You may have seen the television ad where a boy is throwing paper airplanes over a fence to communicate with his dad, who is away on active duty. Each paper airplane contains a note from the boy to his father. A kindly neighbor on the other side of the fence notices the airplanes, puts them in a box, and sends them to the father. Sometime later, the neighbor receives a box in the mail full of paper airplanes with notes from the dad to his son. The neighbor takes the airplanes and throws them one by one over the fence, where they are discovered by the boy. The story is heartwarming and it’s a Hallmark moment for sure, but this is not a greeting card commercial. What is this ad promoting? The answer might surprise you—it’s paper and packaging.
This is one of three television advertisements created by the Paper & Packaging Board as part of a campaign called “Paper & Packaging – How Life Unfolds.” This multi-million-dollar promotional campaign began in the middle of 2015 and includes not only television exposure, but also print and online ads. The target audience is Read more »
For the first time in more than 20 years, Pitney Bowes has launched a large-scale $20 million integrated advertising initiative.
The company secured prime advertising time this past weekend for a special airing of their 60-second commercial ahead of the AFC Divisional Playoff game, where the New England Patriots hosted the Kansas City Chiefs.
The 60-second commercial (entitled “The Story of Commerce”) leads out with dramatic imagery flashing by and a voiceover stating: Read more »
This is the sixth year that I have done a video blog review of all the corporate greeting cards I received during the holiday season. This year’s collection was a particularly good one, and at the end of the video I highlight five examples that I think are outstanding.
If you have an interesting greeting card you’d like to send me, my address is Jim Hamilton, 97 Libbey Industrial Parkway, Suite 300, Weymouth, Massachusetts 02189, USA
If you would like to see the previous videos, here are the links:
Starting in the fall of 2015, Dr. Harvey R. Levenson, Cal Poly Professor Emeritus, presented multiple conference sessions or webinars dedicated to the issue of patent lawsuits targeted at print service providers. These patent licensing operations, colloquially known as “patent trolls” or NPEs (non-practicing entities), are individuals or business entities that persistently purchase or file for patents, with the sole purpose of charging licensing and royalty fees. This blog builds on some of the key concepts in one of Dr. Levenson’s webinars and also summarizes some recent developments related to patent trolls.
Patent trolls are an increasing international issue, and continue to be active in almost every industry. According to UnifiedPatents in their Q3 Patent Dispute Report, over 67% of all patent litigation in the United States are filed by NPEs seeking monetary gain.
November 2015 saw the second instalment of InPrint, the industrial print show and conference. A total of 3,400 visitors from 68 countries came to the Munich Trade Fair Centre. Compared to the previous event in Hannover, the numbers of exhibitors, attendees and foot print increased by a third.
InPrint focussed on three fields of application: functional, decorative and packaging printing. Unlike traditional printing shows, InPrint has a different attendee profile: Typical visitors to InPrint are companies such as system integrators, materials developers, and manufacturers interested in providing solutions for the industrial/decorative print market. But even if you do not intend on integrating a custom press, the show is a good opportunity to get informed on where printing technology is being used beyond document printing. Print service providers, who visit InPrint, have been able to expand their horizon while visiting vendor booths as well as attending the conference with its extensive program.
This year the InfoTrends holiday card highlights Crossroads for Kids, a Boston-area charity that serves more than 1,000 young people annually with an immersive summer program. Many of those kids also participate in a comprehensive multi-year, year-round program of mentoring and enrichment designed to develop young leaders. InfoTrends has been contributing to Crossroads for Kids for a number of years, most recently through an office yard sale that we conducted in March.
The 2015 InfoTrends holiday card has two particularly interesting aspects. First, it makes use of a colorful and lively depiction of three snowmen, drawn by one of the young people who benefits from the programs provided by Crossroads for Kids. The second interesting aspect relates to the card’s production. A digital die-cut on the front of the card provides a peek into the stars and holiday message on the inside of the card. Printed at ANRO Communications in West Chester, Pennsylvania, the digital die-cut was facilitated using a Highcon Euclid. Many thanks to ANRO and Highcon for their support of this year’s card!
The 2013 and 2014 InfoTrends holiday greeting cards also have interesting backstories. Read more »
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.
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 »
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 »