Look back at…August 2023

The end of August brings with it the end of a strange summer in England, more rain than sunshine, and overshadowed by a doubtful economy and worries for the winter to come. 

Wages in the UK have risen at their fastest rate ever, up by 7.8 percent, mostly in the private sector and mostly for mid- and senior-level staff. This is still just below the rate of inflation so most workers won’t have noticed. This wage growth has been accompanied by higher than expected job losses. Britain is still experiencing waves of strikes from public sector workers, including NHS doctors, rail workers and university staff. Most economists now expect the Bank of England to raise rates again in September to 5.5 percent and the bank itself is warning that high interest rates will persist for some time to come.

For now, the perceived narrative is that inflation will continue to fall as energy prices come down. Meanwhile, as British drivers have discovered this August, the price of petrol and diesel has risen sharply. At the same time, Britain has delayed introducing border checks on food imports from the EU for a fifth time to avoid putting extra pressure on the cost of food, which would also push up inflation. The EU does carry out its corresponding checks on British goods entering the single market, which gives EU producers a competitive advantage.

The Chinese economy fell into deflation after having flatlined in June, mainly due to falling sales and over investment in the property sector. China’s core inflation is now 0.8 percent, up from 0.4 percent in June. The UK’s core inflation is 7.9 percent. In response China has cut its interest rates. 

The Russian Rouble collapsed in value against the dollar, forcing the bank of Russia to raise its interest rate to 12 percent amid signs that the Russian economy is starting to buckle under the weight of sanctions. Meanwhile, the war in Ukraine rumbles on, with neither side gaining any kind of decisive victory.

And just as the British are starting to accept that Brexit has been a monumental failure, the EU is actively thinking about further enlargement to bring more countries into the fold and grow its influence. Amongst the candidates are Ukraine and Moldova, with Albania, Kosovo, Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina also in the queue.

Also in August, the BRICS nations – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa have held a three day summit. This bloc already accounts for 40 percent of the world’s population and 30 percent of global economic output and has now invited six other countries to join, including Iran, Saudia Arabia, Egypt, Argentina, Ethiopia and the UAE. This is a major victory for Russia and China who are hoping to grow the influence of this bloc to counter Western dominance of global affairs. 

At the same time, America is faltering. The former president has been charged with a range of crimes from election tampering to hoarding classified documents. Both of the front runners for the next presidency are rich white old men, and it doesn’t seem as if Americans have much enthusiasm for either. Nor does America project the power and leadership that it used to to those of us living outside of North America.

Instead we are seeing playing out month by month, almost too slowly to see, a change in the world order. The last 50 years were dominated by two superpowers with vast arrays of nuclear weapons threatening mutually assured destruction. The next 50 years will be more about large trading blocs – such as the EU and BRICS – facing off over an intricate range of interconnected issues, including trade and technology, military and economic power. It’s not clear that anyone in British politics has yet understood this new reality or how the UK will fit into it.

Vincent Wille, President digital print and chemicals division,

August saw many companies in the printing arena, including Heidelberg, Agfa and Kodak report their latest quarterly figures. Ricoh announced a new production printer, the Pro C9500, while Inkcups launched a new DtO machine, the Xjet Switch

Flint Group is phasing out the use of mineral oil for all of its sheetfed process inks under plans to increase the use of environmentally friendly raw materials and make packaging easier to recycle. It also fits in with tougher regulations. France, for example, has prohibited using more than 1 percent mineral oil in printing inks for commercial and packaging applications since January 2023, with this limit reducing to just 0.1 percent by 2025. 

Roy van der Pijl, commercial director of Offset Packaging Solutions at Flint Group, said: “Although most of our Sheetfed ink ranges were already made from sustainable, bio-renewable raw materials, we recognised that using mineral oil in the remaining few was hindering our sustainability efforts. That’s why we’ve conducted this review and why I am delighted to announce that our remaining mineral oil-based sheetfed process inks are now being produced from more sustainable raw materials.”

Xerox has sold off its 3D printing subsidiary, Elem Additive Solutions, to Additec as part of its strategic plan to focus on its core business including print, IT and digital services. Nonetheless, Elem did have a unique approach to 3D printing, namely using liquid metal, and had some success in installing one of its ElemX printers on a US Navy ship. Elem Additive worked with a number of other customers, including Siemens, the US Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Rochester Institute of Technology, and Vertex Manufacturing. 

Brian Matthews, founder and chief executive officer at Additec, commented: “We saw incredible value in liquid metal print technology and Elem Additive’s success supplements our growth efforts as we continue to develop new offerings and bring to market our turnkey metal additive manufacturing systems.”

The EU has updated its rules for working with diisocyanate to require mandatory training for all workers handling diisocyanates in free monomer concentrations exceeding 0.1 percent. Diisocyanates are used in the creation of polyurethane products, such as rigid and flexible foams, coatings, adhesives, sealants and elastomers. The new requirement of Restriction 74 is an extension to Annex XVII of the REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals Regulation). Sapici, a subsidiary of Sun Chemical, was quick to point out that its polyurethane products already comply with this regulation.


Sterling Packaging, based in Alabama, USA, has installed a Landa S10 B1 inkjet press for printing packaging. The company produces packaging for a range of uses including food, beverage and health and beauty. 

Sterling Packaging, has installed a Landa inkjet press: From left: Ivar Helgason, Operations Manager; Pierce Bryan, Prepress Technician; Robert Luchinske, Pressman; Colin Hickson, VP Sales and Kelly Rasmussen, VP Operations.

Colin Hickson, vice president of sales for Sterling, says that the company knows how to satisfy consumer goods brands, adding: “Now, we’re going to give them more: more quality, more speed, and more applications, such as custom packaging in the craft brewery segment or multi-dimensional, cross-media campaigns. The Landa S10 is the final piece of the puzzle, completing our offering to the market. It’s the part that will get the most notice, for good reason.”

Delga Press, part of the Meliora Group of print companies that are based around Rochester in Kent, UK, has invested in a Heidelberg Diana Easy folder-gluer. Sam Grist, commercial director at Delga Press, explained: “We have a long-standing relationship with Heidelberg when purchasing equipment. We chose the Diana in particular as it has the ability to produce smaller cartons than our existing equipment. The level of support and training we know we can expect from Heidelberg also factored into the decision. Diana has always had a very good reputation in the industry; so after looking at all the options available to us, we decided that this was the best suited to our business needs.”

Terenzi, which is based in Milan and offers manufacturing services, has invested in a Ricoh Pro TF6251 UV flatbed printer to print onto records for music label and publisher Rude Records. The records themselves are produced out of Greenyl – recycled plastics – rather than polyvinyl chloride. Terenzi then prints the name of the artist, song, and album information, plus graphics, directly onto both sides of the record. The printer can hold 16 discs at a time using a custom-made jig installed on the flatbed table.

The company opted for Pro UV Ink GP120 formulations, with the ability to use CMYK colours, plus white and clear inks. Terenzi Chief Executive Luca Terenzi commented: “The Pro TF6251 forms a key component in the Greenyl production process. We will highlight our use of Ricoh’s eco-friendly inks and sustainable production in our online content to promote the concept and attract new business.”

Terenzi uses a Ricoh Pro TF6251 UV to print directly to records.

Envision Media, a wide format printer based in Lancashire, UK, has installed a HP Stitch S1000 dye sub printer for events and exhibitions. Paul Harrison, director and co-founder of Envision Media, said: “With the demand we have been facing, we understood the value in upgrading our manufacturing process with machinery that can cope with the demand, produce high quality prints and allow us to expand our scope within the fabrics and materials we use.”

Arc labels, based in Yorkshire, UK, has installed a DF350SR digital converting system from Daco Solutions for use with the Konica Minolta AccurioLabel 230 digital press the company bought 18 months ago. The company already ran two narrow web flexo presses but needed a wider slitter rewinder to make full use of the AL230’s 330mm print width. The Daco DF350SR offers die-cutting, lamination and flexo varnish units and automatic registration. It can run at up to 80m/min and has a 350mm web width.

Allan Ford, the current owner of the company that his father-in-law founded in the 1970s, said: “The move into digital printing was the result of more customers wanting shorter runs, and the combination of the digital press and the Daco system means that we can turn a job around on the same day if we need to. Our turnaround times have been reduced.

He added: “We can print a full web width on the Konica Minolta and move it straight to the Daco. It has a flexo printhead so we can add varnish or spot varnish. The semi-rotary mode means that we are not restricted to any size of cylinder. And as well as adding varnish, we can laminate.”

SwissQprint has revealed that the first flatbed printer it ever delivered, an Oryx built back in 2008, is still going strong at Nolina applica, a printer based in Rickenbach, Switzerland. More than 300 swissQprint flatbed printers over a decade old are still in daily use and still getting software, spare parts and inks. CTO Marc Baumgartner said: “Our goal is to supply customers for as long as possible and, if necessary, to seek substitute products.”


Mike Herold has joined EMT International/ Rotocontrol as the new Executive Vice President of Sales & Marketing. He has previously worked for Ricoh and IBM. He replaces Jim Driscoll, who spent 29 years with the company and will take on a new role as a Consultant/Advisor. EMT mainly makes web transport systems and finishing equipment for labels, packaging and commercial printing.

Mohit Uberoi, Owner and CEO of EMT/Rotocontrol commented: “We are thrilled to welcome someone with the caliber of Mike Herold to the leadership team. His tremendous experience, exceptional track record, and passion for innovation and customer satisfaction will be instrumental in driving the growth of our company in the digital print and label markets. I would also like to express my gratitude to Jim Driscoll for his outstanding contributions to EMT/Rotocontrol specifically, and the industry overall.”

Lawrence Geere, OEM Sales Manager for the EMEA region for Global Graphics Software.

Lawrence Geere has joined Global Graphics Software as OEM Sales Manager for the EMEA region. He has over 30 years experience, having started his career with Scitex and has worked for Creo and Kodak in product marketing and sales. For the last twelve years Geere has worked for HP, firstly with HP Indigo and then as a strategic account manager for the EMEA region where he was responsible for HP’s largest global accounts in the labels and packaging industry.

He commented: “I am excited to join Global Graphics Software at a time when its AI-enabled Digital Front End, SmartDFE, is gaining momentum. Hybrid Software Group is a major player in the workflow software market and I’m looking forward to being part of the company’s growth. The role and company are a perfect fit for me.”

Kama, which makes finishing and embellishment machines, has appointed Jordi Giralt to the role of chief business officer, where he will be responsible for global sales, marketing and strategic product management. He previously worked for HP Indigo, Heidelberger Druckmaschinen and Leonhard Kurz. Joint Managing Director Bernd Sauter commented: “We truly expect to start a new chapter in the history of Kama with his knowledge of the business and enthusiasm and strengthen our presence in the international markets.”

InkTec Europe has employed Julian Mennell as national hardware sales manager. At the same time Ian Windebank is changing his role from technical installation to European Technical Sales while Scott Peaper, who joined InkTec as an apprentice from school, is now the Jetrix Technical Lead. Joey Kim, Managing Director of InkTec Europe said; “It is time to proactively push the business forwards with myself, Julian and Ian forming a core InkTec hardware sales team focused on driving Jetrix business to the next level. But at the same time, we are delighted to be able to nurture those within the business and given them additional opportunities and responsibilities to take on new and exciting roles.”

Inkcups has hired Nick Macfarlane as regional sales representative for the UK and Ireland markets. He previously worked in DtG sales for both Ricoh and Kornit. Bobby Grauf, managing director of Inkcups Europe, commented: “Inkcups’ strategic growth plans for Europe are well underway, and the addition of Nick Macfarlane to our thriving European team is further evidence of that. We are thrilled to be strengthening the support and service we provide in the UK and Ireland and delighted to have an experienced and results-driven salesperson like Nick serving an important region for Inkcups Europe.”

Pulse Roll Label Products, which develops inks for narrow web flexo, has appointed Jim Whitehead as export sales director. Gary Seward, managing director of Pulse Roll Label Products, commented: “We are delighted to welcome Jim to our team. His extensive industry experience and exceptional sales leadership make him the perfect fit for our export business operations, able to hit the ground running with the knowledge and expertise that our customers have come to expect from Pulse team members.”

Nazdar has added Pramudi Abeydeera to its R&D team as a Digital Ink Chemist, where she will be responsible for researching and developing new inkjet products. Abeydeera has a Master of Science in Chemistry from the University of Kentucky and is a Doctor of Philosophy in Chemistry at Bircham International University in Madrid, Spain. Evan Benbow, vice president of R&D, at Nazdar, commented: “Pramudi’s deep understanding of ink properties and her innovative approach to formulation will undoubtedly contribute significantly to our ongoing research endeavours and product development.”

Pramudi Abeydeera has joined Nazdar as a Digital Ink Chemist.

Sadly, John Warnock, who founded Adobe alongside Charles Geshke, passed away this month aged 82. The pair developed the PostScript language that greatly simplified sending files to printers, which when combined with the Apple LaserWriter sparked the Desktop Publishing revolution. Warnock went on to develop PDF, which started as a slimmed down variant of PostScript but has gone on to redefine the way that documents are handled, archived and printed.

Some years ago I phoned the Adobe UK press office to enquire if they were doing anything to mark 30 years since PostScript was developed but I gave up when they replied: “What’s PostScript?”



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