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Industry News

May 1, 2006 12:00 AM

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Hot Topics, Management, Nesmakers

» Firstlogic has launched a blog for communicating with its commercial mail customers, prospects, media and industry leaders. Check out Chris Lien’s “On Commercial Mail” at

» Papermakers and suppliers can go back to school this June with Western Michigan University’s paper coating course. The course will take place June 19-22, 2006. See

» Misplaced your Montalvo Corp. web controller manual? All of the company’s manuals now are available online. See

» Vertis’ North Brunswick, NJ, Bristol, PA, and Chalfont, PA, facilities have been upgraded and their ISO 14001 Environmental Management Systems (EMS) recertified.

» Having RIP problems? Xitron has released the latest version of its “Tips & Tricks for the Harlequin RIP,” available at

» Arjowiggins now is the exclusive distributor for Thibierge & Comar paper worldwide.

» Happy birthday to bookbinder Gane Brothers & Lane, which turns 160 this year.

» PIA/GATF has named Great Lakes Integrated (GLI) “Best Workplace in the Americas 2005” for its human resources practices.

» Aladdin Finishing has purchased the assets of M&M Die Cutting and Executive Die Cutting.

» Tensor Group has installed an eight-tower, two-folder heatset/coldset hybrid press at Al Ayam Publishing in Bahrain.

» A new program designed to deliver graphic communications career information to deaf and hard-of-hearing students is among the recipients of more than $160,000 in new grants from the Graphic Arts Education and Research Foundation (GAERF).

» Padgett Printing’s president and CEO, David Torok, is the latest addition to the 2006 Captain Hope’s Kids Board of Directors.

PIA of NY steps up for PrintPAC
The Board of Directors of the Printing and Imaging Assn. of New York State, Inc. (PIA of NYS) (Amherst, NY), recently concluded a successful campaign to support PrintPAC. PrintPAC is the United States printing industry’s political advocacy arm that works to elect pro-printing industry lawmakers to Congress.

The PIA of NYS initiative requested a PrintPAC donation from 100 percent of the PIA of NYS Board of Directors. This program was announced last June and concluded in December 2005 with the receipt of the final donation. In total, 34 individuals made a personal donation to PrintPAC, raising $4,530 that will be used to support pro-print United States Congressional candidates.

A check presentation ceremony was held on March 23, 2006, at the PIA of NYS Printing Awards Banquet, held at Salvatore’s Italian Gardens in Buffalo, NY.

Michael Makin, president and CEO of PIA/GATF, said, “PIA of NYS is to be commended for its leadership in becoming the first state affiliate to provide 100 percent board support for PrintPAC. By doing so, New York State printers will help PIA support legislators who are pro-business and allies of America’s $165 billion printing industry.”

Gorelick, GASF broaden their horizons
Graphic arts consulting firm Gorelick & Associates (West Chester, PA) and its sister company, Graphic Arts Sales Foundation (GASF), have announced a contractual affiliation with a group of Memphis, TN-based national research and training companies. This alliance will not involve a change in the organization, location, resources or strategy of the companies. Instead, it will provide the respective parties with a broader array of capabilities.

The Memphis-based companies whose resources will be available to Gorelick & Associates/GASF and its clients are:

  • Message Factors, Inc., a company specializing in market research and analysis.
  • Pat Wood, Inc., specializing in telemarketing and focus group facilitation.
  • Trivantis, Inc., which develops content for and delivers individualized online training.
“In general, the industry is developing an appreciation of the role of primary research in understanding customer needs and in the business planning process,” says Dick Gorelick, president of Gorelick & Associates and GASF. “This alliance means no project is too large or complex.”

SWOP to revamp spec and certification
Specifications for Web Offset Publications (SWOP), an IDEAlliance (Alexandria, VA) print initiative, plans to modernize the SWOP Specification and the accompanying certification program to meet today’s publication printing requirements.

Jim Mikol, senior vice president of technology for Leo Burnett USA (Chicago) and a member of the SWOP Advisory Committee, says, “Direct participation with SWOP has enabled me to pose the hard questions the industry is asking. The most significant question focuses on the ongoing relevancy of SWOP. Our industry has changed since SWOP first developed its specifications, yet SWOP has not. The vast majority of us produce proofs on non-SWOP paper stocks. We now demand tighter tolerances and greater assurance of a close visual match from proof to printed publication.” Another challenge for SWOP is to address the industry shift to virtual proofing workflows.

In February 2006, IDEAlliance announced the adoption of new paper grades favored by many as their proofing stock of choice. Additionally, IDEAlliance announced SWOP will adopt the new G7 calibration, printing and proofing process control methods. The controversial G7 method grew out of recent GRACoL Committee research and development efforts. It defines gray balance and targets neutral print density curves for three-color gray and black as the primary method for color control, as opposed to the current SWOP methods that focus on ink density and dot gain on a prescribed paper stock. This shift in digital calibration methodology establishes a new foundation upon which the group plans to update the specification.

As SWOP develops a new industry certification program, it is suspending new certifications until July 1, 2006, when a comprehensive industry certification program will be in place.

Consolidated Graphics explores potential sale
Consolidated Graphics, Inc. (Houston), has initiated a formal process to explore a range of strategic alternatives to enhance shareholder value, including a potential sale or other change of control transaction. The company has retained UBS Investment Bank to act as its exclusive financial advisor in this process.

In making the announcement, the company stated there can be no presumption that this process will result in its completing any transaction or altering its current strategy for achieving long term growth in sales and profits. The company does not intend to disclose developments with respect to any outcome of the process unless and until its Board of Directors has reached a definitive conclusion.

Consolidated Graphics is a commercial sheetfed, web and digital printing company with a coast-to-coast presence spanning 26 states. The company offers digital and Internet-based services and solutions marketed through CGXSolutions.

Tom Quadracci to receive WOA’s Vision award
Thomas A. Quadracci, chairman CEO of Quad/Graphics, Inc. (Sussex, WI), has been named the recipient of the Web Offset Assn.’s (WOA) eighth annual Harry V. Quadracci Vision award for leadership, achievement and visionary excellence in heatset web offset printing.

WOA created the award to highlight the spirit of industry pioneers. Tom Quadracci has been immersed in the graphic arts industry since childhood and has spent his life advancing the industry through judicious use of technology.

The award will be presented May 22, 2006, as part of the WOA’s 54th annual Management and Technical Conference at the Gaylord Palms Resort, Kissimmee, FL.

Muller Martini recently hosted an open house at its headquarters in Hauppauge, NY, demonstrating the Corona high-speed perfect binder. Printers and binders from throughout the industry attended to see the Corona’s handling of both high-volume and short-run production.

The modular Corona offers computer-assisted, motorized makeready in 15 minutes; 1,000-job programming; exterior buttons with digital displays for on-the-fly adjustments at each station; and operating speed up to 18,000 cycles per hour. At this month’s On Demand show in Philadelphia, Muller will demonstrate SigmaLine, its modular book manufacturing system.

MAN Roland to gain independence
MAN Roland (Westmont, IL) has taken a major step toward becoming a fully independent entity, announcing plans to create a joint venture with Allianz Capital Partners to purchase MAN Roland Druckmaschinen AG and take the world’s second largest press maker public.

A letter of intent has been signed by the engineering conglomerate and the wholly owned subsidiary of the Allianz Group, giving MAN AG 35 percent equity in the joint venture. “An independent MAN Roland will be a more responsive MAN Roland for North American printers,” says Yves Rogivue, CEO of MAN Roland, Inc. “Our new independent structure will allow us to further focus our dedication to the printer in terms of advanced technology and support.”

“MAN Roland Druckmaschinen has a very good starting point to continue growing and play a decisive role in the imminent consolidation of the industry,” says Thomas Pütter, CEO of Allianz Capital Partners. “We want to support the company in this important phase of its development.”

At a press conference held April 1st during Nexpo 2006 in Chicago, MAN Roland Druckmaschinen AG executive board chairman Gerd Finkbeiner said, “This is a turning point we, as management, see as very positive.” He noted MAN Roland’s 10-year track record in shifting from a press manufacturer to a print/communications technology provider, and said MAN Roland’s goal is to go public within three to five years. Finkbeiner explained the company’s need to grow by acquisitions and continued performance.

This initiative comes on the heels of a record year for MAN Roland. The company achieved double-digit sales in the web press market and completed the turnaround of its sheetfed operations, which attained profitability for 2005 and registered a 57 percent increase in order backlog. The company’s North American division saw a 41 percent rise in sheetfed press orders and another record year in web press sales.

SMART Papers files for bankruptcy
SMART Papers LLC (Hamilton, OH) announces it and certain affiliates have filed voluntary petitions for relief under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. SMART Papers also filed motions seeking immediate relief to ensure the company’s continued ability to conduct normal operations.

To help support its business during the Chapter 11 proceedings, SMART Papers has obtained debtor-in-possession (DIP) financing from Wachovia Capital Finance (Ft. Lauderdale, FL) and CIT Group (New York).

“Our customers can be confident that we are in business, manufacturing and distributing our core lines of cast-coated, matte-coated and premium uncoated papers at our Hamilton, OH, headquarters,” says SMART Papers CEO and president Tim Needham. He adds, “Electing to file Chapter 11 is a necessary and responsible step. It will preserve the company’s value for the benefit of all parties who have an interest in the company’s future.”

According to SMART Papers, during the past 10 months the company and its affiliates implemented an aggressive transformation process in an effort to increase profitability. They were hampered by rising costs for energy, wood fiber, transportation and logistics. This, together with continued pressure on gross margins for commercial printing papers, did not allow the company to realize the full benefits of its transformation strategy as quickly as it intended.

Kodak announces consumables price hike
Kodak’s Graphic Communications Group (Rochester, NY) is implementing a double-digit price increase worldwide for prepress consumables.

Kodak cites consistently rising energy and raw material costs over the course of several years as its reasons for the price increase. Digital and conventional offset printing plates, proofing media, film and chemistry are affected. The company is communicating details of the new pricing structure to customers on a country-by-country basis.

How can commercial printers best reach designers and other potential clients in the creative field?

“Management should target agencies, design firms, independents and in-house departments they want to do business with long-term. Then, build and deepen the relationship with each through education and incentives. Educate their team on how to create better print by offering prepress/file-prep training, stressing the importance of bringing the printer into the design process early, and detailing other ways they can be more print-ready. Provide samples of your best work with detailed production notes permanently affixed. Finally, provide financial incentives, such as a discount if the file comes ready to print with little or no preflight work.”
—Jeff Higgins, director of marketing services, xpedx (Loveland, Ohio)

Erik Cullins has joined Enfocus (Los Angeles) as director of sales and marketing for North America.

Citiplate (Westbury, NY) has appointed Kim Kukla director of technical operations and product commercialization.

Geoffrey Loftus has joined Presstek (Hudson, NH) as GM for the Press Business.

Buhrs America (Plymouth, MN) has appointed Kevin Thompson as president.

Bob Pordon has been named CEO of Bobst Group USA (Roseland, NJ).

Vertis (Baltimore) has appointed Dean Durbin as president and CEO.

Best Press (Addison, TX) has promoted Mike Heischman as COO.

Onyx Graphics (Salt Lake City) has filled two management positions: Bill Bieger as director of business development and Carol Hendrycks as marketing director. In addition, Dean Derhak has been promoted to OEM and product director.

Tim Donnelly has been appointed Eastern regional sales manager for Arjobex America (Charlotte, NC).

NUR America (Moonachie, NJ) has appointed Joseph A. Babajko as vice president of operations and Joseph D. Pargola as vice president of news business development.

Luis B. Campos has been promoted to vice president of sales at Vijuk Equipment (Elmhurst, IL).

Web Bindery (New York) has appointed Jordyn Hollander vice president of sales.