25 Sep 2020

ProCo Installs UK's First HP SmartStream Director

HP Logo

Powerful solution streamlines workflow and drives web-to-print operations

LONDON, England, 30 June 2009 - HP announced today that ProCo, of Sheffield, has installed the first HP SmartStream Director end-to-end-workflow solution in the UK.

HP SmartStream Director is part of the HP SmartStream Solutions Portfolio, an open end digital workflow environment, developed to meet the needs of a broad range of market segments and applications including commercial, publications, packaging, labels and inkjet web printing.

Announced at drupa 2008 and now available in EMEA, HP SmartStream Director is powered by Press-sense iWay™ platform and provides an integrated workflow solution that automates, manages, customises and optimises business and production processes from online job submission through to delivery and billing. Using industry standard formats (typically JDF), HP SmartStream Director can easily integrate with HP partner components including TEC-IT for barcode generation, DirectSmile's image generator, and finishing equipment from Duplo and Horizon.

ProCo is a modern print service provider (PSP) established in 1996, that provides comprehensive printing and fulfilment services to its customers. Employing 95 full-time staff, ProCo is a fully integrated litho, digital, direct mail and distribution provider built on a commitment to great technological solutions and great customer service.

At ProCo, HP SmartStream Director is linked directly to its three HP Indigo presses (an HP Indigo press 3050, an HP Indigo press 5000 and an HP Indigo press 5500), also to its Apogee X PDF workflow and its MIS.

"HP SmartStream Director speaks simply and directly with our MIS and production technology," Jon Bailey, sales director, ProCo, said. "What I like about  HP SmartStream Director is the openness of the platform. Integration is key - removing processes adds real value to both us and our customers, reducing costs and waste, yet increasing our route to market. HP SmartStream Director enables us to run our business in a totally different way, streamlining our operations, adding value to the clients and having a positive impact on our bottom line."

HP SmartStream Director is open and scalable and can drive multiple HP Indigo presses with full variable data printing.

One of the applications that HP SmartStream Director facilitates is web-to-print. Integrating directly with the online customer interface, orders, delivery instructions and payment information can be gathered and processed as part of a single operation. Depending on the nature of the PSP's business, web-to-print can be used for consumer applications like the printing of photobooks, greetings cards or personalised calendars, or business-to-business applications.

"Web-to-print has definitely made us more competitive," Bailey said. "As a major component of our web-to-print solution, the HP SmartStream Director workflow enables customers to track jobs, monitor progress and plan deliveries more accurately. This helps them to reduce costs without having a negative impact on our margins. It also enables us to focus on working pro actively with our customers, rather than having to chase proofs and proofs of delivery."

Timely Launch Of National Skills Academy for Materials, Production & Supply

Terry Watts, Chief Executive of Proskills (right) and Lord Young (left)Lord Young joined senior industry figures at official launch of the National Skills for Materials, Production & Supply (NSAMPS). Lord Young, Minister at the newly created Department for Business Innovation & Skills joined with senior representatives and employers from the process and manufacturing sector, which includes the Print and Paper industries, for the official launch in London, of the National Skills Academy for Materials, Production & Supply (NSAMPS).

The introduction of the new Academy, which is being launched to provide a gateway to quality-assured, industry-relevant skills training programmes and solutions, comes at a time when research1 has revealed that 68% of the largest employer organisations in the process & manufacturing sector are suffering from skills shortages. More significantly, 82% of companies across the footprint have confirmed that these skills gaps are having a negative effect on their business.

Joining the Minister for the nationwide unveiling of The Academy is Geoff Russell, Chief Executive of the Learning Skills Council (LSC), David Szymanski, Managing Director of Hanson Building Products, Tony Burke, Assistant General Manager of UNITE the UNION and Terry Watts, Chief Executive of Proskills UK.

The National Skills Academy for Materials, Production and Supply becomes the 11th skills Academy to be established as part of the Government’s expanding National Skills Academy network.

Kevin Brennan, Minister for Further Education, Skills, Apprenticeships and Consumer Affairs at The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills said, “I am delighted to be opening the National Skills Academy for Materials, Production and Supply (NSAMPS). It will help improve the skills of the current and future workforce by putting employers in the driving seat to shape training and nurture the talents of a new generation of workers. This government continues to invest in National Skills Academies because we want to build a system which meets the needs of businesses and individuals and creates a world-beating workforce which will support the industry’s future development.”

The National Skills Academy for Materials, Production & Supply will offer a new delivery mechanism for a range of industry-specific skills training products and services that are industry-endorsed and designed to meet the needs of the sector. Built on a ‘3D approach’ to training, this simple structure will give maximum benefit to employers, employees and learners that use it, taking them through the three key stages to successful skills development: Diagnostic, Directory and Delivery.

The Academy will provide flexible, innovative and cost-effective training solutions via a web portal, which will make training provision easier, simpler and more accessible for businesses of every shape and size, providing maximum sectoral and regional reach. Physical provision includes Employer Learning Centres that will provide state of the art classroom teaching as well as workshops for practical hands on training.

Commenting on the announcement, Terry Watts, Chief Executive of Proskills said, “As research has highlighted, training is no longer an option but a necessity and one that could make the difference between survival and failure. Our Academy couldn’t have come at a better time for our employers, especially as the recession forces companies to review the skills of their workforce. With staff cuts putting a greater strain on the remaining workforce and irreplaceable skills lost through redundancy, never before have skills been more important. But we know from the employer support that we have, that ‘skills activism’ truly is a reality in our sector and that the Academy is indeed a timely response.”

Mr Watts continued, “Over the years, we have listened to our employers call for simplification as they have voiced the challenges they have faced to gain easy access to industry-specific skills training provision, and we believe that the Academy will become THE delivery mechanism that will make all the difference.”

The National Skills Academy for Materials, Production & Supply will be run as a wholly owned subsidiary of Proskills, the Sector Skills Council for the process and manufacturing industries, which includes Print and Paper, under the direction of the Academy Board, comprising employers representing all of the eight industries that make up the sector as well as trade unions representatives.

Proskills UK has today also announced the appointment of Graeme Finch as the new General Manager for the National Skills Academy who will spearhead the ongoing development of the Academy to provide top class industry-specific skills training support and solutions based on employer demand.

Graeme Finch added, “This is a tremendously exciting time to be joining the team. From my experience, in mature industries, it is the people that are the key differentiator. Training your staff will give your business the competitive edge and make it stand out from the crowd, and I strongly believe that our National Skills Academy is the right and only way forward for businesses in our sector footprint.”

Surprise move by the Italian digital printing specialist sees it install a Komori LS 29 offset press

Komori Offset Press

Marghera, 25th June 2009: pixart.it, the European leader in web-to-print based digital printing services, has announced the installation of a new four-colour Komori LS 29 offset press at the company’s Marghera production facility. The Komori is the company’s first foray into commercial litho printing and joins a fleet of digital printing machines which is unrivalled in Europe and has made the company one of the continent’s digital printing powerhouses.

Matteo Rigamonti, managing director, pixart.it explains the rationale behind the Italian company’s latest investment: “In January 2009 we introduced a new offset printing services to our customers. The response from the market has been tremendous and in a very short time we achieved the high volumes which more than justified this major investment. With this inhouse litho production capacity we can now ensure we maintain print quality and control over production times for longer run work, both of which are so essential to our core proposition - to offer quality printing at competitive prices and a 24/48 hour delivery service throughout Europe.”

Alongside the new Komori four-colour offset press, pixart.it has installed a Basysprint automatic CTP plate production system. Mr Rigamonti says he chose the Komori press and Basysprint CTP unit due to the highly automated printing process they offered which will enable the company to constantly achieve a quality end result, repeatable over time, even in the hands of operators who have little specific experience in the traditional
printing sector.

The new press and CTP system form the centre piece of an aggressive investment strategy that is once again rapidly expanding the company’s printing arsenal to help it meet ever increasing customer demands. Further investments on target for installation over the coming months include an Arizona 350 XT high quality flatbed printer; another KIP Color 80 system (the second it has installed in the last year); the company’s second Rho 320 R roll-to-roll system in less than a year; and two Zund G3 cutting systems, which will join six Zund cutting systems already installed across the company’s two Marghera production sites.

Continues Mr Rigamonti: “pixart.it has always been a company that will invest in the right and most innovative technology to meet its customers’ demands and enable us to achieve the optimum price/quality ratio. So, the installation of the new Komori is completely in line with this strategy. What's more, it's fundamentally important for us to be able to guarantee all our customers the quality and service which has always set us apart. We can now do this by managing the high volume print production process inhouse as we do with all our cut-sheet and wide format digital printing services.”

Uniform channel back Colorific Ink

Colorific ink for Uniform users 

The inks previously sold as Uniform Activasol and Uniform Citrosol are now exclusively available in the UK through Colorific, the official UK distributor appointed by the original Uniform ink manufacturer.

The Uniform reseller channel are also delighted to again have unrestricted access to ink supplies.

Here is what the resellers themselves have had to say...

Michael Bolton, MD of printMAX “We are very happy to see Colorific appointed as the UK supplier for the Colorific Uniform inks, already they have added genuine value to the product for us, creating a strong brand in Colorific, assisting us with the marketing of the product, raising awareness, and most importantly allowing us to offer continued support to our customers.”

Malcolm Evans of Signmaster Systems added "Since Colorific have started supplying us with the original Uniform ink formula, our supply problems have gone away. We get delivery from stock, we know the inks are identical, we are happier, and more importantly our customers are again happier."

Jason Burroughes at Perfect Colours also confirmed "Stock availability has been good, and the marketing assistance we have had from Colorific has helped us to win new business."

Preston-based Granthams, who have installed and supported Uniform products for many years, were also happy to have access to the Colorific Uniform inks, stating “it is important that customers have the option to stay with the same formula of ink”.

Stuart Lee and Dave Foster of Selectech were equally keen to express their satisfaction with the Colorific appointment, “Myself and Dave were both at B&P up until recently, and through Digidist we have had significant help in establishing our business, marketing it, and having continuity of supply on the most important products, not least ink. It has been a refreshing change, we have stock, we can deliver, and it is all backed up by a great level of after-sales service. ”

In terms of the service provision mentioned by Stuart above, Colorific are also pleased to report that they have tied up a deal to provide ongoing warranty and on-site support to the Uniform customer base. This warranty is available through the resellers named above.

So, if you run a Uniform printer, you can be satisfied that putting Colorific ink into your printer is the surefire way to ensure the ink is the same now as it has been previously. This will allow you to move forward with confidence, knowing that your colour profiles will match, and most importantly, your ability to produce repeat work to the same standards and in the same colours, has not been compromised.

EFI Reports Q1 2009 Results

efi electronics for imaging 

Electronics For Imaging, Inc., the world leader in customer-focused digital printing innovation, today announced its results for the first quarter of 2009. For the quarter ended March 31, 2009, the Company reported revenues of $96.1 million, compared to first quarter 2008 revenue of $136.6 million.

GAAP net income was $26.7 million or $0.52 per diluted share in the first quarter of 2009, compared to a net (loss) of $(5.2) million or $(0.10) per diluted share for the same period in 2008.

Non-GAAP net (loss) was $(4.3) million or $(0.08) per diluted share in the first quarter of 2009, compared to net income of $12.0 million or $0.20 per diluted share for the same period in 2008.

Non-GAAP net income is computed by adjusting GAAP net income with the impact of recurring amortization of acquisition-related intangibles, stock based compensation expense, project abandonment costs, certain tax charges, as well as non-recurring charges and gains, such as asset impairment charges and our sale of certain real estate assets.

“Our results reflect the continued weakness in the global economy as well as our ongoing cost reduction efforts, which resulted in a 14% year-over-year decrease in operating expenses,” said Guy Gecht, CEO of EFI. “While our industry is not seeing any significant improvement in market demand, we are managing our resources to emerge from this slowdown a stronger company. Our recent introduction of the VUTEk GS3200 and GS5000r UV printers as well as new Fiery applications are key steps in maintaining our industry leadership. We will continue to take proactive steps to mitigate the impact of the current environment with more product innovations as well as an additional reduction in costs in Q2.”


EFI offer Stimulus Finance Package

efi vutek logo 

Currently being offered exclusively in the United States, with global finance programs becoming available in the near future, EFI today announced the innovative EFI Stimulus Package, financing program for its VUTEk® line of superwide printers. The EFI Stimulus Package helps qualified print service providers grow their businesses and protect their cash flows. The program provides for zero out-of-pocket costs for the first six months of ownership followed by 50% off of the normal lease payments for the next six months on new qualifying printer purchases dramatically lowering the first full year cost of ownership This new program is expected to boost businesses' abilities to expand their product portfolios and reach larger revenue-generating customer bases with minimal impact on cash flow for the first year of ownership

"In this challenging economic climate EFI is focused on finding creative financing solutions that will allow our customers to own the industry's best printing solutions," said EFI president Fred Rosenzweig. "The EFI Stimulus Package for VUTEk superwide printers allows print businesses to position themselves ahead of the competition by expanding their product portfolio and customer base, all while spending less cash."

EFI's line of award-winning VUTEk superwide printers has a reputation for speed, high productivity and exceptional color-quality. VUTEk's stunning white ink capabilities open the doors to a whole new world of applications that drive demand by delivering jobs faster and at a higher quality than the competition. Companies can take advantage of all the benefits of digital printing, including the ability to customize messaging, print shorter runs and dramatically reduce production times with VUTEk superwide printers.

"The EFI Stimulus Package allowed us to economically acquire new VUTEk QS3200 technology that will help grow our business with new and more lucrative revenue opportunities without the immediate financial pay back pressures," said Chris Wilson, Venture Printing chairman.