Quad to Close Its Retail Insert Printing Plant in Dickson, TN, Resulting in Loss of 115 Employees

The loss of Gannett’s USA Weekend supplement and a reduction in the circulation of Parade magazine have prompted Quad/Graphics to announce the permanent closure of its retail insert printing plant here effective next March. The move will result in the loss of a total of 115 full- and part-time positions.All production will wrap up on or before March 15, according to Claire Ho, director of corporate communications for Sussex, WI-based Quad/Graphics. Ho told The Tennessean that USA Weekend and Parade production represent about one-third of the facility’s total volume.The decision was announced in a letter to vendors from David Blais, executive vice president of global procurement and platform strategy for Quad/Graphics. Blais said that Gannett’s decision to cease publication ofUSA Weekend effective with the Dec. 28 issue was unexpected.

“Sunday magazines represent a large percentage of the Dickson plant’s total volume and, after careful consideration, we have determined there is no way to replace this lost work,” Blais wrote. “Therefore, it does not make sense to continue operating the Dickson plant.”

The approximately 90 full-time and 25 part-time employees affected by the closure will have the opportunity to transfer to another Quad/Graphics facility, Ho told the newspaper.

ABS Graphics Buys 72″ Wohlenberg Cutter as It Consolidates into New 130,000-Square-Foot Plant

It’s the week before Christmas and while some businesses have already eased off the accelerator for the holiday break, that’s not the case at ABS Graphics in Itasca, IL, a western suburb of Chicago. A combination of steady and consistent client work and moving people and equipment from two locations into new space is keeping everyone active. One of the first machines pressed into service was the new 72” Wohlenberg cutting system purchased from and installed by industry leader Colter & Peterson.ABS is consolidating separate large-format and litho operations in nearby Addison and Chicago into a new, 130,000 square-foot facility. Moving a large company from two locations is a herculean task, and Owner and Principal Steve VanderVeen is quick to credit a dedicated group of 150 full-time and as many as 50 temporary employees for making significant progress every day. The move began last month and is expected to be completed sometime in late January.Once a traditional sheetfed offset printing company that first opened its doors in 1978, ABS has expanded into large-format litho and screen print as well as digital and variable data printing. For now they maintain a 24/7 schedule as necessary to accomplish the production of mixed marketing materials in a wide range of substrates and sizes for their national Fortune 500 clients. This versatile production level, as well as the ability to offer data-driven fulfillment, personalized packaging and shipment across North America, allows ABS to uniquely and effectively serve the national retail market.

“Supplying to the national retail market is what we are all about,” explained VanderVeen. “We bought the new cutting system to complement our 40” sheetfed capabilities and handle the influx of large-format litho for our clients, while having the ability to cut many different items to meet customized needs. We’ve known Colter & Peterson for many years, and we knew they were the right place to go for this type of specialized cutter.”

The Wohlenberg system includes a 72” paper cutter with automatic rear loader, jogger and lift. It offers a ton of benefits and joins a pair of 45” and 85” paper cutters. Featuring precise cutting, a 15” touch screen display and a CIP data module, it is working in tandem with another recent addition: a five-color KBA Rapida 142 press.

“The sizeable amount of retail in-store work that is displayed in stores is printed on the large-format press and requires a cutter that can handle all the material handling. The KBA press prints 40×56” sheets, which is double the size and weight of 28×40” sheets,” informed VanderVeen. “Running two-sided, we use the auto loader to pick up and turn it over, as well as aerating and jogging the loads, and then put it back on the press.”

As VanderVeen walks the floor from one area to another, he points out that run size usually varies. Picking up a stack of single use coupon books with digitally printed individual bar codes, he explains how ABS can print tracks of 50,000 at any given time for a run that eventually adds up into the millions—and repeats the process on a monthly basis.

“We bought the auto loader and jogger for its speed. With a two man operation, we’re seeing a significant increase in the amount of volume we can turn around on the Wohlenberg system,” remarked VanderVeen. “The training and installation went well except for a few minor things where we needed to make some adjustments. Our business level is very good and we will have to determine how much and how often we use it. For now, it’s as much as possible.”

Digital Services Provider Atos to Acquire Xerox’s Information Technology Outsourcing Business for $1.05B

Atos, an international leader in digital services, and Xerox, a global business services, technology, and document management company, has announced their intention for Atos to purchase Xerox’s ITO business for $1.05 billion and become a primary IT services provider for Xerox. Additionally, this transaction will enable new levels of collaboration in client situations and innovative solutions leveraging Atos’ world-class ITO capabilities and highlighting Xerox’s Business Process Outsourcing and document outsourcing expertise.As part of this transaction, Atos will add Xerox’s blue-chip ITO clients to its portfolio in order to accompany them on their digital journey. With estimated 2014 revenue of $1.5 billion, Xerox’s ITO business employs approximately 9,800 ITO employees in 45 countries, with 4,500 in the U.S. and more than 3,800 in global delivery countries such as India, the Philippines and Mexico. The Xerox ITO leadership team will also join Atos. Xerox’s existing ITO clients will gain access to Atos’ global IT services capabilities and a broad range of cutting-edge services.Also under the terms of this transaction, Atos will provide IT services to Xerox.

Atos and Xerox have established a working relationship spanning several years. For example, Atos has relied on Xerox for managed print, human resource and financial services. Xerox currently uses Atos for ITO work in Europe.

“Atos is a company with whom we’ve had a long relationship in several capacities,” said Ursula Burns, Xerox’s chairman and CEO. “Selling the ITO business to Atos gives our clients around the globe an expanded, world-class suite of IT capabilities that complement Xerox’s industry leading BPO and document outsourcing solutions. This transaction is another step in our ongoing portfolio management strategy and increases our focus on those areas where we can deliver the most value and expertise to our clients.”

Acquiring Xerox’s ITO business provides Atos with a broader geographic footprint and the ability to support the needs of its European and U.S. clients anywhere in the world. This adds breadth to its already deep services portfolio and leading technologies, particularly in Cloud, Big Data, Cyber-security, and in High Power Computing.

Thierry Breton, chairman and CEO of Atos, noted: “Increasing our position in the United States is a major step in the completion of our three year strategic plan and responds to a strong demand from our global customers. This transaction will allow us to strengthen our footprint in the U.S. market which is an early adopter of high growth innovative technologies and to access a pool of talented and highly skilled technologists. At Atos we are all excited to welcome soon our 9,800 new colleagues who will be part of a leader fully dedicated to the most advanced IT Services.”

He continued: “The two companies already have a successful long-standing commercial relationship. This provides both companies the opportunity to take full benefit of this strategic collaboration and it makes me very confident in our ability to generate value for our customers and shareholders.”

The intended transaction, which has received the unanimous support of both the Atos’ and Xerox’s Boards of Directors, is subject to customary closing conditions, regulatory and antitrust approvals, and consultation, when relevant, with employee representative bodies. The transaction is expected to close in the first half of 2015.

The Cold Cured Facts on UV Solutions for Sheetfed Printing Applications


Date:Now available on-demand until 3/11/15!

Featuring: Clarence Penge, Vice President Sheetfed, Product Management, Heidelberg USA; Norm Bullock, Vice President, Frankston Packaging; Dave Pauley, President, Neyenesch Printers

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The UV world is ever-changing, and like most printers, you may need help navigating it. In this webinar, we’ll help to separate reality from fiction and set the record straight on UV. This webinar will touch on the common offerings in production over recent years and we’ll have real-life examples from printers in the field who will impart their experiences and answer some common questions. This webinar will help you:

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Fuji unveils new Jet Press 720 and secures first five European sales

Fujifilm has formally launched the next generation of its B2 sheetfed inkjet press, the Jet Press 720S, which features a number of enhancements over the Mk1 machine including the ability to handle variable data.

jet-press-720s

While the 720S is still a simplex machine, it features what Fuji describes as “semi-duplexing”, where each sheet is given a unique barcode to ensure it is married to the correct reverse image for double-sided personalisation or versioning.

It also features faster closed-loop image correction with the inline sensor relocated from the delivery unit to the imaging unit. The speeds up the automatic compensation for nozzle drop-outs, dramatically reducing the number of waste sheets.

According to Fuji, overall the new machine boasts significantly improved uptimes, thanks to elements including faster colour correction when changing paper types, down from 20 minutes to three, and an image data transfer rate twice that of the old machine.

Servicing and maintenance has also been improved with design enhancements such as better spacing of the printhead modules, cutting the three-day swap-out time of a module on the Mk1 to a three-hour job on the 720S, and a two-minute fully automated head cleaning programme.

The paper transport, which is still built by Ryobi, features a new chain system that ‘floats’ the sheet on air from the imaging unit to the dryer, which now has a hot air knife as well as IR drying to enable the vast majority of jobs to go immediately into post-press.

Finally, the imaging drum has more segmented vacuum areas to better handle lighter stocks and sheets with heavy image areas.

Despite all of these enhancements though, the new press has the same headline performance as the Mk I machine, such as a top speed of 2,700sph, 1,200dpi resolution and the same Fuji Dimatix Samba printheads with four-level grayscale (2pl, 4pl and 6pl on the 720S) in four-colour bar configuration.

However, Graham Leeson, Fujifilm Europe head of communications, graphic arts, said: “Don’t be misled by the specifications.

“It’s not just about the speed at which you can lay down an image on a sheet, it’s about the whole process and we’ve designed this press so that the overall print process is much more efficient.

“The industry needs uptime and reliability from its digital presses – this is critical, and we’re getting a lot of interest in the 720S due to its ability to be running 24/7.”

He acknowledged that total cost of ownership is also important and the 720S has what Fuji described as a “significantly improved business model” over the Mk1.

While the firm didn’t reveal details of its pricing model, according to Leeson, while the 720S itself is nominally cheaper than the Mk1, he said the real saving was in lower running costs thanks to the introduction of the Vividia water-based pigment inkset optmised for the 720S.

“The old Jet Press had a fairly small sweetspot – some applications were great to run on it – but with the technical improvements, combined with the business improvements, the sweet spot for the 720S is much bigger,” said Leeson.

While Mk1 Jet Presses can also be reconfigured to run the new lower cost inkset, Leeson said that Fuji would instead be recommending customers upgrade to the 720S.

“The reshaped commercial offer is a result of many technical and manufacturing changes in both the press and the consumables (primarily ink).  To get the best results, therefore, both technically and commercially, we are recommending an upgrade to the Mk2 press for Mk1 users,” he said.

The first beta 720Ss were installed in Japan around six months ago and five 720Ss have already been sold in Europe, with two already installed, and another seven installed in Japan and one in the US.

A total of 23 Mk1 Jet Presses were installed worldwide in the three years it was available, three of which were in Europe.

“We believe there are significant opportunities for printers to make money with this press, this [the sales] is a good example of where this press is going, and the opportunity. And if you look at the fact that we have sold five machines in six months [in Europe], then it’s quite exciting.”

A demonstration Jet Press 720S was installed at Fuji’s Advanced Print Technology Centre in Brussels last month, and Fuji is hosting a series of open days to show off the new press this week with around 200 visitors expected from across Europe.

 

LPC Printing closes with loss of 56 jobs

Joint administrators Alexander Kinninmonth and Matthew Haw of Baker Tilly were appointed to the £4.7m-turnover B2 litho and digital print business last Tuesday (16 December).

A statement from the joint administrators said that the company was closed on appointment and trading was ceased, resulting in the redundancy of 56 members of staff.

The administrators are currently in the process of seeking a buyer for the company’s assets.

LPC Printing’s accounts for the year ended 31 January 2014 include a going concern note that states: “The directors have considered the company’s cashflow requirements going forward. Banking facilities have recently been renewed and the company is able to access funds from a mixture of an overdraft facility and invoice financing facility, coupled with trade credit and other short-term funding.

“In the year under review, the company has invested in new plant to enable it to increase production capacity and the directors’ best consideration is that the company will be able to improve its trading position going forward.”

LPC’s current appointment report lists Nicholas Lee, Martin Bosworth and Kathleen Harrison as directors.

According to LPC Printing’s website, the company was equipped with two B2 Heidelberg presses, a five-colour SM 74 and 10-colour XL 75 perfector that was installed in February 2011, as well as a Xerox iGen3 110 digital colour press.

LPC Printing announced a merger with Midas Press in September 2010. However, following Midas Press’s administration in October 2011, LPC managing director Nicholas Lee said his involvement with Midas had ended eight months prior.