Mar 23, 2016
Highcon, the digital finishing system supplier, recently held a three day event at its headquarters in Israel to show technology developments that it will soon unveil at drupa 2016 in Germany. The short version of our report on this “pre-drupa” gathering:
- Since its debut at drupa 2012, Highcon has placed 25 of its “Euclid” and “Euclid II” devices globally
- In 2016 it will add a new portfolio of digital cutting and creasing systems and related tools, the Highcon Beam, Highcon Euclid III and the Highcon Pulse.
- These products will give carton converters and other printers new access to Highcon’s unique finishing, and also to two applications new at Highcon, 3D printing and variable data cutting.
Why Highcon Matters 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 28, 2013
InfoTrends recently published its second in-depth primary research study on the manufacturing industry within the Business Process Automation Consulting Service. The manufacturing industry is a dynamic market with several sub-industries that can vary greatly in size and output demand, and because of these widespread differences, certain processes may require more exhaustive and paper-intensive workflows. InfoTrends broke down the manufacturing industry into four key workflow areas: 1) Product Planning/Design, 2) Procurement, 3) Production, and 4) Fulfillment. Within those areas, we broke down the industry further and discovered several major manual processes that demonstrate the biggest areas for automation opportunity for vendors: 1) Sample testing and trials, 2) Quality assurance/product inspections, 3) On-site supplier audits, and 4) Warehousing.
The following chart is an example of one of the most paper-intensive areas in manufacturing — Sample Testing and Trials. Due to the high frequency of the sample testing and trials process (occurring on average of five times per product) and paper being used roughly 38% of the time, automating this area will improve processing times and compliance initiatives (both of which are the top goals and objectives for manufacturing organizations today).
Read more »
Apr 15, 2013
A science article in the New York Times by John Markoff last week detailed an innovation from Xerox’s Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) that could revolutionize the world of chip manufacturing.Â In a new manufacturing process from Xerox PARC, slivers of silicone called “chiplets” are immersed in a carrier liquid and are then “printed” onto a solid carrier material, much as toner particles are managed today in laser printing via Fluidic Self Assembly (FSA). Following Xerox’s rich heritage of innovation from the 1970s such as laser printing, Ethernet, the modern personal computer, graphical user interface (GUI), object-oriented programming, ubiquitous computing, amorphous silicon (a-Si) applications, and advancing very-large-scale-integration (VLSI) for semiconductors, printed chiplets Â could possibly surpass these. Chiplet technology has the potential to revolutionize conventional manufacturing of chips and other microelectronic components, a change that will give benefits in flexibility, timeliness, and efficiency for companies that make such products.
The image below provides an enlarged view of the chiplets, each no larger than a grain of sand. Using systems that are essentially laser printer, Xerox’s PARC may one day be able to create desktop manufacturing plants that use chiplets to “print” the circuitry for a wide array of electronic devices.
Source:Â Amy Sullivan/PARC
An enlarged view of small slivers of silicon, each no larger than a grain of sand, called chiplets. Using laser printers, Xerox’s Palo Alto Research Center may one day be able to create desktop manufacturing plants that use chiplets to “print” the circuitry for a wide array of electronic devices.
Jan 19, 2012
… well almost. The Possehl group is only taking over the Augsburg site and the creditors committee can only give a recommendation which buyer and which investor concept to pursue. Although the recommendation is a strong one, the final decision will be made at a forthcoming meeting of the creditors. Still for a company the size of manroland having agreed on a concept in less than two months after declaring insolvency this is quite a fast pace of events.
The concept is to split manroland into three independent units, based on its three separate manufacturing sites. The new investor, Possehl, is only taking over the Augsburg site, which produces the bulk of the web-fed offset presses (and understood to be the most competitive part of manroland). manroland enjoys a very strong market position in web-fed presses and the service business alone should keep the site afloat. Currently 2,200 employees work at the Augsburg site, which will be brought down to 1,500. Read more »
Nov 25, 2011
While times have been tough for offset printing equipment suppliers in recent years it still came as a surprise that manroland has filed for insolvency protection (the German equivalent of Chapter 11) on the 25th of November. The announcement came only one day after reports that negotiations with a potential investor failed.
In a statement issued on its website manroland confirmed that it had been forced to initiate insolvency proceedings following a “dramatic downturn in incoming orders” since July. The company has filed a request at the local magistrate for self-administration in order to finalise its on-going restructuring efforts as a “debtor in possession,” a court-appointed lawyer will act as general representative during the time of restructuring, while the company’s situations and options are evaluated.
While several offset press vendors have exited the market in the last decade (InfoTrends not long ago reported on the state of the offset press manufacturing industry), the insolvency of manroland gives the decline in offset press manufacturing a new dimension. To put these proceedings into perspective: the insolvency of manroland is the biggest insolvency of any kind in Germany for the last two years, despite many companies having been hit by the financial crisis. It is affecting a company, which has been in business for more than 160 years and survived two world wars and the transition from letterpress to offset. Read more »
Oct 26, 2011
On October 18th 2011, M-real announced that the ailing Alizay paper mill in France will be shut down. The mill is running currently at EUR 3million (US$ 4.2 million) a month losses even after major efforts to turn this around. Satisfactory offers for the mill have also not been found despite the mill approaching more than 80 potential companies over the past fourÂ monthsÂ and eighteen showing some interest. Two companies, reputedly Thailand’s Double A and the French turnaround company in’active, put forward offers, but these have been declined as they do not fulfil M-real’s criteria to ensure that the mill would continue to run rather than ultimately be shut down. M-real’s concern was to ensure that any buyer would be able to take responsibility for its 330 employees and the business risks. However, as a result the company now begins the consultation process for the shut down. Employees are reported to have reacted angrily and taken action to immediately halt production. Read more »
Oct 5, 2011
On March 11, 2011, a major earthquake and subsequent tsunami struck Japan. Several factories of equipment suppliers and manufacturers of sub-components were struck, with more being affected by subsequent power outages. It was expected that this would impact shipments of digital printing equipment as many digital printing devices and parts used in these devices are manufactured in Japan.
Apart from anecdotal evidence getting hard facts on the impact is difficult. Due to the time it takes to ship the equipment overseas, no impact in Q1 was expected, but Q2 placements would have been affected by any supply chain interruptions. The InfoTrends quarterly tracking program looks at quarterly installations of digital production printing equipment, including A3-capable color MFPs. Placements fluctuate driven by overall demand, product launches, and tend to have some seasonality. Through our quarterly tracking program, we are able to draw historic comparison to gauge the seasonality factor.
Based on shipments in Q1 2011 we saw deviation from what would have been expected in the second quarter. In several color device segments installations were 15% to 20% below the expected level. Black & white installations in some product groups fell back as well, although to a lower extent. The few product groups that are dominated by vendors outside of Japan remained essentially within line of Q2 expectations or did even better than expected.
Is this a bullet-proof evidence that tsunami and earthquake did impact shipments by that amount? There is enough potential for fluctuation in times of an unstable economy, so we cannot be absolutely sure. However, the contrast to product groups mainly manufactured outside of Japan is remarkable. We will be closely watching Q3 results and see whether shipments recover or stay at a lower level.
InfoTrends published more details on the Q2 2011 results in a separate report:
Mar 15, 2011
The 9.0 magnitude earthquake of March 11, 2011 has wreaked havoc with all aspects of the Japanese economy, and the digital imaging industry will not be immune to the immediate and long lasting repercussions. Even though many digital imaging companies were not directly affected by the earthquake and subsequent tsunami, they will certainly be affected by the disruptions to the Japanese power and transportation infrastructure and their supply chains.
One company directly affected is Nikon who has digital camera and lenses manufacturing sites in the Sendai area. Nikon produces its professional grade DSLR bodies, the D700, D3s, and D3x cameras, in its Sendai factory, just south of Sendai in Natori and about four miles from the coastline. The area was hard hit by the high walls of water but it is reported that the Nikon plant just suffered some building and equipment damage as well as injuries to some employees (satellite photos show that the water did not make it that far inland, though the water did reach up to six miles inland in other areas). With the destruction that the tsunami left in its wake, there will certainly be issues with personnel, power, water, components, and transportation that will directly impact this plant and others across Japan. Nikon is not able to say when the factory will reopen. Read more »