America’s Print Show Offers Workshops on Workforce Development and Supply Chains

The inaugural America’s Print Show (APS22) will be held Aug. 17-19, 2022 at the Greater Columbus Convention Center in Columbus, Ohio. APS22 has been created by printers for printers and is a partnership of more than 30 industry trade associations and industry leaders. The goal of APS22 is to bring resources, ideas, education, and thought leadership together to address the critical needs of of the industry.

Education Sessions

“One of our stated objectives is to drive visibility and revenue for the whole graphics
community,” said Jim Cunningham, President of Americas Print Show. “APS has booked top
print industry insiders to bring the latest news and trends to our attendees. Every one of us will
leave Americas Print Show this year with valuable insights we can act on in 2023 and beyond.”

Sessions will focus on cybersecuirty, supply chain issues, workforce development and technology. Here are some of the educational programs planned for America’s Print Show.

Creating a Culture of Innovation. This session will explore how organizations struggle to create a culture that allows everyone to innovate, grow and transform consistently. Research conducted in over 100 large, medium, and small-sized organizations shows that creating a culture for innovation and learning requires leaders to acquire five specific skill sets that can promote reflection, psychological safety, transparency, agile decision making and diverse thinking. In this session, see how to build these skills that can be foundational to your success as change agents of the future. Presenter: Dr. Aravind Chandrasekaran, Associate Dean of the Fisher College of Business at The Ohio State University.

Weathering the Labor Storm: How to Inspire, Recruit and Train Your Next-Generation Workforce
This session will explain why the recruitment and retention of the future workforce is one of the most criitical issues facing the print industry. This session will give attendees a better understanding of how to awaken potential career seekers to rewarding new futures in the print industry, create a more diverse and equitable workforce, support supervisors to effectively manage the training process, and empower employees to share the opportunity and impact of print. All attendees will receive a free Print Industry Recruitment Kit. Presenter: Steve Bonnoff, Founding Partner, Print Industries.

Paper and the Supply Chain Gang. Executives from the 100-year-old Millcraft paper merchant that serves the professional paper, packaging, and graphic arts industries will discuss the unprecedented supply chain challenges confronting the print industry today. They will share their insights on: the biggest domestic and global factors impacting the marketplace; what we can expect from suppliers for the rest of 2022 and into 2023; how to navigate the supply chain turbulence; new market opportunities; and what Millcraft is doing to protect their business (and their customers’ business) during this volatile time. Presenters: Greg Lovensheimer Executive VP Chief Operating Officer, Millcraft Paper and Travis Mlakar President / CEO, Millcraft

Think Like a Hacker: Best Practices to Protect your Company’s Brand. Over 60% of small to mid-size businesses were targeted by cyber criminals last year. Over 73% of them never trained their employees in cyber awareness. At this session, an All Covered representative will share best practices, and review current trends and methods to keep your organization and its brand secure. All Covered is part of the InfraGuard partnership between the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and members of the private sector to protection U.S. critical infrastructure. They provide education, information sharing, networking, and workshops on emerging technologies and threats. Presenter: David Mauro, Regional Manager, All Covered, IT Services Division, Konica Minolta

8 MegaTrehds Diving Success in the Printing Industry. In a highly competitive industry, printers must focus on two things to succeed: efficiency and growth. The first delivers a better bottom line; the second produces a more robust top line. In this session, New Direction Partners experts share what they have found to be the 8 mega trends driving success for printing companies, providing insight to owners and managers about how they can ensure enduring success in their own businesses. This includes: operating as efficiently as possible, investing in technology, and maintaining a healthy balance sheet. They will also discuss the role of mergers and acquisitions and other factors related to success.. Presenters: James A. Russell and Peter J. SchaeferPartners, New Direction Partners 

Digital U – The ABC’s of Your Social Media Presence. This session will cover everything from your LinkedIn profile to the three main uses of social media to drive sales. The primary focus will be LinkedIn but all major social media platforms will be addressed. You will learn how, why, when, and with whom to use social media to begin and maintain relationships, build trust, and be remembered. You will also learn about all things content related: what to share, how to cultivate valuable content for your clients and prospects, and how to create original content. Presenter: Kelly Mallozzi, Sales Engagement Expert, Success.In.Print

Supporting Associations

America’s Print Show is supported by a variety of regional and special-interest printing associations, such as the groups listed below:

Graphic Arts Association

Graphic Communications Workforce Coalition

Graphic Media Alliance

Great Lakes Graphics Association NPSOA

PIA MidAmerica

Print Industry Midwest

Print and Graphics Scholarship Foundation

Print Media Association

Printing Industries of the South

Printing and Imaging Association of Georgia

Print Industries Alliance

Printing Industries of New England

PIA San Diego

PIA Southern California

The Printing Industry of the Carolinas

Visual Media Alliance

For More Information

For information about all of the sessions, exhibitors, and special events, visit: https://americasprintshow.com/

Recommended Blog Posts

Some of the speakers at America’s Print Show have written blog posts on their of expertise on the America’s Print Show blog. Here are a few posts to check out:\

Why Successful Leaders Understand Cybercrime by David Mauro

Funnelling Sales Opportunities to Your Sales Team by Kelly Mallozi

3 Huge Tips for Entering the Wide-Format Market by Greg Lovensheimer. Travis Mlakar

Catalyst Uses Multiple Epson SureColor F10070 Printers for Home Textile Products

Digital textile printing systems are making it easier for home-textile designers and entrepreneurs to order shorter runs of customized products. For example, Catalyst Fabric Solutions, a large web-to-print manufacturer of home textiles, has installed multiple Epson SureColor F10070 dye-sublimation printers to increase productivity and fulfill print-on-demand orders.

Catalyst Fabric Solutions offers more than10,000 customizable home textile products, including tablecloths, placemats, bean bags, backpacks, lunch totes, pillows, and custom blankets. The customized products that can either be ordered through retailers or shipped directly to customers.

“The print on-demand business has tripled in the last four years, and it continues to grow at a great rate,” said Chuck Smith, owner, Catalyst Fabric Solutions. “We’ve seen business increase over the last two years and a lot of people are searching for internet on-demand businesses. We needed more technology; we needed more printers to keep up. The SureColor F10070 was everything we wanted.”

Orders at Catalyst Fabric Solutions typically spike in October, November, and December as customers prepare for the holiday season. Catalyst sees an increase in demand for photo products, including photo blankets.

“The first of our SureColor F10070 printers were installed in December 2020 – in the middle of our busiest season,” said Jim King, operations manager, Catalyst Fabric Solutions. “Had they not been a plug-and-play set up, we would have had some real problems, as we were counting on their capacity to meet deadlines. However, they hooked into our network easily and we were able to begin printing immediately.”

“Because of the capacity on the SureColor F10070 printers, we were able to take all our blankets that we previously put through 30 other printers onto the new Epson printers. And they were printing them in less than a minute – about four times faster than our previous machines,” said King. “There’s nothing I haven’t put through this printer yet – it’s the workhorse right now for the plant.”

“As one of the largest and most advanced facilities of its kind, Catalyst Fabric Solutions runs an impressive operation,” said Tim Check, product manager, Professional Imaging, Epson America, Inc. “They are putting the SureColor F10070 to the ultimate test in their industrial facility and pushing a vast majority of their dye-sublimation projects onto the SureColor F10070 printers to best deliver results for clients.”

Epson wide-format industrial dye-sublimation printer
Epson SureColor F10070 Industrial Dye-Sublimation Printer

The Epson SureColor F10070 offers industrial reliability and round-the-clock productivity at a low total cost of ownership. The printer features four 4.7- inch PrecisionCore® printheads to deliver roll-to-roll performance at speeds up to 2,700 sqft/hr.

Features to maximize efficiency and minimize downtime include user-replaceable printheads and a low-cost, high-capacity replaceable ink pack system that holds up to 20 Liters of ink per color for longer print runs with less user intervention.

For additional information on the Epson’s textile printing solutions, visit Epson’s website.

EFI Sells Productivity Software Business to Symphony Technology Group

On January 5, EFI (Electronics for Imaging) announced that they had completed the sale of its eProductivity Software (EPS) packaging and print productivity software business to an affiliate of Symphony Technology Group (STG). STG is a private-equity partner to market-leading companies in data, software, and analytics.

EPS will become an independent global software company, offering mission-critical Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), business, and production software for the packaging and print industries. STG’s backing will accelerate EPS’ growth as a standalone company through organic and inorganic initiatives to deepen and broaden the company’s capabilities.

“This strategic step in becoming an independent company enables us to bring greater value to our customers, as well as the packaging and print industries overall, by extending our collaboration with key industry technology players,” said Gabriel (Gaby) Matsliach, CEO of eProductivity Software. “We will continue to collaborate closely with our friends at EFI.”

EPS has more than 4,000 mid-market and enterprise customers globally. Products include MIS, ERP, e-commerce, and business intelligence solutions to improve efficiency in companies that produce corrugated packaging, labels, flexible packaging, folding cartons, commercial print, direct mail, and displays.

EFI will prioritize technology investments in its Inkjet and Fiery business units to accelerate growth in its fast-growing industrial EFI™ Inkjet business. EFI plans to capitalize on the growth opportunities available in segments the company already serves and drive expansion into markets that are beginning the transformation toward digital. 

“We have never been more excited about the opportunity in the industrial inkjet markets and our ability to leverage Fiery, the leading Digital Front End (DFE) technology for digital color printing, to continue to drive the analog-to-digital transformation in all high-value segments of imaging,” said Jeff Jacobson, EFI’s CEO and Executive Chairman. “We are making significant investments to continue to be the clear leader in the Packaging & Corrugated, Display Graphics, Textile, and Building Materials/Decor markets.” He said EFI will increasingly serve new adjacencies including e-commerce, direct-to-garment, and other rapidly growing segments.

“Industrial inkjet imaging is one of the greatest opportunities I have seen in my 35 years in this industry,” Jacobson added. “The sale of the software business provides our industrial inkjet and Fiery teams the focus that will best position them for success.”

Industrial Inkjet: Unprecedented Opportunity 

The industrial inkjet space is ripe with opportunity in existing and adjacent vertical markets.

EFI Inkjet will continue to develop shuttle and single-pass inkjet technology. The division will leverage its expertise in hardware, mechanical control software, high-speed electronics, services, cloud-connected devices, and ink innovations to deliver the next generation of versatile, high-volume, superior-quality printers and presses. 

“The future of print is digital, and this realignment further solidifies EFI’s technology leadership position and accelerates growing our innovation edge as a provider of the world’s leading digital printers for the Packaging & Corrugated, Display Graphics, Textile, and Building Materials/Decor markets,” said Scott Schinlever, Chief Operating Officer and General Manager, EFI Inkjet. “This sets the stage for our customers to continue to produce more in less time, with less labor, at higher quality, with a reduced environmental impact, and will allow us to drive our level of inkjet knowledge and expertise into promising new market applications.” 

Fiery: Driving Digital Print Innovation and Growth

The Fiery business unit, under the continued leadership of Fiery Chief Operating Officer and General Manager Toby Weiss, remains as the world’s premier provider of digital front ends (DFEs).

Digital front ends process the huge volumes of data required by applications such as superwide graphics, high-speed package printing, and variable-data commercial print. Advanced Fiery solutions drive high-end printers and presses from many major equipment manufacturers.

“The Fiery portfolio of products incorporates world-class color algorithms, advanced cloud technology, and many other best-in-class proprietary solutions that reduce production time and increase print quality,” said Weiss. “Working in close consultation with our partners, the investments we are making in the future of Fiery technology will foster even stronger solutions – including leading-edge cloud offerings through an EFI IQ™ suite of products that continues to help customers achieve new levels of automation, accuracy and profit potential in digital printing.”

About EFI

EFI™ is a global technology company, based in Silicon Valley. To lead the worldwide transformation from analog to digital imaging, EFI develops breakthrough technologies for the manufacturing of signage, packaging, textiles, ceramic tiles, building materials and personalized documents, with a wide range of printers, inks, and digital front ends. (www.efi.com

About eProductivity Software

With headquarters in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, eProductivity Software is a global provider of industry-specific business and production software technology for the packaging and print industries. The company’s integrated and automated software offerings and point solutions are designed to enable revenue growth and drive operating and production efficiencies. (www.eProductivitySoftware.com)

About STG

Symphony Technology Group (STG) in Menlo Park, California is a private equity partner to market leading companies in data, software, and analytics. The firm brings expertise, flexibility, and resources to build strategic value and unlock the potential of innovative companies. Partnering to build customer-centric, market leading portfolio companies, STG seeks to create sustainable foundations for growth that bring value to the companies with which it partners. STG’s expansive portfolio has consisted of more than 35 global companies. (www.stgpartners.com)

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.