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The mission of Advanced Functional Fabrics of America (AFFOA) is to enable a manufacturing-based revolution—what we could call Industry 5.0—with the transformation of traditional fibers, yarns, and textiles into highly sophisticated integrated and networked devices and systems. In a recent conversation with Senior Editor Cary Sherburne, the organization’s Chief Marketing Officer, Eric Spackey, explains.
Around the Web: Shopping for Preferences – Ancient Gripes – The Kids Are Offline – Chinese Typewriters – Earnings Reports: A Modest Proposal – The E-Horse – This Week in Printing History
The world’s oldest customer complaint was etched in clay. A modern twist on the old “spend a penny.” Today’s teens are not as wired as we thought. Twice-yearly earnings reports? The case for daily earnings reports. Researchers use 3D-printed boxes to help search for new antibiotics. All that and more in WhatTheyThink's weekly miscellany.
In 2010, there were 6,725 10–19-employee commercial printing establishments. Among this demographic category, there was the most precipitous drop from 2010 to 2011—the fallout from the Great Recession which started to take its toll after 2009. By 2012, the bleeding had been largely stanched, and the year-to-year declines were more modest. So says our recently launched Commercial Printing Establishments tracker.
Delphax Technologies Inc. entered bankruptcy in 2017. The company's backer, Air T, created a new company called Delphax Solutions Inc. (DSI) to design, manufacture, and sell printing equipment starting with the existing elan product line. The company shared news of the new organization and strategic direction.
Unveiled in 2017, Memjet’s DuraLink technology appears to be catching on with OEMs. Keypoint Intelligence – InfoTrends believes this is due to its improvements in head life and other features, which will enable Memjet products to address high-volume applications. As DuraLink evolves, it looks poised to succeed in industrial print applications such as high-speed label and packaging printing.
Working smarter is an evolution. Digital tools are providing us ways to work more efficiently, but it comes down to being able to work with other humans. Efficient communication is the key to working smarter and optimizing the digital tools at our disposal.
Digital marketing claims to have the corner on truly personalized experiences, but does it really? How can print compete? Accuracy.
Labelexpo is coming to the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center, 15 minutes from Chicago’s O’Hare airport, on September 25–27. This is the biggest Label and Print packaging event in the Americas. However, what will be seen there will also prove to be a harbinger for many of the new developments coming to other print production applications.
As brick-and-mortar retail works to streamline costs by updating facilities with LED lighting, are they overlooking an important effect—how LED lighting will affect the way customers see the color of their products? Senior Editor Cary Sherburne looks into the pros and cons of LED lighting and how the retail industry is approaching this conversion.
Looking at the 12-month moving average of Canada’s printing shipments, it may look like Canada’s printing industry has been holding steady, but the inflation-adjusted figures show a slight decline from a recent peak at the end of 2013.
Around the Web: 3M Wraps Itself. Cool Caps. Trillions of Dollars. Fur-Ternity Leave. Tor Nada. This Week in Printing History.
3M wraps its own headquarters. UNITED CAPS develops bio-sourced plastics for its caps. How much paper would it take to print the Internet? Are library ebooks killing sales? All that and more in WhatTheyThink's weekly miscellany.
Keypoint Intelligence – InfoTrends records publicly announced placements of continuous-feed inkjet printers, along with the types of PSPs that acquire these devices and the major applications they print. This article provides an overview of these placements in the past nine years by major application and vendor.
No vacation from mail-related activity this summer: Presidential USPS task force completes its report…package volume remains a Postal Service bright spot…Package Coalition formed by diverse industry group…USPS seeks ways to make mail more attractive to Millennials.
When sales become more complicated, involving more people on both sides of the equation, you need a team player to facilitate collaboration. A winning sales team is a combination of subject matter expertise and relationship building.
As we all know by now, there are very few surfaces, substances, and objects that can't be printed, and thus there is no end to the print products that a shop can offer. From posters and banners, to signage, to garments and other textile products, to garage doors, to...name it. But when approaching the vast new market for specialty graphics printing, two questions usually come to mind: Where do I start, and How do I sell it? Here is some advice.
When it comes to the environmental benefits of flexible packaging, the laundry list is long. On the surface, flexible packaging offers a vast number of benefits over other forms of packaging. The challenge to these comparisons, however, is that flexible packaging isn’t doing a one-to-one replacement. How does this impact the accuracy of the discussion?
This is the third in a series of articles by Senior Editor Cary Sherburne on technical textiles—how they fit in the industry, why they are important, and interesting new developments. In this installment in the series, Sherburne visits with Fabdesigns, an innovator in knitted technical textiles. The company helped Nike bring the FlyKnit shoe to market and much more.
Around the Web: Small Business Optimism – Action Towels – What’s an Ad Worth? – Dumbing Phones – Cheese of the Pharaohs – This Week in Printing History
The latest NFIB Small Business Optimism Index. Towels made of recycled bottles. Stopping “stalking ads.” Making phones just a little less smart. The world’s oldest cheese. Modern American prints from 1920-1948. All that and more in WhatTheyThink's weekly miscellany.
In 2010, there were 2,124 establishments having 50 or more employees. By 2016, they had dropped to 1,851 (down -13%). So says our new Commercial Printing Establishments tracker, based on data from the Census Bureau’s County Business Patterns, which presents—in spreadsheet form—U.S. commercial printing establishments from 2010 to 2016, broken down by six different print business classifications and nine employee-size breakdowns.
Every year, Keypoint Intelligence – InfoTrends publishes its digital printing forecast to identify placements of digital devices, installed base, print volumes, and revenues achieved. This article provides an overview of some recent top-level forecast data and also explores how new developments in a long-established market can create new opportunities while also driving print volumes.
If the bindery is the final frontier of total workflow automation, and the technology has been in existence for over a decade, why are so many companies still passing on the opportunity to gain efficiency and save money? Trish will explore the challenges and benefits of taking the leap into bindery automation.
A disruptive market creates the conditions for acquisitions. This has been happening with printers for years and print software vendors are experiencing the same conditions. As a customer of these products, you must understand the conditions of the acquisition in order to prepare for how it will impact you as a customer of the software.
Just when printers and MSPs are becoming more comfortable with more detailed demographic targeting, the use of psychographic targeting is growing. Are you ready?
New research from Smithers Pira highlights the future growth potential and technical challenges for printing food packaging, and how these will be realized against a backdrop of tighter focus on safety and environmental performance.
In August, Sir Speedy, franchise operation in the Franchise Services family, celebrates its 50th year in business. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne spoke with Don and Richard Lowe to get an update on the business, and to take a little trip down memory lane.
Labels and Packaging: Predicting and Achieving Consistent Color Across Disparate Press Platforms and Media ()
Color management standards and process controls have helped raise the bar on defining and meeting client expectations in color reproduction. However, as we see more cross-platform and cross-media packaging and marketing campaigns, how can we accurately predict, prepare, and communicate expected results?
This is the second of a series of articles by Senior Editor Cary Sherburne on technical textiles—how they fit in the industry, why they are important, and interesting new developments. In this installment in the series, Sherburne shares the Glen Raven story, a 138-year-old company that has almost completely reinvented itself.
The inflation-adjusted value of printing shipments for June 2018 were down from $6.9 billion in May to $6.5 billion in June. On the plus side, it’s not appreciably below the $6.6 billion reported in June 2017.
Around the Web: A Book of Wood – A Felt Supermarket – Amish Uber – Robot Coworkers – Cookie War – This Week in Printing History
A book consisting entirely of pieces of wood. How to foil a car thief: drive a stick. The gig economy is surging...but only in Amish country. Survey says: workers are cool with robot coworkers. All that and more in WhatTheyThink's weekly miscellany.
The OpenText team held the 2018 Enterprise World meeting in Toronto, Canada, from July 10 to 12. During the opening keynote address, Mark Barrenechea explained to more than 4,000 delegates that competing and conflicting macro-trends are converging to pose unprecedented challenges for today’s businesses. Today’s enterprises must navigate a range of priorities to succeed, and OpenText has released several offerings that can assist in their journey.
When you invest in software for your print business, it’s like a marriage because you want to have a healthy long-term relationship with the vendor. Changing software is painful and expensive (like divorces).
LSC Communications jettisons major European printing asset, acquires digital content logistics firm MAZ, label segment is very active, and more…
This is the first of a series of articles by Senior Editor Cary Sherburne on technical textiles—how they fit in the industry, why they are important, and interesting new developments. In this first installment in the series, Sherburne defines technical textiles and provides examples of how they are purpose-built for specific applications.
Looking to establish a presence in the European Union? Morten Reitoft of INKISH.TV looks at some of the typical costs of doing business—taxes and labor—and how they differ from those in the U.S.
The recent acquisition of print automation software provider Aleyant by Canada’s Volaris Group raised some eyebrows in the industry. Who is the Volaris Group? What strategy are they pursuing relative to the printing industry? And what does this acquisition mean for Aleyant? These were questions Senior Editor Cary Sherburne investigated.
Improving customer experience (CX) is becoming an increasingly important part of any company’s marketing plan. That goes as much for the printing industry as it does for everyone else. So are you a Panera? Or [the other guy]?
Around the Web: PPI Executive Director Jules VanSant Steps Down – Ambigrams and Lipograms – Customized Cars – Mad Men No More – This Week in Printing History
After 12 years of leadership, Jules VanSant is stepping down as PPI Executive Director. Unusual typography. Automakers look to digitally printed auto parts. Don Draper—and even Darrin Stephens—are ad men of the past. The semaphore origin of the peace symbol. All that and more in WhatTheyThink's weekly miscellany.
Our new Commercial Printing Establishments tracker, based on data from the Census Bureau’s County Business Patterns, presents—in spreadsheet form—U.S. commercial printing establishments from 2010 to 2016, broken down by six different print business classifications and nine employee-size breakdowns.
E-commerce activities continue to ramp up in the printing industry. Thanks to the proliferation of digital printing technologies, the number of products within consumers’ reach is simply remarkable. This article explores how print service providers can take advantage of online print growth.
A look at one of the demand-generation efforts from the United States Post Office. The effort uses variety and specificity to communicate a broader message that transcends market vertical.
You work with a team. It’s time to upgrade the tools you use to foster more efficient teamwork and better management of the artifacts that are created in projects. Email with attached files doesn’t cut it anymore. We are creating an isolated mess of artifacts that cannot be effectively found or used in the next project.
As the number of USPS Informed Delivery accounts continues to grow, will it change the way marketers design their mail? Will it change consumers’ behavior and how they interact with the mail? I know that it has already changed mine.
Do we need another color system? Coloro thinks so. The company launched its color system last year, based on the 100-year-old Munsell system, and claims it to be the easiest to use and most logical system on the market. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne spoke with Coloro Managing Director Thorsten Traugott to learn more.
Full STEAM Ahead: Blue Ridge Fab Lab and 4-H Partner to Offer 21st-Century Learning—and Wide-Format Printing ()
The Blue Ridge/UA 4-H Fab Lab, based in Pinetop-Lakeside, Ariz., offers student-directed, project-centric STEM training for K-12 students. Thanks to a partnership with 4-H, the facility is available to students across the state. Part of student projects involves designing and printing informational flyers, posters, and other materials on wide-format printers provided by Roland DGA, a sponsor of the Fab Lab. We spoke with Kevin Woolridge, Co-Director of the Fab Lab.
Overall, printing employment ticked up from May to June 2018, but on a year-over-year basis is down -1.8% from June 2017. Among the creative markets, PR is the place to be.
Around the Web: Amazon to Replace Libraries? – Book Fore-Edge Painting – The Truth About Recycled Clothing – Japan’s Looming “Y2K”-Like Problem – This Week in Printing History
Forbes columnist suggests replacing public libraries with Amazon stores, for some reason. The economic costs of comma misuse. Built-in sun protection for garments. All that and more in WhatTheyThink's weekly miscellany.
Last month, the Trump Administration levied a 10% tariff on imported aluminum and a 25% tariff on imported steel. At present, the tariffs are having the biggest impact on manufacturers of aluminum lithographic plates—although that may be just the beginning. Plate manufacturers are deciding how best to respond, while industry associations are helping to fight back.
Every company has a sales process. Although these processes are sometimes well-established and well-documented, this is not always the case. If you’re struggling with your sales process, this article provides a quick-start guide on performing a sales audit.
Faces of Finishing: Mark Nixon of Scodix on the Triumphs and Challenges of Bringing Disruptive Technology to Market ()
In the latest installment of this interview series, Trish Witkowski talks with Mark Nixon, GM and VP Sales for Scodix NA, about creating a market and elevating print with disruptive technology.
July brings a mixed bag of postal/mailing news, from The White House supporting the idea of privatizing the USPS to the Postal Service gaining approval for internal performance audits, CAPS yielding to EPS, STOP on its way to becoming law, and both ID and IV adding features.