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Menasha Declares Beta Program Complete For BEL2000 Digital Printer

Press release from the issuing company

Bellwood, IL, September 30, 2002—Menasha Packaging Display Group (Menasha), Mequon, Wisconsin, a company of Menasha Corporation, has successfully concluded Beta Development for the BEL2000 Ink Jet printer sold by Belcom North America Group LLC. Belcom, headquartered in Bellwood, Ill., is the exclusive distributor of digital printing products sold into the corrugated packaging and point-of-purchase display markets in North America. The manufacturer of the equipment is Israeli-based, Aprion Digital Ltd., an affiliate of the Scitex Group. Both Belcom and Aprion have a long and deep history in the development of emerging printing technology. Last year, Belcom installed theBEL2000 Flatbed Ink Jet printer at Menasha, which was the first company in North America to participate as a Beta customer. Greg Hauber, General Manager for Menasha states, "This is a new beginning for Menasha and Belcom and has allowed us to take client satisfaction to a higher level by offering a wider array of market-effective, cost efficient solutions." For the past year, Belcom has partnered with Menasha to introduce Menasha Digital to Menasha’s clients and to commercialize the BEL2000 Printer within Menasha’s industry. Beta development involved the establishment of workflow methods, substrate testing, fine-tuning and adjusting to be able to run corrugated product at the most efficient, highest standard possible. The BEL2000 Ink Jet printer has introduced a new dimension to the packaging and display industry by creating an agile manufacturing process that can deliver time sensitive programs, test market products, and account-specific promotions. The technology is also effective for trial runs, small re-runs, product launches – the possibilities are limitless. "Digital is the future, whether it is printing, communication, or transportation," comments Belcom CEO, Errol S. Doris Sr., "Digital printing is economical, using technology that does not require printing plates, film or cutting dies. Short-run production can be accomplished in hours and days rather than weeks or months." Most of the printing currently produced is flexography, lithography and screen technologies, which do not accommodate printing in the short-run category due to high set-up cost. "Now that the Beta Development of the BEL2000 is completed, Menasha Digital will continue to challenge the "traditional" printing industry with this new technology," explains Greg Hauber, "The BEL2000 Digital Printer will deliver products that are comparable, and in some cases better than, existing printing techniques. Not only does Menasha Digital deliver unparallel quality, it does so at an affordable cost in less than half the time." On average, over 75% of all North American printers are not equipped to deliver small orders with their existing equipment. The combined potential revenues of the small order category are well over $400 million per year if manufacturers are equipped to do the jobs in an efficient and profitable way. Digital printing is a technology that can provide a new avenue to profitability in a weak economy. "The digital press installation progressed smoothly and the Beta run proved successful," comments Darrell Truitt, a Digital Print Specialist at Menasha. "It has been a real team effort to achieve quality product for our client partners who have been eager to utilize digital printing. Some have even said that they have been waiting for this long, overdue technology; claiming disappointment with the industry’s inability to meet their emerging marketing challenges. While several industry players have recently introduced varying forms of digital technology, they are very limited in their size, scope and quality and have not met the high standards of our industry. It is exciting to be at the forefront of this state-of-the-art printing technology and we eagerly anticipate the positive impact this will bring to the future of POP and packaging." Developed over a period of six years by Aprion engineers, the M.A.G.I.C., or Multiple Array Graphic Ink Jet Color, is the driving force of the BEL2000. The M.A.G.I.C. print head is a piezo electric drop-on-demand type that is compatible with water-based pigmented inks. Standard ink jets are tested at an optimum rate of 2 billion droplets per nozzle. Aprion’s M.A.G.I.C. head withstood rigorous testing of over sixty billion droplets per nozzle. The BEL2000 digital ink jet printer is the first full-service, all digital device complete with automated loading and unloading mechanisms to adjust paper controls with electronic feeders and alignment, able to load a maximum paper size of 63" x 102". Designed for production environments, the BEL2000 also comes equipped with a pre-coater, integrated dryer, and self- cleaning maintenance station to eliminate manual wash-ups. Over fifty approved and pending patents attest to the uniqueness of the BEL2000. "We recognize digital technology as the newest technology in corrugated printing and have the desire to position ourselves as pioneers," explains Greg Hauber, "In addition to traditional print methods, the BEL2000 gives us greater versatility to meet the myriad of marketing challenges facing our industry."