Agfa Graphics to Launch New Duratex Media Solutions at the ISA Sign Expo

Agfa Graphics is launching new media under its Duratex brand at the 2015 ISA Sign Expo being held in Las Vegas in April.
The new Duratex media being showcased at ISA include:

  • Duratex 15 oz. PVC Backlit Banner—a smooth, translucent backlit banner media that is printed for indoor and outdoor signage applications. It is compatible with most Solvent, Eco-Solvent, Latex and UV curable inkjet printers.
  • Duratex Composite PVC/PET/PVC Blockout Film—a non-curling, completely opaque media for high resolution single- or double-sided printing. It is ideal for Display Systems, Retractable Banner Stands, Scrolling Displays and more.
  • Duratex Super White Foamboard—one of the strongest, most rigid on the market with a 94 white point paper surface sandwiched with an extruded polystyrene foam core. It features superior ink adhesion, excellent cutting performance and is designed for point-of-purchase displays, retail display graphics and interior signs.
  • Duratex Foam PVC Board—a rigid, foam PVC substrate, designed for high-definition, wide-format digital printers. Provides dazzling images and sharp text for top-quality signs, POP displays and exhibition backdrops.

“We have a few substrate surprises up our sleeves at ISA,” said Larry Salomon, vice president, Wide-format Inkjet Segment, Agfa Graphics, North America. “There is no other rigid product on the market that offers superior ink adhesion, excellent color pop with crisp and clean finishing than Duratex Foam PVC Board. We’re offering Duratex Foam PVC Board in solid bright white, double sided bright white with a recycled black core, or single sided bright white with a recycled black underside. The black material is 80 percent recycled. The product itself is 100 percent inspirational for any client looking for creative cutting, routing and engraving applications.”

Agfa Graphics’ Duratex inkjet media is designed for UV Curable, Eco-Solvent, Solvent and Latex Wide and Grand Format inkjet printing systems. Available from 30-196″ width in a variety of roll lengths, Duratex media provides a value line of Banner, Adhesive backed, Backlit, Textile and Rigid substrates for Display, Sign and Exhibit Applications.

Show attendees can experience these and other media when they check out the Surf N’ Crab Application Zone at the Agfa Graphics booth at ISA. The “Surf N’ Crab” features unique applications created entirely with digital and inkjet technologies

Clays makes mulitmillion-pound ‘strategic’ HP investment

St Ives Clays has announced that it will purchase multiple HP Inkjet web presses in a multimillion-pound deal that marks the next major stage in its digital production print strategy for the UK book market.

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The HP T260 is capable of printing 244m/min in monochrome

The book printer will initially take delivery of two new HP presses over the coming months. An HP T260 Mono Inkjet Web Press is due to be installed in April while an HP T400 Mono Inkjet Web Press is due for installation in July. Both machines are additional to the company’s current plant list.

The HP T260, which is capable of printing 244m/min in monochrome, can produce 123m A4 pages per month.

Clays, which was established 200 years ago, produces 150 million books a year at its Suffolk production site. It previously had the capability to produce 15 million to 20 million books a year digitally and will be able to significantly increase its capacity with these new investments.

The business has actively embraced digital printing technology since 2009, to support its traditional litho print offering with the ability to manufacture books in the quantity needed and at the point of need.

Clays said the move is a response to increased demand for a value-added full-service to publishers, encompassing digital services, book manufacturing, inventory management, pre-retail and distribution.

Managing director Paul Hulley said: “Effectively, Clays has become a logistics business, enabling publishers to get small batches of books into shops, or single copies to consumers, at high speed and minimising the need to hold large amounts of stock in warehouses.

“Our aim is to make the overall supply chain more cost effective and efficient, enabling publishers to reduce risk and improve availability.”

Clays has made several major investments in digital print production in recent years, installing a Timsons T-Press and Kodak Prosper line. Last year it spent a further £2.5m on specialist finishing kit from Timsons and Kolbus.

“This is the next phase on our digital journey; we are happy with the approach we and our supplier partners have taken to get to where we are now, but that didn’t automatically mean we would not consider partnering with an alternative supplier for further investment,” said Hulley.

“The HP T-series presses are market leading in our segment and we decided they provided the best combination of quality and performance, including the opportunity to include colour in our inkjet capability.

“It is also relevant that since the demise of Timsons the wide web Timsons/Kodak digital press we already have is no longer a further investment option for scaling our inkjet capacity so our solution going forward was anyway going to look different, whomever we worked with.”

The business will be also be boosting its litho and post-press capacity over the next three months with the installation of a new Komori Lithrone GL 540 sheetfed colour press, a Kolbus BF530 casing in line and DA270 casemaker and a Muller Martini Acoro perfect binder.

“In the main these investments replace end of life equipment whilst also providing better performances to enhance our production capacity. The Acoro binder is additional one up binding capacity to complement our digital press investment,” said Hulley.

Looking further forward, as the digitally printed book volume continues to grow into 2016, Clays will have the capability to extend its offering into full-colour books with the HP T400 Color Inkjet Web Press.

“We are taking one mono HP T400 this year with scope for another next year with colour, extending our offer to existing and new customers, most obviously in the non trade market,” said Hulley.

“Full-colour inkjet books for the trade market is a different proposition again and the opportunity there for UK based print providers will depend on ongoing development of the technology to provide the quality/performance combination required. We will, of course, watch that development carefully.”

HP Inkjet High-Speed Production Solutions Division vice-president and general manager Aurelio Maruggi added: “Considerable changes are taking place in the publishing industry, and publishers are looking to digital printing to simplify their supply chains, gain greater efficiency and increase production flexibility.

“With the HP T260 and T400 Mono Inkjet Web Presses, Clays is poised to help its customers reduce inventory overhead and support more titles, producing books when they are needed in the exact quantity desired.”

Northern & Shell set to close Broughton Printers

Northern & Shell is set to close its Preston print facility, Broughton Printers, with the loss of 91 jobs according to local media reports.
The Lancashire Evening Post, which is based on the same site as Broughton Printers, reported that staff at the print facility had been informed of its closure last week and were now in consultation.

Printing at the Preston-based factory will cease on 8 July, following Express Newspapers’ decision to outsource the printing of its four major titles for the north of England to Johnston Press on a five-year contract.
A spokesman for Broughton Printers said: “It’s a very sad day for Preston and for all of us. So many people have worked here for such a long time.”

Broughton Printers was founded in 1988 and was acquired by Northern & Shell as part of its purchase of Express Newspapers in 2001. At its height the plant employed more than 200 staff and printed 11m newspapers per day.

Northern & Shell’s “£100m print investment” in 2011 was set to included “an upgrade at Broughton Printers” according to the original press release, with confirmation of the successful vendor expected early in 2012.

It is not known whether the addition of dryers to Express Newspapers’ four KBA Commander CT presses at its Luton site, which was mooted at the time of the plant’s opening as a possible “phase two” investment, has gone ahead.

West Ferry and Broughton Printers chief executive David Broadhurst, who has since retired, said at the time that the addition of dryers would enable the Luton plant to print heatset and coldset, allowing it to bring magazine production (then outsourced to BGP) in-house.

“We’ve got the capacity for contract work. If we opt to take the dryers that will happen in phase two. It is something we have considered but we must make sure it is worthwhile doing it,” he said.
Northern & Shell could not be reached for comment at the time of writing.