Category: Production

Digital Packaging Printing Moving into Focus for Heidelberg and Canon

Ralf Schlozer
Oct 1, 2014

Heidelberg and Canon/Océ both reemphasized their push into the digital packaging printing market at their customer events last week. Each company gave a detailed update on the progress it has made.

As promised back in April at a digital sneak peek event, Heidelberg showed their first digital label printer at the Gallus “Innovation Days” from the 23rd to 25 of September in St Gallen, Switzerland. The event, which is not to be confused with the Hunkeler innovationdays) served well as a platform to reemphasize the changes in the ownership structure; this summer Gallus became part of the Heidelberger group, the upshot of a share swap that increased Heidelberg’s ownership of Gallus from 30% to 100% and with the former owner of Gallus becoming the biggest individual shareholder in Heidelberg.

Center stage, however, was the digital label press with the somewhat less catchy name of Gallus DCS 340. The press, which comes with in-line finishing, is the result of development cooperation between Gallus, Heidelberg and Fujifilm. The press base is supplied by Gallus and is derived from the well-established ECS 340 label press, hence the web width is set at 340 mm (13.4”) and a range of flexo, screen and offset modules can be added. The press has a solid granite base and is equipped with an unwind and a die cutting/stripping module. Only the speed of the DCS had be limited to 50 m/min (150 ft/min) compared to 165 m/min (492 ft/min) of the conventional press. The integrated finishing is somewhat misleadingly named “ digital converting system”, since the ECS C finishing part contains no digital components at all. Its core is a semi-rotary die cutter, which is at least format variable, but still requires a conventional die.

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Woodworking Going Digital – IWF 2014

Ron Gilboa and Mark DiMattei
Sep 18, 2014

The International Woodworking Fair (IWF) took place from August 20-23, 2014 in Atlanta, GA. This event brought together woodworking equipment manufacturers of all kinds, and a wide range of related product manufacturers. The event was split between two main halls: one for equipment producers and one for product manufacturers. This show drew attendees from North America as well as from 70 countries around the world. With almost 1,000 exhibitors (of which, 200 were international), the show catered to over 22,000 attendees looking purchase, learn, and explore new innovations in woodworking-related equipment, materials, and services. Key themes at the show were the growing desire for innovation; automation; and the need for education in new business opportunities, technologies, and applications.

IWF Atlanta Exhibit Hall

IWF Atlanta Exhibit Hall

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HP and Packaging: First Placement of T-Series Inkjet for Corrugated

Bob Leahey
Sep 3, 2014

HP announced on August 27 that a Czech corrugated converter, Obaly Morava, has recently installed the first HP T400 Simplex Color Inkjet Web Press to print corrugated liner stock in process colors. The news has two important features: (1) Obaly Morava will be the first to use HP’s thermal inkjet T-Series presses for packaging; (2) the corrugated market gains a major new entrant in the Read more »

Frankly Speaking: To Ink

Frank Romano
Sep 2, 2014
End of summer silliness by Frank Romano

I think that I shall never see
Inkjet ink that is not pricey

Ink that comes in color and black
Ink that always sets me back

Ink that drips but never a flood
Costing more than human blood

Inkjet pricing that is not humane
On a par with vintage champagne

Ink that comes in magenta, yellow, and cyan
Ink that is more expensive than a trip to Cannes

We’re paying for that unique ink storage
But purchase requires a second mortgage

Kodak tried to sell ink really cheaply
Kodak may regret the episode deeply

Ink that takes an age to unwrap
Ink that generates a lot of scrap

But now I recycle those colors and blacks
And I get a peanut-sized discount at OfficeMax

But what does the future hold?
Inkjet ink becomes the new gold

Poems are made by fools like me
But ink is made by folks like HP

 

Join Frank Romano and InfoTrends’ Jim Hamilton at Graph Expo 14 for a special keynote seminar on “The Future of the American Printer” in Chicago on Sunday, September 28.

Milan, Italy – The hub for digitally printed fabrics

Ron Gilboa
Aug 13, 2014

For centuries Milan and the lake Como region have been the trend setters for fashion and décor industries and a source of innovation in fabric printing. Thus it’s no surprise that the wave of digital printing technology that is emerging in many industrial markets is making significant impact on the region. With its early roots in the 1990’s, inkjet innovations found their way into Italian digital printing systems for fabric by companies like Robustelli. Today, this area is brimming with solutions from companies such as Aleph, F-tex, DURST, Kornit, Regianni, MS Printing systems and more. Over the past decade these innovators developed solutions aimed at producing eye catching fabrics that are on display in catwalks around the world from Milan, New York, Tokyo and Paris. Read more »

EFI buys DirectSmile

Kaspar Roos
Jul 21, 2014

In a move to further capitalize on the fast-growing cross-media marketing opportunity, EFI today announced it has acquired the Berlin (Germany)-based Variable Data and Cross Media Software provider DirectSmile. No financial details have been made available about the acquisition, but since DirectSmile is relatively small, the acquisition is not expected to have a material impact on EFI’s top line revenue.

Despite DirectSmile’s limited size, the acquisition is big from a strategic point of view. So far, with perhaps the exception of OPS, EFI’s software acquisition strategy  has primarily focused on providing productivity improvements (predominantly through MIS) and not so much on business enablement. However, in the last couple of years we have seen a rising demand for cross media marketing technology among print businesses. In InfoTrends’ latest investment survey (2014), about 75% of respondents indicated they believe that print companies need to become marketing services providers, the highest number we have seen since we’ve started tracking the question a few years ago. The reason is pretty simple: in a time when print volumes and margins are under pressure, cross media marketing provides an opportunity for print companies to turn the tide, offer services that make their customers meet their communication goals more effectively, and come back for more. Print business that are successful with cross media see an average increase of 15% in print volume.


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Investcorp Acquires SPG Prints

Arianna Valentini, Bob Leahey, Tim Greene and Ron Gilboa

Recently, Investcorp, a multi-national investment firm known for investing in alternative markets, announced that it will be acquiring SPG Prints, a Netherlands-based company specializing in the manufacture of digital inks and equipment for wide format, textile, and packaging applications. With this acquisition, SPG Prints may now have a chance to further expand their offerings within the graphic arts industry.

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Frank Romano’s Love Letter to Linotype

Jim Hamilton
Jul 17, 2014

Professor Frank Romano’s new book, “History of the Linotype Company,” is like a love letter with references and footnotes. Beautifully printed and illustrated, it smells great too. It also weighs about as much as a fully-loaded agate type magazine from a Model 9 Linotype machine. With more than 460 pages, this book does not constitute light reading. If the names James Clephane, Whitelaw Reid, and Linn Boyd Benton mean anything to you, then this will be your goldmine. If they don’t, then this book provides the opportunity to drink in a rich mixture of historical documents and Romano’s astute observations. Romano is clearly obsessed with this topic, and for that we should all be thankful. Who else as a young man would have had the forethought to collect old type catalogs and preserve an unpublished company history?

In the Preface, Romano describes the book’s intent Read more »

Konica Minolta’s Print Production Blueprint for the Future

Jim Hamilton
Jul 15, 2014

At an analyst, press, and customer event in New York City last week Konica Minolta launched two new color products and hinted at (but did not provide specifics on) announcements to come later this year. Rick Taylor, Konica Minolta U.S.’s President and Chief Operating Officer, and other Konica Minolta U.S. executives also outlined the company’s strategy in a presentation titled “Blueprint for the Future” that showed how print technology remains at the core, but is surrounded by solutions and services.

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Xaar making a Comeback in China Wide Format

Tim Greene and Ron Gilboa
Jul 14, 2014

Rapper L.L. Cool J has a lyric that goes “don’t call it a comeback, I’ve been here for years” and that is kind of what Xaar would probably say about its new print head launch:  that Xaar is a major supplier to the wide format digital graphics market and China is an important part of that. However, Xaar led the emergence of the large wide format graphics business in China in its early days, but as the segment became increasingly commoditized many Chinese wide format printer manufacturers expanded their wide format equipment portfolios.

 

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