Tech Partnerships
Organizers of Graphics Canada 2017, running from April 6 to 8 at the Toronto International Centre, have provided an update of educational sessions to take place at the biannual printing trade show.

Print Media Centr, led by Deborah Corn, will be running Graphics Canada’s Innovations Theatre nd organizers have posted their preliminary agenda on the show’s website. All sessions in the Innovations Theatre are free to attendees.

IDEAlliance is also returning to the 2017 version of Graphics Canada with its G7 Summit running on the morning of April 6. More detailed information about this event can be found on the trade show’s Website.

Organizers explain LabelExpo will participation in Graphics Canada 2017 with a Label Forum.

Other primary educational attractions listed on the trade show’s website include intelliPACK workshops, sublimation zone, specialty graphics opportunity zone, Crossmedia Canada Conference, and the Printing Sales Training Day, among others.
Xaar of Cambridge, United Kingdom, reached an agreement with Xerox Corporation to partner in the development of bulk piezoelectric inkjet printheads. Xaar is soley focused on the production of industrial print heads, while Xerox holds a range of hardware, software and service technologies for the printing industry.

"Continued investment in technology and product development, together with strategic partnerships, are key elements of our 2020 vision," said Doug Edwards, CEO of Xaar.

Xaar states the partnership capitalizes on each company's expertise in bulk piezo printhead development and will leverage both companies’ technologies. Xaar also explains the partnership allows it to provide customers with a broader range of bulk piezo printheads.
Agfa Specialty Products and LCsys Systèmes Industriels have launched ABSOLUT-ID, a joint solution for the production of high security ID cards, resulting from a development and sales partnership between the companies.

In its role, Agfa supplies the technology and consumables for the printing of personalization data and LCsys provides process engineering and equipment manufacturing. The two partners will unveil ABSOLUT-ID to the global ID card industry on a joint exhibition booth at Trustech 2016, running from November 29 to December 1 in Cannes, France.

Agfa’s print technology allows positioning the personalization image and data on ABSOLUT-ID cards underneath the traditional guilloche printing instead of on top of the product. The company explains this facilitates the visual detection of tampering and increases the reliability thereof, because the smallest flaw or interruption of a single guilloche line will instantly reveal fraud.

Additionally, since the personalization data of each individual card are generated in a half tone resolution without pixels or screen dots, Agfa explains ABSOLUT-ID cards are considered virtually impossible to counterfeit or even to manipulate.

The production of ABSOLUT-ID cards, using consumables on roll, is a web-based process that integrates all the customary stages of card production: printing of the personalization image and data, lamination, die cutting and chipping. This continuous process offers tremendous time and cost efficiency, explains Agfa, as well as security benefits compared to the conventional approach of sequential and often geographically distributed steps.

Agfa explains that because the process starts with the personalization stage, the ABSOLUT-ID concept eliminates the cost of laborious card preparations before a single card can be issued. It also avoids the storage of semi-finished cards that have high value only in terms of immobilized cash and represent a high risk of security breach in case of theft; a risk that can only be countered by increasing the cost even more with security infrastructure investments or surveillance.

“In today's globalized world, more than ever, reliable ID security is of great importance to society and to all of us individually," said Marc Van Damme, VP Marketing and Sales, Agfa Specialty Products. “Agfa is pleased to contribute to more reliable and affordable security with state-of-the-art technology that builds on our long-standing expertise in imaging and shows at its best when quality is at stake to make a real difference.”

Jones Packaging Inc., headquartered in London, Ont. as a global provider of packaging solutions for healthcare and consumer brands, has entered into a commercial partnership with Norway's Thin Film Electronics ASA (Thinfilm), which develops printed electronics and smart systems, including technologies for Near Field Communications (NFC).

Together the two companies will integrate Thinfilm’s recently branded NFC OpenSense technology into paperboard pharmaceutical packaging and, at the same time, develop what Jones describes as key manufacturing processes for its high-speed production lines.

Jones and Thinfilm will also collaborate to engage top global pharmaceutical companies to integrate the smart technology into Rx and over-the-counter product packaging. The Jones/Thinfilm smart packaging collaboration will be funded, in part, by grants from both the Swedish and Canadian governments.

Jones explains NFC OpenSense tags are thin, flexible labels that can detect both a product’s “factory sealed” and “opened” states and wirelessly communicate contextual content with the tap of an NFC-enabled smartphone. The tags contain unique identifiers, continues Jones, that make it possible for pharmaceutical companies to authenticate products and track them to the individual-item level using software and analytics tools. In addition, Jones explains the tags remain active even after a product’s factory seal has been broken, which enables both brands and medical staff to extend the dialogue with consumers and patients.

“Our strategy of developing printed electronics solutions for the healthcare market led us to this important collaboration with industry pioneer Thinfilm,” stated Chris Jones Harris, Principal, Strategic Initiatives and Alliances with Jones. “Thinfilm’s unique printed NFC solution addresses multiple needs within the pharmaceutical channel, particularly around product integrity and patient safety, and allows our customers to connect the world of physical packaging to virtual and dynamic content on the internet – it’s a very unique and compelling proposition.”

Thinfilm’s “Tag Talks First” protocol is described as a key feature of the NFC OpenSense tag and enables a read-speed that is up to 20 times faster than conventional NFC solutions. The companies explain this makes NFC OpenSense an ideal technology for use within the high-speed, high-volume production lines found in Jones’ manufacturing facilities.

The work conducted by Jones and Thinfilm will also include the integration of ferrite shield labels with the NFC OpenSense tags. Jones explains this will enable the NFC technology to function on metalized packaging, such as blisters commonly used for cold/flu medication. The company states this is perfectly aligned with its contract packaging capabilities in the area of customized blister packaging solutions for solid dose products including tablets, caplets, capsules and gel caps.

“Jones has been in business for well over a century and is a trusted partner to many of the most recognized global pharmaceutical and consumer brands,” said Davor Sutija, CEO of Thinfilm. “We are very excited to be partnering with a true innovator in the packaging industry and look forward to helping them deliver this leading-edge NFC solution to the pharmaceutical space.”

Xaar plc, which makes industrial inkjet technology, and Lawter, along with its parent company Harima Chemicals Group (HCG), are now collaborating to optimize the performance of a line of nanosilver conductive inks in the Xaar 1002 industrial inkjet print-head.

The combined solution, according to the companies, will be of interest to manufacturers of consumer electronics goods looking for a method to print antennas and sensors with silver nanoparticle ink as part of their manufacturing processes.

Xaar explains inkjet is a cleaner process than other methods of printing silver inks; this is especially relevant when printing onto a substrate, such as a display, in which any yield loss is expensive. With inkjet, manufacturers can precisely control the amount of ink dispensed in certain areas of a pattern, continues Xaar, so that the ink or fluid deposited can be thicker in some areas and thinner in others – adding that inkjet enables the deposition of a much thinner layer of fluids than traditional methods, which is significant for the manufacturers looking to produce thinner devices. Inkjet is also one of the few technologies able to print a circuit over a substrate that has a structured surface.

“This is an excellent opportunity to showcase our latest technological breakthroughs and demonstrate the unique value that our revolutionary nanoparticle inkjet solutions can play as part of an integrated system solutions in the PE world,” said Dr. Arturo Horta, Business Development Manager for Lawter Innovation Group.

HCG claims to have pioneered the development and manufacture of silver nanoparticle conductive inks for the printed electronics industry over 20 years ago and has over 100 patents related to its nanoparticle dispersion technology.

Komori Corporation and Screen Holdings Co., Ltd. announced that Komori America Corporation and Screen GP Americas, LLC, a division of Screen Graphic and Precision Solutions (Screen GP) group, have entered into a strategic selling agreement that effectively joins the two companies’ sales organizations.

Komori America will be the sole distributor in the United States of Screen GP's new Truepress Jet520HD, a high-speed, high-definition inkjet press powered by the Equios Digital Front Workflow solution. Screen GP Americas brings its knowledge and expertise in the inkjet marketplace to the partnership with Komori America.

Eiji Kajita, Director and Operating Officer of Komori Corporation says, “This is a great opportunity for both Komori and Screen GP.  By joining our US sales teams we will have double the workforce to take both Komori's offset and Screen GP's digital products to the marketplace. But more importantly, we know our customers will benefit from the combined expertise of our two teams.”

Katsuhiko Aoki, President of Screen GP said, “We have a longstanding relationship with Komori and it just makes good business sense to take the strength of our two product lines and the technical expertise of our sales teams to join together to grow our market share. We are looking forward to the future and we are confident commercial printers will see real value in working with one organization that is focused on their success regardless of the technology platform.”
manroland web systems and Ultimate TechnoGraphics have been working together to development a new product called Imposer, which Germany’s manroland web describes as the first automated imposition technology for digital and offset printing.

“We want to support our customers, which so far mainly consisted of digital printing press users and all main manufacturers of digital printing presses,” said Joanne David, President and CEO, Ultimate TechnoGraphics. “It is great to know that from now on offset printers will also benefit from our imposition expertise.”

Within the past 18 months, manroland web systems has focused on establishing its own software solutions for digital printing, primarily with products called MasterQ and WorkflowBridge, which automatically control digital finishing aggregates and manage jobs. Hildegard Heckl, Product Manager Digital and the lead of manroland web’s software development effort, states the new Imposer product is “just as intelligent and promises to be equally successful.”

In developing Imposer, manroland web supplied the core intelligence that describes the imposition logics based on the capability of its devices and Ultimate TechnoGraphics executes the processing of the printing data. The software supplies job-specific imposed data that is prepared for digital and offset printing. Whether for printing books, advertising or newspapers, Imposer is ideally suited for frequent job and product changeovers.

“The software features a specific logic. It recognizes and uses the production aggregates, the optimized production processes, and the job structure,” said Andreas Elchlepp, Product Management Software Development Digital & Workflow Solutions at manroland web. The patent-pending method allows for creating impositions that are specifically matched to the printing jobs.

“It was time for the development of a software which imposes the jobs for hybrid printing and that breaches the gap in data preparation,” said Elchlepp. “Our solution is modular and perfectly matches existing customer requirements, while being scalable and dynamic for the largest variety of production settings.”
AVT of Israel, which develops technology for print inspection and process control, and quality assurance, is now collaborating proofing solutions provider Global Vision.

Under the agreement, Global Vision will provide AVT with a new software engine for its offline inspection solutions, which are customized to suit the specific needs of the printing industry. The partnership also enables AVT to serve as Global Vision’s print market sales arm, as the two companies will jointly develop inspection tools for specific sectors, including the labeling and packaging marketplaces. The companies also will co-develop print quality assurance solutions that connect inline and offline inspection systems.

“Our partners at Global Vision offer unsurpassed offline verification and inspection solutions for the markets they serve,” said Jaron Lotan, CEO, AVT. “As a result of our newfound synergy, AVT can now provide its customers all-inclusive tools regardless of printing technology and application.”

Among AVT’s latest offline solutions is SolidProof, which the company describes as providing 100 percent assurance for wide web, narrow web and sheetfed applications. SolidProof automatically eliminates conversion errors and undetected defects during the pre-press stage. The goal of the system is to reduce the need for manual inspection and to bring waste levels to near-zero.

SolidProof also features intelligent cropping and automatic alignment utilities, reporting and multi-lingual inspection capabilities, as well as options for barcode and Braille verification and a 21 CFR Part 11 compliance module for the pharmaceutical sector. There are more than 7,000 AVT systems are installed at customer sites worldwide.

“In AVT, Global Vision now has an influential, reputable arm in the print market, while we help bolster AVT’s presence in other capacities,” said Reuben Malz, CEO, Global Vision. “The collaboration is an ideal match that will, most importantly, improve the overall print inspection solutions space through increased access and innovation.”

Allegra Network LLC announced it plans to install Avanti Slingshot as the new core of WorkStream, a Web storefront to MIS workflow platform used by its North American base of 270 marketing and print communications franchises.

The move to Avanti Slingshot was led by Ricoh Americas, one of Allegra’s key printing technology providers, which made a multimillion-dollar investment in Avanti Computer Systems back in July 2013. In December 2014, Ricoh acquired PTI Marketing Technologies, described as a software-as-a-service (SaaS) asset management and marketing solutions provider, building on an preexisting technology partnership between itself, Avanti and PTI.

Allegra, based Plymouth, Michigan, states it selected Avanti Slingshot for its ability to provide an easy-to-use, cloud-based platform to support its franchises of all sizes. “We pride ourselves on providing our franchise community with the technology and tools they need to efficiently manage their businesses, and Avanti Slingshot delivers with its robust suite of modules and ability to handle multiple lines of business,” said Joe D’Aguanno, Chief Technology Officer, Allegra Network.

“Our relationship with Allegra is one we are extremely proud of at Ricoh. A truly innovative company, Allegra sees the need for tools that can effectively help their business grow and their operations to continuously enhance,” said John Fulena, VP Production Printing Business Group, Ricoh Americas. “Avanti Slingshot is an award-winning and proven solution… we are very pleased that Allegra has chosen this solution and look forward to our continued collaboration.”

Avanti Slingshot was launched in 2013 as a browser-based platform for quoting, job ticketing, costing and tracking, through to billing.  Slingshot modules can be added as a franchise member expands into new lines of business, such as large format.

“Avanti Slingshot is a fantastic tool to help cultivate a more meaningful customer relationship, helping our clients remain competitive in the ever-changing print market landscape,” said Patrick Bolan, President and CEO, Avanti. “This is the beginning of a long-term relationship between Ricoh, Avanti and Allegra Networks…”


During the first press conference of Graph Expo 2014, Mark Hischar, President and CEO of KBA North America, announced Koenig & Bauer Group will collaborate with HP to develop new roll-to-roll inkjet solutions for the corrugated packaging market.

The co-developed solutions, with KBA providing its expertise in paper transport systems and HP its inkjet knowledge, are to be marketed under the HP brand. HP estimates the corrugated package printing industry represents an addressable market of US$2.5 billion. Hischar also pointed to segment trends like SKU proliferation, micro-segmentation and shorter product lifecycles as driving demand high-speed inkjet press technology.

Both companies would not elaborate on the systems under development beyond stating they are focusing on roll-to-roll thermal inkjet systems. KBA North America also announced a new strategic alliance to jointly market Tensor  printing equipment to the semi-commercial, insert and newspaper print markets worldwide. Under the terms of the agreement, KBA will actively promote Tensor’s single-width printing solutions.

At Graph Expo, KBA North America also introduced its new RotaJET L Series Inkjet Press designed as a modular system, available in various web widths, maximum printing widths, and color content. The series is aimed at markets like book, direct mail, magazine, newspaper, packaging and industrial printing.

The new KBA press series includes five RotaJET printing systems that can handle web widths ranging from 895 to 1,300 mm (35.2 to 51.1 inches). KBA explains it is possible to upgrade a KBA RotaJET 89 (web width 895 mm/35.2 inches) to a RotaJET 100, RotaJET 112, RotaJET 123 or the high-end RotaJET 130 (web width 1,300 mm/51.1 inches). It is also possible to modify a monochrome system into a four-colour system.

KBA’s existing RotaJET 76 system is still available but its printing width of 781 mm (30.7 inches) cannot be extended.

Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG is realigning the manufacturing of its postpress equipment through a new OEM partnership with Masterwork Machinery Co. headquartered in Tianjin, China.

Heidelberg states production of postpress equipment at its German manufacturing sites is no longer competitive under the new market conditions. The company’s postpress in Germany are to be discontinued, except for production of folding machines at its Ludwigsburg site, a city in Baden-Württemberg, Germany, about 12 kilometres north of Stuttgart.

Postpress packaging products and solutions will in the future be developed and manufactured by the new Chinese OEM partner Masterwork Machinery with Heidelberg retaining responsibility for sales and service activities.

For postpress products in the commercial-printing area, Heidelberg will only continue to market its existing folding machines and cutters, therefore not affecting business with Polar technology. Swiss company Müller Martini will take over service activities for installed equipment from the discontinued series.

“The competitiveness of postpress product lines at Heidelberg was limited, so these activities are being placed on an entirely new footing,” stated Heidelberg CEO Gerold Linzbach.

These measures are to result in the closure of Heidelberg’s Leipzig site and a reduction in the company’s workforce at Ludwigsburg and Wiesloch-Walldorf sites. A total of around 650 employees worldwide will be affected.

QuadTech has formed a new partnership with the Gallus Group of Switzerland to provide QuadTech’s closed-loop colour control and colour measurement systems for Gallus’ offset, flexo and gravure presses.

“Gallus has vast market experience and the widest customer base in the label printing industry. However, we recognized the opportunity to partner with QuadTech to provide our customers with state-of-the-art spectral colour measurement and colour control systems,” stated Dr. Thomas Weber, Supplier Relationship Management at Gallus.

The initial integration plan between the two companies focuses on the QuadTech Color Control System with SpectralCam, which provides automated inline, closed-loop colour control for offset operations. SpectralCam adjusts ink keys to maintain specified colour targets on the fly and at full press speeds.

Flexo and gravure printers can also leverage the QuadTech Color Measurement System with SpectralCam for inline monitoring of all packaging substrates, including challenging translucent, transparent and reflective films. Colour variations, explains QuadTech, are sent to the operator in real-time to change colour specifications, eliminating press stoppages and the manual process of removing sections of the web to measure colour.

Ultimate Technographics Inc. of Montreal has enhanced an integration partnership with Enterprise Print Management Solutions (EPMS) of Middleboro, Massachusetts.



The two companies will work closely to improve the flow of information between EPMS’ print management system and Ultimate’s Impostrip imposition software. Ultimate currently has over 30,000 imposition engines in place with prepress and printing professionals worldwide.

“Because prepress cost greatly affects profitability, we believe our partnership with EPMS will provide the right connectivity that will help our customers realize a strong profit margin on every job they bill and especially using our gang run module AutoFlow,” stated Joanne David, President and CEO at Ultimate Technographics. “Integration is about job productivity. With EPMS and Impostrip our mutual client companies can now use proven tools that will automate the processes from order capture to print.”

EPMS and Ultimate Technographics have already been working together for over two years and this latest agreement adds another level of functionality to their product integration.


“Manual intervention on a job to plan imposition is both time consuming and prone to human error. By automating this process through the integration with Impostrip, we are able to help our clients significantly reduce, and maybe entirely eliminate the touches previously needed between the MIS solution and production,” stated Mark Andersen, President and CTO of EPMS. “This integration provides our clients with the ability to automate the creation of gang-run impositions, using our Gang Run Wizard integrated with Impostrip.”

Fujifilm Corporation and Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG have reached a new global strategic partnership in the area of inkjet printing, which is described as a broad alliance aimed at strengthening existing business and establishing a platform to drive new business.

“In Fujifilm, we have found an internationally recognized partner with innovative strengths in future-oriented areas – consumables and inkjet technology," stated Gerold Linzbach, CEO of Heidelberg. "This marks a significant step forward in our corporate strategy. Fujifilm's prepress capabilities and their technologies in the area can enhance and grow existing business.

“With Fujifilm's inkjet technology we can build on the experience in digital printing gained through other partnerships and quickly move into the peak performance segment,” continued Linzbach. “It is our goal to also become a global player in the growing digital printing applications market… Within three years we envision a sales potential for Heidelberg in the digital business of more than €200 million."


The alliance is to focus on developing future inkjet systems and providing access to each other’s prepress technologies. Along these lines, Fujifilm’s expertise primarily sits with print-head and ink development, highlighted by its established J Press line, while Heidelberg brings decades of experience in engineering platforms for sheet transfer and systems integration.

“Fujifilm and Heidelberg have led the printing industry in each domain. Heidelberg's reputation among world's printers is unique,” stated Shigetaka Komori, Chairman and CEO of Fujifilm Corp. “Its strong customer network opens important new possibilities for state-of-the-art inkjet technologies… With Heidelberg's manufacturing know-how we will be able to enhance innovation and develop technologies that will open new roads in digital printing.”

This move marks the second significant partnership between Fujifilm and Heidelberg in relation to Canadian printers, after the two companies announced in May 2013 that Fujifilm Canada reached a thermal plate distribution agreement with Heidelberg Canada Graphic Equipment Limited.

 

Landa Corporation has decided that Komori is to provide all sheetfed platforms for what the company terms as Nanographic Printing Presses, first demonstrated at the quadrennial drupa tradeshow in May 2012.

The two companies, according to a statement from Komori, have now formalized their preexisting strategic alliance by entering into new agreements. Landa is to place orders to employ Komori sheetfed platforms on Landa's S10 printing press, which is scheduled for a commercial launch in the fourth quarter of 2014.


“Since we first started our collaboration with Komori, we have been deeply impressed by the company, its people and its culture,” stated Benny Landa, Founder, Chairman and CEO of Landa Corporation. “Komori is an outstanding partner for Landa, bringing an extremely high caliber of engineering expertise, second-to-none quality and performance, together with a fervent commitment and willingness to invest in the future.”


Komori has also formalized its license agreement with Landa, as part of the new agreements. Landa is to provide Komori with its trademarked printing technology and Landa NanoInk Colorants for incorporation into new Komori-branded presses.


“It is a great honour to be able to cooperate with Landa in bringing Nanography to market,” stated Yoshiharu Komori, President, Chairman and CEO of Komori. “Our teams have been closely monitoring Landa’s development and have been amazed with the progress made so far, which exceeds our expectations.”

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