Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Heidelberg’s digital ecosystem – ‘Heidelberg Plus’

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The Heidelberg Plus digital ecosystem Image Heidelberg
The Heidelberg Plus digital ecosystem Image Heidelberg

Heidelberg Plus is taking the digitization of the company’s customer relationships to the next level by incorporating useful value-added services, according to a press release on 13 April 2021. The company combines all elements of the Heidelberg ecosystem in its new ‘Heidelberg Plus’ digital customer portal. ‘Plus’ includes everything from Internet presence with website and eShop to various performance report, monitoring, and service applications in the production sector and access to instructional videos plus white papers covering technical aspects and applications.

Developments in cloud technology, IoT, big data, and AI have created new possibilities that Heidelberg will systematically harness to offer customers further added value. Examples include developing the first AI-based applications to advise them interactively on optimizing their operations, with the company leveraging and supplying its big data expertise. In the future, customers will be able to access the entire digital world at Heidelberg using a single sign-in.

“Digitized customer relationships coupled with attractive added-value services are the key to establishing collaborative business relationships with customers in our digital world. Our aim is for the Heidelberg Plus ecosystem to simplify the way we work with our customers and offer them more added value,” explains Ludwig Allgoewer, head of Sales and Marketing at Heidelberg.

Heidelberg Plus
The new Heidelberg Plus branding for its ecosytem Image Heidelberg

Heidelberg is thus combining existing applications with new services for customers. In the future, a single point of access is all users will need for a complete overview of all information and tools, networked functions, and the entire Heidelberg service portfolio. This will make it quick and easy to obtain information, purchase items (eShop), and monitor operations. Over 1,600 print shops already use Heidelberg Assistant (HDA) to access their production data. To obtain the relevant services, they need to be registered or have purchased specific services (e.g., Maintenance Manager) as a contract customer.

“What is already impressing users more than anything is the option of using mobile devices to monitor machine operation, purchase consumables, or create service tickets. Regular HDA users range from large businesses with sites located in dozens of different countries to SMEs with just one site,” says Allgoewer, summarizing the benefits. “Key elements of the ecosystem such as HDA and the eShop have already developed very encouragingly. By merging these and other existing applications, and also integrating new ones, we will further enhance the benefits for our customers,” he adds.

The company will soon be unveiling the new Heidelberg Plus ecosystem to the public – at the China Print trade show this summer. It will then showcase it at the Print Media Centers in Germany, the United States, Japan, and Brazil in the fall.

Toppan ecoluster reduces manufacturing lead time for offset printing

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Toppan ecoluster
Toppan ecoluster enables more eco-friendly offset printing

Toppan Printing (Toppan), a global leader in communication, security, packaging, décor materials, and electronics solutions, has developed a more eco-friendly manufacturing method for offset printing that combines oil-based biomass ink with water-based varnish. Ecoluster is an addition to Toppan’s “sustainable value packaging” lineup, which is part of the recently launched “Toppan S-value packaging” range targeting added value for society and fulfilling living.

Oil-based inks used in offset printing are known for their broad-spectrum and excellent reproduction of colors. However, oil-based printing has, until now, entailed long lead times and lower productivity, meaning that fast-drying UV offset printing is widely adopted as it can significantly reduce timeframes for manufacturing.

Toppan ecoluster has been developed to address this by leveraging new materials and manufacturing methodology and combining oil-based biomass ink with water-based varnish.

Toppan ecoluster enables productivity significantly greater than conventional oil-based printing and manufacturing lead times equivalent to those of UV printing used extensively for folding cartons. The use of plant-derived material and the absence of UV lamps make it possible to reduce carbon dioxide emissions associated with raw ink materials and the printing process by roughly 34% compared with general UV offset printing.

In addition, because ink other than metallic ink uses oil-based biomass material that can display marks for biomass and plant-derived inks on products. Toppan Ecoluster also achieves reproduction quality and properties equivalent to UV sheet-fed printing by offering the outstanding colors of oil-based inks, smooth ink surfaces, friction resistance, and the same gloss look without using UV curing materials.

Takeda commenting on Toppan ecoluster benefits

“Ecoluster meets needs for enhanced production efficiency and reduced environmental impact while supplying outstanding color and print quality,” said Akira Takeda, general manager of manufacturing technology in Toppan’s Living & Industry Division.

Toppan will continue to drive enhanced functionality for packaging products, applying more eco-friendly offset printing to packaging for food and fast-moving consumer goods and adding value to contribute to a sustainable society.”

Ecoluster will be on display in the Toppan Booth (S1-12, South Hall 1) at Tokyo Pack, 2021, held at the Tokyo Big Sight exhibition center from 24 to 26 February.

 

The politics of Mega Food Parks – big announcements every week

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Punjab has several Mega Food Parks that are functional Photo Government of Punjab
Punjab has several Mega Food Parks that are functional Photo Government of Punjab

On 5 April 2021, the government announced the setting up of a Mega Food Park in Motipur in Bihar at a cost of Rs. 400 crore. In the coming week of 12 April, it is expected that Baba Ramdev of Patanjali will finally initiate the construction of his Mega Food Park in Greater Noida in the Delhi NCR. This project has been cooking for over the past three years. Meanwhile, while campaigning in the West Bengal state assembly election, the country’s home minister promised to set up two Mega Food Parks if his party wins.

The idea of organizing the Indian food industry right from farm to fork has been the agenda of the past 70 years since independence. Its first 50 years saw the green revolution that brought new wheat varieties and grain self-sufficiency and the white revolution that made the country a major producer and exporter of rice. These years also give rise to the cooperative dairy movement that has made it the largest milk producer in the world. In 1992-93, the central government introduced the food park scheme whereby the states were to take up the responsibility for the food processing industrial estate projects.

In 2007-08, in a year of 8.5% GDP growth, the central government announced its more grandiose Mega Food Park (MFP) scheme. To encourage the private sector to build and operate the industrial estate infrastructure, these were meant to include warehouses and cold storage units, sorting, ripening, processing, and packaging plants leased to farmers, small and medium manufacturers, and logistics operators. Another stated intention of the MFPs was to come closer to farmers – to improve their productivity and influence their cropping patterns.

Food is the great football of the Indian economy, to be kicked between the central and state governments and between government subsidy and private enterprise. It is hostage to politicians who lose elections over food inflation and strong lobbies of farmers who now produce an excess of wheat that is not needed and rice that depletes the water table simply because there is a minimum support price. Experts say that it is likely that every ambition to alter and change the cropping pattern will meet with failure as long as subsidies disproportionately incentivize farmers to grow wheat and rice and thus not plant other crops needed to power better nutrition and exports.

Farmers in India are not directly taxed – they do not pay income tax. The laws were meant to protect the ownership of land to the tiller. In practice, the rules have led to the fragmentation of the holdings in poor farmers’ hands by their subdivision to successive generations. Simultaneously, subsidized water and electricity and minimum support prices for wheat and rice have enriched and consolidated farmers with good soil and irrigation.

Mega Food Parks – thus far an engine of incompetence

Most of the 42 (or 43 or 44) Mega Food Parks exist only on paper, and only four of the 16 (or 19) that have come up have reached or exceeded their aspirational level of 5,000 employees. Some are already embroiled in police and court cases for embezzlement and fraud.

The issues, cultural and economic, are complex. The abrupt style and mentality of the present central government are neither capable of understanding the economy’s complexity nor alleviating its integration with agriculture with its shock and awe approach. Just as its ban on cow slaughter and culling of herds is a considerable setback for the milk and food economy, its daily announcements of Mega Food Parks and selective largesse may not extend beyond photo opportunities.

The unscientific approach to agriculture and the economy is unlikely to enable the timely execution of the many sanctioned Mega Food Parks. The much-vaunted ‘Ease of Doing Business’ of this government is a laughing stock as many genuine entrepreneurs are already regretting their interest in the Mega Food Parks as they are kicked back and forth between state and central bureaucrats and compliances.

virtual.drupa may provide a semblance of continuity

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Not quite the real thing, but the virtual.drupa takes place from 20 to 23 April 2021
Not quite the real thing, but the virtual.drupa takes place from 20 to 23 April 2021

The countdown is for virtual.drupa is on, and some 150 exhibitors and perhaps at a wild guess, as many as 40,000 to 50,000 global print and packaging businesses will tune in to the virtual.drupa from 20 to 23 April 2021. “We are very pleased about the recent registrations of outstanding exhibitors and important global players such as HP and Israel-based Landa Digital Printing. Both companies will enrich virtual.drupa with their impressive spectrum of innovative digital printing technologies and broad range of applications,” says Sabine Geldermann, project director Print Technologies at Messe Dusseldorf.

The commercial print industry on the whole is reeling from poor demand and while packaging is doing much better, the disruption of the pandemic and the postponement of comprehensive and cyclical events such as drupa are disruptive. It is hoped that while the virtual event may not help to bring back print any faster, it may help print and packaging businesses get out of their alternate reality and think about their alternate futures.

Industry pioneer Benny Landa, chairman of the Landa Group and founder of both Indigo and Landa Digital Printing, is looking forward to virtual.drupa, which he says, “is particularly important for our industry in times when face-to-face events cannot take place.”

Heim Levit, general manager at HP Indigo says, “We are very pleased to continue to support our commitment to the printing industry and Drupa by creating an opportunity to connect in virtual.drupa this year. While we miss seeing our partners, customers and friends in the industry in a live show, the need to continue to protect our people and communities is paramount. However, what the last 12 months have proved is the very positive reception of our new NPI portfolio, which continued to drive significant innovation allowing businesses of all sizes to keep growing despite challenging business environments. We encourage everyone to visit virtual drupa and connect with us.”

Ferag, IST Metz, manroland goss web systems, Zund to take part

In addition, several other major long-standing drupa exhibitors have recently confirmed their participation, including Swiss conveying and processing systems expert Ferag, manufacturer of high-performance UV curing systems IST Metz, leading web offset printing solutions provider manroland goss web systems GmbH and global cutting systems specialist Zünd Systemtechnik AG.

virtual.drupa leading event partners

The event partners of virtual.drupa comprise global players, including Leonhard Kurz (Platinum Event Partner), DuPont de Nemours, Electronics for Imaging (efi), Kodak, Komori (Gold Event Partners), BlueCrest, CloudLab, Fujifilm, Hybrid Software, Koenig & Bauer, Mimaki, OQChemicals and Xeikon (Silver Event Partners).

Exhibitor registration

Registration for exhibitors at virtual.drupa is still open and interested parties will still be able to register at short notice. In order to ensure a successful presence, detailed information and checklists about the three pillars – Conference Area, Exhibition Space and Networking Plaza – as well as helpful videos offering tutorials and guidelines on how best to display products in virtual showrooms and undertake targeted lead generation, is available at https://virtual.drupa.com/en/Exhibition_Space/Become_exhibitor/Online_application.

virtual.drupa current status

The numbers are looking very promising for virtual.drupa, both in terms of quality and quantity: more than 200 exhibitors from 33 countries confirmed, including nearly all significant global players. European companies make up the largest group with a 46% share. Other than exhibitors from Germany, the leading nations in terms of numbers are China, the USA, Switzerland, Italy and Japan. 890 exhibitor representatives have already signed up for the matchmaking tool, which enables the arrangement of virtual meetings and direct interaction via a chat function prior to and during the event, in order to arrange virtual appointments with attendees.

Customers from all over the world have shown a great deal of interest in virtual interaction, with around 2,400 international visitors having registered for matchmaking and interaction with industry experts. Thanks to PR and marketing initiatives as well as invitations activated by exhibitors, registration is gathering momentum. Messe Düsseldorf has already recorded attendees from 145 countries for virtual.drupa. International participation of 80% and strong exhibitor and visitor nations make virtual.drupa a true reflection of the face-to-face event. Among the leading nations on the visitor side are India, the USA, the UK, Belgium, Italy, Japan, Switzerland and Brazil.

43 hours of presentations and web sessions

virtual.drupa is all about highly relevant and valuable knowledge transfer, which will take place during more than 43 hours of keynote speeches, panel discussions, presentations and exhibitor web sessions. In the Conference Area, the focus will be on current issues, including sustainability, the circular economy, Artificial Intelligence, the platform economy and the connected consumer.

Keynote speakers – Michael Gale, James Sommerville
and Dr Gabrielle Walker

The keynote speakers are the internationally renowned best-selling author (The Digital Helix) and pioneer in digital transformation Michael Gale; designer, consultant and former Vice President Global Design at Coca-Cola Company James Sommerville, who is known for his unconventional, future-oriented marketing ideas; and the prominent presenter, best-selling author (The Hot Topic) and climate change activist Dr. Gabrielle Walker.

Matchmaking tutorials on virtual.drupa.com

In order to facilitate virtual meetings between exhibitors and potential customers, all registered attendees can view relevant tutorials on the virtual.drupa website. It provides an easy guide on how to set up a virtual meeting. Matchmaking tutorials for exhibitors and visitors, ‘how it works’ matchmaking videos and videos about web sessions are available at https://virtual.drupa.com/en/Home/virtual.drupa_Tutorials.

Exhibitor database with up-to-date information

The comprehensive database provides daily updates and information about participating companies. Navigating via the Exhibition Space, visitors can quickly and easily access exhibitors corresponding to their field of interest. To obtain an accurate and relevant selection of exhibitors, users can either enter a company name directly, or search by product category or country, for instance. The customized exhibitor profile provides information about the company, contact details, products, services, innovations and presentation formats. At this stage, users can also make direct contact with exhibitors via a digital business card or connect via the matchmaking tool.

About virtual.drupa

The global print & packaging community will meet from 20 to 23 April 2021 at virtual.drupa, promoting networking and knowledge transfer, and mobilizing business based on its three pillars: Conference Area, Networking Plaza and Exhibition Space. Live web sessions and videos complement the event, offering more in-depth information and the opportunity to obtain additional details about the proposed offers. All live web sessions will be available on-demand 24/7 in a video library following the event.

Global Graphics Software joins OPC Foundation

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Global Graphics Software
Global Graphics Software: Innovative core technology for digital print

Global Graphics Software has joined the OPC Foundation, the organization responsible for developing and maintaining the OPC (Open Platform Communications) Industrial Interoperability Standard. Global Graphics Software is the developer of award-winning components used in digital printing systems that are increasingly part of connected processes in smart factories where printing is part of the manufacturing process. 

OPC UA is the interoperability standard for secure and reliable data exchange in industrial automation space and other industries. It is a platform-independent that ensures the seamless flow of information among devices from multiple vendors. 

Global Graphics Software
Eric Worrall: VP of products and customer success at Global Graphics Software

Eric Worrall, VP of products and customer success at Global Graphics Software, comments, “OPC UA will allow us a standard way to communicate with devices within the production line such as PLCs. It will also allow us to communicate up to SCADA and HMIs, controlling the entire production process, not just the printing subsystem. 

Collecting the data and providing historical analysis will enable innovations like predictive maintenance. We will work with component suppliers to add OPC UA interfaces to electronic components in the print system to allow plug-and-play integration. We also have versions of our RIP technologies that can be run on arm platforms and aimed at the IoT. Adding OPC UA connectivity to these IoT solutions will allow standard connectivity and the strong security required for IoT. 

Justin Bailey, Global Graphics Software’s managing director, adds, “The OPC Foundation is an 800+ strong international community, and we look forward to becoming an active member. The function of print is changing, and the OPC UA standard is already in use in industrial environments that want to add print into their processes. Our OEM customers targeting their solutions in the industrial sector will welcome the connectivity potential that our solutions will provide.” 

Hoppe welcoming Global Graphics Software

Stefan Hoppe, president and executive director of the OPC Foundation, comments: “The OPC Foundation warmly welcomes Global Graphics Software as a new member of the largest ecosystem for secured industrial interoperability. OPC UA not only enables seamless, secure data transport from the field to the cloud (and back) – an essential aspect is the standardization of the information to be transported, e.g., also for the printing industry – we are therefore looking forward to the cooperation of the experts from Global Graphics Software.”

 

Can a virtual.drupa event help the actual event in 2024?

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virtual.drupa event
From the drupa trend reports published in anticipation of drupa 2020 Messe Dusseldorf

https://packagingsouthasia.com/events/kodak-at-virtual-drupa-2021/Although almost 150 companies have signed up for stands at the virtual.drupa event from 20 to 23 April 2021, I think the event is perhaps a year too late. Last year, with the exhibition belatedly postponed because of the Covid-19 pandemic, many companies in May’s drupa time tried out their virtual muscles with webinars, expos, and demos. Many of these seemed timely diversions for those of us primed for the event.

This year it seems that Messe Dusseldorf themselves are thinking that before the virtual swallows up the entirety of the natural world, they should try their hand at the new way of sharing information and showing equipment running that are crucial for selling capital equipment.

The majority of small and medium print industry businesses are now fatigued by the past year’s pandemic events and the erosion of the economy and their markets by lockdowns. Just when it seemed that the new financial year starting in April held some hope with a formidable rollout of vaccinations, the second wave of the pandemic with new mutant strains has again created an atmosphere of ambiguity.

While it will take great focus to pull off the virtual.drupa event in April, it will not likely attract as many Indian and South Asian printers as the real thing. It may offer an escape valve from the tragic reality of economies laid low for a second consecutive year. Exhibitions are, after all, an efficient way of keeping up with change, opportunity, and innovation. Having understood the importance of the quadrennial event in its absence – both manufacturers and printers and converters crave a live drupa-like event.

Virtual.drupa event will include 150-170 exhibitors around 33 countries

From 20 to 23 April 2021, the virtual.drupa event will take place as a heavyweight digital industry event. It may have as many as 150 to 170 leading exhibitors from around 33 countries – less than a tenth of a real drupa. It will focus on innovations and future technologies for the global print and packaging community, especially in its conference area.

The organizers promise an English-language program with insights into global business trends and best practices in the Conference Area. We can expect presentations from the five special forums ‘drupa cube,’ ‘touchpoint packaging,’ ‘touchpoint textile,’ ‘drupa next age,’ and ‘3D fab+print.’ Of these, touchpoint textile is a new addition to the drupa menu.

Apart from the 128 live web sessions in the exhibition area, several outstanding presentations, panel discussions, and best cases will be presented in over 2,700 minutes in the conference area. Global industry experts, renowned brand owners, and popular speakers from vertical markets will provide insights with keynote speeches.

Knowledge can be downloaded in two continuous live streams between 10 am and 6 pm CEST (from 1230 pm to 830 pm Indian time). The four themes Artificial Intelligence, Circular Economy, Connected Consumer, and Platform Economy, will offer orientation to the participants as theme days during the trade fair.

The extensive lecture program in the conference area

Dr. Erica Walker, assistant professor at Clemson University, will introduce ColorNet in her lecture – An artificial intelligence solution to manage brand colors on screen. This is described as a revolutionary solution that uses artificial intelligence to correct colors in real-time video transmissions. 20 April 2021 from 01:50 pm till 02:10 pm CEST.

Andrew Manly, communications director at AIPIA (the Active & Intelligent Packaging Industry Association), will talk about – The Digitization of Packaging: How new printing technologies are changing the packaging landscape. Manly will cover unique packaging printing solutions, giving examples of the latest packaging printing technologies on 22 April 2021 from 11:40 am till 12 pm CEST.

Ryan McAbee, director of Production Workflow at Keypoint Intelligence, will speak on – The Print Ecosystem Needs Platforms – about the workflows in the printing and packaging industry – on 23 Aprll 2021 from 05:30 pm till 05:50 pm CEST.

Box maker Samay Print Solutions commissions Canon imagePress C910 digital press

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Left to Right: Ram Dubariya (Samay Print Solutions), Saumitra Trivedi (Edifice Technologies), and Ashish Jha (Canon) with Canon imagePress C910
Left to Right: Ram Dubariya (Samay Print Solutions), Saumitra Trivedi (Edifice Technologies), and Ashish Jha (Canon) with Canon imagePress C910

Samay Print Solutions, which is based in the Rabale area of Navi Mumbai, manufactures rigid boxes for packaging applications in the cosmetics, jewelry, and garments industry. It runs an offset printing line by Komori. It has various processing equipment such as cutting machine, gumming machine, lamination machine, foiling machine, offline UV machine, offline drip machine, die cutting machine.

Edifice Technologies supplied canon imagePress C910 

It has recently commissioned a brand-new Canon imagePress C910 digital production press for short-run jobs and sample making. Edifice Technologies has supplied the press, which is the distributor for Canon production printers for the Mumbai region.  

“We have bought the Canon imagePress C910 press primarily for jobs with small quantities and to print samples. The press was commissioned around the end of February,” says Ram Dubariya, proprietor of Samay Print Solutions.  

The imagePress C910 has a speed of 90 pages per minute and handles media up to 350 gsm. The press has a 2400 dpi resolution. It offers a digital front choice Canon’s Prismasync Print Server Version 7 and the EFI Fiery-powered imagePRESS servers. 

Samay Print Solutions was involved in the commercial printing business from 2013-2015 but ventured into packaging in 2016. The company was operating from Shah and Nahar Industrial Estate in Mumbai’s Lower Parel area. It shifted from Lower Parel to Navi Mumbai in June of last year. The Navi Mumbai plant is spread over 20,000 square feet and consolidates all operations under one roof. At Lower Parel, Samay Print Solutions was operating from various units. The company manufactures about 10-12,000 boxes per day

More expansion planned  

According to Dubariya, the company plans to set up another plant in Rasayani, which is about an hour’s drive from Rabale. Once the new unit is ready, the Rabale plant will have the printing and processing departments, while the Rasayani plant will have the final box-making department. 

“We expect to start the new plant in another six to eight months. The reason we are expanding is that we are having space constraints as we cannot add more machinery at Rabale,” Dubariya says. 

Samay Print Solutions is bringing in a full-fledged box-making system from Germany’s Kolbus. “The commission of the Kolbus system has been delayed due to the pandemic. If things had been normal, the system would have already been here, and commissioning would happen on April 1. Now we expect that to happen in another six months. The state of the art system will help us enhance productivity,” Dubariya says. 

2021-2022 to see a sharp recovery  

Like many other companies, Samay Print Solutions was severely impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic and remained shut from April to September. However, the company recovered sharply in the second half of the 2020-2021 financial year. Dubariya says the bounce-back that has taken place in the last six months will continue in the next financial year as well.  

“If 2020-2021 would have been a normal year, we would have doubled our revenue from INR 15 crore in 2019-2020. However, we are still okay as our 2020-2021 revenue has reached the previous year’s level. We see the recovery to continue in 2021-2022 and hope to now double our revenue,” he concludes.  

Kongsberg Digital transforming into a standalone business

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Kongsberg
Kongsberg Precision Cutting Systems

Kongsberg, one of the most trusted and established names in the digital finishing industry, entered into a new era on 6 April, transforming into a standalone company, Kongsberg Precision Cutting Systems (‘Kongsberg PCS’). The transformation follows the acquisition of the business by OpenGate Capital.

The transformation of this Precision Cutting System brings the opportunity to innovate and expand the business into new markets. It marks a new chapter for Kongsberg PCS, a brand with a rich heritage spanning more than half a century.

“This is truly an exciting day for everyone at the company,” said Stuart Fox, President of Kongsberg PCS. “Since 1965, the company name has been synonymous with innovation. Our systems have led the industry in delivering precision, reliability, and quality through seven decades. Following the acquisition by OpenGate Capital, we will now focus on our future and the next generation innovation and growth.”

Founded in Norway in 1965, Kongsberg was purchased by Esko (then Barco) in 1998. In December 2020, Esko agreed with the sale of Kongsberg to private equity firm OpenGate Capital. The acquisition includes the original research and development facility in Kongsberg, Norway, and the production facility in Brno, Czech Republic.

Fox speaks about Kongsberg’s growth

“This is an opportunity for our team to realize its ambitions and to explore new markets,” added Fox. “We will be developing strategic initiatives to further innovate our digital finishing hardware and software solutions, as well as growing the brand beyond the packaging industry.

“Whilst we are excited about the future, we are also committed to ensuring we honor our heritage. We have an incredible team of 400 people, many of whom have been a part of the company family for more than 30 years,” said Fox. “The company values that are important to our customers –  the strength, the performance, the longevity of the machine – will endure. Sales, service, consumables, and spare parts will all continue as usual,” added Fox. 

“Customers will receive the same level of service during the transition, and they can look forward to business as usual throughout 2021. “We will continue investing in our table technology, and in the coming months, we will be showcasing the latest developments with our automation solutions,” said Fox.

 

Konica Minolta wins BLI 2021 A3 Line of the Year Award

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R-L: Kuldeep Malhotra (vice president at KM), Daisuke Mori (managing director at KM), Dinakaran, Dina Color Lab, Vasudevan-regional sales manager at KM, Manish Gupta national marketing manager, KM
R-L: Kuldeep Malhotra (vice president at KM), Daisuke Mori (managing director at KM), Dinakaran, Dina Color Lab, Vasudevan-regional sales manager at KM, Manish Gupta national marketing manager, KM (file photo)

Konica Minolta has been conferred with a series of awards by Keypoint Intelligence, including Buyers Lab and Info Trends. Konica Minolta has won the BLI 2021 A3 Line of the Year Award for its skillfully crafted Multi-Function Printers (MFPs) for their high personalization, reliability, and consistency in both performance and usability.

Konica Minolta has also been recognized as the Most Color Consistent A3 Brand (2021-2023) for its A3 devices, including the new bizhub i-series, which provide consistent prints of various aspects, be it business graphics, photo images, or other output types. Lastly, Konica Minolta is the winner of the BLI Winter 2021 A3 Pick and Outstanding Achievement Award for its bizhub i-series printers.

Konica Minolta has also won the BLI 2020 Pick Award for Outstanding Workflow Automation Platform for its Dispatcher Phoenix 6. The device enables businesses to automate all their document-centric workflows, ramp up productivity, accelerate processes, cut costs, eliminate mistakes, secure sensitive information, and comply with corporate and government regulations. The machine designed to cater to educators, law offices, healthcare providers, government institutions, general business saves time while processing documents.

Tai Nizawa and Kuldeep Malhotra, the vice president, and director of Konica Minolta India|remote management
Tai Nizawa managing director Konica Minolta India and Kuldeep Malhotra, the vice president, and director of Konica Minolta India

Kuldeep Malhotra, vice president, and director Konica Minolta Business Solutions India, says, “Since our inception, we at Konica Minolta have strived to manufacture and deliver the best-in-class printing solutions to our customers using state-of-the-art technologies. On the back of in-depth R&D, we have always kept customers at the forefront and accordingly develop devices that can address their problems in the most convenient, accessible, and affordable manner. The series of awards underlines our efforts to provide the best products in the market while ensuring the highest level of consistency, reliability, personalization, and security. We will continue to follow an agile approach and keep innovating further in sync with the changing market dynamics and evolving customer needs, and endeavor to serve customers more seamlessly in the coming months and years.”

Konica Minolta – From remote management to hands-on management

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Tai Nizawa and Kuldeep Malhotra, the vice president, and director of Konica Minolta India|remote management
Tai Nizawa managing director Konica Minolta India and Kuldeep Malhotra, the vice president, and director of Konica Minolta India

Tai Nizawa took over as the managing director of Konica Minolta India on 1 April 2020, just six days after the Covid-19 induced total lockdown was declared by the Indian government. He has undergone several quarantines in the past year and was compelled to begin his assignment from Japan – using the web and other remote communication tools.

Konica Minolta India has generally been the most transparent communicator of information, technical and business insight in the Indian print industry. It is no surprise that this came across in our interview at the beginning of February 2021, with Tai Nizawa and Kuldeep Malhotra, the vice president, and director of Konica Minolta India. In the pandemic, the best tool to run the company at a time of lower demand and logistical constraints was communication.

The second thing reaffirmed in our conversation was the solidity of the organization. Konica Minolta’s scale (offices, warehouses, distributors, workforce, management) and its sticking to best practices and human concerns paid off during the pandemic. And these should help the company maintain its market dominance as the economy recovers.

Naresh Khanna –  Please comment on taking over Konica Minolta India’s leadership during the pandemic and just a few days after the 25 March 2020 lockdown announcement.

Tai Nizawa –  Konica Minolta is a global company that always tries to implement the management philosophy of having the best people in each company. Similarly, in India, it was not as if we were starting from scratch – we already had an excellent organization here for more than eight years. There were some challenges, and as an instance, I had only met Kuldeep-san once before at a company meeting in Hong Kong – and at the time, neither of us knew that we would be working together.

I had traveled to India just once before. I had a bit of an idea about the country since I was in the Middle East earlier. I have worked out of Japan for 20 years, including postings in the USA, UK, Middle East, and Vietnam. I was supposed to come here from my assignment in Vietnam.

Last February, India still seemed ok. (We had a board meeting on 24 or 25 February 2020 in Japan, and everything was ok in India). In March, the government policy disallowed the entry of foreigners.

A few days before my starting up, the total lockdown was announced on 25 March. We switched immediately to remote working overnight because our systems supported it. We worked remotely throughout India in the past year, with myself working remotely from Japan.

We were working from home and following the government guidelines. Now a few people have been coming to the office on a selective basis as needed – a mix of work from home and coming to the office. For instance, not more than 25 people are here today.

Naresh Khanna – What was the process?

Tai Nizawa  – We started to have a management meeting every day. We discussed targets, achievements against the target. Every day we had an intense discussion. Then, day by day, we called each of our several hundred people.

In our daily meeting, we started monitoring the print volumes. Once the print volumes began coming back, it was an indication that eventually, the demand for new machines’ placement will also come back. We began to see this in May-end and in June 2020. We monitored the daily consumption levels of toners. This was a new strategy, and it told us what was happening in each region. For instance, since the pandemic situation remained adverse in Maharashtra, not much happened there till September.

Kuldeep Malhotra –  At the same time, the elections showed some increase in print demand, whether it was local or state elections or panchayat elections. These helped to grow the print volumes. Specific sectors helped this market to come back. Thirdly, since it was working from home, the corporate sector went in for only printing their immediate needs – and this also boosted the short-run requirements.

Naresh Khanna – What about the photo album business – Has the pandemic and lockdown helped the shift to digital print – will more digital come into the commercial offset territory sooner?

Kuldeep Malhotra –  We cannot say that the lockdown has necessarily shifted the market, but yes, it has forced people to rethink in favor of digital. And here, our mid-production volume machines have helped—the 83 High Chroma+ for instance. The placement of these machines has helped us in the photo segment also.

The number of persons attending marriages has come down. Although the pandemic has affected the wedding card and photo album business, it has not affected our business as much as might be expected. It may have even helped some of our customers, and since the capital cost of our machines was much lower than some others, they could remain viable and competitive with lower volumes. The High Chroma business and the photo business have helped us in coming back. The photo volume is coming back, and both the 73HC and the 83HC have helped.

Naresh Khanna – How about the press service and maintenance functions?

The servicing functioning was based on the call centers as the first response. It helps that we give good training to our customer’s press operators and check on a machine remotely. About 40% to 50% of our devices can be connected to the Customer Service Remote Centre (CSRC) via the internet. As you know, many of the jobbers do not have perfect internet connections. Secondly, not every customer is very comfortable yet giving access to a third party to their machine or operations. The big commercial printers and jobbers are very comfortable giving us full access to remote troubleshooting and maintenance.

This facility was already there when we started, but our customers were not using it, since there was no need. We also launched a phone app for servicing so that customers could reach out, even from home. Toner, of course, was a challenge, especially in the initial stages since couriers were not working, but somehow we managed.

We have around 50 warehouses pan-India for all our products which include our office products. We have 700 plus employees, including those for our digital production presses and our office multi-function printers and other products. Overall, the technology systems worked, the call logging systems worked. CSRC worked. The apps worked, and our infrastructure around the country worked.

Naresh Khanna – What is the quality of the recovery? Any shifts from offset?

Kuldeep Malhotra –  From July onwards, we started to see a recovery, and since then, our overall market share is more than 50%, with our market share in the low production segment 60%. In the mid-production segment, it is also over 50%.

Not just from July but from September onward we have seen a good movement in the market. The deviation of recovery in the economy is relatively high. After September, we can see a really good recovery in both print volumes and press placements in most of the segments we are in. This includes the LPP, High Chroma, MPP segments, and even the monochrome segment. Perhaps there is some shift from offset to digital, so more book printing is coming to digital.

When we look at our office machines, there is not a drastic drop in volumes. This may be because back-office printing is down, but the in-plant printing and print in factories and manufacturing have seemingly gone up. The increase may have compensated so that the overall impact is not that great.

Tai Nizawa –  Some surveys indicate that there are several typical ways that information is consumed. One way is all digital, and the other is to print out the information and then consume it. This correlates with our impression of office printing. If you look at various sectors such as real estate or other product marketing like automobiles and others, they need print for their go-to-market activities. Some of this may have shifted to digital or even office printers.

Naresh Khanna – Have you been able to sell presses over the web?

Tai Nizawa –  The virtual launch at the beginning of December helped us change our customers’ mindset. Traditionally, they wanted to see the machine, but now some are used to virtual demonstrations.

We have made some videos and revamped the Konica Minolta India website to make it more user-friendly. Although we have not seen an actual sale happening over the internet, the contacting and product knowledge and product demonstrations have moved to virtual. For the negotiations and order booking, people still want to negotiate with a real face presence.

At the same time, before negotiation, we have a system for media trials with the latest machine installed in Malaysia so a customer can really see the quality of output on their media at the fastest output speed.

Naresh Khanna – What were the challenges in remote management over the year?

Tai Nizawa –  People are very emotional, and sometimes it is tough to communicate without eye contact. When we interact, we have to communicate using our eyes and expressions, which is challenging. But of course, we can increase communication time and try to be clear and make sure of the information or request by reconfirming.

We had to change our business plan. We could not make a plan in April, May, and June and just looked at our employees’ and customers’ health and safety and to protect our customer’s interests. We also had to look at protecting the business.

We have around 4,000 production customers and a multiple of this footprint for our office machines (since we have distributors also) in India and 700 employees. We didn’t cut any salaries as this is our policy and all of our employees have comprehensive medical insurance.

Cashflow was a problem since the money owed to us at end-March could not be paid by printers since they were closed. But from July onwards, some of the cashflows came. We cut many of our costs, including some of our marketing costs, and our financial team did an excellent job with cooperation from the head office in Japan.

Product launches

Tai Nizawa –  Most of the products that were to be launched for drupa have been introduced to the market. We have some important launches in the pipeline that we hope to launch in India in the second quarter of this year. Globally, the company is working on new products, but we cannot say when they will come to India. We have to look at demand globally. For instance, although China and India seem to be in recovery, the European and American markets have still not recovered from the pandemic.

Naresh Khanna – What is the progress on the KM1?

Kuldeep Malhotra –  It takes more time to sell a press like the KM1 and establish its ROI in India, although it is doing very well globally. And when we were on the verge of signing some deals here, the pandemic came. We have a pipeline on the KM1, and we are optimistic, although we may have to re-look at our go-to-market strategy. In the past year, we have launched the KM1E for the packaging segment as well.

Tai Nizawa – We an ongoing trend of the optimization of the printing companies in the US. The smaller companies are closing, and the larger ones are growing, which may indicate a greater future demand for higher production machines in the future. This consolidation is something that we have experienced in other segments such as the retail sectors. We will see what happens in India. Overall, we are bullish on India’s economic recovery, and the government indicates that the next financial year will be very positive.

Naresh Khanna – What will be the change from remote to hands-on management?

Tai Nizawa –  It’s complicated to describe, but I immediately felt that this was a big country when I landed in India. I felt the size and history of the region. It was a feeling similar to when I landed in China or the USA.

Digitalization is a strong trend. More and more people want to work in the digital environment. When countries and economies actually change, we need to stay on in the market to be part of this trend. I am very excited to be here so that the communication becomes smoother – we will now combine actual meetings with digital communication in a hybrid style.

Thank you.

Smart Packaging Solutions Virtual Congress -19 March 2021

The Smart Packaging Solutions for India and South Asia Virtual Congress on 19 March focuses on food and pharma supply chains, brand security, and sustainability. Organized jointly by IPPStar and the AIPIA, the virtual congress’s topics include brand authentication, condition monitoring, and active and intelligent packaging that contributes to the safe delivery of authenticated products leading to safety, security, and customer engagement. Please look at the agenda of the conference here, and for registration, please click here. You can also email Ruchi at conference@ippgroup.in or Umesh at subscription@ippgroup.in. Call us in Noida at 120-4546988 or 4326053 – Umesh at Xtension 30; Ruchi at Xtension 33; Gaurav at Xtension 23; and Mohit at Xtension 25.

Epson eco tank printers win Red Dot Award

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Epson
Epson eco tank printers

Epson has announced that its eco tank printers had in the Red Dot 2021 design awards won the prestigious Red Dot: best of the best of the Red Dot Award: Product Design 2021. The company said that its document scanners and professional photo printers were also recognized in the Red Dot of the Red Dot Award: Product Design 2021.

This year marks the fifth successive year that Epson products have won in the product design category and the third in which its printers had received the Red Dot: Best of the best.

Created in 1955 in Germany, the Red Dot Design Award is organized by the Design Zentrum Nordrhein Westfalen design center. It is recognized around the world as one of the most prestigious awards in design. A jury of experts evaluates products announced during the past two years and selects the best designs based on nine criteria, including the degree of innovation, functionality, ergonomics, ecological compatibility, and durability. This year’s winners were selected from entries from around the world.

Epson Eco tank ET séries (ET-16650/ ET-16600 /ET-5850 /ET-5800 /ET-15000)

This A4/A3 inkjet multi-purpose series of business printers now features our highly popular eco tank system. With low cost, compact design that fits on a desktop.

Document scanners (WorkForce DS-32000/ DS-30000)

These A3 office scanners achieve high productivity in a compact design. The 3-way structure lets users efficiently digitize different documents without damaging them while allowing you to clear the desk when not using the scanner. In addition to regular use, users can rotate the unit horizontally for an easy feed position for volume scanning. Rotate the unit vertically when not in use to save desk space.

Professional photo printers (SureColor SC-P900/ SC-P906/ SC-P700/ SC-P706/ SC-PX1VL/ SC-PX1V)

These photo quality inkjet printers supporting A2 extra and A3 extra sizes achieve an outstanding compact size with exceptional expressive power for professional photographers and photo enthusiasts. 

The political economy of Covid-19 vaccination

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Covid-19 vaccine vials
The entire process of testing, manufacture and supply chain has functioned well to deliver the Covid-19 vaccine in India

There are many things that no one has yet thoroughly or scientifically explained about the current pandemic, including why there are fewer infections in Asia and Africa and also fewer deaths. There is no proper explanation of why India, which is considered poor, dirty, unhygienic, corrupt, and disorganized, has suffered relatively fewer infections per million population than the so-called developed and ‘organized’ countries such as the USA, UK, Italy, Belgium, France, Spain or Germany.

India is not the only one that has done relatively well on this count. In fact, Vietnam, Bangladesh, and Pakistan have done much better than India. The numbers are there – but generally related on TV and in newspaper articles with a slight twist that veers toward some stereotypical angle. These slight mistruths are typically cloaked in well-meaning concern even when in denial of the incompetence and venal politics of the pandemic in the US or the UK. Or of its total mismanagement and mixed messaging in the European Union. The numbers are available on worldometer.com and other sources since some countries manage to obscure their data better than others.

Vaccine chauvinism

There is also the talk of vaccine chauvinism and vaccine politics, not to mention vaccine economics. It is clear to us in India that despite having a government that spends 1.26% of its GDP on health, there are many aspects of our health care industry that are serviceable and downright excellent. In the middle of 2020, a senior journalist told us not to despair or underestimate the vast network of health workers across the country engaged in various public health programs. Apart from child and mother welfare, they bring to the current pandemic a legacy of block-level engagement and vaccination campaigns. Even the cold chain in India is far more potent than most of us are aware of – apart from its use for vaccines, extremely cold bio-logistics are used for animal husbandry.

Although there is some corruption in state and public health institutions, it is easily outweighed by the collective and individual experience, brilliance, and fortitude of the medical personnel. Its doctors and nurses have been instrumental in saving countless lives. Perhaps they are far more independent and creative in their thinking about medical procedures than in countries where medical practice is mediated by a combination of rigid guidelines meant to be immune to malpractice suits and nurtured by insurance companies.

Doctors in India are more powerful and more effective than in regions where medicine is an industry dominated by insurance companies and big pharma. Of course, many quacks also operate in the country with impunity and harm patients with little recourse to the courts. However, there is no shortage of unscrupulous charlatans in countries like the United States, where doctors collaborate with pharma firms and knowingly prescribe opioids to vulnerable sections of the population, causing untold overdose deaths.

Vaccine nationalism and stereotypical hypocrisy

Although India has the second-largest capacity to manufacture vaccines after the US, it does have the single largest manufacturer. It may better utilize this capability and manufacture more than any other country. It should be noted that even by November of 2020, India had ordered 1.6 billion vaccine candidate doses, the biggest commitment of any government. And thus far, its vaccine roll-out is among the fastest globally, although with a population of 1.37 billion, it has only thus far injected about 85 million doses as of 6 April. It is the only country where there is no shortage (thus far) of the Covid-19 vaccine partly because it has the largest manufacturer, the privately-owned Serum Institute of India, based in Pune.

As of 17 March 2021, the Indian vaccine manufacturers (primarily Serum Institute of India) had exported 58.4 million doses to 70 countries compared to the 34.8 million doses administered to its citizens. The global media that occasionally acknowledges the Serum Institute’s contribution nevertheless displays a mixture of denial and vehement stereotyping when describing the pandemic in India and its health and pharmaceutical capabilities.

In an article in The Guardian on 2 April 2021, Achal Prabhala and Leena Menghaney point to several anomalies in the politicized and somewhat self-righteous discussion of the Covid-19 vaccine and its manufacture, licensing, and distribution. I take the liberty of quoting them at length – “It’s somewhat rich for figures in Britain to accuse India of vaccine nationalism. That the UK, which has vaccinated nearly 50% of its adults with at least one dose, should demand vaccines from India, which has only vaccinated 3% of its people so far, is immoral. That the UK has already received several million doses from India, alongside other rich countries such as Saudi Arabia and Canada, is a travesty.

“The billions of AstraZeneca doses being produced by the Serum Institute in India are not for rich countries – and, in fact, not even for India alone: they are for all 92 of the poorest countries in the world. . . .”

The Prabhala-Menghany article is excellent, although I believe The Guardian prejudicially titled it. You can read it for yourself (https://bit.ly/31MZ6gK). The article goes on to say, “How did we get here? Exactly one year ago, researchers at Oxford University’s Jenner Institute, frontrunners in the race to develop a coronavirus vaccine, stated that they intended to allow any manufacturer, anywhere, the rights to their jab. One of the early licenses they signed was with the Serum Institute, the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer. One month later, acting on advice from the Gates Foundation, Oxford changed course and signed over exclusive rights to AstraZeneca, a UK-based multinational pharmaceutical group.

“AstraZeneca and Serum signed a new deal. Serum would produce vaccines for all poor countries eligible for assistance by Gavi, the Vaccines Alliance – an organization backed by rich countries’ governments and the Gates Foundation. These 92 nations together counted for half the world – or nearly four billion people. India’s fair share of these vaccines, by population, should have been 35%. However, there was an unwritten arrangement that Serum would earmark 50% of its supply for domestic use and 50% for export.

“The deal included a clause that allowed AstraZeneca to approve exports to countries not listed in the agreement. Some countries which asked for emergency vaccine shipments from Serum, including South Africa and Brazil, were justified: they had nothing else. Rich countries like the UK and Canada, however, which had bought up more doses than required to vaccinate their people, to the detriment of everyone else, had no moral right to dip into a pool of vaccines designated for poor countries.

“Paradoxically, when South Africa and India asked the World Trade Organization to temporarily waive patents and other pharmaceutical monopolies so that vaccines could be manufactured more widely to prevent shortfalls in supply, among the first countries to object were the UK, Canada and Brazil. They were the very governments that would later be asking India to solve their own shortfalls in supply.

“The deal did not include restrictions on what price Serum could charge, despite AstraZeneca’s pledge to sell its vaccine for no profit “during the pandemic”, which led to Uganda, which is among the poorest countries on Earth, paying three times more than Europe for the same vaccine. (An AstraZeneca spokesperson told Politico that the ‘price of the vaccine will differ due to a number of factors, including the cost of manufacturing – which varies depending on the geographic region – and volumes requested by the countries.’)

“As it became clear that the western pharmaceutical industry could barely supply the west, let alone anywhere else, many countries turned to Chinese and Russian vaccines. Meanwhile, the Covax Facility – the Gavi-backed outfit that actually procures vaccines for poor countries – stuck to its guns and made deals exclusively with western vaccine manufacturers. From those deals, the AstraZeneca vaccine is now the only viable candidate it has. The bulk of the supply of this vaccine comes from Serum, and a smaller quantity from SK Bioscience in South Korea. As a result, a third of all humanity is now largely dependent on supplies of one vaccine from one company in India.”

The Covid-19 pandemic has exposed the flaws in all of us, and it and its health and economic ramifications are horrific. By and large Indian scientists, doctors, medical and government personnel, and even politicians have spoken scientifically. After some initial imitations of Trump, even our politicians have allowed the government machinery to work based on the facts known at any given time. Contrast this with gobbledygook uttered by Donald Trump and Boris Johnson, who could have told the truth and avoided countless deaths in their own countries.

The day-to-day Covid-19 issues are complex enough, and it ain’t over yet. The pandemic’s political economy touches the raw nerves of profit in the making, distribution, and administration of the vaccine. It again brings up the intellectual property monopolies of big pharma, and unfortunately, on how much money and political glory can be gathered by some politicians.

It would be good to remember even now that Serum Institute, which is the largest vaccine manufacturer in the world, had a turnover in 2019 of US$ 840 million. In comparison, Pfizer had a turnover of over US$ 51.7 billion in that year. In this season, it may also be helpful to remember that while a rich man has as much chance of going to heaven as a camel through the eye of a needle, it may yet be the meek who will inherit the earth.

This article first appeared on www.healthtekpak.com on 5 April 2020. It has been corrected on 10 April where the revenue figures of both Serum Institute and Pfizer have been revised upward.

Book industry ups and downs

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The 33rd Guwahati Book Fair from 30 December 2020 to 10 January 2021|Book industry ups and downs
The 33rd Guwahati Book Fair from 30 December 2020 to 10 January 2021

In Europe and elsewhere, the Covid-19 pandemic is still characterized by hiccups in vaccination supplies, and series of lockdowns stemmed against what is being termed a third wave of virus infections. Consequently, the timid optimism that international book fair organizers have tried to keep up for more than a year now has started to crumble again.

Book fairs down and virtual

Book fairs postponed from 2020 to 2021 and then again from earlier dates to later this year are now being canceled one after the other. Unexpectedly, the first book fair to shut down its physical show this year was the Taipei International Book Exhibition, scheduled for January. Due to the sudden outbreak of Covid-19 cases in Taiwan, TIBE had to be canceled for the second time, reducing its activities to a series of professional online forums. 

In India, the Hyderabad and Jaipur literature festivals were the first to turn virtual, even as local book melas in Chennai, Kochi, and Guwahati maintained a physical presence despite the pandemic. In March, the National Book Trust and the International Trade Organization of India were compelled to stick to an online version of the New Delhi World Book Fair, a first-time experience. The 45th edition of the Kolkata Book Fair, postponed to July this year, may have to skip its busy outdoor event as well.

Brussels, Leipzig and Paris postpone to 2022

In Europe, the Brussels and Leipzig book fairs were the first to be reduced to a few literary street gigs, while organizers hope to resume their core activities next year. Paris’ Livre Paris fair followed suit in March, stating, “The decision to cancel this year’s show was finally made because it was considered unfeasible to mobilize thousands of people — exhibitors, publishers, authors, speakers, communities and ministries, partners from more than 50 countries — at a later date in the fall, which is still very uncertain.”

The London Book Fair’s fate initially shifted from March to the end of June, is still in limbo, as its organizers seem to keep to their late notice policy so heavily criticized last year. In November last year, LBF’s newly appointed director Andy Ventris said he was “committed to making a final decision by the end of March.” But on the last day of March, he issued a statement explaining, “We promised to update the trade about plans for the 2021 fair by the end of March. Given the continuing uncertainty around international travel, we are currently planning for all scenarios and will update with a final decision in mid-April.”

The statement was made three days after the UK government published a detailed timetable for gradually easing the UK’s different lockdown measures at five-week intervals. According to the timetable, the last legal limits on social contacts are to be lifted from 21 June at the earliest, depending on the country’s vaccination rollout, the effectiveness of the vaccination program at reducing hospital admissions and deaths, infection rates, and the impact of any new coronavirus variants. Many industry professionals had already agreed in November that the June target dates for LBF’s 50th edition were unrealistic. At any rate, for 2022, the fair plans to return to its usual spring dates.

Bologna, Jerusalem postponed to 2022

Given the pandemic situation in Italy, the 58th edition of the international Fiera del Libro per Ragazzi or Bologna Children’s Book Fair, also scheduled for June, is expected to focus on the online-only events that are already being prepared and to announce the cancelation of its physical show shortly. The BCBF’s organizers are already expanding its digital format, and mainly the Global Rights Exchange platform started last year. They are hoping “to support dialogue and international business throughout the year, helping publishers remain in constant contact and bridging the gap from one trade show to the next.” 

Israel’s leading book fair, the week-long Jerusalem International Book Forum, has been postponed until next year while limiting its presence in May this year to a digital program, even though half of its population has already been vaccinated. Madrid’s Feria del Libro proposes two alternative dates for June and September but is likely to be skipped this year too. So are most of the other book fairs in large parts of the world. 

FBF rethinking re:connect – preparing for a 2nd digital edition

The Abu Dhabi International Book Fair is so far holding on to a physical event in May, although it cannot expect to see any international participants by then. Under the slogan ‘re:connect,’ the Frankfurt Book Fair organizers are anticipating the improbability of a physical event this October. They are preparing for its second digital edition without participants on the ground. As far as we know, potential participants are doing the same. 

In the meantime, inspired by the success of their participation in what they call FBF’s “Fakefurt” rights trading platform initiated last year, a number of publishers and literary agents decided to organize their own ‘digital book fair’ before the dates that had been announced for the London and Bologna fairs. The last two weeks of March already saw such exchanges between Hachette, Pan MacMillan, literary agency Curtis Brown, and others.

Book sales up and down

Meanwhile, the book publishing industry has been less affected by the pandemic than was initially feared, at least in sales, but the situation remains highly contradictory. In most mature markets, general-interest (trade) book sales have been up over the past year, including audiobooks and eBooks, even as other categories such as textbooks, scholarly, academic, and niche publications have seen significant contraction. 

According to a survey presented at the recent Intergraf visioconference ‘Shaping the Future of Books,’ the printed books market in Europe as a whole in 2020 saw “the biggest volume rise since 2007.” In contrast, the Federation of European Publishers’ latest report estimates the industry’s overall revenue losses in 2020 at between 2 and 5% across Europe. In the UK, printed book sales grew by 5.2% in 2020 as compared to 2019. The Republic of Ireland saw overall book sales rise by nearly 10%, but, remarkably, sales of books by Irish publishers fell by 6%. In Germany, overall book revenue in 2020 was down 2.3%. Still, specific categories such as activity titles (cooking, gardening, do-it-yourself) were up by 5-6%, with more consumers spending time at home and eCommerce book sales booming. 

France’s book industry survived on textbooks and other professional categories, while the largest category, trade books, including digital sales, decreased by 3-4%. In Italy, trade book sales were up 2.4%, and all other categories suffered losses. In Spain, both trade and textbooks were down 4%, while its industry’s still relevant exports to Latin America dropped by 50%. The book industry in Eastern Europe reported declines between 10 and 20%; however, this was not as bad as predicted half a year ago.

As we reported in January, US book sales in 2020 had their highest growth rates since 2010, with an overall increase of 8% compared to 2019, and some categories such as juvenile fiction and juvenile non-fiction increasing by as much as 11 and 23%, respectively. Within one year, Amazon’s book sales revenue and net income have doubled, despite its initial deprioritization of books over other goods when the first lockdown measures led to massive online purchases of all sorts. In contrast, bookshops and small publishers are still suffering from the pandemic and lockdowns, and everybody in the industry is hoping that this will all be over soon.

Komori at virtual.drupa – 20 to 23 April 2021

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Komori Connected Automation
Komori plans to virtually demonstrate and explain its Connected Automation concept at the forthcoming virtual.drupa

On 6 April Komori announced its support and participation in the virtual.drupa to take place at virtual.drupa.com from April 20-23. drupa postponed a couple of times and now scheduled to take place in 2024 in Dusseldorf is attempting to keep its seminal place in the industry by shifting to an online format. Komori is a part of the virtual.drupa effort as a gold partner.

Komori will speak about its connected and automated solutions at the virtual.drupa. The company speaks about the digital transformation of the entire printing process and uses the expression Connected Automation to describe its approach to seamlessly connecting individual processes to create smart printing factories.

The central piece of software, KP-Connect Pro integrates and manages management information systems (MIS), prepress, press, postpress, which are divided among individual systems. With more and more customers adopting Connected Automation, both in Japan and overseas, the digital transformation (DX) of printing companies is already underway.

KP-Connect Pro is an open platform system that allows customers to connect to various manufacturers and vendors. In other words, customers can freely combine not only existing but also new devices.

Experience the innovative solutions made possible by Connected Automation for creation of smart factories, at the virtual.drupa Komori booth.

ppi Media spins off a startup – ppi n3xt

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ppi n3xt
ppi n3xt is aimed at helping smaller companies in their digitization process

ppi Media, the well-known publishing system and newspaper production software company, has spawned a new company called ppi 3nxt. Ppi 3nxt will be a service provider specializing in digitization services for small and medium-sized enterprises. 

The optimization of IT processes and the advancement of digitization strategies are some of the most critical tasks facing small and medium-sized companies in Germany. ppi Media provides providing publishing houses with automated workflows and digitization processes and has done so for the past 35 years. Now it has decided to accelerate this development by creating a new service provider company.

ppi n3xt combines the core skills and proven infrastructure of ppi Media with the agility of startups to provide SMEs in all sectors with quick, competent and targeted support to their digitization strategy. Some of the services offered by ppi n3xt include consulting and workshops, the development and programming of tailored software solutions, and the design of integration solutions. 

“Founding ppi n3xt was a logical step,” says Manuel Scheyda, the managing director of ppi n3xt and ppi Media. “The Digital Services department at ppi Media has been offering support to several companies outside the publishing world for many years, including businesses in the beverage and pharmaceutical industries. We thought it was time to create a unique profile and image for the services we offer to SMEs – that’s what ppi n3xt is all about.”

Dr. Hauke Berndt, who is also the managing director of ppi Media, adds, “ppi n3xt simply gives us an unbeatable advantage over most other companies that offer digitization services. The company is the product of 35 years of experience in software development, consulting, and project management. We’re the masters of prototyping, UX/UI design, process digitization, and interface design.” 

Color-Logic metallic software fully compatible with Adobe Creative Cloud 2021

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color-logic metallic
Color Logic: Metallic software's compatibility with Adobe Creative Cloud 2021

The latest Color-Logic metallic software is fully compatible with Adobe Creative Cloud 2021. Discussing the update, Richard Ainge, Color-Logic CTO, and co-founder, said: “Color-Logic continues to maintain compatibility with the latest Adobe creative software. At Color-Logic, we believe that all print starts with design, and we keep up with the most current versions of the popular design software used around the world.” 

With Color-Logic and Adobe Creative Cloud 2021, licensed Color-Logic designers everywhere can add metallic embellishments into their print files. Color-Logic provides licensed printers and graphic designers with access to the latest software updates through the Color-Logic smart center.

Color-Logic metallic software printing applications

Color-Logic develops color communication systems and software tool sets for a variety of special effect printing applications. It provides the abilities to the brand owners, product managers, corporations, and their advertising agencies to differentiate themselves and their clients with print production processes.  

Color-Logic decorative effects utilize the existing workflows of printers and designers, yielding results without using special equipment. It supports the value of print and works with designers and printers to enhance their printed media.

 

Bobst Masterfold 75/110 folder gluer gets a new look

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Bobst
Bobst Masterfold 75/110 folder gluer

Bobst Masterfold 75/110 folder gluer has incorporated a new Bobst branding. Equipped with a series of automated setting functions, the Masterfold 75/110 enables short make-ready times and supports non-stop production, producing up to 2.7 million boxes per day.

Pierre Binggeli, product line director folder-gluers at Bobst, said: “Bobst has identified four cornerstones crucial to the future of packaging production; namely sustainability, automation, connectivity, and digitalization. Our vision is anchored in data access and control across the entire workflow to support customers achieve greater flexibility, agility, and efficiency.”

Also, the folder-gluer is designed with open frames and platforms, which increases the operator’s ergonomics and simplifies changeovers. With its new makeover, the cost of ownership is decreased, maintenance is simplified, and the machine’s accessibility is further increased.

The performance of the Masterfold in terms of productivity, ergonomics, and user-friendliness is also enhanced by a range of dedicated devices and peripherals.

Complementary peripherals create a fully automated, high-performance folding-gluing line. The Easyfeeder / Batch Inverter 4 motorized pre-feeder allows consistent and smooth feeding of blanks, preventing unscheduled production stops and further increasing productivity. 

The Cartonpack 4 high-performance packer automatically fills shipping containers with folded and glued cartons. It can also work in conjunction with a case erector, which automatically erects the containers to be filled. Thanks to these peripherals, the reduction in manual workload also improves the working conditions for the operator. It will help avoid issues with repetitive strain injury and other work-related health problems.

In response to e-commerce growth in 2020, the Gyrobox complementary device is a crucial solution to producing folding carton e-commerce boxes faster and more efficiently. This device simplifies the production of complex packages by rotating blanks in lines between two folding processes. Thus, it allows the rapid folding-gluing of boxes in a single pass – speeding up the production process, boosting efficiency, and delivering an exceptional quality finished product.

Binggeli speaks about Bobst Masterfold folder gluer

Binggeli added: “And let’s not forget the Accucheck quality control solution, that inspects every carton, filters, and ejects automatically defective ones, guaranteeing 100% quality-controlled production. In short, the Accucheck enables converters to increase efficiency and reduce waste with the aim of delivering zero-fault packaging to their clients.”

 

Wan Ifra’s Asian Media Leaders eSummit from 7-9 April

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Leaders eSummit
Wan Ifra’s Asian Media Leaders eSummit 2021

Turning hotspots into hotspots, tokenizing digital art into virtual assets for investors big and small. Ex-journalists will share at the Asian Media Leaders eSummit, 7-9 April, their strategies and success stories in this age of fickle tastes and distraction. 

China’s No.1 hotpot chain, Haidilao, added 530 outlets in 2020, bringing its number of restaurants worldwide to nearly 1,300. Its executive director and chief strategy officer, Dr. Zhou Zhaocheng, said that the Covid-19 pandemic has offered an “opportunity” for the Hong Kong-listed company to expand, even as other players closed. 

Dr. Zhou, a nearly 20-year veteran of Singapore press holdings, is now responsible for Haidilao’s branding, legal matters, and risk management. Gain ideas and inspiration from how this popular customer experience business with outlets in China, Britain, Canada, the United States, Southeast Asia, and South Korea has accelerated growth during a pandemic and defied the odds by serving up “smart food” and great service.

Joining Dr. Zhao in the same session will be a fellow innovator and disruptor Anand Venkateswaran, steward of Metapurse – the world’s most significant non-fungible token (NFT) fund. Going by the name Twobadour, he and business partner Metakovan shook the art world when they bought a digital artwork by artist Beeple for a record-breaking US$69 million worth of Ethereum. The former journalist with Times Group of India, CNN-IBN, and The Hindu Online, was part of the Wikileaks investigation team in collaboration with The Guardian

Could NFTs be of any relevance to the media business? Find out from Twobadour at the Asian Media Leaders eSummit!

Wan-Ifra webinar training on ‘Election Reporting and Verification’

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Wan-Ifra webinar
Wan-Ifra webinar on election reporting and verification

Wan-Ifra, in association with DataLeads and supported by the Google News Initiative, is pleased to offer a virtual 4-module journalism training program on election reporting and verification for journalists in South Asia. In this webinar, participants will learn to protect their passwords, secure phones, and build better awareness of resources. 

This training’s main objective is to help journalists use tools and techniques while verifying news during their coverage of the elections. And, this webinar is being offered separately in English and Bangla languages. 

Nowadays, journalists are increasingly vulnerable to digital threats and misrepresentation, especially during elections. At election time, journalists become easy targets of digital impersonation and fraudulent news. Therefore, journalists need to learn how to keep themselves and their sources digitally safe and secured. 

Wan-Ifra webinar dates and timing

The webinar will start on 7 April 2021 and will continue on 8, 12, 15 April 2021 between 11.30 am and 1:00 pm IST in English and between 3 pm and 4.30 pm IST in Bangla. The participants of Wan-Ifra webinar will be newsroom editors, chief of staff, senior reporters, and journalists who want to know more about election coverage, reporting, and verification processes. 

The referents of this webinar include Sonia Bhaskar, Head of TV and Web Synergy, NDTV, India; Sambit Pal, Assistant Professor, IIMC Dhenkenal; Varadarajan Ananthakrishnan, Resident Editor, DataLEADS; Joydeep Das Gupta, Editor, News Sense. 

For more information and registration, you can click here.

Manabu Yamazaki new president & CEO of Canon India

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Manabu Yamazaki, the new president and CEO of Canon India Photo Canon India
Manabu Yamazaki, the new president and CEO of Canon India Photo Canon India

On 5 April 2021, Canon India announced Manabu Yamazaki’s appointment as its new president and CEO effective 1 April 2021. Yamazaki takes over from Kazutada Kobayashi, who led Canon India for the past nine years.

In his new role, Yamazaki will be spearheading Canon’s business strategy and operations in India. His previous posting was as the chief regional officer for Canon in Eastern China, which also entailed overseeing various APAC region functions. He has been associated with Canon since 1989 and acknowledged by the company as a contributor to its business management across the European, Middle Eastern, Russian, and African markets.

Commenting on his appointment, Yamazaki said, “I am delighted and excited to join Canon India and to work closely with a team of highly skilled professionals here. As a vibrant nation, India is brimming with entrepreneurship and holds vast potential for exploring newer creative avenues. We, at Canon, are fully committed to the Indian market, and I am looking forward to building on Canon’s track record of success and innovation and continuing to deliver value and delight to all stakeholders. Considering the vast reach and diversity, we will continue with our endeavor of expanding product propositions and presence across different parts of the country.”

Yamazaki, who has worn multiple hats throughout his career, will oversee the strategic operations of Canon India. He is expected to strengthen the existing core businesses and bolster its imaging expertise in newer areas.

Canon adapted to changing customer needs during the pandemic and took its customer service to the next level. The company’s press release asserts that it successfully weathered the storm caused by the pandemic. It states that the company has constantly been adding new products to its portfolio and has expanded its regional outlets in the past year.

The Canon group employs somewhere near 200,000 employees across the world. (The press release gives a figure of 197776 employees as of 31 December 2017.) Canon India Pvt Ltd, set up in 1997, is a 100% subsidiary of Canon Singapore Pvt Ltd that markets over 200 digital products. Canon India has offices and warehouses in 14 cities with 1,000 employees and 850 channel partners. It also operates 250 retails stores for its camera products.

Virtual.drupa: Product innovations and exciting insights in the exhibition space

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Exhibition space
Virtual.drupa: Exhibition space

The exhibition space at virtual.Drupa reflects the diverse technologies and applications along the entire value chain of the print & packaging industry and gives visitors a comprehensive overview of the exhibiting companies’ product portfolios and innovations. In addition, explanatory videos and live web sessions provide additional details and information about the exhibited products and services.

Find relevant exhibitors and products in the exhibition space

Visitors can use the navigation in the exhibition space to quickly find the exhibitors they are interested in. In addition to direct entry of the company name, the search can be filtered by product category or country, for example, to obtain an accurate and relevant selection of exhibitors.

The individual exhibitor profile provides information on the company, contact persons, products, services, innovations, and presentation formats. At this point, direct contact can be made with the exhibitor via a digital business card or via matchmaking.

Insights and interaction in live web sessions

Exhibitors have the opportunity to interact with the community in live web sessions and present their agenda on relevant content to a broad audience. Visitors can get an up-to-date overview of the various presentations in the event database to filter by event slots or topics, for instance. Exciting content can be expected, such as the potential of digital printing applications and automated workflows, innovations in flexo and inkjet printing, and sustainable packaging solutions. 

The virtual.drupa event partners will also contribute to this: Leonhard Kurz, DuPont de Nemours, EFI, Kodak, Komori, BlueCrest, CloudLab, Fujifilm, Hybrid Software, Koenig & Bauer, Mimaki, OQChemicals, and Xeikon. All Live Web Sessions will also be available later on-demand in a video library to make the content accessible to visitors who cannot attend live due to time differences.

Exhibitors provide outlooks on industry-relevant topics

Visitors already have the opportunity to take a look at the current exhibitor profiles and orient themselves for virtual.drupa. Together, the companies represent the diversity of the industry in their online showrooms and web sessions.

DuPont will present the latest innovations for the Cyrel solutions flexographic systems and Artistri Digital Inks for textile and industrial applications, in the online showroom and during interactive Live Web Sessions,” reports Sam Ponzo, vice president, Industrial Solutions at DuPont de Nemours.

“Fujifilm will present new innovative products in both conventional and digital processes,” reveals Hiroaki Shimosaka, General Manager Graphic Systems Business Div. at Fujifilm Corporation. “In addition, with our innovative products, we demonstrate our commitment to the graphic arts industry and prove that we are a long-standing partner for our global customers.”

And Filip Weymans, vice president of marketing at Xeikon, shares: “We will be demonstrating mainly applications that involve digital print manufacturing – not just solutions for digital printing but solutions that fit in a manufacturing process and can be connected in a lot of other steps in a manufacturing process. That is how you achieve flexibility. That is how you address the questions and challenges that lie ahead of you and your business.”

Participants get a continuous overview of the development of the exhibitors and their presentation programs. The event currently has 170 exhibitors from 30 countries and 13 virtual.drupa event partners in the platinum, gold, and silver categories.

 

Ranchi’s National Printers installs a Heidelberg Suprasetter A106

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Krishna Kant Kedia of National Printers in Ranchi with the brand-new Heidelberg Suprasetter A106 CtP equipment Photo: Heidelberg
Krishna Kant Kedia of National Printers in Ranchi with the brand-new Heidelberg Suprasetter A106 CtP equipment Photo: Heidelberg

Based in Ranchi in Jharkhand, National Printers has recently installed a Heidelberg Suprasetter A106 thermal CtP with Prinect workflow. The company is a Heidelberg loyalist when it comes to prepress and the pressroom equipment. “In our nearly three-decade printing experience, Heidelberg is the name we trust in terms of technology and world-class innovation with a leading edge in all segments,” asserts Krishna Kant Kedia, the founder of National Printers. While Kedia founded the company in 1991, the print firm expanded by partnering with Ashok Agarwal in Ranchi.

Today, the print facility has a footprint of 2,00,000 square feet across three plants. Its pressrooms are equipped with Heidelberg offset presses, including a Speedmaster CD 102, a Speedmaster SM 74, and a Speedmaster SM 102.

“Heidelberg provides CIP4 connectivity with the press, offering a digitized workflow that improves the quality of productivity and reduces make-ready significantly. Together with the use of Saphira plates, the Heidelberg Suprasetter and Prinect workflow synchronize in-line press connectivity to boost our efficiency and performance,” says Kedia.

Built with Heidelberg’s proprietary laser technology using an Intelligent Diode System (IDS), the Heidelberg Suprasetter A106 is a thermal computer to plate output device designed to deliver excellent imaging quality and uninterrupted production. The IDS is developed and patented by Heidelberg and eliminates production losses, even if one or more diodes fail.

The internal plate punching system of the CtP enables reliable production with maximum register accuracy, reducing make-ready time and wastage – particularly for repeat jobs. The CtPs extensive cooling system makes sure that the plate imaging process is not affected by the ambient room temperature.

Automation and packaging on the agenda

National Printers founder Kedia and its head of operation Ashok Agarwal produce various commercial printing work, including book printing and government work. The company also produces paperboard-based packaging. “The latest investment fits into our expansion plans and perfectly complements the recent shift into our 10,000 square foot premises. The upgrades support our move into digitization and automation of print production. As we scale up into new heights of growth into packaging, we are ready to explore the potential of our infrastructure and investments fully,” concludes Kedia.

Indukalpa Saikia, sales manager – Eastern Region at Heidelberg India, states, “Heidelberg and National Printers share an amazing relationship – the print firm is one of our old and loyal customers. Apart from the Suprasetter equipment, the deal covers the Prinect Production manager workflow and Saphira consumables supply for three years, which rounds up our offerings from prepress to press.”

Subscription-based Prinect Production Manager

The Prinect Production manager is Heidelberg’s proprietary prepress workflow software, enhancing productivity and navigating the prepress automation challenge. Its Advanced Preflight tools and PDF Toolbox check the artwork for errors, while the Signa station imposition tool prints the layout of the book to be printed and positions the artwork on press sheets to speed up printing and reduces paper waste. After the layout, the Prinect Pro-man also transfers ink presetting data from the CtP plate-setter to the press. The Prinect workflow can do the RGB to CMYK color conversion using appropriate color profiles, while trapping can also be applied if required.

Automating prepress to press makeready operations with the Prinect Pro-Man subscription based software Photo Heidelberg
Automating prepress to press makeready operations with the Prinect Pro-Man subscription-based software Photo Heidelberg

“The software minimizes human intervention and cuts the make-ready time by accelerating prepress and ink-setting operations. Heidelberg offers Production manager software on a subscription-based model, departing radically from tradition. The pay-as-you-go model makes it easy on the budget,” said Indukalpa Saikia.

Esko closes sale of Kongsberg to OpenGate

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Esko
Esko-Kongsberg X table 4

Esko, a global developer of integrated software and hardware solutions for the packaging and label sectors, has confirmed the successful closing of the sale of its Kongsberg digital finishing business to OpenGate Capital on April 1st, 2021.

OpenGate Capital is a private equity firm headquartered in Los Angeles, California, with a European office in Paris and investments on five continents. The new business, Kongsberg Precision Cutting Systems, now employs ~400 former Esko employees operating from the business’ original research and development facility in Kongsberg, Norway, the production facility in Brno, Czech Republic, a new headquarters in Gent, Belgium, as well as other global locations.

Mattias Byström, President of Pantone, Esko, and X-Rite, said, “This sale enables both Esko and Kongsberg Precision Cutting Systems to develop their own strategic directions. Under the leadership of Stuart Fox, we’re sure Kongsberg Precision Cutting has exciting times ahead. We wish the team the very best for the future.”

For more information about Esko, please visit www.esko.com.

DuPont participates in virtual drupa – 20 to 24 April 2021

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Bakul Darji and Ankit Darji with Dupont 2000 ECLF exposure system
Bakul Darji and Ankit Darji with Dupont 2000 ECLF exposure system

Neu-Isenburg, Germany, April 1, 2021 – DuPont will be participating as a Gold Event Partner in the virtual drupa show from April 20th to 24th.

DuPont will present the latest innovations for the Cyrel Solutions flexographic systems and launch new flexo plate and platemaking equipment offerings. Artistri Digital Inks will present its large portfolio of inkjet inks for commercial, packaging, and textile applications in the showroom and during interactive web sessions.

Sam Ponzo, Vice President, DuPont Industrial Solutions, has confirmed DuPont’s commitment to the virtual show, “As a key supplier to the graphic industry, DuPont has always enjoyed the personal interaction with customers and the industry at drupa. Furthermore, the exhibition served as a platform to introduce the latest technology developments. This time, drupa will be all virtual and we will miss meeting in one place and interacting in person with our industry peers and colleagues, but this does not change our focus. We are happy to be part of the first virtual drupa ever and interact with our customers and colleagues virtually.”

Visit DuPont’s show room and get insights into the latest technology and offerings of DuPont!In addition, Eric Beyeler, Marketing Manager, Artistri®️ Digital Inks will present in the Touchpoint Textile session “Make sustainability fashionable, make fashion sustainable.” In this talk, Beyeler will discuss how pigment inkjet printing in particular can deliver beautiful, durable printed fabrics, a low environmental footprint, and a short supply chain to the world of fashion and garments. Join his session on April 22nd at 1:20 p.m. CET. Please look for our web sessions, which will be the platform for new product launches.

Heidelberg talks about folding cartons

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Heidelberg
Speedmaster CX 102 press

Heidelberg organized a webinar on 25 March to highlight how commercial printers can venture into packaging printing using its technologies and solutions.

Joerg Daehnhardt, head of the segment team folding cartons at Heidelberg, began the webinar by saying that the folding carton industry, especially in the emerging markets, is growing fast despite the pandemic. If a commercial printer wants to get into printing folding cartons, he or she already has some equipment and solutions, such as workflow, press, CtP, and sometimes die cutter, already in place, he said.

Earnhardt discussed the extra equipment that commercial printers will require to get into the folding carton converting business. They include data for die-making, flexible press equipment, die-cutter with stripping facility and folder gluer.

Sean White, print media center demonstrator, Prinect, said that Prinect production workflow could be an essential solution for someone who intends to venture into the packaging business. Prinect, the integrated print, and media workflow, links together all the print shop departments. It automates the job flows and makes operations more transparent.

Florian Franken of the product management group – sheetfed highlighted the flexibility of Heidelberg’s Speedmaster presses, focusing on Speedmaster CX102 press. With speeds of up to 16,500 sheets per hour, the Speedmaster CX 102 can handle almost all commercial, label, and packaging printing changes and can process all materials, from lightweight paper to rigid cardboard, with ease.

“The Speedmaster CX 102 is the universal press in our portfolio, and it is suitable for almost all offset printing applications. It has been designed to process a wide range of substrates,” Franken said.

Heidelberg demonstrates the Speedmaster CX102 press

During the webinar, Heidelberg presented a live demonstration of the Speedmaster CX 102 press. Two different jobs were processed in the press. The first was a commercial job where 16 pages were printed on 135 gsm in 63X88 format. The second job was a folding carton job which was printed on a full size 70X100 300 gsm paperboard stock with an additional spot color and full surface coating.

Kirsten Haase, head of business development – packaging, provided information regarding dying cutters and folder gluers. She talked about the MK Easymatrix 106 die-cutter. With an output of 7,700 sheets per hour and short set-up times, the Easymatrix 106 C/CS processes materials from 90 to 2,000 g/m². Even corrugated boards up to 4 mm thickness can be processed.

Haase said that the more one grows into carton printing and converting, the greater the need for more efficient equipment to achieve a good and fast process. “A typical die cutter to reach this is the Easymatrix 106,” she said.

Kodak at virtual.drupa 2021

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Kodak at virtual.drupa
Kodak will be showing its inkjet, offset plate and software technologies at virtua.drupa in April

Kodak’s portfolio of breakthrough offset, digital and software solutions will be on display to the global print community at virtual.drupa 2021 from April 20 to 23. Featured Kodak products will include:

  • The Kodak Prosper Ultra 520 digital press, which redefines inkjet production printing, and which Kodak claims closes the gap with offset. Utilizing Kodak Ultrastream inkjet technology this web press prints near-offset quality images two to three times faster than competitors across a broad range of commercial print substrates using cost-effective water-based Kodak inks.
  • The Uteco Sapphire EVO W Press, powered by Kodak Ultrastream inkjet technology, is claimed to be the first digital press for flexible packaging to match the productivity of flexo and the quality of gravure. Kodak will also highlight the Sapphire EVO M Press, powered by Kodak Stream Technology, which has been successfully established in the growing packaging market.
  • Also to be virtually shown, is the versatile and productive Nexfinity digital press. The digital press offers unprecedented sheet-fed flexibility regarding substrates, sheet sizes and thicknesses along with a fifth imaging unit that uses a wide selection of special inks.
  • Kodak will be showing its Prinergy On Demand Business Solutions the printing industry’s first and only fully integrated and managed business software portfolio including MIS/ERP, eCommerce, and collaboration applications. This scalable, automated end-to-end solution is said to provide customers a single platform to work from and one vendor to work with, eliminating hidden costs and finger pointing.
  • The Sonora Xtra, Kodak’s next-generation process free plate delivers faster imaging speeds, stronger image contrast and improved handling robustness, plus sustainability and waste savings in prepress and on press.
  • The Kodak Magnus Q800 platesetter is said to be the world’s fastest 8-page CtP device, capable of imaging up to 80 offset plates an hour.
  • The Kodak Magnus Q4800 platesetter, is a new solution for extra-large format (XLF) plate imaging, offering the fastest throughput for XLF size plates, meant for 96-page presses.

Kodak provides a full portfolio of offset, digital and software solutions designed to deliver print that pays, and this virtual event will provide a perfect showcase for our latest innovations,” said Jim Continenza, executive chairman and CEO, Eastman Kodak Company.

Kodak will welcome visitors to virtual.drupa in its exhibitor showroom at https://virtual.drupa.com/vis/v1/en/exhibitors/drupa2020.2680912. In addition, Kodak will hold three interactive web sessions:

Attendees can sign up free of charge on virtual.drupa.com, where they can also learn more about the diverse services and features envisaged for the online show.

15th Printpack India exhibition – 20 to 24 December 2021

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15th Printpack India exhibition – 20 to 24 December 2021
Sangam Khanna, deputy managing director of Komori India, Yoshiharu Komori, chairman and chief executive officer of Komori Corporation and Hirofumi Hoshino, managing director of Komori India at the Komori stand at Printpack 2019

IPAMA’s governing council, which met on 22 March 2021, decided to significantly subsidize exhibitor participation in the Printpack India event from 20 to 24 December 2021. The council considered at length the adverse impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the economy and the global print industry and decided to maximize the relief it could extend to exhibitors and especially to its member companies. 

In a recent meet the press event, Dayakar Reddy insisted that membership in IPAMA is extremely easy. He and Prashant Vats also made clear that although they have reduced the cost of participation to exhibitors and especially member exhibitors, the event’s quality in construction and facilities would be even better than earlier Printpack events. These are already the best in the country, thanks mainly to the India Exposition Center in Greater Noida in the New Delhi national capital region.

The Printpack India event is the largest graphic arts exhibition in the country and is globally recognized. It attracts substantial participation from several countries with printers looking for Indian manufactured equipment. Global exhibitors equally look at the Indian printers as an important market for their wares.

The basic charges for bare space at the Printpack India event are Rs 8,000 per square meter for bare space and Rs 9,000 per square meter for shell schemes. This time, there are six types of discounts being offered, including early-bird discounts and those for members and associate members. The organizers are also considering some extra facilities to be provided free of charge to both exhibitors and participants.

With the significant costs of the exhibition being the rental of the space at the IndiaExposition Center and its facilities, it seems that IPAMA and its governing council are prepared to absorb a loss on this year’s event. Their well-intentioned aim is to contribute to the continuity and revival of the printing and graphic arts industry. 

Thus far, according to IPAMA, the industry has responded positively with 70% of the planned exhibition area already booked. It states that the major industry companies have already remitted the requisite payments for the 15th Printpack India event. 

The exhibitor’s and visitor’s registration web portals have also been developed for the participants’ convenience. All services for exhibitors and participants will be available online for the event in December 2021. Exhibitors can book space after remitting the participation charges and then select the Hall and Stall online. They can download receipts/invoices and can also place orders for additional services. Visitors can fix up their private meetings with exhibitors online in a secure system. The portal will be functional on the IPAMA website in the first week of April 2021.

Virtual.Drupa – Lead generation and networking in the Networking Plaza

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lead generation|Drupa
virtual.drupa- Lead generation and networking

Exhibitors and visitors at virtual.drupa can connect in the Networking Plaza. Thanks to an intelligent matchmaking tool, they can find companies and contacts relevant to their business, thus boosting their network building and generating new, valuable leads even before the trade show starts. This is where participants can also make appointments in virtual meeting rooms for the trade fair duration from April 20 to 23, 2021, to be optimally prepared for the start of virtual.drupa.

Find relevant contacts

To participate in matchmaking, visitors must create an additional personal profile in the Networking Plaza during registration. Exhibitor personnel has to be invited by the company’s main contact. The more precise and detailed the personal information on activities and interests in the matchmaking profile, the better participants can benefit from the networking options, and the more likely they are to find the contacts they are looking for.

On this basis, the tool makes initial suggestions about companies and users who meet the set search criteria. The participant then can invite them for a meeting, marking them as interesting or irrelevant. The intelligent algorithm learns from these actions and thus suggests contacts that are ever more suitable.

Anyone who has already discovered exciting products and services in the Exhibition Space or one of the numerous exhibitor Live Web Sessions can contact exhibitors directly to arrange bilateral meetings. Companies and contact persons can be found quickly and easily in matchmaking via a search field function – and there is also the option of targeted communication via the exhibitors’ online showroom in the Exhibition Space.

Personal exchange via virtual meetings

Relevant contacts can be saved on an interest list in matchmaking to contact them later or arrange an appointment. This way, participants can first get an overview before scheduling their meetings.

Afterward, the pre-marked contacts can be invited to an individual session in a virtual meeting room. In the matchmaking calendar, participants can find an overview of personal appointments and – for exhibitors – also those of their team colleagues. Here it is possible to enter availability to organize meetings with more significant numbers of participants if required.

Exhibitor representatives, who are added by their company’s main booth contact and thus linked with each other, have additional options in the team area to organize their contact requests and appointments as effectively as possible. They can coordinate with colleagues or take over appointments from each other. In the shared exhibitor account, new leads are listed in their entirety, and contacts are recorded.

Easy participation, great benefit

While registering for virtual.drupa, visitors can activate their participation in matchmaking at the same time. It means that the initial settings from the virtual.drupa profiles are automatically transferred to the matchmaking profile. Company information of exhibitor representatives is automatically copied when invited by the company’s main booth contact. After successful registration, matchmaking can be used via both the browser and the drupa app to connect with the community effectively.

Matchmaking is activated via the Networking Plaza from now on until October 2021 to offer exhibitors and visitors maximum exchange and added value and to allow them to familiarize themselves with the various functionalities already now.

 

Warburg in pole position to acquire control of Parksons Packaging – ET

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Parksons Packaging
HP Indigo 30000 at Parksons’ Daman plant

American private equity firm Warburg Pincus is likely to have emerged as the highest bidder to acquire a controlling stake in Mumbai-based folding carton manufacturer Parksons Packaging, outbidding peers such as KKR and Bain Capital besides Finnish packaging materials major Huhtamäki Oyj, according to a report in the Economic Times.

A potential deal with Warburg will value the Mumbai-based packaging solutions company at Rs 2,200-2,300 crore, multiple people aware of the development told ET. The transaction will see the exit of private equity firm Kedaara Capital from the company founded by Ramesh Kejriwal.

Kedaara had invested Rs 200 crore in the company in 2015 to buy about 25% stake held by another private equity firm ChrysCapital. Warburg’s fourth investment in India will be in the last six months if the deal goes through.

Kejriwal’s sons Siddharth and Chaitanya will continue to run the business by holding a minority stake post transaction, one of the sources told the newspaper. Parksons reported revenue of Rs 946 crore during the fiscal year 2018-2019, while net profit stood at Rs 39.51 crore. According to ET, the company has not filed the numbers for the fiscal year 2019-2020 yet with corporate affairs.

Parksons Packaging today boasts of six plants across five locations in India. In 2019, the company became the first in India to commission HP Indigo 30000 digital press at its Daman plant. It is the oldest plant that came online in 2001.

This is the first digital press that Parksons Packaging has commissioned and is also the first B2-format (20×30-inch) digital press in the Indian folding carton industry.

In addition to the HP Indigo 30000, Parksons Packaging operates a battery of offset presses and finishing equipment across its plants. Late last year, it commissioned a newly installed Rapida 76.

 

 

Epson – 100% renewable electricity by ’23

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Epson Thailand with rooftop solar
Rooftop solar power generation system at Epson manufacturing plant in Thailand Photo: Epson

On 16 March 2021, Seiko Epson Corporation announced that its worldwide Group sites*1 will meet their electricity needs from 100% renewable energy sources (renewable electricity) by 2023. With growing global interest in societal issues such as the environment and energy, Epson established its Environmental Vision 2050 to express its commitment to environmental management and subsequently rolled out various measures to achieve this. 

The Paris Agreement subsequently established decarbonization targets, and Epson created a scenario to achieve by FY2025 science-based targets (SBT*2) to achieve these goals. This scenario included using renewable electricity as a primary theme, and Epson made plans and implemented measures to expand its use over the long term. The company has established its policy to accelerate its plans to become a leading environmental company. The company believes that climate change represents a serious corporate risk and that Epson must play a greater role in mitigating that risk as it rolls out its business worldwide.

Sites using 100% renewable electricity – Progress to date

Before April 2020, manufacturing sites (UK, USA (Portland))

European sales headquarters (France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Spain); April 2020, three Japanese sites including head office and the printer R&D center; All European sales headquarters (including the UK); and, January 2021 Manufacturing plant (Philippines)

Plans

End of March 2021All Japanese sites*1; and, 2023 All sites worldwide*1

As a result of these plans, Epson has calculated it can reduce emissions of CO2 by 36,000 tonnes annually to zero by using 100% renewable electricity at all sites worldwide by 2023. Epson global president Yasunori Ogawa said, “It’s imperative that we address the global issue of climate change. Our company has been proactive about environmental issues from day one when our founders expressed their desire that we should protect the lake next to our company headquarters. And what’s more, we have always strongly believed in contributing to solving global environmental issues, for example, when we were the first company in the world to declare our commitment to eliminating CFCs from our operations worldwide. Going forward, we will steadily advance measures to use 100% renewable electricity. In this and other environmental activities, we will continue to pursue high targets and aggressively drive forward to achieve our goals.”

Monozukuri

Dedicated to the Japanese philosophy of ‘monozukuri’ (the art and science of manufacturing), Epson’s products and services are based on unique, efficient, compact, and precision technologies that mitigate the environmental impacts of Epson’s products and services, and at all stages of the supply chain. Epson plans to provide new customer value through open and unique innovations that offer both environment and economy.

*1: “All sites” referenced in this release excludes leased properties for sales offices, etc., where the amount of electricity cannot be determined.

*2: Scope 1 and 2 call for a 19% reduction in emissions by FY2025 against a benchmark of 2017.

Ricoh’s new Indian distributor – Monotech Systems

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TP Jain Monotech|Ricoh’s new Indian distributor – Monotech Systems
TP Jain, managing director of Monotech Systems Photo Monotech

New Delhi, 29 March 2021 – The Indian distributor of graphic arts and packaging equipment Monotech Systems has taken on the distribution of Ricoh’s digital production print systems across India. According to Monotech, it will become the marketing, sales, distribution, and service partner for Ricoh’s production digital presses across the country.

 “With Monotech System’s strong local presence, I believe it will bring an increased range of coverage and strength of representation of Ricoh’s Digital Production Printing systems in the Indian market,” said Ricky Tan, general manager of the Production Printing Business Group in Ricoh Asia Pacific. “We can together collaborate helping customers enhance their digital capabilities with insight-driven and tailored solutions.” 

Ricky Tan Ricoh Asia Pacific
Ricky Tan, general manager of the Production Printing Business Group in Ricoh Asia Pacific

Despite the severe disruption of its Indian operations over the past five years, Ricoh’s products enjoy an important place in the global digital press market. Monotech Systems is one of the leading graphic arts distributors of a wide variety of imported equipment. As a distributor, it helped establish Konica Minolta as the Indian digital press market leader – a business relationship that it divested a few years ago. 

Monotech has become a manufacturer of inkjet-driven signage printers and digital label and book presses in the past few years. Until recently, it had also taken on the distribution of Xerox digital presses that it gave up approximately six months ago. 

“Team Monotech Systems is very excited about this relationship which is like playing a second inning after a highly successful first inning. It raises the bar for us, and we shall succeed with our commitment to offering products, solutions, and support that exceed customer expectations,” said TP Jain, the well-liked and respected managing director of Monotech Systems.

The two-decade-old Monotech enjoys the confidence of the publishing, printing, and packaging industry. It has a reasonably strong connection with users of digital printing, where at one time it built up a large workforce of technicians and engineers. It is fair to say that Ricoh has been under-represented in the Indian market for the past five years. Its strong product line-up from a familiar and reliable distributor presents a measure of reassurance for its installed base and future customers. One hopes it will also introduce a level of competition in the market and offer a more comprehensive technology choice to Indian printers. 

Ajeet Pareek Monotech
Ajeet Pareek, business head, Digital Products and Solutions, of Monotech Photo Monotech

Ajeet Pareek, business head, Digital Products and Solutions, of Monotech, said, “We are confident that the Ricoh product range will be a perfect fit for our existing and prospective customers. We are now able to provide our clients with more opportunities to differentiate themselves in their markets to deliver an extended range of capabilities and respond to growing expectations and demands. We will now have the most technologically advanced product portfolio, backed by superior sales and after-sales support.”

Print & Digital Convention postponed to October 2021

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Print & Digital Convention postponed to October 2021
Print and Digital Convention congress

Due to the ongoing pandemic and national and international lockdown measures and associated travel restrictions, the Print and Digital Convention congress and trade fair initially planned for June will be moved to 20-21 October 2021. The event is being organized by Fachverband Medienproduktion (f:mp.) and Messe Düsseldorf

“We have a responsibility to the health of our visitors and exhibitors. Against the background of the current Corona pandemic and continuing restrictions, it is unfortunately not guaranteed that we will hold the Print & Digital Convention at the Düsseldorf exhibition center in June. Our exhibitors’ confidence in our decision is documented by the fact that 95% of the exhibitors who have already booked will also be present in October,” says Rüdiger Maaß, managing director of f:mp. “We see the congress as a platform for interaction focusing on selected highlight projects and knowledge transfer while placing a strong emphasis on interactive experiences. We, therefore, consider it important to hold it as a face-to-face event as soon as the framework conditions permit.”

Geldermann speaks about the upcoming print and digital convention

Sabine Geldermann, director of print technologies at Messe Düsseldorf, adds: “Even if virtual formats are the measure of all things in these times, our customers recognize, based on the experience of the last twelve months, that face-to-face events are indispensable, especially when it comes to the haptic experience of technologies and their applications. That is why we are confidently looking ahead to October 2021.”

The Print & Digital Convention focuses on presenting innovative technologies in projects that showcase individual machines or tools and demonstrate overall solutions-oriented practical requirements. In addition to exciting exhibits and intensive expert advice at the exhibitor stands, visitors to the event can expect an extensive and top-class program of lectures on all relevant aspects of corporate communication and print and digital technologies.

In this way, as an established annual event in the industry, the congress and trade fair – together with virtual offerings such as virtual.drupa and drupa’s global Print Technologies trade fair portfolio – bridges the time window until the next drupa in 2024 and offers an important platform for knowledge transfer, exchange, and networking.

 

Sri Lankan corrugated carton industry faces headwinds over rising prices of paper

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corrugated carton
Sri Lankan carton industry facing increasing price of paper

The corrugated carton industry in Sri Lanka faces pressure and unprecedented challenges as the global prices of all types of papers continue to skyrocket since October last year, Lanka Carton Corrugated Manufacturers’ Association said recently. 

Many corrugated and brown box manufacturers are going through the most challenging situation in the industry’s history and fears growing as it’s a prolonged period and no sign of it easing up anytime soon, stressed the Lanka Corrugated Carton Manufacturers’ Association.

The brown kraftliner and brown recycled grades, including testliner, and corrugated medium papers, are expected to rise. During the last four months alone, prices have gone up by as much as over 50%, it said. 

It comes in the wake of a drastic shortage in paper due to the pandemic coupled with disruptions in supply chains, including costly freight charges. Further, there has been a significant rise in demand for papers from China to meet its domestic needs following the country’s ban on importing all wastes from various countries, mainly direct recovered paper, from earlier this year. 

This resulted in Chinese paper mills importing recycled brown pulp and recycled and unbleached Kraft linerboard to use it as a pulp or a fiber source to produce paper, apart from counting on other sources such as local recovered paper within the country, imported recycled as well as virgin pulp.

Lanka Carton Corrugated Manufacturers’ Association said that the recent second wave of coronavirus in the EU and the US is taking its toll in these countries, which has affected waste paper collection, leading to problems in its availability and rise in prices. 

Sri Lanka’s total carton production stands at 150,000 metric tons annually, primarily serving the B2B market. More than 40 corrugated carton manufacturers and about ten of them make up a whopping 70% plus market share. Today, many manufacturers are equipped with fully-automatic, state-of-the-art plants with an appetite to continuously invest in innovation, research, and development to increase the quality, consistency, and durability of their cartons.

“Needless to say, corrugated box manufacturing is an eco-friendly industry recycling brown boxes as well as waste paper. And it certainly deserves various avenues and opportunities to sustain and thrive in its operations, and this is a critical moment for key stakeholders, authorities, and officials to step in and help support the industry,” it said.

‘Earn Money with Zecher Products’

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Zecher
Zecher is a leading manufacturer of anilox rollers and sleeves Photo Zecher

Zecher, one of the world’s leading anilox roll and sleeve manufacturers is organizing a webinar on 15 April 2021. Entitled, ‘Earn Money with Zecher Products’ the webinar takes place from 1230 to 1330 hours India time. Zecher has decided not to participate in any exhibitions events till at least June 2021 because of the on-going ramifications and constraints of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Zecher based in Paderborn Germany, is a supplier of anilox rolls to the label industry for its narrow web flexo presses, the flexible packaging industry for its wide web flexo presses, and to the offset printing industry as a supplier to its coaters on commercial and packaging presses. Zecher anilox rolls are sold in India by Royal Coat headquartered in Mumbai and headed by Suni Talpade, a company that supplies many other specialist products including ultra-sound cleaning devices for anilox rolls and IST Metz UV curing systems.

To register for the Zecher webinar please click on this link https://zecher-webinar-earn-money.app.rsvpify.com/ or here.

Supreme Court restores NCLT order in Ricoh India case

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Supreme Court restores NCLT order in Ricoh India case
Ricoh pro C5300

The supreme court of India on 10th March upheld the decision of the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) and threw out the conclusion of the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) that questioned the work of the resolution professional in awarding Ricoh India to the Kalpraj Dharamshi-Rekha Jhunjhunwala group. 

Upholding the ‘commercial wisdom’ displayed by the Committee of Creditors (CoC) in the Kalpraj Dharamshi versus Kotak Investment Advisories Ltd (KIAL) case, the Supreme Court in its 150-page judgment noted that the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) acted in excess of its jurisdiction. The apex court observed that both the NCLAT and the NCLT could not overstep the CoC’s decision. The matter doesn’t fall within the limited scope of sections 30 and 31 of the Insolvency Bankruptcy Code (IBC), thereby dismissing the NCLAT order that favored KIAL. 

Earlier, Minosha India Limited (formerly Ricoh India Limited) had appealed against the NCLAT judgment while supporting the resolution professional’s conduct (RP) in bringing about a quick insolvency process approved by the majority of CoC. NCLT approved the resolution plan submitted by a consortium led by Kalpraj Dharamshi and Rekha Jhunjhunwala in November 2019, and the implementation had commenced. While the case was being heard and the order was reserved at NCLAT, there was no restraint on implementing the resolution plan by Dharamshi and Jhunjhunwala. 

The CoC’s decision was accepted by a majority of 84.36%, while Kotak Bank favored dissenting KIAL with only 0.97% voting rights. Subsequently, in 2020, the Registrar of Companies issued a certificate of the change in name from Ricoh India Ltd. to Minosha India Ltd. 

Elated by the judgment, Atul Thakker, managing director of Minosha India, said, “Truth has prevailed. Our respect and faith in the judicial process has been vindicated. The decision upholds the primary [primacy] of the commercial wisdom of the CoC. With this judgment, all doubts about our ownership and continuity have been put to rest.”

Minosha India, in its press release on the judgment, says after the Supreme Court’s decision, the company “will set in motion a course of action to vigorously implement its growth plan.”

K&B forecasts 4% revenue growth in ’21

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Well equipped for the future: the Koenig & Bauer management team with Dr. Andreas Pleßke as the new board spokesman Photo K&B
Well equipped for the future: the Koenig & Bauer management team with Dr. Andreas Pleßke as the new board spokesman Photo K&B

The K&B (Koenig & Bauer) group reports on 24 March 2021 that it achieved a revenue of € 1.0 billion in 2020 (2019: € 1.2 billion) despite the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic. The 17.4% decline in revenue reflects the measures adopted by governments worldwide in 2020 to halt the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Travel restrictions in particular hampered international sales activities as well as order and project execution. Service business accounted for about 30% of the group’s revenue in 2020 against the pandemic’s backdrop. This means that the target of 30% was reached, albeit based on lower new press business than in the previous year. The 14.6% decline in order intake to € 975 million (2019: € 1.1 billion) is also due to Covid-19-related constraints on global economic activity and customers’ reluctance to invest given reduced planning visibility.

However, the decline in Koenig & Bauer’s revenue and order intake in 2020 was less pronounced than for the printing press industry as a whole (24.2% decline in revenue; 21.9% decline in order intake) according to figures released by industry association VDMA (German Machinery and Plant Manufacturers’ Association). Koenig & Bauer’s order backlog as of 31 December 2020 was valued at € 632 million, down 7.9% on the previous year (31 December 2019: € 686 million).

Earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) amounted to € -68 million in 2020, compared to € 70 million in the previous year. In addition to the Covid 19-related decline in revenue, EBIT was adversely affected by non-recurring expenses of €58m in connection with the expanded “P24x” efficiency program announced in autumn 2020. However, non-recurring income from the successful outcome of a legal dispute (€ 4 million) and the sale of a real estate asset in Frankenthal (€ 5 million) positively affected EBIT. 

Adjusted for these non-recurring effects, EBIT came to € -19 million in 2020. Despite the pandemic’s effects, an apparent quarterly recovery emerged. After € -17 million in the first quarter, EBIT operating loss before exceptionals was only in the single digits (€ -7 million) in the second quarter. In the third quarter, it came close to reaching the break-even threshold (€ -1 million). In comparison, a slightly positive EBIT before non-recurring effects of € 6 million was achieved in the final quarter.

After net interest expense of around € 6 million (2019: € 6 million), K&B achieved earnings before taxes (EBIT) of € -73 million in 2020, compared with € 64 million in the previous year. Tax expense came to € 30 million in 2020 (previous year: € 12 million). The higher tax expense in the year under review is primarily due to impairments of deferred tax assets on unused tax losses, which were not considered to be recoverable for the purposes of the preparation of a new integrated five-year plan. The group net loss of € 103 million (2019: Group net profit of € 52 million) translates into a loss per share of € 6.27 (2019: earnings per share of € 3.15).

The new performance benchmark in industrial printing – the award-winning Rapida 106 X for packaging, commercial or label printing Photo K&B
The new performance benchmark in industrial printing – the award-winning Rapida 106 X for packaging, commercial or label printing Photo K&B

Dr Andreas Pleßke, chief executive officer of K&B, explains, “Looking at order intake, we can see that the Koenig & Bauer Group held up better in the difficult year of 2020 than our industry as a whole. Despite all due caution given the still very uncertain economic conditions, we take this as a sign that we are focusing on the right end and future markets with our range of presses and services. For example, corrugated-board printing could experience a significant boost in the coming years given the growth in eCommerce. Packaging printing for food, cosmetics, and pharmaceutical products, for example, is also proving to be an intact and growing market. 

Koenig & Bauer has expanded its Radebeul facility, turning it into a global customer experience center to demonstrate the performance of our presses to customers in these sectors as effectively as possible. The customer experience center presents networked solutions for packaging production featuring innovative printing technology, flatbed and rotary die cutters, folding-box gluers, and fully automated material flows. We are convinced that we will strengthen and further expand our market position not only in the area of packaging printing.”

Covid-19 leaves clear traces on individual segments

At the level of the individual segments, the Covid 19-related burdens and the provisions recognized for the measures defined in the “P24x” efficiency program were also clearly evident in the decline in order intake, revenue, and EBIT in 2020. That said, order intake in the Sheetfed segment declined by only a moderate 5.5%. 

In 2020, this segment achieved growth in the medium and large-format sheetfed offset presses and folding-box gluers, which were primarily ordered by customers in the packaging printing sector. The sheetfed segment recorded an order intake of € 178 million in the fourth quarter, thus exceeding the previous year’s figure (Q4 2019: € 166 million).

In the final quarter of 2020, the digital and webfed segment successfully commissioned the first CorruFLEX system to produce high-quality printed packaging at corrugated cardboard printing company THIMM’s plant in Romania. This means that all three Corru models for direct corrugated-board printing have now been successfully placed on the market.

In the special segment, Banknote Solutions, Kammann, and Coding reported lower order intake in 2020 in view of the coronavirus pandemic’s effects. MetalPrint, on the other hand, recorded an increase in order intake in 2020.

Positive operating cash flow, solid equity base

The K&B group’s cash flow from operating activities turned positive in 2020, coming to € 12 million (2019: € -8 million). The decline in inventories was the main reason for this positive performance. Net working capital fell from € 349 million in the previous year to € 344 million. Free cash flow improved significantly from € -52 million during the last year to € -24 million in 2020. With an equity base of € 342 million (end of 2019: € 433 million), the Koenig & Bauer Group achieved a solid equity ratio of 25.9% (end of 2019: 30.6%).

Slight organic revenue growth & break-even in EBIT expected for 2021

Despite the still limited forward visibility for the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the Koenig & Bauer Group’s business environment and the travel restrictions currently in place in this connection, the company anticipates slight growth in business in 2021. This projection assumes that progress made in vaccinations that also protect from the Covid-19 virus mutations will allow the restrictions to be lifted.

Against this backdrop, Koenig & Bauer projects slight organic revenue growth of around 4% to € 1.07 billion in 2021. On the earnings side, it expects to break even at the EBIT level in 2021 following the successful launch of the ‘P24x’ efficiency program and the planned savings effects. Implementation of the “P24x” program will leave traces on free cash flow in 2021, resulting in a negative free cash flow in the mid-double-digit millions.

Dr Stephen Kimmich, CFO of Koenig & Bauer, states, “The order backlog of more than € 630 million provides solid underpinnings for our forecast for the Koenig & Bauer Group in 2021. With the efficiency measures under ‘P24x,’ we have also laid important foundations for improving our profitability. In 2021, this should already allow us to break even at the EBIT level. After the completion of the four-year efficiency program, we hope – as stated in autumn 2020 – to achieve revenue of € 1.3 billion and an EBIT margin of at least 7% and to reduce net working capital to a maximum of 25% of annual revenue.”

Photo 1:

Well equipped for the future: the Koenig & Bauer management team with Dr. Andreas Pleßke as the new board spokesman

Photo 2:

The new performance benchmark in industrial printing – the award-winning Rapida 106 X for packaging, commercial or label printing

INMA webinar: McKinsey shares data, analytics trends for South Asia

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INMA webinar
INMA webinar- 25 March, 2021

INMA will be organizing a webinar on 25 March for its members to learn about the next steps and priorities for growth for news media houses in South Asia as the story plays out post-COVID-19. 

Siddharth Gopalkrishnan, partner at McKinsey & Company, will share global trends and how they apply to South Asia to focus on the core technologies of data and analytics in creating a new road map for print and digital news media houses. 

The webinar will dive deep into companies’ ideas to transform, the emerging technology opportunities, proposed skill set, and organizational agility. INMA members will gain insights on developing the required data architecture for their company as they maneuver and overcome technology transformation.  

INMA webinar timing and registration

The webinar will take place from 10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. New York time and will be free for INMA members. Webinars are only available to INMA members. 

You can register here or send an eMail to Krista Avedikian at krista.avedikian@inma.org for more information. 

 

Wan-Infra Virtual Newsroom Summit – 8 to 10 June 2021

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virtual newsroom
Virtual Newsroom Summit 8 to 10 June 2021

Wan-Ifra is organizing a virtual newsroom summit on 8-10 June 2021 in which newsroom leaders around the globe will be discussing how newsrooms have changed in the last few months. They will share their plans for 2021 in leading remotely – while remaining agile.

They will also be discussing the publishers’ role in adding value for their readers and keeping them on board and engaged during the pandemic. The first day of the newsroom summit will be a dedicated CMS day focusing on how Content Management Systems support paid content goals from producing more engaging content to integrating with subscription systems and multi-platform distribution.

Meet with virtual newsroom leaders around the globe

  • Content that sells and the audience focus behind it – In this, they will explain why climate change topics convert readers to subscribe to one title but not at another, how well do you know the audience and how can you add value, are you representing enough diverse voices and what audiences are we missing without this diversity in the newsroom?
  • Newsroom Remotivation – This is all about who is your chief mindset officer and how do you keep going back and arguing for change, especially during a pandemic? Here, they will also elaborate on how newsroom roles and responsibilities have evolved over the past year, who has cracked the formula to maintain motivation and resilience in their teams and manage exhaustion, and what’s next?
  • Product strategies for driving new subscriptions – This topic will explain how newsletters, podcasts, apps, e-paper, etc., can bring more traffic and subscriptions and, ultimately, how to give proper attention to your new projects?
  • The sustainable digital newsroom – Here, our experts will tell us how the recent huge growth in digital subscriptions has changed the newsroom dynamics.

The virtual newsroom summit discussion is mainly about knowing the newsroom strategies during the pandemic and learning how other publishers have approached CMS’s selection process for adding value to their readers. 

Enroll yourself for the upcoming newsroom summit at https://wanifraevents.eventsair.com/newsroom-summit-2021/registration/Site/Register and join us today to know more about the editorial strategies for good content.

 

DD Purkayastha to leave ABP

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IFRA World Publishing Expo|DD Purkayastha to leave ABP
DD Purkayastha, managing director and chief executive officer of ABP Pvt. Ltd

Dipankar Das Purkayastha has decided to step down as the CEO and managing director of ABP – the Ananda Bazaar Patrika newspaper, magazine, and electronic media publishing group. Purkayastha has been associated with ABP Pvt Ltd for four decades and was appointed as CEO in August 2019.

The company, commenting on Purkayastha’s decision to move on, said, “We take this opportunity to record our appreciation for the services he has rendered to the company. He is a visionary and a legend in our pantheon. He has made the company ready to meet the challenges of the future.”

Dhruba Mukherjee named as CEO of ABP from 1 April 2021
Dhruba Mukherjee named as CEO of ABP from 1 April 2021

Purkayastha, who is in his seventies, will be succeeded as CEO on 1 April 2021 by the deputy chief executive officer of the group, Dhruba Mukherjee. Anandabazar was first launched in 1876 in Jessore (now in Bangladesh) by Sisir Kumar Ghose and Tusharkanti Ghose, who left it to subsequently launch Amrita Bazar Patrika. The ABP group that the Sircar family owns was re-established in 1922 by Suresh Chandra Majumdar and editor Prafulla Kumar Sarkar with Ananda Bazar Patrika’s relaunch as a Bengali daily on 22 March 1922. The group’s publications have generally been at the forefront of Bengali culture and society, including the independence movement.

Editor Emeritus Aveek Sarkar is currently the vice-chairman of the Ananda Bazar Group of Publications and was elected chairman of Press Trust of India, the country’s leading news agency, in August 2020. The Indian newspaper industry that has hitherto been owner-managed is now increasingly professionalizing, and the ABP group plays an essential role in this trend.

As an industry insider put it on hearing the news of the CEO succession at the ABP yesterday, “The industry has to modernize and face the digital realities, and this process requires both professionalization and stability. It is a challenging transition for the leading news publishing group promoters who find it difficult not to interfere in day-to-day affairs of their newspapers.”

Gulf Print and Pack hosts second virtual industry round table

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Gulf Print and Pack
Gulf Print and Pack virtual round table

Tarsus Group, the organizer of Gulf Print and Pack 2021, recently hosted the second of its virtual round table discussions with top representatives from the commercial and wide-format printing industry in the Middle East.

“Smart use of digital print technologies in the MEA region” took place on Wednesday, 24 February. Topics discussed included: how individual large-format printing businesses had been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic; exploring if digital printers / print service providers in MEA have identified new markets during this time; digital printing and textiles; regional trends in selecting/buying machinery; hybrid printing; digital package printing; automation; and demographic trends.

Four expert panelists from the region took part in the lively discussion: Ayman Aly, senior marketing manager, Canon Middle East; Halim El-Khoury, business manager, large format printing, UAE & KSA, HP; Philippe Hosni, general manager, Helliozid Océ Emirates; and Shihab Zubair, regional sales manager, Epson Europe. While Akanksha Meena, editor, Labels and Labeling Middle East, and North Africa / Brand Print / Gulf Print and Pack, chaired the session.

Overall, the panel agreed that the pandemic had significant positive changes to the printing industry, creating opportunities to adapt and be flexible. It had also encouraged customers and suppliers alike to rethink short-term over long-term priorities and ways of working. Several key factors that had helped print remain resilient in recent months were credited with the industry’s current high level of trust.

It included many market segments that have performed exceptionally well and proved popular with customers; digital signage, COVID applications such as in-office safety signage, vinyl printing, and entry-level consumer printing. Short-run personalized label printing was also noted as a significant growth area, with an increasing move from conventional to digital printing. Simultaneously, hybrid too was seen as an area with potential, given its space-saving benefits. The panel also agreed that service support and maintenance are being done increasingly via software and online. Simultaneously, the lack of face-to-face contact with customers and working from home have driven automation technology.

Digital label and package printing – corrugated in particular – was likewise regarded as one of the most positively impacted applications, driven by the growth in e-commerce following the temporary closure of shopping malls and changing consumer habits. The panel agreed that most vendors would be looking at this as a significant growth area as reversing these trends will be difficult. Simultaneously, the retail industry’s impact had also created an opportunity, with considerable effort being put into signage campaigns and in-store promotion, to entice customers back into shops.

Gulf Print and Pack virtual round table discussions

Andy Thomas-Emans, strategic director, Labelexpo/Gulf Print and Pack, said of the session: “We are delighted to see our virtual round table discussions gathering momentum, with a successful second open discussion with the commercial and wide-format printing industry in the MEA region. It’s incredibly encouraging to hear that smart digital technologies continue to flourish since these will be vitally important as we move into the post-COVID recovery phase.”

Echoing this, Ayman Ali said: “Today, we are witnessing a shift from traditional Offsets to digital printing, and this is mainly due to growing customer demands when it comes to faster turnaround times and shorter runs. As we see increasing demand, this segment is poised to create new growth opportunities in 2021 and beyond. This discussion was an opportunity for us to discuss this growth and further examine regional market trends and outlook and technology opportunities. At Canon Middle East, we continue to leverage cutting-edge digital print tools in line with customer needs.”

Thomas-Emans added: “I’d like to thank our panelists for taking part, and we look forward to running the next Gulf Print & Pack hosted discussion in the coming weeks. It’s vitally important that the industry continues to engage and exchange ideas openly. At the same time, we cannot meet face to face, so any supplier or printer keen to take part in future round table sessions is encouraged to get in touch with us.”

Maharashtra print associations raise the alarm about rising paper prices by conducting a press event

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press event
The press events were held at Mumbai Press Club

Some of the significant print associations from Maharashtra – Bombay Master Printers’ Association (BMPA), Mumbai Mudrak Sangh (MMA), Maharashtra Mudran Parishad (MMP), and Poona Press Owners Association (PPOA) – held a press event at Mumbai’s Press Club on 15 March to highlight the problems that the complete printing and packaging industry across the state are facing due to the continued rise in paper prices.

The BMPA was represented by its president Iqbal Kherodawala, MMS was represented by its president Prakash Canser, MMP was represented by its president Balasaheb Ambekar and PPOA was represented by its president Raveendra Joshi.

The associations called the price increase an “absurd, unending, continuous and cruel” drama faced by print businesses in Mumbai, Poona, and across Maharashtra. They said that print businesses across the country are facing unprecedented cost pressures.

Kherodawala comments on price hike in the Mumbai press event

“The price increase has been to the tune of 30%, 40%, and even 50%, and if this goes on and if our print buyers do not agree to give converters and printers a higher price, then the industry is going to get severely affected,” said Kherodawala in the press event. “The print industry is already under stress due to the pandemic.”

Kherodawala said the government should consider bringing paper and paperboards under the Essential Commodities Act, and they should ban their exports.

Joshi cited the example of Maharashtra’s educational sector, and the impact of paper price rise is having on its operations. He said that there are 32 universities in Maharashtra and the quantum of paper required is humongous. “Just imagine the effect this will have on the universities. Either the students will have to pay higher prices, or the universities will have to bear the cost,” he said. A similar adverse impact will have on the cost of school books, he added.

Ambekar said that many MMP members are very small businesses under deep stress due to the rise in paper prices. He added that if the trend continues, these businesses will see a sharp decline in their profitability.

Canser said that the industry could neither ask for a price increase from its customers nor reduce costs since they were essential expenses to survive in the lockdown.
All the representatives said that the apex umbrella body under which all regional associations from India get represented nationally – All India Federation of Master Printers is also actively pursuing an awareness campaign on the price spiral.

India Summit: Fasicuchain – Merging Digital and Physical

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India Summit

One of the speakers at the upcoming Indian Smart Packaging Summit, Fasiculus, is an Indian company based in Haryana, which supplies security and authentication solutions based on its print, label and packaging technology. Its presentation, Smart Authentication – Deploying a Perfect Phygital Solution explores the transformation of packaging by making it digital – linking the physical and the digital.

The company says it produces 6 billion security labels every year and has now put together what it claims as the first packaging & labeling industry blockchain for products & brands across the pharmaceutical and FMCG industries.

Among the product range is an innovative ‘connected’ induction wad. The humble wad, as it describes it, is an effective packaging technology, commonly used to protect the product from spillage, preserve its freshness, prevent adulteration provide a pilfer-proof closure.

Passing the container under an induction heat sealer causes the sealant to bond to the cap and causes the wax present on the wad to melt and bond with the backing material resulting in the wad staying put within the cap. By adding a secure, non-cloneable, food-safe QR code printed on the wad Fasiculus say it can ensure the product is uniquely identified across the supply chain.

The same QR code can be designed to create a loyalty program that encourages the customers to engage with the brand. Placing the QR code inside the wad also ensures that the customer signs up for the loyalty program only after the products are bought, ensuring that the brand connects with unique customers and enables the brand to provide an incentive to its influencers, it claims

The company has also introduced non-cloneable codes to its QR capabilities: SEAL VECTOR® ANTICOPY SYSTEM. These are copy and duplicate proof and can ensure that products distributed are authentic, according to the company. These labels offer tamper evidence and authentication features.

The difference between a seal vector (a data matrix code) and a public 2D code is that it uses data leaks to determine if the product is copied. The brand uses a decoder lens and an application that scans the code and checks for authenticity. If the scanner detects any data leaks it fails the code and identifies the code as a duplicate.

Seal Vector does not require any additional consumables or major process changes. It is easily monitored with smartphone and lens, gives out a crisp pass or fail response on the code and is compatible with most marking processes and substrates. Further, these codes can be geo-tagged and tracked across the supply chain, explains Fasiculus.

Learn more about these authentication and tracking products by registering for the Indian Smart Packaging Summit here

Smart Packaging Solutions Virtual Congress -19 March 2021

The Smart Packaging Solutions for India and South Asia Virtual Congress on 19 March focuses on food and pharma supply chains, brand security, and sustainability. Organized jointly by IPPStar and the AIPIA, the virtual congress’s topics include brand authentication, condition monitoring, and active and intelligent packaging that contributes to the safe delivery of authenticated products leading to safety, security, and customer engagement. Please look at the agenda of the conference here, and for registration, please click here. You can also email Ruchi at conference@ippgroup.in or Umesh at subscription@ippgroup.in. Call us in Noida at 120-4546988 or 4326053 – Umesh at Xtension 30; Ruchi at Xtension 33; Gaurav at Xtension 23; and Mohit at Xtension 25.

 

VerifyMe to provide 2 million secure labels to protect PPE equipment

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United Nations Covid-19 response. Illustration via Unsplash|VerifyMe
United Nations Covid-19 response. Illustration via Unsplash

Mobileidworld (www.mobileidworld.com) reports that product tracking and brand protection specialist VerifyMe has received an initial purchase order for 2 million VeriPAS shipping labels to protect PPE equipment. The order is the first to be realized through VerifyMe’s strategic partnership with Renavotio, announced on 8 February 2021.

The first batch of labels will be used to ship 2 million boxes of surgical gloves, with VerifyMe noting that doctors need the gloves to help fight the Covid-19 pandemic. Therefore, it is vital that the gloves reach their intended destination and that the gloves’ integrity is not compromised while they are en route. The Department of Homeland Security has already seized more than 11 million counterfeit 3M N95 masks, making counterfeit Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) one of the more significant pandemic-related problems facing public health officials.

VerifyMe is trying to address the issue with pre-printed anti-counterfeiting labels. The custom labels are embedded with invisible codes that employees can scan with a smartphone to make sure that the box has not been tampered with and that the goods inside it are authentic. A recent web demonstration of the technology showed that it is unique and simple for the reproduction of secure and trackable labels and packaging with digital or traditional printing processes.

“Our recent partnering with VerifyMe has opened up the overseas PPE market to us again,” said Renavotio CEO Billy Robinson. “The VerifyMe technology will help prevent any PPE products we are involved with from having any potential financial and legal issues.”

“The short time from signing our strategic partnership to receiving their first purchase order demonstrates the urgent need in the marketplace to combat rampant counterfeiting in PPE,” added VerifyMe president and CEO Patrick White. “We believe this initial order will lead to additional opportunities with Renavotio in regards to anti-counterfeit, track and trace, and brand protection solutions for PPE.”

The news comes a few months after VerifyMe formed a similar strategic partnership with Techind, which handles products in the highly sensitive pharmaceutical industry. That partnership also seeks to ensure that medical providers are not using counterfeit goods.

VerifyMe supports Smart Packaging Solutions for India and South Asia Virtual Congress on 19 March

VerifyMe has also recently joined the AIPIA-IPPStar jointly organized Smart Packaging Solutions for India and South Asia Virtual Congress on 19 March 2021. The virtual congress on active and intelligent packaging solutions for food, pharma, and the health industry will discuss supply chain digitization, brand protection, and authentication, the role of digital in sustainability and customer engagement. The event is supported by the Authentication Solutions Providers Association. Sponsors include Aptar, Avery Dennison, Fasiculus, Systech, and VerifyMe.

Materials science key to better healthcare says APTAR CSP Technologies

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Aptar CSP activeshield
Aptar CSP activeshield

Innovations in material science are enabling groundbreaking solutions for a wide range of challenges that impact patient care and consumer experiences in healthcare. Some of the latest will be presented by Aptar CSP Technologies at the up-coming Indian Smart Packaging Summit on 19th March 2021.

The company,  leveraging 20 years+ of material science expertise, has developed unique, material science-based solutions that take advantage of its proprietary 3-Phase Activ-Polymer™ technology. This technology is fully custom-engineered and formulated to enable control of the kinetics of moisture adsorption, oxygen and VOC scavenging, antimicrobial emission, and more, it claims.

During the Indian Smart Packaging Summit Aptar CSP will explain how these technologies can help the Indian pharmaceutical sector, amongst others, to protect and preserve many of the drugs which need to be stored and transported over long distances in challenging conditions.

It is a technology that can be applied to solve challenges in a range of pharma-related application fields such as oral solid dose drugs, diagnostics, probiotics, transdermal, inhaled drugs, medical devices, as well as food safety.

Two examples of how this technology works include Activ-Blister™ technology for oral solid dose drugs and ActivShield™* (not available for sale in the USA) technology for N95 mask decontamination.

Activ-Blister™ Solutions: In the development of the oral solid doses – today’s most popular drug delivery form – there are stability issues associated with moisture, oxygen, and reactive impurities, resulting in the loss of potency or degradant growth. According to Aptar CSP, Activ-Blister™ solves these challenges by creating a microclimate for moisture and oxygen-sensitive capsules and tablets in individual blister cavities to extend shelf life and ensure stability.

This technology can be integrated into traditional blister packaging and enables drug developers to protect sensitive drugs that would normally require a cold-form foil solution in the preferred thermoform blister format.

Its 3-Phase Activ-Polymer™ technology has been applied to help resolve the shortage of N95 masks during the global COVID-19 pandemic. ActivShield™ emits a sterilizing agent that quickly, easily and safely decontaminates individual N95 masks, enabling repeated re-use when this needed personal protective equipment is in short supply.

The power of material science is undeniable and can be applied in multiple application fields to help improve patient and consumer experiences. Come and learn more by registering as a delegate for the India Smart Packaging Summit today.

Smart Packaging Solutions Virtual Congress -19 March 2021

The Smart Packaging Solutions for India and South Asia Virtual Congress on 19 March focuses on food and pharma supply chains, brand security, and sustainability. Organized jointly by IPPStar and the AIPIA, the virtual congress’s topics include brand authentication, condition monitoring, and active and intelligent packaging that contributes to the safe delivery of authenticated products leading to safety, security, and customer engagement. Please look at the agenda of the conference here, and for registration, please click here. You can also email Ruchi at conference@ippgroup.in or Umesh at subscription@ippgroup.in. Call us in Noida at 120-4546988 or 4326053 – Umesh at Xtension 30; Ruchi at Xtension 33; Gaurav at Xtension 23; and Mohit at Xtension 25.

Fujifilm India announces Raghu Rai as the brand ambassador for GFX series cameras

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Fujifilm
Haruto Iwata, managing director, Fujifilm India with Raghu Rai

Fujifilm India has announced Raghu Rai as the brand ambassador for Fujifilm’s GFX series of cameras. As part of this association, Raghu Rai will be capturing the art and undiscovered murals of the Ajanta Ellora caves. He will shoot the project exclusively on the Fujifilm GFX 100s camera.

“With this alliance, the brand truly wants to redefine the art of photography, and having a Padma Shree awardee onboard capturing the splendor of Ajanta Ellora caves makes it all a surreal experience,” the company said.

Rai comes with over 55 years of work experience in the field of photography. Some of his award-winning and notable work would capture the Bhopal gas tragedy, clicking legendary personalities such as Dalai Lama, Mother Terresa, and Indira Gandhi. Along with pursuing his passion for photography, the veteran has also written 56 books that take us on a journey filled with knowledge, tricks, and wonders.

“We are thrilled to onboard Mr. Raghu Rai onto our platform of X and GFX photographers as an ambassador. Mr. Raghu Rai is a brand in himself who has time and again showcased his creativity through his projects,” Haruto Iwata, managing director, Fujifilm India, said. “His artwork and books are a testimony to that, and at Fujifilm India, we are ardent fans of the esteemed photographer.”

In addition to the announcement, Arun Babu, the general manager of the electronic imaging and optical devices division, Fujifilm India, said, “We are delighted to welcome the magnum photographer, Mr. Raghu Rai as our ambassador for our X and GFX range of Mirrorless cameras. We are sure this association would not only bring out the architecture and landscape of our beautiful India but will also showcase our excellence in mirrorless cameras and will help the photography community to understand the power of Fujifilm mirrorless cameras and lenses.”

“I am excited to be a part of this venture. I have been an admirer of Fujifilm cameras, and I’m eager to try out their latest GFX range of medium format cameras and lenses. With mirrorless technologies increasingly dominating the world of photography, I believe Fujifilm offers the finest medium format mirrorless cameras that help photographers realize their truest vision,” Rai added.

Nanotech’s security foil launched for banknote and brand security

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Nanotech
Nanotech: LiveOptik protect security foil

Vancouver, British Columbia – March 9, 2021 – Nanotech (“Nanotech” or the “Company”), a leader in the development of secure and visually memorable nano-optic security features used in the government and banknote and brand protection markets, announces the launch of LiveOptik protect security foil – a security foil explicitly designed for the brand protection industry.
LiveOptik protect foil features a seamless, uniquely secure, photorealistic lock design that engages consumers while protecting the brand. The security foil has been designed with input from channel partners and is offered as an in-stock wallpaper design in a bulk roll format.

Channel partners can easily convert the foils into various finished offerings and market them directly to their customer base. Custom designs are also available.

LiveOptik protect contains around 16 million distinct colors, and its images are produced with nano-optics structures without inks or dyes. The foil delivers unique multi-image, on-off visual effects that are easy to validate, making it an excellent product authenticity indicator and an ideal anti-counterfeit solution.

“Our new LiveOptik protect security foil was designed with direct input from some of the brand market’s leading authorities,” said President and CEO Troy Bullock.

“Its vivid image switch effect provides unparalleled security for companies looking to protect their brand, and the bulk roll format enables channel partners to add LiveOptik protect foil to their customer offerings seamlessly. Initial discussions with channel partners are very encouraging, and we anticipate orders this year.”

This security foil is broadly supported across a wide range of material substrates and application processes, including overprinting, high-strength adhesives, and tamper-evident materials.

LiveOptik protect was intentionally designed for easy integration and maximum flexibility. It is also highly durable with chemical resistance, delamination resistance, water resistance, and scuff resistance.

To request samples and for pricing, contact info@nanosecurity.ca or click here.

Smart Packaging Solutions Virtual Congress -19 March 2021

The Smart Packaging Solutions for India and South Asia Virtual Congress on 19 March focuses on food and pharma supply chains, brand security, and sustainability. Organized jointly by IPPStar and the AIPIA, the virtual congress’s topics include brand authentication, condition monitoring, and active and intelligent packaging that contributes to the safe delivery of authenticated products leading to safety, security, and customer engagement. Please look at the agenda of the conference here, and for registration, please click here. You can also email Ruchi at conference@ippgroup.in or Umesh at subscription@ippgroup.in. Call us in Noida at 120-4546988 or 4326053 – Umesh at Xtension 30; Ruchi at Xtension 33; Gaurav at Xtension 23; and Mohit at Xtension 25.

Color-Logic certifies two new HP Latex printers

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color-logic
HP Latex Printer

In mid-March 2021, Color-Logic announced its certification of two new Latex printers being offered by HP. Commenting on the certification, Mark Geeves, the company’s director of Sales and Marketing, said, “The HP Latex 700 W and 800 W–two machines with the white ink necessary for producing Color-Logic metallics–provide a ready solution for customers interested in using metallic substrates on the latest, a printer with water-based ink available.”

Geeves continues, “The HP Latex 700 W and 800 W printers produced outstanding Color-Logic certification test sheets, and are appropriate for label and package proofing, as well as short-run production of these items, signage, and point-of-sale materials. The white ink available on these new machines when using metallic substrate enables users to create incredible embellishments particularly appropriate for higher margin and higher-value applications. Unlike most prints, that produced with the combination of Color-Logic and HP White Latex inks is truly unforgettable.”

Color-Logic is the one that develops color communication systems and software toolsets for several special effect printing applications. It provides its printing solutions to the brand owners, product managers, corporations, and their advertising agencies to differentiate themselves and their clients with a simple print production process that yields dramatic results.

Color-Logic decorative effects utilize workflows of printers and designers, yielding dynamic results without using special equipment. It supports the value of print and works with designers and printers to enhance their printed media.

Smart Packaging Solutions Virtual Congress -19 March 2021

The Smart Packaging Solutions for India and South Asia Virtual Congress on 19 March focuses on food and pharma supply chains, brand security, and sustainability. Organized jointly by IPPStar and the AIPIA, the virtual congress’s topics include brand authentication, condition monitoring, and active and intelligent packaging that contributes to the safe delivery of authenticated products leading to safety, security, and customer engagement. Please look at the agenda of the conference here, and for registration, please click here. You can also email Ruchi at conference@ippgroup.in or Umesh at subscription@ippgroup.in. Call us in Noida at 120-4546988 or 4326053 – Umesh at Xtension 30; Ruchi at Xtension 33; Gaurav at Xtension 23; and Mohit at Xtension 25.

 

 

 

Active and intelligent injections for print and packaging

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Active and intelligent injections for print and packaging
Smart Packaging Solutions Summit – 19 March – 12 noon to 6 pm

The real stagnation in Indian print and packaging precedes the pandemic that started a year ago. While labels and packaging have done well in the past year, and one hesitates to call it stagnation since huge capacity investments are in the pipeline, commercial printing has done less well. The actual conditions can be monitored not just based on hearsay and denial but in real-time because the consoles of the modern printing presses in the market are connected to the cloud – the IoT.

Some smaller printers do not want their presses connected for remote monitoring by the manufacturers or have bandwidth problems in their locations. The larger printers and converters are confident of the security of such connections and even keen to benefit from the ‘condition monitoring’ of their presses which can help with preventive maintenance and even remote diagnosis of breakdowns with the right parts and engineers dispatched quickly. The repair and recovery can also be monitored and compared to historical performance.

In the pandemic year from February 2020 to February 2021, we monitored the industry’s condition with a critical survey in May 2020 of all the segments in the supply chain and by checking both facts and anecdotes. When the lockdown of 25 March lifted gradually in June, and July 2020, packaging was more resilient (mainly food and pharma) than commercial printing, including newspapers, textbooks, and digital photobooks. This was confirmed by more than one press manufacturer who could remotely monitor their presses’ output impressions in the field.

Productivity is shockingly low

Recently, we were shocked to learn that the productivity of Indian printers is very low. Even among the best offset book and monocarton printers with brand new machines, the presses are running below 30% of their capacity. India’s best printers’ can improve their efficiency tremendously. Their return on capital can be leveraged to improve profitability and invest in what they need and not in what they think is the easiest thing to buy.

On another note, most Indian printers are notoriously deficient in creating demand – they don’t even see the importance of pushing the government to increase overall educational expenditure, especially the volumes of printing high–quality textbooks. In textbooks per child, India lags behind Bangladesh. 

Commercial printers do not seem to get it – that print is a part of a multi-channel, omnichannel (hybrid) information and knowledge environment. Digital cannot work without print. Without reading and writing, a child cannot be educated. Additionally, there can be no youth demographic dividend without investment in education. 

Brand owners and packaging professionals increasingly understand the need to be omnichannel and omni-format – with critical components being brand authentication, security, and customer engagement with the digital ecosphere from cellphones to the cloud. But commercial printers don’t seem to understand. There is a vast opportunity in transactional documents, secure documents, and even in health and safety documents that need to be digital and securely printed on paper.

Now that the Indian pharma industry has demonstrated its capacity as one of the most efficient vaccine producers globally, why can’t the print industry become the largest producer of secure documents in the world? There are politics and bottlenecks in both spheres, but how does the pharma industry take on the world? In contrast, the print industry languishes, and even its secure transactional document exports stagnate over the past five years!

The Smart Packaging Solutions for India and South Asia is a small injection – not a vaccination or immunity against obsolescence. It is a reminder that actionable and strategic knowledge drives business into the future and not merely self-congratulatory free webinars. To survive, you have to change and act, and you have to go after and pay for the strategic knowledge and networking that enables you to do this. Find out and register while you have the opportunity. Professionals from around the world are doing it!

Smart Packaging Solutions Virtual Congress -19 March 2021

The Smart Packaging Solutions for India and South Asia Virtual Congress on 19 March focuses on food and pharma supply chains, brand security, and sustainability. Organized jointly by IPPStar and the AIPIA, the virtual congress’s topics include brand authentication, condition monitoring, and active and intelligent packaging that contributes to the safe delivery of authenticated products leading to safety, security, and customer engagement. Please look at the agenda of the conference here, and for registration, please click here. You can also email Ruchi at conference@ippgroup.in or Umesh at subscription@ippgroup.in. Call us in Noida at 120-4546988 or 4326053 – Umesh at Xtension 30; Ruchi at Xtension 33; Gaurav at Xtension 23; and Mohit at Xtension 25.

Kisan Printers and Traders acquired Konica Minolta C6085

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Kisan printers and traders
Divakar Singh (extreme left) with the Konica Minolta AccurioPress C6085

Saharanpur, Uttar Pradesh-based Kisan Printers and Traders, has significantly increased its digital print volumes in little over one year since they installed a brand-new high-speed Konica Minolta AccurioPress C6085. Kisan Printers and Traders caters to customers from the city of Saharanpur and nearby areas. It prints labels for customers in the pharmaceutical industry and items such as brochures, leaflets, business cards, among others.

“Before we bought the C6085, customers in Saharanpur and nearby areas had to go to Delhi or Noida or Ghaziabad to get their short-run jobs printed. We saw an opportunity here and decided to get a high-speed digital production printer. Now, customers do not have to travel outside Saharanpur to get their jobs printed,” says Divakar Singh, one of Kisan Printers and Traders owners.
Before acquiring the C6085, they were supposed to work on a slower-speed digital printer from Konica Minolta, the AccurioPress C2070. This older press is no longer in service now.

“We have been using Konica Minolta ever since we started our digital printing business about four years ago. We started with the C2070, used it for about two and half years, and then graduated to C6085. We are delighted with Konica Minolta’s after-sales service,” Singh adds.

In the previous avatar, Kisan Printers and Traders was known as Kisan Printing Press, and it was founded in 1967 and offered only offset printing services. Kisan Printers and Traders still provides offset printing services and operates two 4-color Komori presses. It also has an in-house pre-press department.

Offset volume flat, digital rising

According to Singh, in recent years, Kisan Printers and Traders have seen minimal growth in offset volumes and sharp growth in digital volumes. However, its offset segment still generates higher absolute volumes; it is the digital department where the real growth is happening.

“Our digital print volumes have grown by 20% every year since the last couple of years. On the other hand, our offset volumes have been stagnant. This trend is likely to continue, and that is why we are planning to add an even faster digital press, most likely next year. We are looking at AccurioPress C14000 or C12000,” Singh says.

Business back to pre-COVID levels

Kisan Printers and Traders was impacted by the lockdown for about two months when its operations were almost zero. However, things are now back to normal.

“Yes, we were impacted by the lockdown for about the initial two months or so. Since then, we have seen a gradual recovery in print volumes as things have opened up. As of March, we are back to last year’s levels. We are making about 60,000 impressions every month. We expect the recovery to continue and hope the 2021-2022 financial year will be very good,” Singh concludes.

Silicon Craft at India Smart Packaging Solutions Summit

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Silicon Craft based in Thailand
Silicon Craft based in Thailand will be presenting at the Smart Packaging Solutions for India Summit on 19 March

Silicon Craft Technology, based in Thailand, is well placed to understand the ‘Asian Experience’ of Smart Packaging technologies. In his presentation, Chayasorn Suansomjit will explain how his company is helping to exploit the huge increase in online, as well as in-store consumer experiences.

In addition to authenticating the products, big Brands are excited by the possibilities offered for direct consumer engagement. QR codes and RFID/NFC tags can deliver messages, product information & tips, offers, loyalty programs, etc. – helping to build Brand awareness and differentiate products from the competition. In addition, there is the opportunity to gather valuable marketing and consumer data from this interaction.

As online shopping becomes more popular everywhere, the engagement and loyalty of online consumers become a key factor in modern marketing strategy. NFC-enabled packaging along with ubiquitous Android and iOS devices shine as a convenient way to initiate two-way communication with online consumers as well as provide peace of mind proving product authenticity under a unified solution.

Recent research by Mintel indicated that the use of on-pack QR codes increased by 83% in just four years and over 9% of all CPG launches in the APAC region had a code, the study showed. A spokesman said Smart Packaging is increasingly used ‘to bridge the information gap between the physical and digital worlds.’ Generally, Smart Packaging is seen as a ‘must have’ by the Smartphone Generations.

Likewise, the proliferation of packs with RFID /NFC codes is gathering pace all across Asia, according to Silicon Craft. India and South Asia are markets with huge potential to use both QR codes and RFID/NFC tags. One of the advantages of tags, explains Suansomjit, is their ability to offer more features, such as product verification as well as identification.

“With costs of production down and levels of service and sophistication up, it is a good time to show how these technologies can add value in the India and South Asian markets,” added Suansomjit.

Smart Packaging Solutions Virtual Congress -19 March 2021

The Smart Packaging Solutions for India and South Asia Virtual Congress on 19 March focuses on food and pharma supply chains, brand security, and sustainability. Organized jointly by IPPStar and the AIPIA, the virtual congress’s topics include brand authentication, condition monitoring, and active and intelligent packaging that contributes to the safe delivery of authenticated products leading to safety, security, and customer engagement. Please look at the agenda of the conference here, and for registration, please click here. You can also email Ruchi at conference@ippgroup.in or Umesh at subscription@ippgroup.in. Call us in Noida at 120-4546988 or 4326053 – Umesh at Xtension 30; Ruchi at Xtension 33; Gaurav at Xtension 23; and Mohit at Xtension 25.

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