Category: Uncategorized

Pitney Bowes Slices Off More Software – SyncSort is the Beneficiary

Marc Mascara
Sep 5, 2019

As Pitney Bowes adds to the Syncsort arsenal of software solutions with the recent acquisitions of SQData and Pitney Bowes Software solutions, the company looks to focus on its core business in the mail and shipping space. Just a few weeks after announcing a cash dividend of $0.05 per share, Pitney embarked on a move that would help the company pay down its near-term debt as it comes to maturity.

On August 26th Pitney announced its intention to shed the bulk of its Software Solutions business for nearly $700M in cash to Syncsort. Pitney looks to maintain their hold in their current markets they serve by refocusing on the client experience for companies that mail and ship by taking out process complexities. By shedding its software business Pitney is continuing its initiative to streamline operations and reduce its overall spend. Performance of Pitney’s software business has been lagging, pointing to a reduction in YOY renewals and an overall reduction in new clients. Pitney notes that one of their key strategies for growth is to increase shareholder value. Over the past few years, Pitney has divested many technologies, including its (DMT) Document Messaging Technologies (now BlueCrest) and their European SMB business.

As Pitney looks to reinvigorate its core focus on mail and shipping, we expect the partnership with the USPS to continue and grow. That said, there is a close watch at how the current and ever-changing US trade war with China will impact Pitney’s bottom line due to its growing business handling parcels from China. With the impending sale to Syncsort and the expected trade war impact, Pitney has adjusted its 2019 earnings forecast down from a range of $.90 / $1.05 to $.65 / $.75 respectively with full-year revenues in the 1 to 2 percent range.

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Print China 2019 – Second Biggest Print Trade Show

Ralf Schlozer
May 2, 2019

Print China, Asia’s largest printing industry exhibition, has been held every 4 years since 2007. The 4th iteration of the show took place from April 9th to 13th at the Guangdong Modern International Exhibition Center. The trade show alternates with China Print in Beijing, which is also held every four years and caters to the general printing industry as well. Since the Chinese market is so vast, both shows have a unique regional appeal—Print China focuses on Southern China while China Print caters to the Northern China printing industry. Both shows have the same organizers and are sponsored by the Printing and Printing Equipment Industries Association of China (PEIAC). Both shows are large enough to attract local as well as international visitors, primarily from the Asia Pacific region – the organizers claim visitors from more than 100 countries. Language can sometimes still be a barrier, and not all vendors are well-prepared for a discussion in English.

A final post-show statement for 2019 is not yet available, however Print China 2015 already set an historical record with a total trade volume of nearly 6 billion RMB (about US $1 billion, intended transactions included). This represented an increase of about 20% in relation to Print China 2011. In addition, Print China 2015 surpassed the 8th Beijing International Printing Technology Exhibition (China Print 2013) to become the largest exhibition in Asia and the second-largest in the world (Drupa in Germany captured the first place spot). About 206,000 visitors attended Print China in 2015, up 20% over 2011. The preliminary count for 2019 amounted to just over 200,000 visitors—in line with what was seen four years ago. The 2019 event attracted 1,200 exhibitors from 28 countries. Print China covered several halls of the Dongguan Exhibition Centre, with many halls having two floors. While the ground level floors were packed with exhibitors and visitors, the upper level was decidedly less busy. Print China 2019 accommodated 140,00 sq. meters of space, only slightly smaller than Drupa 2016 (158,237 sq. meters).

Print China Entrance

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The Side Stories from Hunkeler Innovationdays

Pat McGrew
Mar 7, 2019

By now you have read about the highly capable printing equipment that supported the Hunkeler Innovationdays demonstrations of Hunkeler, Horizon, Meccanotecnica, Kern, Bowe, Muller Martini, GUK, Sitma and others. You have probably read about the Agilox Intelligent Guided Vehicle that traveled the floor among the attendees moving paper and finished work among the stands.  But what you may not have read about are some of the other solutions worthy of your attention. They range from real-time shop floor monitoring to service, to accessibility, and all have a place in print production environments.


Agilox IGV getting ready to pickup finished work at Hunkeler Innovationdays.
Source: Keypoint Intelligence

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Hunkeler innovationdays 2019 – a hardware view

Ralf Schlozer
Mar 5, 2019

The Hunkeler innovationdays started out as a humble open house event of a Swiss finishing manufacturing company. Indicating a forward-thinking company, the innovationdays morphed over the years into the most important global event for continuous feed production document printing – as finishing equipment is naturally best demonstrated in conjunction with a printing system. Visitors love the idea of seeing printing lines from all major vendors sitting side-by-side and feeding the finishing lines for converted products. The 2019 iteration improved again on the number of exhibitors and visitors with about 100 exhibitors and 6,500 visitors expected for the show.

The theme of this year’s event was “success with automation”. There is no doubt that automation is getting increasingly important as a means to reduce labour cost, counter the shortage of skilled staff, avoid production mistakes, and speed up the device setup. This is especially critical the shorter the runs become. Hunkeler presented some fine examples of automation, notably a prototype of a sheeter and stacker that is able to automatically change formats from within seconds. Other new launches with focus on automation included a non-stop roll splicer for continuous feed printers, folders, perforators and web inspection modules.

Hunkeler Automated Cut & Stack line

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WHEN DID SNEAKERS BECOME ACCEPTABLE BUSINESS ATTIRE?

Deborah Hawkins
Feb 11, 2019

I haven’t done the rounds of many exhibitions the last few years. My focus area of office print is generally served by Vendor specific events and the one global event the industry had, CeBIT has now finally been put to bed. So I was quite surprised at my first visit to ISE (Integrated Systems Europe) 2019 in Amsterdam. It was full, thriving and so many people were wearing sneakers.

Does this have something to do with the meeting of two worlds that ISE has emerged from?  The vibrant Audio Visual (AV) high tech hardware focussed industry and the IT world that can integrate practically anything without having to heed to standards or obligations?

Founded in 2004 and boosting 3500 visitors that year, the exhibition has grown to some 1400 exhibitors and an expected 90,000 visitors in 2019. For me, it felt far more than that. The growth has undoubtedly been supported by the portfolio breadth of AV boasting 8k, curved as well as inflatable screens and flashy displays and its acceptance across many horizontal and vertical sectors. What attracted me most to the show however, was the connection to IT and looking at how the AV industry hooks up with business IT, the hub of our digital world today. I see a lot of parallels to the office printing industry and I knew this industry was in a similar stage of disruption when I saw the likes of Google & Uber speaking about workplace trends at ISE 2019. Read more »

What’s Next for Production Print DFEs?

Marc Mascara
Feb 6, 2019

A Trip Way Back in Time

On demand production print digital front ends (DFEs) began their competitive march in the late 1990s when Scitex Corporation announced its entry into the print on demand (POD) space by launching the Spontane printing system. The solution was an OEM version of the Fuji Xerox Docucolor 40. During that same timeframe, Scitex also developed a DFE version of its Brisque Prepress system and adapted it for the on-demand market. This announcement started a high-end competitive DFE battle between EFI, Scitex, and to some extent ColorBus.

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Digital CMYK+ Ushers in a New Crop of Design Enthusiasts

Marc Mascara
Jan 29, 2019

Designing for offset print is nothing new; the PDF revolution is a distant memory at this point and the “how to design for print” guides are long gone. For quite some time, designers have understood how to extend gamut and design for that hit of varnish. With that said, designing for these offset jobs was always difficult and somewhat restrictive to the creative process. Any creative liberties typically added a significant amount of time to the process because prepress often needed to make corrections to the designers file for reliable printing. As a result, commercial printers have always had a love/hate relationship with the creative members of the design community. This all began to change when the HP Indigo Digital Presses began to roll out 7-color liquid toner capabilities. It was still important to educate the design community, but not in terms of capability—the focus shifted to learning how best to design a clean file for prepress.

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China’s Suzhou Ruifa Looks to Disrupt the Printhead Manufacturing Segment

Ron Gilboa
Dec 20, 2018

For decades, precise deposition of materials was achieved by utilizing a range of technologies that  produce range of products from graphics arts, decorative, functional, and a host of other applications. Today, several key inkjet technologies drive markets and applications. These are enabled in part by a new generation of micro electro mechanical systems (MEMS) deposition / jetting devices, whether continuous inkjet (CIJ), piezoelectric drop on demand, or thermal inkjet drop on demand (TIJ). These technologies have been – for most part – the domain of a handful of companies that had the intellectual property and made the investment in silicone-based printhead manufacturing for several quite some time.

While the main suppliers of existing inkjet heads are almost all clustered in Japan, Western Europe, and the USA, a new competitor is now launching in China. After a significant investment in technology and resources, China’s Suzhou Ruifa Printing Technology Co. has announced its entrance as a supplier of thermal inkjet printheads. The company’s new printhead, SUREJet T7680, is a 41mm/1.6” wide thermal head, with 7680 nozzles. According to Suzhou Ruifa, SUREJet T7680 has two meter per second print speed and is capable of 1800×1200 DPI print resolution.

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HP acquires Apogee

Deborah Hawkins
Aug 8, 2018

On the 1st August 2018, HP Inc signed a definitive agreement to acquire all shares of Apogee.

The UK based office equipment dealer claims to be Europe’s largest independent provider of print outsourced services and document and process technology. The transaction values Apogee as of closing at GBP380m

Why Apogee?

This acquisition is a continuation of HP’s strategy to expand its contractual sales strategy and disrupt the A3 office market which began with HP’s acquisition of Samsung Printing in September 2016. Since that time, HP has been recruiting selective office equipment dealers that offer higher margin services, to its partner program across the globe. Read more »

Brands Represent BLUE Ocean for Esko

Ryan McAbee
Jul 25, 2018

Last week Esko announced its acquisition of BLUE Software, LLC, a label and artwork management software company headquartered in Chicago, Illinois. We had the opportunity to speak with Heidi Larsen, VP, Brand Integration Leader, who is directing the integration of the two companies, to get Esko’s perspective.

BLUE will join other Esko acquisitions, Enfocus and MediaBeacon, and sit under Danaher’s Product Identification platform of companies. In the issuing statement, Esko President Udo Panenka, said “We are relentlessly seeking to reduce time to market, cost and quality risk in the end-to-end packaging value chain. The acquisition of BLUE enhances Esko’s unique set of tools to enable brand owners and their partners to improve all three.”

Global brands continually need to flatten and speed up their supply chains so they can respond more quickly to marketing opportunities, different consumer segmentations, and ever-changing consumer preferences. The difficulty is that the industry averages 198 days to produce a label change, as cited at this year’s EskoWorld event. The challenge is further compounded considering brand’s refresh nearly a third of their SKUs every year according to a Keypoint Intelligence-InfoTrends study. The BLUE acquisition will further strengthen Esko’s product portfolio to support their growing and significant business supporting the packaging and identification needs of global brands. Read more »

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