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KNOCKING OUT

Palais Royale November 29, 2012

THE COMPETITION

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CONTENTS Volume 51, Number 11 Features

16

Reinventing the Newspaper Victoria Gaitskell attends a Toronto symposium where Canada’s most powerful editors discuss print’s future position relative to online news sources

20

Technology Report: Big Specialty Imaging Wide-format innovations shine at what SGIA calls its most-successful tradeshow to date, with 529 exhibitors and around 22,000 attendees

No one has more versatile wide-format configurations.

Print

6

NEWS Quad/Graphics agrees to spend US$258.5 million on Vertis assets, Roxanna Downing joins Hemlock Printers, and Newsweek to shut down print after 79 years

8

CALENDAR November 2012 PAC focuses on production line planning, Printed Electronics kicks off in Santa Clara, and the Canadian Marketing Association measures campaign effectiveness

10 11

FRANCHISE Canadian Kwik Kopy Crown Driven by a career of sales and sharing knowledge, Doug Bower is named Franchisee of the Year by one of Canada’s largest printing networks BILLBOARD Generating a Buzz for Coupons Burt’s Bees creates a social media campaign for its skin care products around a 1,300 piece large-format project

Columns

12

MARTIN HABEKOST Large-format Ink Primer Understanding the core inkjet ink architectures behind one of printing’s most-diverse technology sectors

14

NICK HOWARD A Crisis of Confidence The need for renewed optimism and investment inside the printing community, as everyone is running for the exits

Archive

30

November 1992 Bill Clinton wins the U.S. presidency, the 10-millionth cell phone is sold and The Economist magazine transmits a PostScript file in 15 minutes

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Resources 21 Services to the Trade Cover photo: Clive Chan

29 Marketplace NOVEMBER 2012 • PRINTACTION • 3


PERSPECTIVE

Canadian Pay-walls Arrive n October poll conducted by Ipsos Reid, on behalf of The Canadian Journalism Foundation, Agetfound that a majority of Canadians still prefer to consult more traditional outlets to their daily news. Victoria Gaitskell, in her cover story Reinventing the Newspaper, marries results from this poll to print-versus-digital insight shared at a Toronto journalism symposium, called Gutenberg’s Last Stand, featuring some of Canada’s most influential newspaper executives from The Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, Postmedia News, Metro English Canada, and The Canadian Press. The symposium took place just four days after The Globe and Mail announced plans to roll out a new digital subscription package – to put its content behind a pay-wall – with free online access for print subscribers and allowing casual readers access to 10 articles a month on its Website. In The Globe’s own article about the move, media reporter Steve Ladurantaye writes: “Newspapers are trying to compensate for declining print advertising revenue as more spending migrates online. Statistics from the U.S. newspaper industry suggest that for every $7 lost in print ads, papers are only managing to secure $1 in digital revenue.” A handful of dominant newspaper publishers in the United States enacted pay-walls several months ago, including The New York Times, the Financial Times and The Wall Street Journal, and it now appears that Canada’s big papers are ready to follow these early testers. A week after the symposium, the Toronto Star, Canada’s largest daily newspaper by circulation, announced plans to put up a pay-wall early in 2013. Earlier in 2012, Postmedia also moved toward a pay-wall system for several of its prominent newspapers, including the Ottawa Citizen and Vancouver Province, prompting the company’s CEO, Paul Godfrey to opine, “You can’t spend millions of dollars on content and just give it away.” This simple line from Godfrey explains the substantial challenge faced by newspaper publishers when trying to enact pay-walls, because, unfortunately, the public at large is not eager to pay for online text – regardless of source or content, even as most of their social-media or blogger sources are fueled by reliable print news outlets. The Ipsos Reid poll looks at what it refers to as the ‘hyper newsie’ consumer, making up 10 percent of the poll population and defined as someone who checks the news all the time and depends on numerous sources to get it. More than eight in 10 (84 percent) of hyper newsies consult a regular evening TV newscast, while three-quarters consult community newspapers and magazines (75 percent), and television stations dedicated to only news and information 24 hours a day (73 percent). Rounding out the top five most consulted outlets for hyper newsies are newspaper Websites (71 percent) and CBC Radio news broadcasts (70 percent). Less than two in 10 (17 percent) hyper newsies say they consult Twitter for their daily news fill. Hyper newsies present positive indications that print is still relevant to people who take a purposeful approach to consuming daily news. They will reach inside Canadian newspaper pay-walls. The challenge for publishers will be attracting the dollars of what Ipsos Reid refers to as ‘moderate newsies,’ making of 29 percent of the poll population, ‘casual newsies’ at 42 percent, and ‘non newsies’ at 18 percent. Jon Robinson, Editor

Canada’s Graphic Communications Magazine. Proudly published for two generations. Editor Jon Robinson • 416.665.7333 ext. 30 • jon@printaction.com Associate Editor Clive Chan • 416.665.7333 ext. 25 • clive@printaction.com Contributing Writers Zac Bolan, Clint Bolte, Peter Ebner, Chris Fraser, Victoria Gaitskell, Dr. Martin Habekost, Nick Howard, Thad McIlroy, Gordon Pritchard, Josh Ramsbottom, Nicole Rycroft, Andrew Tribute, Trish Witkowski Publisher Sara Young • 416.665.7333 ext. 31 • sara@printaction.com Associate Publisher Stephen Longmire • 416.665.7333 ext. 26 • stephen@printaction.com Production Manager Anders Kohler • 416.665.7333 ext. 37 • anders@printaction.com Intern Tiffany Kay Garcia • 416.665.7333 ext. 34 • tiffany@printaction.com Advertising Sales Sara Young • 416.665.7333 ext. 31 • sara@printaction.com Stephen Longmire • 416.665.7333 ext. 26 • stephen@printaction.com Circulation ADPIC Subscription Services • 800.363.3261 • subscriptions@printaction.com PrintAction is published by Youngblood Publishing Limited and is Canada’s only national monthly publication serving the graphic arts industry. ISSN 1481-9287. Annual Subscriptions: Canada: $31.15 ($27.57 + $3.58 HST) United States: CN$69.99; Other Foreign: CN$139.99

Notice: PrintAction, Youngblood Publishing Limited, their staff, officers, directors and shareholders (hence known as the “Publisher”) assume no liability, obligations, or responsibility for claims arising from advertised products. The Publisher also reserves the right to limit liability for editorial errors, omissions and oversights to a printed correction in a subsequent issue.

PrintAction is printed by Sina Printing on Starbrite Plus 70lb Velvet Text and 80lb Gloss Text available from Unisource Canada, Inc. Youngblood Publishing Ltd. 610 Alden Rd., Suite 100, Markham, ON L3R 9Z1 Tel: 416.665.7333 • Fax: 905.752.1441 www.printaction.com Publications Mail Agreement Number 40010868 • ISSN 1481-9287 Return undeliverable Canadian addresses to subscriptions@printaction.com We acknowledge the financial support of the Government of Canada through the Canada Periodical Fund of the Department of Canadian Heritage. 4 • PRINTACTION • NOVEMBER 2012


DIAMONDS are a Printer’s Best Friend We all know that diamonds are one of nature’s hardest materials. The heart of the printing press is the gripper and the gripper pad. Unlike its competitors, KOMORI decided that gripper pads need to last. And last they do. Most competitors use hardened steel, sintered alloys, carbide or even a urethane derivative. However, these all have a limited lifespan. Diamond-coated pads don’t. KOMORI presses do not require expensive pad replacements that other well-known brands do. Generally, after 75 million impressions, it’s time for an expensive revitalization that can cost over $100,000! Along with the utilization of much larger cam followers, torsion bars instead of springs, KOMORI builds longevity and low cost of ownership that keeps on giving. Sure, diamonds are nice in a ring or a bracelet, EXWLQWKHSUHVVURRPVRI&DQDGDGLDPRQGVTXLFNO\DGGXSWRDSUR¿WDEOHHGJHWKDWLVXQLTXHWRKOMORI.                  


PRINT NEWS from 3.1 to 1.9 million. The publication was then sold by its parent company of 40 years, the Washington Post Co. Quad Graphics has been printing Newsweek since 1977. Earlier this month, Quad announced a new US$900 million agreement to produce 85 percent of Time Inc.’s print work.

JOEL QUADRACCI, CEO of Quad/Graphics, signed an agreement to purchase substantially all of the assets of Vertis Holdings for US$258.5 million. The move comes shortly after Vertis filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the United States. The US$258.5 million purchase would include a payment of around US$88.5 million for current assets that are in excess of normalized working capital requirements. Vertis Holdings, Inc., through its subsidiaries, produces insert advertising programs, television listing magazines, comics, and special supplements for newspapers, as well as the design and production of direct mail and related marketing services.

DENIS GUERTIN, owner of the displaygraphics firm Kapta, and Mace Hoover, Director of Sales at Fujifilm Canada, Graphics Division, oversaw the installation of a Fujifilm Acuity Advance system. This is an upgrade installation for the Quebec City company, which purchased Fujifilm’s Acuity 2504 inkjet system four years ago. In conjunction with the Acuity Advance install, Kapta also upgraded its wide-format RIP to a ColorGate system.

ROXANNA DOWNING becomes an Account Representative in the United States for Hemlock Printers of Burnaby, British Columbia. Downing, who has spent more than 20 years focusing on both packaging and general commercial printing, will represent Hemlock in the states of Washington and Oregon. In July 2012, Hemlock also added Evelyn Edwardson NEWSWEEK, the 79-year-old New York- as a new Account Representative for its based publication, is moving to an Canadian sales team. Edwardson also has online-only version, called Newsweek more than 20 years of experience in the Global. It will no longer be printed as of print marketplace, focusing on VancouDecember 31. Between early 2008 and ver. Hemlock is one of the largest mid-2009, during the U.S. banking crisis, privately owned printing operations in KUNIO SUZUKI, CEO of Mitsubishi Paper the magazine saw its subscriber base fall the Pacific Northwest. Mills, and Don Burns, Business Development Director for Media at Kodak, celeTHE MACKENZIE PRINTERY AND NEWSPAPER MUSEUM, located in Queenston, brate Mitsubishi’s Sword iJET 4.3 Gloss Ontario, recently held a seminar on the process of letterpress printing. The stock achieving a 5 Diamond Rating for use one-day event allowed registrants to work with handset type and cuts, as on Kodak Prosper presses. Kodak’s 5 Diawell as a proof press and a tabletop platen press. mond rating is awarded to a media that equates to “offset quality” within its rating structure. SWORD iJET 4.3 Gloss is an FSC-certified media designed to run on high-speed continuous feed inkjet presses.

GOSS INTERNATIONAL appointed Rotaweb to represent its products and services in Mexico, focusing on commercial web, packaging and newspaper printers. Heidelberg Mexico previously served as the agent for Goss in the country. Mauricio Guerra, formerly Sales Manager of web offset sales at Heidelberg Mexico is now heading Rotaweb. Guerra and his team will work in concert with Leonardo Clavijo, Goss International Sales Manager for Mexico. Goss reports to have sold more than 30 new Goss web presses in recent years, including Community SSC newspaper presses and M-500, M-600, M-800 and gapless Sunday commercial web presses in formats from 16 to 64 pages.

XEROX revenue decreased by three percent in its most recent quarter hitting US$5.4 billion. The company reported services revenue, which includes printing for corporate and government clients, increased by five percent in the quarter, partially offsetting a seven percent constant currency decline in technology revenue, representing the sale of document systems, supplies, technical service and financing of products. “Our third-quarter performance aligns with shifts in our business as services become a larger proportion of our revenue,” stated Ursula Burns, Xerox CEO. “Steady growth in services is consistent with our strategy. Scaling our offerings in business process, IT and document outsourcing gives us a diversified portfolio that helps mitigate declines in equipment sales and supplies.”

Board member Attilo Tonellato teaches the art of typesetting.

Mackenzie Board Member John Hunt with letterpress students. 6 • PRINTACTION • NOVEMBER 2012

Photos by Denis Cahill

GEROLD LINZBACH, who was appointed as CEO of Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG in September, cut the ribbon on a new EUR2.4 million cogeneration plant located at the company’s massive WieslochWalldorf press facility – occupying around 860,000 square metres of land, with 36 production halls and office buildings. The cogeneration plant, which Heidelberg expects to pay for itself within two years, will allow the German press maker to reduce its total energy costs at the site by around 10 percent. The Wiesloch-Walldorf site requires around 60 gigawatt hours of power each year. One out of every five euros spent to operate the site goes to heat and power.

STEWART MCKINNON and Tyler White of BOLT Signs & Graphics oversaw the installation of an HP Designjet L26500 system. BOLT, owned by John Carolino, has two large-format printing operations in London, Ontario. The new 60-inch inkjet printer is a 6-colour system reaching a top speed of 22.8 metres square per hour in 4-pass bidirectional mode. BOLT Signs specializes in indoor signage, mobile signage and vehicle wraps for a range of customers in the general commercial and manufacturing sectors.


PRISTINE PRINTING of Etobicoke installed a 4-colour DigiXpress envelope system, which was celebrated by Brett Kisiloski of Pressdown Services, from where the machine was purchased, along with Pristine’s Michelle Lavallee and Luan Pristine. The DigiXpress, feeding sizes from 3 x 5 inches up to 12 x 18 inches, is rated to produce 50 full-colour, personalized envelopes per minute in a single pass.

VISTAPRINT reported an 18 percent revenue growth in its first quarter of 2013, reaching US$251.4 million, when compared to the year ago quarter. “Our organic constant currency year-over-year revenue growth in Europe was, at one percent, well below our plans… There is a weak macroeconomic backdrop in Europe,” stated Robert Keane, CEO of Vistaprint. “In stark contrast to Europe, in North America our organic constant currency revenue growth accelerated to 19

percent versus 18 percent last quarter and 17 percent the same quarter a year ago. In the Asia Pacific market, revenue grew 29 percent in constant currency.” Keene also pointed to the company’s foundations for future growth in India and China and at its Webs and Albumprinter businesses.

five percent increase in revenues, which moved to US$154.1 million from US$147.3 million in the year-ago quarter. For the nine months which ended in September 30, 2012, EFI reported revenue of US$478 million, up 12 percent year-over-year compared to US$428.5 million for the same period in 2011. ELECTRONICS FOR IMAGING of Foster City, “For the first time, industrial inkjet California, continued its strong financial represented over 50 percent of total standing with 2012 third quarter results EFI revenues,” stated Guy Gecht, Chief (ended September 30, 2012) showing a Executive Officer of EFI.

RR DONNELLEY was blamed for filing a draft version of Google’s third-quarter financial results to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The error sent the tech giant’s stock price down nine percent in a matter of hours and caused Google to temporarily halt the trading of its shares on the NASDAQ. Google shares fell US$68.19 per share before trading was halted, representing US$19 billion in value, after the draft report showed the company had missed expectations by a wide margin. The error also caused RR Donnelley’s stock to fall six percent, but soon recovered. OBJECTIF LUNE of Montreal, which develops variable-data production software, opened a new office in Sweden to target the Nordic market. The operation is to be managed by Peter Chalkley, Objectif Lune’s Nordic Business Manager. Objectif Lune has undergone significant growth in the last few years, including the acquistion of New Zealand-based PrintSoft last summer. Earlier this year, it expanded its presence in Europe by opening offices in Italy and Russia. The company was founded in 1993 and today operates 23 sales offices and has partners in 52 countries. SCHAWK launched what it is calling the printing industry’s first cloud-based, print-quality management platform, called ColorDrive, which aligns measured and calibrated visual scores throughout the packaging development supply chain. ColorDrive allows brand owners, premedia partners and printers to communicate about colour using the same technical language to convert visual assessments into numbers. BROOKLIN BULLETIN SIGNS of Whitby, Ontario, installed an HP Designjet L26500 wide-format printer using HP Latex Inks. In business for more than 50 years, Brooklin Bulletin Signs began as a small community newspaper in 1960 and changed its focus in 1964 to include community sponsored advertising boards located at 250 municipal arenas across Canada. Today, the company produces a range of signage from small vinyl decals to full vehicle graphic packages.

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NOVEMBER 2012 • PRINTACTION • 7


PRINT CALENDAR

DECEMBER 1

Printing Industries of America hosts its annual Color Management Conference at the Hotel Valley Ho in Scottsdale, Arizona, showcasing new colour technologies for review, colour experts and an Apple computer lab with hands-on sessions. $1,095

7

Canadian Marketing Association presents a Digital Measurement and Consumer Understanding Seminar in Toronto to explore how to fully understand true consumer impact on a brand with testing methodologies, as well as the dangers of underor over-evaluating a campaign’s performance. $345*

3

PRIMIR holds its 2012 Winter Meeting in New Orleans, featuring two PRIMIR studies on e-commerce strategies and the impact of integrated marketing on the printing industry. Attendees will also discuss the mobile media revolution and the printing-equipment market.

8

2013 International CES, the annual massive consumer electronics show, begins one month from today in Las Vegas, which is sure to feature new communications technologies that will alter the future of printing

The Frank Lloyd Wright Spire commemorates the late architect’s work for city of Scottsdale, Arizona, where he spent his winters. The Spire was originally conceptualized in the mid-1950s but was not built until 2004. The Spire was part of Frank Lloyd Wright’s proposal for the Arizona State Capitol building which was rejected. Scottsdale is also home Taliesin West, Wright’s original home and studio complex and today the headquarters of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation. Pricing listed at standard rates, with * denoting the availability of member or early bird discounts.

8 • PRINTACTION • NOVEMBER 2012

4

PAC, The Packaging Association, presents Course 4 within its Packaging Certificate Program in Mississauga, Ontario. In addition to a plant tour, the event covers corrugate, distribution, machinery, packaging law, quality control systems and production-line planning. $1,235*

5

IDTechEx presents the ninth-annual Printed Electronics USA Conference in Santa Clara, California. Co-located with Graphene Live and Photovoltaics (solar energy), the event is focusing on technology commercialization, as well as organic, inorganic, thin film and flexible nanotechnologies.

10

IDEAlliance begins its online review and testing for G7 Professional Re-certification, lasting nearly a month (until January 6, 2013). This training is for currently certified G7 professionals who have 2-year certification within three months of an expiration date. $150

12

Specialty Graphic and Imaging Association holds a free webinar called Speciality Imaging Year in Review, hosted by Dan Marx. Targeted to company owners, topics to be covered include what the hot markets will be and what equipment is most wanted.


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PRINT FRANCHISE

Doug Bower continues to lead sales for his Don Mills Kwik Kopy location.

Canadian Kwik Kopy Crown espite being in his 70s, Doug Bower still wakes up every morning at 5:30 am to arrive at his Don Mills Kwik Kopy Design & Print Centre by 7:00 am. Nestled in the heart of one of Toronto’s mid-town corporate suburbs, Bower and his wife, Barb, have owned and operated the printing shop for the past 26 years. Their dedication to the printing network, one of Canada’s largest, recently earned them the 2012 honour as Kwik Kopy Canada’s Franchisee of the Year. Doug Bower admits he knew little about printing when he purchased the operation from the original franchisee, who had started out in 1979 – shortly after Kwik Kopy Canada was founded – as the third or fourth such shop in Canada. Bower had spent the previous 25 years of his career with various entrepreneurial businesses focused on the selling and marketing of broadcast advertising – television and radio. As Canadian media powerhouses began to amalgamate dozens of independent radio and television stations in the early-1980s, Bower wanted to be his own boss and found a Toronto Star classified about the Kwik Kopy location up for sale. The site was primarily providing black-and-white photocopying services and traditional printing with a maximum of two colours. He was confident that his sales expertise would trump his lack of technical understanding, which itself was solved by the support of a growing Kwik Kopy network in Canada. “I’m the oldest guy in the network and I can sell because that’s what I’ve done all my life,” says Bower, who has become somewhat of a father figure – a strategic sounding board – for many of the more than 60 Kwik Kopy franchises across Canada. “The minute there is a new franchisee, I phone them,” says Bower. “I say to them, ‘Look guys, I know what you’re going through – call me any time you want.’ I’ve had them call me at home at night on my cellphone. It’s nice that we have that association.”

D

10 • PRINTACTION • NOVEMBER 2012

Bower continues to emphasize the importance of client building before technology investment. He still works the phones, preferring it as a more personal touch relative to emails. “I never make a presentation by email, unless we absolutely have to,” he says. “It’s a personal relationship that you have with your clients.” A savvy veteran marketer, Bower shares many of his client building secrets with other franchisees, including a hardcopy newsletter process through which he communicates

Source: http://www.kwikkopy.ca/location-list.aspx

with nearly 900 clients every couple of months. “People ask, ‘Why don’t you send it out electronically,’ and I say, ‘Because I’m in the printing business.’” Kwik Kopy Canada takes on the role of helping franchisees invest in technology to better position themselves amid today’s drastic structural changes in the industry. Even the veteran Bower leans on the corporate resources of Kwik Kopy’s Canadian leadership, including VP of Operations Tim Turcotte and CEO Gigi Harding. “I can call Tim at home or I can call Gigi any time and they’ll try to help.” Mostly recently, corporate has been helping franchisees adopt wide-format

Barb and Doug Bower opened up their Kwik Kopy shop 26 years ago.

systems for signage applications and building smartphone-compatible Websites and QR-code initiatives for clients through a program called Smart+Connect, as well as building a broader range of services to match Kwik Kopy’s modern-day moniker of From Design to Delivery. A major challenge for quick printing locations, and in fact most commercial printers today, is the ability for large corporate clients to install printing systems in-house, because toner- and inkjet-based printing is drastically easier to manage. This is clearly one of the realities driving toner-press makers to supply large corporations with managed print services. “It’s much more competitive now than offset ever was,” says Bower, who still feels shops like his Don Mills location can add significant value for corporate clients. “I try to convince them that it’s less expensive to deal with us than it is to have an employee do it,” he says. “If the machine goes down here, it’s our responsibility to get the product to the clients.” Bower estimates that a week does not go by without having a phone conversation with another franchisee to discuss the direction of the network. “My dad was an interesting guy and he had a philosophy that everyday of his life he’d try to help somebody and it rubbed off on his son,” says Bower, who clearly also picked up a strong work ethic over his 50-plus year sales career. “I’ll eventually sell this business, hopefully within the next two to three years, but I won’t stop working.” – Jon Robinson


PRINT BILLBOARD

Generating a Buzz for Coupons urt’s Bees, a manufacturer of skin care products, recently launched a promotional campaign centering on a piece of display graphics. The project consists of a groundlevel billboard in which passersby are invited to peel off a layer to reveal a hidden message. In all, 1,300 Post-It note-sized coupons were overlaid on a traditional 11 by 6 foot nylon print. The surface message asks: “Does Your Skin Feel Dry and Flaky?” while the hidden text encourages people to try Burt’s Bees’ Intense

B

Hydration skin care line. Part of this billboard’s effectiveness is that the texture created by the stuck-on coupons echo the product’s intent. The paper coupons (which offers three dollars off a Burt’s Bees product) were printed on post-consumer recycled stock and applied manually to the billboard. Although the billboard was only deployed once at a Minneapolis farmers’ market, the company also created a time-lapse video in which it captures how the piece was received and also encouraged watchers to download their own coupons via Facebook. Baldwin&, the Raleigh, North Carolina-based creative agency behind Burt’s Bees branding, commissioned the production and the billboard was constructed by Minneapolis’ Street Factory Media. Baldwin& recently won “Agency of the Year” at the Small Agency Awards put on by trade journal Ad Age. The agency also received a Gold Campaign of the Year award for a previous Burt’s Bees project called “Find your Burt,” which was aimed at fighting the green-washing in the personal-care industry. – Clive Chan The project relied on what the company calls “The Power of Curiosity” to reveal the final message. Burt’s Bees is named after Burt Shavitz. He supplied surplus beeswax to a partner, who used it to create natural candles. Today the company’s products are marketed as far away as Hong Kong.

NOVEMBER 2012 • PRINTACTION • 11


MARTIN HABEKOST

Large-format Ink Primer Piezo inkjet technology is used and manufactured by Colourant: As previously mentioned, the colourant arge-format inkjet is arguably the most technologically diverse sector of today’s printing industry, in terms of companies like Fujifilm Dimatix, Hitachi Ricoh, Konica can either be a pigment or a dye, depending on the suppliers and products. The process itself, because of Minolta, Seiko-Epson, Trident and Xaar. Piezo inkjet tech- performance requirements of the ink. Pigments and dyes its production breadth, can be applied in seemingly lim- nology offers the benefit of long life and the ability to be are commercially available in a wide variety of properties. itless creative applications, even if the ultimate purpose of compatible with a variety of inkjet ink chemistries. It An industrially manufactured dye can already contain large-format is well understood in today’s market. Com- can also be used with inkjet inks designed with a higher biocides and fungicides and can also be pH-balanced. mercial printers can appreciate the relatively low-cost viscosity. Piezo inkjet is a dominant process within the Some dye combinations require changes in the other ink components to achieve proper ink performance. entry point of large-format inkjet, which provides ancil- outdoor grand-format printing market. lary revenues for their core business activities and, in fact, Co-solvent or humectant: These chemicals are added to most have been producing display graphic work for sev- Moving and maintaining eral years. Inkjet inks require a carrier fluid, either water or solvent the ink as an additional vehicle for the colourant and are As technology suppliers continue to pour R&D dollars based, to hold the colourant. Once the ink has been jetted quite often alcohol or glycol-based. Humectants are used into expanding their large-format offerings, for niche ap- onto the substrate, this carrier fluid evaporates and leaves to limit the evaporation of the ink. plications and greater production efficiency, it becomes the colourant on the surface. The colourant can either be a more important to understand the core ink architectures dye or a pigment and sometimes is a combination of both. Fixative: As the name implies, this material helps with the driving these machines. A dye is a colourant that is fully dissolved in the carrier transfer of the ink to substrate and to keep it there. Its Large-format inkjet systems utilize two main inkjet fluid and the resulting mix is a true solution. Unless the other function is to prevent feathering and wicking. technologies: Drop-on-demand (DOD) and continuous ink is very poorly formulated, the dye should never sepa(CIJ). Drop-on-demand, as the name implies, deposits the rate from the carrier fluid. Think of it as juice concentrate Surfactant: The surfactant is used to adjust the surface inkjet ink as needed by the image or text that is being re- that has been diluted with water. Pigmented ink contains tension of the ink. If the surface tension is too high, the produced. DOD-technology forms the drops by means of small particles of the solid colourant that are either sus- ink might perform properly in the print head, but not wet the substrate properly resulting a pressure pulse. There are differin uneven print quality and posent ways to create this pressure Ink component Amount [%] Function sible longer drying times. If the pulse, which further divides surface tension is too low, the ink DOD into three subcategories: 50 – 90 Solvent Water might leak from the cartridge Thermal, piezo and electrostatic. and result in flooding of the CIJ, meanwhile, emits a con1 – 15 Colour Colourant print head during printing. stant stream of inkjet droplets, Wicking and feathering can also which pass through an electro2 – 20 Ink vehicle, prevents evaporation Co-solvent (Humectant) be a result of a low surface tenstatic field and – depending on 0 – 10 Fixes ink to the substrate Fixative sion. The type of surfactant the field charge – either jet dibeing used in the ink formularectly onto the substrate or into 0.1 – 6 Surface tension and wetting Surfactant tion depends on the fixative. the gutter as waste for recycling. Since an electric field is applied 0.2 – 10 Adhesion, durability Resin to the inkjet ink, it means that Resin: Resin is added to the inkjet the ink also has to be chargeink formulation to add durability 0.02 – 0.4 Prevent bacterial growth Biocide able. Continuous inkjet is used to the print. The resin increases 0.05 – 1 in well-known products from the abrasion resistance of the Prevent fungal growth Fungicide Kodak, Videojet, Domino and print. The resin has to be carefully 0.05 – 1 pH control Buffer Imaje. selected so as not to form a film that can result in line defect Thermal inkjet, also known as 0.01 – 1 Corrosion inhibition etc. Other printing or prevent the print head bubble jet, is a process in which completely from printing. the ink is rapidly heated to ap- Water-based inkjet inks are formulated as listed in the table above. proximately 400ºC, which leads to the evaporation of a small amount of ink. This in turn pended or dispersed in the carrier fluid. Well-formulated Biocides/fungicides: These two components add shelf life creates pressure to force an ink droplet out of the nozzle pigmented inkjet ink keeps the ink particles in suspension, to the inkjet ink, but they can also have an influence on and onto the substrate. Allowing for very small droplet which is especially challenging when one considers the the pH and the surface tension of the ink. sizes and a high nozzle density, thermal DOD is primarily low viscosities that are required for inkjet inks. applied in consumer desktop printers. Quite often inkjet inks contain a second fluid or carrier, Buffers and other components: These components A disadvantage of this technology is the relatively small which is called the co-solvent, primarily used to control are used to control the pH of the inkjet ink. Some dyes number of liquids that can be inkjetted. One main re- the drying time of the inkjet ink. Another function of the require pH control for a better shelf life and improved quirement for an ink to be used with this technology is co-solvent is also to control the viscosity of the inkjet ink performance. for it to withstand the high temperatures needed to create during manufacturing. All inkjet inks will also hold varya droplet. If the ink is not properly formulated for thermal ing components to help or control issues like the adhesion Dye and pigments inkjetting, the high temperature can damage the ink or of the ink to the substrate, dot gain, drop formation, cor- After getting an understanding for the general composilead to the formation of a hard coating that can shorten rosion of the print head, pH level, fade resistance and tion of inkjet inks, the next step to analyze the different the lifespan of the inkjet head. Drop-on-demand thermal colour brilliance. inkjet ink products that are manufactured for various inkjet technology is quite simple and is best used for low There is one golden rule for all inkjet inks, best de- applications, including water-based dye, pigment and volume, office-type applications. Companies like Canon scribed by Tony Martin in 2005, when he was President resin inks, solvent inks, UV curable inks and eco- or and HP manufacture inkjet printers that utilize thermal of Lyson Inc.: “When any inkjet ink dries by evaporation mild-solvent inks. inkjet technology. then the dried ink must be able to be re-dissolved by the Water-based aqueous dye inkjet inks were the first inks The remaining DOD process is based on a piezoelectric liquid form of the same ink.” Water-based inkjet inks to be developed, because the first wide-format systems crystal, commonly made from lead zirconium titanate, typically include the following components: were based on the thermal inkjet process. These inks which changes its shape when an electric current is apwere primarily applied to indoor signage. If water-based plied. The crystal can be part of a tube, wall or piston. Water: Water is the main component of aqueous inkjet inkjet ink is to be used for outdoor signage, the inks have Since there is no heat involved, many fluids can be devel- ink. Ordinary tap water is not used, since it contains too to be printed onto a specially coated substrate. The coatoped for the piezoelectric process. Due to the absence of many impurities. Water used for inkjet ink manufacturing ing will encapsulate the ink and protect the colourant heat, the print heads also last longer. When the piezo crys- has gone through many purification processes to ensure from the water. Quite often these prints are laminated to tal changes its shape, due to an applied electrical current, stability of the final formulation. Various spectroscopic achieve long-term protection. a pressure builds up and causes the ejection of an ink methods are quite often used to ensure the high quality Dye-based inkjet prints are often more brilliant than droplet onto the surface. of the water that is being used. Continued on page 24

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12 • PRINTACTION • NOVEMBER 2012


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