Nov 24, 2015
On Friday the 20th of November the news broke that the Flint Group has bought Xeikon from previous venture capital owner Bencis, almost two and half years after they bought the digital print and platesetter business from Punch International.
Xeikon will continue to operate in its existing lines of business and will now become a new division known as Flint Group Digital Printing Solutions. Even in terms of personnel, continuity is sought, with Xeikon CEO Wim Maes staying as president of the division. The deal needs the approval of European competition authorities, which is expected by end of 2015 as there should not be any concerns about the transaction.
In some ways the acquisition marks a U-turn for Flint after it sold its nascent Jetrion inkjet division to EFI in 2006. EFI paid around $40 million as its first investment in inkjet printing, in the process starting a new line of business, while digital activities pretty much stopped at Flint. Now Flint Group feels it is ready to throw their hat again into the digital arena, possibly seeing the success the Jetrion business is having today. A bigger driver is likely the changed ownership that Flint Group itself is now experiencing. Since 2014 Flint has been essentially an equity capital owned business, owned by Goldman Sachs Merchant Banking Division in partnership with Koch Equity Development. Prior to that, Flint had grown by acquisition and merger into a leading position in litho and packaging inks. To this day, Flint continues to acquire other ink businesses to consolidate its position.
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Oct 14, 2015
Earlier this month, HP invited a group of customers and prospects to its Corvallis, Oregon facility to show them the latest developments in the newly renamed PageWide Web Press (formerly known as the Inkjet Web Press) product line. The facility tour began with a visit to HP’s Corvallis “Fab” lab, the fabrication laboratory where the silicon wafers used in inkjet print heads are made using micro electro mechanical system (MEMS) manufacturing techniques. The latest models use the new high-definition nozzle architecture (HDNA) and are 2,400 nozzle-per-inch, dual channel, thermal inkjet (TIJ) print heads capable of speeds up to 800 feet per minute in Performance Mode on the T480 HD (a 33% increase from the T410’s 600 fpm of the previous HP TIJ heads). The minute details of the microscopic thermal inkjet nozzles are absolutely mind-boggling. An excellent visual tour of how these nozzles operate can be seen in this computer-animated video that HP recently produced. Also on the tour was a visit to HP’s ink lab, and finally a view of several HP PageWide Web Presses including a T230, a T410 running a corrugated cardboard application, a T300 series product, a 110-inch print bar from a T1100S, and a T480 HD.
It is the “HD” versions of the PageWide Web Press family that will use the HDNA heads. The first HD versions will be Read more »
Sep 28, 2015
I’ve recorded eight short videos (each is between two and five minutes long) that highlight some interesting print samples from Graph Expo 2015:
I hope you enjoy these. I’ll be adding some more Read more »
Sep 25, 2015
In a huge manufacturing building in the Eastman Business Park in Rochester, New York, Kodak is printing sensors that can be used in touch screens for tablets, computer screens, kiosks, and industrial equipment. The process uses technologies that print service providers will find familiar, but they are being used to achieve a very different end result.
First, a series of flexographic plates are imaged on a modified Creo square-spot plate imager. Each plate has a repetitive design of extremely thin parallel lines. The plates are mounted on a modified roll-fed flexographic press that prints with a catalytic ink on both sides of a roll of clear plastic (similar to the material used for motion picture film). The catalytic ink provides a receptive surface for the next step, in which the printed roll of plastic is immersed in a bath with a copper fluid solution. In that bath, copper is applied to the thin printed lines of catalytic ink. The copper is what makes the resulting print conductive, and that’s why you can make touch screens with this printed component. A darkening agent is applied on top of the copper, and the rolls are then cut into sheets containing the functionally printed sensor that will ultimately go into a touch-screen display. This printed grid of thin, crisscrossing lines is virtually invisible, yet it provides the underlying conductive foundation that is able to sense when someone puts a finger on a touch-sensitive screen.
Kodak touch-screen sensor (showing a magnified view of the touch-sensitive grid)
Today Kodak is printing working production samples that can be tested by prospects who may one day Read more »
Sep 23, 2015
Label Expo, the premier tradeshow for the label industry, will take place September 29 to October 2 in Brussels. Now decades old, this is the show that never seems to fade, and also one where the role of digital printing technologies always seems to grow. InfoTrends will attend and make a detailed report about it to clients but for now we offer a quick preview of what we expect to see:
A huge HP booth: The stand’s core equipment will be HP Indigo WS6800 (labels and other applications) and 20000 (a 30” web, for flexible packaging and for labels also), but there will be many other products. Ones particular to HP Indigo presses will include a white ink specifically for shrink sleeves and new yellow and magenta inks with enhanced lightfastness, also software upgrades, including a VDP tool for Adobe Illustrator, within HP SmartStream Designer prepress. Some exhibits will be from partners to HP Indigo (finishing Read more »
Sep 16, 2015
Jim Hamilton received an Indigo-printed calendar covering 12 women who changed the world. One of them was Ada Lovelace, who was the world’s first “programmer” for the Babbage computing engine. At the same time, I was at the EDSF fundraising event at Graph Expo where the Women of Distinction awards were bestowed by Julie and Andy Plata. There is also the Girls Who Print recognition. Jim’s question was “Who is the Ada Lovelace of the printing industry?”
Ada Lovelace (from the HP Indigo One of a Kind calendar of women who changed the world)
It just so happens that I had done a short article for the Museum of Printing newsletter on someone who is worthy of consideration. Who is she? Read on.
Mary Katherine Goddard is famous for printing the first Read more »
Sep 9, 2015
Pitney Bowes has just announced a new product called the AcceleJet printing and finishing system. AcceleJet is a narrow-web, continuous-feed to cut-sheet, inkjet printing system capable of speeds up to 246 feet per minute (75 meters per minute) and throughput exceeding 500 letter-sized images per minute. Intended for a monthly volume range of four to ten million letter/A4 images per month, Pitney Bowes is targeting the AcceleJet at market segments such as service bureaus, direct mailers, and in-house operations in non-profits, financial services, insurance, healthcare, utilities, and government. Pitney Bowes estimates that an AcceleJet system including the controller, print engine, and finishing capable of dynamic perforation, sheeting, and stacking will have an average system selling price of $850,000.
AcceleJet fits well in the gap between existing cut-sheet electrophotographic and continuous feed inkjet color products. This gap, known as “the Zone of Disruption,” is an area where Read more »
Sep 8, 2015
Graph Expo 2015 (September 13-16, Chicago) begins on Sunday and whether you are able to be there or not, here are a few things you should know in advance.
Who Has the Biggest Booths on the Show Floor?
One good way of assessing the level of marketing spend that an exhibitor has made on a trade show is to measure the size of their booth. InfoTrends has been doing this for shows like Graph Expo, Print, IPEX, and drupa for many years. This year, the biggest exhibitors (by square foot of exhibit space as measured from the publicly available show floor map) are shown below.
Canon, as was the case at Graph Expo 2014, has the largest booth, followed by Konica Minolta. HP is in the number three spot, up from number six last year. Xerox dropped down a spot and is followed by Ricoh, EFI, Pitney Bowes, and Standard Finishing. KIP America breaks into the top ten at number nine. Last year’s number nine, Muller Martini, is not exhibiting. The top twelve is rounded out by Kodak, KBA, and Scodix. Traditional offset vendors (including some with new digital offerings) will be exhibiting, but not in the biggest booths (KBA is the only one in the top twelve). Offset system providers with booths include Goss, Komori, manroland, Presstek, Ryobi MHI, and TKS, but not Heidelberg, which hasn’t been a Graph Expo exhibitor since 2011.
Read more »
Aug 19, 2015
Color digital printing for packaging got a boost in Europe recently when a brewer long known for innovation, Martens Brouwerij (Belgium) publicized its use of a direct-to-shape print system to print PET bottles in full color, starting in June 2015. Called “Direct Print Powered by KHS™”, the system is engineered and built by KHS (Germany), a global supplier of filling and packaging solutions to the drinks industry, and commercialized by a wholly-owned KHS subsidiary, NMP Systems. The system, based on Xaar 1002 heads, Read more »
Aug 6, 2015
As part of its investor presentation earlier this week, R.R. Donnelley announced plans to split into three publicly traded companies, each with a different focus. These companies will be Customized Multi-Channel Communications (CMCo), Financial Communications Services (FinancialCo), and Publishing & Retail-Centric Print (PRSCo). Describing the move as a “transformative separation,” R.R. Donnelley positions this as the next stage in the company’s evolution from a print & ship model to a multi-channel communication services model that leverages data analytics, content optimization, and multi-channel marketing. The transaction will take the form of a tax-free spin-off of the financial and publishing/retail components and is expected to be completed by the end of 2016. The customized multi-channel media communications component will retain R.R. Donnelley’s outstanding notes/debt and will receive cash proceeds from the sales of the two other components. Existing R.R. Donnelley shareholders will end up owning shares in all three companies. No specifics were provided in regard to the management teams for each component. That will come later.
Source: R.R. Donnelley & Sons Company Investor Presentation, August 4, 2015
R.R. Donnelley has net sales of about eleven and a half billion dollars. The three planned companies break out as follows: Read more »