15 Jul 2020

Avery Dennison reports strong first quarter

Avery Dennison Logo

Avery Dennison Corporation  today announced preliminary, unaudited first quarter 2010 results.

"We are off to an encouraging start in 2010," said Dean A. Scarborough, chairman, president and CEO of Avery Dennison. "First-quarter volumes increased and organic sales growth was solid in all regions, particularly emerging markets. We're especially pleased with the increased demand benefiting our Pressure-sensitive Materials and Retail Information Services segments. Increased operating leverage has driven gross profit margin well above pre-recession levels despite lower volumes."

"Going forward, we're more confident about a modest economic recovery," Scarborough said. "We expect raw material inflation to be a challenge throughout the year and we are taking pricing actions accordingly. We are playing aggressive offense, increasing investment in marketing and business development, while continuing to deliver productivity improvements to help fund long-term, profitable growth."

For more details on the Company's results, see the Company's supplemental presentation materials, "First Quarter 2010 Financial Review and Analysis," posted at the Company's Web site at www.investors.averydennison.com, and furnished under Form 8-K with the SEC.


First Quarter 2010 Results by Segment

All references to sales reflect comparisons on an organic basis, which exclude the impact of acquisitions, foreign currency translation, and the impact of an extra week in the first quarter of 2009. All references to operating margin exclude the impact of restructuring, asset impairment charges, and other items.


Pressure-sensitive Materials (PSM)

- Roll Materials sales growth was led by strength in emerging markets, and mid single-digit growth in Europe and North America. Sales grew low double-digits in the Graphics and Reflective Products division.

- Operating margin increased due to higher volume and the benefits from restructuring and o'ther initiatives to drive productivity.


Retail Information Services (RIS)

- Sales growth reflected increased demand, due in part to significant inventory destocking that occurred among apparel retailers in the first half of 2009.

- Operating margin expanded due to increased volume and the benefit of restructuring and other productivity initiatives.

- RIS continues to introduce new products and value-added services to increase its share of this large market, while reducing fixed costs and streamlining its operations.


Office and Consumer Products (OCP)

- The decline in sales reflected weak end-market demand and changes in customer programs, partially offset by the impact of inventory destocking in the first quarter of 2010 compared to that in the first quarter of 2009.

- Operating margin declined due to increased spending related to customer programs, as well as higher investment in consumer promotions and marketing.


Other specialty converting businesses

- Sales growth primarily reflected increased demand for products for automotive applications, which was down sharply in the first quarter of 2009.

- The improvement in operating margin reflected increased volume and the benefit of restructuring and productivity actions.


Consolidated Items and Actions

- In the fourth quarter of 2008, the Company began a restructuring program to reduce costs across all segments of the business. The Company is on track to achieve its goal of $180 million in annualized savings by mid-2010. In the first quarter of 2010, the Company delivered approximately $25 million in incremental savings from these actions, net of transition costs.

- The adjusted tax rate in the first quarter was approximately 22 percent, representing the high end of the expected range for the full-year rate.


2010 Outlook

In the Company's supplemental presentation materials, "First Quarter 2010 Financial Review and Analysis," the Company provides a list of factors that it believes will contribute to its 2010 financial results. Based on the factors listed and other assumptions, the Company expects reported revenue growth of 5 to 7 percent, and Adjusted (non-GAAP) Earnings Per Share of $2.50 to $2.80. The Company estimates Free Cash Flow in 2010 of $300 to $350 million.

Graphic Arts Monthly among titles to be closed by RBI

Graphic Arts Monthly

In July 2009, Reed Elsevier announced that the RBI-US controlled circulation magazines and certain other print titles, representing approximately 45% of the revenues of RBI-US, were to be divested.  Since then, the following titles, representing approximately two thirds of the revenues of the portfolio to be divested, have been sold in seven separate transactions:

  • On 30 November 2009, NewBay Media LLC acquired Broadcasting & Cable, Multichannel News and This Week in Consumer Electronics (TWICE).
  • On 16 February 2010, Canon Communications acquired Electronic Design News (EDN), Design News, Test & Measurement World and Packaging Digest.
  • On 26 February 2010, Media Source Inc. acquired Library Journal, School Library Journal and Library Hotline.
  • On 17 March 2010, Sandow Media acquired Interior Design, Furniture Today, Gifts & Decorative Accessories, Home Textiles Today, Casual Living, Home Accents Today, Kids Today and Playthings.
  • On 31 March 2010, two management buyouts took place for Tracom and In-Stat.
  • On 2 April 2010, Publishers Weekly was acquired by former PW publisher George Slowik, JR. and Partners.

To conclude the divestment process, the publishing operations of the remaining RBI-US controlled circulation titles are to be closed: Building Design+Construction, Chain Leader, Construction Bulletin, Construction Equipment, Consulting-Specifying Engineer, Control Engineering, Converting, Foodservice Equipment & Supplies, Graphic Arts Blue Book, Graphic Arts Monthly, HOTELS, Logistics Management, Material Handling Product News, Modern Materials Handling, Plant Engineering, Professional Builder, Professional Remodeler, Purchasing, Restaurants & Institutions, Semiconductor International, Spec Check, Supply Chain Management Review and Tradeshow Week.

Variety, Marketcast and 411 Publishing, the RCD (Reed Construction Data) businesses and the Buyerzone lead generation business were not part of the divestment process and are retained. Jewelers’ Circular Keystone (JCK) has been transferred to Reed Exhibitions which runs the JCK Jewelry event and DM2 has been merged with Mardev in the UK to form a global list management operation.

Océ Reports Financial Recovery in Some Markets

Oce Logo

Highlights first quarter:

  • Some markets showed signs of recovery
  • Revenues € 614 million (-5% organically)
  • Operating income € 7 million
  • Free cash flow - € 64 million
  • Net loss € 5 million
  • Canon transaction closed successfully
  • Priority on cross-selling opportunities with Canon


Comments by Rokus van Iperen, Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors:

‘Although our revenues were still declining in first quarter 2010, the decrease was less significant than in each of the three previous quarters. Some of our key markets are showing signs of either stabilizing or even picking up.

Europe remained very weak in all segments but customers in the United States and Asia appeared to gain confidence and cautiously started buying again. Our cost savings program continued to be well on track but could only partly mitigate the effects of the revenue decline.

Between January and March 2010, a total of 85% outstanding Océ common shares were acquired by Canon, enabling this compelling combination to close successfully. Our priority and focus in the short term is cross-selling of Canon products in Océ channels and vice versa. Integration activities will be carefully considered, taking the current shareholding structure into account.’


Some markets showed signs of recovery; printing industry decline bottomed out Some markets showed signs of recovery. For example, the corporate markets including the Financial Services segment improved. Other markets, like the  construction sector and the Graphic Arts market remained weak.

As in 2009 the markets continued to impact the printing industry. The decline in the industry bottomed out, mainly driven by growth in sales of low-end equipment. Sales of other equipment continued to be impacted by the lower activity levels in key market sectors compared to the first quarter of 2009.

Document management services slowed down as existing business showed lower customer activity levels in many sectors. In addition new contracts were delayed and smaller, as customers chose to use the available free internal capacity.

Océ revenues declined in line with printing industry development

Following these market developments, Océ revenues showed an organic decline of 5% versus the first quarter of 2009. This decline bottomed out compared to the organic revenue decline in the third and fourth quarter of 2009 which amounted to 12% and 11% respectively. Océ believes the company holds strong positions in key markets based on innovative products such as the printing systems of the Océ JetStream®, the Océ VarioPrint® and the Océ ColorWave® series.

Savings program

Our action program continued to be well on track but could only partly mitigate the effects of the revenue decline, as reflected in the above table. In the first quarter Océ realized a cost reduction of € 17 million, exclusive of inflation and restructuring cost. In the first quarter Océ realized a headcount reduction of 310 FTEs compared to the fourth quarter 2009.

Combination Canon and Océ

On 16 November 2009 Canon and Océ announced that they had reached conditional agreement to combine their printing activities through a recommended public cash offer. This transaction closed successfully on 9 March 2010.

The first meeting of the Supervisory Board in its new composition as well as the first meeting of the Integration Steering Committee have taken place. Also the cross-selling between Canon and Océ has been initiated.

With these actions, Canon and Océ successfully took the first steps in their aim to create the overall No. 1 presence in the printing industry.

In order to continue to support our customers a new agreement with Konica Minolta was concluded.

Océ Group results first quarter 2010


Total revenues in the first quarter amounted to € 614 million, a decrease of 7%. The organic decrease was 5% compared to the first quarter of 2009.

The share of color in Océ total revenues continued to grow and now accounts for 30%, up from 27% at the end of the first quarter 2009.

Non-recurring revenues amounted to € 161 million, a decrease of 5%. The organic decline was 4%.

Recurring revenues amounted to € 453 million, a decrease of 7%. The organic decline was 6%.

The normalization items have been aligned with the definitions of the bank covenants. The table below provides an overview of these normalization items and shows that reported operating income and normalized income are equal.

Gross margin and operating income

In the first quarter of 2010 normalized gross margin was 37.9% (2009: 39.3%).

The year on year decrease in gross margin was the result of three elements. First, compared to the first quarter of 2009, the changes in foreign currency exchange rates caused a positive hedge variance of € 1 million, leading to a gross margin increase of 0.2 percentage points. Second, the difference in business mix at group level, mainly due to a larger share of OBS in total revenues, resulted in a gross margin decline of 0.2 percentage points (OBS is a services business with a different margin profile). Third, the business development resulted in a gross margin decrease of 1.4 percentage points. This is mainly caused by lower utilization of the supply centers, due to the € 44 million lower revenues, as well as mix effects within the business units.

Normalized operating expenses amounted to 36.7% (2009: 34.7%). The increase was the result of the strong revenue decline versus first quarter 2009, as well as incidentals in the first quarter of 2009, partly mitigated by the savings program. In constant currencies, operating expenses were stable.

On balance, normalized operating income amounted to € 7 million (2009: € 30 million).

Operating income amounted to € 7 million (2009: € 30 million).

Finance expenses and net income

Finance expenses (net) amounted to € 11 million (2009: € 13 million).

The taxation charge to net income amounted to € 1 million (2009: € 4 million).

On balance, net income amounted to –€ 5 million (2009: € 15 million).

Balance sheet and RoCE

The balance sheet total was € 2,314 million, compared to € 2,568 million at the end of the first quarter of 2009.

Net Capital Employed was € 1,133 million, compared to € 1,340 million at the end of the first quarter of 2009. In relation to normalized operating income, RoCE amounted to 1.0% (2009: 5.1%).

Free cash flow and financial covenants Free cash flow in the first quarter 2010 remained unchanged at –€ 64 million. This was the net effect of a lower operating income, an increase in inventories and trade and other receivables and a reduction in trade and other liabilities. Cash flow from operating activities changed slightly to –€ 40 million (2009: –€ 38 million). The cash flow from investing activities was –€ 24 million (2009: –€ 26 million).

At the end of the first quarter 2010, the net debt/EBITDA ratio amounted to 2.7 (financial covenants maximum of 3.5) and EBITDA/interest (net) amounted to 5.6 (financial covenants minimum of 3.5).

SBU results first quarter

  • Digital Document Systems (DDS)

Compared to the last quarters of 2009, the decline in the markets served by DDS bottomed out. However, year on year the markets showed lower activity levels resulting in € 25 million revenue decline. As a result revenues in DDS amounted to € 344 million. Organically, revenues declined by 5%. The share of color was 25% of revenues (2009: 22%).

Non-recurring revenues amounted to € 106 million. Organically, revenues declined by 1%.

As a result of the decline in multiple market sectors, equipment sales in Printroom as well as black & white continuous feed systems were lower compared to the first quarter of 2009. DDS showed good sales in Office as well as TransPromo and Graphic Arts through the continuous feed color printers.

Recurring revenues amounted to € 238 million. Organically, revenues declined by 6%. The market deterioration resulted in lower print volumes and subsequently lower revenues in Office and black & white continuous feed. The production cutsheet revenue growth slowed down. Normalized operating income amounted to € 1 million (2009: € 16 million) and was impacted by the lower market demand.

Wide Format Printing Systems (WFPS)

Compared to the last quarters of 2009 the decline in the markets served by WFPS also bottomed out. However, year on year the market showed lower activity levels especially in Construction and Manufacturing resulting in € 16 million revenue decline. As a result revenues in WFPS amounted to € 159 million. Organically, revenues declined by 9%. The share of color increased to 45% (2009: 41%).

Non-recurring revenues amounted to € 55 million. Organically, revenues declined by 8%.

Recurring revenues amounted to € 104 million. Organically, recurring revenues declined by 9% due to the decline in print volumes in market sectorsserved by Technical Document Systems and Imaging Supplies. Imaging Supplies revenue declined organically by 13% mainly due to lower print volumes.

Normalized operating income amounted to € 3 million (2009: € 11 million) impacted by the lower market demand mainly for technical documentation systems.

Océ Business Services (OBS)

The document outsourcing market declined as business at existing customers is experiencing declining activity levels in many market segments and organizations, which delayed or reduced the outsourcing of document related processes.

Revenues in OBS amounted to € 111 million. Organically, revenues remained unchanged. Revenue growth in Europe continued although at a lower pace. Revenues in the United States continued to remain under pressure.

OBS is taking actions to maximize existing opportunities and further reduce cost.

Normalized operating income amounted to € 3 million (2009: € 3 million).


In 2010 the market circumstances are expected to remain challenging and continue to impact the printing industry. In the first quarter of 2010 some markets show sign of recovery and the printing industry decline bottomed out.

Customers are expected to invest in systems and services that directly add value to their business. Therefore Océ will continue to introduce innovations for all market segments.

Canon and Océ will continue to work towards creating the best combination in the printing industry.

As a consequence of the change of control, substantial one-off items will be recorded in the second quarter results of 2010. These will include costs and interest charges in connection with the refinancing by Canon Inc.


Agfa reports weak Q1 but look towards further recovery in graphics market

Agfa Logo

Compared to 2008, Group revenue decreased 9.1 percent to 2,755 million Euro. The crisis-driven decline in Agfa-Gevaert's markets started to bottom-out in the second half of the year.

In spite of the sales decline and manufacturing inefficiencies due to lower use of capacity in the first quarters of the year, the Group's recurring gross profit margin improved from 31.7 percent in 2008 to 32.2 percent. This was mainly due to the successful efficiency improvement programs, lower raw material prices and certain one-off effects.

Agfa-Gevaert is ahead of its plans to reduce its Selling and General Administration expenses. The average monthly SG&A expense was brought down from 64 million Euro in 2007 and 54 million Euro in 2008 to 46 million Euro in 2009. The year on year SG&A cost decrease amounted to 14.5 percent. The SG&A expenses represented 20.1 percent of revenue, compared to 23.3 percent in 2007 and 21.3 percent in 2008.

The Group's recurring EBITDA (the sum of Graphics, HealthCare, Specialty Products and the unallocated portion) increased from 251 million Euro in 2008 to 284 million Euro. Recurring EBIT improved from 135 million Euro to 182 million Euro.

Restructuring and non-recurring items resulted in an expense of 12 million Euro, versus an expense of 158 million Euro in 2008.The 2009 figures were positively influenced by changes in the post-retirement medical plans in theUSAand by changes in the defined benefit plans in theUSAandGermany.The 2008 figures were affected by a considerable impairment loss on goodwill.

The net finance costs amounted to minus 114 million Euro, compared to minus 83 million Euro in 2008. This increase was due to the increased pension deficit, which was caused by the evolution of the stock markets in 2008.

Income tax expense amounted to 49 million Euro versus 60 million Euro in 2008. Current tax expense amounted to 14 million Euro and deferred tax expense amounted to 35 million Euro (non-cash item).

Mainly due to the strong operational performance in all business groups in the last quarters of the year, a positive net result of 6 million Euro was booked, compared to minus 167 million Euro in 2008. The 2008 result was subject to the aforementioned impairment loss, an exceptional tax charge and considerable restructuring costs.

Balance sheet and cash flow

  • At the end of 2009, total assets were 2,852 million Euro, compared to 3,160 million Euro at the end of 2008.
  • Inventories were 483 million Euro (or 93 days). Trade receivables (minus deferred revenue and advanced payments from customers) amounted to 469 million Euro, or 58 days and trade payables were 206 million Euro, or 40 days.
  • Due to continued targeted efforts, net financial debt improved to 445 million Euro, versus 673 million Euro at the end of 2008 and 721 million Euro at the end of 2007.
  • Net cash from operating activities amounted to 266 million Euro.


Agfa Graphics' revenue decreased 11.9 percent compared to 2008. The effects of the economic slowdown - which surfaced in the course of 2008 - persisted in the first quarters of 2009. In the second half of the year the crisis-driven decline started to bottom-out. In the last months of 2009 both the prepress and the inkjet market started to recover, mainly inNorth Americaand the emerging countries. However, the crisis-related increased competitive pressure in the Computer-to-Plate segment continued throughout the year.

Agfa Graphics is successfully implementing its plans to reduce its SG&A costs. Compared to 2008, these costs were reduced by50million Euro.

Together with the measures to improve operational efficiency, these efforts clearly supported Agfa Graphics' profitability, resulting in a particularly strong fourth quarter performance. Lower raw material prices and certain one-off effects also had a positive influence. Year-on-year, these beneficial elements were counterbalanced by crisis-related elements, such as the underutilization of the manufacturing capacity, bad debt provisions and increased competitive pressure.

Fourth quarter results

The Agfa-Gevaert Group's fourth quarter revenue decreased 3.4 percent compared to the corresponding period in 2008. Excluding currency effects, the decline would be limited to 1.0 percent. This improvement compared to the previous quarters of the year shows that Agfa-Gevaert's markets are starting to recover from the effects of the economic crisis.

The Group reduced its SG&A costs by 17 million Euro compared to the fourth quarter of 2008. By reducing their costs and improving their operational efficiency, all business groups contributed to the strong improvement of profitability. The recurring EBITDA increased to 97 million Euro (13.2 percent of revenue) and the recurring EBIT increased to 73 million Euro (9.9 percent of revenue). The Group's net result amounted to 20 million Euro.

Recent judgments in arbitration cases relating to AgfaPhoto - such as the judgments concerning the hereditary building rights and the alleged misconduct of Agfa-Gevaert in connection with the sale of the Consumer Imaging division - have been in favor of Agfa-Gevaert.

Agfa Graphics

Traditionally, the fourth quarter is the strongest for the printing industry. Agfa Graphics' revenue decreased 6.8 percent compared to the fourth quarter of 2008. The decline is far less pronounced than in the previous quarters of the year, due to the strong performance of the Computer-to-Film segment in the BRIC countries, the booking of revenues for a number of contracts for high-end inkjet equipment and the burgeoning recovery of the graphic markets. The shift of part of the film business (for Computer-to-Film applications) from Agfa Specialty Products to Agfa Graphics as a result of changes in the competitive landscape also had a beneficial impact on Agfa Graphics' revenue. The business group's efforts to reduce its operational costs are clearly paying off. The recurring EBITDA margin improved to 11.5 percent and the EBIT margin to 8.5 percent.

In industrial inkjet, the highlight of the fourth quarter of 2009 was the agreement to acquire most of the assets of Gandi Innovations Holdings LLC's North American operations and the shares of its principal foreign subsidiaries. Gandi Innovations is a leading supplier of large format inkjet printing systems in the mid-range market segment. Their product offering is complementary to Agfa Graphics' range of entry-level :Anapurna large format printers and high-end :M-Press Tiger and :Dotrix inkjet machines. The deal was finalized in the beginning of 2010.

Also in inkjet, new :M-Press Tiger presses - the second generation of the :M-Press industrial flatbed press - will soon be installed at printers in theUK,Australia,Canada, theUSAandFrance.In the fourth quarter, the :Anapurna large format printers also continued to sell well. As their installed base is growing gradually, these systems are now starting to generate more substantial ink sales.

In the field of prepress, Agfa Graphics unveiled a number of technological innovations at the IFRA 2009 newspaper trade show (Vienna,Austria). These innovations allow newspaper printers to improve the efficiency of their prepress departments. :Arkitex Portal, for instance, is a new addition to Agfa Graphics' popular :Arkitex software for managing and controlling the production process for newspaper publishers. Agfa Graphics also introduced a high speed option for its range of :Advantage N platesetters. Due to the new option, platesetters can produce significantly more printing plates per hour.

In January 2010, Agfa Graphics signed a letter of intent with its business partner Shenzhen Brothers for the establishment of a joint venture aiming at reinforcing both partners' market position in the Greater China and ASEAN region.Agfa Graphics is convinced that the combination of Shenzhen Brothers' strong relationship with local suppliers and governments and Agfa Graphics' know-how and leading technology will facilitate the realization of both companies' ambitious growth plans.


It is expected that the graphic markets will continue to recover in the course of 2010. At present, the recovery is stronger in North America and the emerging countries than in most Western European countries. As a result, Agfa Graphics expects a stronger first quarter performance in 2010. The effects of the aforementioned acquisition of Gandi Innovations will slowly become apparent in the course of the year. The effects of the joint venture with the Chinese Shenzhen Brothers company will start to kick in in the course of the second half of the year.

Konica Minolta Business Solutions U.S.A. announces change leadership

Konica Minolta Logo

Konica Minolta Business Solutions U.S.A., Inc. (Konica Minolta), a leading provider of advanced imaging and networking technologies for the desktop to the print shop, today announced senior management changes.

Jun Haraguchi, President and Chief Executive Officer will return to Japan to become General Manager, Worldwide Sales and Marketing for Konica Minolta Business Technologies, Inc.  In his new position he will be responsible for global sales operations and marketing strategy.  Mr. Haraguchi has spent the last 13 years in positions of increasing responsibility within Konica Minolta, the last five years as President and CEO of Konica Minolta Business Solutions U.S.A.  During his tenure he led the successful integration of Konica and Minolta, the integration of several acquisitions, most recently Danka Office Imaging, while improving market share and the overall operating performance of the company.  He will remain on the board of directors of Konica Minolta Business Solutions U.S.A.

Nobuo (Ned) Umehara has been named President and Chief Executive Officer of Konica Minolta Business Solutions U.S.A. effective April 1, 2010.  Mr. Umehara, who until recently served as General Manager of OEM Sales for Konica Minolta Business Technologies, has been with Konica Minolta for 33 years.  He has considerable experience in the U.S. market having worked here on two separate assignments in the past, once in the printer division and once within the MFP sales operation.  Mr. Umehara will be leading an organization with strong brand awareness, award-winning product lines, and a solid infrastructure in place.

"It has been a privilege leading a dynamic organization such as Konica Minolta Business Solutions U.S.A.," said Haraguchi.  "Despite the tough economy over the past two years, our corporation has been able to grow market share and improve operating performance.  Ned will be assuming responsibility for a company that is led by a strong senior management team and is well positioned for future success.  I want to thank the entire Konica Minolta family for their unwavering support and dedication during my time here, and I look forward to their future success - both individually and as a group."

"I am honored to take on this important role at this time in our company's history," said Umehara.  "Leveraging the strength of the operation, I envision continuing our strategies to expand our presence in commercial print, managed print services, and the solutions business while gaining share in the core MFP business.  One thing is certain, and that is our business partners and end users will not be affected during this transition.  My number one goal is to ensure them they can continue to count on Konica Minolta for industry-leading technologies and superior service."

Grapo Technologies and Orafol Partner to Bring New Capabilities to Traffic Sign Manufacturing

Grapo Octopus Ii

New application package enables traffic sign manufactures to create reflective traffic signs using UV printing technology.

Brno / Olomouc, Czech Republic, March 23  2010 – Grapo Technologies, a manufacturer of UV large format roll-to-roll and flatbed UV printers based in the Czech Republic, today announced that it has entered into an agreement with Orafol Europe GmbH, a leading manufacturer of self-adhesive graphic products, special tape systems and reflective materials.  Both companies agreed  to develop an application package that uses Grapo’s Octopus UV digital printers and specially developed inks to digitally produce reflective traffic signs using Orafol`s microprismatic reflective film systems, replacing screen printing technology for many sign applications.

“We are very pleased have been selected by Orafol, a well-known and respected brand in the market, for this unique application” said Radim Kralik, CEO of Grapo Technologies. “Through this partnership, Orafol and Grapo will be able to sell this unique system. It is a rewarding experience for Grapo that Orafol’s due diligence efforts resulted in the approval of our technology for this highly critical application.”

Traffic signs are a very specific application with critical specifications and cannot be produced digitally using normal CMYK inks.  In partnership with Orafol, Grapo Technologies has modified its Octopus UV printing system to the ORALITE ® UV traffic sign printer, developing special inks to address the seven-color requirement for traffic signs.  “For printing on the Orafol`s microprismatic reflective material,” added Kralik, “each color must have perfect physical specifications to ensure proper reflection.  The seven flat color inks we developed are able to be printed directly from one head on the ORALITE ® UV traffic sign printer, replacing traditional screen printing processes which are costly, time consuming and carry a heavier environmental footprint. In addition, screen printing is not a cost-effective process for shorter runs.”

Migrating Traffic Signs from Analog to Digital Manufacturing

With this new system, traffic sign manufacturers will be able to cost-effectively handle short runs and print signs on demand to meet market needs, especially for signs with variable information, directions and other information that may only require a quantity of one or two.

Kralik points out that although Grapo can sell the system under the agreement, Orafol will be the primary coordinator of sales activities.  “There are legal and testing procedures required to gain acceptance from each ministry of traffic,” he explains. “Colors must be certified, but more importantly, the entire system must be certified.  Orafol will be leading the certification process based on their relationships, reputation and experience in this market.”  Not only must colors be specific in order to pass certification, but inks also must demonstrate good adhesion to the reflective materials and last a long time under varying light and weather conditions. The new traffic sign manufacturing system consists of three components:  the ORALITE ® UV traffic sign printer developed by Grapo, custom inks developed by Orafol, and microprismatic reflective material provided by Orafol.

“Because of this easy and reliable technology we expect to see good market reception to this breakthrough solution.” said Dr. Loclair, Managing Director of Orafol. “We are excited to be able to show samples of printed reflective material using this system at  Intertraffic Amsterdam 23-25 March 2010 .” Orafol can be found in Hall 1, Booth 203 at the show.

Agile Development Ensures Fast Production of Niche Products

“This is only one niche market we have been investigating,” said Kralik, “and we are extremely pleased that our nimble and flexible R&D organization was able to respond quickly to the needs of this market as presented to us by Orafol.  This is only one example of how our R&D efforts can benefit not only niche markets but the market as a whole in an environment where new applications arise frequently and requirements for existing applications can change quickly.”