David Zwang travels around the globe helping companies increase their productivity, margins and market reach. He specializes in production optimization, strategic business planning, market analysis, and related services to companies in the vertical media communications market. Clients have included printers, manufacturers, retailers, publishers, premedia and US Government agencies. He can be reached at [email protected].
Over the last 170 years, Heidelberg has developed many new products, some have rewarded them with great success and others not. As an engineering company, it is in their nature to keep innovating, and as Albert Einstein said, “The only sure way to avoid making mistakes is to have no new ideas.”
Canon has the leading market share in production inkjet and has the widest range of production inkjet presses available. With the introduction of the ProStream 1800, they are expanding their commercial production inkjet product line to continue to capture both toner and existing offset produced pages.
Is there a way to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 through printed materials using an antimicrobial paper treatment? Under the current circumstances, no commercial lab has a suitable test environment or authority to test against COVID-19. However, there may be a suitable solution tested against a similar virus.
David Zwang talks with John Beadel, President of Associated Printing Production Inc. (APPi), founded in 1991 by Beadel and his brother. From day one, the company’s primary client bases were the cruise line, hospitality, and leisure industries—the ones that were the hardest hit by the COVID-19 crisis. Facing a “devastated business,” APPi worked with Biomaster on an antimicrobial coating for paper that provides life-time, 24/7 protection for printed materials. As the leisure industry starts to reopen, demand has skyrocketed.
Packaging has been going through a digital renaissance of late, and as the printing and converting hardware has been evolving, the workflow software to maximize the utilization of that hardware has been evolving as well. Based on these latest updates and solutions, it is apparent that Hybrid is looking at the requirements of Industry 4.0 and the interconnected business and manufacturing landscape.
David Zwang talks to Matt Mahoney, Executive VP of Sales & Marketing for Racami, a developer of software and IT services for transactional printers and direct marketers. Mahoney talks about some of the issues Racami customers have with variable-data printing, especially problems stemming from VDP PDF file creation, and some of the solutions Racami offers.
Gershon Alon, Head of HP PrintOS, HP Indigo, talks to David Zwang about how increased print jobs and the greater complexity of those jobs—largely due to variable data—have put great strains on digital front ends. Users thus need to create variable-data PDFs that won’t tie up RIPs and digital presses. HP’s partner Global Graphics recently released the “Full Speed Ahead” guide to variable-data print PDF creation.
There are currently many postprint corrugated solutions out there, yet most have not gained significant traction in the market. Xeikon, their credibility, and the market understanding of Flint, puts them in a great position to enter and even grow the market.
Martin Bailey, CTO of Global Graphics Software, talks with David Zwang about “Full Speed Ahead,” a new guide that helps people make PDF files for variable-data printing more efficiently, especially as VDP is taking off in new markets and applications, such as labels and packaging.
HP has spent the last four years developing ways to overcome the existing production barriers of their EP products and processes. They recently announced LEPx, a unique new imaging technology as an integral component of the V12, their future platform label press.
David Zwang talks with Jim Continenza about where Kodak is today, where it's going in the future, and how some of the changes Kodak made in the past year have helped the company weather the current crisis. The company is also using the shutdown to devote its energy to R&D.
In these difficult times where print and packaging ordering and production are occurring remotely, Remote Director has a solution and special arrangement for those in need of remote proofing. David Zwang talks to Remote Director President Dan Caldwell about the advantages of the company’s solution.
Our current “reality” may not be ideal, but as we come out of this pandemic and begin to redefine our “new normal,” we will find that print will play a big part in engaging that new reality. I am guessing it will also include AR, MR, and VR as well.
Global Graphics has developed the first direct-to-printhead processing pipeline using desktop class CPUs creating a future-proof solution to keep up with the latest production inkjet presses. This is a very significant development and is truly a game changer.
David Zwang talks to Chris Payne, CEO of Miraclon, the former Kodak flexo unit, about Miraclon’s one-year anniversary as an independent company, how the company has fared over the past year, as well as the state of business during the current crisis.
Canon has announced the next generation in its VarioPrint line of sheetfed inkjet presses. The varioPRINT iX series is built on a new platform, based on the experiences from the current i-series platform, and is designed for commercial print applications.
Kevin Shimamoto, CMO for Memjet, talks to David Zwang about how Memjet’s inkjet technology platforms and OEM partners are expanding single-pass inkjet into the mainstream printing market and beyond, into new and different applications.
Xeikon isn’t waiting until drupa 2021 to introduce new products they have been working on. The SX30000, Cheetah 2.0, and an upgraded X-800 are designed to reduce operating costs and increase competitiveness compared with other EP press manufacturers and entry level inkjet solutions like the Canon VarioPrint i300, and Xerox’s Rialto and Baltoro.
As the articles in our series on the cannabis packaging market have shown, this is a high-growth area—but various pitfalls abound. David Zwang talks to several companies producing packaging for the cannabis market and highlights the opportunities they've found and the challenges they faced.
On the heels of the HP PageWide announcement last week, HP Indigo has now announced some significant technology and product advancements which seem to reaffirm industry shifts, but more importantly highlight the company’s direction going forward.
HP likes to combine technology innovation with the release of a new press. In this case, the new innovation is HP Brilliant InkTMand the press is the new HP PageWide Web Press T250 HD. Targeted at commercial and publishing markets, initially Brilliant InkTMadds compatibility with offset coated and uncoated media through the selective use of a new HP Optimizer. This brings HP PageWide to the level of media handling capabilities of the competing Canon ProStream and Ricoh VC70000.
Carles Farre of HP talks to David Zwang about the just-announced HP PageWide Web Press T250 HD with Brilliant Ink. Brilliant Ink expands the range of applications users can produce, as it makes the HP PageWide T250 HD press compatible with offset coated stock.
Kevin Shimamoto is the CMO of Memjet, a company that is positioned to provide the tools for the next generation of printing applications. His background, and the Memjet mission, is a great story that brings energy and innovation to print.
On the 20th anniversary of Enfocus PitStop Server, one of the earliest of the automated workflow tools, there is a broader movement to bring automation tools to the next level in order to support the new business and production requirements of today and tomorrow.
Gavin Jordan-Smith, Senior VP, Commercial and Industrial Print, for Ricoh, looks ahead to drupa 2020, and anticipates the extent to which elements of “Industry 4.0” will play more significant and tangible roles in emerging new products. Artificial Intelligence (AI), for example, will be increasingly integrated—not just for predictive maintenance, but also to intelligently control workflows.
Curtis Metz talks to David Zwang about Signs of Success, a company that contracts with sign shops to do installations of major sign projects—analog and dynamic digital—and how the company is growing its digital business. The company also has a side business in embroidery and custom heat-transfer T-shirts.
Greg Salzman, President of Aleyant Systems, talks to David Zwang about the value that a web-to-print/online ordering portal beings to a print business. Not only does it make it convenient for customers to place orders at any time, it also frees up resources within the print business, as it doesn’t require the involvement of sales or customer service reps, or even estimators.
High color corrugated packaging is growing and will continue to grow. The run sizes are getting smaller to adapt to the new market requirements, and the opportunities for print service providers to jump on this moving train abound. In Part 3 of this series, I focus on the available preprint solutions with some limited product mentions. Selecting which method is better is really based on a lot of factors, including your market opportunities, capital investment, production costs, and internal skills. Although making that determination also involves board and run size as well. Both analog and digital presses are and will continue to be in the mix and grow. It’s a pretty exciting time with some great opportunities.
In Part 2 of this series, I focus on the available digital post-print solutions with some limited product mentions. Leading up to drupa, I will cover some of the offerings in greater depth. All of the solutions discussed here are “single pass” printers, where the printheads are stationary and only the media moves. They include complete corrugating equipment with built in printing, to a tabletop printer with lots of other options in between. Equipment pricing ranges from in excess of $4MM to as low as $19K. In summary: Lots of Choices!
There are “two primary” corrugated print manufacturing processes for high graphics: a multi-process method of printing on a top sheet (liner) which is then laminated to the corrugated material, or, alternatively, a single process method of printing directly on the corrugated material, sometimes called “post-print.” In this article, we will look at the award-winning Bobst THQ (Très Haute Qualité) FlexoCloud technology focused on corrugated post-print production, and perhaps some alternative methods.
One of the more active growth areas for print service providers and of digital printing equipment development is corrugated, and for good reason. Estimates of corrugated shipments in North America are in excess of 420 billion square feet and growing. Estimates for three or more color “high graphics” corrugated production is growing as well with actual output for 2019 anticipated to have 20%–30% share of the overall corrugated volume. Overall, this is an exciting market with a lot of growth potential.
Wim Fransen, General Manager of Enfocus, talks to David Zwang about some of the major trends he has been seeing as we head toward drupa, including the emergence of faster technologies, the need to handle shorter job runs with faster turnaround times, and new front-end solutions that bridge the gap between job entry, MIS, and prepress.
At drupa 2016, Landa Labs introduced Nano Metallography, a new metallization technology to replace foils for embellishments. This process is designed to produce zero waste at less than half the cost of foil. In February of 2017, Actega Metal Print, a division of Altana AG, acquired the technology and rebranded it EcoLeaf. The solution is now going into beta and will be fully commercialized in time for drupa 2020.
Trish Witkowski, Chief Fold Fanatic for Fold Factory, talks to David Zwang about “embellishments”—people love them, but are often scared of them. There is a perception that “special effects” are only for special projects, and embellishment examples are often highly elaborate and aspirational. As a result, printers don’t often see how embellishments can be scaled down and used for more day-to-day print applications.
Uteco and Kodak have just announced that they sold the first UTECO Sapphire EVO W product production inkjet press designed for flexible packaging. The “W” refers to “Wide” since this press has a 1250 mm (49 in.) width. The EVO W is the first press to be powered by the Kodak ULTRASTREAM technology. The press supports a higher resolution of 600 x 1800 dpi at up to 150 mpm (492 fpm). Overall productivity can be 4X over existing digital solutions.
Elie Khoury, President of Alwan Color Expertise, talks to David Zwang about extended color gamuts. The idea of expanding the color gamut of a press goes back decades, but the tools for its effective implementation were often lacking. Alwan Color Expertise is working to develop standards to help make extended gamut printing consistent and reliable.
Wim Fransen, Managing Director of Enfocus, talks to David Zwang about the proliferation of niche printing markets—commercial, labels, textiles, wide format, vehicle graphics, etc.—and how they all share many of the same underlying challenges. Enfocus has been seeking to develop specific configurations of its flagship PitStop software to address the individual needs of these vertical markets.
Patti Smith, Kodak’s VP, WW Business Development & Marketing, Digital Inkjet Printing, talks to David Zwang about the major trends that Kodak has been seeing in the lead-up to drupa 2020. The biggest among them is packaging, especially digital packaging, the demand for which is being driven by the brands.
David Zwang talks to Ernie Crawford, CEO of Crawford Technologies, a software company that focuses on the transactional printing market, helping organizations improve the ways that they deliver documents to customers, in print or omnichannel. The company just launched its new SmartSetup, designed for rapidly onboarding applications into workflow automation and ADF systems.
David Zwang talks to Federico D’Annunzio, Senior Innovation Advisor for the Bobst Group, about some of the new innovations surrounding digital label printing, and how the same automation process can be applied to digital inkjet, flexo, offset, or hybrid label printing equipment.
The most important thing to realize is that as technologies and markets change, the speed at which a company addresses business transformation can position them as a leader or laggard going forward. Examples of this can be seen in these two formerly leading companies, both with roots in Rochester N.Y., grappling with their own transformations while their customers are hav ing to do the same.
Marco Boer of I.T. Strategies talks to David Zwang at PRINTING United about the theme of the show: convergence, or that, in order to grow their businesses, printers need to incrementally add new kinds of print applications.
Simon Beltran, President of 4Over, talks about how the company has grown over the past 18 years to become the premier trade provider to the print industry in North America, with nine locations and 1,400 team members in the US and Canada. The company is continuing its transformation by adding and looking at new print applications, such as packaging.
Matt Miloszewski, Sales Director for the Eastern Region for printIQ talks about the company’s workflow software systems which are agnostic with regard to print process print process—digital, commercial, sheetfed, webfed, wide format, packaging, screen—and can be configured with unique features for specific types of print businesses.
Ricoh USA’s Gavin Jordan-Smith talks to David Zwang about the diverse equipment the company had on the show floor at PRINTING United, the variety of customers—including commercial as well as sign and display printers—who visited Ricoh’s booth, the surprising amount of business Ricoh was closing, and the overall air of excitement at the show.
David Miller, Director of Digital Business for Anderson & Vreeland, talks to David Zwang about the company’s portfolio of solutions for the corrugated packaging market, and the company’s just-announced agreement to distribute Xeikon’s label and packaging presses in North America.
The trends in labels and packaging have become pretty well-defined in 2019 and will remain a significant focus going forward. The four primary trends are; increased quality, short and on-demand production runs, an increase in personalization, and a focus on sustainability. These trends along with the corresponding messaging will continue to evolve and resonate throughout 2020 and beyond.
Last week we saw the last of the big Chicago printing events. Over the years we have seen many printing and technology events disappear only to be replaced by others that, at least for a time, provide more relevance and timeliness. However, even with the excitement of new events on the horizon, in speaking with many of the exhibitors and attendees last week, there was still a shared sadness. Our new normalcy is taking away a certain comfort and, sadly, Chicago.
Jaron Lotan, President of AVT, talks to David Zwang about how the company began 25 years ago as an inspection company and has evolved more powerful solutions around inspection technologies—high-quality cameras and sophisticated algorithms, as well as the entire workflow to support them.
Labelexpo 2019 was an interesting event. There were a lot of hybrid presses being shown: flexo presses with inkjet or toner digital integrated imaging; digital presses with flexo imaging in order to get the great opaque white needed for many labels and flexible packaging or precoating for plastics, etc.; a variety of presses with inline enhancement capabilities, etc. But, perhaps the whole hybrid evolution is really just a part of the industry digital transformation and transition to the real end game: purpose-built or bespoke solutions.
Ornit Gluzman, Product Manager for Workflow Automation Color Products at AVT, talks to David Zwang at Labelexpo about AVT’s automation software—specifically, the ability to automatically set up jobs for inspection prior to printing.
David Zwang talks to Mike Jenoski, President and CEO of Goodway Group of Massachusetts, a print service provider that serves educational, retail, medical, and pharmaceutical businesses in the Burlington, Mass., area. The company offers a broad array of printing equipment, from offset, to toner-based to digital, to its recent acquisition of a Canon Océ VarioPrint i300 Inkjet Color Digital Press.
David Zwang talks with Jim Clark, Director of Operations for book manufacturer McNaughton & Gunn, about the company’s foray into production inkjet printing. Using its Canon Océ VarioPrint i300, they produced 29 million pages in August alone.
Labelexpo 2019, celebrating its 40th anniversary, launched in Brussels to a huge group of more than 600 exhibitors and a very large global audience of attendees. In this first article, David Zwang looks at general trends at the event.
Considering only about 3% of the total global print production in the market is digital, including all digital technologies, capturing a larger share will depend on production speeds and cost. Landa and their global customer base are now ramping up for a global presence, high demand, and are ready to participate in the Inkjet Revolution. The tides are changing…
David Zwang talks to Todd Roth, VP of Core Publishing Solutions and chair of this year’s thINK Ahead Conference, which opened yesterday in Boca Raton, Fla. He discusses how Canon's inkjet forum—now in its fifth year—has grown and evolved, as well as the value it provides for inkjet users of all experience levels.
The best way to look at MIS/ERP systems is holistically, in the context of the bigger picture of managing your business as a whole. Just as you should have a production workflow system, ultimately an MIS system is a workflow system for your business operations.
The demand for bespoke production inkjet solutions is growing, and Kirk-Rudy has been building unique and purpose-built solutions for about 50 years. With more than 2,500 unique solutions and now the addition of Memjet DuraFlex, they are ready to build thousands more. David Zwang talks to Bob Mills, General Manager
The adoption of production inkjet so far has narrowly targeted mid to high-end production requirements. However, light production including higher-end departmental MFP devices currently addressed by EP (toner) devices is a significant portion of the market. Memjet just introduced a low-cost single pass OEM printhead solution to target that market. The tide may be turning…
drupa 2020 is only about eight months away and the rumors and anticipation are starting to heat up. Very much like drupa, Labelexpo is truly a global event. And don’t let the name fool you: it isn’t just about labels. There is also flexible packaging and of course lots of innovative finishing and media being showcased. Even if you are not in label or flexible packaging production, this event offers you a preview of things to come—although you may need to connect the dots.
Bernard Zwaenepoel, Chief Technology Officer Software for Esko, talks to David Zwang at Eskoworld about the increasingly close collaboration between brand owners and packaging suppliers, especially when it comes to using and sharing data.
David Zwang talks to Mike Herold, Director of Global Marketing for Ricoh, about the company’s new award-winning Ricoh Pro VC70000 continuous-feed inkjet printer. The new Extended Gamut ink and unique compact drying system are designed for a wide media range including commodity offset coated papers.
One of the hottest topics in packaging print today is corrugated, and for many reasons. One of those is that it is a market area showing a solid growth trajectory. So, what are the areas of growth, and what are some of the challenges that will affect the growth of digital print, more specifically production inkjet, in corrugated?
At Ricoh Interact, David Zwang talks to Mark Little, VP of Operations for Quik Print of Oklahoma City. Quik Print was founded in 1963, and is today an interesting family organization with about 40 locations across six states, run by a "team of bothers." Through cooperation, they have found a way to use assorted print production technologies to create a strong and growing presence.
This article is a part of a series looking at production inkjet solutions leading up to and through drupa 2020. We will look at what’s new, how it’s being used, and how it’s transforming print service providers. In this article, we go to the front lines and we take a look at Mercury Printing of Rochester, N.Y., a perfect example of a digital technology and business transformation. And for all the right reasons…
David Zwang talks to Christian Schamberger, President of Mercury Printing, about the history of the company and its current focus on the educational publishing market. Mercury has a wide variety of offset and digital equipment (toner and inkjet) to serve its clients, but is now almost completely digital, and has transitioned much of its work from toner and offset to inkjet.
Production inkjet solutions are proliferating at an ever-increasing rate. The quality of many of the solutions has finally reached that of offset, and the productivity has surpassed that of toner. There are also a lot more options and opportunities. Perhaps it is time to step back and take stock of where we are and where things could be going?
Benny Landa first introduced the concept of “Nanography” at drupa 2012. There was a reaffirmation of the introduction at drupa 2016, and since then, lots of quiet. It turns out the quiet was self-imposed, and in the interim Landa has been very busy building an organization and shipping presses.
How would you like to start up a new company with a full complement of hardware, software, and workflows tailored specifically to your requirements with no legacy technology debt? Sepire, which launched only last May, found a way.... At Ricoh's INTERACT, David Zwang talks to Josh Bonham of Sepire, which is an omnichannel solutions provider for the health care and financial services industries.
Esko held its 28th EskoWorld in Nashville with an audience of over 550 attendees. Since its inception, this has been a go-to event for those in packaging production and signage, although the audience is now growing with about 25% of which were brand owners. This plays nicely into the theme “Packaging Connected.”
Newly appointed Esko President Mattias Byström shares his observations on the opportunities that he sees in creating a connected packaging value chain, as well as early impressions of, and excitement about, his first EskoWorld.
David Zwang reports from Interact 2019, Ricoh’s annual customer event comprising nearly 60 sessions which covered a wide range of topics, both high-level and highly detailed. It also provided an opportunity to meet some of the new Ricoh leadership team.
David Zwang talks to Heather Poulin, Director of Marketing for Ricoh USA, at Interact 2019, Ricoh’s annual user conference. The goal of the event is to get customers and Ricoh executives to “interact” with each other to find best practices that Ricoh users can take back to their shops.
In Part 2 of “Rebirth of Flexo,” David Zwang looks at an example of a flexo solution and its components that provides a significant deterrent to the onslaught of production inkjet in packaging production.
During new printing technology introductions there has usually been displacement and realignment of the existing print technology roles. During those transformational times, there are many old and new options. Packaging production is now going through one of these periods, raising the question: what type of print technology is best? In packaging production, this decision is getting harder, as a result of the rebirth of flexo printing.
David Zwang talks to Francois Martin, Senior Communication Advisor, Bobst Group, about the role of digital printing in packaging. Although digital has the ability to optimize production, speed time to market, and offer other benefits, flexo is improving dramatically. When it comes to packaging printing, no one technology is better than another; the best-suited printing technology will be application-specific.
We are seeing significant advancements in label and packaging production in both digital and analog production. However, one thing in common is rapid growth. Global Graphics released the Harlequin RIP v12 about a year ago with some of the new PDF 2.0 features. This new Harlequin RIP/Renderer v12.1 has added many additional features designed for print and further targeted at label and packaging production. David Zwang takes an in-depth look at this new release.
In this age of digital print transformation, what is so exciting about the rebirth of a plate manufacturer? Well, first of all, it is a flexographic plate manufacturer, and second, it was formerly owned by Kodak. With this new life, how will Miraclon leverage their expertise to grow into a market leader?
David Zwang talks with Dr. Carol Werlé, CEO of DALIM Software, at DUO2019, the DALIM Users Group Conference. DALIM, which develops productivity workflow and communication software, was founded in 1989 and has changed as the industry has changed, serving now as a “bridge between the solos” in a print business.
Andy Fetherman, VP of Sales and Technology for Muller Martini, talks about the company's complete Finishing 4.0 ideology that helps customers beyond finishing, taking advantage of automation and connecting it to drive variability in finishing.
Will Mansfield, Director of WWMarketing EISD for Kodak, talks about the company's recent announcements surrounding new developments packaging, specifically as they pertain to Kodak's Stream and UltraStream inkjet technologies.
Embellishment has been a function of print production for as long as there has been printing. In fact, it almost goes back to the beginning of the writing of documents. There is no doubt that embellishment does add value to the printed product. Especially with the more recent introduction of digital embellishment technologies designed to complement digital printing. Now that embellishments have finally begun to capture market awareness, new developments are happening all the time. In part 2 of this series, David Zwang will look at new mainstream technologies that add embellishments and value to print and packaging production.
Embellishment has been a function of print production for as long as there has been printing. In fact, it almost goes back to the beginning of the writing of documents. There is no doubt that embellishment does add value to the printed product. Especially with the more recent introduction of digital embellishment technologies, designed to complement digital printing technologies. New developments in digital embellishment are happening all the time now that it has finally begun to capture market awareness. In part one of this two-part feature, David Zwang will look at the added value and long history of embellishments.
Whether you are already a converter or are a print service provider looking at expanding your product and services portfolio, it is important to develop a long-term strategy in order to capture your share of the changing and developing market. In this new series, David Zwang takes a deep dive into the opportunities, changes, and challenges that you need to focus on in Labels and Packaging.
We have all seen the studies and even experienced first-hand the value of personalization in direct mail and other forms of communication. But what about the value of personalization in products and packaging? There are a lot of projections into what the market value “could” be, but how do you take advantage of that?
Hunkeler Innovationdays is a biennial event that brings together some of the latest digital press workflows and equipment with the latest finishing equipment to showcase complete solutions. Surprisingly, this is done in an atmosphere that presents exhibitors as equals, without much of the hype or fanfare that you might expect at a print show. The theme of this year’s event “Success with Automation” is a very timely topic considering the growth and impact of production inkjet technology. As they have done in the past, they have accomplished their goal.
Kodak Enterprise Inkjet Systems Division (EISD) has officially put a stake in the ground—and that stake is positioned in the heart of volume label and packaging production. While they have been flirting around the edges of packaging production since drupa 2012, outwardly their focus has seemed to be in their legacy wheelhouse; transactional, direct mail, and commercial print. That is about to change, and in fact it already has….
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