Xerox sells its FreeFlow Print Server digital front end business to EFI

Written by Colin Gillman on Thursday, 23 February 2017.

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Xerox and EFI have announced a strategic partnership to bring to market a next generation digital front end to drive Xerox digital production presses. The agreement includes the sale of Xerox’s FreeFlow Print Server digital front end business to EFI. Under the terms of the deal, EFI will continue to produce and support FreeFlow Print Server so current customers do not experience interruptions in sales or service.

“Customers will gain a powerful solution with more efficiencies, performance and quality to meet the most demanding production requirements,” says Andrew Copley, president, Graphic Communications Solutions, Xerox. “EFI is an industry leader and has a proven track record with performance, ease of use and seamless integration with industry workflow solutions.”

EFI says Xerox’s expertise and unique functionality from FreeFlow Print Server (FFPS) will be integrated with EFI’s Fiery product, giving customers benefit from EFI sales and technical field resources working side-by-side with their Xerox sales reps.

“This next step in our strategic alliance will give customers the industry’s highest performing digital front end (DFE) with unparalleled imaging and colour management,” says Guy Gecht, CEO of EFI. “EFI integration among the DFE, workflow software, and management information systems products deliver the higher levels of automation and productivity that are key to print businesses taking full advantage of the opportunities with digital printing.

Xerox and EFI have established a long-standing partnership. Most recently, Xerox collaborated with EFI to develop a new print server, the Xerox IJ Print Server powered by Fiery, to drive the Xerox Trivor 2400 Inkjet Press. The DFE handles a range of data streams, while enabling integration, comprehensive colour management and seamless integration with customer workflows.

The next generation DFE coming from this partnership will be integrated with EFI’s Productivity Suites, which include management information systems such as PACE, PrintSmith Vision, Monarch, and Radius ERP. Additionally, the DFE will integrate with Xerox FreeFlow Core and XMPie workflows as well as industry-leading third-party prepress solutions such as Agfa Apogee, Heidelberg Prinect, and Kodak Prinergy.

The agreement is for FFPS only and does not impact the Xerox workflow solutions that carry a FreeFlow sub-brand name (FreeFlow Core, FreeFlow VI Suite, FreeFlow Makeready and FreeFlow Digital Publisher). The workflow solutions will remain independent key planks for Xerox customers’ workflow strategy.


UK trade associations align to shape post-Brexit policies for the UK print, media and graphic arts sector

Written by Colin Gillman on Monday, 13 February 2017.

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Seeing that the hullaballoo surrounding the UK’s exit from the EU looks set to continue indefinitely while our politicians squabble over the mess, there has probably never been a better time for our industry’s key trade associations to align with an agenda to shape post-Brexit policies for the UK print, media and graphic arts sector.

Together, the 11 trade association members of the Graphics Print and Media Alliance (GPMA) represent some 3,741 companies with an annual turnover of £15 billion, employing an estimated 106,000 people. 

The joining of these associations under one umbrella group representing the UK’s printing industry supply chain comes at a crucial time as the Government is consulting heavily with industry on both Brexit and Industrial Strategy. The GPMA is focused on feeding into relevant consultations including a recent submission to the Business, Energy and Industry Strategy’s Select Committee regarding the industry’s position on Industrial Strategy.

Tom Bowtell, the Chairman of the GPMA and the Chief Executive of the British Coatings Federation (BCF) says: “Trade Associations have a crucial role to play in promoting best practice, helping companies become more competitive and formulating effective public policy and delivery. Through the GPMA, we have tremendous potential to act as the co-ordinated voice of the graphics and print media supply chain when talking to Government and offer great value in terms of quickly disseminating messages about Government policy to our members. Productive engagement between associations and Government is vital for the policy making process, and has never been more important.”

Take a look at the newly created GPMA website below and support an association relevant to your sector of our industry.


Fastsigns looks set to open at least eight new UK franchises in 2017

Written by Colin Gillman on Friday, 03 February 2017.

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Fastsigns UK says it will have 23 operational UK centres by the end of the first quarter in 2017, and has plans to open at least a further eight this year. According to UK managing director John Davies, the outlook is positive after a successful 12 months.

“We saw some great success stories for our UK centres in 2016 and we know there’s plenty more to come in 2017, not least with our imminent arrivals in Stoke-on-Trent, Maidstone and Leicester,” he says.“We made some key appointments last year, including the recruitment of Hannah Evans as Marketing manager and Alan McLean as an additional Business consultant. This has really strengthened our UK head office team and ensures our growing number of franchisees continue to receive exceptional support.” 

“Staying at the forefront of technology has also been hugely important and investing in solutions like SpaceView and 3M Visual Attention Software has helped us stand out in the industry.

“Another major achievement has been establishing ourselves as a Google for Work Partner. Thanks to this, we can now offer eye-catching digital signage solutions powered by Google Chrome technology, via Google’s Chromebit device. In summary, we’re going from strength-to-strength,” he concludes.

Fastsigns has over 650 centres in 10 countries, including US, Canada, UK, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Grand Cayman, Mexico and Australia.


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Avery Dennison to acquire Hanita Coatings for $75m

Written by Colin Gillman on Monday, 09 January 2017.

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Avery Dennison Corporation has agreed to acquire Hanita Coatings, a pressure-sensitive materials manufacturer of specialty films and laminates from Kibbutz Hanita Coatings and Tene Investment Funds for the purchase price of $75 million.

Headquartered in Israel with sales and distribution facilities in the United States, Germany, China and Australia, Hanita Coatings develops and manufactures coated, laminated, and metallised polyester films for a range of industrial and commercial applications. 

Hanita Coatings’ window films are used in architecture and automotive aftermarkets; its top-coated polyester films are used in the manufacture of durable labels; and its ultra-high barrier films form part of insulation systems used in refrigeration, buildings and cold chain packaging. 

With 2015 sales of roughly $50 million, Hanita Coatings currently employs more than 220 employees, most of whom are located at the company’s headquarters in Israel’s Western Galilee. The 33-year-old company generates sales in more than 40 countries.

Avery Dennison expects that completion of the transaction will take up to a few months, subject to customary closing conditions and approvals.


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European Business Awards names Azonprinter as National Champion for Croatia

Written by Colin Gillman on Monday, 03 October 2016.

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Azonprinter has been named a National Champion in The UKTI Award for Innovation category for Croatia due to its UV LED product range. The European Business Awards, sponsored by RSM; Europe’s largest business competition set up to celebrate business excellence and best practice in the European business community. 

Established in Zagreb, Croatia in1991, the company was a distributor of sign and display hardware before switching to product design, development and manufacturing in 2006.  Since then the company says it has successfully launched the most versatile and competitive UV LED ink jet product range on the market.

If you haven’t come across Azonprinter before, the firm manufacturers a wide variety of equipment for the sign and printing industry and has more than 80 distributors worldwide and covers different markets such as graphic and sign, textile, and embroidery. 

One of its principal products for direct to substrate printing is the RAZOR that can print directly onto objects measuring up to 1200 mm in length, 330 mm in width and 200 mm in height, with a maximum printable area of 800 mm in length and 290 mm in width. 

A built-in laser pointer allows for easy setup with the auto adjustable distance mode designed for flawless printing around the surface of curved objects where the variance in distance is 2 mm or less. 

Check out what the RAZOR can do in the video below:

The RAZOR features AZON UV ink in CMYK, white and varnish for bright, saturated white images and text, and premium varnishing and embossing effects. The ink simulates varnishing and embossing effects, or can be layered into interesting patterns and textures in both gloss and matte finishes.


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The future’s so bright for IHTBB (I’ve gotta wear shades)

The future’s so bright for IHTBB (I’ve gotta wear shades)

I first met Simon Tabelin, managing director of strategic marketing and creative agency It Has To Be Brilliant (IHTBB), a long time ago when he was running Brilliant Media, an award winning print media services company in London. He is a top bloke, very clued-up and a lot of fun...

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