Author Archive

  • Magazine feature: A big plus for label converters

    Booked up: (l-r) Darryl Wilson and David Reece from Jet Technologies, Peter Scott and Derek Field from Screen, and Matthew Vaughn from Jet Technologies with the Screen L350UV+ digital label press.

    UV inkjet is an up-and-coming technology in the world of digital label printing, and Screen’s L350UV inkjet label press has enjoyed considerable success in Australia and New Zealand, with five installations across the two countries. Now, the upgraded version has arrived on Australian shores.

    On the outside there is little visual difference between the Screen L350UV+ digital label press and its predecessor – the chassis looks virtually the same, save for the change in model number. Under the hood, however, there have been some significant upgrades, as Screen GP Australia’s managing director Peter Scott tells me.

    “One main difference from the previous model is that it now has an orange ink option. It is now CMYK plus white and orange, which increases the colour gamut,” says Scott.

    “In addition the L350UV+ has the ability to print at sixty metres per minute, up from fifty, which is a twenty per cent increase in productivity. It also has in the machine a chill roller, which allows it to print on thinner films and more heat-sensitive materials, so users can move into different markets.

    “The demo machine here at Jet Technologies is fully specified – the only option it does not have is low-migration inks designed for food-related packaging. We could bring in a machine with that option if we needed to,” he says.

    The original L350UV boasts five local installations: one in Sydney, one in Auckland, and three in Melbourne. More than a hundred are operating worldwide, and according to Scott, its customers could not be happier with it.

    “It has proven itself to be reliable, and customers have bought their second, third, and fourth machines from us,” he says.

    Jet Technologies’ showroom has seen four demonstration L350UV machines in operation, and now hosts the first L350UV+ to reach Australia. Scott expects it to be as successful as the original, if not more.

    “Global customers are now starting to trade in the old model and put the new one in, because of the extra colour and higher productivity. The L350UV+ is based on the original model, so the reliability, the head technology and all of those things are in place and have proven themselves.

    “As with anything Screen does, we look at improving the productivity and energy efficiency, and increasing the number of applications the press can handle,” he says.

    The demo machine at Rosebery has already proved popular, according to David Reece, sales director at Jet Technologies. “We were booked up for three weeks,” he says. “Label converters are coming in to see the machine in action, and they’re printing their own jobs to see the quality, high productivity, and low total cost of ownership this press has to offer.”

    Opened in 2014, the Jet Technologies demo centre has played host to not just the L350UV+ and its predecessor, but other equipment from the company as well; more is expected to come this year, including a laminator for the print and packaging division.

    “We always have a certain amount of equipment on show, be it Screen or otherwise – things like platemaking and rotary screen making equipment,” says Reece. “The L350UV+ is our flagship digital press on demonstration.”

    According to Reece, every L350UV sale Jet has made has been to customers who visited the demonstration centre. The showroom has been a useful tool not just for Jet Technologies, but the customers themselves, who can use it to learn more about the equipment they’re considering buying, he says.

    “The biggest benefit is that they can come, stay as long as they want – be it a day, two days, an hour – and run their materials hands-on with the machine to get all the information they need in an open and transparent way.

    “We have also worked with most of the major materials suppliers to qualify and test their products, and our customers can see how their own jobs will look on a variety of substrates,” says Reece.

    Screen and Jet Technologies customers can be assured they will not be left high and dry if they need help with their new L350UV+ presses.

    According to Scott, Screen has five engineers on the ground capable of handling the machine, while Jet Technologies offers application support.

    “The L350UV+ is not an orphan product – it is backed up by Screen and Jet Technologies’ experienced support teams, along with the whole Screen product range”, he says

  • Jet introduces new degradable film

    Jet Technologies’ new film: degrades thanks to enzymes

    Jet Technologies has launched a new plastic film for food and beverage labels and laminates, which degrades less than two years after disposal.

    Made in the same way as traditional plastics, Jet says these oxo-degradable films contain an enzyme that makes them break down quickly, becoming food for bacteria and fungi after one to two years. They are available in both gloss and matte, and can be printed using existing print equipment.

    According to Jack Malki, director at Jet Technologies, the new films are price competitive against options such as cornstarch-based PLA, being only 15 to 20 per cent more expensive than regular plastic grades.

    Good alternative: Jack Malki, Jet Technologies.

    “With landfill being a major issue in Australia and most of the world today, moving away from traditional plastics is becoming an increasingly important focus for many brands.

    “We believe oxo-degradable films provide a good alternative in terms of cost and product quality, compared to traditional plastics and other degradable options currently on the market for labels,” he said.

    Conventional polymers such as PE, PP and PET can be turned into oxo-degradable versions of label stock and overlaminate gloss or matte finishes, and are compatible with recycling streams containing traditional plastic, added Malki.

    “We have so far had a strong response from our clients and end-users, who see this as an excellent and achievable step in the right direction. Our commitment at Jet Technologies is to provide the market with the best film options and technology globally available,” he said.

  • 1st Print21 mag of 2019 is a digital hit!

    The Digital Issue: first Print21 of the year at the mailing house

    The first 2019 issue of Print21 – the country’s highest circulating print industry magazine –  is at the mailing house, and about to hit the desks of print business owners and managers around the country.

    The Jan Feb magazine is the Digital Issue, with a focus on the business, markets and technology of digital printing; in cutsheet, webfed, and wide format, in both inkjet and toner.

    Print21 editor Wayne Robinson said, “Digital printing continues to offer opportunity to print businesses in Australia and New Zealand. The first issue of the year will provide printers with unrivalled comprehensive insight into the business of digital printing.

    “Readers are in for a treat, with the volume of content and the quality of insight that Print21 provides evident in the first issue of the year.”

    Among the many digital features are pieces on inkjet versus toner, toner developments, and inkjet aspirations. There is also a special feature on 3D printing, for so long a mystery to commercial printers, but now a potential profit opportunity. There are reports from Print21 at the big overseas digital events – Heidelberg PackagingDays and EFI Connect – and from a tour of the high technology being developed in the low countries of Belgium and Holland.

    The Jan Feb issue has exclusive interviews with Bill Muir, the new CEO of the billion dollar EFI business, and with well known Foxcil Group owner Roger Kirwan. Following the Royal Commision into the finance industry we also have an exclusive interview with the man who manages much of the industry’s retirement fund, Media Super boss Graeme Russell.

    Print21 provides insight into print businesses making good decisions and seeing growth, including Print Station which has equippped itself with a complete new digital printing, finishing and embellishing system. We are also at full service commercial printer CMP, which has just installed its latest wide format printer. Award-winning independent print business Imagination Graphics – which is seeing organic and acquisition growth – is also in the spotlight.

    Robinson said, “Print business owners and managers in Australia and New Zealand will derive real value from the pages of the first Print21 of the year.”








  • Digital train pulls into Print Station

    Lewis Liang (left) and HP Indigo operator Sonny Qi at the forefront of NSW commercial printing.

    Sydney printer Print Station has invested in a trio of digital machines supplied by Currie Group: an HP Indigo 7600 digital press, a Scodix S75 digital enhancement press, and a Horizon SmartSlitter. Jake Nelson went along to see how they have transformed the business.

    Print Station, a full-service commercial printer, operates two sites close by one another in Sydney’s south: one on busy Forest Road in Hurstville, and a larger facility in Carlton, five minutes away. It is this second plant that recently became home to the new equipment manager Lewis Liang purchased from Currie Group. “We’ve always trusted Currie Group. Horizon, HP Indigo and Scodix are quality brands with good products and excellent service,” he says.

    The feeling is mutual, with Currie Group’s Will Currie dropping in regularly on the dynamic printing company. “We have a good relation-ship with Lewis. He is making giant leaps in developing his business.

    “He is at the forefront of the movement of taking more work in-house to deal with the rapidly-changing print environment. The Scodix is only the second in NSW,” says Currie.

    The digital and offset printer specialises in short to medium runs of up to 200,000 copies, including business cards, brochures, letterheads, and presentation folders; it also produces wide-format offerings such as signs, banners, and displays. “We’ve been in digital printing for about six or seven years. We do a fair bit of it as well as wide-format and offset,” says Liang.

    Installed in time for the busy Christmas season, the new HP Indigo 7600 press, plus Scodix finisher and Horizon SmartSlitter, have been a big help to the company. “It’s great. We’re picking up new jobs, and things have been going much faster and more smoothly than before,” says Liang.

    According to Liang, the main driver behind the HP Indigo purchase – a first for Print Station – was the quality that the platform offers. “It’s similar to offset, not like the traditional dry toner-based digital printing. There’s no way dry toner can match the quality.

    “There’s hardly any difference when you present offset and Indigo digital print, especially on uncoated stock,” he says. “When you compare the HP Indigo digital print with our LED UV offset print, it’s a perfect match. This HP Indigo press has been a big step for us.”

    Though there has been a learning curve, Liang and his staff are growing more confident with operating the 7600. “It’s good, we’re getting better every day,” he says. “We’re improving our skill. It’s not as easy to use as regular digital presses – it’s different, sitting between offset and traditional toner-based.”

    The Scodix S75 digital enhancement press has enabled Print Station to also handle embellishment work like spot UV and special effect printing. “It’s adding extra value to our print, and lets us offer a bit more for our customers. We can provide something a little more fancy now on things like business cards,” says Liang. “It’s evolved our business, and will definitely increase our product range as well.”

    As for the Horizon SmartSlitter, Liang has been pleased to team it up with the S75. “The SmartSlitter works well with the Scodix, producing raised and embellished business cards, for example,” says Liang. “You can’t use a guillotine for that, you have to use a slitter. We’re using it more for other applications as well, such as multiple scoring and perforations.”

    Liang is pleased with the new kit, as well as the support Currie Group provides. “The equipment really helps, and Currie Group service is the best. If something goes wrong, they always send someone out quickly to resolve the problem.

    “We’ve been buying from them for more than 20 years, and we’re always impressed with the quality of their equipment and their unparalleled service,” he says.

    Will Currie is also impressed with Print Station and its owner. “Lewis has always been a very loyal customer. He’s a full-range commercial printer who’s definitely going places, and I’m looking forward to working with him for years to come,” he says.

  • Starleaton supplies Uni Contravision

    vision at Newcastle Uni: Starleaton

    The new ContraVision HD window film supplied by Starleaton allows one directional vision without compromising on print quality, as Newcastle University discovered.

    When the University of Newcastle needed to line the windows of its heritage art deco University House to hide renovation works, it could have gone for black builders’ film. Instead, the university decided on a solution that would acknowledge the heritage of the building. Local printer SWS Signage, together with Starleaton, had just what 
was needed, in ContraVision HD.

    University House, formerly Nesca House, was designed by architect Emil Sodersten and built in the late 1930s. Over the past two years, the university has been carefully restoring the building both inside and out, including updating the façade with hundreds of tonnes of new sandstone and reinstalling curved windows on the ground floor.

    To hide the interior refurbishment works, the university turned to SWS Signage, based in nearby Sandgate. SWS printed archival photos from the 1920s and ‘30s onto Starleaton’s new ContraVision HD window film, designed for one-way viewing. “They wanted a solution that created some privacy for them, and also made sure that the artwork displayed in the windows reflected the heritage of the building,” says Jay Miller, sales executive at SWS.

    According to Miller, ContraVision HD is a step up from previous one-way signage. “One of the issues with the material we were using before was that, due to the way it was produced and the width of the holes, the image quality was not as great as customers expected it to be,” he says. “The quality and colours we can now use in the artwork are not as limited as with previous materials.”

    John Buitenkamp, product manager at Starleaton, agrees that ContraVision HD is a big improvement over other one-way films, with high-end brands like Gucci preferring it to its predecessors. “Upmarket brands complain that because of the perforations, their brands are not displayed properly,” he said. “The HD film is a new design which uses more holes of a smaller diameter. This makes the image more visible, while still permitting people inside to see out.”

    The university has given the result the thumbs-up, with a spokesperson telling Print21 that SWS had delivered a high-quality project, on time and on budget. “The images, reproduced and installed by SWS Signage, make a charming feature of all the ground floor windows and doors, and have received much appreciation from the community,” the spokesperson said.

  • Ricoh bringing customer engagement to life

    The Aussie were the largest group to go through the Ricoh Customer Experience Centre at Rayong, Thailand.

    Ricoh’s regional customer experience centre (CEC) is just a part of its massive Rayong production plant, which spans 120,000sqm and employs almost 4000 workers, in lush surrounds an hour from the famous beach resort city of Pattaya.

    The air-conditioned interior is a welcome relief from the sticky heat of the rainy season outside, for me and for the rest of the 40 Australian guests and staff who have come to tour the facility – the largest group to have visited the CEC since it opened in 2016.

    The Australian visit is part of an event dubbed Alive with Colour, where Ricoh has flown both existing and potential clients out to Thailand to show them the CEC and the kit on display inside.

    According to Simon Lane, national manager for commercial and industrial print at Ricoh Australia, Alive with Colour demonstrates Ricoh’s commitment to its customers. “What is important to us is having profitable, productive, and happy customers,” he says. “This event is for our customers to understand us and what we do, but it is also about helping us understand them and what they want.”

    For Ricoh, the CEC is an opportunity to connect with customers and show off its broad range of hardware and software options. “We have a lot of strings to our bow,” says Lane. “We are able to demonstrate technologies from cut-sheet commercial right through to high-speed inkjet and wide-format, plus a range of workflow tools.
    “We didn’t show all the solutions we have available, either. We have many more solutions for sale,” he added. “To be a trusted partner, we need to meet more than one need for our customers.”

    At the CEC the Australian party is taken through the show floor in groups, moving between each station to get a first-hand look at the solutions on display. For my group, the first cab off the rank is cutsheet commercial, including the toner-based Pro C9200 series digital press.

    “The C9200 is a workhorse. It is designed to be highly productive and to provide profitable outcomes for customers,” says Lane. “It can manage a broad range of substrates, it has significant processing speed, and it has built-in capabilities to ensure consistent high-quality registration.”

    As we approach the wide-format section, the Pro T7210 flatbed is printing on a 35mm wooden door. It is an unusual entry in the flatbed space in that it is designed not for signage, but for décor, explains Paul Thompson, business development manager for direct to garment and visual display solutions at Ricoh. He says, “We are able to target that market due to a couple of factors: the ink we manufacture for it is high-adhesion, with the ability to be applied to a wide range of substrates. The machine also has inline priming capabilities, which opens up products such as glass, aluminium and steel without the need for pre-treatment.

    “It can print a wide range of applications on a wide range of materials at high speed, 100 square metres per hour, using substrates up to 110 millimetres thick,” he says.

    The Pro T7210 is not a niche product however; customers have told Ricoh that the machine works well as a signage printer that can also produce décor. “We have been running tests with materials such as corflute, and had some fantastic results,” says Thompson.

    Also on display in the wide-format section are prototypes of Ricoh’s upcoming entry into the roll-to-roll space; the Pro L5160 latex printer, slated for release early next year. As with its other devices, Ricoh is manufacturing the complete package, including inks, print heads and the machine itself. “We are managing the whole process,” saysThompson.

    The L5160 runs at a low temperature, opening it up to heat-sensitive stock. “There is also built-in maintenance,” adds Thompson. “It has self-cleaning tools that increase the uptime, minimises the impact on staff, and enables more product out per hour.”

    Following a look at the continuous-feed VC60000 high-speed inkjet machine, which prints at up to 150 metres per minute and takes up an entire corner of the room, we are introduced to the toner-based C7200x series cut-sheet graphic arts press.

    This is one of the star attractions of the CEC – it printed the stunning invitations we received to the event – and has many of the same capabilities as the C9200, according to Lane, with a few additions for the graphic arts sector. “The C7200x has the benefit of offering interchangeable white and clear toner,” he says. “We have been able to demonstrate that you can produce high-quality differentiated work in a single pass using white and four-colour on particular substrates.”

    The C7200x also offers options such as neon pink and neon yellow to expand the colour gamut, and invisible red, which shows up clear but turns red under ultraviolet lighting – ideal for security applications, says Lane. “It is aimed at areas such as ticketing for events, and it adds another string to the bow for our customers.”
    After lunch, we are taken through the Ricoh factory itself. This site manufactures a range of devices, and the scale of the place is jaw-dropping. Our guides show us through what feels like miles of floor space filled with bustling workers, some of whom offer a friendly smile and a wai – the traditional Thai greeting involving placing your hands together and bowing – as we pass.

    The factory hums along like clockwork, and I often overhear others in the tour group wondering aloud at the scale of the task required to keep everyone organised. It is one of the more impressive sites I have seen in 
my two years at Print21.
 Alive with Colour is not just about Ricoh showing off its kit to customers. The event has also been designed for the customers to give the supplier feedback, and an entire day is set aside at the Holiday Inn Pattaya before the flight home for guests to meet individually with Ricoh staff in face-to-face sessions. “Our aim is to be the premier provider of production printing solutions in Australia, and we understand that many of our guests are not familiar with the Ricoh heritage,” says Lane. “As a result, we welcome their feedback on how Ricoh can better support their ambitions, and their insights as to where we can further improve our technology and support offerings.”

    Lane is delighted with the amount of input Ricoh has been offered, especially considering the time guests have had to take out of their busy schedules to attend. “We had customers who willingly threw themselves into this, and who took themselves away from their businesses for a few days. That’s a big investment of time for people who run small to medium enterprises,” he said. “You can’t ask for anything more, because time is the most valuable resource people have.

    Feedback was positive, according to Lane, with customers praising the willingness of Ricoh staff to listen to their concerns. “The thing we heard is that people who work in the printing industry want to be listened to, and they are looking for partners who will work with them to be successful,” he says. 21

  • Printed solar lights the way in Newcastle

      (L-R) Showing off the new solar cells: Phillip Austin, CHEP; Sharon Claydon, federal MP for Newcastle; Professor Paul Dastoor, University of Newcastle.

    The first commercial installation of printed organic solar cells, at CHEP’s Beresfield facility near Newcastle, highlights the wealth of opportunities functional printing has to offer the printing industry, says University of Newcastle’s Professor Paul Dastoor.

    At a ribbon-cutting ceremony at CHEP’s pallet repair facility at Beresfield on Thursday, Phillip Austin, president of CHEP Asia-Pacific, hailed the installation as a landmark collaboration between science and commercial enterprise. “A chance as a business to be able to make a difference with energy, to increase access and availability to draw it from the right sources, and to reduce costs – why wouldn’t we want to get involved?” he told Print21.

    Five PhD students from the University of Newcastle’s Newcastle Institute for Energy and Resources (NIER) installed 200 square metres of solar cells, printed onto strips of PET plastic as thin as a packet of chips, on the roof of the plant in the space of 12 hours.

    According to Dastoor, the ink, which has the same electronic properties as silicon, is a significant breakthrough. “Most people are familiar with standard silicon solar cells – they’re hard, they’re rigid, they’re covered in glass. What we have here is a set of polymeric materials with the same electronic behaviours as silicon that can be turned into a liquid solution for printable paints and inks,” he said. “We’re replacing conventional hard inorganic semiconductors with flexible organic semiconducting materials.”

    A sample of the printed cells on display inside the Beresfield plant.

    The lightweight solar cells, which were exhibited at PacPrint last year, can be produced at a cost of less than $10 per square metre on standard narrow web presses, and secured with ordinary double-sided tape. “You don’t need specialised equipment – we used a conventional reel-to-reel press, supplied by GM, that is normally used to make wine labels.”

    The inks can be printed using standard flexo, screen and spot dye processes, and NIER is collaborating with Fuji Xerox on inkjet. According to Dastoor, the opportunities for commercial printers in this space, dubbed functional printing, are huge. “There is enormous potential, and it doesn’t just stop at solar panels,” he said. “We’re able to print structures that have electronic function.

    “We have an enormous project looking at building biosensors – this same printing can be used to print transistors in which we can embed bio-molecules, and we’re now working on sensors for glucose that will test your saliva rather than your blood. There are 440 million people with diabetes, and they have to stab themselves six to ten times per day. Imagine if instead they could simply lick a printed sensor.”

    Dastoor plans to test the performance and durability of the printed cells, then recycle them into new cells at the end of their lifespan.

  • Pro-Pac posts loss despite revenue gain

    Pro-Pac Group’s revenue jumped 62 per cent in the 2017-18 financial year, aided by major mergers and acquisitions. However, citing increased raw material costs and the drought, the company posted a loss of $5.13 million.

    Opportunity: Grant Harrod, Pro-Pac.

    Revenue increased to $371.5 million during FY2018 from $229 million, the gain coming mainly from the acquisition of Integrated Packaging Group. On a stand alone basis Pro-Pac itself saw sales increase to $242 million, up by $13 million or five per cent on the previous year.

    The company’s EBITDA rose by 32 per cent to $16.1 million, thanks to increased volumes in industrial, food processing and beverage markets; however, profit plummeted 202 percent falling to a $5.13 million loss.

    Rigid Packaging grew by three per cent to $70.7 million from $68 million, while Industrial and Flexible Packaging grew from $176 million to $322 million with the IPG takeover.

    For the coming year Pro-Pac says it will benefit from a strong outlook in the fresh and dry foods, industrial and logistics, cotton and beverage markets.

    However the group expects the ongoing drought to continue to impact grain bag and silage wrap volumes in 2019; resin prices are also forecast to keep rising alongside the falling Australian dollar, which the company says will impact on its short term margins.

    In 2017-18, Pro-Pac’s merger with Integrated Packaging Group, as well as its purchases of Polypak and Perfection Packaging, provided the company with a platform into the high-growth flexible packaging sector, according to Grant Harrod, CEO, who said “Pro-Pac has an opportunity as both manufacturer and distributor to grow these markets. Whilst FY2018 was a year of substantial change and cost, we are transforming PPG into a resilient diversified business, servicing higher growth markets that will help drive a more sustainable earnings profile.

    “We are now positioned to increase sales into new markets including fresh & dry food packaging that have a more attractive growth profile as they require local processing, underpinned by increasing consumer demand for product freshness and unitisation,” he said, adding that manufacturing and distribution sites will also be consolidated across the group, creating additional savings. The company projects an EBITDA of $37 million to $42 million in the 2019 financial year.”

    For the coming year Pro-Pac says it will benefit from a strong outlook in the fresh and dry foods, industrial and logistics, cotton and beverage markets.

    Former Australia Post CEO and bete noir of the printing industry Ahmed Fahour has resumed his role as non-executive chair after a stint as chairman.

  • Visual Impact gears up for sold-out show

    Sold out: Visual Impact Sydney

    Visual Impact’s Sydney 2018 show has sold out, and organisers are hoping for a packed event at its original home in Sydney Olympic Park.

    Peter Harper, Visual Connections.

    The graphic arts industry trade show has switched back to Olympic Park from last year’s location at the International Convention Centre after a vote in which members overwhelmingly backed the return, according to Peter Harper, general manager of events and publication at Visual Connections. “Last year wasn’t a good result, which was understandable given it was a PacPrint year, so we had to make our decision on whether to go back or stay – we needed to book the space for Visual Impact 2018 and PrintEx 2019. Our members voted 75 per cent to go back to Olympic Park, so that is where we are,” he said.

    Harper encourages printers to come along and see the show next month. “We have done our bit on selling all the space, now we just have to get the people there. We are spending a lot of time and money on marketing, and so far so good,” he said. “Preregistrations are up, so we are heading in the right direction. All the major suppliers are exhibiting, so hopefully the industry will come out and support those suppliers as well.”

    The show will be a valuable experience for any who attend, says Harper. “Like any trade show, it is a great opportunity to keep up with the latest technology. We have a great seminar program which we hope will benefit guests in their businesses,” he said. “We have a number of business breakfasts being run on each day before the show opens as well, so it is good to be a part of those – TSA, AIG, and Dscoop are each hosting one.”

    Visual Impact Sydney 2018 runs from September 12-14 at Sydney Showground, Sydney Olympic Park. Preregistration is open now.

  • Innovators strike gold in Ballarat

    Konica Minolta guests visited Ballarat’s Revolution Print.

    Printers from around Australia flew into Melbourne last week for an exclusive Konica Minolta innovators event on Thursday, August 9, capped off by a visit to Revolution Print in Ballarat.

    The event featured a keynote address from Andrew Grant, CEO of Tirian and author of The Innovation Race, who spoke about the tension between ‘explorers’, who are driven to constantly find new ideas, and ‘preservers’, who seek to keep existing structures intact. “Don’t let this tension tear your organisation apart,” he told guests. “Use it to pull yourselves forward.”

    Konica Minolta customers Andrew Cester of Whirlwind, and Leon Wilson of Revolution Print, shared their experiences with Konica Minolta digital technology before the group boarded a coach to Ballarat for a live demonstration of Revolution’s AccurioJet KM-1 B2 inkjet press, the second installed in Australia.

    (L-R) Leon Wilson, Revolution; Sue Threlfo, Konica Minolta; John Schreenan, Revolution; and David Procter, Konica Minolta.

    At Revolution’s high-tech plant in Ballarat, Wilson and fellow director John Schreenan showed off the custom vinyl-wrapped KM-1’s capabilities, including its high speed and print quality, and fielded questions from attendees. Samples were also on display, demonstrating the range of the press’s output.

    Sue Threlfo, general manager of production and industrial print at Konica Minolta, hailed the event as a big success. “We’d never tried something like this before, but with innovation in our industry being so important, we wanted to have some of our key customers and potential customers really think about how they could embrace innovation and change their practices for the future,” she said. “It’s been very successful – people are now talking about how they can change the way they do business for the better.”

    Threlfo believes more innovation days like this may be on the cards. “We were oversubscribed to this event,” she said. “Even before the day, we were considering another event prior to Christmas.

    “It’s all been positive feedback, and lots of it,” she said.

  • Print21 and PKN LIVE at Monkey Baa – VIDEO

    Lindy Hughson, publisher of Print21 and PKN Packaging News, at the LIVE event.

    The inaugural Print21 + PKN LIVE event was a rousing success, with a full house turning out to hear industry experts discuss the best ways to push back the boundaries of packaging print.

    168 people registered for the event, held at the Monkey Baa Theatre in Darling Harbour, Sydney, on Friday August 3. Lindy Hughson, publisher of Print21 and PKN, was delighted with the success of this first-ever co-branded LIVE event for Print21 and PKN. “The speaker content was of a very high standard, relevant and engaging, and the positive vibe among delegates on the day was tangible during the networking sessions,” she said. “It’s great to be in a position to take the lead on creating an information-sharing and networking forum of this calibre for our packaging and printing community.”

    Pierre Pienaar (right), WPO, and Amber Bonney, The Edison Agency.

    Among the guests was Pierre Pienaar, president of the World Packaging Organisation, who told Print21 and PKN he found LIVE rewarding and stimulating. “There was a great line-up of speakers who delivered their content well,” he said. “As with PKN’s previous LIVE events, the networking was fantastic.”

    Ruth Cobb, PrintNZ (left), with Mark Daws, Currie Group.

    Ruth Cobb, general manager of PrintNZ, also made the trip to Sydney with several of her members to attend. “It was a great day and a good chance to catch up with many people,” she said. “It was good to see a few Kiwis had made the trip across the ditch. There was some useful information that came out of the sessions and it is always good to hear from the converters themselves, as well as the machinery suppliers.”

    Long-time PKN LIVE sponsor Currie Group was the headline sponsor, along with HP, for the event. Mark Daws, director of labels and packaging at Currie Group, said he was delighted to have the opportunity be part of this first-off event for the packaging print community. “The positive vibe was palpable, the speakers delivered engaging, interesting content that was well received by all those I have spoken to. I look forward to the next LIVE event,” he said.

    The day’s four sessions covered driving consumer engagement, packaging design trends, game-changing technology, and the ‘future unpacked’. Speakers and panelists included Laura Demasi, director of consumer and social trends at Roy Morgan Research, who delivered the keynote address; Amber Bonney, creative director at the Edison Agency; Mark Daws, director of labels and packaging at the Currie Group; Geoff Selig, executive chairman at IVE Group; and Andrew Macaulay, CEO of Printing Industries.

    Setting up for the big day!

    Picture 1 of 30

  • Waratah donates more than $60,000 in print

    ‘Close to a lot of people’s hearts’: Ayda Hornak, Waratah Group.

    Waratah Group will provide print and labour worth more than $60,000 to the Breast Cancer Network Australia (BCNA) for the upcoming Field of Women event, to be held at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

    Held every four years, Field of Women sees thousands of people form the BCNA ‘Pink Lady’ on the field at the MCG. In 2018, Waratah Group will deliver all of the campaign’s print needs for both pre-promotion and the day of the event itself, as well as picking and packing of the 15,000 gift bags given to ticketholders, at no cost to BCNA. Ayda Hornak, head of sales and marketing at Waratah, estimates the total value to be between $60,000 and $70,000, and says the partnership was a perfect fit for the company. “I’ve had breast cancer myself, and BCNA was a support base for me when I was going through it. There are a number of people here who’ve been affected by breast cancer, so it was a charity that was close to a lot of people’s hearts.

    “With our shareholders Steve Kernahan and Craig Bradley both being Hall of Famers – pretty much AFL royalty – it made sense to hook up with an event they were familiar with, so they were both happy to be part of it and support it. There’s a lot of correlation between BCNA and Waratah, from football to personal experiences,” she said.

    Packing of gift bags for Field of Women at Waratah Brand Services in Broadmeadows.

    Carmen Mullenger, BCNA.

    BCNA provides care and support to the estimated 50 Australians per day who are diagnosed with breast cancer, and the families that are affected. According to Carmen Mullenger, project manager at BCNA, having the event’s printing costs completely covered has freed up money that otherwise would have gone to covering overhead. “Waratah’s support enables 100 percent of our ticket sale revenue to flow through to provide those services. They’re one of the many partners that have contributed to enable that to happen,” she said. “We couldn’t do it without that kind of support.”

    Field of Women will be held at the MCG on Sunday, August 12. For more information, visit

  • Starleaton EFI FabriVU demonstrations

    Signage specialist expands digital stable

    ‘A breath of fresh air’: (l-r) Gino Dilello, Shirley Bernard, and Peter Wagener, All Flags, with a soft display printed on the new EFI FabriVU 340.

    From humble beginnings making and repairing flagpoles from a home bedroom in 1990, All Flags has grown to become one of Western Australia’s largest and most trusted suppliers of flags, signs and banners. Now, with the help of three new EFI VUTEk machines, All Flags has given its business a major boost.

    It’s pouring with rain when I make it to All Flags’ offices in Maddington, about 20 kilometres southeast of Perth’s CBD. Inside, the place is humming with activity – banners and signs being printed, cut and sewn on the bustling factory floor. Peter Wagener, managing director, proudly tells me of how the company has grown over the past 27 years. “We’ve gone from a three-person operation to having more than 30 employees today. We’re a very different organisation,” he says.

    A long-time VUTEk user Wagener this year decided to increase its digital wide-format capacity with the addition of three new EFI machines: the LX3 Pro hybrid flatbed/roll-to-roll printer seen at PacPrint in May 2017, the FabriVU 340 fabric printer, and the VUTEk 5r five-metre roll-to-roll printer. The LED ‘cool curing’ technology in these machines, which lowers the cost of consumables, as well as their high speed and quality of production, have been huge marks in their favour for All Flags. “We’ve stuck with VUTEk, and to be honest I’m very pleased we have. Being able to produce more work quicker lowers our operating costs and makes us more competitive.

    “I couldn’t be happier. It’s put a breath of fresh air into the place,” Wagener says.

    The EFI FabriVU 340.

    Len Page, Starleaton.

    Starleaton is a supplier for the VUTEk range, and All Flags has opened up its shop floor for Starleaton and EFI to demonstrate these new machines to their clients. Starleaton and All Flags have had a fruitful relationship from the beginning, says Len Page, state sales manager at Starleaton. “As All Flags has grown, we’ve grown with them. It’s been a really good partnership, and they’ve become quite a large business within WA,” Page says. “The new EFI VUTEk machines are a step up from what All Flags has had, in terms of speed and running costs. Their business has grown, and those machines have been really good for them.”

    For more information, contact Starleaton.

  • Nine to buy Fairfax in $4 billion takeover

    Fairfax Media and Nine have announced a $4 billion deal which will see the formation of Australia’s largest media company, bringing together Fairfax’s print assets and Nine’s broadcast outlets.

    Under the terms of the deal, announced on the ASX the morning of Thursday January 26, Nine will take over the 177-year-old media organisation, scrapping the Fairfax name and incorporating its existing assets including mastheads The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age into the combined company’s operations.

    Fairfax CEO Greg Hywood.

    In a note to staff, Fairfax CEO Greg Hywood said there would be “plenty of Fairfax DNA” in the new entity and its Board. “Over the last eight years, Fairfax Media has gone from being at the mercy of the non-stop global media revolution to being best of its breed, and that is why Nine wants to merge their business with ours,” he said. “At the end of this process, the business will be a media company of scale, depth of offering, and digital capacity and opportunities like no other in our region.”

    If the deal goes through, shareholders of Nine will own 51.1 percent of the new company, to be called NEC (Nine Entertainment Company), with Fairfax shareholders comprising the other 48.9 percent. Nine’s Hugh Marks and Peter Costello will remain in their respective positions as CEO and Chairman. “Both Nine and Fairfax have played an important role in shaping the Australian media landscape over many years,” said Costello. “The combination of our businesses and our people best positions us to deliver new opportunities and innovations for our shareholders, staff and all Australians in the years ahead.”

    Lorraine Cassin, AMWU.

    The AMWU warns of potential job losses from the merger, which comes a week after Fairfax and News Corp announced a deal to share printing facilities, shuttering two Fairfax plants in NSW and Queensland. Lorraine Cassin, national print secretary at AMWU, said the union would work with management to ensure the industry would remain viable and continue delivering high-quality print journalism. “Just because the name of Fairfax is gone, it doesn’t mean that the important role of print journalism should go with it. Every job lost or the outsourcing of services by sending them offshore, means tighter deadlines and less time for quality control. This will inevitably result in a further reduction in the quality of journalism,” she said.

    Journalists’ union MEAA (Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance) has come out strongly against the deal, with Marcus Strom, president of MEAA Media, urging the ACCC to oppose it. “This takeover reduces media diversity. It threatens the editorial independence of great news rooms at Nine, the Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, Canberra Times, Illawarra Mercury, Newcastle Herald, Macquarie Media and more – right around the country. It harms the ability of an independent media to scrutinise and investigate the powerful, threatens the functioning of a healthy democracy, and undermines the quality journalism that our communities rely on for information,” he said.

    The ACCC has confirmed it will look into the deal, with a spokesperson saying the consumer watchdog will evaluate whether competition in any market will be substantially lessened. “When reviewing mergers in the media sector, the ACCC considers the competition impact on consumers (both readers and viewers), advertisers and content creators/sellers,” the spokesperson said. “The impact of technology on the media sector will be a critical part of the competition analysis.”

  • Accurio shines at Konica Minolta soirée

    Demonstrating the power of Accurio with the November/December 2017 issue of Print21 magazine.

    The great and the good in the Australian printing industry turned out at Sydney’s Museum of Contemporary Art last night for an event showcasing the supplier’s range of Accurio digital presses.

    Industry figures such as Andrew Macaulay, CEO PIAA; Theo Pettaras of Sydney’s Digitalpress, a new Konica Minolta Accurio customer; and Patrick Howard of Print21 joined Konica Minolta staff and clients from across the country to see the latest Accurio technology. Three presses ran on the night, printing out and binding samples – including the November/December 2017 issue of Print21 magazine – to show off the company’s IQ-501 intelligent quality optimiser system.

    Patrick Howard, Print21 (right), with Tim Saleeba, Konica Minolta.

    Sue Threlfo, general manager of production and industrial print at Konica Minolta, thanked all those who’d made the journey to attend the function and reaffirmed KM’s commitment to its customers. “We want to face these challenges in the industry with you, and one of the ways we can do that is to bring you great solutions, and to bring you service and support,” she said. “Let’s continue to work together to ensure success. I believe the possibilities can truly be infinite.”

    Sue Threlfo, Konica Minolta.

    Refreshments and a live band accompanied the humming of the presses, and Konica Minolta employees were on hand to talk customers through the features of the machines on show and how the kit could be used to expand their businesses.

    Theo Pettaras, Digitalpress (right) with Devan Nair, Konica Minolta.

  • FPLMA forum will plug in to automation

    Mark Easton (left) and Tony Dalleore, FPLMA, at last year’s conference.

    Registration is open for the Flexible Packaging and Label Manufacturers’ Association’s (FPLMA) annual technical forum and awards, to be held in Melbourne from August 30-31. This year, the conference will focus on automation and integration across printing industries.

    The keynote speaker, David Parkin, is one of Australia’s most respected sports coaches and motivational speakers. He will be joined by speakers from Europe, Australia and the United States, who will focus on how data exchange and new technologies can build label and packaging businesses.

    Mark Easton, FPLMA president, is ‘delighted’ to have these international speakers on board to discuss transitions in print technology. “Our special guetes will overview what this data exchange is doing for our industry, and the positive outcomes for business utilising the transition of industry 4.0 manufacturing with these new technologies,” he said. “Cognitive computing is helping to create the smart factories for the future.”

    Andy Thomas-Emans, strategic director for Tarsus Labels and Packaging Group, will also be a featured speaker at the event. “Andy will map out the evolving current industry landscape and the next five years, examining in particular the growing crossover for label converters between label print and other packaging print options,” said Easton.

    Other speakers include:

    • Tim Klappe – Managing Director Asia Pacific MPS Systems – Challenges/Opportunities of bring IOT to industry 4.0
    • Malik Sajid – VP BST International – Innovative process solutions and integrating them into a value supply chain
    • Robert Taylor – Global Director Sustainability UPM Raflatac – How packaging industry is using sustainability to automate and integrate
    • John Crammer – FFTA Guest Speaker – how using FIRST has helped with integration and automation
    • Vincent Van Doorn – VP Bobst – Technologies relating to improving automation of printing processes
    • Trevor Crowley – GM Xeikon – Digitising the production process

    Bookings are open now at

  • Wrap King steps down from his throne

    Nick Caminiti, the reigning ‘King of the Wrap World’, will not contest this year’s Wrap Like a King competition. Entries are now open for the vehicle wrapping championship with a total prize pool of more than US$30,000 (AU$40,470).

    Nick Caminiti, Exotic Graphix.

    Caminiti from Melbourne’s Exotic Graphix, who won the last two competitions in a row, is yielding the crown to new contenders so he can focus on his business at home and put his best foot forward with his next entry. “With where we’re at right now, it’d be a huge commitment for us,” he said. “We want to put a plan in place for when we do it next time to really make sure we better ourselves, and not just jump in at the last minute. I’m excited to see what everyone else brings to the table.”

    He encourages Australian vehicle wrappers to enter what he describes as a great competition. “It was perfect for our business and our team. You have the freedom to explore new ideas that you wouldn’t get to explore in day-to-day jobs.”

    Sponsored by Avery Dennison, the Wrap Like a King competition brings together wrappers from all over the world, including Australia and New Zealand since 2016. According to Jordan Leach, business manager at Avery Dennison, Caminiti’s example has been great for showing off what local wrappers can do. “Australia and New Zealand have blown away the competition since the region was added to Wrap Like A King two years ago and we can’t wait to see even more astonishing creativity this year,” he said. “We look forward to once again demonstrating this region’s commitment to innovation on a global scale.”

    More details are available at the Wrap Like a King website.