Posts tagged: Publishing

Memjet DuraLink and MGI AlphaJet

Ralf Schlozer
 Jul 9, 2019

Memjet invited recently several European analysts and journalists to a press event into their San Diego HQ – in a move to make the Memjet brand more well known in Europe. Memjet is the R&D company behind a set of highly compact inkjet heads and assemblies that are integrated by small to large size OEM partners into their printing equipment. Memjet’s approach especially enables small companies or custom integrators to bring their business ideas to life, which could never afford their own inkjet head development. Memjet markets their heads to OEMs, not to end users. Still Memjet supports marketing printers that are using their inkjet heads and has coined the tag line “Memjet inside “. This works well, if the company behind is well known enough and accordingly Memjet is stepping up their market visibility to drive further growth.

From an early days R&D lab in Australia with a bunch of patents Memjet grow into a 350+ employee company. The company started out with a model of page-wide inkjet heads, now termed VersaPass, mainly for office products. The company expanded its reach via integrators in the production print space, these in turn, helped diversify the offerings into wide format, high volume press engines and components sets.

With the next generation DuraLink the company made a big step into high volume production print. The DuraLink line of heads has been launched in 2017, which has been covered in another blog already (https://blog.infotrends.com/bright-new-horizons-for-memjet-duralink-integrators/). Memjet quotes a head life of 50 litres of ink with 2.2pl droplets (compared to 1.5 pl of the VersaPass) and the use of pigment ink, while preserving the 1,600 dpi spatial resolution of the VersaPass head. Printing resolution in the direction of the paper transport depends on the speed and ranges from 1585 dpi at 75.5 m/min to 580 at 203.6 m/min.

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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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Web Offset Consolidation – manroland Web Systems and Goss to Merge

Ralf Schlozer
 Mar 5, 2018

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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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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Take the 15 Page a Day Challenge!

Eve Padula
 Oct 2, 2017

The proliferation of social media makes it possible for consumers and businesses to spread the word about events, causes, and pretty much anything faster than ever before. Over the past few years, we’ve seen quite a few social media challenges. Back In 2014, the Ice Bucket Challenge increased awareness about ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease) while also raising $109 million for the charity. During 2016, the Mannequin Challenge became a social media sensation. Not to be outdone, the Paper and Packaging Board issued its own How Life Unfolds challenge of its own over the summer. This 15 Pages a Day Challenge is a paper-based reading program that’s great for people of all ages and literacy levels.

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DSCOOP EMEA 2017 – setting the benchmark for user groups

Ralf Schlozer
 Jul 10, 2017

From June 7th to 9th Dscoop EMEA went into its 6th round at the Centre de Congres in Lyon. About 1,300 attendees from more than 45 countries joined the event.

HP went to great lengths to present the latest printing technology live and running to the attendees with four Indigo B2 devices printing at the site (two 12000, one 20000 and 30000), as well as the latest label presses shown in action – including an Indigo 8000 Digital Press. In addition HP shared some installation data, with currently 6,000 Indigo presses installed worldwide in commercial print and another 1,750 presses in label and packaging printing. This includes about 570 B2 engines. Large format latex printer installations amount to about 45,000 by June 2017, outnumbered by one million large format Deskjet devices installed. HP shared some information on the uptake of PrintOS as well and reported 5,560 registered users at 2,400 companies, with 1,700 of them using PrintOS weekly.

At the event HP announced some improvements to PrintOS: notably PrintBeat has a mobile edition now, which allows monitoring and benchmarking press performance from mobile devices. High definition imaging was presented at the event again and although it is set to go into field testing later this year, with general availability planned for 2018. Available now are several new screening options that will help in photo printing and high contrast images.

While pink fluorescent ElectroInk was introduced half a year ago, fluorescent yellow just became available to Indigo users. Fluorescent green and orange were shown at the event and are currently being field tested. Another new ElectroInk just introduced is “Light Light Black”, which is especially intended for smooth gradations in photo printing, underscoring that HP Indigo remains committed to be the leader in specialty colour choice. At drupa 2016 HP showcased more than a dozen of other specialty ElectroInks to gauge user interest – at Dscoop Lyon HP Indigo previewed some of these inks again: thermochromic ink (changes colour depending on temperature), heat seal (the glue is activated at high temperature) and release inks (e.g. for scratch cards), which are apparently moving closer to commercialisation. Additionally metallic ElectroInk was shown again, which should garner the biggest interest, but is likely to get a launch not sooner than 2018.

HP Technology Fair - with new EletroInk types

HP Technology Fair – with new EletroInk types

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Canon targeting commercial print with the Océ ProStream

Ralf Schlozer
 Feb 21, 2017

Continuous feed colour inkjet has put its mark onto digital print for a number of years now, but it has been slow to escape the confines of transactional printing, despite some success in direct mail and book printing. While transaction print is set to decline, the much more attractive market would be moving into commercial print and converting portions of the immense offset print volume to digital. That is easier said than done however, with the demands for print quality and paper range being much higher in commercial print, compared to transaction print. Several devices have been launched to target this market, but success so far has been limited.

With its latest announcement on the 17th of February Canon plans to take advantage of this opportunity with a new product called Océ ProStream. The ProStream supports a print width of 540 mm, a maximum speed of 80 metres per minute, and a duty cycle of 35 million A4 pages per month. The printer is targeted to offer high print quality on a large range of substrates. Canon cites four major reasons why the ProStream should finally be able to gain a larger portion of the commercial print market:

– New 1,200 nozzle per inch Kyocera piezo drop-on-demand inkjet heads

– A new high-density polymer-based ink system – including ColorGrip primer

– A new, non-contact “flotation air” drying system

– A new usability concept supporting native PDF and PDF/VT Read more »

Epson entering the light production arena

Ralf Schlozer
 Feb 7, 2017

On February the 3rd Epson launched two new colour inkjet MFPs: the LX-10000 (with a 100 ppm speed) and the LX-7000 (with a 75 ppm speed). The launch is interesting from several points of view. It is the first venture of a major inkjet office device vendor into the 100 ppm colour speed class. It also demonstrates Epson’s strategy to replace toner with inkjet in high end office printing. The most significant announcement is however that Epson plans to target the device not only at office, but also at the light production market. Epson does have a foot-hold in production print via its label printers (SurePress Series) and some large format printers are used for poster or proofing as well, but so far has not targeted the mainstream production print market yet. Read more »

Xeikon with Trillium on the way to drupa 2016

Ralf Schlozer
 Mar 21, 2016

At drupa 2012 Xeikon made a splash by showcasing a new liquid toner technology under the Trillium brand name. Although it was quite apparent that Xeikon was banking the future of its digital imaging business on Trillium, it has not said much about the technology recently, and then the anticipated delivery to French direct mail printer TagG Informatique in 2015 was missed.

On March 17th 2016 Xeikon finally gave a detailed update on Trillium. The first product will be commercialised under the Trillium One name, as originally announced with a 60 meter per minute (200 fpm) speed, 1,200 dpi imaging resolution and 50 cm (20”) web width. Imaging speed is laid out for 120 m/min, so a future speed upgrade should be possible.

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Xeikon – the new digital printing solutions division of Flint

Ralf Schlozer
 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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