Premedia

X-Rite Incorporated and Pantone announce six new libraries for PantoneLIVE, a Cloud-based digital colour standard ecosystem. Developed with their PantoneLIVE Preferred Partner for ink supply, Sun Chemical, the six new dependent standard libraries allows UV-cured flexography printers and converters to match achievable Pantone colours in label and carton applications.
GMG has expanded its ColorPlugin for Adobe Photoshop in Version 1.3. The update, explains GMG, means creating colour accurate separations from RGB into Multicolor colour spaces are possible with up to seven colours. This is based on GMG OpenColor separation profiles. The conversion can be switched on or off at any stage during image processing. This way the final result can be directly simulated at any stage of processing. The ColorBoost function makes images more saturated and vivid explains the company. The flexography function MinDot Adjust is now also available for defining the tonal-threshold value for spot colours. The Set-with-curve option, explains GMG, ensures the capture of gradient details when doing so. In addition, MinDot Adjust can now also be used on hidden or locked layers.With GMG ColorPlugin 1.3, individual channels can be exchanged or removed entirely or selectively. The automatic compensation by the remaining channels ensures colour consistency when doing so. It is also possible to make a colour-accurate conversion between a range of colour spaces – in the Pro version also based on a self-created colour profile.
Flint Group’s Paper & Board business has entered into a new partnership with X-Rite to distribute and support a colour-management solution, called VIVO Colour Solutions, that leverages the X-Rite eXact and NetProfiler in the package print supply chain.
Beta has added the new Presto Spectro product to its line of colour densitometers and spectro-densitometers, aimed at both multiple colour offset or flexo presses. It can measure offset plates as well as print. It features what the company describes as Red (Stop) and Green (Go) traffic light indicators to show printers whether colour is correct and within their specified working tolerances as set by the user. The unit sells for approximately US$3,499.The Presto Spectro measures density, dot gain, dot area, gray balance, trapping order, L*A*B*, Lch, Delta E, and opacity. It also includes a new feature called Spot Color Tone Value (SCTV), which the company describes as especially useful for flexographic spot colour tone matching.  The Presto Spectro-Densitometer needs no chargers, explains the company, running on AA batteries for 50,000 measurements per battery set. Beta also explains it features an “ever bright” white display that makes reading values easier, as well as an “Easy Glide” track designed to never touch wet ink.The Presto Spectro includes a built-in 32 colour customizable library that is expandable to thousands of colours with the addition of the optional PrestoConnect Color Library software and database, which maintains job parameters to create, collect and manage colours and job information. The PrestoConnect Color Library software database can organize by colour, customer and job date.
Barbieri has released a new measuring device for colour management in the field of digital large-format printing. The Spectro LFP qb provides a range of  features and also supports the M1 measurement mode. The new Spectro LFP qb spectrophotometer from Barbieri comprises three components. First, the Spectro LFP platform is the measuring stage with an enhanced clamping system and integrated M1 backlighting (for transmitted light measurement). The spectral unit (measuring head) incorporates the latest qb technology and comprises what the company describes as the high-precision spectral core, three light sources for uniform illumination of the media surface from three different angles, and seven LEDs to guarantee real M1 daylight illumination pursuant to the standard. The spectral unit has another extremely useful feature, explains Barbieri: The measuring head is removable and therefore ideal for fast and reliable spot measurement. The third component, the sensing unit, is described by the company as an innovation in the field of professional digital printing: an integrated camera offering a range of applications never available before. With the help of the camera, the measuring device automatically recognizes the target, performs a precision measurement and communicates the position and the photo to the RIP software for further processing.The new system also includes switchable apertures (2, 6, 8 mm) for measuring different materials, surfaces, inks and resolutions.“We want to turn our customers into top performers so that they can deliver the very best certified quality to their customers. Our Spectro LFP qb incorporates the know-how we have built up through 15 years of collaboration with leading international bodies, regular customer feedback and experience on the market,” said Markus Barbieri, Director of R&D. “Now we are satisfied: We can offer our customers not only solutions for existing problems but for the first time also a platform that opens up a world of new possibilities and applications.”
RISO and EFI have partnered for the release of the first EFI Fiery digital front end (DFE) for RISO printers. The new ComColorExpress FS2000C from EFI is aimed at high-volume colour inkjet printing, using Fiery DFE technology and the Fiery Command WorkStation job management interface.The new DFEs, running on the latest Fiery FS200 Pro platform, are geared for RISO ComColor printers, running at 160 pages per minute. The new DFE provides centralized job and colour management.“Adding ComColorExpress FS2000C powered by EFI Fiery to our top-of-the-line ComColor GD series will bring significant added value for RISO customers,” said Andre D'Urbano, RISO's Director of Strategic Business Development. “We are especially pleased with the ease of use this solution provides, which gives operators the ability to perform even the most complex tasks with a fast learning curve.”RISO customers now have access to Fiery make-ready options such as Fiery Impose, Compose, and JobMaster, as well as productivity features like Fiery JobFlow Base for automation of job preparation and Fiery Hot Folders for drag-and-drop file printing workflows. Customers can also use the server to integrate their digital printing operations with EFI’s Digital StoreFront Web-to-print and Productivity Suite MIS/ERP workflows.Colour management in the Fiery DFE along with tools available in the optional Fiery Color Profiler Suite maintain consistent colors throughout and between print runs. Operators can correct brand colours such as corporate logos with Fiery Spot-On and enhance photos in a click with Fiery Image Enhance Visual Editor.
Markem-Imaje has released Version 6.0 of its CoLOS information management system, a software designed to provide users with higher uptimes, throughput and compliance in product coding and packaging activities. The CoLOS information management system, Markem-Imaje explains, aims to minimize risk of coding errors, ensuring compliance with regulations that is described as helping to reduce overall packaging running costs by up to 15 percent.
HP Inc. today announced the HP One Package workflow suite for PageWide Industrial corrugated presses, describing it as the industry’s first ecosystem for digital corrugated printing.
Onyx Graphics has introduced Onyx 18, the newest release of the company’s wide- and grand-format software, featuring new colour technologies designed for colour accuracy, consistency and conformance to standards such as G7 and Fogra. According to the company, it is the first solution compatible with iccMAX, the new standard recommended by the ICC for all wide- and grand-format print applications including textile and soft signage.
A new software development kit for preparing documents for print is available today from Global Graphics Software, the developers of the Harlequin RIP and ScreenPro.
Esko has extended its portfolio of solutions with Text Recognition, a new plug-in for Adobe Illustrator that aims to make last-minute copy changes to outlined text fast, safe and simple.
Ultimate TechnoGraphics, a Montreal, Quebec-based company specializing in imposition and finishing automation, has announced the new Ultimate Impostrip configurator for Enfocus Switch, developed in collaboration with software distributor and system integrator Impressed Germany.
Kodak, during last week’s WAN-IFRA World Publishing Expo in Vienna, introduced enhancements to its thermal CTP portfolio for newspaper. Since introducing thermal plate imaging technology 21 years ago, Kodak states it has shipped over 21,000 CTP units worldwide, of which over 2,500 are newspaper CTPs.At WAN-IFRAl Kodak highlighted a 16 percent laser power improvement for both its Generation News and the Trendsetter News platesetters, allowing newspaper printers to image more plates in a shorter time. Based on the additional laser power, the throughput of the Generation News Platesetter Z-speed version has increased from 258 to 277 Sonora News Process Free Plates per hour. The Trendsetter News Platesetter V-speed version is up from 116 to 129 plates. Kodak intends to make this enhancement commercially available as a standard feature in the first quarter of 2017.The new speed imaging technology branded by Kodak as “W speed” is another optional addition to the Trendsetter News Platesetter. When used together with the Sonora News Process Free Plate and the Autoloader option, it boosts the throughput of the Trendsetter News Platesetter from 150 to 240 plates per hour, or in the configuration with the Single-Cassette Unit (SCU) from 116 to 150 plates. Kodak also provides integration into existing plate lines with optional single or dual plate rotation. The new W-speed option will be released in Q2 2017. “These newest enhancements to our CTP solutions are further evidence of Kodak’s faith in the future of newspaper and coldset web offset printing,” said Brad Kruchten, President of Kodak’s Print Systems Division.Kodak has also announced recently the new, Mobile CTP Control app specifically designed for mobile devices, which lets customers monitor multiple CTP systems and receive immediate feedback on their platemaking process. The new Kodak Mobile CTP Control app will be commercially available early 2017.Trendsetter News also features a new cooling system that, according to Kodakl improves power savings by an additional 30 percent compared to the initial design, namely down to as low as 770 watts while imaging. The platesetter also comes with a new, shorter unload table which reduces the footprint of the CTP configuration.
Agfa Graphics has added a new member to its Advantage N platesetter family, the Advantage N-PL with an ability to image up to 3,100 plates continuously at a throughput speed of up to 400 plates per hour.The company explains continuous plate production is made possible by the integrated pallet load module of the Advantage N-PL. The module supports two different plate formats – single plates and panorama plates – and allows printers to have both online simultaneously. The printer either loads two stacks of 1,500 single plates or one stack of 1,500 panorama plates. In addition, an extra 100 plates can be loaded on top.“The pallet load mechanism is quite simple. When the CTP engine has used up its first stack of plates, it automatically puts the second stack in place to continue plate production,” said Emiel Sweevers, Marketing Manager for Newspaper Engines, Agfa Graphics. “Thanks to this continuous production, we can avoid inconvenient plate leftovers. Moreover, the Advantage N-PL autonomy of more than 3,000 plates significantly reduces the number of necessary production stops and averts manual plate-loading errors such as badly stacked plates.”The pallet load module also enables printers to load new plates under white light circumstances, without interrupting the production process. By inserting a light protection shutter between the empty stack and the online stack, for example, Agfa explains new plates can be loaded through the back or the side of the machine without damaging the online ones with UV light. “The plate stacks are protected by a transport harness until they are moved to the online position inside the Advantage N-PL. That, together with the light protective shutter, allows printers to load a new stack without needing yellow light conditions,” said Sweevers. “The loading possibilities of the Advantage N-PL also add to the engine’s ability for continuous production.”
Agfa Graphics has added a new 4-up system, called the Avalon N4-30, to its thermal platesetter line. The new model for the 4-up computer-to-plate market comes in three speed options (E, S and XT). The fastest XT version produces up to 33 plates per hour. The imaging technology is based on the company’s fiber-coupled LD (laser diode) recording head known from the Avalon N8-24 series. All the Avalon N4-30 models, explains Agfa, reduce power consumption thanks to the automatic Eco Mode in idle time and are available with manual and automatic plate loading. “The Avalon N4-30 XT completes our offering in the 4-up segment supporting conventional and chemistry-free plate types,” said Bruno Lepage, Marketing Product Manager CTP Equipment Commercial & Packaging, Agfa Graphics. “Both the quality and the speed, but also the high reliability of our systems are extremely attractive to B2 commercial printers. The laser diodes enable the reproduction of sharper halftone dots, improving print quality up to Sublima 280.”
After the introduction of the Attiro clean-out unit earlier this year, Agfa Graphics has now launched the Attiro VHS, built on the same patented cascade concept of the earlier machine. With an increased plate throughput speed of up to three metres per minute, the Attiro VHS handles plates from platesetters imaging up to 400 plates per hour, such as Agfa Graphics’ newest Advantage N-TR VHS. “The throughput numbers of Attiro VHS speak for themselves, especially for heavy-duty printers,” said Emiel Sweevers, Newspaper Segment Manager at Agfa Graphics. “They need high plate volumes and require high throughput speeds in the complete pre-press production.”The Attiro and Attiro VHS are built according to a cascade design concept. There are three sections; the concentrated gum cascades from the third section into the second and later into the first. The gum is therefore reused three times, explains Agfa, resulting in minimal gum consumption yet maximal clean-out effect. It allows users to save on maintenance and gum while contributing to a more sustainable prepress process.
Agfa Graphics launched its new Advantage N-TR VHS platesetter designed for high-volume newspaper printers. The CTP system hits speeds of up to 400 plates per hour, which is 50 plates faster than the Advantage N TR HS system. Agfa explains the high-speed of the new system allows newspaper publishers to work with sharper production deadlines.The Advantage’s N-TR VHS nomenclature stands for Trolley Load, Very High-Speed. The trolley is designed to transport plates from safelight environment to the platesetter. This gives operators the flexibility to load the plates in a separate yellow safelight environment more efficiently, Agfa explains, in case switching to yellow safelight conditions is not possible in the room where the CTP device is installed.  “With these new systems, Agfa Graphics again shows its commitment to the newspaper industry by offering state-of-the-art CTP technology that meets the requirements of the premium level segment in the newspaper market,” said Emiel Sweevers, Marketing Manager for Newspaper Engines, Agfa Graphics.
CRON-ECRM LLC, a newly formed joint venture of China’s Hangzhou CRON Machinery & Electronics Co. Ltd, and ECRM Imaging Systems, announced the availability in North America of the partnership’s new platesetter series. The CRON-ECRM systems provide up to 400 lpi with 1,200 to 3,600 dpi resolution. Each system allows for options in automation, imaging head preference (UV or thermal) and up to 96 diodes. In addition to choosing the system’s type of imaging heads (UV or thermal), users can also select their productivity requirements by modifying the number of imaging diodes. Beginning with 16 diodes (in five different diode configurations), users can choose up to 96 diodes. These individual fibre-coupled diodes also provide for redundancy.The CRON-ECRM platesetters can be configured for manual, semi-automatic or fully automatic operation (single or multiple cassette), as well as integrated with an optional in-line punching system. CRON-ECRM provides in-field upgrade paths.
Fujifilm is launching a new food-safe ink described as significantly extending the application versatility of the Jet Press 720S for packaging production, suitable for finishing applications on carton board or synthetic media up to 600 microns thick.
Sun Chemical has named Cyngient a strategic distribution partner of its inks, coatings and other solutions for offset, narrow web tag and label (NWTL), commercial sheetfed and folding carton printers.
Sun Chemical says its customers could experience a delivery delay for energy curable inks, due to a potential shortage of photoinitiators as reported earlier this week by the European Printing Ink Association (EuPIA).
Sun Chemical is celebrating its 200th anniversary for the remainder of 2018.
Agfa Graphics this spring is set to launch a new chemical-free plate line called Adamas. The company states Adamas will be the most durable chem-free plate available on the market, in terms of plate throughput and run length. Agfa states the plate system will require zero water and provide up to 75 percent less waste when compared to similar products.
Adamas leverages new Agfa-patented ThermoLink technology, which, according to the company, provides run lengths as long as 350,000 copies. Adamas can be used in a variety of print environments like sheetfed and cold-set to heatset printing. The plate is compatible with low-power curing UV inks.“When we designed Adamas, we kept every need of the most advanced commercial printers in mind. The result shows innovation on all fronts – increased durability, enhanced performance and responses to the biggest market trends, such as low-power curing inks,” said Iris Bogunovic, Product Manager for Thermal Plates. “Adamas is a testament to our ECO3 sustainable innovation drivers, which bring ecology, economy and extra convenience to our customers. With Adamas, commercial printers enjoy every advantage of chem-free printing, combined with new technology, ThermoLink, that takes press performance and process efficiency to new heights.”The highly sensitive plate Adamas was designed for use with Agfa Graphics’ dedicated Adamas clean-out units, which can be cleaned with pH-neutral clean-out solution and zero water.
Sun Chemical in January launched a new UV offset ink developed, explains the company, to make sophisticated graphics look stunning and vibrant on high-end luxury folding cartons, while at the same time providing the longer-term shelf appeal.  

The new ink system, called SunCure Aspire UV, has been formulated to exhibit what Sun Chemical describes as immense colour transparency to help create vivid colour graphic effects on metallized, lenticular and holographic board stocks frequently used for pharmaceutical, perfume, liquor, cosmetic and POP applications. The company continues to explain that SunCure Aspire UV inks offer “excellent transfer, a wide water window, a high degree of lithographic stability, very high pigment strength to ensure mileage on press, and good lightfastness so shelf appeal remains consistent over time.” This ink system has been designed to work well with Sun Chemical’s SunInspire special effects coatings in the production of cartons. Sun Chemical explains the new UV ink system does not use any of the “exclusion-type photoinitiators” that are sometimes considered to be a concern to many brand owners and regulatory bodies. 

SunCure Aspire UV inks, according to the company, also deliver strong adhesion properties to many non-porous substrates. SunCure Aspire UV inks are available in a range of high strength blending colours for all spot colour needs, and meet ISO color requirements for GRACoL G7 applications.
Mohawk Fine Papers is introducing 43 new coloured papers with the launch of Keaykolour by Arjowiggins Creative Papers. The new portfolio of uncoated fine papers is offered in two weights (80 text and 111 cover), sized at 27.5 x 39.3 inches, in a natural vellum finish.
Plastic film manufacturer American Renolit Corp. (ARC) is introducing what it describes as more environmentally friendly non-phthalate versions to its range of digital printing films, suitable for indoor and outdoor printing applications.
Better Life Technology, LLC, which develops vinyl surface coverings, introduced a new BILD Print Media line aimed at sheetfed offset printing. The company explains its new product, which is sold through Veritiv, targets long-run printing for vinyl substrates.BILD SF (Sheetfed) is designed for UV offset printing in a range of applications like counter mats, floor mats, pole wraps, end cap displays, temporary wall graphics and way finders, among others. BILD SF is a unique material, explains the company, in its ability to work with both rigid and flexible applications.BILD SF, continues the company, is best suited for second surface printing to keep images protected, while also avoiding common product issues like cracking, bubbling, peeling or delamination. BILD SF is available in an introductory size of 28 x 40 inches, with a woodgrain finish.“We are excited to announce the addition to our BILD Print Media brand. The product is so versatile, ranging in uses from retail for POP, on walls, in tradeshow booth design, and of course for many diverse custom designed flooring applications,” said Bill Rothe, VP of Sales, Better Life Technology. “BILD SF is unlike any other product on the market and we look forward to seeing how the graphic printing business benefits from it.”
CTI Paper USA has commercially released an expanded range of Kromekote ultra-gloss papers aimed at labeling and general printing applications. This includes a new embossed, pearlescent Kromekote Jade Text and Cover line for dry toner/laser and offset printing. A universal coating, according to CTI Paper, enables Kromekote to be used interchangeably across offset and production-rated dry toner/laser equipment. CTI Papers are available in Canada through a range of paper merchants such as Arirva.The newly launched Kromekote Jade Text and Cover line brings highly reflective, embossed pearlescent textures to the brand for the first time. It is available in luxe surfaces – Brush, Wave, Linen and Pinweave – with immediate availability of folio, digital and cut-size sheets, plus envelopes.“Printed pieces on Kromekote Jade deliver a beautiful, sophisticated elegance,” said John Kelly, President and co-owner of CTI Paper USA. “Ambient light refracts against the embossed surface and inks to deliver stunning, high-impact print.  We’re seeing interest in this unique, differentiated surface from printers of all sizes.” New for HP Indigo presses, following the growing demand for heavyweights, is a 14- and 18-point Kromekote ultra bright-white board. CTI Paper now offers HP Indigo papers in a variety of weights and thicknesses, from 8 pt. to 18 pt. (350 gsm), the majority of which are certified by the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT).CTI Paper USA has also received certification for Kromekote on the Konica-Minolta bizhub press platform, while the company explains the paper line is engineered for digital presses from Xerox, Kodak, Canon, Epson, Oce and Ricoh.“Kromekote’s universal surface delivers other important benefits to merchants and printers – increased simplicity of specification and use, and reduced inventory requirements,” said Kelly.For offset and dry toner/laser equipment, Kromekote features an ultra bright-white universal C1S and C2S sheet in a wide range of weights and sizes. It is also available in an ultra bright-white C1S label in two basis weights.  Kromekote products are acid-free, lignin-free, elemental chlorine free and, with the exception of foils, recyclable. In addition, Kromekote features offerings in brushed and mirror-finished gold and silver foils and five colours. Kromekote handles specialty finishing such as embossing, foil stamping, aqueous coatings and varnishes.
Flint Group at the start of July globally launched XCURA EVO as its new generation UV LED sheetfed process ink. “EVO is short for evolutionary,” explained Trevor Amps, Global Product Management Director for Energy Curing inks. “This signals a step change from our world renowned XCURA formulations which, for the past four years, have served our customers very well as an industry leader. XCURA EVO is our next generation offer to the UV LED and low energy sheetfed market…”XCURA EVO is created out of a new resin technology system that premiered in May 2017 with UltraCURA Sens Low Migration process inks and bases, with the goal of providing increased stability and performance consistency. “We tested EVO on all the main presses and many formats, straight and perfecting, with and without IPA, highest production speeds and quality standards and we drew critical comparisons against our existing products and all of our main competitors,” said Dario Zarantoniello, UV Inks and Coatings Technical Manager who managed field trials of the new inks. “The customers noted better gloss levels, exceptional colour strength and sharper dots. They also commented on much better stability, as production speeds increased, offering tangible efficiency benefits.” Flint explains XCURA EVO is the second global launch this year to be created with these unique formulations. Amps explained another main impact from EVO is the low waste generated based on strong transfer properties on all substrates. The company also pointed out that all of its sheetfed energy curing products are  compliant with current raw material exclusion lists, National and International regulations and manufacturing best practice, as laid down by advisory bodies, such as the European Printing Ink Association (EuPIA).
Catalyst Paper, headquartered in Vancouver, B.C., has launched Trident, a wet strength label paper produced at its Rumford mill in Maine. Trident is a full wet strength label paper for application on water bottles, craft beer, juice bottles, wine bottles and large format containers. Available in 47 and 60 pound basis weights (lbs. per 3,300 ft2), Trident is sustainably produced with available chain-of-custody certification under the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) and Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) standards.“As we strive to expand our portfolio of value-added, paper-based solutions for our Specialty customers, we are excited to introduce Trident, our new wet-strength label paper,” said Brian Boland, Vice President, Specialty Papers & New Product Development.  “Not only does this launch further demonstrate our commitment to the label market, it offers a durable beverage label with excellent wet opacity, printability and labeling speed that will satisfy the needs of both converters and brand owners.”The introduction of Trident follows Catalyst’s recent re-launch of Rumford Offset, and additional specialty products including Glide Graphics release liner base papers, the Leap family of lightweight food flexible packaging papers and the Bistro line of food service papers.
Pantone, a subsidiary of X-Rite, announced its traditional colour of the year, which, for the first time, includes the blending of two shades, Serenity and Rose Quartz. The company explains its decision was based on today’s consumers who seek mindfulness and well-being as an antidote to the stress of modern day lives.Pantone continues to explain: “Weightless and airy, like the expanse of the blue sky above us, Serenity (PANTONE 15-3919) comforts with a calming effect, bringing feelings of respite and relaxation even in turbulent times. Rose Quartz (PANTONE 13-1520) is a persuasive yet gentle tone that conveys compassion and a sense of composure.Leatrice Eiseman, Executive Director of the Pantone Color Institute, said: “With the whole greater than its individual parts, joined together Serenity and Rose Quartz demonstrate an inherent balance between a warmer embracing rose tone and the cooler tranquil blue, reflecting connection and wellness as well as a soothing sense of order and peace,” said Leatrice Eiseman, Executive Director of the Pantone Color Institute.Pantone states the prevalent combination of Serenity and Rose Quartz also challenges some more traditional perceptions around colour association. “In many parts of the world we are experiencing a gender blur as it relates to fashion, which has in turn impacted colour trends throughout all other areas of design,” said Eiseman. “This more unilateral approach to colour is coinciding with societal movements toward gender equality and fluidity, the consumers’ increased comfort with using colour as a form of expression which includes a generation that has less concern about being typecast or judged, and an open exchange of digital information that has opened our eyes to different approaches to colour usage.”Serenity and Rose Quartz, explains Pantone, are also a popular choice for jewelry and fashion accessories, including handbags, hats, footwear and wearable technology. The company states it is also an ideal choice for rugs and upholstery, working well in paint and for decorative accessories.For 16 years, Pantone’s Color of the Year has influenced product development and purchasing decisions in multiple industries, including fashion, home furnishings and industrial design, as well as product packaging and graphic design. Past selections for Color of the Year include:    PANTONE 18-1438 Marsala (2015)    PANTONE 18-3224 Radiant Orchid (2014)    PANTONE 17-5641 Emerald (2013)    PANTONE 17-1463 Tangerine Tango (2012)    PANTONE 18-2120 Honeysuckle (2011)    PANTONE 15-5519 Turquoise (2010)    PANTONE 14-0848 Mimosa (2009)    PANTONE 18-3943 Blue Iris (2008)    PANTONE 19-1557 Chili Pepper (2007)    PANTONE 13-1106 Sand Dollar (2006)    PANTONE 15-5217 Blue Turquoise (2005)    PANTONE 17-1456 Tigerlily (2004)    PANTONE 14-4811 Aqua Sky (2003)    PANTONE 19-1664 True Red (2002)    PANTONE 17-2031 Fuchsia Rose (2001)    PANTONE 15-4020 Cerulean (2000)
Serif Software, after five years of development, launched its Affinity Photo image-editing application on the Mac App Store. This is the second application in an all-new suite of professional creative software for the Mac being developed by Serif. The first, Affinity Designer, was launched in October last year (reviewed by Zac Bolan in PrintAction’s February 2015 issue, More Vector, Less Money).Affinity Photo was originally launched as a public beta in February (culminating in over 230,000 downloads), including capabilities such as RAW processing, PSD import and export, 16-bits per channel editing, and ICC colour management. The release version of the app features a full set of tools for professional processing, including camera lens and exposure corrections, accurate adjustments, live filter layers, controls for channels and masks, advanced layer handling, and built-in frequency separation editing. Serif also promotes its speed, explaining whether working on a 100-megapixel image or a complex composition with thousands of layers, a user can still pan and zoom at 60 fps and see live views of all adjustments, brushes, blend modes and filters with no compromise.
Adobe releases a new white paper, called Connect and Unified Communications, describing how to leverage Connect to maximize investments in infrastructure through a best-of-breed approach to unified communications.http://wwwimages.adobe.com/content/dam/Adobe/en/products/adobeconnect/pdfs/web-conferencing/universal-voice-wp-final.pdf
During the Digital Innovators Summit in Berlin, Adobe unveiled its plans to launch Adobe Publish, a platform that builds upon the foundation of Adobe Digital Publishing Suite (DPS) to address mobile-app publishing, sometime during the summer of 2015.Adobe explains it will allow customers to make mobile apps for phones and tablets without requiring development and to produce and distribute great content in simple, cost-effective and modern ways.The company referenced its work five years ago with Conde Nast to develop a new approach for Wired magazine to be published as an interactive magazine on the iPad. From this work with Conde Nast, Adobe built DPS, which Adobe claims to have resulted in the launch of thousands of apps and has delivered hundreds of millions of publications (.folios) to tablets and phones.Adobe explains it then went through another important phase of mobile publication development with Fast Company to launch a new app on the App Store, which helped its work towards what will be launched as Adobe Publish this summer. Adobe provides what it describes as the three main tenets of Adobe Publish: 1. Apps on all major mobile platforms for phones and tablets without requiring any development skills. The experience of those apps should be immersive and elegant and bring audience directly into content that is well organized and inherently feels like what a mobile experience should be; 2. Adobe Publish customers can create, organize and deliver content in a way that is extremely flexible, simple and cost-effective; and3. Enterprise-grade administration tools that are flexible enough to allow any enterprise, media company or university to organize all of the people who are involved in producing these experiences in a way that make sense. Designers, writers., marketers, producers, data analysts or outside agencies will get the flexible workflows they need to deliver amazing content into Adobe Publish apps.
Building on its September 2013 launch of FreeFlow Core, Xerox is now introducing FreeFlow Digital Publisher in Canada as a means of extending print publishing into digital publishing from a single workflow platform. FreeFlow Core, with its Web-based architecture, is a modular and scalable central workflow system, which includes the ability to drive Web-to-print and automate finishing work. The integration of Xerox FreeFlow Digital Publisher allows users to prepare and route files to their Xerox press for printing or to send digital versions of the same project through Web browsers or mobile apps that can be downloaded from Apple iTunes Store, Google Play or the Amazon App Store. Developed in partnership with GTxcel, FreeFlow Digital Publisher users can produce electronic versions of print campaigns but with the inclusion of video or audio, while also tracking readership through built-in analytics. Content processing software within FreeFlow Digital Publisher automatically prepares the PDF job to create digital publications for mobile apps, Web browsers, social media and other digital channels. The software  allows users to manage each publication with an included dashboard, in order to manipulate placement of rich media, restrict access, manage email subscriptions and push notifications, and more. Analytics are included to provide customers with metrics like readership, open rate reports, app tracking data, and clicks by platform.
Hemlock Printers today announced a new partnership with Tagga, a rising cross-channel marketing company based in Vancouver, British Columbia, which works with high-profile brands like Red Bull, Ulitmate Fighting Championship, Adidas, Stonyfield, Sun-Maid, Canon, Paramount, Old Navy, Lindt and Ferrero Rocher, among others. Tagga is primarily focused on integrating social, Web and mobile technologies, using platforms like SMS messaging, Facebook and Twitter, to create connections between brands and customers. Its Cloud-based cross-channel campaign software – and related reporting functions – allows clients to determine where and when a consumer is interacting with their brand. This ultimately results in very precise conversion-rate metrics. Tagga also runs a Labs division to provide creative services geared to this cross-channel approach.
Through the partnership, Hemlock will be able to supply customers with interactive print opportunities, as well as interactive digitized content that is accessible from mobile, tablet and desktop devices for unique promotional campaigns.
“We work with a wide array of leading brands for their print and distribution requirements, and this partnership now allows us to provide an exciting new dimension to their marketing plans,” stated Richard Kouwenhoven, President and GM of Hemlock. “Using a small footprint for QR or SMS codes on their packaging, hang-tags or catalogues, a bold and simple interactive connection can be made with compelling promotional or informational offers. “We know that now over 70 percent of Canadians use their mobile phone while shopping in-store,” continued Kouwenhoven, “So we looked to Tagga to help us take the print connection to the next level."
Hemlock Printers works with its own roster of high-profile brands through print and is one of the largest commercial printers in the Pacific Northwest. The company operates out of a 100 percent carbon neutral plant in Burnaby, BC, with offices in Victoria, Seattle and San Francisco.
"We knew Hemlock was the right partner for us to expand our offering in the print realm,” stated Amielle Lake, Tagga Founder and CRO. “We already work internationally with Adidas, Dole, Red Bull and many others, but saw an alignment with the focus and scope that Hemlock could bring to a whole new segment of the market.”

The Toronto Star, Canada's highest circulation newspaper, has begun limiting access to content on its Website. Starting today, readers will have to pay to access more than 10 articles a month. While an introductory offer will give online readers access starting at 99 cents, the full price will be $9.99 a month. It is the last of Canada's major dailies to do so.As a part of the offer, Toronto-area readers can receive a print copy of the Saturday Star with home delivery. Current home subscribers will have free online access, as long as they are subscribed using an automated payment option.Last year, Canada's two national newspapers, The Globe and Mail and the National Post rolled out their own paywalls. The Globe and Mail charges $20 per month for unlimited online access and The National Post charges $9.95.In 2011, a survey of 1,700 Canadians by the Canadian Media Research Consortium found that 81 percent would not pay to read news online and 90 percent indicated they would seek free alternatives if their preferred news Website started charging for content.“Online news consumers, long used to getting their news free when production costs were mostly subsidized by print and broadcast advertising, are balking at the idea of having to pay for content now that revenues are falling below the level needed to sustain media operations across various platforms,” says Donna Logan, one of authors of the 2011 study.Torstar, the publisher of the Toronto Star, also announced its second quarter results recently, which saw net income drop from $32.6 million in the same period in 2012 to $18 million this year. Net debt was also up $19.9 million in the quarter, totalling $187.6 million.
Torstar Corp., one of Canada’s largest media companies and publisher of the Toronto Star, the country’s largest metro daily newspaper, has merged the online coupon and flyer sites of Save.ca and Flyerland.ca.As a result, the company, through its Metroland Media Group, has re-launched Save.ca, which began in 2000 and is now visited by more than two million Canadians on a weekly basis. The company claims Save.ca provides access to the most comprehensive offering of online savings of popular brands and digital flyers from retailers across the country.
“For the first time in Canada, one site will bring together savings through coupons and flyers, and with our new shopping list option – the only one of its kind in Canada – we streamline the online deals and purchasing process – something no other site does for Canadians,” stated Doug Guan, Director, Digital Retail, Save.ca. The re-launched Save.ca Website, according to Torstar, now links brand deals to retailer locations to streamline the shopping process. The new site also features a printable shopping list option to organize savings from all featured retailers and brands. Users can also decide to print deals on the spot or mail a hard copy to their mailbox.Torstar provides the following Save.ca user statistics, based on a February 2013 survey of 1,395 male and female Canadians between the ages of 25 and 54:More than 50% have used more than 30 online coupons in the past year,
More than 90% use coupons as new product trials before becoming a loyal shopper,More than 75% of users who have tried a new product with an online coupon continued to buy the product,More than 90% of users share their online savings with friends and family, andMore than 95% of users have purchase a product form a difference brand because of an online coupon offer.
The Government of Canada announced last week that it has made electronic publishing the standard production method for all documents going forward in an effort to reduce costs."Our Government is committed to delivering information to Canadians in the most efficient and cost effective way," said Minister Tony Clement, President of the Treasury Board. "From now on electronic publishing will be the default for all government organizations, significantly reducing the amount of large volume printing and the costs associated with it."According to the Minister, between 2011 and 2012, the Government of Canada spent about $19 million in “printing, distribution, and warehousing of communication products.” In the United States, the Government Printing Office (GPO) purchases upwards of US$400 million from private sector suppliers, most of whom it claims are small operations with 20 employees or fewer. The GPO itself has a budget of US$126 million.The revised Procedures for Publishing, came into effect June 1, replacing the previous policy which was came into effect in May 2005. The objective of the procedure is to “ensure that Government of Canada communications products are readily available to Canadians and are published in an efficient and cost-effective manner.”Section 6.1.2 of the revised Procedures for Publishing states: [Departmental senior managers are responsible for] ensuring that on-demand printing is carried out by default, rather than volume printing, using the most economical printing option and in black and white unless colour printing is deemed necessary.“Volume” printing is only to be done in the following situations, as dictated by section 6.3.3:- a printed version is specifically required under legislation, regulations or parliamentary procedures- the product informs the public about key information related to health, safety or security issues;- a printed version is required to meet the specific needs of the target audience;- the size or format of the product does not allow for printing using commonly available printers;- an existing contract for printing, warehousing or distribution services, put in place prior to these Procedures taking effect, cannot be cancelled, or the cost of cancelling the contract exceeds the benefits; or- the Minister or the person designated in Schedule VI (Part III, Column II) of the Financial Administration Act requests the printing; The full Procedure can be viewed here.
Ricoh USA Inc. today announced the release of Introduction to Graphic Communication, Second Edition, a textbook that also includes interactive content, such as videos and online discussion.
A range of technology suppliers were asked to provide up to two of their newest Web to Print tools, which can include either a new platform or updates to an existing product. The following technologies provide some of the strongest tools available to drive a range of business to digital and offset printing presses.Radatech Web to Print ShopWeb to Print Shop bundles Radatech’sW2P tools into modules as plug-ins that can be applied to any Wordpress/Woocommerce Website. These tools are well suited for companies that have a modest level of fluency in managing their Website and wish to manage their own data.  They can leverage the general open source aspects of their Website that are publicly available, while the Web to Print Shop plug-ins will fill in the gaps and handle harder issues like sophisticated product options and pricing, variable data templates, the uDRAW HTML5 designer plug-in, PDF based templates, file upload detection, file data and job routing. The system allows users to choose from several user interfaces and to create their own. W2P Shop can also be connected to the W2P CLOUD system and have all orders funnel into one production dashboard for streamlined management and reporting. Infigo MegaEdit 3D previewThe MegaEdit 3D preview module was updated in March 2017 to include finishing features, such as embossing, spot varnish and foiling, and photo-realistic 360-degree product previews. The original 3D preview tool was launched last year. Infigo explains the MegaEdit 3D preview module gives users the closest online experience to try before they buy, which is particularly useful for the personalized gifting space. The HTML 5 MegaEdit module is cloud-based so there are no time-consuming downloads, and it’s compatible for any device, so clients and end users can access it anywhere.The 3D preview module has also been integrated with Esko so it can deliver a 3D visual of the product and automate the output of the Esko CAD profiles in a print-ready format, delivering an automated workflow that enables on-demand printing for packaging suppliers. Amazing Print eCardBuilder Version 5.2 eCardBuilder Version 5.2 is to be released at Print 17 in September 2017 and will have a multi-lingual interface with more products. Amazing Print explains the new version of the web-to-print design engine eCardBuilder 5.2 will feature 100 new products and thousands of additional templates as a free upgrade to current users. Some of the new upgrades include new template creation functionality, new language support for multilingual w+Websites, new image editing capability and image cropping and resizing improvements. The tool’s improved mobile optimized interface will allow ordering and designing on any cell phone or tablet device, while desktop users will benefit from increased speed and better aesthetics. A new version of APIs will allow deeper connectivity in popular shopping carts and Websites. eCardBuilder users can additionally upgrade to a PosterDesignerPlus+ web to print poster designer and ordering interface based on eCardBuilder framework directly from Canon Canada.EFI SmartCanvasSmartCanvas, powered by DirectSmile is a new, Web-based product design tool launched with the new version 9.2 of EFI’s Digital StoreFront Web-to-print and eCommerce software. With SmartCanvas, users can create templates for a variety of products such as greeting cards, flyers, business cards, brochures, stationery, and banners. SmartCanvas is 100 percent HTML5 compatible, ensuring it works across a range of browsers for printer clients to submit customized orders online. Clients can use the design tools to personalize products by selecting images from galleries and adding their own text, images, QR codes, and shapes, while retaining the original branding control of the template. SmartCanvas supports: Multiple levels of undo (and redo); Keyboard shortcuts; Right-click context menus; Layers; Data tools – form fields, variables, and switches; Custom-defined spot colours and official Pantone spot colour definitions, including metallic and fluorescent colours); Real-time preview of product customization.Infigo MegaEdit MobileA mobile optimized version of Infigo’s MegaEdit design tool was launched in March 2017 to enhance the user experience on mobile devices, which requires an intuitive mobile experience.  With consumers storing photos on their mobile device more so than their computer, Infigo explains this development is key to deliver a great experience for photo gifting businesses, and personalized product online retailers.  The latest developments, explains Infigo, make it easy for end users to personalize their order. The MegaEdit mobile interface has been developed to make image upload and editing variable fields simple on a mobile phone. MegaEdit is built in HTML 5 and is cloud-based, so is easy access on most any device.Agfa StoreFront 4.0In April, Agfa Graphics released the next generation of its StoreFront, version 4.0 software, which now features what Agfa describes as responsive stores for optimal ease of use, new estimating functionality for pricing information, and new packaging algorithms for cost-effective shipping. The new StoreFront version is optimized to be viewed on smaller screens and large desktop monitors, as store pages automatically adapt to any device.Another addition to StoreFront 4.0 is the ‘save for quote’ functionality. It allows resellers and agencies to get instant pricing information for an entire product bundle, including shipping costs. In StoreFront 4.0, the shipping module is completely reworked with new packaging algorithms for the grouping of order items and for calculating the optimal number of boxes needed for shipping. Also a new packaging type has been introduced for posters, banners and similar types of signage. These products can now be combined on a single packaging roll.Radatech Web to Print Cloud Web to Print Cloud is powered by EPOWER, which specializes in online ordering portals for corporate brands and in-plant operations. The software has the ability to modify the skin to accommodate any look and feel. The system utilizes multiple file formats for variable data – HTML5 design application, PDFLib and InDesign files with XMPie.  The system offers editable workflow stations (as many as you want). The company explains there are no limits to the type of products that users can publish on the system. It also accommodates multiple administrative privileges, multi-billing and shipping options. The reporting can also be customized to generate reports with any piece of data in a few seconds and no coding is necessary. Print Science wp2print wp2print is an e-commerce solution for printing companies built on top of WordPress. wp2print brings these important functions to the Website: Complete purchase process including: quotes, purchase and payment; pricing calculators that can handle all the different products type printers require including saddle-stitched catalogues, perfect-bound books, wide format products, signs and more; design-online; both public storefronts and private storefronts for large accounts; and file uploads with no limitations on file size or type.Because it is built with WordPress, the company explains wp2print is easy to manage to create an attractive and responsive Website by using thousands of available WordPress themes. Print Science explains it is also easy to extend functionality by adding Wordpress or WooCommerce plugins; and to translate to any language. wp2print is available for purchase or by subscription (SaaS). Subscription prices start at US$100 per month. Subscriptions include Website hosting, training and technical support.
Software developer Avanti Computer Systems of Toronto has integrated its Avanti Slingshot Print MIS solution with the Catfish Web-to-print platform from Infigo Software Limited. The first user of the newly integrated solutions is the Print & Imaging Lab at Arizona State University, the in-house print provider at one of the largest universities in the United States.“Automation is the single most important element in keeping a print provider operating in the black today,” said Cathy Skoglund, Director of ASU’s print operation. The newly integrated solution, according to Avanti, allows customers of imaging lab, whether internal or external, to use the SaaS-based Infigo e-commerce platform to submit a print-ready file or compose the entire piece online. By integrating Catfish with Slingshot, Avanti explains it is possible to automate every aspect of the print job into a single workflow, eliminating the need for human intervention. This includes functions like job specification and submission, reporting, estimating, imposition, inventory management, scheduling, shipping and billing. “By integrating Avanti Slingshot with Infigo Catfish, our customers have easy access to a new set of unique and powerful e-commerce and job submission capabilities,” said Patrick Bolan, President and CEO, Avanti. More heavily used in the U.K. and Europe, Infigo Catfish is a Web-to-print platform for printing companies operating in both B2B and B2C environments. It is an HTML5-based (SaaS) solution that can be customized and configured for use by print buyers. Infigo explains it is now in the midst of an aggressive campaign to market its software in North America. Catfish, with tools like MegaEdit, provides online functions for customer acquisition, retention, improvement of the order process and reducing customers support costs.
Propago, a cloud-based Marketing Asset Management software firm headquartered in Austin, Texas, has released native cXML PunchOut support for eProcurement connection capabilities. The cXML PunchOut protocol, explains the company, is the most commonly used method of connecting a procurement application to a supplier’s Web-based shopping cart.“By adding full-cycle cXML PunchOut support, our clients can extend their reach by offering enterprise level integrations to anyone,” said Rick Aberle, CEO of Propago. “By adding native cXML support directly in Propago our clients won’t need to incur outside expenses from either software purchases or consulting fees to support their largest opportunities.”The Propago platform’s support for cXML enables trusted supply chain partners (commercial printers, promotional, and apparel companies) to leverage Propago’s marketing asset management platform through a company’s eProcurement system, such as Ariba, Verian, Coupa, SAP, and Oracle.End users can utilize Propago’s personalization engine, browse the full marketing catalogue and order while remaining in compliance with enterprise procurement processes. Propago was started within a large commercial printing conglomerate as an internal application to serve clients and support backend operations for those clients. In 2015, the team responsible for building and maintaining the Propago platform was given the opportunity to spin the technology away from the parent company and form a completely stand-alone organization.
Propago has introduced Version 6 of its cloud-based Web-to-print platform designed specifically for the printing industry. Headquartered in Austin, Texas, Propago was started within a large commercial printing conglomerate as an internal application to serve clients and support backend operations for those clients. In 2015, the team responsible for building and maintaining the Propago platform was given the opportunity to spin the technology away from the parent company and form a completely standalone organization.“We take great pride in listening to the industry and our customers to help them continue their growth and increase their profitability,” said Rick Aberle, CEO of Propago. “With the introduction of version 6, we have rebuilt and modernized our front-end portal so that is more intuitive, faster and powerful.”“We continue our push to lead the market with a flagship product that stands alone and above the rest of the web-to-print solutions on the market. With over 16 years of experience in the industry, we have developed an easier and more efficient system that allows producers to offer a comprehensive platform to manage, distribute, and produce the marketing assets of their clients.”Propago version 6, supported by more than 16 years of experience in the industry, is based on a completely new architecture, including new features like a redesigned user interface and additional methods to personalize print materials.The company points to other new features of version 6 like reinforced compliance enforcement for end marketers, enhanced relevance-based searching capabilities, flexible themes and landing pages for a personalized experience, responsive design to support any device, and expanded support for Propago First-Render technology to streamline end-users’ orders.Propago explains its Marketing Asset Management Platform allows a printer to offer customers a platform to have complete control over their brands, budgets, and inventory, while sharing and distributing marketing assets to sales teams, affiliates, franchisees, channel partners or any authorized users. Users can access branded marketing assets and order what they need through intuitive cloud-based marketing portals. It includes a set of Web-to-print, production, procurement, warehousing and fulfillment tools. Propago’s portals handle a variety of assets from printable assets, digital files, promotional products, and apparel to more complex personalized brochures and kits. Granular settings, explains the company, allow administrators to configure branding controls, spending limits, user rights, and reporting, enabling end users easy access to all branded materials from anywhere in the world.
Agfa Graphics updated its Cloud-based Web-to-print Storefront software to Version 3.0 to focus on what the company describes as simpler online creation and management. StoreFront 3.0 is designed for integrating with Apogee (commercial printing) and Asanti (display and signage) software. “At the moment our largest StoreFront account is a print service provider who is running 51 B2B stores for different clientele,” said Andy Grant, Head of Software, Agfa Graphics. “Today StoreFront serves more than 1,000,000 pages per month, a number that very well illustrates the potential of this market."One of the new StoreFront 3.0 features is designed for the use of animated carousel banners and custom footer function on store pages. This provides the capability for shop owners to leverage the technology for marketing, providing information to shoppers or promote specific products or services. Agfa explains the HTML5 banners are easy to set up and properly display on mobile devices. The footer function can be used to add contact data or payment and shipping information on store pages.StoreFront 3.0 now also supports price rounding either per item or for the total order value. With the updated software, Agfa explains business customers with stores aimed at international visitors have better control over international value-added taxes (VAT). In countries where it is customary to add a surcharge for credit card payments, such fees can now be added to the order total.“From the start, our StoreFront solution was developed with automation in mind,” continued Grant. “The tight integration with the Apogee or Asanti workflow is extremely powerful and saves printers a lot of time because incoming orders are automatically processed."
Messagepoint has expanded its platform connectivity to Salesforce, an international provider of CRM software, explaining the new functionality enables non-technical business users to deliver interactive, one-to-one communications across both print and digital channels within a single, integrated platform.
In December, arifiQ Development introduced arifiQ Entry for the ability to quickly obtain quotes and place orders for custom print jobs. Available at a flat monthly rate, arifiQ Entry uses the company’s pre-existing arifiQ core engine found in its PRO version.The company explains arifiQ Entry relieves the bottleneck – from several hours to many days – between the time a customer approves a job, and when he or she gets an estimate/quote back from a printer. arifiQ Entry exports to, or integrates with, any MIS, ERP, prepress, or other order management system. It also offers 12 of the 14 major benefits available in arifiQ's high-end solution, arifiQ PRO. The salesperson or other professional uses arifiQ Entry to access the printer's estimating server from anywhere, at anytime, using any internet connection. In seconds, the company explains arifiQ's proprietary algorithms generate up to one septillion 1024 (or more) combinations based on the printer's resources and cost variables, to arrive at a quote. Resources include printing presses, paper stock, and post-press machinery; while cost variables include hourly rates, discounts, and profit margins. arifiQ Entry also include Campaign functionality. Using this feature, reps can obtain estimates on many print jobs at one time, and get not only pricing, but also optimized imposition and media (substrate) decisions. Campaign functionality is one of the features available in both arifiQ PRO and arifiQ Entry. In addition to arifiQ PRO and the new arifiQ Entry, arifiQ Development offers a plugin for Adobe InDesign, as well as an in-plant solution, arifiQ deQuote, which provides quotes via the "print" function on any conventional computer.
Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG is partnering with IT service provider Dimension Data and other companies in the NTT Group to create a scalable IT infrastructure focusing on LAN, WAN and communication services for some 110 sites and branches in just under 40 different countries. The German press manufacturer explains the move is key to its efforts to speed up digital transformation for its customers, which includes access to a network of over 10,000 presses connected with its central service centre.Heidelberg continues to explain, that by creating a communication infrastructure geared to digital business models, it is making further progress in its development from simply selling equipment to becoming a customer-based service company. The digitization strategy, continues Heidelberg, is associated with completely new IT requirements for the implementation of new Industry 4.0 applications and services. “We see ourselves as a true partner for our customers in a digital future,” said Heidelberg CFO Dirk Kaliebe, who is also responsible for IT. “With a state-of-the-art IT infrastructure, we’re laying the foundation for gearing our product and service portfolio to digital business models while also providing them faster and more reliably.”Heidelberg, based on its network of more than 10,000 connected presses, plans to leverage this cutting-edge big data analysis to predict potential failures and to also analyze performance trends.“Our aim with Heidelberger Druckmaschinen is to significantly improve the company’s innovative strength, especially with regard to customer communication,” said Peter Busch, Director of Enterprise Services at Dimension Data in Germany, who is responsible for outsourcing projects.  “We’re using reliable, highly integrated collaboration solutions combined with new, dynamic LAN infrastructures and corresponding WAN services for this purpose. Together with sister companies in our NTT Group – such as NTT Communications – we can offer wide-ranging know-how from a single source.”Dimension Data supports customers during all phases of the technological transition, with the focus on digital infrastructures, the hybrid cloud, workspaces for tomorrow, cybersecurity, and network-as-the-platform solutions. With sales of US$7.5 billion and offices in 58 countries, Dimension Data has been part of the NTT Group since 2010. It is the official technology partner of Tour de France organizer the Amaury Sport Organization and partner of South Africa’s Dimension Data for Qhubeka cycling team.
Avanti Computer Systems of Toronto released a new Advanced JDF Framework workflow module for its Avanti Slingshot MIS platform, which is to be featured next month at Graph Expo 2014 in Chicago. Avanti Slingshot’s Advanced JDF Framework workflow module, according to the company, provides a platform to more easily integrate third-party workflow products like Xerox FreeFlow Core, Ricoh TotalFlow, HP SmartStream, Kodak Prinergy and Konica Minolta Printgroove. Avanti has been one of the industry’s most active members of the CIP4 organization, which develops the Job Definition Format (JDF) and Job Messaging Format (JMF) standards, designed for data integrity and cross-system communication in manufacturing. It carries information like job ticket numbers, job descriptions, size, colours, media information, quantities and content files. Avanti points out that JDF has evolved into a standard that now encompasses over 1,000 pages of specifications. “What that has translated into for a print shop is often very complex and expensive projects that typically take a long time to implement as vendors attempt to create the handshake between their system and the workflow tool with which they’re trying to communicate,” stated Patrick Bolan, President and CEO of Avanti. “Avanti’s Advanced JDF framework ensures that JDF is no longer the exclusive domain of large corporations. It does the heavy lifting to make that handshake a much less costly and time-consuming project.” The Avanti JDF Framework uses templates built from validated JDF standards Interoperability Conformance Specifications (ICS). Avanti Slingshot incorporates business intelligence (CRM, dashboards and reporting), production planning (estimating, imposition, automated purchasing, sales orders, inventory management and scheduling), warehousing, shipping and billing.
Toronto-based Avanti Computer Systems launched its new Slingshot Management Information System (MIS) on September 9 at the PRINT 13 trade show in Chicago. The completely new platform is the result of more than three years of R&D and represents one the largest investments over the company’s 29-year history.“PRINT13 was our tenth Graph Expo [branded by show organizers as PRINT 13 every five years] since buying Avanti in 2004 and by far this was our busiest,” Stephen McWilliam, Avanti Executive Vice President, wrote in an email when contacted post-show about Slingshot’s launch. “Normally, we have our three demo pods in our booth busy most of the time for demonstrations, but thank goodness we added a large screen theatre into our booth because, at times, people were five deep and 12 across in the theatre.”McWilliam continued to express how he felt the hot topic at PRINT 13 was workflow, with all major vendors showcasing new or updated software platforms. Avanti Slingshot was involved in a range of third-party demonstrations at PRINT 13, including prominent positions on the booths of Ricoh and HP.One of HP’s live booth demonstrations, for example, focused on a Web-to-Print portal (XMpie uStore) submitting jobs to Avanti Slingshot, which then automatically sent parameters to HP’s Smartstream Production Centre and ultimately down to an HP Indigo press. McWilliam explains, that when the demo job was complete, run-time, stock consumption and job status information was sent directly to Avanti for updating the schedule (job status), inventory and billing.

Avanti Slingshot was the focus on of PrintAction’s August 2013 cover story.

Avanti Computer Systems today launched Avanti Slingshot, which the Toronto company describes as its next-generation Print Management Information System (MIS). The technology will be demonstrated at PRINT 13 in Chicago.Avanti’s new Slingshot product, which can be cloud-based or hosted onsite, has been in development for over three years and was built from the ground-up to handle multiple lines of business, including large-format inkjet, toner and offset lithography, mailing and fulfillment workflows, as well as creative, marketing and data management services from one platform. “We are very excited to be launching a product that will help take our customer’s organizations to the next level,” stated Patrick Bolan, President and CEO of Avanti. “Avanti Slingshot leverages advice from industry thought leaders, customers and a rich 29-year history in this specialized market." Avanti stresses that Slingshot is an entirely new product with a modular and flexible architecture that allows printing operations to scale up as they grow and add new services. It is browser-based, providing printers with the ability to securely access the system from any device at any time. Slingshot incorporates business intelligence (CRM, dashboards and reporting), production planning (estimating, imposition, automated purchasing, sales orders, inventory management and scheduling), warehousing, shipping and billing.Avanti explains many of its resources put toward building Slingshot were focused on reducing the level of effort and amount of time required to install an MIS, which has been a historic barrier for many printing operations. Every Avanti Slingshot ships with a QuickStart Database, an Estimating Standards Library, and migration and import tools, which, as Avanti explains, can dramatically streamline the transition from an existing system.In its preparation to commercially release the product, Avanti has installed  Slingshot in several companies (both commercial and in-plant sites) over the past nine months. “We wanted to make sure Avanti Slingshot was bullet proof and ready for prime time before the general release to the market,” stated Bolan.Avanti Slingshot also includes what the company describes as a robust Application Programming Interface (API), enabling the integration of third-party applications and the connection of “islands of automation”. The new platform leverages industry standard protocols such as JDF/JMF and XML. “Our goal is to continue to provide the most open Print MIS system in the industry,” stated Bolan.

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