Author Archive

  • 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 www.bcna.org.au.

  • 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 http://www.fplma.org.au/.

  • 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.

  • Power up: Neopost show back on the road

    (L-R) Karen Kavanagh, Neopost; Michelle Lees, HP; Kellie Northwood, TSA.

    The second series of Neopost’s Power of Print seminars is underway, connecting printers in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne with industry experts and the latest equipment from the graphic arts supplier.

    The Sydney event held at Waterview in Bicentennial Park featured keynote presentations from Kellie Northwood, executive director of Two Sides Australia, on the future of print and how to add value for clients; and Jeremy Brew, application specialist for large format at HP South Pacific, on the possibilities offered by HP technology with a particular focus on HP Latex. Outside these presentations, guests had the opportunity to visit ‘power stations’ focusing on areas such as workflow software (presented by Matt Murray, GM Tharstern Australia), lamination, binding, interior decor, and signage.

    This series is a followup to the first round of Power of Print seminars in March, and according to Karen Kavanagh, marketing director at Neopost, the turnout at Tuesday’s Sydney seminar was the biggest Neopost had seen yet. “It’s been going very well, which I believe is because we have experts here speaking on topics which are very relevant to our industry today,” she said.

    Embellishment was a big focus for the equipment being demonstrated at the ‘power stations’, with an entire station focusing on print finishing. “We’ve put that focus out there because the latest industry statistics, which show that marketers are now demanding beautiful print – they’re looking for textured finishes, they’re looking for something different,” said Kavanagh.

    The Power of Print Series Two roadshow now moves to Brisbane on Thursday the 19th of July, before finishing up in Melbourne on Tuesday the 24th. Kavanagh encourages printers to attend, whether they’re existing Neopost customers or now. “We’re tapping into experts who can show this industry how to make more money, how to grow your customer base, win back clients you previously lost because of services you were unable to offer. It’s about empowering people with information to help make their business better.”

    Power of Print Series Three is in the planning stages, and expected to be held around three months from now. Registration for Series Two events in Melbourne and Brisbane is open at https://www.neopostgraphics.com.au/thepowerofprint.

  • ‘Some movement’ in banknote action: AMWU

    Note Printing Australia at Craigieburn, Victoria.

    Note Printing Australia (NPA) has given ground in its standoff with workers engaged in industrial action, increasing its pay offer and signalling a willingness to resolve a classification review.

    Tony Piccolo.

    According to Tony Piccolo, assistant secretary for print at AMWU Victoria, bans on overtime, material handling, and the use of some software applications have cut productivity at NPA’s Craigieburn plant by 20 percent, and management has shown ‘some movement’ towards resolving the situation that led workers to launch industrial action on May 25. “The company upped the wage offer to 2.5 percent in a meeting yesterday, and we’re confident we can get some resolution over the updates to classification structure, which just leaves the negotiations over the pay increase, domestic violence leave, and casual conversion for labour hire,” he said.

    Though the unions are preparing to apply for further protected action if necessary, Piccolo is optimistic that an agreement between workers and management is not far off. “Yesterday’s meeting was positive and we’re hoping that the movement from the company will get us to where we need to be. I’m confident both parties want a resolution sooner rather than later,” he said.

    Note Printing Australia is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Reserve Bank, whose governor Phillip Lowe called for a 3.5 percent increase in wages across the country in February. Piccolo has challenged NPA management, and the RBA, to lead by example. “The members just want a fair agreement that delivers the wage rises the RBA itself is calling for,” he said.

    NPA has produced Australian banknotes for more than 100 years, evolving from T.S. Harrison’s original print works that produced Australia’s first circulating banknote series in 1913. The RBA declined to comment.

  • Hornet’s Horizon BQ-470 PUR/EVA binder

    The Horizon BQ-470 PUR/EVA binder at Eastlink Bookbinding.

    When John Mandile, a bookbinder by trade, saw a lack of trade bookbinding services on Melbourne’s south side, he jumped at the opportunity to expand his business – and Currie Group provided just the tool he needed to do it.

    Currie Group supplied Mandile, the owner of Hornet Press, with the Horizon BQ-470 PUR/EVA binder, which gave him a huge leg up for his new trade finishing house, Eastlink Finishing. “It’s a great little machine,” he said. “We’re binding runs of up to 10,000 on it, it’s upped our own print because we can now do PUR and perfect binding in-house, and it’s given us an array of new clientele for Eastlink. We’re doing a lot of trade PUR binding for other printers since we bought it.”

    Since Eastlink launched in January, Mandile (pictured left) has been impressed with how the BQ-470 has handled everything he’s thrown at it. “It’s versatile – you can use it for small books, large books, short and longer runs. The setup is really quick, and they’re actually pretty bulletproof. They don’t take up a lot of space, and they’re very reliable.

    “It’s one of the best pieces of equipment that I own, aside from my printing presses,” he said. “Horizon kit is really good – it’s dependable, it’s quick, it does the job. For what we use it for, it’s excellent.”

    Currie Group account manager Vince Pignataro says Hornet Press is a long-term client that has purchased multiple pieces of equipment from Currie Group over the years. He says the new Horizon binder is a significant upgrade for the company.

    “The Horizon BQ-470/four clamp perfect binder offers PUR and EVA which covers all work quality from offset to digital stocks. The PUR gives Hornet Press the ability to produce a flatter looking book, when opened. Another important aspect of PUR glue binding is that the pages are very strong and it’s much less likely that the pages will ever fall out.”

    Currie Group’s service and support have also earned Mandile’s seal of approval, and the first-time customer says he’ll definitely go back and buy again in future. “Currie Group is an excellent supplier. They gave us a date they’d install the machine, and they installed it on that date – they even offered to put in another machine beforehand until ours arrived in Australia,” he said.

  • Epson DTG packs a punch in Padstow

    Hannah Nasari, Bowlilly (left) with Ryan Warby, Epson, and the new SureColor F2160 DTG printer.

    When boxing promoter and fashion designer Hannah Nasari decided to launch her own kids’ clothing line, she needed a direct-to-garment (DTG) printer that could translate her ideas into reality – and Epson’s latest machine proved just the thing.

    Nasari is set to launch her label, Bowlilly, at the end of the year, with kids’ sizes from three to seven. “The whole brand is a beautiful bohemian luxe range,” she said. “I’ve got a line coming up of kids’ T-shirts, and hopefully some mummy-and-kid shirts as well.”

    To support her new business, based in Padstow in Sydney’s southwest, Nasari purchased Epson’s latest garment printer: the SureColor F2160, one of the first of its model to arrive in Australia. “I’m looking forward to using the new machine. It can print within a timeframe of just three to five minutes, so the productivity is amazing,” she said. “I had to print out some shirts for a gala and market day last weekend, and I was able to produce at least 25 to 30 T-shirts within the hour. It was fantastic, and the quality was wonderful. I’m happy to have the machine behind my brand.”

    Hannah also gave Epson’s Garment Creator software her seal of approval for utility and ease of use. “I can design my print on Illustrator and transfer it into the software, and it gives me an accurate estimate of cost. It’s very helpful and very useful.”

    The second-generation SureColor F2160 is a follow-up to Epson’s previous model, the F2000, which according to Ryan Warby, business development manager for professional print solutions at Epson, was a very successful machine. “It changed the industry quite a bit with its low maintenance and its reliability,” he said. “We’re improving on that with the F2160, adding a cleaning cartridge, adjusting speeds and resolutions, and putting in variable-dot printing. It’s a good step up from the F2000.”

    The addition of variable-dot printing is a significant improvement from the F2000’s single dot size. “We can print small, medium and large dots, which gives us better gradients and higher resolution without sacrificing speed – in fact, it speeds it up for us,” said Warby. “It also allows us to be more economical with the printing, as it uses less ink.”

    Warby is very happy to work with Bowlilly, and looks forward to continuing to explore the fabric printing market. “Hannah’s doing some great work, and the quality that comes out is fantastic,” he said. “It’s been exciting for us being in this textile space – the textile market has been analogue for a very long time, and is now moving towards digital. We’re seeing that not only in DTG, but in the dye sublimation side of the business as well.”

  • Memjet powers new Gallus label press

    The Gallus Smartfire is unveiled at the company’s Innovation Day in St Gallen, Switzerland.

    Gallus has unveiled a new low-cost digital label press using Memjet ink head technology. The Gallus Smartfire will complement the Heidelberg subsidiary’s existing Labelfire press.

    The Smartfire, launched at the Gallus Innovation Day held at the company’s HQ in St Gallen, is an entry-level inkjet label press which allows converters to get into the digital space without needing to invest in the high-end Labelfire. According to Michael Ring, head of digital solutions at Gallus, the Smartfire is easy to use and an ideal ‘starter model’ for digital labels. “With the Gallus Smartfire, we are focusing on new target groups who are looking for a smart entry into digital label printing. The Memjet technology allows us to offer an inkjet printing press that produces labels with a quality of 1600×1600 dpi while still keeping the investment costs at a low level,” he said.

    The press prints in CMYK with food-safe water-based ink, and, like Gallus’ other presses, also includes an in-line finishing unit with lamination, integrated cutting plotter, and semi-rotary die cutter. It has a compact footprint and a low power requirement, needing only a standard outlet, and its water-based ink means no volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are emitted during operation, removing the need for an exhaust system.

    The Innovation Day event also featured existing Gallus kit. As well as the Labelfire, Gallus’ conventional presses were on show: the high-powered Labelmaster Advanced, the benchmark RCS 430, and the popular ECS 340.

  • Xeikon Café warms up in ANZ

    (L-R) Bent Serritslev, Trevor Crowley, Dr Adrian Steele, and Richard Maarschall.

    Converters in Sydney, Melbourne and New Zealand found plenty of value in Xeikon’s first Cafe events in the region, with expert advice on the pros and cons of going digital.

    The Sydney conference, held at the Mercure in Wolli Creek, featured a lineup of speakers including Bent Serritslev, managing director of Xeikon Asia-Pacific, who gave an overview of the supplier’s business; Trevor Crowley, sales general manager for Xeikon Australia and New Zealand, who examined the different applications of toner and inkjet technology; Richard Maarschall from CERM, who presented an overview of the Belgian software company’s workflow offerings; and Dr Adrian Steele of Britain’s Mercian Labels, who charted his company’s digital journey and outlined the challenges around investing in digital capacity.

    According to Crowley, events like this are valuable for converters looking to expand their digital offerings. “When you have people like Dr Steele and his presentation, mapping out what his journey’s been like – the good, the bad and the ugly – there’s a lot of value in people seeing that, especially those looking to get into digital for the first time,” he said.

    Though just starting out, the conferences paid off for both the hosts and the attendees. “The roadshow events yielded some high-value discussions and meetings with a number of potential label customers interested in learning more about the Xeikon technology,” said Crowley. “Feedback from those who attended was that the information delivered around the Xeikon business, inkjet versus toner technology, and enterprise resource platform systems were very useful.”

    Xeikon Café visited Sydney on Monday the 18th and Melbourne on Wednesday the 20th, and Xeikon held meetings with key accounts in New Zealand on Friday the 22nd.  “The visits worked very well. It’s a model that’ll probably work well in this part of the world, lining up a few key accounts and having deep-dive visits over the course of a week or so,” said Crowley.