Posts Tagged ‘Fujifilm’

  • Xerox ‘moving forward’ into Australia/NZ

    Xerox Corp has slammed a $1 billion lawsuit filed by Fujifilm over their failed merger bid as “desperate” and announced plans to sell Xerox products directly into the growing Asia Pacific market.

    In a letter to Fujifilm chairman Shigetaka Komori, new Xerox CEO John Visentin said litigation filed in New York last week by Fujifilm against Xerox was “nothing more than a desperate, misguided negotiating ploy” to save the takeover proposal.

    “Enormous opportunity”: John Visentin, CEO Xerox Corp.

    Visentin pointed to a $450 million accounting scandal at Fuji Xerox subsidiaries in New Zealand and Australia as evidence of the Japanese company’s mismanagement.

    “No matter what you tell the Japanese media, it is abundantly clear that the bad actor here is Fujifilm, not Xerox. Fujifilm, as 75% owner and controlling partner of Fuji Xerox, has concealed from Xerox the true extent of a massive and ongoing accounting fraud at Fuji Xerox caused by Fujifilm’s own gross mismanagement.” 

    Visentin says Fujifilm’s expectation that Xerox will come to Fujifilm with a new proposal for a combination transaction “is simply delusional. It will not happen.”

    The Xerox CEO says the iconic US company is now focused on moving forward alone on several fronts in the Asia-Pacific region to protect its supply chain.

    “First, we will start, in a material way, to source products from new vendors. Second, we will build partnerships with companies that are aligned with the Xerox mission to provide world-class technology and solutions. Third, we currently believe Xerox will be much better served by not renewing our Technology Agreement with Fuji Xerox when it expires. We will detail for our shareholders the enormous opportunity for Xerox to sell products directly into the growing Asia-Pacific market with sole and exclusive use of the valuable Xerox name, and a more efficient, better managed supply chain than exists with Fuji Xerox today.”

    Xerox says it is moving to begin sourcing product from suppliers other than Fuji Xerox and dismissed suggestions by Fujifilm executives that Xerox was unlikely to survive on its own in a shrinking global office equipment market.

    “Nothing could be further from the truth,” Visentin said. “In fact, it is actually Fuji Xerox, which is responsible for nearly half of Fujifilm’s total revenue, that could potentially suffer ruinous consequences from the loss of over $1 billion of revenue from Xerox, its single largest customer. And legally, there is nothing Fujifilm can do to stop that from happening. The New York State Supreme Court has already enjoined Fujifilm from taking any action toward consummating the ill-advised takeover, and it follows that no court would allow Fuji Xerox to take adverse, punitive actions toward Xerox’s supply chain as we begin sourcing away from Fuji Xerox, which we are clearly permitted to do.”

    In response, Fujifilm issued a statement dismissing Xerox’s plan. “It is again no surprise to hear Xerox’s pretense to sell its products directly into the growing Asia-Pacific market. However, realistically speaking, we believe that it would be extremely difficult for Xerox – which does not currently possess any marketing channel in Asia – to build its own channel from scratch.”

  • Fujifilm sues Xerox for $1bn+

    Fuji Xerox headquarters in Japan.

    Fujifilm Holdings has sued Xerox Corp for more than $1 billion over the termination of a proposed merger deal between the two companies.

    In a lawsuit filed with the U.S. District Court in Manhattan, Fujifilm accused Xerox of “intentional and egregious conduct” in walking away from the $6.1 billion merger, according to a report by Reuters.

    In January, Xerox and Fujifilm agreed to a deal that would merge Xerox into their 56-year-old joint venture Fuji Xerox, which Fujifilm would control with a 50.1 percent stake.

    But after legal action by Xerox activist investors Carl Icahn and Darwin Deason, who said the deal undervalued the company, a new board at Xerox terminated the deal. Icahn and Deason, who together own about 15 percent of Xerox, said they would consider a cash bid of $40 per share.

    “It is inconsistent with shareholder democracy to allow Carl Icahn and Darwin Deason, minority shareholders with only 15 percent of Xerox’s shares, to dictate the fate of Xerox,” Fujifilm said in a statement. “Xerox has recently been subject to the whims of activist investors Carl Icahn and Darwin Deason, who, notwithstanding their minority ownership of Xerox shares, have yanked the Xerox Board in more directions than can be counted.”

    The lawsuit seeks punitive damages and a $183 million merger termination fee. Fujifilm has also appealed a temporary injunction granted by a New York state judge to block the merger.

    In a statement earlier this week, Xerox said it was “extremely confident” that it had a contractual right to back out of the deal.

  • FESPA Berlin – Nessan Cleary’s in-depth report

    Messe Berlin, site of Fespa 2018.

    Fespa has always been about wide format printing but this year’s show saw high volume printers mixed with industrial textile printers and even corrugated printing.

    Conventional wisdom has it that large format printing is mainly about sign making and display graphics but wide format inkjet technology is pushing beyond this, which was abundantly clear at this year’s main Fespa event in Berlin, Germany. Of course, there was still plenty of sign making in evidence, but there was a renewed focus on taking this to high volume industrial markets, including corrugated printing, and alongside noticeably more clothing and home furnishings solutions.

    There was a growing use of robotics for automated loading and unloading of substrates. Most robots are designed for industrial applications so they offer long life with little maintenance, which makes for a very flexible and cost-effective solution, even taking into account the cost of integrating the control systems to synchronise the loading with the printing. Canon, for example, demonstrated a robot next to an Arizona flatbed loading media to the printer and then unloading it direct to an Océ ProCut cutting table. The system was developed with a Dutch customer, Van Vliet Printing, but is relatively easy to interface with the Arizona.

    This robot on the Canon stand loads media to the Arizona flatbed, and then unloads it to the cutting table.

    Fespa set aside one hall for corrugated printing, with the main attraction being the Fujifilm stand with an Onset X3 complete with robot for automated unloading. Ashley Playford, national sales manager for Fujifilm Australia says that a big advantage of using robots is that they can handle different stack heights regardless of how thick the material is. There’s a choice of robots depending on what each customer is trying to achieve.

    From left: Ashley Playford, national sales manager Fujifilm Australia, and Graham Blackall, ANZ technical sales specialist, with the Fujifilm Acuity Ultra.

    Naturally, several vendors used the show to launch new printers, mainly 3.2m wide machines aimed at the production end of the market. Fujifilm showed off its brand new superwide rollfed printer, the Acuity Ultra, with a choice of 3.2m and 5m widths. It can print on up to three rolls simultaneously, with independent spindles so that the rolls can hold different amounts of media. It can produce up to 236 sqm/hr. It uses greyscale Kyocera printheads with 3, 7 and 14 picolitre drop sizes and maximum resolution of 1200 x 1200 dpi, with the prints on the stand demonstrating exceptional image quality for a superwide printer. Graham Blackall, ANZ technical sales specialist for Fujifilm, says: “There’s a lot of high volume machines in the market but the market is becoming more discerning about quality now and just being ‘good enough’ is no longer good enough.”

    It uses conventional UV curing rather than LED, but has an innovative water-cooling system on the vacuum table so that it can still print to heat-sensitive materials. Blackall says that the printer can handle textiles, with soft signage becoming an emerging market, and that it can also print to mesh materials. There are eight colour channels including CMYK plus light cyan and light magenta, as well as two whites. The ink is a new, high-quality, low film weight Uvijet GS Fujifilm ink that is said to be suitable for interior graphic display work.

    EFI introduced its new 3.2m wide Vutek H-series platform. It’s a hybrid designed around a roll to roll chassis and with tables for rigid media. However, there is a new linear drive magnetic carriage that should offer a more precise transport mechanism for boards than the belt and pulley system that most hybrids use. There’s automated table and carriage alignment and fully automated printhead maintenance as well as built-in diagnostic systems for dealing to help with servicing, both remote and on-site.

    There are two versions, both using Ricoh Gen5 printheads with three different drop sizes of 7, 14 and 21 picolitres. The H3 series have three heads per colour and can produce 74 boards per hour, while the H5 have five heads per colour and print 109bph.

    Agfa announced a new hybrid 3.3m wide printer, the Jeti Tauro H3300 LED, which takes boards up to 3.3 x 2.44m or roll media up to 600mm in diameter. There’s a choice of two inksets: the general purpose Annuvia 1551, and Anuvia 1250, for absorbent media, such as paper and cardboard. Strangely, the company opted to show a tiny lego model rather than the actual printer!

    Mutoh answered customer demands by showing off its first true flatbed printer, the PerformanceJet 2508UF, which takes boards up to 1250 x 2540 mm and can handle media up to 100 mm thick and up to 50 Kg/ sqm in weight. The bed is split into different vacuum zones. This is a UV LED printer that can be configured with either two sets of CMYK or CMYK plus white and varnish. It uses four greyscale printheads but can be field-upgraded to six heads, for dual CMYK plus white and varnish.

    Mutoh also showed off a new 1.62m wide roll-to-roll device, the ValueJet 1638UR. Resolution is up to 1400 x 1400 dpi and it takes Mutoh’s new US11 UV LED ink that’s designed to work with a very wide range of substrates. It prints CMYK plus white and clear ink.

    Latex reinvented

    HP used the Fespa show to launch its first rigid latex printer, the R2000, complete with HP’s first latex white ink. The R2000 is a hybrid device, taking both roll-fed and rigid media up to 2.5m wide media and 50mm thick, and rolls up to 100kg. It has a wide platen, with 14 automatic independent vacuum chambers to hold boards in place. It uses a belt system to pull the media through the printer but has an optical sensor that watches as the media advances and can correct the movement of that media. It can print at up to 88 sqm/hr or 49 sqm/hr in six-pass mode.

    HP launched its R2000 hybrid, capable of printing to rigid materials.

    The latex ink has been completely redesigned to work with rigid materials as well as flexibles. It cures at a lower temperature which allows this printer to work with more heat sensitive materials than HP’s previous latex printers. HP has had to take out the scratch resistance built into its roll-fed inks to improve the jetting so there’s a new Latex Overcoat to help protect prints.

    HP has used the HDNA printheads from its PageWide presses, which have twice the number of nozzles with the extra row of nozzles used to recirculate the ink within the head. This is essential for printing with white ink as the heavier particles can settle in the bottom of the tanks or clog the heads.

    Ricoh is also working on a new latex printer, showing a prototype of a new roll-fed model at Fespa, which should be available towards the end of this year. Unlike Ricoh’s previous latex printer, which was built on a Mimaki chassis, this has been developed entirely by Ricoh. Angelo Mandelli, wide format product manager for Ricoh Europe, says that it can print at 40 sqm/hr in six pass mode on banner materials and at 25 sqm/hr for production quality on vinyl. It prints CMYK plus white for now but Mandelli says that Ricoh will probably add orange and green to expand the colour gamut.

    Ricoh is clearly making a much more decisive play for the wide format market, showing also a new flatbed printer, the Ricoh Pro T7210, which is mainly aimed at industrial printing markets. It takes media up to 2.1 × 3.2 metres, and up to 110mm thick. It’s capable of 50sqm/hr in Standard mode, which doubles to 100 sqm/hr in the high-speed mode. Resolution is 1200 dpi and the ink is Ricoh’s own LED UV-curable ink with a choice of four, five or six colours with the full inkset including CMYK plus white and a clear ink or varnish as well as a primer. 

    Paul Thompson, business development manager ANZ for DTG and visual display solutions at Ricoh Australia, says that much of the print industry, including large format, has become commoditised by focussing on price but that Ricoh is concentrating on adding value. He points out that Ricoh makes its own printheads and supplies heads to many other vendors, adding: “We see that inkjet is the future and that if we get it at the right quality and cost then it will make inroads in other areas.”

    An obvious example of this is the growing textiles market. Ricoh showed off a neat desktop direct to garment printer, the Ri100, which can print various items such as T-shirts, cloth bags, cushion covers and sweatshirts. It prints mainly to cotton, including blends of up to 50 percent cotton. There’s an option to include a separate heat press, the Ricoh Rh 100 Finisher, which has the same 399 x 698 mm footprint so that the printer can be stacked on top of it.

    Ricoh’s Ri100 – note the RH100 finishing unit underneath it.

    EFI Reggiani has developed a new six colour pigment ink with binder with CMYK plus red and blue for its printers, which are mainly used for home furnishing and fashion printing to materials with natural fibres such as cotton and linen. Giorgio Sala, EFI Reggiani’s ink application specialist, says: “We can eliminate the post treatment. In the drier we can fix the ink because the binder is inside the ink.” He adds: “The new ink is designed for Kyocera printheads, which all of our machines have, so we can use it with the existing machines.”

    Mimaki showed off a new version of the Tiger 1800, which was developed by its subsidiary La Meccanica and now gains a number of features typical to Mimaki printers, such as its MAPS nozzle redundancy technology as well as automated maintenance. It’s got Kyocera printheads, with the resolution raised from 600dpi to 1200 dpi.

    In conclusion, there’s a clear trend from this Fespa toward more industrialised printing for volume markets including display graphics as well as garments and home furnishings. There’s more automation, including the use of robots, as well as automatic maintenance to improve productivity, while at the same time most vendors have also improved image quality. The show itself felt extremely busy, with over 20000 visitors crammed into the halls over four days, proof that the market for wide format technology shows no sign of slowing down.

    Next year’s Fespa show takes place in Munich, Germany, from 14 – 17th May.

  • Fujifilm sets deadline for Xerox

    “If we have nothing by then, it can’t be helped,”: Fujifilm CEO Shigetaka Komori.

    Fujifilm Holdings says it will walk away from its $US6.1 billion merger proposal with Xerox Corp if there’s no progress within six months.

    In his first media briefing since the new board at Xerox terminated the merger agreement, Fujifilm chairman and CEO Shigetaka Komori said: “I don’t have a specific deadline in mind, but it should normally be from several months to six months. If we have nothing by then, it can’t be helped.

    “When I thought of the best way to maximize the corporate value of Xerox, the takeover was the only choice and I still think this plan is the one and only way,” Komori said. “But I’m not going to wait forever.”

    A U.S. court has issued an injunction blocking the merger to allow for the proposal to be presented to shareholders at Xerox’s upcoming AGM.

    Fujifilm has filed an appeal seeking to lift the injunction. “We signed the agreement with Xerox through a proper legal process,” said Komori. “We will keep pushing Xerox to fulfill what’s included in the agreement.”

    In February, Xerox and Fujifilm agreed to a deal that would merge Xerox into their 56-year-old Asia joint venture Fuji Xerox, which Fujifilm would control with a 50.1 percent stake.

    But after legal action from Xerox activist investors Carl Icahn and Darwin Deason, who said the deal undervalued the company, a new board at Xerox scrapped the deal. Icahn and Deason, who together own about 15 percent of Xerox, said they would consider a cash bid of $40 per share.

     The new board, headed by new CEO John Visentin – an ally of Icahn – is preparing a prospectus for an auction process that could take 90-120 days, according to Deason. Private investment firms including Apollo have already expressed interest in the iconic US company.

    Fujifilm currently owns 75% of Fuji Xerox, a joint venture launched more than 50 years ago.

     

  • Workflow and inkjet star in latest ‘Xtraordinary’ Print21 magazine

    The latest issue of Print21 magazine is out now, featuring Fujifilm’s Onset X-series of flatbed inkjet presses, a deep dive into workflow, a profile of IVE boss Geoff Selig, and more.

    Print21 has hit the ground running at Yaffa Media with an issue packed full of news and features you can’t afford to miss. On the cover, Fujifilm’s powerhouse Onset X3 inkjet press wowed audiences at an open house for its customer Active Display Group with its lightning speed and stunning resolution. “We found print speed at high quality will ultimately enable us to become even more competitive in a challenging market,” said Stuart Gittus, general manager of operations at ADG.

    In a nine-page workflow special, Patrick Howard examines the new PDF 2.0 and XJDF standards, and asks what they mean for printers; the feature also looks at offerings from PrintIQ, Kodak, Ricoh, Esko, EFI, and Tharstern to help automate and streamline your workflow and prepress procedures.

    Carrying on the connectivity theme, Andy McCourt plugs in to how the industry is connecting to the world, socially, culturally and economically. “We are in effect primitives in a new culture,” he writes, and urges printers to seize the opportunities modernity has to offer.

    For this issue’s People in Print profile, Geoff Selig, executive chairman of IVE Group, one of Australia’s largest printers, shares his outline for improving the working lives of IVE employees. “It’s about having an open view and awareness around elements of inclusion,” he said.

    German press giant Heidelberg is taking the hard work out of operators’ hands, gradually moving towards a “push-to-stop” system where manual intervention only happens when it’s absolutely needed, as MD Richard Timson told Patrick Howard. “Most of our presses are completely under-utilised because there’s too much fog in between the processes. You don’t need to run a press seven days a week, twenty-four hours a day. If you streamline some of these processes in this way you might be able to run a single shift and make as much money,” said Timson.

    In the packaging world, digital printing is making its mark on labels with a surge in press purchases across inkjet, toner and Indigo. That’s not the only area digital is reshaping, though – the humble corrugated box is receiving a makeover thanks to massive inkjet presses from companies such as EFI and HP. Jake Nelson delves into how the digital world is impacting both sectors, one job at a time.

    All that plus installations, profiles, and important news from the coalface makes this issue of Print21 magazine your vital long-weekend read. Check it out today!

    To subscribe to our print edition, go here or email editor@print21.com.au.

  • Xerox under the hammer – Andy McCourt’s ReVerb

    Billionaire Xerox shareholder Carl Icahn reportedly described the industry as ‘a piece of sh*t.’

    The storm-tossed recent history of Xerox seems to have entered calmer waters for now, as the shareholder activists Carl Icahn and Darwin Deason have succeeded in getting what they wanted – a free market auction of the USD$7.16 billion market cap. company. This is below half of what Xerox was worth in September 2015, just prior to splitting off its Business Services division, now a separate company called Conduent.

    Andy McCourt, Print21.

    The concept of auctioning-off to the highest bidder such a large company as Xerox is somewhat foreign to usual business protocols. Companies, unless they are bankrupt and being liquidated, are normally acquired in a take-over bid that can be either friendly or unfriendly. It’s not unusual to see another higher offer or a gazumping of the initial offer by a third party but an out-and-out auction is normally reserved for distressed assets and companies that are in financial difficulties.

    But an out-and-out auction of a large company that is, apparently, not under financial stress is strange. It’s no secret that neither Icahn nor Deason want to run Xerox and that the board they have installed is only there to facilitate the auction and extract maximum value for the big shareholders, irrespective of the on-going success of the NYSE (XRX)-listed company.

    Can shareholders dictate how a company is run?

    The juicy part of Xerox has already been split off with the creation of Conduent (NYSE: CNDT), whose shares are up 19% year-to-date. Xerox’s are down 6%. So, this is looking more and more like a break-up; a raking over the remaining bones of a once iconic company, suffering the ignominy of being auctioned off to the highest bidder, rather than being run with vision, invested in (which Fujifilm promised) and able to come up with the same brilliant ideas that gave us the copier, ethernet, laser printer, GUI and mouse. Yes, they all came out of Xerox PARC research division, an incorporated Xerox company since 2002.

    That two activist shareholders in Icahn and Deason, with only around 15% of issued stock, can effectively take over and dictate what happens to a major publicly-listed company and decide to auction it off is unprecedented in company law. Respected US Management Study Guide says (caps theirs):

    “However, shareholder ownership does not imply control since the company law makes it clear that only a majority percentage of the shareholders can exercise control. The point here is that, to have effective say over the running of the company, a majority vote of the shareholders is necessary following the democratic norms of participation that govern companies.”

      Harvard Business Review goes further, having published:

    “Corporate reality, though, has proved stubbornly uncooperative. In legal terms, shareholders don’t own the corporation (they own securities that give them a less-than-well-defined claim on its earnings). In law and practice, they don’t have final say over most big corporate decisions (boards of directors do). And although many top managers pledge fealty to shareholders, their actions and their pay packages often bespeak other loyalties. This gap between rhetoric and reality—coupled with waves of corporate scandal and implosion—has led to repeated calls to give outside investors even more say.”

     The bloc – backgrounder

    ‘No stranger to accounting scandals himself’: billionaire investor Darwin Deason.

    Deason and Icahn present themselves as hard-done-by investors and maybe they are; but neither are angels of light. Deason repeatedly highlights the ‘accounting scandal’ in Fuji Xerox New Zealand and to a lesser extent Australia under the aegis of Neil Whittaker. He is no stranger to accounting scandals himself, having experienced accusations of back-dating share options in the company he ultimately sold to Xerox: Affiliated Computer Services. Over 60 ACS managers lost their jobs including the CEO Mark King. Known as ‘springloading,’ the back-dating of share options can make large sums of money for those in the game by choosing past low-price dates to acquire stock that then rises in value.

    Chairman Deason came out of it relatively unscathed through ‘not knowing’ but settled with the US Securities & Exchange Commission with neither side ‘confirming or denying’ culpability. Deason has often been associated with cyber-intelligence activities and even CIA involvement. Indeed, at the Southern Methodist University in Dallas, there is the “Darwin Deason Centre for Cyber-Security”  https://www.smu.edu/Lyle/Institutes/DeasonInstitute, so it’s safe to assume he is a very smart guy with powerful friends.

    There’re even some conspiracy-like stories about Deason and his CIA links: http://www.constantinereport.com/comair-crash-fenton-dawson-acs-cia-torture-scandal-corporate-looting-the-nsa-etc/

    Carl Icahn, on the other hand, is just an old-fashioned Wall Street wolf, making his approximately $20 billion fortune by stock plays, corporate raiding, shorting and anything else. The character Gordon Gekko (“Greed is good”) from the film Wall Street is said to be partially modelled on him: https://www.economist.com/node/9176383

    He made his first fortune in the 1980s with a hostile takeover of troubled airline TWA, borrowing money to take it private then stripping its assets to pocket around USD$469 million. Lately, he has been an economic advisor to US President Donald Trump.

    What about Fujifilm?

    So, the kind of businessmen now calling the shots at Xerox cannot be expected to enthusiastically come up with new technologies nor have an interest in our industry. Indeed, according a memo by ousted CEO Jeff Jacobson, Icahn and now-Xerox-board-member Jonathan Christodoro, described ‘the industry’ as follows: “The discussion centred around Icahn and Christodoro’s view that the industry ‘was a piece of sh*t’ and the Xerox business was not driving value,” Jacobson wrote.

    It’s all here in one of the best updates on the situation by Bloomberg’s Drake Bennett: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2018-05-24/how-not-to-negotiate-a-6-1-billion-deal

    There’s no denying the Fujifilm proposed takeover was very smart and beneficial to Fujifilm Holdings, I wrote about it in February: https://print21.com.au/stunningly-brilliant-deal-andy-mccourt-on-fujifilms-xerox-takeover/152084

    However, I would say that Fujifilm and the Fuji Xerox joint venture part of the Xerox structure is the dialysis machine that has kept Xerox’s kidneys functioning for the past two decades. Remove it and the patient will get very sick indeed – or die.

    Fujifilm makes most of the sellable tech that Xerox offers. It is in control of the largest market on Earth – Asia Pacific, having boosted its 50% jv share to 75% in 2001 when Xerox was on the verge of bankruptcy. It was Fujifilm’s money that saved the company. Forbes magazine sums it up here: https://www.forbes.com/2002/11/06/1106soapbox.html#1116b2c5486f

    If Deason and Icahn think that Xerox can prosper without Asia Pacific (especially China) and without Fujifilm, they must have rocks in their heads. Of course, they don’t – they know the score precisely and just want out of their holding positions for as much as possible. Maybe Fujifilm should have upped their offer but instead have opted for a legal challenge to the Icahn-Deason putsch. Maybe the poker game they are playing is to force Fujifilm’s hand because they know that no one in their right mind would buy Xerox without its major supplier and business partner locked in.

    Likely bidders

    Who would bid at an auction for Xerox?

    • Apollo Global Management – private equity buy-out firm closely linked to the Icahn-Deason bloc. Expect a colossal break-up if this happens.
    • HP – Did express interest early on in a call to Jeff Jacobson but was rebuffed. Slotting HP tech into Xerox to replace Fujifilm would have its appeal but what about the jv in Asia Pacific?
    • Konica Minolta – would love to own Xerox and its channels I am sure and, as the arch-combatant with Fujifilm from photographic days, would delight in removing them. But again -what about the 75/25 jv in Asia Pacific?
    • Canon – Bought Océ in 2010 and maybe this has not gone as well as hoped for. They could be nervous bidders.
    • Other private equity – such as Danaher Corporation who are an exception to the ‘breakup and loot’ model. They run companies successfully, including Esko, X-Rite, AVT, Leica Microsystems, Pantone and Videojet in our industry.

    Unless Fujifilm’s court action succeeds, Xerox is headed for auction. Let’s all hope that the ‘Going-going’ does not literally end in ‘Gone.’

    Update: In its latest filing this week with the New York State Supreme Court, Fujifilm has slammed the ‘self-serving’ settlement that saw the entire board ousted and replaced by Icahn-Deason friendly members. It also claims the termination of the deal is ‘in violation of a valid contract authorised unanimously by the [Xerox] board.’ 
    Word on the street is that Fujifilm Holdings will seek damages of up to $245 million if the deal is eventually stymied. This will get uglier.

  • Three-roll Uvistar drives Mezographics banner boom

    Victorian wide format trade printer, Mezographic is facing a boom in its banner printing capacity after taking on a Fujifilm Uvistar Pro8 grand format printer, which can handle three rolls simultaneously for increased productivity.

    The family-owned company took on the new Uvistar machine when it moved from its former Hallam site into its new premises at Danenong South in March this year. According to Frank Mezo, who heads the company, with the new press came the ability to lift its banner capacity while maintaining print quality.

    “This delivers an unbeatable increase in productivity but without any sacrifice to quality,” said Mezo. “Banner material is our main product and it just flies through the Uvistar in a three-roll configuration.”

    (L to R) Murray Sheedy – Uvistar Operator, Mezographic; Frank Mezo, Managing Director; Jeremy Walker, Operations Manager; Michael Liveris, Fujifilm Business Development Manager; Iman Monem, Fujifilm Account Manager.

    In fact, it was this three-roll configuration ability that first attracted Mezo to the machine, which can print three rolls up to 1.6 metres wide simultaneously – a unique offering in the Uvistar’s sector of the market, according to Mezo.

    “There is nothing comparable with it in the market at a similar cost,” said Mezo. “The Uvistar is quite unique in quality and productivity for a variety of applications including back-lit. Our typical run lengths are anything from one to one thousand and the Uvistar handles all levels with ease.”

    Not only is the five-metre wide, 350 square metre-per-hour grand format printer enabling Mezographic to leverage its banner capacity but, according to Mezo it is also ideal for back-lit panels and lightboxes with its 600dpi true resolution (1200 dpi apparent).

    For Mezo, whose company already possessed a Fujifilm Acuity HD Advance flatbed printer, along with an HP Scitex XP 2700, HP FB 7600 and an HP LX850 prior to the Uvistar Pro8 installation, the new machine, and Fujifilm’s support, is allowing Mezographic to focus on its unique offering.

    “There are always challenges in supplier-customer relationships because there is no one size fits all in equipment service,” he says. We are a very different kind of shop in that we experience massive peaks in demand due to the nature of our customer base. Overall, we have found Fujifilm to be very helpful, and they make the effort to understand our unique requirements.”

  • Winds of change – July 2013

    Franca Balsamo appointed as Fujifilm CtP product manager

    Fujifilm has appointed marketing and prepress specialist Franca Balsamo to the newly created position of Product Manager: Plates, CtP and Workflow.

    Balsamo (pictured) is well known in both the offset and digital printing sectors from her past work for both suppliers and printers. She was most recently Prepress and Workflow Analyst with STI Lilyfield; a redux of three years spent with Lilyfield Printing Group in the 1990s prior to Reg Hammond’s sale to the global STI group.

    Balsamo is also known in the industry thanks to her voluntary work and presidency of the Junior Printing Executives Association NSW, which she has served for 17 years from 1997 to the present, while also working in technical and marketing roles with CPI (BJ Ball Group), Fuji Xerox, Canon, Ricoh and Edward Keller (Esko Graphics). She also spent three years with Dainippon Screen, a manufacturer of Fujifilm’s thermal CTP system offerings.  Her list of achievements, awards and service to the industry is considerable.

    “Franca brings to this position a rare combination of marketing, sales and technical skills,” says Sturt Eastwood, general manager, Graphic Systems with Fujifilm. “She understands intimately the technical issues facing busy prepress departments and builds on this with sound business and commercial experience, planning, strategy and training. Our team is considerably strengthened by Franca’s joining us and we welcome her aboard.”

    Balsamo says she is delighted to have joined the company.

    “Fujifilm has a long-standing reputation in graphic arts and has always been at the forefront of innovation and change,” she says. “Our CTP, workflow and plate consumables products are, from my own experience, the best in the business and have the best environmental credentials – in keeping with Fujifilm’s commitment to sustainable development. I look forward with enthusiasm to working with the team here and helping customers with their prepress challenges.”

  • Fujifilm launches Inca Onset Q40i

    Fujifilm and Inca Digital Printers are set to launch the next addition in the Inca Onset range of large format flatbed UV inkjet printers – the Inca Onset Q40i.

    The new press is being launched in its global release later this month at FESPA 2013 in London, which runs from 25-29 June.

    According to Fujifilm, the latest addition to the Inca Onset series, the Inca Onset Q40i, has been developed to address the growing market for an ultra-high-quality flatbed device, printing onto media up to 3.14m x 1.6m (123.6 inches x 63 inches) and up to 50mm (2in) thick.

    Using the latest Fujifilm Spectra Dimatix QS10 printheads, the Inca Onset Q40i delivers a 10 picolitre drop size, compared to the 27 picolitre drop size used on S40i model. The resulting 1200dpi apparent resolution produces ultra-crisp images, fine lines, sharp text and smooth tonal graduations, the high resolution Inca Onset Q40i prints up to 310m2/hr, equating to 62 full-bed sheets per hour.

    “The Inca Onset Q40i combines outstanding quality with high-volume capabilities for critical print applications such as backlit cosmetics displays, fashion and other closely-viewed graphics,” says Heather Kendle, Inca Digital marketing director. “With an output quality comparable to offset litho married with Inca Digital’s on-going commitment to delivering flexible, high-productivity solutions, we believe that the Onset Q40i will attract considerable attention.”

    Duggal Visual Solutions, based in New York City, is the first beta test partner of the Inca Onset Q40i.

    “Because of our location in New York and our trendsetting clientele who push creative boundaries, we are fortunate to know the demands of the industry better than anyone. We have years of experience assessing which machines are capable to satisfy and exceed those demands,” explains Michael Duggal, CEO of Duggal Visual Solutions.  “Without question the Inca Onset Q40i, and the engineers behind it, are exceptional and breaking new ground.”

    Fujifilm says that, with the launch of the four and six-colour Inca Onset Q40i there will be 20 different configurations available in the Inca Onset range, offering the market a choice of productivity and quality which enables companies to pick the right model, at the best price, performance and, therefore, return on investment (ROI) for their business.

  • Fujifilm premieres the heavyweight Jet Press 720 at PacPrint13

    Under the theme ‘Future-proof your business,’ Fujifilm Australia will present its range of diverse graphic arts equipment, software and consumables at PacPrint 2013 from May 21 to 25, on stand 1200 of the Melbourne Exhibition Centre, which it shares with Fuji Xerox. With the Jet Press 720 weighing in at around 14 tonnes and the Jet Press 540W at just under 10 tonnes, Fujifilm may well be the heavyweight, supersized champion of the show.

    “Never before has Fujifilm exhibited on such a large scale in Australia and New Zealand,” said Fujifilm’s General Manager, Graphic Systems, Sturt Eastwood, adding: “At the last PacPrint in 2009, Fujifilm exhibited a broad variety of pre-press solutions and a selection of wide-format offerings. For PacPrint 13, we have expanded our demonstration range of graphic systems to include the latest sheetfed and web digital presses, roll-fed and flatbed UV wide-format, digital textile hardware and inks, pressroom chemistry and inks, and of course the latest in pre-press workflows, proofing and computer-to-plate technologies.”

    Fujifilm Australia and New Zealand staff will be complemented by several international experts who will travel for the show and be available to give advice and demonstrate equipment.

    Digital Presses

    The emphasis on Fujifilm’s display is on live demonstrations. The company has shipped in two exciting new commercial digital presses to fulfill this ‘hands-on’ approach. The star of the show is the Jet Press 540W, an all-new approach to high-volume digital inkjet printing for commercial, direct mail, transactional and book printing. With its maximum 540mm web width traveling at up to 127 metres per minute; the Jet Press 540W is positioned perfectly for the bulk of continuous-feed digital work, and is commercially available now. Its single-tower duplex configuration saves space without compromising productivity or variable data functionality.

    On the digital sheetfed side, PacPrint visitors will get a preview ‘technology showcase’ look at the Jet Press 720 B2 format digital inkjet press, featuring Fujifilm’s own SAMBA™ printheads with 1,200 x 1,200dpi resolution and VIVIDIA UV inks. With a maximum sheet size of 750mm x 530mm, the Jet Press 720 more than doubles the image area of traditional A3+ presses, enabling 4-up A4 printing and B2 poster size.

    Wide and Grand-Format

    Fujifilm’s wide and grand-format range is already proving hugely successful with Uvistar, Acuity and Inca Onset products installed across Australia and New Zealand. What is new for PacPrint 13 is – everything! A whole new range of Fujifilm wide format products is entering Australia for PacPrint visitors to see for the first time. Because PacPrint is co-located with the Visual Impact Image Expo, signage and display printers will be treated to a world-first peek at wide-format technologies covering roll-fed UV machines up to 5 metres wide and the latest high-productivity flatbed UV hybrid machines for rigid and thick media.

    Pre-press

    Pre-press is far from forgotten on Fujifilm’s PacPrint stand and in fact is a major part of the company’s message. The XMF Production Management Suite represents the most advanced and flexible workflow available in a multi-process environment. Demonstrations will take place regularly. Fujifilm plates for both thermal and violet applications are well known for their reliability but the main focus is on Brillia HD Pro-T3 which are true processless plates that require no post-processing when they emerge from the CTP device. The wash-out is achieved on-press within a few sheets for astonishingly fast make-readies.

    Inks, chemistries and TLC

    Narrow-web and screen process inks under the famous Sericol brand and chemistry, blankets, coatings from Fujifilm-owned DS Chemport complete the company’s PacPrint showing but the intangible products that can’t be seen are often the most important.

    “Fujifilm service, support and partnership with customers is where we place the most emphasis and alongside this, care for our environment and the pursuit of sustainability,” says Sturt Eastwood. “We may be a large and financially well-resourced global company, but when it comes down to meeting customers at shows like PacPrint, we aim to clearly demonstrate that we are, and can be, the end-to-end trusted, local partner.”

    PacPrint visitors can register for one-on-one appointments by clicking here.

    Visitors specifically wanting demonstrations of the Jet Press 540W and 720 should click here.

  • PacPrint13 set for Fujifilm Jet Press 540W launch

    Fujifilm is launching its Jet Press 540W high-speed digital inkjet web press in Australia on 26 May, just in time for the PacPrint13 trade show in Melbourne.

    Launched as a technology showcase at drupa 2012, the press is targeted at high-quality, short-run digital print such as leaflets and personalised magazines, as well as school textbooks, book printing and newspapers. The new press will be installed at Fujifilm’s booth (#1200) at PacPrint13 for demonstrations and will be ready for delivery thereafter.

    “We are excited to be launching our digital inkjet web press to the Australian market,” said Steve Collyer, National Product Manager, Graphic Systems, Fujifilm Australia. “Fujifilm had a lot of interest in the technology showcase at drupa, and we are hoping to attract serious prospects by demonstrating the capabilities of the Jet Press W at PacPrint13.”

    The Jet Press 540W features a design that enables duplex printing within a single tower. This results in an extremely compact footprint of 6.6m x 2.8m. Supporting both inkjet and non-coated papers of between 64-157gsm, with a maximum printable width of 540mm, the press offers a top printing speed of 127m/min and ultra high quality printing of 600dpi, upgradeable to 1200dpi later in 2013.

    Fujifilm’s XMF Workflow system is used to drive the front end of the Jet Press 540W and allows full variable data printing. Already popular amongst commercial printers for its speed and flexibility in handling work across digital and offset print processes, XMF is continuously evolving, and now boasts an improved user interface, which can help increase automation, efficiency and profitability. It represents one of the most comprehensive production management systems on the market.

    The Jet Press 540W also utilises the company’s own screening technology, which is based on FM screening and allows for smooth colour tones and sharp text as well as eliminating moire and rosette patterns.

    The new machine uses Fujifilm’s high performance VIVIDIA ink, developed specifically to facilitate superb image quality. The VIVIDIA ink allows high-density images to be printed at high speed, with less ink transfer from sheet to sheet, with high quality reproduction possible even on thin paper.

    Fujifilm has also developed both pigment and dye-based inks for use with this press which, when combined with the ultra-compact footprint, maximise the application flexibility and versatility of the machine. The VIVIDIA WP-S pigment ink features a wider colour gamut, suffers from less ‘see through’ on the page and can be used in nearly all graphic applications. The VIVIDIA WD-S dye ink also has a wide colour gamut, but provides better water resistance when used with inkjet papers.

    The combination of short-run and variable data capabilities allows the Jet Press W540 to accommodate a wide variety of jobs and opens up new opportunities for a growing number of applications requiring these particular features. It can also help to reduce paper waste when compared with commercial web presses, which makes the press a more sustainable solution.

    Fujifilm will also be showing the Jet Press 720, Uvistar Pro8 5m, Acuity Advance Select, Acuity LED 1600, XMF Workflow, Metrix, ColourGate, DSChemport and Euromedia.

    Fujifilm’s European headquarters announced the new Jet Press 540W’s launch in the European market on 7 Mach.

  • Fujifilm – Wide Format Printing

    Printers wanting to tap into the rapidly growing and profitable wide format sector should get moving to secure their place in the industry and avoid getting squeezed out as others join the race to go wide, according to a white paper published by Fujifilm.

    The new white paper, How to make money from wide format printing – A Better Business guide, highlights how the wide format sector is not only one of the fastest growing sectors in the local and global printing industry, but is also one of the few areas that has been able to maintain very healthy margins.

    With continuing advances in wide format press and consumables technology, the product scope for wide format players is increasing while its point-of-entry costs are diminishing, the report suggests.

    With online and mobile devices capturing more of the marketing dollars out there and newspaper circulation waning, a lot of printed marketing and advertising material is being shifted to media such as outdoor banners, posters, point-of-sale and wraps – all which lie in the wide format production realm.

    Fujifilm, one of the global industry’s biggest wide format equipment manufacturers, has been able to take a snap shot of the inside of the industry for the new white paper, and is urging those wishing to expand their business, product offering and profit margins by getting into the wide format game to move quickly, as the shift to wide format is fast becoming an industry-wide phenomenon.

    “Early adopters among the litho community have already ventured into wide format print,” the report says. “A recent industry-wide survey found nearly two-thirds of respondents already had some wide format capability, which on average generated 10-20 per cent of their sales. Over time, the cost of entry may not fall – manufacturers tend to hold prices and increase the performance of new models.

    “The key lesson from the screen industry was that waiting for the right moment was wrong. The perfect machine, like Godot, never comes. Wide format is flexible, profitable and growing. Not only is that desirable in itself, but also reputations stand to be built – latecomers may be squeezed out. Fujifilm is encouraging offset litho printers to take seriously the opportunities presented by wide format, in addition to suggesting other business-building initiatives,” it says.

    It is no surprise that the industry is seeing a shift to wide format, with the sector being one of only a handful of areas within the printing industry that is experiencing rapid growth and expanding profit margins.

    “Wide format print offers bigger margins to the producers. At a time when offset margins languish in single figures, wide format opens up a world in which value exerts a stronger pull,” the report says. “Advances in technology allow wide format companies to offer a broader range of print and enjoy increasing revenues.”

    Unlike most offset print and a large proportion of digital print, lowest price is often not a primary consideration for a wide format customer. The end product and what it can achieve is generally more important.

    “One Fujifilm customer, for example, with a reputation for printing on textiles, especially carpet, was approached to produce and fit a 1681 square metre Monopoly board design on carpet for an exhibition, the report says. “Price was not the main consideration – getting it fitted in time and being able to take it to other venues were more important.”

    Not only does wide format production offer a printer a broad range of product offering, healthy margins and an expanding customer-base, the sector also has a remarkably affordable point-of-entry cost when compared to the offset or digital commercial sectors, where press prices can run from hundreds of thousands of dollars into the millions.

    “Most firms focus on the start-up costs or cost of entry. If so, wide format machine costs should be a pleasant surprise: inkjet printers range from the sort of prices litho presses command all the way down to models suitable for a one-man shop,” says the report.

    Fujifilm – which has several wide format printing presses to its name, including the Onset S20 and new Onset S40i, the Uvistar and the Acuity series, among others – has looked closely at its existing worldwide customer base to draw out some of the fundamental lessons laid out in the white paper.

    The company even included some of its wide format equipment customers’ comments in relation to making the most of the medium.

    “Forget about running inkjet presses for five or ten years. You will be looking to upgrade your printers or get more machines in two to three years,” one customer wrote.

    “The investment in wide format inkjet is nowhere near a litho press and digital is straightforward to get finance on,” said another. A third said, “we initially targeted retailers hit by the recession who wanted to advertise their way out of it. A lot of our work was outdoor and banner.”

    This feedback helps reinforce and inform the central thrust of Fujifilm’s white paper – that wide format is a way forward for printers looking to increase their margins and maintain a profitable business, but that no time should be wasted in making the leap to the wide side.

    To download a copy of the Fujifilm How to Make Money from Wide Format Printing – Better Business Guide, visit www.fujifilm.com.au and click the download tab on the Fujifilm Graphic Systems homepage.