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Mercedes buys 1st Océ sheet-fed, eyes 2nd

Wednesday, 17 May 2017
By Graham Osborne

(l-r) Nicholas Ficinus, CEO Data Direct; Brett Chalmers, COO Mercedes Waratah.

Melbourne print powerhouse Mercedes Waratah has installed Australia’s first Océ VarioPrint i300 sheet-fed inkjet press at its Data Direct business in Preston and is considering buying a similar machine for its headquarters in Port Melbourne.

Data Direct is a digital print and mail-house acquired by Mercedes Waratah in November last year, shortly after Mercedes bought Michael Wu’s collapsed digital printer On Demand – briefly known as Data Direct Digital but now rebranded as Waratah Digital and based at the Mercedes Waratah building in Lorimer St, Port Melbourne.

Data Direct CEO Nicholas Ficinus, who took the helm recently following a business sabbatical, says the new Océ press from Canon Australia forms a key part of the strategy for Data Direct’s continued growth, as well as being an important resource for its sister companies.

Data Direct in Preston, VIC

“Data Direct is at a very exciting time in its evolution,” says Ficinus. “We see ourselves not as a mail house or a print service provider but as a multi-channel or omni-channel solutions provider. That requires us to have both ‘soft’ digital technology that allows us to meet the needs of a rapidly changing market, and the integrated physical production resources which enable us to deliver.”

Mercedes Waratah COO Brett Chalmers is already considering buying a second Océ for the company’s headquarters.

“This is powerful and flexible technology and we’re investigating the options of purchasing a second Océ i300 machine for Port Melbourne. The Data Direct business will continue to focus on personalised mail house work, and our main digital printing work will continue to come out of Port Melbourne.”

“The strength of our family of companies is in our ability to offer truly independent operation, while sharing resources for the benefit of our combined customer base.”

Canon Australia’s Peter Brittliff – senior manager, product marketing – says the new Océ can address direct mail, publishing and general commercial print applications.

The Océ VarioPrint i300 uses new iQuarius technologies allowing users to print on lower cost media, such as offset coated and uncoated stocks, to achieve a higher print quality to what has previously been seen with inkjet technology.

A series of three paper input modules, high-capacity media drawers which carry up to 12 different stocks, and automatic, ‘on the fly’ printhead adjustment, allows the i300 to affect media changes effortlessly, and almost instantaneously, between and even during print runs.

Above all, the i300 is extremely economical and highly productive – its sweet spot is for businesses producing between one and ten million impressions per month. It can address direct mail, publishing and general commercial print applications, and its high levels of automation and broad range of inline finishing options, with minimal need for further handling, delivers significant productivity improvements.

The result is a machine which ticks all the boxes, says Ficinus.

“Every now and then you come across a technology which is truly game changing, and when I first saw this machine shortly after its international release in 2015, I remember thinking that this was one of those technologies.

“Fast forward a couple of years and I’m in a new position in a new company and have the opportunity to capitalise on the technology that impressed me back then – and I couldn’t be happier.”


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