On Demand signs five-year contract for Azura TE Plate

Commercial printer On Demand has signed a five-year contract for Agfa’s new Azura TE direct-on-press plate in an agreement that also includes a new Avalon N4 platesetter.

The Azura TE chemistry-free processless plates, which were launched in December, require no processor, chemistry or water wash-up post exposure and can be put on press straight out of the platesetter.

The plate supports up to 240lpi with Sublima screening and are said to be very stable on press, eliminating many of the variables inherent with conventionally processed plates.

On Demand had previously been using the Fuji violet plates and a Screen PlateRite platesetter.

Shane Holdcroft, managing director of Northampton-based On Demand, said: “Over the years we have spent many hours cleaning a messy processor, which has incurred significant downtime and caused delays.

“Because we started using more and more plates, as we increased our usage it became more apparent that we needed to do something that was more cost-effective in terms of time and chemistry.

“I wanted a CTP system that did not involve chemicals, and looked at a number of options offering imaging off-press, clean on-press and no maintenance.

“Roger Florey, our local Agfa Graphics representative, had been patiently calling on us over the last couple of years, and, when I put the question to him, he said that Agfa had a new Azura plate, which offers everything I was looking for. He was right: Azura TE has delivered exactly what he said.

“This system is plug-and-play, you push a button and the plate comes out. There’s no maintenance involved in the system at all. The whole installation and the way the plate has behaved has been fantastic. The only thing we’ve done on press is alter our pre-damp settings.

“We haven’t changed any chemistry and we’re getting extremely good results and we’ve got between 3,000 and 4,000 plates a month going through now so it’s quite a big usage.”

Press minder Scott Markham added: “This Agfa plate has a clear defined image so it is easy to check before it goes on the press. There has been no problem with the inks we use and it behaves exactly the same with process and spot colours.

“The debris is deposited on the blanket then onto the first few running sheets and by the 10th I am printing a sellable sheet.

“There is no contamination to the fount solution and the only adjustments we have made are to pre and post damping. To date, the plate has printed runs of 50,000 and 60,000 and I can see that it will easily achieve over 100,000 impressions.”

The business, which also operates a Heidelberg Speedmaster CD 74 five-colour with coating unit, Xerox digital equipment, Epson wide-format machinery and a range of finishing kit, handles run lengths ranging from 100 up to 100,000.

The firm’s sales and marketing director Matt Stockdale said: “We are constantly looking at ways to improve not only quality and service but also to reduce waste. To achieve this we must be efficient in all aspects of our business.

“It is too early to give accurate figures but I can honestly say that the new Agfa CTP system has considerably cut our water and power usage.

“In the past the waste from the plate processor would be taken away by an environmental collection agency but now this is no longer required meaning Azura TE is saving us approximately £800 per month.”

On Demand, which has 25 staff and a turnover approaching £3m, produces a range of special projects and general print including brochures, posters, folders and stationery for SMEs, charities and blue chip public sector companies.

Quad Acquires Marin’s International

Quad/Graphics, Inc. has acquired Marin’s International (“Marin’s”), a worldwide leader in the point-of-sale display industry, based in Paris, France. Marin’s is the exclusive licensee of an international patent portfolio covering a variety of display systems, including the popular Lamà created by François L’Hotel that instantly pops open into position with no assembly required.

The acquisition strengthens and expands both companies’ offerings to retailers and brand marketers around the world, including major consumer packaged goods companies. Through Marin’s, Quad/Graphics clients will have additional ways to promote their products or services as part of a global brand campaign. Backed by Quad/Graphics’ financial strength and resources, Marin’s will continue developing new products and services that enhance its value in the marketplace and to its global licensee network.

“Marin’s is a successful, highly respected company whose solutions enhance our existing in-store and large-format marketing solutions,” said Joel Quadracci, Quad/Graphics Chairman, President & CEO. “This acquisition supports our strategies to grow our business globally while enhancing our financial strength and creating shareholder value. Marin’s high-end corrugated displays complement our core print business and represent high-growth potential. The Marin’s team possesses exceptional strength and talent in structural and graphic design, and we look forward to bringing innovative ideas to the global marketplace together.”

Konica Minolta Develops ‘World’s Fastest’ Auto-Scanning Spectrophotometer

Konica Minolta announced that it has developed the FD-9, an auto-scanning spectrophotometer capable of measuring a standard color chart, commonly used in the printing industry for profile creation, at the fastest speed in the world1. This model will be launched worldwide in the summer of 2015, with repair and calibration services conveniently available at Konica Minolta’s five business centers located around the world.

Major features

  • Capability of measuring a color chart for profile creation at the fastest speed in the world1 (in about four minutes2)
  • The automatic color measuring capability of the FD-9 can significantly reduce the time required for scanning, reduce operator errors and achieve improved accuracy in color measurement.
  • User friendly LCD display
  • The LCD display mounted on the main body allows users to set up, operate and monitor the instrument with ease.
  • Network connectivity
  • The FD-9 can be used in a network environment to serve multiple printers from all major manufacturers.

Konica Minolta is a leading company in the global printing industry with strong presence in the light production printing, providing the high-quality and high-productivity bizhub PRESS digital printing systems and other high-performance equipment. The FD series of spectrophotometers forms part of the total solutions and efficient workflows offered to the customers in the printing industry.

The new model FD-9, incorporating Konica Minolta’s state-of-the-art optical measurement and image processing technologies, brings greater ease, accuracy and efficiency to the color management process in the printing industry. The company’s global service network helps customers reduce the time and cost required to maintain the accuracy, traceability and working life of their equipment. Konica Minolta provides equipment repair, calibration and after-sale support services at five key business centers (Japan, North America, Europe, China and Asia/Pacific) to customers in 150 countries.

Living up to the brand proposition “Giving Shape to Ideas,” Konica Minolta remains committed to maximizing customer satisfaction and enhancing its group-wide corporate value by offering high value-added products and solutions that are precisely tailored to customer needs.

Pictorial Offset closes down, 113 Jobs lost

Unable to pay back a $2.9 million line of credit and locked in a legal tussle with its insurance company over a $37 million claim, Pictorial Offset announced that it is closing its doors after 78 years. The closure, which is expected to take place in the next two weeks, will result in the loss of 113 jobs.

Don Samuels, one of three managing partners (along with brothers Gary and Lester), said that the company needed the proceeds from the insurance claim to pay back the line of credit to Bank of America (BoA), which was used to get the print shop operational following Superstorm Sandy. The storm dumped more than a foot of water into Pictorial’s building.

The insurer, Zurich American Insurance, paid $1 million under the flood insurance clause and another $250,000 for debris removal, but refused to pay for damage to Pictorial’s presses, which it deemed a result of flood damage. Pictorial’s ownership contends the press damage was a result of 66 major electrical surges and sags—electrical overstressing—prior to the power going out completely. The flooding began an hour after the power outage.
Pictorial Offset filed suit against Zurich last August.

When it became clear that Zurich would not pay for the press damage, the Samuels brothers explored mergers with seven other companies. They had negotiated a letter of intent for an asset purchase agreement, which fell apart at the eleventh hour when the buyer tried to slash sales staff wages in half.

As rumors of a possible closure spread through printing circles, the company found less work coming in from skittish customers who were afraid their jobs wouldn’t get finished. BoA turned up the heat on the Samuels brothers last Dec. 23 when it filed suit against Pictorial, prompting the decision to close.

“Gary, Lester and I made sure to finish the customers’ work in progress,” Don Samuels said. “We’ve been struggling to find our employees jobs. We closed the business after 78 years with dignity.

“What really killed us was the drone in the marketplace,” he added. “Clients became afraid to give us work, which crashed sales. It was a vicious cycle, and it was the real nail in the coffin.”

Samuels added that the company’s receivables alone would be enough to pay about 90 percent of the bank debt. The company is current on its equipment loans, and Samuels wasn’t sure as to how its final disposition would be handled.

What frustrated Samuels was seeing Zurich American utilize, as he described it, “delay, deny and defend” tactics to avoid making Pictorial Offset whole, thus setting the wheels in motion for more than 100 people to lose their livelihoods and cause a family’s business heritage to perish.
The company may be gone, but Samuels said the lawsuit will continue.
“The insurance company is reprehensible, and their tactics are clearly by design,” he said.