Archives for February 3, 2011

Spiel Associates’ new RILECART B-535 offers quick wire binding

The new RILECART B-535 from Spiel Associates is a fully automatic double loop wire binder capable of binding books at the pace of 3,000 per hour. The operator drops a book on the conveyor and the B-535 inserts the wire, crimps the wire, and delivers the book onto a conveyor.

The machine will bind books from 3.25-by-4 inches up to 12-by-12.5 inches. Spiral diameters can range from .25 of an inch to 1.25 inch, allowing for a maximum book thickness of one inch. Skip binding up to five parts is attainable. An in-line punching section is optional. A calendar machine is also available.

Watch a video of the machine in action here.

Kodak reaffirms plan to complete transformation by 2012

At its annual investor strategy meeting today, Eastman Kodak Co. executives will detail plans to complete its transformation into a digital company with sustainable profits by 2012.

Kodak said it expects revenue in its core growth businesses – Consumer and Commercial Inkjet printing, Workflow Software and Services, and Packaging Solutions – will more than double in size by the end of 2013. During this time, Kodak will effectively manage its large, cash-producing businesses, and drive toward sustainable, profitable growth on the strength of its unmatched expertise in materials science and digital imaging science, the company said. Consumer Inkjet will achieve positive gross profit dollars during 2011, with full-year positive operational earnings in 2012, and the company’s Commercial Inkjet business will achieve profitability during 2012.

“The success of our core growth businesses demonstrates that our strategy is working,” says Antonio M. Perez, chairman CEO, Kodak. “Over the next three years, we will continue to improve our digital performance, as our core growth businesses begin to achieve profitability this year and turn profitable as a group in 2013. We are also well-positioned in several large and established digital markets, and we are committed to managing those businesses to maximize earnings and cash generation. We have sufficient resources and the financial flexibility necessary to fully implement our strategy and deliver shareholder value.”

For 2011, Kodak is focused on two key financial metrics:

  • Continue to build the scale of its four digital growth businesses – Consumer and Commercial Inkjet, Workflow Software and Services, and Packaging Solutions – and achieve greater than 40 percent aggregate revenue growth from these businesses.
  • Achieve positive cash generation before restructuring payments.

On a continuing operations basis, the company is also targeting the following in 2011:

  • Operational earnings of negative $200 million to breakeven, on total company revenue of between $6.4 billion to $6.7 billion;
  • 2011 GAAP loss from continuing operations in the range of $300 million to $100 million;
  • A year-end cash balance of $1.5 billion to $1.6 billion, after taking into account all cash actions, including modest debt payments due during 2011.

Kodak’s core digital growth businesses – Consumer and Commercial Inkjet, Workflow Software & Services, and Packaging Solutions – together grew 18 percent during 2010. Between 2011 and 2013, the company expects revenue from these businesses to more than double, with annuity sales, from ink and consumables, growing as a percentage of revenue. In 2013, Kodak expects revenue from these businesses will approach $2.0 billion, with positive earnings.

The company also remains committed to executing its intellectual property strategy, which is focused on achieving three key goals – providing the company with design freedom to develop and introduce innovative, new products; providing Kodak with access to new markets and new partnerships; and continued income and cash generation. From 2008 to 2010, Kodak generated $1.9 billion in revenue from its patent portfolio. Through the planning period, the company expects to generate an average of $250 million to $350 million per year in intellectual property revenue.

Industry-wide demand for digital still cameras is declining, particularly in the point-and-shoot category, while other categories, including pocket video cameras, continue to grow. During 2010, Kodak grew its share of the pocket video camera market by 10 percentage points and today is the number two player. In 2011, Kodak will transform its strategy specific to Digital Capture & Devices by aggressively focusing on the most profitable segments and geographies of this market, trading top-line growth for improved earnings.

Kodak is well-positioned in Retail Systems Solutions and is the market leader with more than 100,000 retail touch-points worldwide. During 2010, Kodak added more than 8,000 new customer touch-points and is enabling direct Facebook connectivity.

The company’s Film, Photofinishing & Entertainment Group (FPEG) has maintained a strong market position in all of its key product categories, and continues to be a cash generator through the planning period. The FPEG portfolio includes Entertainment Imaging products and services, traditional photofinishing, consumer and professional film capture and services, and products for industrial material markets.

For 2011, the company is taking aggressive action to improve the operating results from these businesses. These actions include capitalizing on Kodak’s market-leading position through a continued focus on unsurpassed quality and service and the introduction of innovative, new film products; continuing to aggressively reduce costs in line with industry decline rates; and taking aggressive actions to mitigate silver pricing volatility, including the implementation of an indexed pricing model for key products and a transition to a product portfolio less dependent on silver.

Kodak enters 2011 with sufficient resources and the financial flexibility to fully implement its strategy for profitable growth.

The company’s target business model assumes, on average, a compound annual growth rate for digital revenues of 4 percent from 2011 through 2013, and a total company compound annual revenue growth rate of less than 1 percent during that period.

Kodak’s target model for 2013 includes a total company operational gross profit margin goal of 25 percent to 26 percent. The company’s goal for operational earnings is 6 percent of revenue for the total company.

“Customers are embracing our unique value propositions in new growth markets, our traction is evident, and we are committed to improving earnings and cash performance from our large, established businesses,” says Perez. “Kodak is now a company with a broad portfolio of innovative digital products and services, leading intellectual property, and dedicated employees around the world. I am confident that we will continue to achieve market success, complete our transformation into a sustainable, profitable company, and create significant value for our shareholders.”

Costco, Target report January increases

Target Corp., Minneapolis, Minn., reported net retail sales for the four weeks ended Jan. 29, 2011 were $4,383 million, an increase of 2.2 percent from $4,289 million for the four weeks ended January 30, 2010. On this same basis, January comparable-store sales increased 1.7 percent.

Costco Wholesale Corp., Issaquah, Wash., reported net sales of $6.30 billion for the month of January, the four weeks ended Jan. 30, 2011, an increase of twelve percent from $5.62 billion during the similar period last year. This year’s four-week period included sales from the Company’s Mexico joint venture, as the Company began consolidating its Mexico operations on a prospective basis beginning with its 2011 fiscal year (on August 30, 2010); without those sales the increase would have been nine percent.

For the twenty-two weeks of its reporting period ended Jan. 30, 2011, the Company reported net sales of $36.08 billion, an increase of eleven percent from $32.45 billion during the similar period last year; excluding Mexico sales, the increase would have been eight percent.

Digital Imaging Digest: How a photographer became a photo app developer

The new issue of Digital Imaging Digest features an article on Craig Orsini, a commercial photographer and director who developed a successful iPad photo app. The article explains the process he went through in creating the app and bringing it to market, and offers Orsini’s advice for others who want to do the same.

An excerpt:

Orsini spent his first few weeks as an iPad owner trying out applications to find one for presenting his portfolio and demo reel. When no existing application offered what he wanted, Orsini decided to create one himself.

Launched last fall, Orsini’s application, MediaPad Pro, takes videos, still, audio, and web content and combines it into a single, cohesive, self-branded viewing area for clients.

“It’s not like you’re going back out to Safari to look at a website, and you don’t have to look at a video viewer to see your videos and then a still viewer to look at your skills. Everything is in one compartment,” he explains. “You just have to launch one button, and that viewer can then look at all of your content in that one area with only your brand.”

MediaPad Pro started out as a sketch on a paper. To go from the idea to an actual product, Orsini enlisted the help of an old friend who had launched an application incubation company called MEDL Mobile Inc.

Although he initially planned to create the application only for his own use, once Orsini discovered the costs involved, he decided to look at the application as a new business opportunity. Suddenly, Orsini found himself in a whole new business.

DIMA members can read the entire article and issue here. For information on joining DIMA and receiving Digital Imaging Digest every month, contact the PMA Membership Department.

A podcast of an interview with Orsini is available to all on the DIMAcast.

SanDisk announces cross-patent license agreement with Imation

SanDisk Corp., Milpitas, Calif., announced Imation Corp. has signed a patent cross-license agreement with SanDisk to settle two cases filed by SanDisk in Federal District Court against Imation alleging infringement of flash memory system-level patents.

Under the terms of the cross-license, Imation will pay SanDisk royalties on various flash memory products, including USB flash drives and solid state disk drives. In addition, Imation entered into a stipulated judgment of infringement and validity in SanDisk’s favor on claims of U.S. Patent No. 7,137,011, which covers the use of certain encryption technology in a memory card.

The specific terms of the agreement are confidential. Two infringement cases remain pending against Kingston Technology Company Inc.

Sony third quarter profits higher than expected

Sony Corp., Tokyo, Japan, posted net income of 72.3 billion yen in the three months ended Dec. 31, compared with a 79.2 billion yen profit a year earlier.

Net income dropped 8.6 percent to 72.3 billion yen ($886 million) in the three months ended Dec. 31, from 79.2 billion yen a year earlier.

Operating profit, or sales minus the cost of goods sold and administrative expenses, fell 5.9 percent to 137.5 billion yen, compared with 146.1 billion yen a year earlier. Revenue fell 1.4 percent to 2.21 trillion yen.

The company raised its full-year compact camera sales target to 24 million units in response to demand for Cybershot models.

Hasselblad wants you to vote for “Masters”

Hasselblad Masters Finalists site

This is your hand-engraved invitation to vote which we’re relaying from Hasselblad,  Copenhagen, Sweden. They need you to tell them what your favorite images are among the online galleries of the 110 Masters Finalists 2010.

Selected from more than 2,500 applicants, the quality of submissions for the Masters program continues to increase, says the company, raising the bar for entry.

“It’s more difficult than ever before for even the finest photographers to qualify as finalists,” reports Christian Nørgaard, photographer relations manager, “and even more challenging to choose 110 finalists from among such exceptional work.”

Photographers from Latin America, India and China, as well as the United States, Germany and the U.K. are well represented in the 2010 competition.

A new category, “wildlife,” was added in 2010, increasing the number of finalists to 110, or 10 photographers for each category: wildlife, architecture, editorial, fashion/beauty, fine art, general photography, nature/landscape, portrait, products, wedding/social, and up-and-coming. The latter category alone attracted more than 1,300 applicants.

This is the second year the public is encouraged to vote for their favorite image in each category by registering online. No registration is necessary to view the images, which will be online until Oct. 31. The public poll counts as one vote for each category.

The remaining votes will be cast by a distinguished panel of industry professionals from around the world: Efrem Raimondi (Italy), Anton Corbijn (England), Joachim Ladefoged (Denmark), Steve McCurry (USA), Danqing Wen (China), Tim Flach (England), Hasse Persson (Sweden), Xie Mo (China), Douglas Kirkland (USA), Thomas Gerwers (Germany), Peter Bialobrzeski (Germany), and Grant Scott (England).

Eleven winners will be chosen, one from each category, and will be provided with high-end Hasselblad equipment and software to work on their Masters project. Once completed, their final projects will be exhibited internationally and published in the third commemorative Masters Book in 2012.

To honor the outstanding work of the 300 semi-finalists, Hasselblad will also launch a special online gallery of their images. Visitors to the site will be able to browse through the Masters Semifinals Gallery until Oct. 31.

Hasselblad encourages us to visit the two galleries here and cast votes for the Masters Finalists of their choice in each category.

“Good old ways” still alive

Anyone who feels the “good old days,” and the “good old ways,” are worth remembering, then the Alternative Process Photography Symposium (APPS) is for you.

APPS is a week-long series of events for photographers and enthusiasts to learn alternative photographic processes, revitalizing the analog methods from the last 150 years. From May 8-13, world-renowned experts will address diverse methods of working in photography through lectures, workshops, and exhibitions at venues around Toronto, Ontario, Canada. This event takes place in conjunction with Scotiabank’s CONTACT Photography Festival, running May 1 – 31, and will complement the Festival’s internationally recognized content.

“It is important for people to understand how simple some of these processes are, and how some of them are from the earliest days of photography,” says Bob Carnie, whose photography print house, Elevator Digital, is a founding partner of APPS. “With a light source and a sink, you can create some incredible photography in the wet traditional darkroom or the new digital lightroom – or even a combination of the two.”

Speakers confirmed for APPS include: (From the U.S.) Sam Wang, Sandy King, Ron Reeder, and Bill Schwab; (from Paris) Guillame Zuili; (from Toronto) Nigel Dickson.

“Photographers around the world are working with traditional photographic processes while combining new digital technologies,” says Chad Wolfond, the owner of Lonsdale Gallery, which has led the creation of APPS.

“But in North America, these processes have fallen out of classrooms. This will be a great way for students of photography, professional photographers and people who just love photography to explore alternative and beautiful methods of making compelling and substantial art.”

The processes to be celebrated, promoted, and addressed in the workshops are: Carbon, Multiple Colour Gum, Gum Over Platinum, Lith Printing, Wet Plate, Platinum, as well as Digital Negative from film, and Digital Capture.

Each workshop runs multiple days and registration fees range from C$350 to C$450. Registration is extremely limited.

APPS will be a launching pad for Toronto’s photographic community to integrate the skills acquired in APPS with Gallery 44’s substantial technological capacities. Gallery 44 Centre for Contemporary Photography is an organization committed to the dissemination of alternative photographic processes through year-round workshops in various historical processes. Gallery 44’s traditional wet darkroom is the only one in the city of Toronto.

For full program descriptions, schedules, and registration information, go here.

Henry’s taps Kodak for kiosks

Henry's chooses Kodak kiosks

Canadian retail chain Henry’s, headquartered in Toronto, Ontario, now has Kodak Picture Kiosks, from Eastman Kodak Co., Rochester, N.Y., in all 33 of its locations, including its professional arm, Headshots.

The move expands Henry’s service offering to include high-quality 4-by-6, 5-by-7 and 8-by-10 prints, as well as Kodak Picture CDs and Picture Movie DVDs. With the kiosks, Henry’s will expand into premium products with increased profit potential, including photo books, collages, calendars, and custom greeting cards.

All Henry’s locations also offer high speed picture scanning using Kodak Rapid Print Scanners, so customers can bring in their shoebox prints and convert them into high-resolution digital images.

Family owned and operated since 1909, “our customers know Henry’s for its breadth of product, customer service and core competency in the imaging industry,” says Amy Stein, project manager, Photofinishing. “By offering immediate gratification of quality instant prints, we see tremendous opportunity to encourage our customers to print their memories and in return, grow our in-store kiosk business.”

Leica announces record sales for 3rd quarter

The Leica Camera Group, Solms, Germany, announced unaudited preliminary results for the first nine months (April 1 to Dec. 31, 2010) of the current fiscal year. Sales increased by 73 percent to Euro 186.4 million (US-$ 257.5 million) compared with Euro 107.6 million (US-$ 148.6 million) in the year-ago period.

EBIT for the first three quarters was Euro 28.9 million (US-$ 39.9 million) after a loss of Euro 0.3 million (US-$ 0.41 million) in the first three quarters of the previous fiscal year. According to a press release, incoming orders remain at a high level. With sales of Euro 75.5 million (US-$ 104.3 million), Leica recorded its best quarter since the company‘s IPO in 1996.

According to Leica, the main success drivers were (in addition to the Leica M9) new products such as the Leica D-Lux 5, V-Lux 2, a new black design version of the Leica X1, the limited special series Leica M9 “Titan” and the binoculars Leica Silverline.