Posts tagged: Digital Printing

HP Latex R Series: First to Print Rigid Media for HP Latex, and First White Ink

India Tatro
 Mar 27, 2018

Ten years since the introduction of HP Latex Printing Technologies in 2008, HP unveiled the latest addition to that series of wide format printers recently at ISA Sign Expo in Orlando. The new “HP Latex R Series” builds on existing HP Latex technology but is the first HP Latex printer to print on rigid media. HP Latex R, which also prints flexible media, is designed to print a wide variety of rigid substrates including foamboards, PVC cardboard, fluted polypropylene, solid plastics, aluminum, wood, and glass.  The Latex R Series is also notable because it marks the introduction of HP Latex White Ink. Like its other water-based Latex inks, HP says the Latex R’s  white ink will maintain the appearance and texture of the substrate, a desirable quality when printing on materials like aluminum or wood. HP also claims that their new white ink—the first for the HP Latex line– will not yellow over time, which can be a problem with some white UV inks.

HP has also included fluid management technology in the R series  to combat  problems typically associated with white ink. Pigments in white inks are prone to settling due to the larger particle sizes of white pigments; their larger particle sizes can make such inks a problem for print heads, causing clogs or blockages during printing or while the printer is idle. To counteract possible problems with settling and clogging,  HP has added an ink recirculation system to keep ink moving both within the ink delivery system and at the printhead. The ink storage system will also feature an automatic ink agitator to prevent settling over time.

 

HP has not yet released photos of the new R Series, though a teaser video can be found on their website

 

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Kodak NEXFINITY – More than just a new paint job?

Marc Mascara
 Mar 12, 2018

On February 28th to March 1st, during Oscar week in Rochester NY, Kodak opened the Kodak Center to 250 printers, distributors, media, designers and publishers. With an unbelievably warm 60-degree winter day in Western NY, Kodak hosted over two days of product session, industry speakers and customer panels.

Flexcel NX Sample

Attendees would hear firsthand about new product innovations from Kodaks Print Systems Division regarding processless plates, digital printing and functional printing categories. While the event would mainly focus on Sonora printing plates and the Nexpress digital press, other Kodak divisions were also represented.

On hand at the technology fair were:

  • William Schweinfurth represented the Flexographic Solutions with Flexcel NX samples.
  • Joan Taylor and Carlos Muniz were on hand for the Unified Workflow Solutions with demonstrations of the latest in Prinergy Workflow offerings.
  • Stream and UltraStream products were represented by Randy Vandergrif from the Enterprise Inkjet Systems with Prosper Press literature and samples. Preliminary samples of Kodaks UltraStream technology was also on hand, that looked very promising.

    Transparent antenna demo

  • Carolyn Ellinger demonstrated Kodaks latest technology play in material science and deposition with a demo of their transparent antenna application.
  • Demian Gawianski rounded out the fair with a Portrait 3D Printer.

The two-day event labeled Taking PRINT Further focused on sustainability, profitability, simplicity, growth, transformation and partnering. Kodak’s main message centered around how they are focusing on removing cost from their customer’s manufacturing process. With processless printing plates like Sonora, the cost savings becomes quickly evident which remove associated costs in chemistry, processors, water, waste disposal, electricity and floor space. With digital presses like the Nexpress the story is a little more nuanced.

Strategy beneath the new paint job!

Kodak NEXFINITY Press

In the week following the official launch of the Kodak NEXFINITY Press platform, opinions on forums and boards have ranged from one end of the spectrum to the other. So just what is underneath that new paint job? Peel back the new press cover and you discover a bold strategy and advanced technology planted as the cornerstone of the NEXFINITY platform. Read more »

GOA NEXT. The Future of Print

Sheryne Glicksman
 Mar 5, 2018

Print’s role is evolving. At the February 2018 Graphics of America show  in Ft Lauderdale, I attended a seminar that Kate Dunn (Director, Business Development Strategy Services @Keypoint Intelligence) hosted titled “How to Grow your Business in 2018”. Kate stated that we recently surveyed 749 respondents and found that Mobile and Online/Web communications will experience the highest annual growth rate in the next two years. This doesn’t surprise me at all when you consider that our smart phones are always at our fingertips. Mobile bar codes, personalized URL’s, texting codes, image recognition, near field communications and augmented reality all provide ways to link print to digital. This, in turn, improves customer experience.

Figure 1. Methods of Linking Print to Digital

Mobile Bar codes brought my rebate to life. The other day I was shopping and purchased an item that had a $20 rebate. The company gave me a form to mail in. I was thinking to myself that I’m probably not going to take the time to use regular mail for this process however guess what? When I looked at the form, I noticed there was a QR code that I could scan with my smart phone. Within minutes, the rebate was completed! Now, I’m just waiting on my check. I’m happy to say it was a cool customer experience.

Figure 2. Interactivity is key to bringing documents to life!

Blending print and digital. Kate went on to state that books, catalogs, brochures and direct mail are the fastest growing digitally printed applications, producing billions of prints each year. These would be the types of documents to start looking at ways to enhance as the print role evolves. It was interesting to hear that the top business driver for personalizing communications was a direct correlation between personalization and response rates. Those surveyed also noted that their service providers have become more skilled at cost effectively delivering more complex personalization, data is more available and that their customers are demanding personalized interactions.
Printed media is being blended with digital media. Sales and marketing collateral, direct mail, newsletter, presentations and signage were the most common media used in the past 12 months. This chart tells me that there is huge potential since less than 30% of the respondents have linked the two types of media in the last 12 months. The opportunity to create fresh new content that easily allows the end user to use their smart phone is a growth initiative for this space.

Figure 3. Types of printed applications combined with digital

“Value can be created for clients in helping them streamline the process of linking print to digital assets that already exist” according to Kate. She recommended that print service providers research their prospect’s website and look for video and other interactive assets like quizzes, calculators and Infographcis that can be easily linked to print to create more powerful customer experiences. “Printers can take a leadership role in helping their clients use print in innovative ways to draw audiences into digital interactions that are trackable and provide critical data to marketers” Kate noted.

Here are some pointers to consider. Personalization of documents delivers results. Special effects drive engagements. Dimensional print drives responses. What are you doing to help your production print customers bring documents to life?#icanhelpbringyourdatatolife

Web Offset Consolidation – manroland Web Systems and Goss to Merge

Ralf Schlozer
 

A few years ago, the prospect of two major offset press manufacturers merging would have easily dominated the headlines. And there was never a great number of preeminent manufacturers of web offset commercial printing and newspaper presses. Together with KBA, Goss and manroland Web Systems were among the big three, complemented by a handful of much smaller, more specialized manufacturers mainly in Japan and India. A few other manufacturers left the market recently such as Swiss newspaper press manufacturer Wifag.

Goss and manroland have a long history of press manufacturing but had a mixed past since the first big slump in web offset press demand following the year 2000. manroland started the millennium as a subsidy of the German heavy industry conglomerate MAN, then became an independent company in 2006, and went bust in 2007. Following the insolvency, manroland was split into a sheet-fed and a web-fed group, the latter being acquired by the German manufacturing holding Possehl Group. The recent history of Goss is even more protracted. After being spun off from Rockwell in 1996, Goss filed for chapter 11 in 1999, and again in 2001, blaming the downturn in press demand. A group of banks as creditors sold the business to MatlinPatterson Global Opportunities Partners. At that time Heidelberger Druckmaschinen had its ambitions set on entering the web offset business and invested heavily. Soon after Heidelberg did shed all low margin businesses to dress books before going public and Goss did pick up the web press activities in 2004. This doubled the global headcount at Goss to about 4,000. In 2010 the Shanghai Electric Group acquired Goss, adding it to its range of (sheet-fed) offset press and finishing equipment manufacturing brands. In 2015 the private equity firm American Industrial Partners acquired Goss. All the while both companies shed thousands of jobs compared to its heydays in the early 2000s

Under the terms of the proposed deal Goss and manroland Web Systems will combine their businesses. Details are still being negotiated, and everything depends on regulatory approval. The main site of manroland Web is Augsburg in Southern Germany. The main site of Goss is located in Durham, New Hampshire. Both have sales and service organisations as well small parts/components manufacturing locations across the globe. The current shareholders, American Industrial Partners and the Possehl Group, will continue to co-own the combined company. The Possehl Group will hold the majority and the combined operation will be headquartered in Germany. Subject to regulatory approval, the merger is expected to be completed by the middle of 2018. For the time being both companies will continue to operate independently.

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Fuji Xerox Iridesse – Two specialty colours is better than one

Ralf Schlozer
 Dec 6, 2017

Less than a year ago, InfoTrends published a multi-client study: “Beyond CMYK: The Use of Special Effects in Digital Printing”. Not only did we find that many printers voiced a strong interest in specialty colours and the desire to have several effects as an option, they also indicated that having two specialty colour stations in the press is their preferred option.

Less than a year later, Fuji Xerox launched the Iridesse Production Press at the Fuji Xerox Premier Partner Conference on the 14th of November in Bangkok for the Asia Pacific market.

For the first time in dry toner production printing, a print engine has been equipped to print six-colours, adding two colour channels to complement process colour print with different specialty colours, including metallic, in a single pass. The Iridesse houses up to two additional specialty toners of gold, silver, clear and white, in addition to standard cyan, magenta, yellow and black. One specialty colour is in front of the CMYK units and one behind, therefore the Iridesse can underprint with one specialty colour, and overprint with another (or the same) in one pass.

Fuji Xerox also revamped toners. CMYK toners are made of Super EA Eco toner, which is Fuji Xerox’s smallest particle size toner to date, citing a particle size of 5 micron for the colour toner. The Super EA Eco toner is able to fuse quickly at a low temperature, and is able to evenly transfer six layers of toners. Another patented improvement is flat metal flakes being embedded into the metallic toner particles. The flat metallic flakes should improve the shininess of metallic prints, and some improvement over the gold toner of the Color 1000i can be noticed – although digital metallic print remains far less shiny than foiling or the like.

A unique feature of the Iridesse is being able to print hues of metallic tones in one pass, by printing silver or gold first and overprinting it with CMYK. Other toner printers would need multi-pass printing, and in offset printing each of the metallic hues would need to be mixed first. This can reduce the effort drastically in hitting metallic effects beyond plain silver or gold. The press supports metallic colours found in colour catalogues such as Pantone Metallic and Pantone Premium Metallic. By using these colour swatches, the operator can reproduce colours similar to Pantone metallic colours by simply designating the colour codes. Also, since the press offers more hues than found in the Pantone swatches, Fuji Xerox has a range of predefined metallic colours on top.

Print sample showing metallic overprinted with CMYK

 

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IPEX 2017 – feeling the pulse

Ralf Schlozer
 Nov 2, 2017

Many print industry pundits will still eagerly remember IPEX as the second most important trade show for the graphic arts industry. Held at mid-term between two drupa trade shows, IPEX was the show to kick the tyres of new products that just reached the market after being previewed at drupa as technology demo.

That held true until IPEX 2014, when the show essentially imploded. Most major exhibitors pulled out leading to a much smaller footprint with 15,000 m², down from 50,000 m² in 2010. Declining margins in the printing industry did take their toll, with exhibitors questioning the return for a costly trade show presence. The show’s move to London did not help IPEX either. The hope of addressing new overseas visitors failed, and UK printers shunned the travel into central London. Although plans for IPEX 2018 to take place from 19 to 24 March 2018 at the Excel, London were announced, everybody expected this to be the end of IPEX.

As a bit of a surprise came the announcement of IPEX 2017, back again in Birmingham. The timing for autumn 2017 was set as the drupa organisers were still aiming for a three-year cycle, so that IPEX would again fall in the middle between two drupa shows. Certainly, the return of IPEX was not on the big scale it once had. IPEX 2017 occupied just parts of one hall of the NEC exhibition centre, instead of 11 of them in 2010, with ample space left to squeeze in more booths. Most equipment vendors did not join the IPEX bandwagon in 2017 either, with Ricoh being the only major digital print equipment manufacturer exhibiting. Other vendors were present via dealers or driving finishing equipment in the booths of finishing equipment vendors. It is noteworthy that finishing vendors did contribute most to the footprint of the show, complemented by software and supplies vendors.

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Happy Birthday KBA (now rebranded to Koenig & Bauer)

Ralf Schlozer
 Sep 27, 2017

The oldest press manufacturer celebrated its 200th anniversary on the 21st of September 2017 at the founding site in Würzburg, Germany.

In November 1814, the first newspaper was printed utilising machine power, using a steam-powered press invented by Friedrich Koenig for The London Times. Not willing to grant exclusivity rights for the printing press to The Times, Koenig relocated to Germany and found a new factory site in a disused monastery in the Bavarian town of Würzburg. In 1817 the company was finally founded by Koenig, as the world’s first printing press factory. To this day the company is partially family owned and is headed by Claus Bolza-Schünemann. He assumed a leadership role in the company in 1989, as the sixth generation of the family to lead the company.

In contrast to the other major German offset press manufacturers, Koenig & Bauer stayed profitable in most years since 2000. Through organic growth and acquisitions a revenue high of around €1.7 billion was reached in 2006 and 2007. In the aftermath of the financial crisis and within two years revenues dropped by 40% and hovered just above the €1 billion mark since, with a slight upward trend recently. More consequently than other press manufacturers, Koenig & Bauer exited unprofitable markets and focussed on new areas. For example, the once leading web offset press business has been scaled down a lot as demand and prices (and profits) plummeted. Koenig & Bauer is also active in many niches that larger offset press companies were not able to address profitably. This includes presses for currency printing (almost all are Koenig & Bauer built), presses for metal print, glass and container print as well as the largest format sheet-fed offset presses.

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The Landa Digital Press – It Is Here and Printing

Ralf Schlozer
 Sep 13, 2017

September the 12th and coinciding with Print 17 Landa Digital Printing invited selected prospects and press/analysts to their VIP event in Israel, to witness the first Landa Press to go into operation at the Israeli packaging printer Graphica Bezalel.

Landa made a big splash by announcing their nanography technology at drupa 2012. Almost everybody in the printing industry eagerly awaited to see the first installation. Without doubts, the start has been bumpy and the date of the first install has been moved several times, but that can be said about almost every piece of truly new technology in the graphic arts industry. Finally, the day arrived by shipping the first Landa S10 press to Grapica Bezalel in July 2017. After a month of installation, the press has been in operation for two weeks at the date of this event.

Landa S10 at Graphica Bezalel

Landa S10 at Graphica Bezalel

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HP Announces New PageWide Devices, Workflow Scanners & Solution Services @ Reinvent – World Partner Forum 2017

Barbara Richards
 Sep 11, 2017

HP Reinvent World Partner Forum is a reinvention of their annual global partner conference bringing together 1400+ global partners, including channel partners and system integrators. At the event, HP announced several new products and solution services.

New PageWide Devices

HP announced several new contractual and transactional PageWide printers and MFPs rounding up their 2017 spring product launch portfolio. The new products range in speeds from 45ppm up to 80ppm in general office mode and will feature the same low cost per page, best in class energy efficiency and full enterprise capabilities as the Spring launch  of LaserJet products. http://client.keypointintelligence.com/bliQ/InfoCenter/Document/Item/b275b875-af12-461a-b78b-adeb4737eac6

The A3 launch will be supported by the Smart Device Services Ecosystem (SDS), an “Internet of Things” (IoT) solutions toolset that funnels information via the cloud from devices to service partners aiming to lower service cost and provide more device up-time. Product availability is scheduled for this fall.

Figure 1 – New HP PageWide Printers & MFPs

pagewidedifference

Workflow Scanners

HP also announced the latest ScanJet portfolio of single function scanners, comprised of a wide range of products. The device groupings consist of Small Work Team, Document Management (Workgroup), and Document Management (Departmental). The newly announced Flow 8500fn2 Digital Sender boasts a fast 100ppm scan speed; 10,000 page a day duty cycle and HP technology such as WebJetAdmin, FutureSmart, EveryPage and HP scan software.  In addition to the 8500 fn2 Digital Sender, HP announces the new Flow N9120 fn2 A3 scanner.  At 120ppm scanning speeds, this device is suited towards sophisticated departmental scan and capture environments with needs for more volume and large page/document sizes.

HP Solution Services

In addition to the new product announcements, HP is introducing new compatible solutions to capitalize on the trends of “mobile,” everything as a service, “smart” devices, and security.   According to HP, their portfolio of new solution services will “reinvent the power of print” aimed at addressing customer’s path of work. With this in mind, HP announced several new innovations at Reinvent World Partner Forum 2017.

Figure 2 – New HP Solution Services

HPSolutionServices

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According to Recent InfoTrends SMB U.S. Office Primary Research Study 46% of business content still remains on paper today

Barbara Richards
 Jul 18, 2017

According to 216 U.S. SMB IT decision-makers surveyed, 46% of their business content currently remains on paper today. Nonetheless they are moving along the digital transformation path, if at a slower pace than larger Enterprises as they are more worried about the cost of conversion. Our study found that cost was the number one hurdle associated with converting to digital processes. Furthermore, SMBs main cost concerns are training, time constraints, legal requirements and IT resources. In addition, survey results also found that 32% of SMB decision makers indicted a preference for paper for business processes. This was most prevalent in the Manufacturing, Education and Prof. Service’s sectors.

What are the major hurdles to converting paper processes to digital?

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