October 27, 2008
by Pierre Deschamps
The global printing trade has gone through countless technological revolutions since former goldsmith Johannes Gutenberg’s history-shaping invention of the printing press back in 1439, and it’s safe to say that today it is right in the of midst of another epic paradigm shift from offset to full digitization of most stages of all the popular printing processes out there.
For companies like Transcontinental Printing—the largest commercial printer in Canada and sixth-largest in North America—staying at the forefront of technological progress is all part-and-parcel of maintaining its enviable market position in a fiercely competitive industry.
With 2007 revenues of $2.3 billion, this leading publisher of Canadian newspapers and consumer magazines, as well as the largest printer of French-language textbooks and educational materials, employs more than 15,000 people at over 60 locations across Canada, the U.S. and Mexico.
Keeping all these plants operating in tip-top shape at all times is naturally a very capital-intensive task that requires million-dollar investments in new machinery and equipment on virtually regular basis—as evidenced by the company’s recent announcement of a $20-million upgrade at its Transcontinental Interweb Montréal plant in Boucherville, Que.
As one of three printers of Canada’s renowned national daily The Globe and Mail, in addition to about 30 high-circulation consumer magazines, the Boucherville plant is definitely a key asset in Transcontinental’s printing empire—turning out an estimated 8-million pieces of printed product annually.
It is also one of a very select group of 50 printing plants around the world to have received the highly-coveted International Newspaper Color Quality Club entry for 2008 in recognition of its “world-class” print quality standards.
While a large part of the new capital expenditures was earmarked for the purchase of a new Sunday 3000 printing press, a Goss SP2200 gang stitcher, and a Buhrs 4000 plastic film bagging machine, the plant’s end-of-line packaging operations have also been modernized with some truly outstanding, top-of-the-line palletizing equipment—comprising a Motoman model SP80 robot and a fully-automatic vertical stretchwrapping machine manufactured by Mach 1 Packaging Ltd. of Saint-Laurent, Que.
According to president and chief executive officer François Olivier, “This investment will allow the company to continue offering its clientele high-quality newspapers and commercial products, including catalogs and magazines.