Friday, January 23, 2015

New PODi Case Study Video Series Highlights Benefits of Integrated EFI Fiery Workflow to Standard Register

A new series of case study videos created by digital printing industry association PODi and featuring EFI customer Standard Register highlights the time- and money-saving advantages possible with end-to-end, integrated workflows.

The videos, which can be viewed online at http://tinyurl.com/jwypf55, are hosted by PODi Workflow Practice Director Greg Cholmondeley and feature Standard Register’s Mark Tilling and Adam Johnson. In the new video series’ segments, Tilling and Johnson highlight the ways they use EFI PrintFlow® and Fiery® Central systems to automate and manage workflows at a Standard Register plant in Jeffersonville, Ind. With its advanced, integrated systems, the Jeffersonville plant successfully produces more than 1,000 orders each day.

“Standard Register has implemented an extremely impressive workflow that many print professionals will want to emulate as a model of smart planning and careful integration,” said Gabriel Matsliach, senior vice president and general manager, EFI Productivity Software. “The excellent series of videos PODi produced on this company’s operations is well worth watching for any print business interested in driving more profit and productivity.”

PODi’s new case study videos examine the process Standard Register took to establish its successful workflow, discussing software selection and installation, operator and manager impacts, and system programming. The series also details many of the final, positive results Standard Register saw in its printing operations and its bottom line following the workflow implementation.

Standard Register’s Mark Tilling also addressed the benefits of workflow integration and automation during a January 20 keynote session at EFI Connect, EFI’s annual users’ conference in Las Vegas. 

Excerpts from that presentation and other Connect sessions are available here

Omron Automation accentuates its focus on robotics in the packaging industry

Moving forward with its vision of “Bringing innovation to manufacturing by automation to enrich lives of people around the world”, Omron Automation -part of Omron Japan; a global leader in industrial automation – organised a seminar on “Robotics:  a Global trend in Packaging Industry” at its Automation Technology Centre (ATC) in Mumbai today.

The company exhibited its proficiency and know-how in this domain in the seminar which focused on the future global trends of robotics in the packaging industry. The objective of the seminar was to help the customers to increase the efficiency with quality, which is the need of the hour.

Addressing the participants, Mr. Sameer Gandhi, MD, Omron Automation India said, “Being a key player in providing automation solutions to the packaging sector across varied manufacturing fields, Omron believes that there is certainly a huge scope for robotics in this segment. Our robotics along with vision solutions can play a very vital role in improving flexibility, reliability and speed which are the key factors for a robust packaging solution.”

Attended by more than 30 OEMs and channel partners, the seminar was an interactive session with Mr. Sameer Gandhi and Mr. Eduardo De Robbio- Robotics Product Manager, Omron Europe BV. Omron's expertise and proficiency in the robotics- packaging automation industry was displayed through its  upgraded Sysmac Automation Platform which has been making rapid strides in varied industries like automotive, material handling, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, food & beverage and textile.

Sharing his experience in the robotics industry, Mr. Robbio mentioned that to increase the machine output and reduce the cost of ownership it is extremely important to have robots together with a robust solution. This is why Omron offers its robotics solutions on the proven Sysmac automation platform. By seamlessly integrating this, Omron solutions bring all automation components like vision, safety, servos, drives and controllers together to deliver fast, accurate and reliable control to the fastest packaging machines.

Another key speaker at the seminar - Mr. Vivekanand Patil (Senior Manager-Automation Technical Department Omron Singapore) - reiterated Omron’s key message “We Automate" for mastering the global trends of the packaging industry.

Omron Automation provides customised solutions for automating all stages of packaging delivering speed, flexibility and robustness. The company’s strategy is to be the first choice as the Automation Partner for the packaging industry.

Customer Collaboration Central to X-Rite Showcase

The importance of creating long term, holistic and customer centric relationships will be the focus of X-Rite Europe’s presence at Packaging Innovations, NEC Birmingham, February 26 and 27 on Stand H23.
The global leader in color science and technology will showcase its range of market leading hardware and software solutions developed to maximize end-to-end color control. It will also demonstrate its commitment to customer education to support continued growth and success.

“We want to demonstrate to customers how our solutions can ensure they have a complete end to end approach that delivers maximum consistency, productivity and end user satisfaction,” comments Tim Smith, Sales Manager UK, Inks and Packaging at X-Rite Europe.

“We will talk through our range of solutions to identify what is required today as well as how we can support them long after their investment. That way they can be confident they are always delivering the best service and we can continue to show how our constantly updated portfolio will enable them to offer market leading results well into the future.”

Among the solutions taking the spotlight are eXact and eXact Scan, the next generation in handheld color measurement that enables printers and packaging converters to truly understand, control, manage and communicate color avoiding unwanted reprint and rework.

ColorCert software will also be presented. The dashboard allows procurement and brand owners access to supplier scorecards for monitoring the production process across the supply chain. Also being highlighted is PantoneLIVE and the newly updated Pantone Certified Printer Program for commercial printers and packaging converters that addresses new industry standards.

“Every company is different and has their own unique requirements,” adds Mr. Smith. “These can range from market strengths and sector specialisms to size and customer demands. They can also change as trends emerge. That is why at Packaging Innovations we will be looking to get to know and understand each one of our visitors so we can make a bespoke recommendation.”

Mercian Labels installs World’s First Xeikon Cheetah

Xeikon, an innovator in digital color printing technology, is pleased to announce the first installation of its breakthrough Xeikon Cheetah digital label press, just months after the dedicated label printing solution was announced. UK-based Mercian Labels is the world’s first pilot site of the Xeikon Cheetah and has chosen this innovative, high-speed press to help it continue its double-digit growth path. Xeikon Cheetah, the most productive five-color digital label press in its class, will be installed early February at Mercian Labels’ new factory in Staffordshire, and run alongside their existing Xeikon 3000 Series digital press; as well as hotfoiling, flexo and inkjet technologies for an exceptionally robust label manufacturing platform.

Dr. Adrian Steele, Managing Director of Mercian Labels, comments: “We have chosen to adopt the latest generation of Xeikon digital label printing technology on the back of above-average growth in the digital part of our business, where we have run out of production capacity. Adding the Xeikon Cheetah will better position us for expected growth and we are confident the capacity to be quickly filled.”

Prior to the investment, Mercian Labels thoroughly evaluated other potential options available on the market. “We looked at competitive technologies from liquid toner to UV inkjet as well as the latest offers from Xeikon dry toner,” says Steele. “Every investment has to have a ROI. We like to sweat our assets, regardless of whether they are software or hardware. We are in the business of making money – not just labels. Everything has to earn its keep, and we are convinced that the Xeikon Cheetah will definitely do just that.”

Time and cost measurements
“The advantages of the new press will be measurable in terms of speed and reduced running costs,” continues Steele. “As a result, we expect to take more market share from what is traditionally flexo territory as digital becomes more competitive on longer runs. What is compelling is that it will open up a larger share of the market for us. We will look closely at how digital can grasp even more jobs that used to be printed in flexo, thanks to the faster running speed and lower consumables cost. With increased capacity, the cost point also goes down. And with a genuinely different cost base to our competitors, we can improve competitiveness.”

Mercian Labels is proud of its independence when it comes to software and the benchmark the company has set in the UK for three-day lead times. “Our mantra is speed and service,” says Steele. “This means we must be very informed about and accurate with our pricing, so we can offer the benefits of the best of both digital and UV flexo technologies to our customers. As a full service label printer we see both areas growing at a similar pace for different reasons; thus our strategy is to offer the best technology for every specific demand. Customers increasingly want to deal with one supplier for their custom packaging requirements, and not be forced to use multiple suppliers who only serve a narrow profile of work because they refuse to adopt the best of both digital and analogue worlds, and in different product areas such as cartons as well as labels. That is why we have already taken a small but significant step into digitally printed cartons, adding to our label business. This move has really connected with our customer base.”

Confidence drives early adoption
Also important to the investment was the strong relationship Mercian Labels has with Xeikon: "This is not the first time we have entered into an R&D agreement to be an early adopter,” Steele explains. “Our long-standing and successful relationship with Xeikon is key to us as a user. We understand the technology and strategy, and how it will benefit us in the future. We wouldn’t have embarked on being the first global Xeikon Cheetah user unless I had a high degree of confidence in the platform and the relationship to get any issues sorted out quickly. You have to have faith and confidence in the strategy of the company. We think we will get to full production capacity very early based on customer demand, our talented staff and our very productive relationship with the digital printing experts at Xeikon.”

Supporting future growth
The investment fully supports Mercian Labels’ expansion following growing demand for its digital and security labelling products. Previously based in a 6.000sq ft. site in Cannock, the company’s new 24.000sq ft. factory in Staffordshire represents a significant increase in capacity. Now spread over two sites, with 50 staff and 31.000sq ft. of label and carton manufacturing capacity, the £3.4m turnover firm has a customer base of approximately 9.000 and is acquiring around 40 new customers a month. “We have experienced seven consecutive years of double-digit growth and see our future growth coming from various combinations of product innovation, market share and acquisitions. We formally completed our merger of AC Labels in Derby into the core Mercian Labels business at the end of last year and remain acquisitive,” states Steele. “The Xeikon Cheetah will solve a number of headaches for us and it can count on a very warm welcome to the Mercian family by both our production and sales teams.”

Filip Weymans, Xeikon’s Director Segment Marketing Labels & Packaging, concludes: “The Xeikon Cheetah represents the most important advancement in the digital label market in 15 years, and we are delighted that innovative operations like Mercian Labels are adopting its cutting-edge technology. Its unrivalled speed can deliver a previously unattainable mix of speed, quality and efficiency that will enable our customers to stand out from their competition.”

To showcase the new Xeikon Cheetah, Mercian Labels and Xeikon will be holding an exclusive preview event at the Mercian Labels premises in Burntwood, Staffordshire. This two-day event will take place in the afternoon of February 24th, one day before the Packaging Innovation show at Birmingham NEC; and in the afternoon of February 25th, the first day of the Easyfairs show.

Mercian Labels is an award winning manufacturer of custom printed self-adhesive labels, cartons and security seals. Originally started in 1969 from a small shop in Penkridge, Staffordshire, England, the business, now in its 46th year, has grown organically and by acquisition to become a brand and market leader in its niche markets. It operates from two manufacturing sites in the UK with 50 employees and benefits from over 9.000 business customers, exporting to over 20 countries across 6 continents. Its technical specialties are in digital label & carton printing and high volume variable data & barcode labels.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Color-Logic certifies Epson SurePress L-4033AW with iSi MaxPrint RIP

Color-Logic has certified that the Epson SurePress L-4033AW digital press, when supplied with the iSi MaxPrint RIP, fully supports the Color-Logic file formats required to produce the widely used Process Metallic Color System.  Confirming the certification, Color-Logic Director of Sales and Marketing Mark Geeves said: "The Epson SurePress L-4033AW digital press with the iSi MaxPrint RIP-available in Asia -enables printers to produce the Color-Logic process.  Asian printers using the press can offer their customers complete access to the striking metallics and special effects available with Color-Logic."

Developed for brand managers, product managers, corporations and advertising agencies, the Process Metallic Color System gives licensees the ability to differentiate themselves and their clients from the competition by simplifying the design and print production process and implementing eye-catching decorative effects into their branded products and associated collateral.  The Color-Logic system is compatible with offset, inkjet, flexography, digital presses, screen printing, and gravure processes.  It is ideal for packaging, pouches, direct mail, point-of-purchase material, signage, postcards, literature, booklets, labels, shrink sleeves, calendars and much more.

Color-Logic develops color communication systems and software tool sets for a variety of special effect printing applications.  Color-Logic provides brand owners, product managers, corporations, and their advertising agencies the ability to differentiate themselves and their clients with a simple print production process that yields dramatic results.  Color-Logic decorative effects utilize the existing workflows of printers and designers, yielding dynamic results without the use of special equipment.  Color-Logic supports the value of print and works with designers and printers to enhance their printed media.

EFI’s global print industry customers gather at a sold-out ‘Connect’ for business strategy sessions, training and collaboration

A capacity crowd of EFI customers, partners, employees and industry media are attending this year’s EFI Connect users’ conference. The January 20-23 event at the Wynn Las Vegas offers one of the best lineups of print industry leadership sessions, technical education, and business management workshops ever offered at a graphic arts technology users’ group gathering. This year’s conference also serves as the launch for a new evolution in EFI’s workflow software strategy.

EFI recorded a double-digit increase in the percentage of customers registering for this year’s conference, which is expected to draw more than 1,500 attendees. Printing companies from 25 different countries are attending to gain key insights on how their EFI print technology investments fuel greater productivity, greater efficiencies and better business results.

This year’s conference features more than 200 educational sessions on business management, sales, marketing and production technology, as well as special keynote presentations from Thomas Quinlan, CEO of RR Donnelley & Sons; Avi Reichental, CEO of 3D Systems; and Andrew Paparozzi, chief economist of print industry association AMSP/NAPL/NAQP.

EFI Connect: Networking value unlike any other industry conference
One regular Connect attendee, Brian Thompson, co-owner of Seattle Printworks, attends the conference to gain the insights on business management strategies.

“Just like most printing companies, our run-length volumes are going down, even though the number of jobs we produce is going up,” Thompson says. “While that trend seems like a threat, the invaluable networking opportunities Connect offers – where we can have detailed discussions with similar businesses who are not direct competitors – help us fine-tune our workflow and operations so we are earning more money on every sheet we print.

“Seattle Printworks reallocated the budget we used to devote to outside consultants to attend Connect,” Thompson adds, “because Connect offers us technical training and the best type of consulting – honest advice from our peers – all in one event.”

New, advanced technology opportunities
EFI Connect features a preview of the EFI Productivity Suite – the next step in the company’s productivity software portfolio evolution. The suite expands on EFI’s existing offerings with an even stronger focus on how customers can generate revenue and enhance efficiency and profitability using the industry’s most comprehensive portfolio of print and packaging software.

Available this quarter, the suite addresses customers’ most pressing automation and efficiency needs by moving the workflow emphasis away from individual EFI software packages and modules to a complete offering that uses best-of-suite, end-to-end workflows, certified integrations and synchronized development. As a result, printing and packaging companies can further simplify the management and operations tasks they need to grow into new markets and strategically run their businesses.

Other new offerings at Connect include:
  • Unified workflow management capabilities for combined offset and digital production operations using a new Heidelberg Prinect/EFI Fiery digital front end integration. Now, printing companies can use their familiar Prinect interface to quickly route work to offset or Fiery Driven digital presses while streamlining overall business processes using integrated links to EFI web-to-print and print MIS products.
  • A module featuring EFI DirectSmile technology to enable automated, template-based and data-driven variable image and document rendering within the award-winning EFI Digital StoreFront web-to-print and eCommerce interface.
  • An enhanced automation workflow, powered by AccuZIP, that uses Digital StoreFront’s web-to-print capabilities and its new variable-data printing module to automate direct mail production tasks from order entry through mail processing and check out.
  • EFI Connect’s solutions center includes a complete portfolio EFI workflow and digital print production software. Attendees will also see an exhibit of versatile, energy-efficient LED inkjet technology with 3.2-meter roll-to-roll and 2-meter, 7-picoLiter UltraDrop hybrid roll/flatbed EFI VUTEk printers, along with an entry-level, 1.6-meter EFI Wide Format production printer. At the conference, 3M Commercial Graphics will exhibit a vehicle wrapped in graphics produced using a co-developed EFI and 3M ink that offers increased flexibility and elongation characteristics traditionally not seen with UV inkjet inks.

EFI Connect also features numerous exhibits from partner companies, including the conference’s platinum sponsor, Xerox; gold sponsors Canon and Kodak; and bronze sponsors 3M Commercial Graphics; AccuZIP; BCC Software; Esko; ESP/SurgeX; Honle UV America; Heytex Corp.; Konica Minolta; MBM Corp.; the Print and Graphics Scholarship Foundation; Ricoh Production Print; and Zünd.

A leading strategy event for print and packaging success in 2015
“The thing that works best about EFI Connect is the fact that our customers are very engaged, and they foster collaboration with EFI employees and partners better than any other industry event I have attended,” said EFI’s CEO, Guy Gecht. “With over 200 classes and the line-up of keynote sessions, technology exhibits, and networking opportunities taking place, this event brings our customers and staff together for an important, face-to-face opportunity to learn, strategize and re-fuel to go after even greater business success in 2015.”


EFI Connect is the printing industry's best venue for open dialogue and idea exchange, giving global business leaders a valuable opportunity to participate in educational sessions, receive hands-on experience, discuss industry trends, network with peers, voice their opinions, and learn from others. For more information about EFI products, visit www.efi.com, or call 800-875-7117.

ASPA to represent Asia on IHMA’s Board, continues expansion momentum

The prestigious International Hologram Manufacturers Association’s (IHMA) board has appointed two members of the Authentication Solution Providers’ Association (ASPA), to represent Asia on the IHMA Board. Formerly known as HoMAI, ASPA was re-launched last year as the world’s only self-regulated and non-profit organization representing the interests of the entire authentication solutions industry. Mr. Thomas Rajan of Process Color and Mr. RD Surana of Everest Holovisions, both ASPA members located in India, have been elected as Asia Director and Deputy Director of IHMA Board respectively. The IHMA Annual General Meeting and elections for the Board were held on the sidelines of the recently concluded The Holography Conference in Istanbul, Turkey. Meanwhile, ASPA continues to expand its membership base to represent the broader interests of the entire authentication solutions industry. After having announced the addition of four new members last quarter, ASPA has now added four more new members at the beginning of the new year.

Welcoming them, Mr Manoj Kochar, President, Authentication Solution Providers’ Association, said, “I am glad that we are gaining strength quarter after quarter through new and vibrant member companies that are equally passionate to align with the mission and objectives of the Association. Ever since our re-launch last year, we have been receiving expressions of interest from several companies and are constantly adding new members soon after due diligence. Be it documents, currency or products, all our members are constantly innovating to rise up to the challenge of staying a step ahead of the counterfeiters. Besides renewing our commitment with the IHMA for holograms, we are also keenly exploring collaborations with globally reputed industry bodies that represent other authentication solutions to help evolve and deploy advanced tools and methods of brand protection.” ASPA has been actively voicing its opinions on the various forms of counterfeiting and propagating the importance of ISO 12931 standards in the context of authentication methodologies.

Pharmasecure PAS Pvt Ltd and Bilcare Technologies have joined ASPA as full members and categorically focus on securing genuine products in the pharmaceutical and healthcare sectors.

Shree Lamipack Pvt Ltd too has been inducted into ASPA as a full member. It provides a range of authentication solutions like security labels, self-adhesive tapes and bar code solutions to a variety of industries like Automobiles, Paper Industries, Home Appliances, Retail, Logistics and Pharmaceuticals. The fourth addition is an associate member, United Speciality Inks Pvt. Ltd., which focuses on authentication solutions to combat counterfeiting and forgery of documents; and ensures their brand protection and security enhancement.

Ever since re-launching itself, ASPA’s membership strength has increased up by more than 25%, demonstrating widespread acceptance from the industry about the need to have a collective voice and an organized and value-based platform to represent the interests of the authentication technology providers and help grow the ecosystem.