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German shootout for Franklin Web’s supersite

Wednesday, 12 April 2017
By Print21

The Franklin Web site under construction at Seven Hills, NSW

After a competitive bidding process, Franklin Web, now part of Ive Group, has decided on a highly automated postpress line from Gämmerler for its new catalogue printing site due to open later this year in Seven Hills, Sydney.

Phil Taylor, Franklin Web’s CEO, travelled to Germany in January to get a closer look at the postpress systems on offer and conduct initial meetings with suppliers.

Representatives of rival German-based postpress manufacturers Gämmerler GmbH and Rima-Systems then travelled to Sydney to continue negotiations and refine their proposals.

“We bought the participating vendors out to Australia in early February in order to consummate a deal,” says Darryl Meyer, GM of Ive Group’s Blue Star Web. “The process went very well and was very competitive – as these things always are in the industry – because this was a key project for them to be a part of.”

The performance of existing Gämmerler lines at Franklin Web in Melbourne, combined with the long-term relationship between the companies, provided a competitive edge. Franklin Web decided on a complete postpress line from Gämmerler, including inline trimming, compensated stacking, automatic strapping and robotic palletizers.

“This equipment will help to provide the most highly automated and streamlined retail catalogue printing facility in Australia,” says Meyer.

The new greenfield web offset factory at Seven Hills in Sydney’s west – which will include a new manroland Lithoman 80 page press and a second large format press yet to be identified – is expected to begin operations later this year.

Franklin Web in Melbourne

The facility will be operated as a satellite site of the Franklin Web business in Melbourne, retaining the Franklin Web brand name. “We have focused on mirroring the successful installation of the Melbourne plant and decided to work with the same proven partners again,” says Meyer.

Construction at the Seven Hills site is well underway. “We’re absolutely on track to have everything ready to start up in September 2017. The building has been constructed and we’re now at the fit-out stage, bringing in all the services required to run a modern printing plant,” says Meyer.

“The Lithoman is expected to arrive in July and we’re looking at a similar time frame for delivery of the Gämmerler lines. They all connect to each other so without one part the other part doesn’t work.”

The new facility is part of Ive Group’s $42 million integration and expansion plan following its $116 million takeover of large format web offset competitors Franklin Web and AIW in December 2016.

AIW operations at Springvale will be wound down and integrated into Franklin Web in Melbourne’s West. AIW’s large format presses – a Heidelberg M850 5 colour press and a Sunday 4000 4 colour – will be transferred to the Franklin Web site and installed by the end of May 2017.

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