packagePRINTING magazine presents:

HP and KBA Collaborate to Develop High-Volume Inkjet Solutions

CHICAGO—September 29, 2014—At GRAPH EXPO 14, HP and Koenig & Bauer Group (KBA) announced a collaboration to develop new roll-to-roll inkjet solutions for the high-volume corrugated packaging market. The co-developed solutions will be marketed under the HP brand and will help packaging converters increase productivity, scalability and versatility.
 
With an addressable market of $2.5 billion, the corrugated package printing industry is steadily increasing worldwide due to brand globalization, population growth and a resurging economy. In parallel, trends such as stock keeping unit (SKU) proliferation, micro-segmentation and shorter product lifecycles are driving demand for the shorter run lengths enabled by digital print.
 
To help corrugated converters and print service providers (PSPs) take advantage of these trends, HP and KBA intend to deliver high-speed roll-to-roll thermal inkjet solutions that provide value chain cost savings while meeting brands’ rigorous quality and volume requirements
 
Continued packaging innovation using complementary solutions
This year, HP announced its intent to enter the corrugated packaging segment with its inkjet web press technology, followed by its first offering, the HP High-speed Inkjet Corrugated Packaging Solution, and the solution’s first customer installation at Obaly Morava, a.s. The agreement with KBA demonstrates HP’s continued pursuit of corrugated packaging opportunities and intention to broaden its portfolio of inkjet products and solutions.

Noel Ward, editor in chief of packagePRINTING, said, "This alliance is important for both companies and the industry. The ability to use inkjet technology for corrugated applications changes the landscape for what can be done with corrugated materials. The combination of KBA's expertise in the folding carton and corrugated printing and HP's expertise in high speed production inkjet offers up a lot of new opportunity and positions both companies to do more in the packaging segment. Stay tuned for more details."

Source: HP and KBA.

DuPont Helps Bemis Go Thermal and Eliminate Solvents

NEW LONDON, WI—September 24, 2014—DuPont Packaging Graphics (DuPont) recently installed a second DuPont Cyrel FAST 3000TD processor at Bemis Graphics, part of Bemis Company, the largest flexible packaging company in the Americas. The Cyrel 3000TD installations allowed Bemis Graphics to completely eliminate solvents and transition to a large-format, high-volume thermal Cyrel FAST workflow that provides high-quality flexographic plates to 17 Bemis printing locations. The complete story of the conversion and collaboration will be presented on October 21 during the Flexographic Technical Association (FTA) 2014 fall conference in Minneapolis.

After many years of fast growth and a solvent-based plate making system that was nearing end of life, Bemis Graphics found itself approaching the emission limits established by the state environmental regulatory agency. After a short initial trial with a competitive thermal system, they looked to DuPont for a Cyrel FAST solution. After the successful installation of the first high-volume Cyrel 3000TD system, plate quality and productivity improved dramatically, so much so that they soon ordered and installed an additional Cyrel 3000TD unit. Both units were operational in a couple of days and are now running 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 360 days a year.

“The quality of the plates has been so good our plate re-work level has dropped a remarkable 60 percent, while the reliability and consistency of the Cyrel 50 X 80” FAST system has allowed us to optimize our plate room flow and increase our productivity 20 percent,” said Matt Elliott, general manager, Bemis Graphics. “Our operators love the new machines because they are easy to use and they have no solvents to worry about. The workplace is safer, for example, we don’t have 55 gallon drums everywhere and we now don’t need eyewash stations or spill kits.”

In addition to reducing plate rework by 60 percent and increasing productivity by 20 percent, Bemis Graphics’ solvent emissions are no longer a concern for them or the state regulatory agency.

“Innovation & the Image Carrier-Part III-Making the Leap: Moving from Solvent to a High-Volume Thermal Plate Workflow” details the transition and will be presented jointly by Ed Schieffer of DuPont Packaging Graphics and Matt Elliott of Bemis Graphics on October 21 during the Fall FTA Conference in Minneapolis.

New, Bold and Blue: Rotometrics at LabelExpo Americas

ROSEMONT, IL—September 25, 2014—At Label Expo Americas, RotoMetrics attracted attention with new products and a bold presence.

RotoMetrics utilized LabelExpo Americas to debut several new products. The new through-hardened, machine-finished RD300 solid die is a superior solution for cutting disposable medical substrates, dust-sensitive labels and tags, in-mold labels, synthetic gasket materials, Velcro, Tyvek and electronic components. The RD300’s strength and durability comes from its superior high chromium D2 steel grade body along with a specialized heat-treating process that provides a full-depth hardness of 58-60 Rockwell.

“Some of the visitors to our exhibit told us the event’s visitor registration staff recommended they check out the new RotoMetrics display,” said Harrison Chien, RotoMetrics’ vice president of marketing and business development. “We were delighted to see such a positive response to our bold new exhibit and think it helps set the tone to build excitement around RotoMetrics’ foundation of speed, reliability and innovation.

RotoMetrics also introduced its new anodized print cylinder, which rounds out the complete print cylinder portfolio. The Anodized Print Cylinder, an economic alternative between Standard and Hardcase grades, offers the same precise tolerances as the Standard but has added surface protection for improved scratch resistance and corrosion protection.

Anderson & Vreeland Releases a New Infographic: Past, Present and Future of Flexography

BRYAN, OHIO—September 25, 2014—Anderson & Vreeland has introduced an infographic that summarizes the history of flexography, the present state of flexo, and identifies what the future holds for flexographic printing.

The infographic is a great reference to help understand how flexographic printing has evolved, the key role flexo plays in packaging and label printing, and where the flexo industry is heading. A timeline presents historical events affecting flexographic printing, including the FDA classifying aniline dyes as unsuitable for food packaging in the 1940s; how “flexography” was named; the introduction of liquid photopolymer plates, water-wash flexo plates and more. The current state of flexography is defined with sales statistics by product category, geographic area and other relevant information that demonstrates the size and impact flexographic printing has on our economy.

The future of flexography is described by factors important to major flexo market segments, including shelf appeal, product protection and manufacturing efficiency. Product life cycle software, color and brand management tools, digital printing presses and complete digital workflows are graphically depicted to simplify understanding their relationship with the major flexo market segments.

“The flexo industry touches virtually every facet of our lives,” noted Lee Zerfass, digital business manager for Anderson & Vreeland. “We developed this infographic so the novice and technical expert alike can learn about flexographic printing. It is a simple representation of the flexo industry that includes sophisticated concepts and technologies affecting the future of flexography.”

To review and download the infographic on the Past, Present and Future of Flexography visit http://andersonvreeland.com/past-present-future-flexography-infographic

A Trade Show for M&As? In a Way, Yes

By Thomas J. Williams

Readers of this blog probably won’t need to be reminded that GRAPH EXPO 2014 kicks off in Chicago on Sunday, Sept. 28. We think of the GRAPH EXPO and PRINT shows mostly as extravaganzas for the equipment vendors, but they’re also essential events for printing and packaging firms that want to improve their prospects in the mergers and acquisitions marketplace.

Today, a company’s perceived value in that marketplace depends strongly upon the extent to which it’s seen as a provider of contemporary products and services. Because businesses that embrace new technologies look attractive to buyers, they can make deals on favorable terms. On the other hand, companies still relying on machines and processes from the 1990s tend to look sleepy, uninformed, and weak as candidates for acquisition. A firm in this position shouldn’t expect to be sold as a going concern—good reasons to keep it operating in its anachronistic fashion doesn’t exist.

GRAPH EXPO is where printers gather the information they need to make the right decisions about their technical capabilities and the images they will present to potential acquirers. At McCormick Place, owners will find exhibits, educational sessions, and nonstop networking opportunities—resources that can help them determine where their companies stand on the scale of desirability and what they must do to boost their marketability by raising their technological profiles.

Companies that achieve new capabilities by educating and re-equipping themselves at trade shows shouldn’t keep their progress a secret. Whether your aim is to be attractive as a seller or credible as a buyer, you’ll want your company to be known as one that’s able to deliver whatever its customers want to buy, especially when those products fall outside the definition of traditional print manufacturing.

Take a cue from the exhibitors at GRAPH EXPO—don’t be shy about showing off your new wares. Did you recently purchase a digital press or a wide-format printing system? Hold an open house and invite all of your customers. Word will get around about your technical leadership. Promote your expanded services through social media. If you aren’t already taking part in your regional branch of Printing Industries of America, think about getting more actively involved. Your peers—owners of companies that you may one day want to acquire or that you may want to be acquired by—will get to know you better.

Perception often is reality, and sometimes, print industry M&As can be like reality TV. New Direction Partners recently closed the sale of a company that was so widely known and well respected for its capabilities that we almost literally had people fighting to buy it. But when it comes to companies that haven’t shaken off their reputations for being old-school and antiquated, buyers can’t change the channel fast enough.

My NDP colleagues and I always look forward to GRAPH EXPO for the wealth of insight it gives us into the technical dimensions of the M&A scene. Those insights can be yours as well. If you’re coming to Chicago, have a great show. If you can’t attend this year, be sure to follow the great coverage you’ll find right here at Printing Impressions.

About New Direction Partners

New Direction Partners (NDP) is the print and graphic communications industry’s leading provider of advisory services for firms seeking growth and opportunity through mergers and acquisitions. NDP assists its clients by giving them expert guidance and peace of mind at every stage of the process of buying or selling a printing company. Services include representing selling shareholders; acquisition searches; valuation; capital formation and financing; and strategic planning. NDP’s partners have participated in more than 300 mergers and acquisitions since 1979. Collectively they possess over 200 years of industry experience with transactions in aggregate exceeding $2 billion.

For information, e-mail info@newdirectionpartners.com.