Premedia

Flint Group’s Paper & Board business has entered into a new partnership with X-Rite to distribute and support a colour-management solution, called VIVO Colour Solutions, that leverages the X-Rite eXact and NetProfiler in the package print supply chain.
Flint explains the move is based on the need to run tighter workflows between brand owners and print and packaging suppliers, given the need for colour consistency across wider geographies and packaging substrates.Flint describes VIVO Colour Solutions as a colour communication and service platform supported by its centralized colour service provider, the Global Colour Centre (GCC). VIVO ColourCloud utilizes the eXact device to provide a Web-based self-service colour repository, containing thousands of approved and tested colours. It allows customers to search and download CxF files, DigiSwatches, and ink recipes.
Along with the eXact spectrophotometer, the solution will leverage X-Rite's NetProfiler software for verifying device performance. “When paired with VIVO Colour Solutions, this technology will provide the basis for converter confidence in their ink supply, and a competitive advantage to deliver consistent colour packaging,” said Ray Cheydleur, Printing and Imaging Product Portfolio Manager for X-Rite.
Stuart Duffy, Flint Group Director, Professional Services Paper & Board, said, “I have no doubt VIVO Colour Solutions, in combination with X-Rite equipment, can become an industry benchmark.”
Beta has added the new Presto Spectro product to its line of colour densitometers and spectro-densitometers, aimed at both multiple colour offset or flexo presses. It can measure offset plates as well as print. It features what the company describes as Red (Stop) and Green (Go) traffic light indicators to show printers whether colour is correct and within their specified working tolerances as set by the user. The unit sells for approximately US$3,499.The Presto Spectro measures density, dot gain, dot area, gray balance, trapping order, L*A*B*, Lch, Delta E, and opacity. It also includes a new feature called Spot Color Tone Value (SCTV), which the company describes as especially useful for flexographic spot colour tone matching.  The Presto Spectro-Densitometer needs no chargers, explains the company, running on AA batteries for 50,000 measurements per battery set. Beta also explains it features an “ever bright” white display that makes reading values easier, as well as an “Easy Glide” track designed to never touch wet ink.The Presto Spectro includes a built-in 32 colour customizable library that is expandable to thousands of colours with the addition of the optional PrestoConnect Color Library software and database, which maintains job parameters to create, collect and manage colours and job information. The PrestoConnect Color Library software database can organize by colour, customer and job date.
Barbieri has released a new measuring device for colour management in the field of digital large-format printing. The Spectro LFP qb provides a range of  features and also supports the M1 measurement mode. The new Spectro LFP qb spectrophotometer from Barbieri comprises three components. First, the Spectro LFP platform is the measuring stage with an enhanced clamping system and integrated M1 backlighting (for transmitted light measurement). The spectral unit (measuring head) incorporates the latest qb technology and comprises what the company describes as the high-precision spectral core, three light sources for uniform illumination of the media surface from three different angles, and seven LEDs to guarantee real M1 daylight illumination pursuant to the standard. The spectral unit has another extremely useful feature, explains Barbieri: The measuring head is removable and therefore ideal for fast and reliable spot measurement. The third component, the sensing unit, is described by the company as an innovation in the field of professional digital printing: an integrated camera offering a range of applications never available before. With the help of the camera, the measuring device automatically recognizes the target, performs a precision measurement and communicates the position and the photo to the RIP software for further processing.The new system also includes switchable apertures (2, 6, 8 mm) for measuring different materials, surfaces, inks and resolutions.“We want to turn our customers into top performers so that they can deliver the very best certified quality to their customers. Our Spectro LFP qb incorporates the know-how we have built up through 15 years of collaboration with leading international bodies, regular customer feedback and experience on the market,” said Markus Barbieri, Director of R&D. “Now we are satisfied: We can offer our customers not only solutions for existing problems but for the first time also a platform that opens up a world of new possibilities and applications.”
RISO and EFI have partnered for the release of the first EFI Fiery digital front end (DFE) for RISO printers. The new ComColorExpress FS2000C from EFI is aimed at high-volume colour inkjet printing, using Fiery DFE technology and the Fiery Command WorkStation job management interface.The new DFEs, running on the latest Fiery FS200 Pro platform, are geared for RISO ComColor printers, running at 160 pages per minute. The new DFE provides centralized job and colour management.“Adding ComColorExpress FS2000C powered by EFI Fiery to our top-of-the-line ComColor GD series will bring significant added value for RISO customers,” said Andre D'Urbano, RISO's Director of Strategic Business Development. “We are especially pleased with the ease of use this solution provides, which gives operators the ability to perform even the most complex tasks with a fast learning curve.”RISO customers now have access to Fiery make-ready options such as Fiery Impose, Compose, and JobMaster, as well as productivity features like Fiery JobFlow Base for automation of job preparation and Fiery Hot Folders for drag-and-drop file printing workflows. Customers can also use the server to integrate their digital printing operations with EFI’s Digital StoreFront Web-to-print and Productivity Suite MIS/ERP workflows.Colour management in the Fiery DFE along with tools available in the optional Fiery Color Profiler Suite maintain consistent colors throughout and between print runs. Operators can correct brand colours such as corporate logos with Fiery Spot-On and enhance photos in a click with Fiery Image Enhance Visual Editor.
GMG has launched OpenColor 2.1, multichannel profiling software, to create profiles without test charts. Optical brighteners are now detected automatically. The tool is heavily used in packaging proofing. GMG OpenColor 2.1 now offers a measurement capability for custom patches. Whereas previously customers would require a specific test chart to create a color profile, GMG OpenColor 2.1 enables the measurement of full-tone patches from a print control strip, or even solid patches and tint patches on the running printed sheet and to create a profile from the captured spectral data, something no other profiling tool can achieve.The second key development in GMG OpenColor 2.1 is the inclusion of a detection tool for optical brighteners, which overcomes the issue customers face when they want to create a profile for a substrate and find that the proof doesn’t match the print as it hasn’t taken account of the optical brighteners in the printing material. However, when a customer measures a test chart, mini-strip or patches using GMG OpenColor 2.1, the software identifies optical brighteners in the substrate and recommends the correct measuring mode settings and the use of a proofing paper that also contains optical brighteners, such as the GMG ProofMedia OBA series.
Techkon recently launched a completely new version of it’s ChromaQA software (version 3.0), which pairs with the SpectroDens spectro-densitometer to form a pressroom colour solution that allows packaging and commercial printers to monitor the quality of jobs on press. Techkon explains the spectro-densitometers have settings on them for Measurement Condition (M0, M1, M2, & M3), Illuminant, Observer, Density Filter, etc. and sometimes these settings are mistakenly changed to the wrong settings. To help ensure press operators are taking colour measurements that are accurate for the job they are measuring, Techkon has introduced ColorEnsure for the new ChromaQA 3.0. As a job is created in the ChromaQA Spec module. This  defines the key colours to be monitored along with the reference or aim values for those colours and customer specific pass/fail tolerances. Before every sample is measured, the ColorEnsure feature automatically checks the connected SpectroDens instrument to be sure that the instrument is set up exactly as specified in the job.  If the instrument is not set up properly, the operator will see the dialog box below alerting them to the situation.
During its annual Connect conference in Las Vegas, Nevada, EFI debuted its new MarketDirect platform as software to help printing companies and marketing service providers drive integrated customer engagement.Described as a Customer Engagement Platform, MarketDirect gives users the ability to develop, distribute and track customer communications for loyalty programs, offers, newsletters, surveys and communications. The software includes the next-generation of cross-media/multi-channel technologies available from EFI, building on the company’s DirectSmile platform for lead generation, new customer acquisition, prospecting and more.The software is available as a standalone application or alongside EFI’s Web-to-print software employed in the technology company’s Productivity Suites. It provides users visibility, data tracking and management capabilities for marketing campaign and customer engagement activities within the Suites’ MIS/ERP frameworks.MarketDirect includes EFI SmartCampaign, a new HTML5-based cross-media design tool. With a new storyboards automated campaign-creation feature, EFI explains, customers can build and visualize a campaign in a matter of minutes using simple drag-and-drop tools.Theme templates introduced with MarketDirect, explains EFI, give users the ability to personalize and launch campaigns with minimal training. New tools in the software also allow users to build and execute personalized communication and marketing programs for Web, email, print, mobile or social media.“This next-generation Customer Engagement Platform in MarketDirect significantly expands what our customers can offer in marketing and communication services,” said Charlotte Tueckmantel, VP and GM, Value Added Products, EFI Productivity Software. “From storyboarding and campaign design to visual automation, this is an elegantly simple tool for businesses looking to drive greater customer loyalty and deliver higher-value services to their client base”
DALIM SOFTWARE in January 2017 released DALIM ES 5.5 as a significant update to a major version released just within the past year. DALIM ES (Enterprise Solution) is a media production platform for marketing partners and media services companies to store, manage, locate, and drive omnichannel projects, from print to Web to video.DALIM ES 5.5 features a completely redesigned and more sophisticated workflow editor, rewritten with a new user-friendly interface to create, edit and organize workflows. Users can drag and drop tasks into place, and to make – and undo –changes. Administrators can scale the workflow diagrams, zooming in and out to locate specific tasks. Groups of tasks can be copied and placed wherever needed. DALIM SOFTWARE has implemented an artificial intelligence framework into ES based on similarity, embedding libraries based on deep learning. When the deep learning is active, DALIM ES is automatically tagging metadata when a document is uploaded. The metadata is then used in the search field. Thus, DALIM SOFTWARE is building a machine learning model that works on any type of data, of any size, for more successful searches—for example, based on their color.DALIM LATITUDE is a free application to provide better interaction between the company’s web applications and the operating system. With DALIM ES and DALIM LATITUDE, a checked-out document from DALIM ES can be stored on the user’s machine in a LATITUDE directory. Users can also add new files to an ES project by dropping them in the LATITUDE directory, storing the checked-out files of the project, and checking them in the project.
Tilia Labs of Ottawa, a developer of planning, imposition, and automation software reached a new technology partnership with Aleyant, which also serves as a software developer for the printing industry. Their joint development aims deliver simplicity, efficient end-to-end quality control for printing companies that provide commercial and large-format services via online storefronts. The partnership has already resulted in two new integrations that connect Tilia Labs’ flagship imposition system, tilia Phoenix, with Aleyant’s Web-to-print and workflow solutions Pressero and tFlow. The integrations, explains Tilia, mean that customers can leverage automated imposition capabilities for calculation of the most cost-optimal production layouts direct from order input through to completion. The company explains this end-to-end cross-platform automation covers virtually any printing, cutting, and finishing combination. “We’re very excited by this partnership with Aleyant because Web-to-print imposition is an area where we feel tilia Phoenix can make a massive difference to print service providers,” Sagen de Jonge, CEO of Tilia Labs explains. “Phoenix was purpose-designed to automate impositions that deliver the best scenario for the printer, in terms of equipment utilization, materials and consumables, turnaround times, and overall cost. “By its nature, web-to-print involves the greatest range of variables: thousands of individual files, each specified differently, submitted in every available format and via a variety of protocols,” continued de Jonge. “It calls for unprecedented speed, flexibility, and accuracy. The combination of Aleyant and Tilia will be hard to beat.” tilia Phoenix, explains the company, draws on new developments in Artificial Intelligence in automating planning and imposition for all types of devices and print applications using nesting, die cutting, guillotine optimization, and planning algorithms. The system factors in parameters like job specifications (quantity, dimensions, colours, substrates), presses/print devices, postpress requirements, and delivery considerations, to deliver optimal layout options.  Pressero’s use of XML open architecture enables it to automatically hand off orders and files to a hot folder designated for Phoenix software. First, Pressero will generate a csv file that can be saved locally or in FTP. Once the file is received via Aleyant's Automatic Workflow Integrator (AWI), it is sent to the Phoenix hot folder where is has automatic access to Phoenix tools and protocols that, explains the company, search across millions of possibilities in calculating the most cost-effective ganging and nesting combinations. The Phoenix Plan identifier helps control which incoming jobs are considered to be in the same group in identifying layouts for up to 1,000 orders at a time. Integration with Aleyant tFLOW links tilia Phoenix into a digital and large format workflow specifically designed to control difficult file management tasks and processes. Aleyant tFLOW can automatically check and fix jobs and forward them for approvals or production. With tilia Phoenix as partner technology, imposition plans, production options and cost implications can be calculated simultaneously on-the-fly. “Our principal mission is to help customers become more available, efficient and profitable by unifying production processes,” said Darrian Young, tFLOW Product Manager at Aleyant. “This partnership creates a very powerful capability to do exactly that without adding any complexity for the user. Printers of everything from custom packaging, labels, decals, cases, sign and display, to more traditional commercial jobs, can now benefit from ultimate process efficiency and cost-optimization.”
Crawford Technologies of Toronto released an upgrade of its software based on the CrawfordTech Digital Transform Engine (DTE) 4.6, which is the company’s core engine used in products for print stream transforms, document reengineering and accessible document creation. New capabilities in CrawfordTech DTE 4.6 include enhancements and product extensions like support for Auto Tagger for Accessibility, so users can convert documents in all print formats and PDFs into Section 508 compliant accessible documents.The upgrade also includes new capabilities in the MasterONE Architecture for handling multiple languages in one pass, as well as enhancements to PRO Concatenator that now allow it to pass all PDF outline objects through when concatenating PDF files.Enhancements to PRO Designer are designed to support greater usability when designating rules for creating accessible documents. The upgrade also includes an Enterprise license server that enables customers to manage their own licensing and, according to the company, makes it easier for them to make changes in their environment.In total, the new software release includes more than 200 enhancements, fixes and performance improvements. “Crawford Technologies remains committed to its aggressive semi-annual schedule for new software releases that further enhances our ability to provide a platform-independent approach, leading system performance and superior innovation with all our solutions,” said Ernie Crawford, President and CEO of Crawford Technologies.
Tilia Labs of Ottawa, Ontario, a developer of planning, imposition and automation software for the graphic arts, entered a new partnership aimed at label printers. In a development with Cerm, a MIS provider to this sector, the two companies will combine their strengths to offer integrated prepress capabilities for label print production. The initial result of the collaboration between the two companies is new integration between Cerm MIS and tilia Phoenix ganging capabilities to deliver a plug-and-play solution for optimizing sheetfed label production workflow, from design through to distribution. According to Geert Van Damme, Managing Director of Cerm, increasing demand from customers for an “intelligent ganging system” acted as the catalyst for Cerm to explore options for a dedicated imposition solution. “Cut & Stack sheetfed label producers were asking for a sophisticated capability that would allow them to combine a variety of labels with different sizes, colours and quantities on print sheets,” said Van Damme. “[Phoenix’] speed was the first thing to impress everyone,” continued Van Damme, describing the testing phase of available partner software. “It also offers an extensive set of preferences, allowing the print shop to align the system with its routine production habits. The user can make any number of changes to the chosen option and even save it as a template for the future. On top of this, the system is very intuitive – for usability it couldn’t be matched.” Tilia Labs’ flagship imposition software, tilia Phoenix, draws on new developments in Artificial Intelligence (AI) in automating planning and imposition for all types of devices and print applications. At its hub is Imposition AI, a set of tools and protocols designed to search across millions of possibilities to calculate the most cost-effective ganging and nesting combinations for up to 1,000 orders at a time. The system factors in parameters like job specifications (quantity, dimensions, colors, substrates), presses/print devices, postpress requirements, and delivery considerations, to deliver optimal layout options.  The Cerm MIS now interfaces directly to Phoenix as to an intelligent ‘black box’, without the need to switch back and forth between applications. A group of individual orders can be ganged in the most competitive way, explain the companies, based upon the calculation of total production costs. The preferred option can be stored during estimation and re-used for repeat production runs, allowing individual elements within the template to be swapped for identically shaped labels. The companies explain if significant changes are called for then the gang-sheet can be opened, elements can be replaced or added and then re-ganged. When a final option has been selected, tilia Phoenix generates print-ready ganged layouts and imposition JDF instructions. Van Damme explains that, due to Cerm’s existing integration with Esko Automation Engine, the Phoenix JDFs will automatically drive Esko’s platemaking, offering additional time and cost savings to the print shop. “Tilia and Cerm customers can now tap into a wealth of combined knowhow via a single source to gain a very powerful management system,” Sagen de Jonge, CEO of Tilia Labs. “The ongoing development opportunities are also promising - Cerm are already looking at our die-cut capabilities to explore the potential of developing a joint offering. This is not simply a technical interface between the two systems, it’s about complete solutions that will evolve with new developments from both sides over time.”
There are now expanded capabilities between Electronics For Imaging’s Fiery digital front ends and Kodak’s Prinergy Workflow 8.1 that allows printers to better integrate their digital and conventional presses. The new di-directional integration for hybrid digital and conventional printing is designed to make decisions in real time for the most cost-efficient production scenarios.The new bidirectional communication between Prinergy and Fiery-driven presses specifically allows users to check job progress and device status for efficient production with the browser-based Prinergy Track.The new Fiery DFE integration with Prinergy Workflow 8.1 provides the flexibility to add equipment from different digital toner-based or high-speed inkjet press manufacturers without changing workflows. EFI also points to Fiery DFE printer capabilities to dynamically submit jobs with specified media, colour, layout and finishing settings.“Prinergy Workflow 8.1 will provide our customers with the widest choice when connecting to a digital device,” said Allan Brown, VP and GM of Kodak’s Unified Workflow Solutions. “By fully leveraging their digital equipment, printers will be able to increase efficiency and open the door for additional growth opportunities.” The integration also allows user to make last-minute production scenario changes for cost optimization by rerouting jobs to a different digital press even after submission, with capability to modify job settings. Users can also define mixed media, mixed colour mode, and more with page range, inserts, and covers straight from Prinergy Workflow.EFI explains users can leverage its proprietary HyperRIP technology to, on average, process files up to 55 percent faster when compared with a Fiery DFE without the HyperRIP feature.
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.
Agfa Graphics this spring is set to launch a new chemical-free plate line called Adamas. The company states Adamas will be the most durable chem-free plate available on the market, in terms of plate throughput and run length. Agfa states the plate system will require zero water and provide up to 75 percent less waste when compared to similar products.
Adamas leverages new Agfa-patented ThermoLink technology, which, according to the company, provides run lengths as long as 350,000 copies. Adamas can be used in a variety of print environments like sheetfed and cold-set to heatset printing. The plate is compatible with low-power curing UV inks.“When we designed Adamas, we kept every need of the most advanced commercial printers in mind. The result shows innovation on all fronts – increased durability, enhanced performance and responses to the biggest market trends, such as low-power curing inks,” said Iris Bogunovic, Product Manager for Thermal Plates. “Adamas is a testament to our ECO3 sustainable innovation drivers, which bring ecology, economy and extra convenience to our customers. With Adamas, commercial printers enjoy every advantage of chem-free printing, combined with new technology, ThermoLink, that takes press performance and process efficiency to new heights.”The highly sensitive plate Adamas was designed for use with Agfa Graphics’ dedicated Adamas clean-out units, which can be cleaned with pH-neutral clean-out solution and zero water.
Sun Chemical in January launched a new UV offset ink developed, explains the company, to make sophisticated graphics look stunning and vibrant on high-end luxury folding cartons, while at the same time providing the longer-term shelf appeal.  

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

SunCure Aspire UV inks, according to the company, also deliver strong adhesion properties to many non-porous substrates. SunCure Aspire UV inks are available in a range of high strength blending colours for all spot colour needs, and meet ISO color requirements for GRACoL G7 applications.
Sun Chemical has introduced a set of migration-compliant metallic inks for sheetfed offset printing. The new set, part of Sun Chemical’s SunPak FSP range of bio-based, lithographic inks for board and paper, comprises four colours – silver, rich gold, rich pale gold and pale gold. The SunPak set of migration-compliant, metallic inks is now available in Europe, North America and South America.The inks are ideally suited for food packaging, explains the company, as they have been fully certified as migration-compliant. Developed to ensure that there is no batch-to-batch variation and offering a storage life of 12 months, the new inks will be dispatched to customers as a ready mixed, one-pack system. The new inks have been validated in tests by existing customers, Sun Chemical explains their feedback indicates that the new range of metallic inks delivers good storage stability, is more robust on press compared with other migration-compliant inks and has drawn level with standard oil-based metallic inks in terms of metallic brilliance. “In line with Sun Chemical’s commitment to continuous innovation to help our customers operate more productive, profitable and sustainable businesses, we’re now introducing our latest set of metallic inks,” said Detlef Trautewein, Technical Service Manager, Sheetfed Europe, Sun Chemical. “Offering an unsurpassed level of shine, together with a 12-month storage life, batch consistency and a migration-compliant certification in a one-pack system, we’re confident that these new additions to our SunPak range will enable our customers to produce stand-out packaging for their customers.”
CRON-ECRM at PRINT 17 will debut and demonstrate the Blackwood Digital-UV plate. In addition, CRON-ECRM will be producing all of the offset plates being run on the RMGT 9 Series 8-up press on an adjacent booth.The CRON Blackwood Emerald-UV low chemistry plate, explains the company, is designed to minimize the consumption of chemicals and water for UV exposed plates. With a wash-out bath, CRON explains the plates are press ready in a matter of seconds, with dot reproduction from 1-98% for either stochastic screening (20 micron) or conventional screening up to 200 lpi. Run length is rated for up to 50,000.For UV ink printing, Blackwood offers UV double coating plate, HUV whose run length is over 50,000 and dot reproduction 1-98% at 350 lpi. For normal ink printing, HU-PXX the run length can go up to 100,000 and dot reproduction 1-98% at 350 lpi.At PRINT 17, CRON-ECRM will also be running the CRON UVP4664G+X+ UV CTP solution, which is geared to commercial printers who have a half-size or a full 8-up press. This fully automated system will feature a Multi Cassette loader. With CRON’s magnetic linear drive platform, integrated online punch and dynamic drum balance the registration accuracy is up to 0.01mm and the tonal range is 1-99% in either conventional or stochastic screening.The CRON HDI-600S Flexo CTP will also be on display, an imager designed for label printing running digital photopolymer plates, ablative films, and polyester-based letterpress plates.
Fujifilm North America is to debut the Superia ZD offset plate technology, a new addition to its processless plate portfolio for the commercial market, at PRINT 17. It will be demonstrated with the existing Superia Ecomaxx-T plate. The company describes the Superia ZD as a true no-process thermal plate, with no effluent to dispose of and no additional consumables to contend with.“Superia ZD provides superior performance when printing under UV ink conditions, and also allows for improved run length in non-UV ink environments,” said Jim Crawford, Director, Consumable Sales, Fujifilm. “UV durability was one of the key driving factors in this development.”Superia ZD performance is maximized with Fujifilm Hunt fountain solutions, including Superia PressMax JRDC-AB, compatible with UV/LED-UV/H-UV or conventional inks; along with the single-step Superia PressMax PPF-DC, a fountain solution with calcium control additive, also suitable for UV/LED-UV/H-UV or conventional inks.
Sun Chemical has named Veritiv as a distribution partner of its Streamline solvent inkjet inks for wide format and super wide format printers.The new distributor partnership, according to a Sun Chemical statement, allows the two companies to reach their North American inks customers faster and more efficiently and jointly provide customers with technical and product support. Veritiv customers will now have access to Sun Chemical’s range of Streamline inkjet eco solvent inks for Mutoh and Roland printers, as well as super wide format inks for three- and five-metre solvent printers. “As we continue to expand into new wide format markets, one of our goals is provide our customers with the leading products, selections and solutions available,” said Scott Dickerson, Product Manager, Wide Format for Veritiv. “We are pleased to be able to offer Sun Chemical’s product line which is supported and developed through industry leading research and technical expertise.”
Better Life Technology, LLC, which develops vinyl surface coverings, introduced a new BILD Print Media line aimed at sheetfed offset printing. The company explains its new product, which is sold through Veritiv, targets long-run printing for vinyl substrates.BILD SF (Sheetfed) is designed for UV offset printing in a range of applications like counter mats, floor mats, pole wraps, end cap displays, temporary wall graphics and way finders, among others. BILD SF is a unique material, explains the company, in its ability to work with both rigid and flexible applications.BILD SF, continues the company, is best suited for second surface printing to keep images protected, while also avoiding common product issues like cracking, bubbling, peeling or delamination. BILD SF is available in an introductory size of 28 x 40 inches, with a woodgrain finish.“We are excited to announce the addition to our BILD Print Media brand. The product is so versatile, ranging in uses from retail for POP, on walls, in tradeshow booth design, and of course for many diverse custom designed flooring applications,” said Bill Rothe, VP of Sales, Better Life Technology. “BILD SF is unlike any other product on the market and we look forward to seeing how the graphic printing business benefits from it.”
CTI Paper USA has commercially released an expanded range of Kromekote ultra-gloss papers aimed at labeling and general printing applications. This includes a new embossed, pearlescent Kromekote Jade Text and Cover line for dry toner/laser and offset printing. A universal coating, according to CTI Paper, enables Kromekote to be used interchangeably across offset and production-rated dry toner/laser equipment. CTI Papers are available in Canada through a range of paper merchants such as Arirva.The newly launched Kromekote Jade Text and Cover line brings highly reflective, embossed pearlescent textures to the brand for the first time. It is available in luxe surfaces – Brush, Wave, Linen and Pinweave – with immediate availability of folio, digital and cut-size sheets, plus envelopes.“Printed pieces on Kromekote Jade deliver a beautiful, sophisticated elegance,” said John Kelly, President and co-owner of CTI Paper USA. “Ambient light refracts against the embossed surface and inks to deliver stunning, high-impact print.  We’re seeing interest in this unique, differentiated surface from printers of all sizes.” New for HP Indigo presses, following the growing demand for heavyweights, is a 14- and 18-point Kromekote ultra bright-white board. CTI Paper now offers HP Indigo papers in a variety of weights and thicknesses, from 8 pt. to 18 pt. (350 gsm), the majority of which are certified by the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT).CTI Paper USA has also received certification for Kromekote on the Konica-Minolta bizhub press platform, while the company explains the paper line is engineered for digital presses from Xerox, Kodak, Canon, Epson, Oce and Ricoh.“Kromekote’s universal surface delivers other important benefits to merchants and printers – increased simplicity of specification and use, and reduced inventory requirements,” said Kelly.For offset and dry toner/laser equipment, Kromekote features an ultra bright-white universal C1S and C2S sheet in a wide range of weights and sizes. It is also available in an ultra bright-white C1S label in two basis weights.  Kromekote products are acid-free, lignin-free, elemental chlorine free and, with the exception of foils, recyclable. In addition, Kromekote features offerings in brushed and mirror-finished gold and silver foils and five colours. Kromekote handles specialty finishing such as embossing, foil stamping, aqueous coatings and varnishes.
Flint Group at the start of July globally launched XCURA EVO as its new generation UV LED sheetfed process ink. “EVO is short for evolutionary,” explained Trevor Amps, Global Product Management Director for Energy Curing inks. “This signals a step change from our world renowned XCURA formulations which, for the past four years, have served our customers very well as an industry leader. XCURA EVO is our next generation offer to the UV LED and low energy sheetfed market…”XCURA EVO is created out of a new resin technology system that premiered in May 2017 with UltraCURA Sens Low Migration process inks and bases, with the goal of providing increased stability and performance consistency. “We tested EVO on all the main presses and many formats, straight and perfecting, with and without IPA, highest production speeds and quality standards and we drew critical comparisons against our existing products and all of our main competitors,” said Dario Zarantoniello, UV Inks and Coatings Technical Manager who managed field trials of the new inks. “The customers noted better gloss levels, exceptional colour strength and sharper dots. They also commented on much better stability, as production speeds increased, offering tangible efficiency benefits.” Flint explains XCURA EVO is the second global launch this year to be created with these unique formulations. Amps explained another main impact from EVO is the low waste generated based on strong transfer properties on all substrates. The company also pointed out that all of its sheetfed energy curing products are  compliant with current raw material exclusion lists, National and International regulations and manufacturing best practice, as laid down by advisory bodies, such as the European Printing Ink Association (EuPIA).
Catalyst Paper, headquartered in Vancouver, B.C., has launched Trident, a wet strength label paper produced at its Rumford mill in Maine. Trident is a full wet strength label paper for application on water bottles, craft beer, juice bottles, wine bottles and large format containers. Available in 47 and 60 pound basis weights (lbs. per 3,300 ft2), Trident is sustainably produced with available chain-of-custody certification under the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) and Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) standards.“As we strive to expand our portfolio of value-added, paper-based solutions for our Specialty customers, we are excited to introduce Trident, our new wet-strength label paper,” said Brian Boland, Vice President, Specialty Papers & New Product Development.  “Not only does this launch further demonstrate our commitment to the label market, it offers a durable beverage label with excellent wet opacity, printability and labeling speed that will satisfy the needs of both converters and brand owners.”The introduction of Trident follows Catalyst’s recent re-launch of Rumford Offset, and additional specialty products including Glide Graphics release liner base papers, the Leap family of lightweight food flexible packaging papers and the Bistro line of food service papers.
Roland has introduced the new HeatSoft SATIN (ESM-HTMS) to its existing lineup of media offerings. Roland’s HeatSoft SATIN is an inkjet-printable, polyurethane for heat transfer applications. HeatSoft SATIN weeds easily and transfers to the transfer mask, without the use of a squeegee. With its semi-gloss finish, HeatSoft SATIN can be transferred to cotton, polyester and poly blend materials to create customized apparel and accessories with a desirable “screen print” sheen and a soft hand. HeatSoft SATIN has also earned CPSIA certification, providing assurance that it’s safe for use in the production of apparel and products for children 12 years of age or younger. It is available in 75-foot rolls with 54-inch, 30-inch and 20-inch widths.
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.
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.
A range of technology suppliers were asked to provide up to two of their newest Web to Print tools, which can include either a new platform or updates to an existing product. The following technologies provide some of the strongest tools available to drive a range of business to digital and offset printing presses.Radatech Web to Print ShopWeb to Print Shop bundles Radatech’sW2P tools into modules as plug-ins that can be applied to any Wordpress/Woocommerce Website. These tools are well suited for companies that have a modest level of fluency in managing their Website and wish to manage their own data.  They can leverage the general open source aspects of their Website that are publicly available, while the Web to Print Shop plug-ins will fill in the gaps and handle harder issues like sophisticated product options and pricing, variable data templates, the uDRAW HTML5 designer plug-in, PDF based templates, file upload detection, file data and job routing. The system allows users to choose from several user interfaces and to create their own. W2P Shop can also be connected to the W2P CLOUD system and have all orders funnel into one production dashboard for streamlined management and reporting. Infigo MegaEdit 3D previewThe MegaEdit 3D preview module was updated in March 2017 to include finishing features, such as embossing, spot varnish and foiling, and photo-realistic 360-degree product previews. The original 3D preview tool was launched last year. Infigo explains the MegaEdit 3D preview module gives users the closest online experience to try before they buy, which is particularly useful for the personalized gifting space. The HTML 5 MegaEdit module is cloud-based so there are no time-consuming downloads, and it’s compatible for any device, so clients and end users can access it anywhere.The 3D preview module has also been integrated with Esko so it can deliver a 3D visual of the product and automate the output of the Esko CAD profiles in a print-ready format, delivering an automated workflow that enables on-demand printing for packaging suppliers. Amazing Print eCardBuilder Version 5.2 eCardBuilder Version 5.2 is to be released at Print 17 in September 2017 and will have a multi-lingual interface with more products. Amazing Print explains the new version of the web-to-print design engine eCardBuilder 5.2 will feature 100 new products and thousands of additional templates as a free upgrade to current users. Some of the new upgrades include new template creation functionality, new language support for multilingual w+Websites, new image editing capability and image cropping and resizing improvements. The tool’s improved mobile optimized interface will allow ordering and designing on any cell phone or tablet device, while desktop users will benefit from increased speed and better aesthetics. A new version of APIs will allow deeper connectivity in popular shopping carts and Websites. eCardBuilder users can additionally upgrade to a PosterDesignerPlus+ web to print poster designer and ordering interface based on eCardBuilder framework directly from Canon Canada.EFI SmartCanvasSmartCanvas, powered by DirectSmile is a new, Web-based product design tool launched with the new version 9.2 of EFI’s Digital StoreFront Web-to-print and eCommerce software. With SmartCanvas, users can create templates for a variety of products such as greeting cards, flyers, business cards, brochures, stationery, and banners. SmartCanvas is 100 percent HTML5 compatible, ensuring it works across a range of browsers for printer clients to submit customized orders online. Clients can use the design tools to personalize products by selecting images from galleries and adding their own text, images, QR codes, and shapes, while retaining the original branding control of the template. SmartCanvas supports: Multiple levels of undo (and redo); Keyboard shortcuts; Right-click context menus; Layers; Data tools – form fields, variables, and switches; Custom-defined spot colours and official Pantone spot colour definitions, including metallic and fluorescent colours); Real-time preview of product customization.Infigo MegaEdit MobileA mobile optimized version of Infigo’s MegaEdit design tool was launched in March 2017 to enhance the user experience on mobile devices, which requires an intuitive mobile experience.  With consumers storing photos on their mobile device more so than their computer, Infigo explains this development is key to deliver a great experience for photo gifting businesses, and personalized product online retailers.  The latest developments, explains Infigo, make it easy for end users to personalize their order. The MegaEdit mobile interface has been developed to make image upload and editing variable fields simple on a mobile phone. MegaEdit is built in HTML 5 and is cloud-based, so is easy access on most any device.Agfa StoreFront 4.0In April, Agfa Graphics released the next generation of its StoreFront, version 4.0 software, which now features what Agfa describes as responsive stores for optimal ease of use, new estimating functionality for pricing information, and new packaging algorithms for cost-effective shipping. The new StoreFront version is optimized to be viewed on smaller screens and large desktop monitors, as store pages automatically adapt to any device.Another addition to StoreFront 4.0 is the ‘save for quote’ functionality. It allows resellers and agencies to get instant pricing information for an entire product bundle, including shipping costs. In StoreFront 4.0, the shipping module is completely reworked with new packaging algorithms for the grouping of order items and for calculating the optimal number of boxes needed for shipping. Also a new packaging type has been introduced for posters, banners and similar types of signage. These products can now be combined on a single packaging roll.Radatech Web to Print Cloud Web to Print Cloud is powered by EPOWER, which specializes in online ordering portals for corporate brands and in-plant operations. The software has the ability to modify the skin to accommodate any look and feel. The system utilizes multiple file formats for variable data – HTML5 design application, PDFLib and InDesign files with XMPie.  The system offers editable workflow stations (as many as you want). The company explains there are no limits to the type of products that users can publish on the system. It also accommodates multiple administrative privileges, multi-billing and shipping options. The reporting can also be customized to generate reports with any piece of data in a few seconds and no coding is necessary. Print Science wp2print wp2print is an e-commerce solution for printing companies built on top of WordPress. wp2print brings these important functions to the Website: Complete purchase process including: quotes, purchase and payment; pricing calculators that can handle all the different products type printers require including saddle-stitched catalogues, perfect-bound books, wide format products, signs and more; design-online; both public storefronts and private storefronts for large accounts; and file uploads with no limitations on file size or type.Because it is built with WordPress, the company explains wp2print is easy to manage to create an attractive and responsive Website by using thousands of available WordPress themes. Print Science explains it is also easy to extend functionality by adding Wordpress or WooCommerce plugins; and to translate to any language. wp2print is available for purchase or by subscription (SaaS). Subscription prices start at US$100 per month. Subscriptions include Website hosting, training and technical support.
Software developer Avanti Computer Systems of Toronto has integrated its Avanti Slingshot Print MIS solution with the Catfish Web-to-print platform from Infigo Software Limited. The first user of the newly integrated solutions is the Print & Imaging Lab at Arizona State University, the in-house print provider at one of the largest universities in the United States.“Automation is the single most important element in keeping a print provider operating in the black today,” said Cathy Skoglund, Director of ASU’s print operation. The newly integrated solution, according to Avanti, allows customers of imaging lab, whether internal or external, to use the SaaS-based Infigo e-commerce platform to submit a print-ready file or compose the entire piece online. By integrating Catfish with Slingshot, Avanti explains it is possible to automate every aspect of the print job into a single workflow, eliminating the need for human intervention. This includes functions like job specification and submission, reporting, estimating, imposition, inventory management, scheduling, shipping and billing. “By integrating Avanti Slingshot with Infigo Catfish, our customers have easy access to a new set of unique and powerful e-commerce and job submission capabilities,” said Patrick Bolan, President and CEO, Avanti. More heavily used in the U.K. and Europe, Infigo Catfish is a Web-to-print platform for printing companies operating in both B2B and B2C environments. It is an HTML5-based (SaaS) solution that can be customized and configured for use by print buyers. Infigo explains it is now in the midst of an aggressive campaign to market its software in North America. Catfish, with tools like MegaEdit, provides online functions for customer acquisition, retention, improvement of the order process and reducing customers support costs.
Propago, a cloud-based Marketing Asset Management software firm headquartered in Austin, Texas, has released native cXML PunchOut support for eProcurement connection capabilities. The cXML PunchOut protocol, explains the company, is the most commonly used method of connecting a procurement application to a supplier’s Web-based shopping cart.“By adding full-cycle cXML PunchOut support, our clients can extend their reach by offering enterprise level integrations to anyone,” said Rick Aberle, CEO of Propago. “By adding native cXML support directly in Propago our clients won’t need to incur outside expenses from either software purchases or consulting fees to support their largest opportunities.”The Propago platform’s support for cXML enables trusted supply chain partners (commercial printers, promotional, and apparel companies) to leverage Propago’s marketing asset management platform through a company’s eProcurement system, such as Ariba, Verian, Coupa, SAP, and Oracle.End users can utilize Propago’s personalization engine, browse the full marketing catalogue and order while remaining in compliance with enterprise procurement processes. Propago was started within a large commercial printing conglomerate as an internal application to serve clients and support backend operations for those clients. In 2015, the team responsible for building and maintaining the Propago platform was given the opportunity to spin the technology away from the parent company and form a completely stand-alone organization.
Propago has introduced Version 6 of its cloud-based Web-to-print platform designed specifically for the printing industry. Headquartered in Austin, Texas, Propago was started within a large commercial printing conglomerate as an internal application to serve clients and support backend operations for those clients. In 2015, the team responsible for building and maintaining the Propago platform was given the opportunity to spin the technology away from the parent company and form a completely standalone organization.“We take great pride in listening to the industry and our customers to help them continue their growth and increase their profitability,” said Rick Aberle, CEO of Propago. “With the introduction of version 6, we have rebuilt and modernized our front-end portal so that is more intuitive, faster and powerful.”“We continue our push to lead the market with a flagship product that stands alone and above the rest of the web-to-print solutions on the market. With over 16 years of experience in the industry, we have developed an easier and more efficient system that allows producers to offer a comprehensive platform to manage, distribute, and produce the marketing assets of their clients.”Propago version 6, supported by more than 16 years of experience in the industry, is based on a completely new architecture, including new features like a redesigned user interface and additional methods to personalize print materials.The company points to other new features of version 6 like reinforced compliance enforcement for end marketers, enhanced relevance-based searching capabilities, flexible themes and landing pages for a personalized experience, responsive design to support any device, and expanded support for Propago First-Render technology to streamline end-users’ orders.Propago explains its Marketing Asset Management Platform allows a printer to offer customers a platform to have complete control over their brands, budgets, and inventory, while sharing and distributing marketing assets to sales teams, affiliates, franchisees, channel partners or any authorized users. Users can access branded marketing assets and order what they need through intuitive cloud-based marketing portals. It includes a set of Web-to-print, production, procurement, warehousing and fulfillment tools. Propago’s portals handle a variety of assets from printable assets, digital files, promotional products, and apparel to more complex personalized brochures and kits. Granular settings, explains the company, allow administrators to configure branding controls, spending limits, user rights, and reporting, enabling end users easy access to all branded materials from anywhere in the world.
Agfa Graphics updated its Cloud-based Web-to-print Storefront software to Version 3.0 to focus on what the company describes as simpler online creation and management. StoreFront 3.0 is designed for integrating with Apogee (commercial printing) and Asanti (display and signage) software. “At the moment our largest StoreFront account is a print service provider who is running 51 B2B stores for different clientele,” said Andy Grant, Head of Software, Agfa Graphics. “Today StoreFront serves more than 1,000,000 pages per month, a number that very well illustrates the potential of this market."One of the new StoreFront 3.0 features is designed for the use of animated carousel banners and custom footer function on store pages. This provides the capability for shop owners to leverage the technology for marketing, providing information to shoppers or promote specific products or services. Agfa explains the HTML5 banners are easy to set up and properly display on mobile devices. The footer function can be used to add contact data or payment and shipping information on store pages.StoreFront 3.0 now also supports price rounding either per item or for the total order value. With the updated software, Agfa explains business customers with stores aimed at international visitors have better control over international value-added taxes (VAT). In countries where it is customary to add a surcharge for credit card payments, such fees can now be added to the order total.“From the start, our StoreFront solution was developed with automation in mind,” continued Grant. “The tight integration with the Apogee or Asanti workflow is extremely powerful and saves printers a lot of time because incoming orders are automatically processed."
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.
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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