Indústria Brasileira de Filmes (IBF) is the largest sensitized film converter in the world. It also occupies a prominent fourth position in excellence among 69 companies in the production of offset plates for the graphic arts industry. Gisele Ribeiro reveals how IBF impressed the medical and graphic industry worldwide and became a mega exporter reaching more than 70 countries.
When one looks at a book, a magazine, an outdoor poster or an X-ray film, it is hard to imagine all the techniques, processes, equipment and manufacturers that are behind the scenes, making it all possible. Pioneer in offset plates technology in South America, IBF has not only reached offset plates production leadership since 1997 in the Brazilian Market, but also holds a significant market share of solutions for the digital pre-press market including computer-to-plate. The range of products includes Thermal CTP, imagesetters, scanners, processors, digital proofing and digital printing systems, along with chemicals and special paper. “We don’t work with photography; our supplies are exclusively to the printing and medical imaging segments. Our main competitors are AGFA, Kodak and Fuji,” says Marcelo Chimelli – National Sales Manager.
In its 46 years of existence, IBF has conquered a firm position in the national and international markets, pioneering in the film segment. It was the first company in Brazil to produce films for the printing industry. After expanding its facilities and improving production capacity, IBF began to develop pre-sensitized aluminum offset plates. At that time, the company started to pursue the foreign market, including the U.S. In 1975, after two years successfully launching offset plates in the market, competing with strong foreign brands, the company decided to go beyond the graphic arena. IBF then introduced films for medical imaging, such as films for X-ray, mammography and nuclear medicine. In the mid-80s, it introduced products such as double-sided offset printing plates (negative and positive), becoming top sellers in Latin America. IBF also achieved leadership in the films market for graphic arts.
IBF’s plant, located in the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro, occupies 39,000 square meters in a plot of land measuring 335,000 square meters, including a beautiful forest.
With 900 employees, and energy consumption equivalent to a city with 30,000 people, the plate manufacturing facility is under constant upgrading, including the construction of a third production line, which will double the production capacity. Besides the plant and headquarters located in Rio de Janeiro, IBF has 18 branches throughout Brazil, along with a specialized sales force. A sales team of over 100 people and an extensive network of 400 international distributors have made possible strong brand penetration both nationally and abroad, including the Americas, Europe, Middle East, parts of the Far East and Australia. About half of what is produced by IBF, which has production capacity to supply all of Latin America, is exported.
Constant updates are IBF’s trademark as the company applies genuine national technology to make new advances. This enterprising mode determined the development of digital offset plates (thermal and violet), which eliminated the use of film, saving production costs and time, besides generating much better image quality. Well-established foreign brands have not discouraged IBF. IBF was the first Brazilian company to produce digital offset plates in the Latin America market, becoming the leader both in the conventional and digital segments. It is the first larger manufacturer in Latin America. “Such new technologies have become a new niche for IBF,” says Chimelli.
“In order to keep up with what is new, IBF participates in the most important trade shows in the U.S., such as Graphics of the Americas in Miami and Graph Expo in Chicago, among others worldwide such as DRUPA in Germany and IPEX in England.”
Certified ISO: 9001 in 1996 and upgraded, since December of 2003, to ISO 9001:2000, IBF went beyond its own know-how, going beyond national frontiers to search for partnerships with some of the top world manufacturers of sensitive materials and equipment. “This kind of initiative has allowed us to compete with the highest international standards of quality on a worldwide scale,” comments Chimelli.
The thermal offset plate, or MILLION, is an offset printing plate designed for use in Computer-to-Plate Systems and yields runs of up to 150,000 impressions without the need of post baking and over one million impressions after post baking. It is considered a versatile product designed to operate in platesetters with 830 nm laser diode light source and processed in the same plate processors. The plate also offers outstanding sink/water balance on press, allowing fast rollup and less paper waste.
Because of IBF’s high rate of production, its revenues show operational gains. “Our annual growth in the last six years has been quite good, allowing IBF to substantially increase its exports,”
Besides Films and Plates
IBF Agropecuária – Agriculture and Cattle Breeding – is a division that was created as part of a diversification strategy established by IBF’s management. It includes two farms, in the state of Mato Grosso, in the Amazon region.
These farms were acknowledged by the Brazilian Department of Agriculture as model farms due to the development of stronger grains with high quality and fully adapted to the Brazilian “cerrado” (Brazilian vegetation) and the substantial investment in research and development.
IBF’s commitment to technological advance and research has made the company not only a strong player in plates and films but also a community player. IBF has cooperated with public institutions to research new agricultural techniques, improving seeds and soil conditions. IBF’s social responsibility paid off and has benefited a large number of Brazilian farmers.
Making Big Impression
“Our negative offset plate, double and single sided, using analogical technology, is considered the best in the world according to the high standards of the U.S. market,” Chimelli points out. For more than 35 years, IBF has an established commercial operation in Garfield, N.J., including 60 people in the technical, administrative and sales staff.
In addition, IBF has won many prizes and excellence awards, such as the Mercoex Prize sponsored by Mercosul Exporters; Prize of Graphical Excellency Fernando Pini for two consecutive years for plate supplier of the year and Graphprint Prize for two consecutive years.
“We recently initiated a partnership with Canon to represent Canon in Brazil in digital proofing equipment. There is a great differential in our company. The presence of our headquarters in Brazil makes us flexible to deal directly with the client and make available any type of pertinent support. Our technical and commercial team of 120 people is the largest in Brazil, ready to provide 100 percent satisfaction,” concludes Chimelli.