Fourteen months after announcing its HP T300 Inkjet Web Press investment, Webcom is spending a further $8 million to add an HP T350 on its production floor for the company's BookFWD platform.

The new HP press, scheduled for a March 2012 start-up, brings Webcom’s total inkjet investment, including frontend and finishing technologies, to around $20 million, while doubling the platform’s capacity to two billion annually. Webcom claims the move makes it North America’s second largest book manufacturer in terms of inkjet printing.

“Not only do these commitments demonstrate our responsiveness to the needs of publishers today, they also exhibit Webcom’s flexibility in taking on the challenges of tomorrow,” stated Webcom President and CEO, Mike Collinge.

Webcom’s new $8 million investment also earmarks funds for software and frontend investments to help with issues like order processing, file preparation and proofing. “Much is happening behind the scenes to strengthen the overall process from beginning to end in order to improve productivity, reduce redundancies and ensure timely delivery,” said Gabe Preczner, VP of Operations at Webcom. “It’s all part of our broader vision to balance inkjet and offset capabilities that are supported upfront, with ordering and file management, and on the back-end with new bindery systems.”

The HP T350 inkjet press is a 4-colour press that reaches a speed of 600 feet per minute (fpm), while the company’s existing T300 press hits 400 fpm.

“We’ve seen a 31 percent increase in the number of orders as run lengths continue to shift in favour of a short-run model and as colour solutions are introduced,” said Gerry Cronin, Digital Product Manager. Webcom’s BookFWD production model, introduced to publishers last year, focuses on how publishers print and manage their inventories of books, catalogues and directories, which involves offset, toner and inkjet processes.

Montreal-based Imagerie DB, which largely focuses on the print production of high-quality fashion retail campaigns, has acquired a 5-metre (16-foot) wide Durst Rho 500R. 

Employing Durst’s Quadro Array 30D technology, the 6-colour, roll-to-roll inkjet system reaches a top speed of 3,750 square feet per hour, at 600-dpi resolution, while also featuring double-sided registration. The new Durst system joins Imagerie DB’s recently installed Rho 900 UV, which is an 8-foot-wide, UV system capable of producing 72 boards per hour (4 x 8 feet) in six colours.

Founded by brothers Benoit and Denis Paquette, Imagerie DB produces a range of large-format work from point-of-purchase pieces to vehicle and building wraps, and from banners and billboards to posters and floor graphics.

BL Litho of Laval, Quebec, has integrated Fujifilm’s XMF workflow into its commercial printing plant, which includes both sheetfed and toner presses on a 24/7 schedule. The company runs an 8-colour KBA Rapida 150 and two Xerox iGen4s.

Fujifilm’s XML workflow is built around the Adobe PDF Print Engine (Version 2.5), which provides JDF compliance and allows for multiple viewing options, 3D simulation, and approval processes. The software is presented in XMF Complete, XMF Producer and XMF Prepare modules.

Pictured left to right: BL Litho’s Renee Therrien, Sales Manager, Ghislain Vanasse, Technical Advisor, and Sophie Dumberry, Prepress Manager.

Imprimerie Publidiffusion of Windsor, Quebec, has installed a new Highwater Cobra II computer-to-plate system. The printing company has operated in the Laval region for 40 years, including its continuous production of the weekly newspaper l’Étincelle.

Purchased through distributor Nustream Graphic, the Cobra II is a manual load-unload imaging engine designed specifically for the B3/2-up commercial print market. It exposes violet metal plates (30 per hour) based on internal drum imaging optics and a 120mW laser diode, reaching a 2,540-dpi resolution.

In addition to the Highwater Cobra II, Imprimerie Publidiffusion is also installing a Maya plate processor and Arlequin RIP. 

Pictured left to right: Alexis Aubre, Sales Representative at Nustream Graphic; Claude Frénette, owner of Imprimerie Publidiffusion; and Julien Kervedez, Integrator at Nustream Graphic.

St. Joseph Communications has installed a new HP Indigo 7500 press at its Ottawa Print Centre. The Indigo 7500 is engineered for high-volume production with a monthly page volume rated at 3.5 million colour pages or 6.5 million monochrome pages, while reaching a top speed of up to 120 A4 pages per minute (ppm) in full colour or 240 ppm in either monochrome or 2 colours.

“The HP Indigo 7500 Printer allows us to meet the growing expectations of our current clients, while at the same time allowing us to bring new and exciting solutions to new and expanding markets,” said Pierre Ness, VP and GM of the St. Joseph Ottawa Print Centre. “The ever expanding role that web-based and mobile media play in our business and personal lives today has created a cultural shift in society’s expectations. Our programmers and developers are continually being challenged by our clients to provide new technology solutions for marketing and communications.”

After 15 years of working with the printing of variable data, St. Joseph states it has one of the largest digital printing platforms in Canada. The company will, in part, drive the new HP Indigo 7500 through its patented, Web-to-print applications. This includes U-Book, which is a personalized University recruiting magazine, and ESUBMITit, which is an end-to-end logistics solution currently used by various Canadian Federal Government departments.

Groupe Guérin has installed an Agfa :Avalon N8-22S computer-to-plate system into its Montreal, Quebec, facility.

The printing company will drive the :Avalon N8-22S with Agfa’s :Apogee Manage workflow, which includes the :Apogee Impose module.

With the new CTP, Groupe Guérin is also running Agfa's environmentally progressive Azura TS plates, which places the company into Agfa’s Greenworks program.

Pictured left to right: José Macédo, Art Director of Groupe Guérin, and Stan Tranter, Agfa Account Manager.

Imafix Communications Visuelle, led by President David Boutin, added a Screen Truepress Jet2500UV system, sold by Nustream Graphic, to its production floor in Terrebonne, Quebec.

The wide-format Truepress Jet2500UV is a UV-inkjet system that works with both board and roll medias. While in 300L draft mode, it reaches a maximum output resolution of 1,500 dpi and a top printing speed of 67.5 square meters per hour (726.5 square feet per hour). The Truepress Jet2500UV can print on media up to 2,500 mm (98.4 inches) wide and 50 mm (1.9 inches) thick.

Imafix Communications is primarily focused on providing graphic design services and the production of large-format graphics, including vehicle wraps. The Jet2500UV fits the company’s production mix with the ability to run a range of substrates for producing signs, displays, backlit displays, interior building materials, large-size posters, POP displays, mercantile equipment, construction flags and fleet graphics.

Hemlock Printers of Burnaby, British Columbia, added an HP Indigo 7500 press to its production floor, which will continue to hold the company’s previously installed HP Indigo 5000 press.

“Over the past five years, the demand for our digital print services has steadily grown, thanks to our great team and the incredible quality from the HP Indigo press,” said Richard Kouwenhoven, Hemlock’s VP of Customer Service and Business Development. “With the addition of our second Indigo press, we have technical advantages like thicker substrates and white ink; but equally important is our ability to produce higher volumes of small orders and data-intensive variable projects with a higher degree of automation.”

Allowing Hemlock to expand its substrate range from the earlier HP press, the Indigo 7500 works with basis weights from 60 to 180 pounds and up to 21 points in thickness. According to Hemlock, this new substrate range also allows the environmentally progressive company – running a 100% carbon neutral facility in Burnaby – to employ its green house stocks, as well as work with textured finishes, translucent vinyl and metalized finishes.

The University of Regina has installed a Kodak NexPress SE2500 toner press. The machine was installed in the university's Printing Services shop, which is a separate ancillary unit that not only services faculty and students, but also outside business clients.

"With the Kodak NexPress, we can now handle our own larger print jobs, which will improve our productivity because of the increased flexibility of our operations," said Judy Peace, the Manager of the Printing Services shop. "We are now able to do jobs that we couldn’t do in the past, and that means we have a lot more control over our workflow, for the ultimate benefit of our customers."

The University installed the SE2500 over the summer, but is in the process of upgrading to the NexPress SX platform, which offers smaller particle toner and, according to Peace, would be "even more desirable than an offset press."

"We just did an anniversary book for the university," said Peace. "It was a short run of about 200 books, but 64 full-colour pages. We were able to print this in-house using the [NexPress] and we achieved offset-print quality, digitally. It also saved the university a lot of money—the outside quote was about $3,000 more than it cost us. It was perfect."

It has been a busy few weeks for The Vincent Press of Peterborough, Ontario, which completed the installation of a new Heidelberg Speedmaster XL 75-5+L press and, just last week, finalized the purchase of nearby Lazer Graphics.

Andrew McCulloch and his team recently held an open house to celebrate the Heidelberg press installation with the Peterborough community, including the city’s mayor, Daryl Bennett. “I am most proud of the fact that I can keep my manufacturing base local and contribute to the community of Peterborough,” said McCulloch, President and owner of The Vincent Press. “As I have grown so have my clients. And many of the company’s 24 employees have been with us since our beginnings, so out here loyalty means a lot.” 

Founded in 1969 by Don Vincent, the McCulloch family, led by Andrew’s father Joe, purchased The Vincent Press some 30 years ago and maintained the company’s name because of its strong reputation in the community. Andrew joined the family business 17 years ago and used his technical knowledge to help with its digital prepress transition, moving from cameras to imagesetters, and later from imagesetters to computer-to-plate.

“This is likely the last offset press I will buy, so I had to be comfortable with my decision,” said McCulloch. “The press centre console with Intellistart really caught my eye. It appeared so easy to operate the press with this tool. Everything is automated: plating, blanket and impression cylinder wash, roller wash, and job data transfer. The fact that Heidelberg has the workflow, the CTP and all other integrated technology under the Prinect umbrella – tying into the press centre – was also a big advantage.”

In addition to The Vincent Press’ offset roots, the company also operates a wide-format-printing department, as well as a digital storefront shop, called Custom Copy, in the downtown Peterborough.
 Last week, McCulloch completed the purchase of Lazer Graphics, which has been based in Peterborough for the past 23 years, from Carolyn and John Hart, who are set to retire.

“I have the biggest offset press in the area now,” said McCulloch, referring to the new Heidelberg XL 75, with a 23 x 29-inch sheet size. “I have wide-format [inkjet] equipment and I have my digital operation downtown.  You need to be efficient in all segments to compete and be profitable.”

Modo Design Inc. of Richmond Hill, Ontario, has installed an Océ Arizona 360GT UV flatbed printer, purchased through technology distributor Coast Paper, a division of PaperlinX Canada.

Founded in December 2008, within a 1,000-square-foot facility, Modo Design, owned by Jackie Chan, now operates out of 3,000-square-foot shop. The company focuses on providing large-format production for the trade, through print brokers and its B2B operations, primarily with the printing of high-quality retail signage and advertising campaigns.

The Arizona 360GT inkjet system provides Modo with white-ink capabilities, while reaching an “Express Mode” print speed of up to 35 square meters per hour. A new “High Definition Print Mode,” featured on the newest Arizona 360 generation, allows for the production of legible text as small as two points.

RP Graphics Group has purchased a new Komori GL-6-40 with tower coater, which is scheduled for a January 2012 installation into its Mississauga, Ontario facility.

The printing company also decided to equip its new 6-colour, 40-inch press, purchased through K-North Inc., with Komori’s H-UV drying system, which is designed with a single lamp mounted in the delivery.

RP Graphics' new Komori GL-6-40 also features closed-loop register, XY colour control, and fully automatic plate loaders.

Founded in 1978, RP Graphics Group – led by George Mazzaferro and Brian Auty – now operates out of a 50,000-square-foot-plant in Mississauga. In addition to its long history in sheetfed offset production, which includes the purchase of four Komori presses over the past decade, RP Graphics also focuses on toner-based production, large-format inkjet, fulfillment and a range of finishing services.

Cowan Imaging Group of Edmonton, Alberta, has installed Canada’s first Agfa :Jeti 1224 HDC FTR UV system. The :Jeti 1224 HDC (High Definition Color) FTR is the first :Jeti printer to use Ricoh Gen 4 variable grayscale print heads, which employ Agfa’s recently introduced :Anuvia HD ink technology – with drops as small as eight picolitres. 

The machine’s throughput is rated at 1,182 ft2/hr in express mode, 582 ft2/hr in production mode and 390 ft2/hr in high-quality mode. The 4-colour system, which also comes standard with a white channel, runs at equal speeds in both binary and grayscale modes, at resolutions of up to 1,200 dpi.

The :Jeti 1224 HDC FTR also features a linear motor-driven vacuum bed to assist with dot placement in both flatbed mode or with the optional flat-to-roll (FTR) feature. The flatbed mode can print on anything that is up to two inches thick.

“[With the new :Jeti], we are able to run close to 100 percent of the work in a standard six-pass mode which delivers as promised. We also run a fair bit in four-pass," said Ian Stirling, Technical Services Manager at Cowan Imaging Group. "From our experience, thus far, the roll functionality is good. We have even run heavy material from a six-inch supply core and taken it up on a three-inch core – a fairly demanding application."

Bud Cowan and Muriel MacMillan began Cowan Imaging in 1945 out of a small Edmonton location. Today, Cowan Imaging describes itself as one of Canada’s largest screen printing and digital graphics company. In 2003, the family-run business acquired the assets and operations of Edmonton’s largest wide-format production facility.

In addition to its main facility in Edmonton, Cowan Imaging runs satellite offices in Calgary, Saskatoon and Toronto.

According to Agfa Graphics, the :Jeti 1224 HDCFTR is suited for flatbed applications like high-resolution trade show graphics, point-of-sale displays, real estate signs, backlit signs, lenticular displays, and banners – with the ability to print on materials like wood and ceramic tiles.

Kempenfelt Group of Barrie, Ontario, expands its prepress department with the installation of a new DI-Plot Preproofer, which utilizes Epson 9700 technology.

The duplex imposition printer, purchased through Unisource Canada, produces double-sided form proofs in one pass. 

DI-Plot adapts the fully imposed bitmap to the resolution of the double-sided inkjet proofing system, which aids in layout accuracy for the plates and print job.

In addition to colour control, the system accounts for technical issues like marks, traps, overprints and bleeds – prior to making plates or starting production. Preproofer output can then be folded, cut, stitched, and assembled with other forms.

Kempenfelt Group has been operating for over 35 years and, in addition to commercial printing actitivies, concentrates on services on retail solutions, digital marketing, packaging, kitting and distribution.

Calgary-based Displayco Canada Ltd., which focuses on producing trade-show exhibits and point-of-sale promotions for customers around the globe, expands its printing capabilities with a new HP Scitex FB500.

“The [Scitex FB500] printer has really given our creative team the opportunity to look outside of the box and use materials, like glass, carpet, wood and a host of materials and finishes we would have had to outsource in the past,” said Cameron Wheatley, Art Director, Displayco.

The 64-inch wide machine, jetting UV-curable pigment-based ink, reaches a top speed of 121 square feet per hour and a top resolution of 1,200 x 600 dpi. It is a 6-colour system with the option of adding a white-ink kit.

Displayco has been in business for 30 years and now runs offices in Calgary and Edmonton.

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