Tech Partnerships

Komori Corporation of Tokyo today introduced a new global sales and distribution agreement with Konica Minolta Business Technologies. The two companies have also announced their ongoing joint development of inkjet-based presses.

The inkjet press development focuses on both sheet-fed and web-fed machines to be manufactured by Komori. Prototypes from the initiative are scheduled to be shown this May at drupa 2012.

The distribution portion of the agreement is specifically aimed at Komori selling toner-based presses to the commercial printing markets in the United States, Japan, China and Europe. Under the distribution agreement, Konica Minolta will supply the toner-based bizhub PRESS series to Komori.

Konica Minolta’s toner press line for production printing centres around the bizhub PRESS C8000 system, which reaches a top printing speed of 80 pages per minute at a 1,200-dpi resolution. The machine is rated for a monthly duty cycle of 500,000 pages.

Komori describes these moves as fitting into what it has coined as OffsetOnDemand, which currently applies to “digital technologies, the latest drying system and a colour management system.”

Xanté has partnered with emerging inkjet provider Memjet to produce a 42-inch, wide-format system in a segment the company calls the "Super-Fast Inkjet" category.

The Excelagraphix 4200 will be the first 42-inch-wide commercial solution that is Memjet powered. Previously, Memjet is perhaps best known for powering desktop office printers from Lenovo. It also provides engines for several full-colour label machines.

"This partnership combines the best of both worlds," said Mike Puyot, Memjet Wide Format President. "As soon as they saw what they had to work with, both Memjet and Xante engineers got excited about the exponential value of the pairing. The Xante Excelagraphix 4200 is just the tip of the iceberg in what we'll start seeing in affordable, high speed colour solutions. Memjet colour printing technologies offer end-users the freedom to print exactly what they want, when they want it, and where they want it; directly on manufacturing floors."

The Excalgraphix 4200 uses Memjet's Waterfall Printhead Technology which produces more than 3-billion drops of ink per second, a speed Xante claims to be eight times faster than traditional inkjet.

Montreal-based Ultimate Technographics Inc., a developer of imposition software since 1989, and Toronto-based Avanti Computer Systems announced a new integration partnership, focusing on Avanti’s Print MIS and Ultimate’s Impostrip and Impostrip OnDemand applications.

The technology integration, according to the companies, is geared toward the “print on demand and short-run printing market,” while also aimed to alleviate some of the costs associated with investing in internal IT and programming resources.

More specifically, Ultimate’s XML Director triggers the imposition from the job ticket generated by Avanti’s MIS. Once the job is created in Avanti, the job ticket is consumed by Impostrip XML Director Module, which imposes and creates the final PDF for print – with elements like dynamic barcode and marks – and then sends the PDF to the selected press. Simultaneously, a JDF job ticket is produced and sent to the selected finishing device through JMF communication.

“We are excited about our new partnership with Avanti,” said Joanne David, President and CEO of Ultimate Technographics. “It is the first MIS system that has fully completed the integration of our Impostrip OnDemand automation software, which connects to our Ultimate Bindery for finishing automation.”

The TI Group of Companies, led by President Marc Fortier, reached an agreement to integrate all of Total Graphics account management activities, which will be manufactured in TI Group’s Toronto-based facility. TI Group expects the full transition of Total Graphics accounts to be completed within two months.

“This strategic agreement is a significant step for the TI Group of companies,” said David Smith, co-owner of TI
Group. “Total Graphics’ account base is a good fit for our company. These accounts will allow us to immediately grow our large-format revenues.”
Over the past couple of years, TI Group has made substantial investments to expand the manufacturing capabilities of its facility, including the purchase of a 73-inch, 6-colour manroland UV press, as well as another 40-inch, 6-colour UV press and a 20-inch, 6-colour press. TI Group also recently completed mergers with BGM Imaging and SCL Imaging, while also investing in a direct-mail company called CDIC.

“Over the past two years, our company has experienced significant growth,” said Domenic Rubino, TI Group co-owner. “This strategic agreement will deliver more revenues across all of our production platforms including large-format, digital printing through our SCL/BGM operation.”

Eastman Kodak and Konica Minolta reached a distribution agreement to co-distribute their technologies, primarily focusing on toner-based presses, on a worldwide basis.

Under the new agreement, Kodak will sell the Konica Minolta bizhub PRESS C6000, C7000 and bizhub PRESS C8000 in the United States, United Kingdom, Germany and France and the Konica Minolta bizhub PRO 1200/1200P monochrome digital presses in the United States.

“We understand the needs of our customers and are committed to bringing them the industry’s most complete portfolio of digital print products and solutions,” said Philip Faraci, President and Chief Operating Officer, Kodak.

Konica Minolta will continue to sell the Kodak Digimaster system, which is to now include the regions of Japan and Europe. Konica Minolta will also add the Kodak NexPress to its distribution portfolio in the United States.

manroland AG and Océ Printing Systems yesterday announced plans to cooperate in providing inkjet-based printing solutions, including consulting, systems, services and materials, on a global basis.

The initiative, starting in 2011, will be a combinantion of print data management with inkjet and offset printing, as well as post processing. The move will allow manroland to move into inkjet printing, while Océ is to gain access to new customer segments.

“This cooperation opens up a very promising growth market for us, one that is positioned very close to the core capabilities of manroland," said Gerd Finkbeiner, CEO of manroland. "Digital printing already has a market share that cannot be underestimated... This is the first concrete step in opening up new growth opportunities for manroland and in securing a lucrative field of business for the long term, because the area of digital printing is a business that increasingly supplements industrial printing."

Sebastian Landesberger, who is responsible for Océ's worldwide Production Printing division, said: “With our new high productive full-color inkjet printing systems we have for the first time the possibility of decisively increasing our market coverage in the offset market. In only two years we have become the market leader in digital continuous feed production color printing in our traditional markets. In the coming years, we will utilize our leading position in Europe and North America to expand our business, particularly in Asia and Eastern Europe."

Tony Gagliano, Executive Chairman and CEO of St. Joseph Communications, announced a new partnership with PrinterOn. The agreement will allow customers to print directly from their smartphones to one of St. Joseph's ePRINTit centres that are now PrinterOn-enabled.
PrinterOn is described as a mobile printing provider, primarily through its PrintSpots software. No drivers or software are needed; users simply forward their email with attachment to the unique email address of the desired ePRINTit site and they will be emailed a secure release code that is used to release their documents from the printer.

“The market has seen a significant increase in on-the-go users needing to print outside the office from smartphones or laptops," said Angus Cunningham, CEO of PrinterOn. “We are excited about this opportunity to provide ePRINTit customers with the convenience of mobile printing.”

As part of the initial launch, St. Joseph is activating PrintSpots at seven of its ePRINTit centres across Canada, including four locations in Ottawa and one each in Hull, Halifax and St. Laurent, with more to be added this year. ePRINTit is St. Joseph’s national network of 45 on-demand print and documents management centres.

“We are always looking for new and innovative solutions that meet our customers’ needs,” said Gagliano. “Joining the PrinterOn network of public printers is a perfect solution to enable our busy, time-pressed customers to quickly and conveniently print out their documents on the fly.”

RR Donnelley has filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Hewlett-Packard, stating it has made "willful and deliberate" violations.

 Papers were filed relating to patents "Apparatus for Controlling an Electronic Press to Print Fixed and Variable Information," and "Method of Reproducing Variable Graphics In a Variable Imaging System," at the federal court in Illinois, according to a story by InformationWeek.

The first patent was filed in 1995 and issued in December 2001 while the second was filed in 1997 and issued in March 2001. The patents are expected to expire in 2018 and 2017, respectively.

At the Print 09 trade show in September of last year, the two companies announced an alliance between RR Donnelley’s Research and Development Center and the Inkjet High-speed Production Solutions unit of HP, to develop new digital printing technologies, which would then be sold under the HP banner.

Toronto-based Avanti Computer Systems, which develops MIS and Web-to-Print applications, announced a new integration agreement with Printable Technologies Inc., which specializes in Web-to-Print and marketing applications.

Avanti’s Print MIS is now integrated with Printable’s MarcomCentral solution for creating, printing and managing the delivery of static, versioned and variable data pieces.

"Printable remains committed to expanding our partner network in order to achieve best in class workflows," said Coleman Kane, CEO and President at Printable Technologies. "MarcomCentral customers will now have access to Avanti’s JDF-certified, open-architecture Print MIS, which will better manage and track important customer data and provide more accurate reporting functionality.”

“Printers are looking for very tight integration between their customer-facing Web-to-Print portals and their back-end production environments as they strive to drive down the cost of doing business," said Patrick Bolan, President of 
Avanti. "This is achieved by eliminating the re-entry of data as a job makes its way through the shop.”

FedEx Office announced plans to install 12,000 new Canon and HP printing devices across more than 1,800 locations in Canada and the United States. Back in September 2009, HP and Canon announced an alliance to jointly market and distribute multifunction office systems.

Beginning next month, FedEx Office (formerly FedEx Kinko’s) will use Canon and HP as sole-source providers. The majority of the imaging equipment will be installed over the next 12 months.

“In Canon and HP, we are choosing two companies that understand our business and whose incomparable reputations, brands and histories of innovation align with our vision to bring customer ideas to life through the world’s best print-on-demand network,” said Brian Philips, President and CEO of FedEx Office, in a press release.

The new devices to be deployed by FedEx, according to the press release, include Canon’s imageRUNNER ADVANCE and imagePRESS systems, while HP is providing online and cloud-printing applications, as well as Designjet large-format printers.

AltecAltec Integrated Solutions Ltd. of British Columbia has completed the certification process to become a member of Bosch Rexroth Canada’s Electric Drive and Controls Systemintegrator program. 

Bosch Rexroth is a division of the larger Bosch Group, which has 35,300 employees and generated around €5.9 billion in sales last year. The company develops pneumatics modules and motion-control systems to automate manufacturing equipment, including rotary, sheefed, flexography, gravure or large-format presses. Bosch Rexroth is also positioned to address automate issues on punching, folding, cutting, perforating or laminating equipment.

Altec, meanwhile, began operations in 1999 within the Greater Vancouver Area, specifically in Port Coquitlam. The company began in machine automation and industrial design for the forest products industry, entertainment, food and beverage and municipal services industries; and is now expanding with the ability to develop customized Bosch Rexroth automation modules.

As well, partners in Bosch Rexroth Systemintegrator program, such as Altec, can offers manufacturing-focused services like project planning, programming, system startup, electrical and mechanical installation and maintenance.

Muller Martini signed an exclusive agreement with Chicago-based printing company R.R. Donnelley & Sons (RRD) to develop “the first fully integrated digital inkjet press and inline binding system.” This production line, according to Muller, will focus on producing books and reach speeds of up to 800 feet per minute.

The first six systems, to be formed through the combination of RRD’s proprietary ProteusJet press, which hits 1,200 dpi, and Muller Martini's SigmaLine, are scheduled for United States-based deployment through 2010 and 2011.

Just days earlier, at PRINT 09, HP announced it had finalized plans to collaborate on the development of inkjet-based presses with RRD, still regarded as the world’s largest commercial printing company, although it also carries several print-related services.

While they have not yet signed formal agreements, HP and RRD stated that they initially plan to focus on the development of a Magnetic Ink Character Recognition (MICR) printing system. MICR-based printing is primarily used by financial institutions for security reasons on products like cheques. The resulting printing system, which the companies expect will ultimately be offered as an “optional component” of the HP T300 Color Inkjet Web Press (formerly known as the HP Inkjet Web Press), would focus on transactional and direct-mail work.
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