What is Nanography and How Is It Used?

Nanography® is the enabling science behind a breakthrough digital printing method that combines the variable-data and print-on-demand features of digital printing with the throughput speed, media versatility, and quality of offset printing.

The inks used for the process were developed with nanotechnology — the science of particles that are measured in nanometers (billionths of a meter).

Nanography was invented by visionary digital-printing pioneer Benny Landa, who discovered that water-based inks formulated with nano-sized pigment particles perform differently than standard water-based inks used in production inkjet printing.

Water-based Landa NanoInk® uses less pigment to deliver more brilliant colors than other printing processes. The ultra-small pigments stay on the fibrous surface of paper without the need for an ink-receptive coating or paper treatment. The nano-size pigment particles form images that are a mere 500 nanometers thick. This is less than half the thickness of images created with the inks used on offset presses.
The ink droplets made with nano-sized pigment particles on uncoated paper (bottom row) have more sharply defined edges and greater density than ink droplets on production inkjet presses (top row).

Landa Digital Printing is using the nanographic printing process to develop high-speed digital printing presses for short-to-medium run lengths for commercial printing, publishing, packaging, and direct-mail applications.

S10P Landa nanographic press cockpit view
The Landa S10 press does not need to be installed in a clean-room environment like some digital printers do. From the Landa cockpit (above), the operator can monitor the press status, inspect output, and watch video feeds of printing inside the press.

How Nanography Differs from Production Inkjet

Like a production inkjet press, nanographic printing uses high-speed inkjet printheads and sophisticated software to convert digital files into data that dictate how, when, and where each ink color droplet should be ejected to form the images.

But instead of ejecting wet inks directly onto paper, the printheads deposit the inks onto a specially constructed “blanket” which is then dried before it passes beneath rollers. Pressure from the rollers transfers the image from the blanket to the selected material.

Depending on how each press model is engineered, the Landa dry-ink transfer process will work with the standard off-the-shelf materials used to produce magazines, catalogs, direct mail, folding cartons, or flexible packaging.

In contrast, jobs on production-inkjet presses often require materials manufactured specifically to control the spread of the wet inks as the papers pass quickly beneath the printheads. These materials cost more than substrates already developed for high-volume production on traditional offset or flexographic printing presses.

Like other digital processes, nanographic printing doesn’t require the time and expense of creating and loading a new set of plates for each color on every job. So, the process is inherently more efficient than and cost-effective in producing an uninterrupted sequence of small to mid-sized jobs. Many of these these types of print jobs now include custom designs, localized or personalized messages, or QR codes.

Nanographic printing enables owners of existing offset, flexographic, and gravure presses to focus on running their highest volume jobs on their analog equipment.

Flexibility in run lengths makes it feasible for global brands and retailers to offer more specialty products and seasonal promotions. And, packages, promotions, and inserts can be customized to reflect the buying habits and languages of consumers within each city.

Seven-color Landa presses add orange, green, and blue inks to the standard 4-color inks (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black) used by color offset presses. This 7-color combination can reproduce 96 percent of the Pantone colors that brands use to differentiate themselves in their logos and marketing materials. But even the 4-color Landa (CMYK) presses can hit 84 percent of Pantone colors, 30 percent more than CMYK offset.

The ability to hit a wider gamut of colors than standard offset four-color printing means that Landa press operators don’t have stop and load custom-mixed Pantone spot colors to handle a series of jobs from different clients.

print samples from Landa digital press
With 7 colors of Landa NanoInk and 1200 dpi resolution, Landa presses produce excellent image quality. For packaging, publishing, display, and direct-mail projects that require brand colors, nanography reproduces more Pantone colors than offset printing.

Why Nanographic Printing Is A Breakthrough

The Landa presses are designed to close the “profitability gap” between digital printing presses and the offset, flexographic, or gravure presses that used to mass produce graphics for packaging, magazines, and marketing materials.

Digital presses that use electrophotographic or inkjet technologies have improved in quality, but are still slow compared to traditional offset and flexographic presses. Plus, the costs of inks, toners, and treated or coated papers add up quickly when a customer orders more than a few thousand copies.

Because the Landa presses can print at high-speeds on the same materials that big printing companies already use, owners of offset and flexographic presses can now produce short to medium-run jobs that wouldn’t be profitable on their standard presses.

Current Models

Landa Digital Printing introduced the Nanography process at the drupa global print technology exhibition in 2012 and displayed the first press, the sheetfed S10, at drupa 2016. The first Landa press was installed in 2017. In 2019, Landa Digital Printing began installing a second model: the S10P. Here are a few details about each model.

The Landa S10 is a single-side sheetfed press for mainstream packaging applications such as folding cartons and point-of-purchase/point-of-sale graphics. The S10 prints 6,500 B1 sheets per hour on substrates in thicknesses 2.4 to 32 pts. An inline coating system can enhance or protect the printed materials with UV or aqueous coatings.

The S10 can run seven colors and be profitable on jobs of about 30,000 boxes or even higher when ganging jobs or adding variable barcodes. The S10 provides a digital production solution for more than 50% of all folding carton jobs.

The Landa S10P Nanographic Printing Press is for general commercial print jobs that require printing on both sides of the substrate. For example, the S10P can handle advertising pieces, catalogs, direct-mail, and high-end magazines.

Landa Digital Printing is currently developing web-fed presses for flexible packaging and high-end publishing.

Workflow and Quality Control

The data required to print each job is processed through a digital front end (DFE) that is tightly integrated with each press. Based on EFI Fiery technology, the Landa DFE enables to press to fit into any printing environment, regardless of what mix of digital, offset, or flexo printing processes the company uses.

The Landa DFE not only communicates with prepress automation applications and business-management software, but also with finishing equipment.

All Landa presses are equipped with an active quality management system that fully scans each printed sheets, identifies defects, and initiates corrective actions. Operator intervention isn’t required.

Comments from Users of Landa Presses

Some of the companies using Landa presses in the U.S. include:

K-1 Packaging Group provides custom packaging solutions for consumer products. K-1 uses the Landa S10 for jobs use 5,000 sheets or less. The work includes folding cartons, countertop displays, labels, and litho-lam corrugated boxes. 

K-1 President Mike Tsai said a key factor in the decision to buy the press was how fast the Landa press could produce back-to-back short-to-medium-run jobs. A press run that would have required eight make-readies on a conventional press were achieved in just 70 minutes on the Landa S10.

Because the Landa press handles sophisticated jobs with ease, Tsai said K-1 will be able to bring a more holistic, integrated approach to their clients. For example, K-1 can process and print a client’s 1-to-1 variable product codes, support traceability of products, and meet other supply chain requirements.

Duggal Visual Solutions is an award-winning global supplier of exceptional printed visuals, custom displays, and multi-media solutions for global retailers, Fortune 500 corporations, museums, galleries, non-profit organizations, photographers, and visual artists.

Duggal installed a 7-color S10 Nanographic Printing Press at their New York production facilities to better serve their clients, which include 16 of the top 25 brands in the Interbrand Top 100.

Landa S10 at Duggal
Mike Duggal, CEO of Duggal Visual Solutions (right) says that “With the Landa S10, we can fulfill even more of our customers’ print and packaging needs much faster, and offer personalization and other special features.”

“We are blessed to work with so many of the world’s leading brands and creative minds,” said Mike Duggal, CEO of Duggal Visual Solutions. He said the Landa S10 enables Duggal to help their customers break new ground in what is possible with print.

Duggal sees nanongraphic printing technology as the logical next step in the company’s evolution from their heritage in high-end imaging for professional photographers. Since moving into high-impact corporate work, Duggal now produces a wide range of applications for in-store marketing.

The Marketing Alliance Group is one of the largest retail design and manufacturing companies in the U.S. The company makes visual merchandising displays and fixtures for grocery stores, convenience stores, and manufacturers of health and beauty, apparel, home improvement, and flooring products. Clients include some of the leading retailers and brands in North America.

The Marketing Alliance Group is using their Landa S10 Nanographic Printing Press to deliver faster, higher-quality digital printing of short-to-medium runs of retail signs and displays.

“We already had a considerable print operation with a mix of analog and digital printing capabilities, and they all have their place,” explained Bryan Hair, CEO of Marketing Alliance Group. “But the Landa S10 fills a different gap. It’s not only substantially faster than any other digital press, but it also has an offset format. Thanks to its seven colors, the color vibrancy and high print quality satisfy our world-leading brand customers, too.”

Hair said the S10 enables enables retail customers to reduce costs, stock, and waste while getting promotions into stores much faster. “We consider Nanography to be the new era in printing technology.”

Virtual Packaging is an all-digital company founded in 1996. They provide full-service production of packaging prototypes and folding cartons to a variety of U.S. and international brands. The company can provide everything from a single mock-up for a presentation to a few thousand prototypes for market testing.

During a WhatTheyThink! webinar, Virtual Packaging Vice President Jordan Patterson said the Landa S10 press complements their existing fleet of digital printers. Over the past 2 years, the Landa has enabled them to expand their revenue streams to include sustainable packaging and corrugated boxes. The have also used the Landa to print 8,000 posters with different quantities of 127 poster designs. Making plates required to run such a job on an offset press would have been extremely costly.

One of the biggest jobs VIrtual Packaging has handled on the Landa involved printing 100,000 variable-data sheets on a plastic packaging substrate. Problems with ink adhesion made it difficult to print the job with offset and/or Indigo presses. Virtual Packaging completed the job on the Landa in two days.

Virtual Packaging also serves trade printing companies and smaller start-up brands. For example, if a company sells only 6,000 products per month, the client can order folding cartons on a subscription basis. Instead of printing 72,000 cartons for a year’s supply of cartons, the client receives just the number of packages they need each month. The client doesn’t have to warehouse boxes and the brand manager to ttweak the package design each month. One Virtual Packaging client that orders packaging on a subscription basis advertises a related product on an interior panel of the carton and includes a different coupon code each month.

About the Inventor

The Nanographic Printing® process was invented by Benny Landa, the same visionary who created the Indigo liquid electrographic digital printing process for the high-speed production of high-quality color images.

Landa established the Indigo company In 1977 and sold it Hewlett-Packard in 2002. Then, he immersed himself in studying ways nanotechnology could be used to save the planet.

Today, Benny Landa holds more than 800 patents worldwide. He is the Chairman and CEO of the Landa Group in Rehovot, Israel. The Landa Group includes Landa Digital Printing, Landa Labs, Landa Ventures, Lusix, and the Landa Fund.

Read more about Benny Landa’s background and achievements by visiting: Benny Landa – Landa Nanography

For More Information

On the Landa website (landanano.com), you will find more details about each Landa press. You can also download white papers such as this one:

Nanographic Printing® – Landa Nanography describes the printing process in more detail and how Nanography has evolved.

Correcting Common Myths about Printing Paper and Deforestation

A recent Two Sides North America survey showed that 48% of Americans believe paper is bad for the environment, and 60% believe U.S. forests are shrinking. That’s not true.

In honor of International Print Day (October 20, 2021), we compiled some facts that print buyers should know about the relationship between printing paper use and deforestation.

North American forests are a renewable resource and are not shrinking. U.S. forest area grew by 18 million acres between 1990 and 2020, and net forest area in Canada remained stable at 857 million acres during the same period. This finding was reported in the 2020 Global Forest Resources Assessment conducted by the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

Using paper for printing and packaging does not contribute to deforestation. According to the FAO report, the greatest forest loss occurs in regions of the world that use the least wood.

Demand for sustainably produced paper products provides a strong financial incentive for private forest landowners to manage their land responsibly and keep it forested rather than selling or converting it for non-forest uses.(U.S. Forest Service, 2019).

A 2019 U.S. Forest Service report noted that tree harvesting in the U.S. occurs on less than 2% of forestland each year. This is less than the nearly 3% of forest trees that are disturbed annually by natural events such as insects, disease and fire.

About 89% of wood harvested in the U.S. comes from privately owned forests which provide most of the wood for domestically produced wood and paper products. (U.S. Forest Service, 2019).

U.S. and Canadian paper and paper-based packaging companies are instrumental in achieving sustainable forestry objectives. Sustainable forestry is a comprehensive, science-based approach to protecting and conserving this vital natural resource.

The U.S. Forest Service defines sustainable forestry as meeting the forest resources needs and values of the present without compromising the similar capability of future generations. Sustainable forestry is a land stewardship ethic. It integrates growing, harvesting and regenerating trees for useful products with the protection and conservation of soil, air and water quality, wildlife habitat and biodiversity. Sustainable forestry also takes into account how the forest contributes to global carbon cycles, aesthetics, and long-term social and economic benefits.

Certification organizations such as the Forest Stewardship Council and Sustainable Forestry Initiative rigorously audit forestry practices. The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) independently certify to paper consumers that the products they use come from responsibly managed forests.

According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, more than half of the world’s certified forests are in North America.

About Two Sides North America

Two Sides North America is an independent, non-profit organization that works to dispel common misperceptions about paper and printing. Through fact sheets and other educational materials, they inform businesses and consumers about the sustainability, versatility, and attractiveness of print, paper and paper-based packaging.

The Two Sides global network includes more than 600 member companies across North America, South America, Europe, Australia and South Africa. Member companies span the Graphic Communications and Paper-based Packaging value chain, including forestry, pulp, paper, paper-based packaging, and related fields.

For more facts about the sustainability of paper and paper-based packaging, visit: https:/twosidesna.org

RECOMMENDED READING

How Do We End the Myths About Paper Use and Forests? Everybody has a Part to Play! – Two Sides North America (twosidesna.org)

IDTechEx Expects Market for Fully Printed Sensors to Reach $4.9 Billion by 2031

Printed and flexible sensors constitute the largest printed electronics market outside of electronic displays. Printed sensors span a diverse range of technologies and applications, ranging from image sensors to wearable electrodes.

IDTechEx forecasts that the market for fully printed sensors will reach $4.9 billion by 2032.

This growth is expected to occur even though the largest market (printed glucose test strips) is being displaced by continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) systems. Many new applications and technologies will drive the growth.

New Report on Printed and Flexible Sensors

IDTechEx’s new report “Printed and Flexible Sensors 2022-2032: Technologies, Players, Markets” outlines the current status and future application opportunities in nine categories of printed/flexible sensors.

Specifically, the report covers:

  • Piezoresistive sensors
  • Piezoelectric sensors
  • Printed photodetectors
  • Temperature sensors
  • Strain sensors
  • Capacitive touch sensors
  • Gas sensors
  • Biological sensors
  • Flexible wearable electrodes

Each sensor category seeks to offer a distinctive value proposition over the incumbent technology, with distinct technological and commercial challenges on route to widespread adoption.

Despite this diversity, multiple factors are driving the adoption of many types of printed/flexible sensors. Most important is the increasing adoption of ‘Internet of Things (IoT)’ and ‘Industry 4.0’ since they will require extensive networks of often wirelessly connected low-cost and unobtrusive sensors.

Additionally, the thin-film form factor and conformality of printed/flexible sensors enable them to be incorporated within smaller devices. This gives designers greater freedom to differentiate their products and explore potential new uses.

Printed and flexible sensor technologies

Some of the most commercially promising printed and flexible sensor technologies covered in the report include:

Capacitive touch sensors. These sensors are widely used for transparent touch sensors such as smartphones and tablets. However, there is still extensive scope for innovation within capacitive touch in terms of the transparent conductive materials used, the ability to sense touch over large area displays, and alternative applications for capacitive sensing such as leak detection and interactive surfaces.

Piezoresistive force sensors. These sensors are widely used today in car occupancy sensors, musical instruments, industrial equipment, and some medical devices. While these markets are somewhat commoditized, the sector is innovating to access new, differentiated, higher-value applications. One example is 3D touch panels that can measure applied force as a function position, thus enabling the recognition of more complex HMI gestures than the incumbent capacitive touch panels. Suppliers are continuing to target phones, computer gaming, and automotive interiors.

Gas sensors.. This area is undergoing continued innovation, with emerging approaches utilizing functionalized carbon nanotubes and solution-processable semiconductors. Gas sensors are already used in many industrial contexts and are likely to be increasingly adopted as concern about air pollution grows.

One promising long-term application is the use of printed gas sensors to measure food degradation. The sensors could be directly printed onto food packaging.

Temperature sensors. These can be printed using either a composite ink with silicon nanoparticles or carbon nanotubes. Their main challenge is the low cost, lightweight, and ubiquity of very mature solutions such as thermistors and resistive temperature detectors.

Printed temperature sensors have the clearest value proposition in applications that require spatial resolution using a conformal array. For example, printed temperature sensors could be used to monitor wounds or skin complaints.

Monitoring batteries in electric vehicles is another highly promising application that is receiving increased interest. Printed temperature sensors are lightweight and could be easily integrated into pouch cells.

Overview

The report includes highly granular 10-year market forecasts by technology and application, expressed as both volume and revenue. Also included are multiple application examples, technological/commercial readiness assessments, and over 50 company profiles based on interviews with early-stage and established companies. Further details can be found, along with downloadable sample pages, at www.IDTechEx.com/flexsensors.

About IDTechEx

IDTechEx guides strategic business decisions through its Research, Subscription and Consultancy products, helping clients profit from emerging technologies. For more information, contact research@IDTechEx.com or visit www.IDTechEx.com.

OTTO Motors and Significans Automation Are Bringing Mobile Material-Handling Robots to Printing and Packaging Industry

OTTO Motors, a leading provider of autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) for production, has signed a partnership agreement with Significans Automation Inc. to bring AMR material handling technology to the Printing and Packaging space in the Americas.

OTTO Motors makes flexible, intelligent, autonomous mobile robots for material handing in production facilities and warehouses.

AMRs are advanced robots designed to transport raw and work-in-progress materials throughout the factory floor in pedestrian-heavy areas. AMRs have been proven to be more efficient and cost-effective than humans, conveyors, or fixed-path transporters.

In fact, OTTO AMRs were found to be only 10% the cost of a full-time equivalent for manual cart movement and only 20% of the costs associated with a driver and forklift.

Significans Automation specializes in delivering next-generation automation to companies who are striving to meet the fast-turnaround demands of e-commerce print, packaging, and personalization.

With the new partnership, Significans can now offer customers true end-to-end solutions.. In addition to integrating business, prepress, and production workflows, Significans can help incorporate efficiency-enhancing robotics.

“As the print and packaging industry moves towards automation, material handling remains one of the most challenging processes to automate.” said Rick Baker, CRO of OTTO Motors. “Implementing an intelligent, flexible and scalable material-handling system with autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) can help solve this problem.”

“Significans’ goal has always been to unify our front-end software automation services with back-end robotic solutions,” said Sean Davis, Significans Automation’s Director of Technology, “This partnership marks the beginning of an exciting future for our customers.”

“We went through an extensive search to find the right robotics partner. We recognized the tremendous power and flexibility of OTTO’s single grid to control every robotic process in the environment,” says Marc Raad, President of Significans Automation. “It’s one grid, one integration, and one truly unified production platform.”

“Significans Automation has done incredible work to help innovate and automate graphics operations and workflows in preparation for a robotic future,” adds John Stikes, Director, Strategic Alliances of OTTO Motors. “As a trusted member of the OTTO Motors Partner Network, Significans Automation now offers AMR technology to help their customers tackle labor shortages, scale their businesses, and outperform the competition.”

About OTTO Motors

OTTO Motors is the industrial division of Clearpath Robotics. OTTO provides autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) for material handling inside manufacturing facilities and warehouses. Customers include Fortune 100 brands such as GE and Toyota.

OTTO AMR at door factory
Significans Automation and OTTO Motors are working together to introduce cutting edge offerings to meet specific business requirements of the packaging and printing industry. In this photo, an OTTO autonomous mobile robot moves pallets of patio doors.

About Significans Automation

Significans Automation Inc. specializes in delivering next-generation automation to the Printing and Packaging industry. The company offers programming and expertise in custom workflow development, communication and project management, color management, prepress training, and end-to-end business integration. The company is driven by the conviction that customized automation is the only path forward.

For more information about Autonomous Mobile Robots for printers and packaging converters, please contact Marc Raad at marc.raad (at) significans.com or call 1-877-463-4465.

Demand for Sustainable Print Technologies Will Create New Business Opportunities

More environmentally friendly printing is emerging as a key industry trend for the 2020s. This trend is examined in detail in the Smithers report “The Future of Green Printing to 2026,

Published in August 2021, the report profiles the evolution of circular economy principles, key legislative initiatives, the impact on analog and digital print processes, and all major print product segments (Books, Magazines, Newspapers, Advertising, Catalogs, Commercial, Security applications, Transactional print, Printed décor and textiles, Packaging, and Labels).

Smithers’ “Future of Green Printing to 2026” report examines the current state of green printing, shifting consumer attitudes, and the market shifts that ultimately provide the basis for the growth of green printing.

For example, brand owners and consumers are increasingly seeking and choosing solutions that minimize carbon emissions and waste. Print-service providers (PSPs), ink and media suppliers, and equipment manufacturers that invest in more sustainable solutions over the next five years are likely to be rewarded.

New Business Opportunities

The report examines specific opportunities that will evolve at each stage of the print value chain. For example:

Cutting waste in makeready and set-up will favor wider use of digital (inkjet and electrophotography) print systems. A forecast reduction in the average run length for many print jobs will magnify this impact

The rapid adoption of bio-based solvent and water-based inks will reduce emissions of volatile organic compounds.

Sales of sustainable substrates will increase, including recycled fiber and virgin paper grades from sustainably managed forests. For PSPs there is an onus to limit use of virgin materials and print on recycled paper grades when a premium surface is not necessary

Packaging designers will move away from the existing plastic packaging to fiber-based alternatives. Print-service providers can capitalize on this trend by retooling their print lines to support these less uniform substrates.

New fiber sources for printing papers will be studied, including bamboo or agricultural by-products.

Recycled plastic and biopolymer substrates will be used more widely in some packaging applications

Investments will rise in print processes that minimize the use of secondary raw materials, such as water consumption for wash off.

There will be greater support for technology platforms that enable the collection and reuse of print materials, both in industrial closed-loop and consumer recycling streams.

Reshoring production and printing will improve supply-chain security and reduce carbon emissions and wastage in transit.

Larger organizations can switch to centralized printing models, with a single server assigning job requests most efficiently across its network of presses and end-users. This can also extend into the integration of web-to-print platforms for consumer sales.

For more information, download a brochure from the Smithers website: The Future of Green Printing to 2026 | Market Reports & Research | Smithers

The Smithers Methodology

This report is based on extensive primary and secondary research. Primary research consisted of targeted interviews with printing material suppliers, converters and experts drawn from key markets. This was supported by secondary research in the form of extensive literature analysis of published data, official government statistics, domestic and international trade organization data, company websites, industry reports, trade press articles, presentations, and attendance at trade events.

Groups that can benefit from the information in this report include: print-business owners; suppliers of raw materials and consumables; manufacturers of printing machinery and equipment; print buyers; and consultants and analysts.

About the Author: David Zwang

Print and publishing consultant David Zwang has helped companies increase their productivity, margins and market reach for over 40 years. He specializes in process analysis, automation, engineering and strategic development for firms in the fields of publishing and packaging. He is currently the Chairman of the Ghent Workgroup (GWG), an international organization of graphic arts users, associations, and software developers that is building best practices for publishing and packaging workflows.

Virtual Event Explores Opportunities in Specialty, Custom, and Industrial Printing

The Association for PRINT Technologies (APTech) will host Unbound, a one-day virtual event and online trade fair for opportunities in specialty, custom and industrial printing.

The Unbound event will be held November 16, 2021 from 10:00 am-3:00 pm EDT. There is no fee to attend.

“Print is more than ink on paper and it’s more than a medium that conveys a message,” commented Thayer Long, president of APTech. “Look around and you will see something that has been printed—wallcoverings, flooring, glass, fabrics, ceramics, tiles, containers, toys, displays, electronics—the list is almost endless.”

He continued, “This is the message of Unbound. We need to shake off the constraints of what we think print is and look at what it can and could be.”

Industrial printing describes the processes used to decorate or enhance products as part of the manufacturing process.

Functional printing refers to printed elements that enhance the functionality of a product or create entirely new types of products, such as printed electronics.

Unbound keynoter Sean Smyth, UK-based print consultant and industry expert for Smithers, will kick off the day’s events with a big-picture look at the market in his presentation, “The Industrial (Print) Revolution & What it Means for You.”

The seminar program that follows will include 12 sessions, in which successful industry practitioners and topical experts will discuss the nuts and bolts of building a successful line of industrial or functional printing business and the range of opportunities that exist for businesses of all sizes.

To help Unbound attendees grow decor print businesses, decor-market-business development specialist Rachel Nunziata, will discuss “What You Must Know to Succeed in the Interior Décor Market.” She will share her firsthand expertise, top tips, and resources.

Industrial inkjet evangelist Craig Reid of CTR Resources, LLC will explore how inkjet technologies are being used for an ever-expanding number of applications in his session, “You Can Print on That? Exploring Printable Surfaces.”

To explore the full lineup of speakers and their bios along with the sessions and topics, visit Unbound at: https://unbound.vfairs.com/ or contact staff members at aptech@aptech.org.

About the Association for PRINT Technologies

APTech provides a forum to inspire the development of new and valuable print products. Focused entirely on the future of print, the association educates and fosters collaboration between those who create and those who make. For complete information about the association, its programs,,and its member companies, visit: PRINTtechnologies.org, email aptech@aptech.org, or phone: 703/264-7200.

Ricoh’s Wide-Format Elite Access Helps Operators Solve Production Challenges on Any Brand of Wide-Format Printer

Print shops can produce almost anything with wide-format printing and finishing devices. But the versatility of the equipment combined with rising customer expectations can also create new challenges–especially for wide-format newcomers who don’t yet understand the intricacies of using a greater variety of specialty materials and workflows.

Wide-Format Elite Access is a new service from Ricoh USA, Inc. that connects wide-format print personnel with seasoned wide-format production experts who can share practical knowledge and best practices for sign and graphics workflows.

This one-to-one connection to industry experts can empower you to quickly resolve production challenges, bridge gaps in your wide-format knowledge, and expand your wide-format product capabilities.

The service is available to all print-service providers, regardless of what brands of printing equipment or software are used in their shop.

Ricoh logo

“Wide Format Elite Access gives customers immediate access to skilled print experts with superior understanding of wide-format printing applications and production. Whether printing companies use Ricoh equipment or not, we are here to help them tackle challenges and position their business for future success,” said Heather Poulin, Vice President, CIP Marketing & Portfolio Management, Ricoh USA, Inc. “Out Wide-Format Elite Support Team is made up of industry-leading services engineers who have more than 153 years of combined experience in wide-format. This team was created to help print service providers solve problems and share practical knowledge that helps create opportunity and drive new revenue.”

The complexity of a particular media or process can stall workflows, lead to extra expenses, and generate media waste. Wide Format Elite Access helps printers avoid these pitfalls and address the most common challenges that sign and graphics producers face.

For example, you can learn best practices for:

  • print file setup and inspection
  • identification of hardware and software issues
  • RIP software configuration
  • workflow design
  • substrate selection for specific applications, and
  • creating custom media profiles for color accuracy

Wide-Format Elite Access experts can fast-track support to simplify new wide-format and specialty applications. As a wide-format printer user, you can gain peace of mind and confidence while flattening the learning curve, avoiding production delays, increasing media usage, and maximizing equipment capabilities.

Understanding more about what’s possible with wide-format printing can help you accelerate business growth.

For more information, visit: https://takealookatricohproduction.com/wide-format/elite-access-support/

Print Shop Saves Hours of Labor Daily with EFI UV-LED Hybrid Wide-Format Printer

The owners of the AlphaGraphics® franchise in Portsmouth, New Hampshire have achieved some impressive results after investing in an EFI™ Pro 16h UV LED hybrid wide format printer.

AlphaGraphics Portsmouth provides marketing and printing services to clients in vertical markets such as food, medical manufacturing, real estate, government and education. They purchased EFI’s hybrid roll-to-roll/flatbed printer from EFI dealer Nazdar SourceOne® to grow its large-format graphics business in the post-COVID economy.

“We’re seeing growth as our customers recover from COVID,” said Carrier. “We couldn’t quite justify hiring an entire new team member, but the time and labor that the Pro 16h has saved us essentially equates to half of a person.”

“Our customer-facing folks have become more confident in committing to job fulfillment,” he added. “That’s a benefit you can’t necessarily measure, but you can feel it and it makes a real impact.”

Background

Co-owners Chris Carrier and Chris Oberg purchased the business in October 2019 and brought the AlphaGraphics franchise brand to the previously independent shop. To grow the business, they decided to invest in a hybrid large-format printer that could bring more efficiency and capabilities than the shop’s existing roll-to-roll printers offered.

AlphaGraphics Portsmouth co-owners Chris Oberg (left) and Chris Carrier

“We have a philosophy of continuous improvement when it comes to sales and operations,” said Oberg.

Working closely with their Nazdar sales contact, Carrier and Oberg researched the EFI printer and were impressed with its performance. With features to assure the lowest total cost of ownership, superior image quality, and the ability to handle a wide range of substrates, the Pro 16h printer promised the growth in possibilities that Carrier and Oberg were looking for.

“We try and push our customers toward creative thinking, but people equate creativity with higher costs,” said Oberg. “The Pro 16h gives us the ability to push creative boundaries at a lower cost.”

The availability of local service from the EFI display graphics operations located a short distance from AlphaGraphics Portsmouth – and valuable input and feedback from a network of other AlphaGraphics owners – helped convince Oberg and Carrier of their decision.

“We are active in our network of other AlphaGraphics owners who use a lot of different flatbeds,” said Carrier. “There was a large contingency of owners who were glad they went with EFI and said they would make the same choice if they had to go back.”

The duo is also able to bounce ideas off their AlphaGraphics colleagues who are experienced with the same printer and handle similar customer projects. “Having that additional network of support goes a long way,” Carrier said.

EFI Pro 16h Hybrid Roll-to-Roll/Flatbed Printer
The EFI Pro 16h UV-LED hybrid wide-format printer can print 4-color graphics on rigid substrates up to 65-in. wide and 2 in. thick and rolls of material up to 65 in. wide and 9 in. in diameter. The included white ink makes it possible to print 4-color graphics on clear or colored substrates.

Leveraging efficiencies and lowering TCO

Prior to installing the Pro 16h printer, printing rigid-substrate jobs was a multi-step process at AlphaGraphics Portsmouth. The process involved printing adhesive vinyl on a roll-to-roll printer and manually mounting the printed sheets to boards.

“Every rigid material job involved cutting, applying vinyl, rolling through twice, and trimming everything,” said Oberg. “That multistep process is no longer needed for a majority of our orders, simplifying around 90% of our orders.”

The Pro 16h printer’s powerful UV LED technology is capable of printing directly on a wide range of substrates that cannot withstand high heat required for curing or drying with traditional UV or latex printers.

AlphaGraphics Portsmouth’s new prin ter features an EFI Fiery® proServer Core digital front end with FAST RIP acceleration technology that helps get work prepped and printed faster than before. The team was familiar with Fiery, having used it on its cut-sheet digital printers. Training helped the team adapt quickly to the new hybrid large-format device. “After install and training our staff really took to it,” said Carrier. “They saw the efficiencies and elimination of extra steps.”

Four hours of labor savings daily

The shop has already started to benefit from higher throughput and more reliable production turnaround. Printing at resolutions up to 1,200 dots per inch, the EFI Pro16h prints at a production speed of up to 311 square feet per hour in four colors, It also includes a high-quality, highly opaque white ink that gives AlphaGraphics Portsmouth more options to produce vibrant, full-color work on projects printed on clear or colored substrates.

Between the printer’s technical capabilities and the shop’s new ability to print direct to substrate, AlphaGraphics Portsmouth has saved about four hours in labor every day and eliminated the need for reprinted jobs that resulted from human error.

For more information about EFI’s advanced technologies for digital printing, visit www.efi.com.

Art E-Commerce Website to Promote Independent Artists in Billboard Campaign

Here is a great example of how an e-commerce platform is using out-of-home advertising graphics to create a big impression in the physical world. Fine Art America, the world’s largest art marketplace, is planning an billboard advertising campaign that will feature art from 20 independent artists.

Fine Art America is currently conducting an online contest for artists who would like to see their works featured in the campaign. The contest is free to join and is open to artists from all over the world.

Fine Art America billboard
Fine Art America is running an online contest to pick 20 artists to feature in a billboard campaign.

“We’ve been in business since 2006 and have built one of the largest online art communities in the world with more than one million participating artists,” noted Sean Broihier, CEO of Fine Art America. “For 15+ years, we’ve been promoting our artists and their incredible artwork almost exclusively online. It’s time to showcase them in the real world.”

He adds that “The upcoming billboard campaign gives us an opportunity to reach a new audience of art buyers, build brand awareness for Fine Art America, and introduce the incredibly talented artists who use Fine Art America to sell canvas prints, framed prints, greeting cards, and more.”

Contest Rules and Timeline

Artists may submit up to three images in any two-dimensional medium, including paintings, photographs, digital art, and mixed media.

Submissions are due by August 31 and may be uploaded online at https://fineartamerica.com/billboard

On September 15, Fine Art America will select 20 winning images to appear on twenty billboards throughout the United States.

Each billboard will be at least 24 feet wide by 12 feet tall and will prominently feature the winning image, the title of the image, and the artist’s name or preferred social media handle. The billboards will be positioned in various cities throughout the United States and will remain visible for at least one month, each, during the fall and winter of 2021.

In addition to the top billboard prizes, Fine Art America will give hundreds of canvas prints and other products to participating artists who meet certain voting thresholds in the contest.

“What’s always been exciting about Fine Art America is the community aspect of the business,” noted Broihier. “We’re not just an e-commerce company selling a product. We’re a vibrant online community featuring millions of artists who use Fine Art America’s technology, marketplace, and fulfillment network to grow their personal art businesses.”

“We’re very excited to launch our billboard contest, review the artists’ submissions, and continue to shine a spotlight on living artists all over the world.” said Broihier.

To learn more and enter the contest, visit https://fineartamerica.com/billboard

On September 15, Fine Art America will select 20 winning images to appear on 20 billboards throughout the United States.

About Fine Art America

Fine Art America allows independent artists around the world to sell their art printed on dozens of items. In addition to traditionally framed wall art, the art and designs can be converted to wood art, metal prints, apparel, posters, tapestries, and art-inspired décor and lifestyle products such as shower curtains, duvet covers, throw pillows, yoga mats, tote bags, greeting cards, stickers, and spiral notebooks.

When buyers place an online order, the customized product is digitally printed at one of 16 production facilities in five different countries and shipped within 3 to 4 days. Hundreds and thousands of artists, photographers, and national brands sell their art on Fine Art America.

New Print Finishing, Packaging, and Design Event Planned for June 2022

The print finishing value chain will be the focus of a three-day exhibition and educational program being organized by The Association for PRINT Technologies (APTech) and the Foil & Specialty Effects Association (FSEA). Titled” Amplify,” the event will take place June 14-16, 2022 at the Minneapolis Convention Center in Minnesota.

At “Amplify,” print and packaging designers, commercial printers, print finishers, binders, mailers, and creatives can learn more about post-press processes such as metallic decorating techniques, folding and gluing, UV coating, laminates, laser cutting, perfect and mechanical binding, folding, and direct mail processing and software

From the exhibit hall to the educational program and beyond, attendees will network with all the key players in the finishing cycle, learn best practices, discover emerging technologies, and hear real-world success stories.

Other association partners supporting Amplify include: AICC, the Independent Packaging Association, and RadTech, the Association for UV&EB Technology.

Amplify will feature an interactive learning experience through technology demonstrations, product spotlights, and classroom educational experiences. .

“After more than a year of virtual interactions and events, we’re proud to announce the launch of Amplify,” said Jeff Peterson, Executive Director of FSEA. “Amplify will connect and inspire all—from design to the final finished product.”

Kevin Abergel, Senior Vice President, Sales and Marketing at MGI Digital Technology, looks forward to Amplify, stating, “Finally, someone decided to connect all the different levels in the print finishing ecosystem, with manufacturers, designers, and brands working together and learning from one another.”
He expects the event to be more about community building than selling machines: “Amplify will be the new standard-bearer for what trade shows can be in the future.”

“I am truly excited about the opportunity the new Amplify event and conference will provide. It will be an excellent way for printers, finishers, and designers to gain critical insights into the ever-changing and evolving world of digital print, digital finishing, and techniques for designing with these new possibilities,” affirmed Myron Werner, Director of Sales, Packaging and Print, at NC-based KURZ Transfer Products.
“This event will allow many to explore these new processes “hands on” during the Technology Center demonstrations and discover new techniques to deliver designs to the market faster than ever. These evolving technologies are providing new concepts and opportunities never possible before and it’s time to see them all under one platform in one place. Amplify fits the need.”

“Print and packaging designers strive to catch the eye of the consumer, and commercial printers need their customers’ printed products to excel,” said Thayer Long, President of APTech. “Amplify will be the venue to showcase the accomplishments, best practices, and innovation happening in the print finishing industry.”

APTech’s dedicated exhibit team is committed to helping exhibitors and sponsors reach their customers, build awareness, and generate new leads. They will also be able to connect with key players in the print finishing value chain from designers, creative and art directors, printers, finishers, and mailers. Exhibitors will be able to demonstrate their creative products and services through technology demonstrations and product spotlights. Attendee registration for Amplify will launch in early 2022.

To learn more about Amplify, visit amplifyprint.org or contact the organizers at info@amplifyprint.org.