Kolbus buys T-Fold know-how

The Timsons T-Fold is set to live on under the ownership of Kolbus
The German finishing equipment manufacturer has acquired the T-Fold rights from Perfecta Assets, an asset holding company within the Timsons group of businesses. The value of the deal was not disclosed.

The folder can potentially interface with any high-speed digital press. The know-how acquired by Kolbus is comprehensive and includes engineering drawings, foundry patterns, software and work-in-progress.

In future it will be manufactured at the Kolbus factory in Rahden, where the company also has a foundry. Kolbus UK managing director Robert Flather said he was delighted at the deal, and by the future potential for the product under Kolbus ownership.

“We have had a very positive response from the existing UK customers, who are pleased about the ongoing support and the fact that new T-Folds will be available,” he said.

“In the UK we are at the forefront of the implementation of digital technology. There is huge potential for this product in Europe and the USA. The key point is it will be available to fit to any inkjet web press.”

There are currently six installations worldwide of the T-Fold, with four of those in the UK where St Ives Clays and CPI Antony Rowe both have two. The other users are in the USA.

Clays has its T-Folds connected to a Timsons T-Press and Kodak Prosper 1000 inkjet press, whereas CPI’s are combined with HP T-series inkjet webs.

Paul Hulley, managing director at Clays, said: “This is good news. The T-Fold is a good piece of kit and the fact that it will still be available on the market adds to our options, as it was an option we thought had been taken away.”

Kolbus is not taking on any former Timsons employees, but it will benefit from the T-Fold know-how that remains among personnel at Timsons Engineering. “Kolbus will have access to those people for a period of time. There will be a managed handover of expertise,” Flather explained.

“As it happens our foundry at Rahden has exactly the same equipment as Timsons, so we have the same capability to make sideframes and cylinders – it’s another reason why this makes perfect strategic sense,” he added.

Kolbus also has T-Fold expertise on its existing team. Jon Walker, the former technical sales director at Timsons, joined Kolbus as vice president of digital solutions last November. He had been instrumental in bringing the T-Fold to market in his previous role.

Future pricing for the device is likely to be lower. “We will be able to make it more competitive by applying economies of scale to it,” Flather stated. The T-Fold has a variable cut-off and can produce book signatures in a variety of different collect modes according to the user’s requirement, including sections, zig-zag delivery, and sequential book blocks.

When it was launched at Drupa 2012 along with the Timsons T-Print/T-Press it was running inline into a Kolbus KM200 5,000cph “near zero makeready” perfect binder. Flather said the T-Fold was “on the cusp” of also being able to handle print-on-demand books, and this would be a future feature on the device. Timsons Engineering will continue to service the firm’s litho presses and is unaffected by the deal.

Mega Conference kicks off

The Key Executives Mega-Conference, which begins today in Atlanta, is one of the great success stories in the newspaper industry in recent times.

As late as six years ago, the Inland Press Association, the Local Media Association (then called the Suburban Newspaper Association), and the Southern Newspaper Publishers Association each held separate conference/trade shows in Florida in late February/early March. Six years ago, I attended all three conferences during back-to-back-to-back weeks in different locations, ranging from the northeast Atlantic coast of Florida to the Gulf Coast in southern Florida.

Each Mega-Conference seemed to grow in size, both in the number of delegates and vendors. The conferences were in San Antonio, New Orleans and last year in Las Vegas.

This year, the Mega-Conference chose downtown Atlanta. Early registrations exceeded those of last year, which was the highest registration ever.

“In just five years, the Key Executives Mega-Conference has emerged as one of the most important newspaper industry conferences, a must-attend event,” says Cheryl Dell, publisher of the Sacramento Bee and president of the Inland Press Association. “The Mega-Conference’s strength is reflected not just in its burgeoning attendance…but the depth of its program and the top industry figures who will be presenting.”

Speakers this year include The Dallas Morning News Publisher and CEO Jim Moroney, famed media analyst Ken Doctor, Quartz’s Jay Lauf and BuzzFeed’s Eric Harris — plus two-dozen more.

“The Mega-Conference has really developed into the premier industry event and trade show for CEOs, publishers, owners and key executives,” said Nancy Lane Cawley Lane, president of the LMA. “We are expecting close to 800 attendees this year including 80-plus exhibitors and sponsors. Joining forces with Inland and the SNPA has been a great decision for LMA and the industry.”

The conference has grown so much that the three groups this year decided to outsource the program development to former Gannett VP Carol Hudler. “She has done a fabulous job,” said Lane. “We have 40+ sessions to choose from and it’s our best program yet.”

Dell added: “The Mega-Conference program tackles the most urgent issues confronting the industry, from programmatic buying and mobile monetization to converting Big Data into big revenue and creating a workplace culture of innovation. Mega-Conference sessions also reflect the forward-looking, solution seeking philosophies of three strong associations: Inland, LMA and SNPA.”

“Our collaboration,” Dell said, speaking of the cooperation of the three associations, “and the ability to draw upon the strengths of each organization, in my opinion, offers a path forward into a bright future for the newspaper and media industries.”

The combined cooperative efforts of the three groups proved a winner for the associations, the delegates and the vendors. No one leaves the Mega-Conference feeling like they’re tied to a dying industry.

Minolta Business Solutions Establish Wide-Format Printer Distribution 

EFI and Konica Minolta Business Solutions (KMBS) are bringing advanced, high-quality wide-format inkjet imaging technology to a broader selection of the printing industry through an expansion of their existing partnership. Under the terms of a new agreement between the two companies, KMBS and its authorized dealer network will service and sell EFI wide-format LED and UV inkjet printers.

The non-exclusive agreement expands the market presence for EFI to KMBS’s extensive customer base of North American digital printing providers. It also provides KMBS with a stronger wide-format production offering, using advanced technologies from EFI—a leading provider of LED and UV inkjet printers and inks.

“This new agreement expands upon our long term partnership with EFI,” said Kevin Kern, senior vice president, Marketing at Konica Minolta Business Solutions. “The unique attributes of EFI’s inkjet products allow us to offer new capabilities to our Graphic Communications Customers, providing them access to new markets for high-value print.”

“EFI has longstanding, successful strategic alliance with KMBS centered on the development of EFI Fiery products for Konica Minolta production equipment, and we are very pleased to have the opportunity to expand our partnership,” said Frank Mallozzi, EFI’s senior vice president of worldwide sales and marketing. “We are excited that KMBS, with its extensive distribution and deep relationship with customers, chose EFI Wide-Format products as a high-quality inkjet graphics platform to offer to its customers.”

Dino Pagliarello, director of product marketing for KMBS, announced the wide-format distribution pact during Konica Minolta’s National Dealer Meeting in Los Angeles. The two companies already work together to develop digital front ends that provide advanced color imaging and production capabilities on Konica Minolta digital presses and printers.

High-quality imaging and an even higher return on investment
EFI’s top-selling hybrid roll/flatbed wide-format product, the EFI H1625 LED printer, is the first printer available in KMBS sales channels through the new agreement. The versatile, 65″ printer gives KMBS customers the benefit of higher-end imaging using four color grayscale printheads producing near-photographic image quality with saturated colors and smooth gradations.

The printer also offers EFI’s industry-leading white ink, a truly differentiating feature that expands the productivity, value and quality users can offer on backlit signage, aluminum and aluminum composite signage, window clings and other popular offerings printed on clear, metallic or colored media. EFI’s industry-leading “cool cure” LED technology on the printer reduces energy consumption and costs compared to arc lamp UV and latex inkjet printers, plus it gives users the ability to print on a broader range of substrates, including media that cannot withstand high-heat drying or curing methods.

Thanks to its reduced energy usage and an affordable price, this hybrid printer model has a low total cost of operation, which makes the printer an even more valuable addition to the line-up of inkjet products KMBS sells.