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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Jul 21, 2015
In July HP hosted a worldwide HP Indigo VIP event in Israel. More than 250 customers and prospects visited from dozens of countries from all over the world – including USA, about 10 different European countries, China, the Philippines, Australia, Thailand, Mexico, USA, Brazil, South Africa, and more. There were dozens of sessions presented in each of the four tracks: Flexible Packaging, Labels, Folding Cartons and Commercial Printing. In addition to visiting HP Indigo labs and manufacturing facilities, attendees also visited local HP Indigo customers according to their tracks.
The event provided a great opportunity to present some news ahead of LabelExpo Europe, which is taking place end of September in Brussels. Packaging, and especially label printing, is now a major business for HP Indigo. According to HP label volumes are growing by 25% every year. With a forecast of more than 600 million square meters of labels to be printed in 2015 HP claims to represent nearly 10% of the global label market value and has established itself as major player not only in digital print, but in the whole label print market.
However HP Indigo is extending its coverage beyond label markets. While the ws 4000 and 6000 series are firmly rooted in the label market with only occasional installs in folding carton, shrink sleeves and in-mould labels, the HP Indigo 20000 marks a distinctive move into adjacent packaging markets. Of the roughly 30 installations of the 20000 so far most are used for flexible packaging, followed by shrink sleeves, with only a minority used purely in label printing. Meanwhile, HP Indigo has 20 or more installations of the 30000, the B2 sheet fed press that mainly prints folding cartons. Read more »
Jul 7, 2015
On July 1st EFI made two announcements: One was the acquisition of the Israeli Matan Digital Printer, a supplier of grand format printing solutions and the second was the acquisition of Reggiani Macchine a supplier of high end textile printing equipment.
Both acquisitions are part of EFI’s stated strategy to invest and grow its product portfolio in adjacent markets and technologies. Workflow and inkjet have been at the forefront of acquisitions by EFI in the past and is likely to continue in the future as this strategy evolves. This strategy enables EFI to leapfrog some graphic arts suppliers and enter into industrial segments that are emerging as adopters of digital technology as a means to dramatically change their respective industry segments’ supply chains and transition mass production markets into mass customization digitally enabled segments. Read more »
Jun 19, 2015
Funai Electric, the worldwide licensee for Kodak Consumer and SOHO Inkjet Printers, announced earlier this week it is launching its first Kodak-branded product this month. Funai has a long history of manufacturing inkjet and laser printers for a number of brands around the world. They have built more than 130 million inkjet printers over the last 16 years. According to Kiyoshi Chinzei, Funai Electric’s General Manager, Office Solutions, the KODAK Verité 55 is the first in a line of new and innovative printing products from the company.
Kodak Verité 55 All-in-One Inkjet Printer
According to Funai, the new inkjet printer provides end-users with up to 50% savings on their printing costs with standard large capacity (XL) color and black cartridges that doubles the print yield. The XL cartridges will print 360 color pages and 400 black pages. Funai is offering $50 worth of large capacity ink cartridges included in the box compared to standard size ink cartridges from other leading manufacturer’s printers priced below $100.
Kodak Verite XL Ink Cartridges
The printer has built-in wireless connectivity for printing, scanning and copying. Users can scan or print from a smartphone or tablet in a single swipe using Flick Print with the Kodak Verite Printer App, available
for Apple and Android devices. It also features wireless direct and local Wi-Fi connectivity to enable wireless printing from mobile devises through Kodak’s Verite Printer App with support for Apple AirPrint and Google CloudPrint. The new printer has a recommended duty cycle of 1,000 pages and print up to 10ppm in monochrome and 4.2ppm in color with a draft print speed of 20ppm and 15ppm respectively. Scanning to multiple file formats is available from Windows, MAC and Mobile Apps. According to Funai, the printers, will be available in North America initially through Wal-Mart stores then Tesco in the U.K. later this year. The Kodak Verite 55 All-in-One Inkjet Printer has a suggested retail price of $79.47.
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May 13, 2015
Interprint one of the world’s most prominent manufacturers of décor paper for the laminate industry has gone digital. In a press release dated May 5th 2015, the company stated their strategy to use digital printing technology to address the growing demand for shorter runs of décor paper used in the manufacturing process of decorative laminates used for furniture, cabinetry, kitchen counters, doors, and other woodworking applications. Interprint is using the marketing slogan “Hello World!” to introduce its clients to this investment in digital innovation, a KBA RotaJET with a print width of 1.68 meters capable of speed up to 150 meters per minute. This CMYK device is capable of producing over 3.7 million square meters per month (based on a speed of 150 meters per minute, a 1.68 meter width, 2 shifts a day, and 22 days a month operating at 70% productivity).
Interprint is using the slogan “Hello world!” to promote its new capabilities (Source: Interprint)
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May 12, 2015
The importance of workflow and the matching software ecosystem has been frequently publicised and although not every user might have realised it yet, all production printing hardware vendors are strengthening their offerings in workflow and solutions nowadays. The importance of workflow is however in stark contrast with the lack of approaches in making the benefits of workflow visible in an exhibition or open house environment. Software remains intangible and while the benefit of some features can be calculated in time and money, for other features like customer satisfaction, error reduction, new services offerings and overall process efficiency calculating the exact value for a single business case is much harder.
Canon-Océ already organised several Commercial Printing Business Days, but for the event that took place in April 2015 the software portfolio was targeted to take centre stage. Presentations, workshops and customer testimonials focussed on workflow solutions. Canon-Océ invited users and prospects with interest in workflow solutions and had a total attendance of 550 visitors from around the globe at the three days of the event.
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Apr 29, 2015
InfoTrends just published the 2014 production placement numbers for the U.S. and Western Europe. In both geographies we had some growth in placements. In general Europe showed a much better growth driven by a stabilizing economy in 2014, while growth in the U.S. was marginal, based on the fears of a slowing economy. Of course growth rates differ not only by geography, but also by product segment. One of the fastest growing segments in 2014 were mid-volume color devices, the type of devices typically used at high-end print rooms or quick printers and small to mid-size commercial printers. Installations grew by 29% in the U.S. and 33% in Europe in 2014. This is no mean feat in print market under pressure.
2008 to 2014 Mid-production Placements
For a meaningful tracking of growth or decline in a market, as well as market share overviews, we try to define market segments containing products that compete against each other with similar features, price points and user profiles. Segmenting products can be a tough task however.
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Jan 26, 2015
In the past few years we have heard an awful lot about the printers adding additional services to stay competitive in their respective markets. So it was particularly interesting when Bridgeport National Bindery in Agawam, MA, a trade binder at heart, took the opposite course and added digital printing as a service. For most of the company’s history its sales representatives traveled throughout the Northeastern United States convincing print shops to send them their printed material for binding and distribution. This meant shipping and storing printed pages, having extra printed pages on hand in case of errors, and finally distributing completed work or shipping it back to the printer. It’s easy to see how that business process could be streamlined, and since 2005 Bridgeport National has been active in the print-on-demand market (POD). Their origins as a trade bindery, however, left them in an advantageous position when it comes to POD book printing due to the wide variety of applications and experience they have gained.
Last month Bridgeport National Bindery hosted an HP “Print your Future” event at Read more »
As I roamed the aisles at TexWorld USA in New York City last week I was impressed by the high level of awareness of digital print. On top of that, of the two dozen or so booths that I stopped at, about a third were actively using digital printing technologies. Held bi-annually, TexWorld USA is where fabric and garment manufacturers and local buyers meet to exchange ideas and place orders for the coming fashion season. Exhibitors from Asia, the Middle East, North America and many other regions showed textiles for use in clothing for women, men, juniors and infants. About 300 exhibitors from 17 countries were on hand at the Jacob Javits Center in New York City from January 19th to the 21st.
TexWorld USA 2015
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Dec 16, 2014
Without much fanfare a new continuous feed inkjet printing line has appeared on the market. The new system is called PageMaster, and it was introduced at an open house in the middle of November at Bielomatik’s facility in Neuffen in Southern Germany. PageMaster is an integrated inkjet printing and converting line for booklets or notepads that is being marketed by a new organization called Bielomatti, as part of a joint venture between Bielomatik and Matti. Bielomatik has a 60% stake in the joint venture and therefore will have a larger role in marketing and driving the product. So far the joint venture has no permanent staff and draws resources from both companies as needed. Once the demand takes off, the company will add staff accordingly.
Matti has a lot of experience designing paper transport and print towers for a range of vendors including Kodak, Xerox, and Xerox Impika. The company also markets printing solutions directly to end customers. These are typically custom solutions integrating paper transport and inkjet heads.
Bielomatik is the by far larger partner with 900 employees worldwide (Matti has about 25 employees). Bielomatik focusses on paper processing and plastic welding equipment. In the paper processing the company manufactures complete lines for a somewhat diverse range of applications: the production of copybooks/notepads (the types used in schools), lines for converting bank notes, attaching RFID tags, and wrapping of cut-sheet papers. Apart from basic flexo units that print lines or grids into the copybooks no printing equipment is offered. Accordingly the company’s expertise is in folding, sheeting, collating, and binding in high volume 24/7 environments. Not surprisingly a decline in the established copybook markets is driving the company to seek other opportunities. Read more »