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  • From Russia with Love... Color-Logic wows Ricoh customers

    (Please note that this article is in Russian only)

  • Color-Logic's Mark Geeves moderates panel at the GAA Global Summit on Color Management.
    On March 16-17 the Gravure Association of the Americas met for the Gravure Global Summit at the B Resort in Lake Buena Vista Florida. Our thanks to all of our sponsors and to David Haslam of Trans Continental who chaired the Summit and also moderated the InnovationInkubator.

    The purpose and theme of this meeting was to focus on the future of Gravure and feature ways to enhance and promote the growth of the Gravure industry.

    To illustrate this perspective, Professor Eller from RIT started off the proceedings with a keynote address that drew parallels between Gravure and Rail freight; initially, there seems to be little common ground between the two. However, both had been the dominant force in their field, both suffered market share loss due to more cost efficient alternatives and both had the potential to reinvent themselves by taking a collaborative approach to implementing innovative techniques and methodologies.

    Prof. Eller stated, "Gravure is at a Crossroads":
    After five decades of declining share in North America, gravure printing in the Graphic Arts is at a crossroads. Gravure is far from the first industry to arrive at this crossroads. When other industries reached it, one of two things happened. The predictable outcome was continuing decline and ultimately retreat to a defensible niche (if one existed). But sometimes the unexpected happened: the decline was arrested, growth reignited, share increased, and, ultimately, the industry returned to robust health. The American railroad industry is one such story. His presentation examines the railroad revival, and kicks off a research program to explore the possibility of the gravure industry becoming a similar success story.

    RIT/GAAmericas Industry Survey
    Directly following the address from Prof. Eller, we sent out a survey to printers, both present at the event and those that could not make it. If you have received this survey request, please complete the survey, if you are a GRAVURE PRINTER and want to participate and benefit from the results of this survey, please contact follow the link provided and complete as directed. It is imperative that we gather statistical information to identify where we are and illuminate the way forward.

    Johnny Stamey spoke on behalf of MDC Daetwyler and the Apprenticeship 2000 Group on the success of their program. Basically, a group of unrelated regional industries got together with local government and the community college and started an apprenticeship program that has become a recognized model across the nation.

    There are many bright young people for whom an academic path is not a good fit; they have a talent for fixing cars, building equipment, or who knows, operating a gravure press, an engraving machine, or putting into practice some of the great innovations that we hear about! Some of these young people are identified at High school and are given the opportunity to embark on an apprenticeship in an industry that appeals to them; learn a trade, go to school, earn a wage and come out of the experience with a skill, an education, no debt and most likely a job at which they excel - what's wrong with that?

    The investment in these apprentices is significant and it is difficult to determine an ROI; but what is the cost of not doing this - where are your next generation of operators and technicians going to come from?

    During the InnovationInkubator session, we heard from Lee Oakley about the progress made by Hybrid Cylinders in commercializing their product. There is growing interest in the technology, by which, a single cylinder base may be repurposed many times, at the same, or different circumferences, using the current cylinder preparation workflow.

    Heat Technologies discussed the science of acoustic energy, showing the difference between standard convective heat and mass transfer and acoustically enhanced heat and mass transfer. Attendees gained an understanding of how Spectra Ultra HE delivers dramatically higher throughput rates with less energy than alternate drying technologies.

    Frank Passarelli of Bobst spoke to three main topics:
    Gravure printing cylinders: Integral versus shaft-less design
    On press wash up
    Innovative "Twin Trolley" that offers flexibility for job changeover
    Shaft-less cylinders are part of the landscape in North American Gravure, but were not adopted at the same scale as in Europe and Asia. Frank showed some of the advantages of shaft-less cylinders that are enhanced by improved press designs. There are solutions for every cylinder design and there are more in the pipeline, so it is crucial that Printers and Engravers have the correct equipment and systems in place to handle and run these various cylinder types effectively. The Press equipment enhancements that Frank described bring efficiency to the pressroom and create another competitive advantage for Gravure.

    InnovationInkubator Challenge
    Following unprecedented interest in our InnovationInkubator at the recent GAAmericas Global Summit, we thought that we would throw out a challenge to the Gravure industry:
    We are constantly hearing about new technologies that can bring efficiencies to the Gravure process. Nevertheless, unless a technology is implemented, it benefits no one. Implementation is hard, and it is the implementers as much as the inventors who are the heroes of innovation.

    We took some time out to salute Ed Lieb, who retires this year. Ed is a well-respected technical resource, mentor, teacher and a great friend. Ron Milz of Sonoco presented Ed with a specially minted Golden Cylinder Award.

    We held the most successful Global Marketplace ever in Lake Buena Vista. The exhibitors were plenty and varied; each one gave a brief introduction of their company and three exhibitors gave a ten-minute "Spotlight" presentation on innovations that they were launching. This has become an international event that represents the best opportunity for exhibitors and other attendees to interact and communicate needs and solutions.

    We are all looking forward to the Technical Forum at the Omni Hotel Downtown Richmond, VA in October, where we will hold the next Global Marketplace; it may not be too early to secure your space!

    Here is a story about a strategic supply chain investment, in a growing market, that has benefited all parties...Janoschka - Mexico Case study. Gerd Wiedermann took us through the structure of the initial joint venture to the current growing business as it moves to bigger premises and greater success.

    We are so grateful for Gary Jones, PIA. He has become a much-anticipated feature of our Summit and brings us so much information about what is happening with State and Federal safety and environmental legislation. He reminded us of a number of actions that we need to take, not least of which was to review our safety procedures - to illustrate this point he played us a very disturbing video showing the fatal consequences of relying upon equipment interlock systems as opposed to safe working practices.

    Color Demystified - who needs what tools.
    We wanted to show that color control and predictive image management are mature technologies. However, they can continue to be enhanced through applying new ideas. Gravure has a larger natural color gamut than any other process (120% that of Flexo), but in recent times the focus has been to limit that range to emulate other processes in the pursuit of Brand consistency. Now we are being challenged with Extended Gamut, so it is time to review and advance.

    Moderator Mark Geeves from Color Logic took us through the fundamentals of understanding color and the three Cs of Color Management:
    John Comerford of WRE Colortech explained how we arrived at the tools and procedures that make color so much more manageable today.

    Garett Long from SGS International explained the application of today's tools and how processes can be selectively controlled.

    We were grateful for the print and packaging samples that were provided from around the world by attendees. We saw some remarkable examples, which will be used as teaching aids at schools and during training events. If you have a great example of Gravure printing, you should enter it for a Golden Cylinder Award. Please use the following link for further details:
  • The Printing Plant in Cincinnati, Ohio wins Gold Award using Color-Logic
    The Printing Plant in Cincinnati, Ohio won Gold at the recent Printing Industries of Ohio - N. Kentucky for their G7 For Flexography label. This label was also featured in the FTA Flexo Magazine last year. The Printing Plant's use of G7 process control and Color-Logic Inc's design software demonstrates that process control does not mean your job cannot standout if you have the right design tools.