20 Sep 2020

Agfa Graphics acquires The Pitman Company


Agfa Logo

Agfa Graphics announced that it has signed an agreement to purchase the assets of the Harold M. Pitman Company, a leading US supplier of prepress, industrial inkjet, pressroom and packaging printing products and systems.

The Pitman Company acquisition substantially increases Agfa Graphics’ revenue in the US to more than $500 million. The incremental EBIT contribution is expected to be well in line with Agfa Graphics’ global 7 percent target. After the closing, Agfa expects further growth of its US top line resulting from the combination of expertise available in both companies. Agfa also expects strong synergies to be delivered from the consolidation of sales forces and the reduction of G&A expenses.

Based in Totowa, New Jersey, the Pitman Company counts 502 employees and 16 locations throughout the USA. The acquisition will enable Agfa Graphics to significantly strengthen its position in the US printing industry. Pitman's large customer base and knowledge of the industry will offer immediate and unique growth opportunities for Agfa Graphics' industrial inkjet and prepress solutions. Agfa Graphics' addressable market will increase substantially, thanks to the addition of numerous product lines to its offering, including flexographic printing plate solutions for the packaging industry, pressroom products and value added services. Moreover, Agfa Graphics will be able to complement its own developed industrial inkjet offering with the addition of a vast range of media, new inks and wide format printing systems.

"Pitman's strong distribution network and broad portfolio of products and systems, combined with our leading technology, will provide us with promising growth opportunities in this strategically important region. One glance at Pitman's extensive catalog is enough to understand that we will considerably expand our scope," said Stefaan Vanhooren, Agfa Graphics' president. "One of the main drivers behind this decision was the fact that we gain a unique opportunity to significantly grow our inkjet business."

Pitman's Chairman of the Board, Paul (Peter) F. Schmidt, Jr., stated "Our family built the Pitman Company into an industry leading graphic solutions provider and for over 50 years we have been strategic partners with Agfa. I feel very confident about this new chapter in the history of the Pitman Company and I know that it is the combined force of Pitman and Agfa that will drive this company to the next level by providing present and future customers a greater value package of goods and services."


Screen USA hits milestone


Screen Logo

It is no accident that Screen drop-on-demand inkjet technology is transforming the digital printing industry.

With its rich history of innovation and precision manufacturing, Dainippon Screen, the parent company of Screen (USA), has played a transformative role in graphic communications for the past 67 years. From glass screens in the early 1940s to process cameras in the 1960s to color scanners in the 1970s, Screen has built a tremendous portfolio of technological advances.

Screen's record of accomplishment has continued uninterrupted into the second decade of the 21st century. Notably, sales of Screen-manufactured computer-to-plate recorders have exceeded 15,000 units since 1995.

Screen recently marked another important milestone with its variable inkjet web printing system. Between 2007 and March 2010, Screen and its partner, InfoPrint Solutions Company, sold and installed more than 200 Screen Truepress Jet520 and IPS InfoPrint 5000 continuous-feed color inkjet presses worldwide.

Introduced in 2005, the Truepress Jet520 immediately gained a reputation as an impressive on-demand printer capable of handling diverse applications. Featuring an output speed of over 110,000 (variable) 8.5 x 11-inch pages per hour, the Truepress Jet520 is designed for high-volume production of books, newspapers direct mail and transactional printing.

Screen collaborated with Seiko Epson Corp. on both the piezo drop-on-demand inkjet print heads and ink. This combination brings outstanding results on a wide range of uncoated and inkjet treated stocks, as well as the emerging class of matte and gloss coated stock.

InfoPrint Solutions, after an in-depth review of all inkjet technologies available or in development, selected the highly reliable Screen inkjet technology as the best balance to address customers' high-speed production requirements. Today, the Truepress Jet520 and InfoPrint 5000 are used in a broad variety of applications, including account statements, books and newspapers.

"Color variable print output allows production efficiencies for faster turnaround at a lower production cost by utilizing the variable print capabilities in conjunction with inline finishing," said Bill Brunone, Screen's vice president for targeted inkjet systems. "For example, calculate the time and money it would take in a shop to make plates, print signatures and cut, collate and trim pages to produce finished book blocks. Now imagine a world in which one operator can output two 500-page trimmed book blocks every two minutes with the touch of one touch screen. Screen and InfoPrint customers have discovered such a world and without sacrificing litho quality."

Take Flagship Press, Inc. in North Andover, Mass. Flagship, an early adopter of the Truepress Jet520, services publishers in the educational and high-tech markets.

Christopher Poor, vice president, recalled the process that led Flagship to install the Screen system: "When we began researching inkjet technology, our first reaction was, 'Will the printing be of commercially acceptable quality?' We are extremely impressed by Screen's inkjet technology in terms of speed, quality and reliability. The Truepress Jet520 offers faster printing speeds and the capacity to produce significantly higher volumes at a lower cost. We are finishing jobs in one-quarter of the time compared with our existing digital color output engine."


Fujifilm recognised for safety in US facilities

Fujifilm Logo

FUJIFILM North America Corporation today was recognized by the International Imaging Industry Association (I3A) for demonstrating the highest levels of safety performance and leadership. The not-for-profit I3A represents nearly all leading and emerging imaging companies and is the largest imaging industry group worldwide. Fujifilm won four Safety Excellence Awards and three Best in Class Awards from I3A in recognition of the safety performance at its Hanover Park, IL; Irving, TX; Rochester, NY, and Greenwood, SC facilities.

"We are honored by these awards," said Ryutaro Hosoda, president and CEO, FUJIFILM North America Corporation. "A critical element of our efforts to build sustainable businesses involves the education, training and safety of Fujifilm employees. The safety record at these facilities, as recognized by I3A with these awards, is important validation of our efforts."

I3A's Safety Excellence Award criteria considers the lowest recordable days away from work incidence rate as well as a low overall recordable incidence rate with the most hours worked during a calendar year. Award recipients are recognized as being best in their class among I3A member companies. Fujifilm's warehouse, sales and service, R&D and photo services facilities were acknowledged with Safety Excellence Awards, and the company's South Carolina photo services operation, Texas sales & service facility, and Illinois warehouse won three of the five Best in Class Awards.

Awards will be presented at the International Imaging Industry Association's 64th Annual Conference in San Jose, CA in November, 2010.

EskoArtwork sets up a Software Development Center in the Suzhou Industrial Park


EskoArtwork has signed an agreement with the China-Singapore Suzhou Industrial Park (SIP) to set up a Software Development Center in the SIP. The official signing of the agreement was well attended by a large number of EskoArtwork’s Chinese customers during the User Club Day at the Belgian Pavilion at the World Expo 2010 in Shanghai.

"China is an economic powerhouse that emerged from the worldwide financial crisis almost unscathed. It is no longer just a "factory of the world" but evolved to a large, rapidly growing and attractive local market. This represents a great opportunity for EskoArtwork and its customers," says Carsten Knudsen, EskoArtwork’s President & CEO. "To do business in China, it’s important to deliver products that meet the needs of the local market. The Development Center’s first focus will be to develop software that helps Chinese customers improve efficiency and quality, which will lead to improved satisfaction among their customers."

Carsten continues: "Since many years, EskoArtwork holds a strong position in China in the higher end of the market, which produces goods primarily for export. The Software Development Center will develop software targeted at China’s broad but quickly developing market of converters and tradeshops, which look to greatly improve their production capabilities to serve the local market."

"EskoArtwork chose the Suzhou Industrial Park because it offers a great pool of software talent, a well-structured and professional approach, a sound environment for the protection of IP and a set of excellent incentives," says Jean-Pierre De Moor, Vice President Asia Pacific & Japan. "Furthermore, Suzhou is close to our Greater China Headquarters in Shanghai."

"SIP is pleased to welcome EskoArtwork to the Park. We are always excited when world-class companies and market leaders in their field invest in the Park," concludes Mrs. Sun Yanyan, Vice Chairman of SIP. "It is a testimony of the excellent facilities and incentives offered by the Park."

In a further move to strengthen its position in the Chinese market, EskoArtwork will set up an assembly and manufacturing plant in China for its flagship CDI digital imager for flexo and letterpress plates. The company believes that the flexo and letterpress markets will grow significantly in the next five years, especially when the extensive local tradeshops and converter market switches to digital plates.


Granthams first UK reseller to sign up as supplier of Elements green print solutions



Granthams Elements

Preston based Granthams is the first UK company to sign up as a reseller for IGS UK’s Elements green series of wide-format printing systems. The long established supplier of solutions for the display industry had been looking for more environmentally friendly options to suit its growing customer base, and the Atom 24 and Atom 44, which incorporate Epson MicroPiezo TFP print-heads, ticked all the boxes for durability, totally safe operation and cost-effective ease of use.

A member of the GDL Colourlink Group, a consortium of independent UK graphics’ specialists, Granthams was founded 114 years ago and is a major supplier of sign-making and display products throughout the country. A policy of only offering the best solutions, for which full support is included, has led the company to gain a high reputation for sales and service with leading brand aqueous- and solvent-based printers, consumables and accessories. The addition of IGS UK’s Elements range now satisfies the demand for an essential green option for users wanting to produce durable displays.

Kirsty Reader, general manager of Granthams, states: “Our growing client list comprises large and small businesses, including many offices and organisations who want to produce their durable display print in-house. Until now this hasn’t been practical because of the odours and hazardous chemicals inherent in most solvent-based printing systems.

“The Elements Atom 24 and Atom 44 printers, combined with H2O inks, matched Krypton Eco-Media and specially configured Chromium RIP, result in a neat, clean and green system which produces high quality output onto a range of materials, including semi-rigids and, even, aluminium composites,” Reader continues. “This turnkey solution also incorporates full support for users, plus minimal maintenance. We believe it is certain to appeal to first-time printer purchasers as well as those who want to incorporate eco-friendly options into their existing range of services.”

With size options of 610 mm (24 inches) and 1117.6 mm (44 inches), the Elements Atom duo is based on industry-proven Epson Stylus Pro printers, modified to facilitate the use of Elements H2O’s proprietary outdoor durable heat-cured water-based resin inks. Epson’s MicroPiezo TFP (Thin Film Piezo) technology ensures that precise dot placement is matched with high performance criteria and excellent print-head durability.

Managing director of IGS UK, Nick Wintle, adds: “Although we’ve only recently launched our Elements family of products, the interest has been exceptionally high from resellers eager to adopt a water-based green wide-format print solution. Granthams was first past the post and we’re pleased to be working with such a high profile, well established specialist.”

Based in Maidenhead, IGS UK is an international distributor of high quality wide-format solutions, all of which are sourced from reputable manufacturers renowned for high standards and reliability. The company’s ethos is to champion moves to greener working practices by bringing environmentally aware products and services to the display industry.

For further information, or to arrange a demonstration, Granthams can be contacted on Tel: 0845 230 5520, you can also visit their website at www.graphicdiscount.co.uk



Roland DG report hardware 'slump' but look ahead to increased sales and income


Business overview and consolidated financial results for the 2010 fiscal year April 1 2009 to March 31 2010, as presented by Masahiro Tomioka, President of Roland DG Corporation

  • Net sales for the 2010 fiscal year decreased to 28,403 million yen (down 27.3% year on year).
  • Operating costs percentage increased due to the adjustments in production volume, the increased cost of supplies, the strong yen and other factors.
  • As a result, operating income was 708 million yen (down 85.2% year on year).
  • With increased income taxes due to the partial reversal of subsidiaries’ deferred tax assets and the like, Roland DG ended the fiscal year with a net loss of 82 million yen (versus a net income of 2,892 million yen in the previous year).

Presidents comments:

"During the latter half of this year, the global economy gradually recovered from its plummet following the financial shock precipitated by the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy. However, consumer spending and corporate sentiment toward capital investment remained weak throughout the year.

Roland DG Group responded to this severe economic climate by reducing expenses and streamlining operations to focus on strategic areas of our business. Identifying these major changes in the global economic climate as a historic turning point, we also began working to reform our corporate structure to better facilitate medium and long-term growth.

In the first half of the year, we responded to the changing economy by making strategic adjustments to production and shipping, reduced inventory throughout our supply-chain and increased our ability to rapidly respond to market conditions. In the second half of the year, we were able to bring new products to market. Thanks to these immediate actions and other factors, our profitability began to recover in the second half of the year.

By business segment, net sales of printers, 3D products, and other non-supply products slumped due to a decreasing corporate interest in capital investment and the increased difficulty of our customers to obtain financing. However, net sales gradually recovered in the second half of the year, led mainly by supplies. By region, net sales in North America and Europe hit bottom in the first half of the year with a gradual recovery thereafter, but the level of recovery was weak overall. Coupled with the adverse impact of the strong yen, the result was a large year-on-year sales decline. Meanwhile, sales in Japan were strong as we made progress in cultivating markets for our UV printers while in Asia, particularly China, our active sales efforts succeeded in limiting the size of the drop in net sales.

As a result of the above, net sales for the 2010 fiscal year decreased to 28,403 million yen (down 27.3% year on year). Our operating costs percentage increased due to the adjustments in our production volume, the increased cost of supplies, the strong yen and other factors. As a result, operating income was 708 million yen (down 85.2% year on year). With increased income taxes due to the partial reversal of subsidiaries’ deferred tax assets and the like, we ended the fiscal year with a net loss of 82 million yen (versus a net income of 2,892 million yen in the previous year).

While elements of the global economy remain uncertain, we expect to achieve increased sales and income for the 2011 fiscal year through aggressive sales activities with a focus on new products, continued maintenance of appropriate inventory levels, and a commitment to streamlining our operations by improving production efficiency and lowering costs.

Roland DG Group continues to uphold our corporate vision of using digital technology to transform imagination into reality. Professionals worldwide rely on Roland solutions everyday in the sign, grand-format, sublimation, UV inkjet, digital graphics, vehicle graphics, fine art, photography, packaging, label, engraving and 3D modeling industries. Going forward, we will continue to explore profitable new markets for our innovative engineering expertise, such as the dental prostheses industry.