Ramping Up, in Packaging: Durst + Koenig & Bauer

Bob Leahey
Apr 17, 2019

Companies focused on digital printing for packaging got a reminder recently that two important suppliers, Durst Phototechnik and Koenig & Bauer, are joining forces, with the goal of making production-level digital printers for both folding carton and corrugated applications. Durst (Italy) and Koenig & Bauer (Germany) signed a 50/50 joint venture agreement on April 10 in Munich, to establish “Koenig & Bauer Durst GmbH.” First revealed in December 2018, the new venture will be registered in Wurzburg, Germany, where Koenig & Bauer is headquartered, but will be a separate entity with its own managing director, and it will cooperate closely with both parent companies. The companies expect that regulatory approvals will be granted within a few weeks, and that business operations will begin in late May.

Durst SPC 130 Single Pass Corrugated Printer

The newly combined forces have the potential to succeed in both folding cartons and corrugated – packaging applications where multiple vendors are now jockeying for position as suppliers of high-speed digital print technology. Koenig & Bauer is one of the world’s biggest manufacturers of analog presses for packaging, with hundreds of clients worldwide that print folding cartons or flexible packaging on its presses. Meanwhile the company is steeped in the topic of digital corrugated, given its partnership with HP to supply the transport for HP T1100 (2014), the 2.5meter/110” thermal inkjet web that pre-prints corrugated liner media with HP thermal inkjet. As to Durst, the Italian company manufactures a big line of multi-pass flatbed printers for sign, display, and other graphics printing, including the automated Durst Delta WT250 (2016) for corrugated. Durst is also a veteran supplier of single pass inkjet, first for ceramics (Durst Gamma) and, since 2017, Durst Delta SPC130 (1.3meter/51“) for corrugated.

KBA VariJET 106

Corrugated with high color graphics

Durst’s single pass Delta SPC130 will, in fact, be one of three printers to make up the initial product portfolio of the new joint venture; the other two will be Koenig & Bauer CorruJET 170, a single-pass corrugated printer, and KBA VariJET 106, a B1-sized inkjet printer for folding cartons. CorruJET, a new printer, is based on Koenig & Bauer’s RotaJET inkjet web press (Fujifilm Dimatix Samba heads, aqueous inks) for commercial printing and post-prints sheets of corrugated up to 1.7m/67”wide at up to 6,000 sheet per hour. As to KBA VariJET, it was first sighted at drupa 2016 and was to be built on Koenig & Bauer Rapida 106, a sheet-fed offset press, plus a DFE and inkjet print engine from Xerox Impika; now Durst will be the digital technology provider.

Why pay attention to “Koenig & Bauer Durst”? One reason is that so much is at stake in a rapidly developing digital packaging market. According to InfoTrends’ 2018 market estimate and forecast reports, six companies supply production-level color digital printers for folding cartons, and generated $412 million in print value worldwide in that year (20% CAGR, 2017-2022); for corrugated the tallies were at least 11 companies with single pass printers and $982 million in print value, (51% CAGR). For each of these application segments color digital printing accounts for much less than 1% of print volume today, but that is changing as a raft of digital competitors strive to stake out positions. Koenig & Bauer and Durst are credible, complementary suppliers that together will have high synergy in product development and marketing. We expect “K&BD” to offer competition to vendors such as Barberan, EFI, HP, and others in corrugated and HP, Heidelberg, and Landa in folding cartons, based on the new company’s portfolio of three printers, a line that will likely expand over time.

Siris Capital Acquires EFI in First Deal of Technology Buyout Fund

Ron Gilboa
Apr 15, 2019

EFI: The Acquirer is Acquired
Siris Capital Group, LLC, a New York City-based private equity firm founded in 2011, announced the acquisition of Electronics for Imaging, Inc. (EFI) earlier today. The buyout is a pivotal moment for both graphic arts and industrial segments due to both the size and role that EFI plays throughout the industry; it is also a tribute to EFI’s skill, not only at acquiring promising companies over time, but also enlisting their talents and technologies to create synergy for whole of EFI. EFI’s many parts, from the original Fiery business to the industrial print technology divisions that EFI has acquired or developed over time, have become strategic partnerships, ones spanning hardware and software in sectors as diverse as networked office printers, sign & display graphics, ceramic, textile, and corrugated printing, all aided by a vast portfolio of workflow solutions.

The details of the transaction include a $1.7 billion all-cash investment which values EFI stock at $37 per share, approximately a 45% premium over the 90-day volume-weighted average price on April 12, 2019. Although the deal is expected to close by the third quarter of 2019, EFI can accept proposals from other companies over the next 45 calendar days.

Siris’ First Deal in Technology Buyout Fund
Private equity firms continue to focus on print-related technology companies with solid cash flows and future earnings potential as the analog-to-digital transformation continues for segments in our industry. Frank Baker, a Siris Co-Founder and Managing Partner, commenting on the role that EFI plays in enabling digital transformations, said  “We believe that, by partnering with Siris, EFI will be well positioned to capture this transformational opportunity associated with increased digital inkjet penetration, industrial automation and software enablement. We are eager to partner with management to help the Company achieve its strategic objectives.”

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Pitney Bowes’ EngageOne Communicate – Customer Communications for Marketers

David Stabel
Apr 11, 2019

Pitney Bowes continues to evolve its EngageOne portfolio for customer communications and experience. This week, the company released a new SaaS-based solution called EngageOne Communicate, which is positioned to enable small and medium sized businesses to create scalable and responsive digital communications quickly and easy.

Pitney Bowes EngageOne Communicate

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Use Data to Moneyball Your Print Workflow

Ryan McAbee
Apr 10, 2019

It’s in our nature to root for the underdog. We also love the meteoric rise when the underdog exceeds all expectations and reaches the top! Hollywood loves to dramatize these story lines and the 2011 release of Moneyball was no exception.

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Developers Using Cardboard to Test VR Environments at PAX East 2019

Colin McMahon

PAX East, which was held in Boston, MA, March 28th to 31st, 2019, is one of the largest gaming technology expos in the world. The four-day event, which in the past has drawn crowds of over 80,000, once again enjoyed a well-attended year. While no official number has been given, Keypoint Intelligence – InfoTrends (InfoTrends) estimates that around 100,000 people visited the show. While PAX is an event mainly focused on video games and gaming as a whole, it also serves as a technology showcase. Over the past several years, we have followed developments in virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and 3D printing at PAX East.

PAX East Boston VR

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Good News for Mailers from USPS

Pat McGrew
Apr 9, 2019

US Mailers have been waiting for the USPS to release its findings from a request for feedback initiated last summer, and the answer has now arrived. The USPS will not be making changes to the Marketing Mail category. This is good news for mailers because the USPS was considering changes in the standards for Marketing Mail letters and flat that would limit the definition of Marketing Mail to paper-based, non-merchandise content. By definition, flats processed by the USPS can be no thinner than a quarter of an inch and no thicker than three-quarters of an inch, with dimensions between 6 1/8 and 12 inches in height and 11 ½ and 15 inches in length. Length is parallel to the address.

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Epson Re-ignites OEM Market with Precision Core Printheads

Ron Gilboa and Colin McMahon
Apr 8, 2019

At the end of March, the Seiko Epson Corporation (Epson) announced that it plans to return to the OEM market with a new lineup of PrecisionCore printheads. According to the company, the move was made to help expand digital printing capabilities in commercial and industrial environments.

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It’s Time to Leverage the Power of Personalization!

Eve Padula
Mar 28, 2019

The act of personalization was once as simple as incorporating the recipient’s name in various parts of a communication, but ongoing innovations in customer segmentation and data mining mean that today’s enterprises now have access to more information about their customers than ever before. Armed with this wealth of personal information, enterprises can create trusted one-on-one relationships with each of their customers. In parallel, consumers’ expectations are also shifting—people understand that their providers have access to a great deal of their personal information, and they actually expect any communications to reflect this level of knowledge.

Consumers Notice Personalization!
Research from Keypoint Intelligence – InfoTrends has consistently shown that personalization attracts attention. According to InfoTrends’ most recent marketing communications research, over half of total respondents reported spending much more time with communications that were personalized and relevant. This was true for printed direct mail as well as digital marketing messages.

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The Side Stories from Hunkeler Innovationdays

Pat McGrew
Mar 7, 2019

By now you have read about the highly capable printing equipment that supported the Hunkeler Innovationdays demonstrations of Hunkeler, Horizon, Meccanotecnica, Kern, Bowe, Muller Martini, GUK, Sitma and others. You have probably read about the Agilox Intelligent Guided Vehicle that traveled the floor among the attendees moving paper and finished work among the stands.  But what you may not have read about are some of the other solutions worthy of your attention. They range from real-time shop floor monitoring to service, to accessibility, and all have a place in print production environments.

Agilox IGV getting ready to pickup finished work at Hunkeler Innovationdays.
Source: Keypoint Intelligence

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Hunkeler innovationdays 2019 – a hardware view

Ralf Schlozer
Mar 5, 2019

The Hunkeler innovationdays started out as a humble open house event of a Swiss finishing manufacturing company. Indicating a forward-thinking company, the innovationdays morphed over the years into the most important global event for continuous feed production document printing – as finishing equipment is naturally best demonstrated in conjunction with a printing system. Visitors love the idea of seeing printing lines from all major vendors sitting side-by-side and feeding the finishing lines for converted products. The 2019 iteration improved again on the number of exhibitors and visitors with about 100 exhibitors and 6,500 visitors expected for the show.

The theme of this year’s event was “success with automation”. There is no doubt that automation is getting increasingly important as a means to reduce labour cost, counter the shortage of skilled staff, avoid production mistakes, and speed up the device setup. This is especially critical the shorter the runs become. Hunkeler presented some fine examples of automation, notably a prototype of a sheeter and stacker that is able to automatically change formats from within seconds. Other new launches with focus on automation included a non-stop roll splicer for continuous feed printers, folders, perforators and web inspection modules.

Hunkeler Automated Cut & Stack line

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