario and Western Canada.

“This purchase means growth for our print division,” said Lance Hill (right), Director of Plant Operations at Annex Business Media. “We will double our productivity, improve quality, and lower our make-ready and waste through automation.”

Replacing an existing 29-inch, 8-colour press, the 40-inch Komori perfector will be a key driver of Annex’ continuing expansion in business-to-business publishing. In January, Annex, which owns PrintAction magazine, teamed up with Newcom Business Media to acquire 67 trade-publishing brands from Vancouver-based Glacier Media Inc., a deal worth $19.65 million.

Annex immediately took control of 15 Glacier Media properties, adding to its existing stable of 40 business-to-business brands, the vast majority of which continue to publish a magazine, in addition to their online, digital and event components.

Annex Business Media is Canada's largest business-to-business media company with over 55 properties. This total does not include the B2B media assets currently held in a joint venture between Annex and Newcom, called Annex Newcom Limited Partnership.

ICON Digital Productions Inc., a Toronto-area manufacturer of very large format printing, with offices in Montreal and New York, acquired Canada’s first Durst Rho 1312 UV, which is a 98-inch-wide hybrid inkjet system.

“The Rho 1312 represents Durst’s latest generation of high-speed printers – it’s definitely one [of] the fastest we looked at,” said Juan Lau, President of ICON Digital, which has been a long-time Durst user. “Plus, its hybrid architecture gives us the flexibility to do both flatbed and roll printing.”
Opened 20 years ago, ICON Digital is currently housed in a 45,000-square-foot production facility in Richmond Hill, Ontario, not far from Toronto's Pearson International Airport.

The Rho 1312 reaches printing speeds of up to 6,600 square feet per hour, while handling difficult and heat-sensitive medias. It prints with 12-picolitre droplets and leverages what the company calls Gradual Flow Printing for producing smoother tones over large areas and a high-gloss finish.

“For years, speeds have been improving, and the 1312 seems to have reached speeds and image quality that’s on par with litho printing,” said Lau. “Its print quality at higher speeds means we can do less outsourcing to litho printers and keep that work in-house. Plus the Rho 1312’s ink set allows us to print on a wide variety of substrates. That’s very important to customers who are always pushing the envelope on new substrates, and it’s very important to us because it helps open brand new business opportunities.”

Synchrolith, a prepress trade operation, located in Saint-Laurent, Quebec, has installed an Agfa Anapurna M4F wide-format inkjet printer. The UV system features a print resolution of 720 x 1,440 dpi and a 62-inch-wide format.

The Anapurna M4F can handle rigid media thicknesses up to 1.75-inches, while the 4-colour system is also available with a roll option for flexible media. It prints with a 14-picolitre drop size and reaches a top speed of 150 f2/hour (postor quality). When producing in photo/sign quality mode the system is rated to run at 75 f2/hour.

Synchrolith has been in business since 1978 and provides a range of digital prepress services to customers, from preflight to plate production.

Kelly Signs, one of the largest sign companies in Eastern Ontario, added an Esko Kongsberg i-XP24 table to its production floor in Ottawa.

Founded in 1947, Kelly Signs today produces a range of applications like real estate and construction signs, trade show displays, banners and vehicle graphics, as well as storefront and building signs, pylon signs and channel letters. The company also has a business unit dedicated to producing large electrical signs.

Kelly Signs operates two silkscreen presses and two flatbed inkjet printers, along with a roll-fed printer. “This is why Kelly Signs has grown into one of the largest real estate sign and full service sign companies around,” said Mark Steinberg, General Manager, Kelly Signs.

“Many years ago, when we were exclusively printing with silkscreen presses, we had purchased a large guillotine cutting table. The majority of our work required square cuts on coroplast, and we could cut that material with no problem at all. Other jobs with different shapes or materials were either outsourced, or we used a band saw, jigsaw or other tools,” continued Steinberg. “Cutting a 4 x 8-foot plywood starburst could take as long as an hour. We could not necessarily justify the cost of a digital finishing table based on the other tools and work we had, but over time we felt that in order to grow our business and take it to the next level, it was time to move forward”.

Steinberg explains the decision to purchase a Kongsberg i-XP 24 was largely based on the company’s need to handle a wide range of work, from vinyl to basically all substrates. With a maximum working area of 66 x 126 inches and a maximum speed of 66 inches per second, the i-XP series can convert a variety of board, sheet and roll materials.

The Label Factory of Georgetown, Ontario, installed the country’s first Memjet-powered JFlex870 label conversion system, which is engineered and manufactured by RDP Digital of Montreal in cooperation with IPT Digital.

The Label Factory is a trade-only label printer producing a range of products like pressure-sensitive labels, prime labels, consecutive numbering and barcodes, IRC coupons, and synthetic tags. “We've been keeping an eye on developing digital label processes for some time and when we saw the speed and resolution of the JFlex870, we knew for sure digital print had a place in our operation,” Alex Medd, co-owner of The Label Factory.

The IPT Digital JFlex1700 system is aimed at the narrow-web label sector. RDP Digital, a division of RDP Marathon, explains the JFlex870 and JFlex1700 systems allow printing companies to turn their existing presses into a high-speed digital printing platform.

Using Memjet print-head technology, the JFlex870 is a drop-on-demand thermal inkjet system with four print-heads printing CMYK, available with an optional fifth print-head for printing spot colour. Each print head contains 70,400 print nozzles firing 3-billion dots per second at 12.4 kHz. The result is speeds of up to 225 feet per minute on an 8.64-inch format size. The system produces 1,600 x 1,375-dpi resolution.

“We knew The Label Factory had a huge inventory of die tooling and the beauty of the JFlex870 is that it will be mounted on the customer's existing press so additional tooling costs will be minimal,” said Jerry Wynia, President of Northern Graphic Solutions, which is involved in development of the JFlex870 and JFlex1700 products.

The JFlex1700 system, carrying the same print-head specifications, introduces the option to duplex and provides a printing format range from 8.64 to 17 inches wide. The JFlex870 package includes a high-powered computer with touchscreen HMI for efficient print file management as well as colour management and RIP software.

RDP Digital explains the JFlex870 works in conjunction with the existing press or web control platform. This also allows for finishing labels using existing varnish, laminating and die-cutting equipment. Options for the JFlex870 include a web guide, corona treater, web cleaner and small roll unwind unit.

RP Graphics has installed a Busch SWH125RLA pile turner into its 60,000-square-foot Mississauga, Ontario, facility.

The automated system, purchased through KOMCAN Inc., is to be used for paper handling between RP Graphics’ two 40-inch Komori GL presses. The company installed its second 6-colour Komori GL40 press in late-2014. The press includes a coating unit and is integrated with UV energy curing technology. The company’s first 6-colour Komori GL40, with more than 60-million impressions, was installed a couple of years ago.

The Busch SWH125RLA pile turner features an enlarged opening width (2,000 mm) for higher piles, as well as Busch’s patented SPEEDTURNER technology for loading and unloading from the front, as well as from one or both sides. SPEEDTURNER allows for turning, airing, aligning and jogging, as well as transferring piles from paper mill/machine pallets on to system pallet.

RP Graphics’ new Busch pile turner also features safety light barriers, manually slewable aligning gauge (adjustable), pressure control flaps, airing with a second blower for increased airing power, tilting (15°), slewable control desk, adjustable jogging, and electrical air volume regulation.

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