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CRON, China’s Largest CTP Manufacturer, Forms Joint Venture with ECRM to Enter North American Print Market (Commentary by Cary Sherburne)

Press release from the issuing company

CRON-ECRM will introduce CTP solutions to North America as the only global supplier of Thermal, UV and Violet CTP imaging technologies

HANGZHOU, China - Hangzhou CRON Machinery & Electronics Co., Ltd, China’s largest CTP manufacturer, today announced its entry into the North American graphic communications market by forming a joint venture company with ECRM Imaging Systems, a global leader in imaging technologies for the graphic communications industry. The joint venture company, CRON-ECRM LLC, will be headquartered in Tewksbury, Massachusetts. Rick Black has been appointed President and CEO of the new company, and Mike Xiang will be Chairman of the Board.  

CRON-ECRM will serve as the master distributor in North America for CRON CTP systems and Blackwood, a new line of offset printing plates manufactured in China. CRON-ECRM will also be a future center for the research and development of new, high-quality prepress equipment that will be distributed worldwide. CRON-ECRM will be responsible for sales and service of CRON solutions and will partner with CRON in CTP development.  The new venture will be key to completing CRON’s global strategy for distribution of high quality CTP solutions offering unique value to printers and publishers throughout the world.  

Expanding the Global Footprint

“Having achieved a successful launch in Asia and Europe, CRON is ready to serve the needs of the offset print industry in North America,” states Mike Xiang, Chairman of the Board of both CRON and CRON-ECRM. “We opened a regional office in Dusseldorf, Germany, in 2013 to better serve our customers in the European market. Partnering with ECRM in this joint venture, combining its competencies in design and manufacturing with those of CRON, is critical to our plans for continued global expansion. Future plans include establishing an engineering operation in North America to better support what we expect to be a dynamic market opportunity.” 

According to Rick Black, Chairman of ECRM and President and CEO of the new company, “ECRM has always had the prime objective of providing outstanding products, sales, and service for our graphic arts partners, and we found a partner in CRON with the same objectives. The synergies inherent in this collaboration with CRON will be in the best interests of our combined customer base, distribution partners, and the industry at large. For more than four decades, ECRM has delivered some of the most reliable, cost-efficient, and quality-oriented solutions in the printing and publishing marketplace. This partnership provides a unique opportunity to take that reputation to the next level by establishing CRON-ECRM as the industry leader in the North American prepress marketplace.”

CRON-ECRM at Graph Expo 2014

CRON-ECRM will be exhibiting at Graph Expo 2014 in Booth #4404 in partnership with Graphic Systems North America (GSNA), exclusive distributors for RYOBI MHI. “We are pleased to be exhibiting with GSNA at the nation’s largest print show,” states Don Langston, Senior Vice President, CRON-ECRM. “It is the ideal platform for the launch of this exciting new and totally unique joint venture.”

Printers may sign up now at www.ryobi-group.com/graph-expo.html to schedule a personal, in-depth VIP demo of the RYOBI MHI 925 LED-UV press and experience the versatility of CRON-ECRM solutions. 

For more information, please visit the http://www.CRON-ECRM.com website.

About Hangzhou CRON Machinery & Electronics Co., Ltd.
Based in Hangzhou, China, Hangzhou CRON Machinery & Electronics Co., Ltd. (CRON) is one of the world’s largest CTP manufacturers with 3,000 installations worldwide. With more than 20 patents in its portfolio, CRON is an international leader in developing technologies for the graphic communications industry. 

Commentary by Cary Sherburne

I found this to be an interesting announcement and plan to speak to these folks at Graph Expo. For ECRM, this offers some pretty interesting expansion opportunities beyond its “violet” heritage.  And my understanding from some preliminary conversations I have had is that CRON is investing heavily in this space, and has brought to market some very affordable and flexible solutions, using thermal, violet and UV imaging technologies.  As the press release states, the joint venture will be immediately distributing these solutions in North America, and will become a center of excellence for R&D. I am given to understand that they are already beginning work on the next generation of CTP devices, and that final configuration and testing of products destined for North American companies will be accomplished at the joint venture’s Tewksbury MA location.

Watch for additional information following the show (or talk with them when you are there!).  My perspective is that this isn’t an easy market to break into, currently dominated by some big players, but CRON has an interesting position as China’s largest provider of CTP solutions, and that is certainly not trivial. And ECRM is well established here. If they make the case for a significantly more affordable CTP solution, which I understand is the goal, it could have an impact on market direction and the competitive landscape.


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