Premedia

X-Rite Inc., together with subsidiary Pantone LLC, has expanded its PantoneLIVE cloud-based technology, designed for communicating colour via digital networks, with the addition of six new colour libraries for gravure printing. The company also released PantoneLIVE Visualizer, a new software tool that aims to help graphic designers, brands and print suppliers better compare, evaluate and visualize colours across multiple substrates and printing technologies. The goal of Visualizer, free to existing PantoneLIVE users, is to show variability in colour is the result of changes in the base material, printing process and ink types. Visualizer delivers an on-screen visualization of Pantone Master colours (target) and achievable PantoneLIVE Dependent colours. X-Rite explains that sometimes, due to the realities of production materials and processes, the desired Pantone Master Standard colour cannot be achieved with the target substrate and printing technology. Pantone Dependent Standards are designed to represent desired Master Standards in these cases, and are the Pantone-approved best match to the Master standards. With PantoneLIVE Visualizer, users can now visually compare and assess colour selections in a variety of production scenarios. Results from Visualizer can be exported into print-ready PDF documents that can be shared across the supply chain to better communicate design intent.“PantoneLIVE was created to help share accurate and achievable colours across a package printing supply chain,” said Adrián Fernández, VP, PantoneLIVE, X-Rite. “In partnership with our customers, we are continuously evolving the platform to support a wide range of packaging applications and help designers easily visualize on-screen how colour palettes will appear in production.”Fernández continued to explain PantoneLIVE now offers more than 50,000 Pantone colour choices and supports 80 percent of packaging applications: “By increasing the depth and scope of PantoneLIVE, designers and brands are able speed up the entire packaging design process and get products to market on average four times faster.”PantoneLIVE’s six new libraries for gravure printing are ultimately aimed at the production of flexible and label applications. Two of the new libraries, according to X-Rite, are designed to help brands and converters match colour on increasingly popular metallized flexible packaging and label structures.The new PantoneLIVE libraries include:Labels gravure process using solvent ink printed on coated paper with gloss-neutral varnish;Flexible packaging gravure process using solvent ink printed on clear film substrate with gloss-neutral varnish;Flexible packaging gravure process using solvent ink printed on clear film substrate over white ink with gloss-neutral varnish;Flexible packaging gravure process using solvent ink reverse printed on clear film substrate over white ink;Flexible packaging gravure process using solvent ink reverse printed on clear film substrate over white ink laminated to aluminum; andFlexible packaging gravure process using solvent ink printed on aluminum substrate over white ink with gloss-neutral varnish.
Pantone, an X-Rite company, unveiled PANTONE 15-0343 Greenery as its Color of the Year selection for 2017. The company describes Greenery as “a fresh and zesty yellow-green shade that evokes the first days of spring when nature’s greens revive, restore and renew. Illustrative of flourishing foliage and the lushness of the great outdoors, the fortifying attributes of Greenery signals individuals to take a deep breath, oxygenate and reinvigorate.”The Color of the Year selection is determined at the Pantone Color Institute from where Pantone’s colour experts search around world looking for new colour influences. For 17 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.“While Serenity and Rose Quartz, the PANTONE Color of the Year 2016, expressed the need for harmony in a chaotic world,” said Leatrice Eiseman, Executive Director of the Pantone Color Institute, “Greenery bursts forth in 2017 to provide us with the hope we collectively yearn for amid a complex social and political landscape. Satisfying our growing desire to rejuvenate, revitalize and unite, Greenery symbolizes the reconnection we seek with nature, one another and a larger purpose.”Pantone continues to explain Greenery brings a natural connection to people’s daily lives through urban planning, architecture, lifestyle and design choices globally – “it is an omnipresent hue around the world.” Often associated with environmentalism and nature, Pantone continues to explain Greenery is also a unifying thread in tech and innovation because of its association with boldness, vigor and modernity.“The tangy yellow-green speaks to our desire to express, explore, experiment and reinvent, imparting a sense of buoyancy,” said Eiseman. “Through its reassuring yet assertive vibrancy, Greenery offers us self-assurance and boldness to live life on our own terms, during a time when we are redefining what makes us successful and happy.”Past selections for Color of the Year include:    PANTONE 15-3919 Serenity and PANTONE 13-1520 Rose Quartz (2016)    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)
Touch7, an extended colour gamut system distributed by Color-Logic Inc, has announced that they will now offer Soft-Proofing capabilities.Touch7 takes just one mouse click inside of Photoshop to produce up to a 7-colour separation of an image. However, Photoshop does not provide an accurate colour representation of any separation with more than CMYK or RGB images,” said Touch7’s Founder and CTO, Richard Ainge. “We are not a colour management company so we partnered with RemoteDirector to provide us with an OEM version of their technology.” Mark Geeves, Director of Sales and Marketing for Touch7, explained: “We have targeted the digital press and printer markets with our Touch7 Soft-Proofing solution since people forget these presses are really production machines and there is a real need not to use them as proofing devices until the design is ready. If printers take six minutes of production time to produce 10 proofs a day then you have one hour of production time wasted. “Touch7 creates an extended colour gamut separation in seconds,” continued Geeves, “which saves hours of manual masking and now with our Soft-Proofing solution, digital presses and printers are more productive as well.” Touch7 is powered by Khaos Technology, a developer of Adobe plug-ins and software tools for the printing industry.
On sabbatical to research and write the second edition of Wiley’s Understanding Color Management, Ryerson University’s Abhay Sharma provides a synopsis of an emerging model and how to apply it for everyday use.The Color Conference, held this past December in Phoenix, was an orgy of expanded gamut software, tools and technologies. In sunny Arizona there were solutions for expanded gamut printing from Heidelberg, Esko, Xerox, GMG, CGS and PANTONE. It is now important for commercial printers to understand this new revolution in expanded gamut printing, as more of the industry’s biggest technology providers are developing substantial products in this area.In general, we have printed for a long time using four process colours – CMYK – and when a customer needed something more colourful we created a separate spot channel plate and ordered ink or requisitioned the ink from the in-house mixing lab. This is the way we have worked for many years in offset and flexography. Digital devices, such as the HP Indigo, are also able to print with extra colour units and Indigo customers throughout North America order their spot colour toner from a lab in Rochester. In this type of usage, the spot colour channels did not expand the overall gamut per se, they just sent some colours to the separate plates or printing units. Colour paradigm shiftExpanded or extended gamut printing is a paradigm shift in terms of colour and colour gamut. In expanded gamut printing, we move from four-colour printing to seven-colour printing and our base set of process colourants is now seven colour, which can be different for different systems. For example, the new PANTONE+ Extended Gamut swatch book is printed using CMYK plus Orange, Green and Violet (OGV). The Xerox iGen5 has a 5th toner station and can extend the colour gamut with CMYK plus Orange, Green or Blue (OGB). The swatch book is available as a traditional swatch book as well as in software – PANTONE Color Manager – and  shows how spot colours would be reproduced in seven colours (CMYK+ OGV).We can create an ICC colour profile for this extended gamut process and analyze the extent of the expanded gamut using colour management tools. One indicator of the increase in gamut size and volume is to assess how many more spot colours can now be accurately reproduced by mix of the CMYK+OGV ink set. The big advantage is that we can reproduce many more spot colours without using separate spot colour printing! In other words, we do not need to make spot colour plates and order spot colour inks to accurately reproduce many spot colours. In addition, we have the benefit of just keeping the press running with this expanded colourant set and no press wash-ups. Only the most colourful of spot colours with the most exacting and high-paying client would now warrant traditional spot colour treatment in making a separate plate and ordering a spot colour ink.In an extended gamut printing process, many more spot colours will now be in gamut of a seven-colour process. An important new requirement is that software tools need to give you an indication of the accuracy with which the process can reproduce any given spot colour. Every colour management vendor at the Phoenix conference was showing new software that enabled users to gauge their seven-colour-process ability.Proof is in the puddingThe new world of expanded gamut printing also needs to consider proofing. We still may need to create inkjet proofs for the customer. The inkjet proofer must be able to accurately proof the CMYK+OGV press sheet. An inkjet proofer does not need to have exactly the same OGV colourants as a press, but it does need to have the ability to print the increased gamut, so typically the Epson Stylus Pro 7900 has CMYK + OG, while the Epson Stylus Pro 11880 has Vivid Magenta to try and keep up with a CMYK+OGV press. It may be non-intuitive, but there is no requirement for the inkjet proofer to have cartridges that match the units on the press it is trying to simulate. An inkjet proofer can use any inks as long as it can create a sufficient colour gamut to proof the press colours.There are pressures on commercial printing today to increase colour gamut and reduce costs. Using an expanded gamut set meets both of these requirements. It is more economical to use an expanded gamut ink set rather than wash up of spot colours for individual jobs. We are likely to see increased use of expanded gamut tools and printing in all areas of commercial offset and flexo package printing. We have already seen installations of digital presses with an expanded gamut toner ability. Based on the tools and technologies coming to market, from all the major companies, expanded gamut printing is here today and growing tomorrow.
Richard Ainge and Mark Geeves, who developed the Color-Logic’s Process Metallic Color System, are introducing a new product called Touch7 for extended gamut printing. “Extended colour gamut grinting is nothing new to the printing industry, however, Touch7 with it’s automated and simple one-click colour palettes and plug-ins, empowers designers and prepress personnel to do in seconds, what currently can require hours in manual processing and masking,” explains Geeves, Touch7’s Director of Sales and Marketing.“The developments by ink companies, print engines, RIP manufacturers and ICC profiling tools has been extensive over the past years, however, no one has really focused on the necessity for providing creative tools for designers, so that they can utilize these developments and reduce their cycle time to production,” continues Geeves. He explains Touch7 is designed as an intuitive system to help brands utilize extended gamut printing at a fraction of the time and cost associated with doing manual processing, and without the necessity to send files through a dedicated colour separation system. Geeves explains this opens up extended gamut printing to some of the industry’s smallest print shops. Richard Ainge explains the "true power" of Touch7 lies in its automated ECG colour palettes and plug-ins for Adobe CC, which allows designers to create artwork in an extended colour gamut, without having to leave the Adobe environment.Touch7 is comprised of three primary components: Touch7 Photo, Touch7 Vector and Touch7 Soft-Proofing.
Building on its PantoneLIVE initiative, X-Rite Inc. and its subsidiary Pantone LLC introduced the new PantoneLIVE Private Cloud, as well as a new PantoneLIVE Rationalization Service.PantoneLIVE Private Cloud is described as a secure, cloud-based repository that allows packaging converters and commercial printers to store and share existing proprietary colour libraries across the colour supply chain. The PantoneLIVE ecosystem itself is designed to digitally communicate colour between brand owners, designers, premedia, ink suppliers and printers. The model is meant to ease the workflow process and ultimately deliver consistent colour and to meet customer expectations. “In addition to the Pantone Matching System, many converters have invested time and resources developing their own colour libraries and standards for specific customers,” said Adrián Fernández, VP, PantoneLIVE, X-Rite Pantone. “Leveraging the benefits of the PantoneLIVE model to streamline colour specification and communication, we are now enabling printers to publish proprietary colours in a private cloud infrastructure.” X-Rite explains all colours published in PantoneLIVE Private Cloud are available for selection within PantoneLIVE-enabled prepress systems such as GMG and Esko. X-Rite has also expanded on its PantoneLIVE initiative with its new PantoneLIVE Rationalization Service that is designed to analyze and consolidate a printer’s colour library to improve colour consistency, increase production efficiency, and avoid wasteful duplication of colour. Over time, X-Rite explains a printer’s colour library can grow substantially, including potential issues of duplication, which can become unmanageable or inefficient in ink matching and production planning. “Printers and converters can benefit from the PantoneLIVE Rationalization Service by analyzing and consolidating colorrs that are so close together in the colorr space that they are effectively the same,” said Chris Halford, Technical Director for PantoneLIVE Services, X-Rite Pantone. “We have worked with a number of converters who have seen a 30 percent to 45 percent reduction in their colour libraries,” continued Halford. “This creates a leaner colour palette with fewer colours to manage and a smaller inventory of inks. This saves time, budget and reduces errors. The remaining colours in the digital library can be easily accessed, giving the printer and the brand owner the confidence that their colours are consistent, no matter where the item is produced or what substrate is used.” Color Mapping is another service included in the PantoneLIVE Rationalization process, whereby client colours are mapped to standard Pantone Matching System (PMS) colours and to PantoneLIVE dependent references. With this mapping, X-Rite explains a converter’s entire packaging supply chain can make use of both Master and Dependent Libraries within the PantoneLIVE ecosystem.
In March, SmartSoft, introduced new enhancements to its PressWise software which provides web-to-print, MIS and workflow tools. This includes what the company describes as a major update to Purchase Order to better accommodate outsourcing. Users can now purchase non-inventory items, including services and finishing tasks. Outsourced Products POs can be automatically created upon order injection, PO line items associated to specific jobs, and POs emailed directly from within PressWise. Imposition enhancements include new support for Work & Tumble as a work mode on quotes. The system now includes full support for Grippers throughout the system for each press device, from quoting and ordering to batching and auto-impositioning. PressWise has automated the process to apply for, receive, and install/utilize SSL certificates for custom domains, allowing admins to obtain an SSL certificate from Let’s Encrypt. This optional feature is free of charge.Inventory/stock purchases can now have minimum stock order amounts by substrate with the additional option of specifying a quantity per carton. Single Sign On (SSO) options are now available. User Interface Enhancements offer in-line editing in many areas with enhanced grids to make viewing, searching, and filtering information easier than ever before. Recently added reports include a Customer Aging Report, Customer Statements, Customer Activity, and more.
In March, Roland released the ErgoSoft Roland Edition 2 RIP software for its Texart dye-sublimation transfer printers. ErgoSoft has developed the RIP specifically for the Texart XT-640 and RT-640 to support high-fidelity digital textile printing of sports and fashion apparel, soft signs such as polyester banners and flags, curtains and other interior décor, as well as promotional goods and personalized gifts.ErgoSoft Roland Edition 2, according to Roland, includes more than 40 new features and enhancements. A new dithering method increases rasterization speed and improves dot placement accuracy resulting in what the company describes as 40 percent faster RIP times and smoother gradients. Roland explains a new PDF engine displays colour-accurate previews of PDF files. The RIP also includes up to eight simultaneous RIP Servers to reduce processing time when working with high-capacity data or multiple print jobs. A new Printer Pool feature allows the same file to be sent easily to multiple devices and a Hot Folder feature is aimed at batch printing of images with the same specific print settings.Image Add-Ons functions support new effects like barcodes, rulers and drill holes. Multiple effects can also be applied to a single set of data. Specific editing functions support file formats that are commonly used for textile printing. The Step & Repeat feature is for repeating textile patterns from a single image is now available for PDF and EPS file formats. The Color Replacement feature for creating multiple colour variations is also now available for TIFF and PSD file formats. Variable Data Printing for producing personalized goods and apparel is now included as standard.Roland  has also launched Roland PrintStudio by Caldera, its new RIP and print management software for the latest MacOS.According to Valery de March, OEM business director at Caldera, Roland users will be able to “take advantage of extensive colour management features, create an unlimited number of presets and use automated functionalities and hot folders, as well as advanced tiling and nesting tools.”Features:-    ICC profiles creation,-    Adobe PDF Print Engine,-    Template-driven tiling options,-    Optimized contour nesting,-    Roland Color & Metallic System Libraries with hundreds of spot colours,-    Supports low-cost colour spectrophotometers,-    Supports RAL, HKS and Pantone® colour swatches,-    Access to the online Roland Profile Center and its library of media profiles,-    A blur and bleed function that removes the risk of white lines at cutting edges,-    Application guide tool that automatically assigns a number to each tile while generating a summary PDF.Roland PrintStudio by Caldera can be ordered through authorized Roland dealers.
In April 2017, Enfocus plans to launch PitStop version 2017 to help mark the 20th anniversary since the PDF-preflight software was first released. Signaling the company’s initial move to an annual PitStop release cycle, version 2017 includes what Enfocus labels as PDF Geomapper technology, which provides new ways for objects to be selected or ignored. PDF Geomapper, for example, can be used for configuring preflight checks to check only the objects needed to render or print a PDF file. Any additional hidden or unneeded elements can be ignored or removed, which Enfocus describes as a way to reduce the complexity of files and false error messages.Initial implementations of PDF Geomapper, specifically to help reduce the amount of false error messages, were first highlighted at the Drupa 2016 in June. Described as a first in Preflight by Enfocus, these checks could be restricted to within an irregular shape such as a cutline or structural design information. Expanding the PDF Geomapper technology, Enfocus now allows decisions to be made based not just on a single object, but also by taking into account other objects, underlying or overlapping the original.“The new PDF Geomapper technology opens up an exciting new world of possibilities for preflight checking and correction,” stated Andrew Bailes-Collins, Senior Product Manager at Enfocus. “For example, a text segment can be preflighted based on its legibility, by checking the colour of any objects underneath it.”The newest versions of PitStop Pro and PitStop Server include the addition of 40 Devicelink profiles based on standard ICC profiles, to help users with CMYK-CMYK colour conversions. These profiles have been made available with the support of Enfocus’ sister company X-Rite, leveraging its position as a Danaher company.Enfocus explains the PitStop ICC profiles are  particularly useful for customers in packaging, labels and large format, in that the check for Ink Coverage has been improved to work with selected inks and ignore named separations such as ‘white’ or ‘varnish’. This results in a more accurate check, explains the company, as only the actual printing inks will be used.PitStop Pro also includes a new Inspector interface for analyzing and editing page and transparency groups directly within the PDF file. There are also new Action Lists for customer requested functionality, such as automatically generating round cornered rectangles (for dielines) and new ways of modifying page sizes and objects within a PDF file.A new PDF Report function is available for validating the presence and configuration of layers within a PDF file, and new checks and fixes are available within the Preflight Profile Editor.The Adobe transparency flattener within PitStop Server has been updated to the latest version, and Mac OSX Sierra and Windows 10 anniversary update are now supported.
Agfa released Asanti 3.0, described as an automated production hub and workflow tool for sign and display printers, pointing to version 3.0’s new graphical user interfaces, added automation and more integration possibilities with equipment and Management Information Systems, as well as software like PrintSphere and StoreFront.Asanti 3.0 now includes IntelliTune, which, according Agfa, automatically analyzes and improves image quality. The company explains this can include optimizing skin tones or by eliminating noise, staircasing and blurriness. Other new Asanti 3.0 features include QuickProof proofing support; an improved digital alternative for see-through graphics on clear material; and improved automation through updated parameter presets and smart image repetition.Version 3.0 of Asanti graphical user interface (GUI) includes improved job layout and positioning visualization, as well as a new interface for tiling large jobs. Asanti’s production dashboard displays information like print jobs, the number of prints, status data of multiple engines, ink levels, elapsed time. “It is all HTML5-based and works perfectly for those in close contact with clients and financial connections,” said Erik Peeters, Marketing Manager Workflow Solutions, Agfa Graphics. New to Asanti Color Management is a mode that allows printers to use a wizard for managing colours and shortening throughput time. The software also features new white printing options, as well as an ability to overrule spot colours with alternatives colour mapping to reproduce them.
SA International (SAi), which develops software for wide-format printing and CAD/CAM for CNC machining, at the ISA Sign Expo (April 19-22 in Las Vegas) will launch its new MyFlexi mobile app. It will be released in conjunction with its SAi FlexiSIGN version 11 and FlexiPRINT version 12 software.The MyFlexi app is available for IOS iPhones and iPads and Android mobile phones and tablets. SAi explains it provides tools to improve throughput and minimize overall job production time – from set-up to completion. It includes remote access to the Web-based FlexiQuote tool to remotely create customer quotes. The Web version of FlexiQuote comes pre-loaded with a database of standard media and costs to configure pricing, while factoring in materials, labour, commissions, discounts and taxes. SAi explains the FlexiQuote wizard can give a customer quote within 30 seconds.MyFlexi also features the MyFlexi QR and Barcode Tester to test the QR codes generated in Flexi’s QR Code Creator. MyFlexi builds on the company’s first app, SAi Cloud.
In February, Kodak unveiled Prinergy Cloud, an analytics-enabled cloud platform that offers print service providers (PSPs), what the company describes as industry-first solutions to minimize cost and risk while driving business growth.Prinergy Cloud leverages production data and turns it into dashboard reports of actionable information allowing informed decision making in real-time. Customers can seamlessly integrate all Prinergy Cloud services with existing on-premise Kodak workflow software, and lower operating costs by reducing hardware and administrative overheads.Prinergy Cloud is hosted on the Microsoft Azure platform, which Kodak describes as a fast, reliable and secure cloud delivery. Kodak customers can benefit from the 24/7 cloud service monitoring, providing security and availability. Developed in partnership with Yellowfin, Prinergy Cloud’s Decision Analytics offers PSPs, according to Kodak, the print industry’s first analytics enabled workflow. This  new capability delivers intuitive dashboards that provide visibility into production costs and system performance by continuously collecting data from operations.All new Prinergy Cloud services are Decision Analytics-enabled. This includes the System Performance Service for print production reporting, and File Archive and Backup for protection against data loss and automated archiving for higher levels of efficiency and security.
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.
Toyo Ink Co. Ltd., a member of the Toyo Ink Group, has unveiled its development of the Elex-one series of electron beam (EB) curable flexo inks. The new Elex-one series is completely VOC-free, making it suitable for food-safe flexible and carton packaging applications.The flexible package printing market has seen growing interest from package printers and converters in VOC- and CO2-reducing technology, according to Toyo, due to increased environmental and safety concerns, as well as regulatory requirements. The company explains demand is particularly strong in North American and European markets, where flexo inks based on solvent materials are mainstream technologies. In particular, Toyo relates the growing industry demand for both water-based flexo and EB-curable flexo inks to the the drupa exhibition last May.“Many of the EB flexo inks out on the market today contain small traces of solvent that is chemically added into the ink during the curing process,” said Katsumi Yamazaki, president and CEO of Toyo Ink. “The Elex-one series was specially formulated by Toyo Ink engineers to cure using only EB irradiation — without the addition of a volatile component. As a result of this, we are able to offer a completely VOC-free solution that still provides the high print quality and performance results that are our customers require.”EB flexo inks do not evaporate or volatilize on the printing press, explains Toyo, so the ink does not change in consistency during processing. Since ink curing does not occur on the plate, stable print quality can be achieved even over long runs. In addition, EB inks are highly safe from chemical migration in that its composition is free of solvents or photoinitiators, making it a non-hazardous material suitable for use in food packaging materials and sanitary products.Elex-one is currently undergoing trial testing for the European market. Once approved, Toyo Ink plans to begin the commercial release of the product in the region. Subsequent launches into new markets are expected once the company establishes a foothold in Europe.
Sun Chemical has expanded its online support platform, SunSupportOnline.com, to its Canadian customers. Available now in both French and English, the online platform includes the ability to view order history, re-order products from a personalized product catalogue, and check the shipment status of open orders. In addition to the Canadian-support, SunSupportOnline.com has also been optimized for mobile functionality and improved tracking information. “Increasingly customers want to interact via the web to improve productivity – either to check their order history, track a shipment or reorder common products. They just need a quick, o-line solution to answer their questions and support their needs,” said Penny Holland, Vice President of Marketing, North American Inks, Sun Chemical. Existing customers can sign up online at SunSupportOnline.com. The process requires registration and verification by Sun Chemical.
With the relocation of its UV ink production from Lachen, Switzerland, to its primary plant in Kirchheim, Germany, printing-ink manufacturer hubergroup decided to update many of its products for the UV offset segment. Following a test phase, these upgrades have now reached full market-readiness. While the brand names of the NewV series have been retained, a new product line has been created for LED-curing products. hubergroup explains these emerging UV technologies in particular, such as printing with LED lamps or iron-doped lamps, demand inks and lacquers with new characteristics. The potential of LED printing systems is limited by the currently available inks and coatings, but will continue to gain more R&D focus from ink manufacturers.“These new curing technologies make is possible to customize press technology more specifically to customers' requirements,” said Carsten Zölzer, Product Manager UV Inks at hubergroup. Colleague Roland Schröder also explained: “As a printing-ink manufacturer, we can support printing houses by supplying them with inks and lacquers precisely formulated for these specialized applications.”In addition, hubergroup has also revised its ink series for conventional UV printing using standard UV mercury lamps.
Flint Group has introduced a new letterpress plate, called nyloprint WF-S, with a softer layer. The water-washable, film-based nyloprint WF-S plate, according to Flint, provides more flexibility and improved ink transfer over previous products.The new nyloprint WF-S plate, developed by Flint Group Flexographic Products, as the global supplier of nyloprint® letterpress printing plates, replaced the nyloprint WF-M printing plate type as of November 2015. Compared to the previous type, the new nyloprint WF-S film-based plate has what Flint describes as a softer plate surface for more varied applications. Flint explains the soft surface provides improved ink transfer resulting in optimal ink lay-down, especially on rough surfaces. The nyloprint WF-S plate, according to Flint, is particularly suitable for special applications like blister pack printing but also for rotary letterpress, coating units and imprinting units. It also provides for fast plate processing, which Flint describes as reproduction being completed within 25 to 35 minutes. Flint also explains the WF-S plate provides a wide exposure latitude combined with high intermediate depths and very good durability for long print runs.The nyloprint WF-S plate is available in thicknesses of 0.70, 0.80, and 0.95 mm. A digital version of the film-based plate with all the advantages of digital processing is also available on request.
Kodak is expanding its plate portfolio with a new violet offset plate, called LIBRA VP, which the company describes as being compatible with most violet CTP platesetters and plate-line equipment.The LIBRA VP digital plate is designed for both newspaper production and the quality needs of semi-commercial printing applications, while holding what the company describes as a streamlined easy chem setup.Kodak continues to explain that, with LIBRA VP, newspaper printers that process plates in the conventional way can now simplify processing and reduce environmental impact by replacing their traditional developer and replenisher with a single, low-pH clean-out finisher. Using this same finisher, Kodak explains printers can choose an easy chem setup that eliminates the plate prewash and post-rinse steps using a modified conventional processor or a dedicated clean-out unit. Kodak’s LIBRA VP plate provides 150 lpi (60 lines/cm) AM or 180 lpi (70 lines/cm) hybrid (XM) screening capabilities. Newspaper printers can achieve run lengths of up to 350,000 impressions if the plates are processed conventionally or up to 300,000 impressions when easy chem setups are used.“The LIBRA VP digital plate is yet another new Kodak plate that's designed to make production processes more efficient, more profitable, and more environmentally responsible,” said Brad Kruchten, President, Print Systems Division and Senior Vice President, Eastman Kodak Company. “What's more, this latest addition to our portfolio offers newspaper and semi-commercial printers unprecedented flexibility: they can choose the processing method which best meets their printing needs.”
At the upcoming Graph Expo trade show, beginning September 14 in Chicago, Kodak will highlight its new Electra Max thermal plates, which will be available in the company’s first quarter for United States and Canada.The Electra Max plates are designed for the requirements of commercial and packaging printers needing a high-performance plate. Kodak explains this includes strong on-press robustness and solvent resistance for harsh environments such as UV, 10-micron FM screening capability, long unbaked run lengths, fast imaging and processing speeds and low chemistry usage.At Graph Expo, Kodak will also showcase its new Q2400/Q3600 large format thermal platesetters, which can image plates up to 1,422 x 1,804 mm or 1,600 x 2,083 mm, respectively. Featuring unique Kodak Squarespot Imaging Technology, the Trendsetter demonstration at Graph Expo will be processing Sonora Process Free Plates and the new Electra Max Thermal Plates.Kodak also plans to highlight Prinergy 7, which was introduced in May 2015. Prinergy Workflow 7 software focuses on automating core workflow functions like job creation, collaboration, file processing, trapping, proofing, imposition and colour management. One of its new features allows for callas Preflight Profile Integration. Preflight+ allows the integration of callas preflight profiles for improved quality control and reduced manual touch points. Prinergy 7 also includes what the company describes as layered PDF versioning enhancements, which provide improved error detection and better control over multiple layers of files.
GMG of Tuebingen, Germany, has released its GMG ProofMedia studio OBA matte 150, which is the company’s first matte surface proofing media containing high Optical Brightening Agents (OBAs). GMG explains it has been developed for highly accurate proofing and the closest visual match of commonly used uncoated production papers. In the past, explains GMG, it was problematic for design agencies, prepress and print companies to deliver a visual match between proofs and prints, even with good colorimetric measurement, as matte proofing media contains no or too little fluorescence. GMG’s new OBA matte 150 media features fluorescent levels, according to the company, comparable to popular production papers, for visual matches to final production. This includes the FOGRA52 printing condition.GMG studio OBA matte 150 not only contains high OBA, but also has a higher brightness level. As a result, the company explains OBA matte 150 provides a larger colour gamut in highlight areas compared to many other proof media. More specifically, it holds a paper tint of L* 97; a* 2,5; b* -10. The recyclable production is available in 17, 24, 42 and 44-inch widths.
Appvion Inc. has introduced additional sheeted versions of its Triumph High-Speed Inkjet Paper line, which includes products specifically designed for the latest generation of sheetfed, high-speed inkjet presses and the use of pigment- and dye-based inks. The new products include both treated and coated high-speed inkjet papers.Appvion explains it employs a precision-cut converting process to produce Triumph sheets to ensure sizes and sheet edges are precise and consistent for printing runnability. “Our latest line extension give printers more opportunities to choose the high performance, consistency, colour vibrancy, reliability, and availability of our Triumph brand for all the ways they print high-speed inkjet paper,” said Ethan Haas, Appvion’s VP and GM, who oversees the company’s carbonless and specialty papers.  Triumph High-Speed Inkjet Papers have been qualified on major OEM (original equipment manufacturer) sheet-fed presses including Canon Océ VarioPrint i300, Delpax Elan, and Riso ComColor. Appvion explains its 9-point coated ultra brite-matte product has been chosen as a designated “house sheet” for its Canon Océ VarioPrint i300. All Triumph High-Speed Inkjet Papers are made in the United States, with manufacturing operations in Wisconsin, Ohio and Pennsylvania. The company employs approximately 1,400 people and is 100 percent employee-owned. The paper is acid free, elemental chlorine free (ECF), and manufactured under ISO 14001:2004-certified environmental management systems. An FSC® Certified (FSC-C003368) version is available.
Huge Paper Inc. has launched what it describes as a first-of-its-kind magnetic substrates swatch book featuring the product line of Magnum Magnetics. Led by President Jeff Tapping, Huge Paper has long served Canada’s printing industry as an independent source of unique paper, magnetics and synthetics for digital printing applications, in addition to more standard commerical work.The company’s new swatch-book collection of printable magnetics features samples of Magnum’s most-popular substrates, including pre-magnetized DigiMag in a range of weights, RubberSteel regular black and write-on white, and MessageMag magnetic adhesive substrate.Huge Paper provides a range of magnetic substrates in the Greater Toronto Area, which can be applied in both digital and litho printing processes. Magnum Magnetics substrates are describes as meeting all North American safety standards including those for toys. Magnum Magnetics is the largest manufacturer of flexible magnetic products in the United States including printable magnetic sheets and rolls used in a variety of industries and applications.
Drytac has released its Scrimless Banner product, a 15-mil smooth, double-sided PVC/PET blockout banner media for use with interior and exterior short-term graphic applications.Drytac explains the product is primarily suited for retail environments where sturdy, professional signage is required, adding that Scrimless Banner is dimensionally stable and has high tensile strength to keep graphics straight and taut. Its lay-flat, non-curl characteristics, explains Drytac, prevent graphics from looking wrinkled or worn, making it suitable for hanging banners or banner stand graphics.  Drytac also explains Scrimless Banner, available in roll widths up to 63 inches, has a bright white surface that can handle heavy ink saturation for superior print results. The media can be printed single or double-sided and is compatible with solvent, UV and latex print technologies.“Our new blockout banner media is an excellent choice for retailers who want their promotional displays to pop,” said Darren Speizer, Drytac’s VP of Sales & Marketing. “With Scrimless Banner, they can achieve vibrant graphics without sacrificing clear promotional messaging.”
Unisource Canada, a Veritiv Company, has announced the launch of Endurance, a private brand of paper products, for the Eastern Canadian market. “Endurance is a well-known brand in the U.S. commercial print market, and we are now pleased to offer this premier product – known for its performance, quality, reliability, and value – to the Eastern Canada print and paper marketplace,” said Jason Alderman, Regional VP of Unisource Canada..  Exclusive to Veritiv, Endurance is a coated paper brand that the company positions as providing high performance at an affordable price. The brand includes both coated paper and digital categories with matching text and cover and basis weights ranging from 60.8 lb text to 120 lb cover. The Endurance line is Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) Chain of Custody certified.
Finch Paper, during its 150-year anniversary celebration, launched three inkjet product families designed for book, direct mail, and transactional markets. This includes Finch Smartbook Jet and Finch Mailstream for printing high-speed inkjet, which expands on the company’s existing line of Finch Fine iD and Finch Inkjet Pi substrates. Finch explains that paper manufacturers have been challenged with drying issues associated with lighter basis weights being used in the growing inkjet production of books. Finch has engineered new paper with a surface treatment to maximize ink density and absorption, which, according to the company, results in instantaneous drying on its uncoated Smartbook Jet 606 PPI (50 lb text), 750 PPI (45 lb text) and 830 PPI (41 lb text) grades. Finch explains its high pages per inch (PPI) in the new product, combined with strong opacity and NASTA compliance, makes Smartbook Jet a well suited uncoated sheet for high-speed inkjet. The company also explains Smartbook Jet holds a silky-smooth surface for producing the full-colour images sought after by textbook publishers. Finch Smartbook Jet is engineered for pigment ink systems on Canon Colorstream, HP T-series, Kodak Prosper, Ricoh Infoprint, Screen TrueJet production inkjet presses.  Finch Mailstream is designed for transactional and direct mail printing. The Finch Mailstream family of products includes Mailstream DS, a treated inkjet product optimized for both dye- and pigment-based systems (DS refers to dual systems). It is offered in 20 lb/74 gsm to 9 pt. reply/209 gsm, featuring a premium blue-white shade for duplex printing. Its 20-lb bond has a 95 opacity. Finch Mailstream XP96 is surface enhanced for inkjet and laser production environments. This cross-platform (XP) substrate holds a 96-bright blue white shade, well suited for colour logos and graphics. Mailstream XP92 is also surface enhanced as a bright white substrate for more universally compatible graphics. Finch MOCR Laser is an untreated, 92-bright choice that rounds out the company’s new products for the transactional segment. Finch MOCR Laser is available in 20 lb, 24 lb and 28 lb.For direct mail and commercial print inkjet applications, Finch Inkjet Pi is treated for pigment inks (PI) and well suited for what the company refers to as house sheet status. The company states Inkjet Pi does not require any bonding agents. Finch Inkjet Pi is available in a range of basis weights from 45 lb text to 130 lb text and 9 pt reply. It holds a 96-bright balanced Alpine White shade. Finch Inkjet Pi is suited for systems like Canon ColorStream, HP T-series and Kodak Prosper.
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.
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."
The new StoreFlow Cloud (released July 2015) form XMpie, a division of Xerox, is subscription-based, SaaS technology for creating Web-to-print portals. The company explains StoreFlow Cloud is designed for needing little or no IT investment (subscription plans start at $799 per month), lowering the barriers to entry for deploying Web-to-print.StoreFlow Cloud is compatible with XMPie’s suite of tools for personalization and multichannel communications, and it opens doors to the world of higher-value services, such as creating and managing marketing portals.“As an entry level Cloud-based solution, StoreFlow Cloud gives Print and Marketing service providers a convenient way to participate in a fast growing segment of services,” said Jacob Aizikowitz, President of XMPie.  “At the same time, customers of StoreFlow Cloud will be able to jumpstart their journey towards transforming their businesses to become full-fledged, high-value multichannel service providers.”StoreFlow Cloud allows visitors to upload their documents, or select a template from a catalogue and customize/personalize it, price the job, and submit it for processing and handling. StoreFlow Cloud leverages Xerox FreeFlow Core technology to streamline and automate prepress functions and other print fulfillment workflows.Key features of StoreFlow Cloud include having an unlimited number of static, customizable and variable documents; Adobe workflow for InDesign template creation and editing; Automated predefined prepress workflows powered by Xerox FreeFlow Core; customizable, mobile-friendly storefronts with intuitive shopping experience; and integration with common payment gateways and shipping providers.
Google Print Cloud, a technology which allows users of Google's phone, tablet devices, as well as PC users, to print remotely, has just added an update which allows users to send jobs directly to FedEx Office (formerly FedEx Kinko's).The technology, launched in 2010, originally allowed users to print remotely, whether it is a printer at work or at home. Now users can send jobs to FedEx Office locations around North America, to be retrieved with a generated code.Google's Print Cloud technology is also implemented into a line of consumer-level devices from Canon, Epson, HP and Kodak.In 2007, Adobe and FedEx Kinko's drew the ire of the printing industry when the two companies partnered to offer a direct printing path from Adobe Acrobat and Acrobat Reader to FedEx Kinko's locations. Adobe quickly stepped back from the effort after printers threatened to boycott its products.
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.
North Plains of Toronto introduced new versions for three of its products, including Xinet 17.5, Telescope 9.1 and On Brand 2.6, which are core software applications. The product updates, scheduled for launch by the end of North Plain’s current fiscal quarter, focus on interoperability and usability improvements.Xinet 17.5Xinet is a described by North Plains as an optimized media production environment, tuned to deliver productivity benefits to creative teams producing rich-media assets in an environment tightly integrated with the Adobe Creative Suite. Xinet Pilot, a key module of Xinet 17.5, has been enhanced by expanding previous Asset Browser functionality onto the creative desktop, which provides more flexibility to access, automate and synchronize asset production. Also, North Plains’ ConnectR technology now allows Xinet to push assets and related metadata with a single click to both On Brand and Xinet Digital, North Plains’ new brand engagement products. 

Additionally, assets and metadata that have been pushed to Telescope software can now be pulled back, from within the Xinet interface. Xinet 17.5 now includes Unicode support to encode multiple languages and character sets. North Plains explains this allows for deeper localized deployment across multiple geographies. Audio files can now be previewed in Xinet via MP3 audio thumbnails and Xinet can now be licensed without a hardware dongle on Windows and Linux.Telescope 9.1Designed as an enterprise-scale digital asset management system, the new release of Telescope 9.1 also focuses on interoperability in that ConnectR technology now allows Xinet users to pull content from a Telescope repository. As a result, Telescope and Xinet can now be connected in a bi-directional workflow for asset transfers. Additionally, the Telescope Web interface now includes auto-complete functionality in many data entry fields to speed-up form completion. As a user types, Telescope automatically filters out non-matching items from the list until the user selects the desired value. Files can now be dropped directly onto Telescope to trigger import, and catalogues of selected assets can be dropped directly to the desktop or into a creative application like InDesign.On Brand 2.6On Brand is a hosted solution with an interface for the management of brand assets and brand guidelines, while also holding optional capabilities for marketing resource management. Permission support in On Brand 2.6 now extends down to the asset level, which North Plains describes as providing for better control over what digital assets and materials can be viewed, downloaded and shared. This provides greater protection and distribution options for brand managers. On Brand 2.6 can now be used to brand portals in multiple languages and themes, improving accessibility across multiple geographies.

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