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Fourth Balkan Print Forum

More than 170 participants from eight European countries attended the Fourth Balkan Print Forum under the patronage of manroland AG on October 22 and 23, 2009 in Bucharest, Romania. This fifth Balkan printers meeting within three years time proved once again the great significance of the event for the region. Especially now, under the influence of the recent economic crisis, it appeared most important to exchange information about the development of the printing industry in Europe and Eastern Europe in particular, about the major innovations in the printing industry today, as well as about process management and optimisation in printing companies. The Balkan managers and printers are convinced that the exchanging of knowledge about modern print technology will help them for improving of quality, profitability and competitiveness of their printing companies.

During the two days of the Fourth Balkan Print Forum representatives of the national printing federations, of the graphic arts schools and universities and of the trade press of Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, Hungary, Romania, Serbia; specialists, experts and managers from the Romanian printing industry; manroland customers; as well as experts and managers from manroland AG, manroland CEE AG, UPM and Sun Chemical shared experiences and know-how, initiated and intensified contacts.

Bucharest welcomes the colleagues from the Balkan countries
Alexandru Galos, President of the Printers Association ‘Transilvania’, Romania, warmly welcomed the guests from the Balkan countries, Germany and Austria. He expressed his optimism about the future development of the printing industry in Romania and the Balkan region and wished the participants a very successful and fruitful Fourth Balkan Print Forum.

Highly interesting and informative presentations
On October 22, speakers from manroland AG, UPM, Sun Chemical (PrintCity members), Intergraf, EUROEXPO Romania and Agressione, Romania gave their presentations at the Forum under the motto: "Innovative Enhancement in Sheetfed and Webfed Printing".

Thomas Hauser, Vice President Corporate Marketing & Communications, manroland AG, presented his „Perspective Print 2020 – Future Prospects of Printing Industry and Print Media”. He pointed out the business challenges of the graphic arts industry today: “It is obvious that the economic crisis leads also to a (self-)confidence crisis. Technology and innovation leadership are and remain essential success factors. The importance of networks that span value-adding processes is rising. Growth and customer loyalty is increasingly generated by the service business. Sustainability and efficient utilization of resources will become crucial decision-making criteria.”

Value Added Printing, Product value enhancement, Production efficiency, Ecology and environment management, Networking in research and development – these were the main issues which Thomas Hauser introduced to the audience. He gave also an overview of the latest manroland equipment installations in the Balkan region. In his speech Mr. Hauser pointed out that the brand of manroland does express the company’s ambition to be reliable, determined, groundbreaking, and inspirational. „We want our customers to be successful. Our impetus drives technical progress and we resolutely develop groundbreaking products and services. With our commitment and our closeness we give our customers orientation and we are always a high-performance, reliable partner for them“, accentuated Thomas Hauser.

Daniel Siegel, Manager Technical Sales Central Europe, UPM Paper Business Group, presented “Changing Print Media World – Our Shared Challenge and Possibility”. He reviewed the past and present situation of the printing industry in Europe and pointed out the expected developments. Mr. Siegel presented the today’s challenges for printers which are based on: finding the right products and partners; investing in technology, education, standardisation and environment; mastering fast and complex processes.

“Value Added Printing in Sheetfed Packaging” was presented by Robert Schneider, Technical Manager Offset, Sun Chemical. He informed the audience about Value Added Printing in sheetfed packaging, Value Added Printing solutions, Value Added Print products, Brand enhancement effects, Packaging functions, Brand protection solutions, Food packaging technologies, Safety in food packaging, Regulations for manufacture of food packaging.

In her speech „Economic Developments in the European Graphic Industry and Current INTERGRAF Activities“ Beatrice Klose, Secretary General of Intergraf, presented the profile of the Graphic Industry in Europe, a sector which is dominated by small and micro companies, largely focussed on the domestic market and dependant on advertising. Ms. Klose presented the Forecast for the EU Printing Industry 2009 – the turnover analysis for printing products and printing processes shows a minus of 6.4 % for the printing Industry in general. She pointed out the actions that need to take place at companies, in order to be successful on national and European level. She summarised some key issues for the future: developing a European Research and Innovation network; co-operation with the European Forest-based Technology Platform; development of national Print Power networks.

Daiana Salagean, Foreign Relations Manager, Agressione Group, Romania pointed out in her presentation “Paper and Board Market in Romania from its Leader's Perspective: Agressione Group” that the Romanian mills, similar to the European producers, suffer also under the recent crises. Before the crisis, in 2008, there were about 1450 printers in Romania, out of which around 30% in Bucharest. The market is still clearly dominated by the bigger printing houses which cover about 80% of it. In the past months of 2009 some dozens printing houses went bankrupt and several others are near this point. In her presentation Ms. Salagean proposed some solutions of the existing problems in the industry: bringing free newspapers on the market; introducing new product categories; focusing on quality contents; producing variable data printing and data sorting; introducing specialized print; focusing on commercial print which still dominates the market.

Ms. Camelia Buda, general manager of Euroexpo, Romania presented her company and pointed out the importance of organising Print Exhibitions in Romania.

In her presentation “Future Mutual Activities of the Balkan Print Forum Member Countries” Dr. Rossitza Velkova, coordinator of the Balkan Print Forum expressed the ambition of the member countries to act as an active regional print media community. She presented the new Balkan Print Forum Internet Site: http://www.balkanprintforum.org (starting in December 2009), that will help to intensify the exchange of news and information.

The first meeting of the representatives of the Balkan Graphic Arts Schools and Universities and the Balkan journalists took place after the presentations. It showed a big potential for future close collaboration and cooperation.

Visiting manroland customers in Bucharest and Brasov
On October 23, the guests of the Forum had the opportunity to visit two Romanian printing houses, to meet specialists and managers and exchange views, opinions, information and know-how. The company Elixir Press in Bucharest, founded in 1994, is specialised in entertainment publications, especially magazines and crossword puzzles. It is market leader in the field of publishing crosswords, with an average monthly circulation of over 1,000,000 copies. Mr. Vasile Tirsolea, General Director of Elixir Press, presented to the 80 Balkan Print Forum guests his new manroland machines – a five-colour ROLAND 200 and a four-colour ROLAND 500 in operation.

Mr. Gerhard Sund, Chairman of the Board and Mr. Andras Albert, General Manager of EDS Romania S.R.L, welcomed the international and the Romanian guests at their printing house in Ghimbav, near Brasov. EDS Romania, founded in 2008, is specialized in heatset web offset printing of retail leaflets and mass market magazines. About an year ago the printing house was equipped with two heatset web offset printing machines – a manroland LITHOMAN printing line (32 page A4 short grain) and a LITHOMAN printing line (48 page A4 long grain). The 32 page LITHOMAN has a maximum web width of 1260 mm, an automatic register and colour density control, a folder with incorporated stitching unit and has a maximum speed of 65000 rph; the 48 page LITHOMAN has a maximum web width of 1460 mm and a maximum speed of 42000 rph. Both machines apply the high-performance printnet technology for efficient colour data transfer.

The speakers at the Fourth Balkan Print Forum in Bucharest, Romania (from left): Daiana Salagean, Foreign Relations Manager, Agressione Group, Romania; Robert Schneider, Technical Manager Offset, Sun Chemical; Daniel Siegel, Manager Technical Sales Central Europe, UPM Paper Business Group; Dr. Rossitza Velkova, coordinator of the Balkan Print Forum; Thomas Hauser, Vice President Corporate Marketing & Communications, manroland AG.Visiting EDS Romania in Ghimbav, near Brasov.