It’s that time of year again when I shamelessly choose the top stories of 2014. The criteria I normally use include everything from the article’s overall impact on the industry, to some deserving personal accolades, to some of our industry’s coolest technologies. However, as I get dozens of press releases a day, you can imagine how difficult it is to prioritize so many stories. My apologies to those deserving news items that didn’t made it into this piece.
10. Coolest new technology
Chromatic Technologies Inc. (CTI) introduced its Sunlight Inks that appear rapidly when sunlight hits them. The inks are the result of CTI’s proprietary chemistry for consumer packaging and can be printed on a label or a package. Equally fascinating is the fact that Lyle Small, a Cornell University chemistry student, founded CTI in his dorm room in 1993 trying to find different stimuli to turn inks “on and off.” Today they’re known as “smart inks.”
Replacing ink with water for printing
Chinese researchers created a reusable sheet that changes colour when moist. The paper is made with dyes that are invisible when dry but reveal colours when wet. The re-writable paper for ink-free printing was referred to as “Waterjet” (as opposed to inkjet) and can be output using a commercial desktop printer. Initial tests show that each sheet can be reused up to fifty times and lasts up to 22 hours “with no significant loss in colour quality.”
9. Most heart-warming story
Edmonton’s Pioneer Press, operating since 1894, celebrated 120 years in business this month. It’s the longest continually run company in Alberta. Today, the family-owned printer has twenty employees and is led by President Jim Edgar, Vice-President Glenn Chomin and Controller Jennifer Chomin. Edgar, who is 80, has been employed there for 64 years. He told us in an interview that he still enjoys being a printer and coming to work each day.
8. Largest print run
The Sun newspaper in the UK printed a record 22 million copies to kick off 2014’s World Cup. The special issue of the tabloid was delivered to almost every household in England. The This is our England 24-page issue was printed over a nine-day period and involved 450 hours of production time on Manroland Colorman presses at three different sites. It was hailed as “the greatest print initiative of recent times.” Each copy also included unique codes for Sun Bingo, produced using 22 Kodak Prosper S30 inkjet imprinting heads.
7. Top tradeshow odyssey
Printed Electronics USA – the world’s largest event covering printed, organic and flexible electronics – took place at the Santa Clara Convention Center last month. The event focused on the commercialization of the technology and was co-located with conferences on related technologies and end-use applications such as wearable electronics and energy storage. Many amazing new products and samples were shown for the first time including posters, e-readers, audio paper, interactive games, OLED displays, electronics in fabrics, interactive printed controls and menus, printed RFID and much more.
6. Heidelberg’s Speedmaster milestone
Packaging specialist RockTenn (Norcross, GA) installed the 100th Heidelberg Very Large Format (VLF) Press worldwide at its Clinton, Iowa location. The sale, said the OEM, is indicative of the growth of its Speedmaster Sheetfed Offset XL 145/162 Press line. Launched in 2008, the Speedmaster XL VLF platform has system advantages in the makeready process and industry-leading speeds of up to 18,000 sph. It’s ideal for the short-run display market and, in RockTenn’s case, high-volume packaging.
5. Landmark installations
Cober Evolving Solutions of Kitchener, Ontario, installed an HP Indigo 10000, the first ever in Canada and only the eighth worldwide. The press maintains all the capabilities of the HP Indigo portfolio in a wider format that expands its digital printing capabilities, while crossing over into traditional offset markets. It’s also the first offset-quality digital press in a B2-size format.
Calgary’s Bolder Graphics installed one EFI Vutek GS3250LX roll-to-roll and two Vutek GS2000LX super-wide flatbed inkjet printers. Currently the largest single install of its kind in Canada, the combined printers deliver 6,250 sq. ft. of printing per hour on any rigid or flexible material. The company can now achieve a typical day of print production in just one hour!
Bassett Direct (Richmond Hill, ON) installed Canada’s first Xeikon 8600. The install coincided with the company’s 20th anniversary and will be used to help grow its renowned one-on-one, variable-data marketing services. The one-pass duplex press prints at a top speed of 47 fpm with monthly duty cycles of up to 6 million pages.
4. John, Craig and Jay
John Honderich, Chair of the Board of Torstar Corporation, and CTV News Chief Political Correspondent Craig Oliver were named to the Canadian News Hall of Fame. Honderich began his career in 1973 at the Ottawa Citizen as a copy boy. Oliver got his start in radio in 1957 while working for the CBC. On the printing front, Jay Mandarino, Founder and President of the C.J. Group of Companies, received the Ontario Medal for Good Citizenship. The Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, presented the award at a ceremony held at the Ontario Legislative Building in Toronto last month. In 2012, Mandarino received a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal to commemorate his contributions to the community and philanthropic work.
3. Let’s get organized
In March, the Canadian Printing Industries Sector Council (CPISC) and the Canadian Printing Industries Association (CPIA) created a single, new organization to help Canada’s printing and graphic communications industry. That key organization is now delivering the kind of support that printers need – in human-resource development, information, marketing, advocacy to government and training – via a single agency that offers leadership, support and networking.
Later in the year, Two Sides North America signed an agreement with the CPIA. Two Sides’ mission is to challenge misleading claims that electronic communications are more environmentally friendly than print and paper. Its goal is to see fewer ‘go green, go paperless’ or ‘save a tree’ claims, as well as more people understanding the real facts behind print and paper – that it’s based on a renewable resource, is highly recyclable, uses mostly renewable energy to produce, and stores carbon for its useful life.
A new professional association for Canada’s printable electronics (PE) industry emerged last month. The Canadian Printable Electronics Industry Association (CPEIA) is based in Ottawa and its mandate is to bring together key Canadian and international players in industry, academia and government to build a strong domestic PE sector. The Association will implement strategies to facilitate growth through networking, stimulate R&D and investment, build a strong PE supply chain and drive the adoption of PE by end customers.
2. Ricoh’s huge investment in Avanti
At 7 am on July 11, Japan-based OEM giant Ricoh officially announced a multi-million-dollar investment in Toronto’s Avanti Computer Systems, an industry leader in Management Information Systems (MIS) for the print industry. The move allowed Ricoh to “continue to make investments to further enhance the development of new management tools to help enterprises and commercial printers on their continued path toward efficiency and growth.” Avanti’s MIS software, among the most open in the industry, helps printers streamline every aspect of their workflow. Patrick Bolan, President and CEO of Avanti added: “This strategic investment by Ricoh means that we can accelerate product development, expand into new markets, and most importantly ensure that current and future customers have options when choosing a Print MIS system.” Avanti has over 400 clients across North America.
1. New products galore
In every study I’ve ever seen, new products invariably score highest in readership. From large digital and offset presses to compact desktop MFPs and label printers, seldom a day goes by that I’m not inundated with releases about amazing new products or even product upgrades. Honestly, the technical savvy of the OEMs in our industry always amazes me. Take a look at our website (www.graphicartsmag.com) anytime and you’ll see what I mean. So congratulations to my top six OEMs of 2014 that continue to send me the most e-mails. Keep’em coming Konica Minolta, Fujifilm, HP, Heidelberg, Xerox and Esko. I’d be lonely without you!
Have a great Christmas and wonderful New Year!