Sustainable plate production

It is in everybody’s interests for the process of printing to be as sustainable as possible since it has to compete on every level with other methods of communication. Fujifilm is addressing this need wherever it is involved with print, and this is particularly evident in plate production.


A new wind farm has been constructed at our Tilburg plate manufacturing plant in The Netherlands to supply 20% of the total power, in addition to new gas, solvent and water recycling facilities. At our Greenwood plate manufacturing operation in the USA, a new methane gas recovery system now powers 40% of the plant.


These initiatives and many others contribute to helping Fujifilm meet its global objective of reducing CO² emissions for the entire life cycle by 30% by 2020.

Plate manufacturing is an energy-intensive process, but with projects like these that help to significantly reduce its environmental burden, Fujifilm is taking positive steps toward the ultimate sustainability of print.


Care for the Environment


Fujifilm’s basic approach to Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is to contribute to the sustainable development of society by putting into practice the Group’s Corporate Philosophy: “Our overarching aim is to help enhance the quality of life of people worldwide with leading-edge, proprietary technologies, achieving this vision through sincere and fair business activities.”


As one of the specific actions taken to achieve this, Fujifilm has set an environmental target to reduce lifecycle CO2 emissions by 30% relative to 2005 by the year 2020, and has been working hard to reach this target. A range of measures have been introduced at the company’s many manufacturing facilities, including replacing fuel for in-house power generation with natural gas, introducing renewable energies, and being proactive in the development and introduction of energy-saving technologies. Fujifilm has also been running ‘Design For Environment’ initiative across the entire company for a number of years.


This initiative aims to reduce the lifecycle CO2 impact of the company’s products by treating it as a key element in the design and development process. Fujifilm has a long history of responsible and sustainable business development, acknowledged regularly through its inclusion in the Dow Jones Sustainability and FTSE4Good global indices, and is proud to publish its results in an annual Sustainability Report.


Sean Lane, Product manager – Offset Solutions, Graphic Systems Division

Defying all Ads!

Defying all ads!

It was possibly one of the most difficult briefs ever to land on an advertising creative’s desk: sell a car known for being slow and manufactured in Nazi-built factories to a generation of post-war Americans, without changing its name.


This was the challenge that faced the creatives at Doyle Dane Bernbach when they were given the brief for selling the VW Beetle in 1959, a time when American cars were big, brash and built for speed. So, knowing they couldn’t compete for power or looks, they went for honesty. They launched into a discussion about how slow Beetles are. Coupled with the revolutionary gambit of using a tiny product image on a white background, this grabbed the attention of everyone who came across it, before hitting them with the fact that the Beetle was efficient, reliable and easy to run.


This series of ads was so successful that VW continued to use the format through the 60s and well into the 70s, while industry bible Advertising Age recently voted it the Number One Campaign of the 20th Century. “In the beginning there was Volkswagen. That was the day when the new advertising agency was really born,” said US advertising legend, Jerry Della Femina.


These days you need just as much creativity and smart thinking to stand-out in print advertising. A recent campaign that really cut through the marketing noise was a magazine ad for Fanta. Created by OgilvyOne in Dubai, the artwork was designed to promote the new ‘more orangey’ taste of the drink, so flavoured inks were printed on edible paper allowing the reader to tear off a piece to taste the actual flavour.


The technology used to produce this edible ad may be more complex than that used in the 60s VW campaign, but both boil down to the same basic rule: you need to surprise the consumer and grab their attention, and half the job is done.


Graham Leeson, Head of Communications, Fujifilm

Brillia HD Pro-V_2_lr

The history and ongoing development of offset printing

Commonly referred to as ‘offset’ or ‘litho’, offset lithographic printing has been widely used by most commercial printers since the first presses were introduced in the early 1900s. Although Englishman, Robert Barclay, devised an offset machine capable of printing onto tin in 1875, it was American, Ira Washington Rubel, who is credited with creating the first offset lithographic printing press in 1904.


The offset lithographic print process has been the backbone of general commercial printing for over 100 years, with the introduction of the printing plate a key milestone in this history. Fujifilm’s part in this development began in 1970 with the launch of conventional printing plates, followed in 1998 by the introduction of the world’s most popular range of plates – Brillia CTP plates – imaged directly via a laser.


The printing technique is called offset because, unlike gravure printing, the image is transferred to the paper from a rubber blanket and not directly from a plate. The basic technology underpinning offset printing hasn’t fundamentally changed for the last 100 years, although the advent of computer-to-plate (CTP) systems in the last 20 years has allowed users to significantly reduce make-ready times. The process is typically used for longer run work, such as the printing of magazines, books, brochures and newspapers, and is less suited to fast turnaround, short-run print.


Through its expertise in chemistry, surface coatings and advanced manufacturing, Fujifilm has continually improved the efficiency of plate production. Brillia processless and low chemistry plates now offer ground-breaking benefits in terms of lowering costs, reducing maintenance and minimising water and waste, while at the same time helping printers reduce their environmental impact.


Offset lithographic printing is now a highly efficient process that remains the quality benchmark against which most other print technologies are judged. These technological improvements in the humble printing plate have helped maintain its viability for a good while yet.


Sean Lane, Product manager – Offset Solutions, Graphic Systems Division

Fujifilm_Calendar Blog_July_1

Calendars: a growing business suitable for all

Despite the thousands of apps, programmes and devices available to digitally remind us what day it is, the humble print calendar shows no sign of losing its popularity. But while most calendars are functional, created to help organise busy lives, the Pirelli calendar remains one of the world’s most glamorous and stunning pieces of print. This year, the calendar celebrates its 50th anniversary with the 2014 edition marking half a century of artistic images of barely dressed supermodels. Kate Moss, Naomi Campbell, Helena Christensen, Miranda Kerr, Lily Cole, Gisele Bundchen and Christy Turlington, have all adorned the pages of the limited edition calendar, shot in locations from the Bahamas to the Seychelles, Rio de Janeiro to Miami. For its momentous milestone, the 2014 calendar breaks with tradition as the images are taken from the previously unpublished 1986 Pirelli Calendar created by Helmut Newton.


Less stylistically brilliant, but far more emotive, are the millions of personalised photo-calendars created every year by people keen to choose their own images to accompany key dates. The advent of short-run digital printing and the avalanche of digital images taken by the average person has resulted in an explosion of companies offering a personalised calendar service, with printers producing millions of photo calendars every year. Whether it’s the ease of creating the calendar online or the emotional pull of seeing your own images every day, photo calendars are one of the biggest growth areas of the print industry and one that’s forecast to grow further.


Here are some interesting figures: the US calendar industry is worth approximately $467m a year, with around 52m individual calendars sold annually (Calendars.com, 2010). In the US, the top-selling calendar 2012 was The Power of Now, a collection of inspirational slogans (Amazon, 2012), while in the UK in 2011 was the official Sir Cliff Richard calendar (BBC, 2012). However, Sir Cliff was pushed into second place the year after by One Direction (Amazon, 2012). It’s also interesting to know that 36% of European adults have bought a photo-calendar in the past 12 months (Prophoto, 2012), and the photo-merchandise market (including calendars, photocards and photobooks) was worth £86m in the UK in 2011, up 22% from 2010 (Futuresource, 2012).


AD Communications

Tshirt on wood background

The creative renaissance of thermoforming

FESPA Digital 2014 reiterated what we have known for a while – that digital inkjet printing is driving the large format market into exciting new realms of creativity. The graphic arts sector is drawn towards the technology’s capability to create premium value, customisable printed applications on a wide range of substrates with reduced turnarounds and more profitable shorter run lengths. However the potential of digital inkjet doesn’t stop there. For established and forward thinking printers, there is an exciting new opportunity to go beyond the graphic arts arena and into the light industrial market through the art of thermoforming.


Thermoforming is a manufacturing process in which plastic is heated to a malleable temperature, vacuum-pressed into a specific shape in a mould, cooled and then trimmed to create a finished product, which has been traditionally used to create such applications as disposable cups, containers, lids, trays and other products for the food, medical, and general retail industries. Such designs have traditionally been pre-printed on thermoformed mouldings created via the screen printing process, which, because of its lengthy and painstaking pre-press set up, made it a process best suited to long runs and standard designs.


However, thanks to the R&D and engineering capabilities at Fujifilm’s specialist UV ink development facility in Broadstairs, UK, thermoforming has now been brought into the 21st century and is enjoying somewhat of a renaissance. Fujifilm has developed Uvijet KV, an entirely new UV ink range specifically designed for thermoforming using the company’s renowned mid-range digital UV flatbed printers, the Acuity Advance Select and Acuity Advance Select HS.


With Uvijet KV, it is possible to print strong, vibrant, long-lasting colour images on plastic sheets, with the ink possessing outstanding elongation properties of in excess of 1000% when heated, ideal for the production of plastic products. It can also thermoform at temperatures between 150°C and 200°C, which is ideal for the wide range of thinner substrates such as polystyrene, PETG, polycarbonate, acrylic, PVC and ABS, creating an even larger scope for application creativity.


Early adopters to spot the potential are likely to be either thermoformers frustrated by their inability to carry out short production runs or customise their output for individual buyers, or pioneering and ambitious printers looking to expand into profitable new markets by producing customised plastic applications.


Digital inkjet is creating new processes while enhancing the old, underpinning the print industry’s ability to create high quality products for a wide range of applications and sectors. A renaissance indeed. Are you ready for the next step?


Mike Battersby, marketing manager, Large Format at Fujifilm Speciality Ink Systems



Demonstrating the importance of Books

Published over 400 years ago, the King James Bible not only introduced Christianity to a large part of the world, it is arguably the greatest influence on the English language, with many of its phrases still in everyday use.


The Bible was commissioned in 1604 at the request of King James, who was unhappy with the translations that existed at the time. It took 47 scholars seven years to complete the task, none of whom was paid. The Bible was first printed by the King’s Printer, Robert Barker, in 1611, and sold for 12 shillings. It has been called “the most influential version of the most influential book in the world in what is now its most influential language” and has contributed more phrases to the English language than any other book (257 to be precise). These range from ‘the salt of the earth’ and ‘a law unto herself’, to ‘the powers that be’ and ‘no peace for the wicked’.


But more than shaping an entire language and spreading Christianity, the King James Bible has formed the basis for literacy across the world. Families would own the Bible no matter how poor they were, and since it lay at the core of Christian worship, the book would be read and listened to every day.


Religion of a different kind can be found in the works of Ansel Adams, whose black and white images of Yosemite National Park inspired many to appreciate the beauty of nature and elevated photography to an art form. While countless galleries have featured his work, Adams’s images are most often viewed in one of the many large-format books he published – as many as four dozen during and after his lifetime. Whether it’s the famous Monolith, the Face of Half Dome taken in 1927, or El Capitan from 1968, Adams’s work adorns the coffee tables of millions worldwide, ready to be picked up and appreciated whenever the owner needs a vital burst of inspiration.


Some interesting stats about the book industry:

  • Publishing is currently estimated to be worth $60bn and is the second-largest creative industry in the world after television (Publishing Perspectives, 2011)
  • 1.5 million books are estimated to be published every year around the world (AAP, 2012)
  • In 2012, British consumers bought 296 million books, spending £2.1bn (Nielsen, 2012)
  • US readers spent $7.1bn on books in 2012, an increase of 5.6% on 2011 (AAP, 2013)
  • Physical bookshops remain the leading source of discovery when it comes to browsing, with nearly twice as many book purchases found by browsing in shops than online (Nielsen, 2012)
  • Apart from religious texts, the best-selling book of all time is A Tale Of Two Cities by Charles Dickens, which has sold in excess of 200 million copies (widely accepted estimate)

Need more be said? Books are still an important part of the printing industry, and long may we all continue to enjoy a good read.



Mark Stephenson, product manager – digital solutions, Fujifilm UK