Author Archive

  • Chinese co buys seven HP Indigo 20000s

    HP and LVAI sign a memorandum of understanding on HP Indigo 20000 presses.

    Chinese candy packager LVAI will expand its fleet of HP Indigo 20000 digital presses from one to eight, in what is the Asia-Pacific and Japan region’s largest deployment of the press model to date.

    The order reflects the sheer size of the Chinese market, whihc is catering to almost 1.5 bilion people.

    LVAI specialises in custom candy packaging. The company signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with HP alongside the order, with the aim of deepening collaboration through wider applications of the Indigo 20000 press.

    “The new order from LVAI validates the value of HP Indigo 20000 digitally printed flexible packaging. The HP Indigo solution offers lower environmental impact by eliminating many steps of printing process and supply chain efficiency, while also opening new opportunities for business growth with mass customization for brand marketing campaigns,” said Alon Bar-Shany, general manager for HP Indigo at HP.

    “HP Indigo looks forward to continued collaboration with the flexible packaging industry in China to transform existing business models.”

    The new presses are scheduled to be delivered next year, and Guo Jianbo, CEO of LVAI Holdings, said the fleet will boost its personalised packaging capabilities. “Digital printing brings us not only the change of printing method but also a change in business philosophy,” said Jianbo. “This deeper partnership with HP Indigo is a big step forward for LVAI, as we are committed to becoming the world’s leading food and beverage packaging and value-added service provider.

    “In the future, LVAI will invest billions of yuan to build a food and beverage industry ecosystem in Shandong Province, aiming to provide brands with end-to-end solutions including product development, brand consulting and packaging design.”

    HP Indigo is represented in Australia by Currie Group.

  • AIG attempts to stymie award reform

    Lorraine Cassin, National Print Division Secretary AMWU.

    The Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union (AMWU) has withdrawn its submission to update and modernise the competencies under the graphic arts award, saying the Australian Industry Group (AIG) was not prepared to work constructively in the process.

    The proposal would have consolidated older competencies under the award and added new competencies to reflect the increasing use of digital and 3D print within the industry, according to Lorraine Cassin, national print division secretary at AMWU. “Unfortunately, it became clear in the course of our application that the Australian Industry Group (AIG) had no intention of working constructively with the AMWU and the PIAA to update the competencies in the Award. The behaviour of the AIG indicated to us that they would fight this application at all costs.

    “On the basis of the above, we decided to withdraw our application and instead pursue our objectives by working with the PIAA on an implementation guide for classifying employees. The implementation guide will be a resource for employers to classify employees in a way that is in line with our modern industry standards. We look forward to continuing working constructively to improve skills and productivity in our industry,” she said.

    Status quo: Paul Mitchell, PIAA

    Printing Industries had supported the AMWU’s submission as being good for both businesses and workers, according to Paul Mitchell, national workplace relations manager, PIAA. “The PIAA had long supported the AMWU’s position to modernise the Graphic Arts Printing and Publishing Award Competencies to reflect the updated training package and new skills within the industry, including digital and 3D print,” said Mitchell.

    “It is always the PIAA’s intention that our Industry should have a modern and fair Award for its member businesses and the tens of thousands of employees it covers.”

    According to Mitchell, the Association had been assured that its members would be protected under the new system. “The PIAA’s support of the Union’s submission was achieved through gaining the following undertakings to protect and safeguard its industry members: that wages would not be materially impacted, and that the total competency points would be lower than they presently were – therefore in the case of wage disputes, wages would theoretically be lower,” he said.

    The withdrawal of the submission means the status quo will remain in place. “That’s not a bad result for employers – things just stay the same – but it means if a worker who operates digital presses believes they’re not being paid fairly, those digital competencies are missing. It doesn’t give businesses any guidance about what those competencies would be,” said Mitchell.

  • ALP ‘fully engaged’ on VET reform

    Engagement: Andrew Macaulay and Tanya Plibersek met to discuss vocational education and training.

    Deputy Opposition Leader Tanya Plibersek has met with Andrew Macaulay, CEO of Printing Industries, who says Plibersek gave her support for the need to overhaul vocational education and training (VET).

    In a discussion with Plibersek, who also serves as Shadow Minister for Education and Training, Macaulay raised the need to entice school leavers into trade education as well as provide mid-career training to older printers looking to update their skills. “That includes providing a modern, interesting and engaging VET curriculum that students can see value in,” he told Print21. “We also spoke about the need to support apprentices and their employers. We need consistency – we’re talking about a four-year process, and we don’t want goalposts shifting halfway through an apprenticeship.”

    According to Macaulay, Plibersek was supportive of the industry’s goals around education. “The Opposition is fully engaged in the need to modernise the delivery of vocational training to make it enticing for school leavers,” he said. “The Deputy Leader has expressed a desire to work with us more closely on this. When we go down this path, we need to make sure that the smaller end of the industry benefits from the training, and she understood that.”

    Macaulay stressed the importance of the PIAA remaining apolitical on issues that affect the industry. “We talk to both the Government and the Opposition to advocate industry policy, not party policy. The policies we advocate are policies the industry tells us it needs rather than policies thought up by party wonks.

    “At the end of the day the industry depends on apprentices – they bring energy and they’re the future of our workforce, and that’s why this is so important,” he said.

  • Kodak sells flexo division for $540m

    Kodak has sold its flexographic packaging division to a private equity firm for up to an estimated $390 million USD ($540m AUD).

    Trusted brand: Chris Payne, Kodak.

    The sale to Montagu Private Equity will see the division spun off into a new standalone company which will develop, manufacture and sell flexographic products including the flagship Flexcel NX system. The management team and organisational structure will be retained, with Chris Payne, president of the flexographic division, taking over the new company as CEO. “We are very pleased that Montagu will be supporting the ongoing growth of the business going forward and that our customers will continue to experience the same product, same people, and same trusted brand,” said Payne.

    “Under Montagu ownership, the company will have the focus, agility and resources to maintain a constant stream of innovation for our customers and continue the journey of transforming Flexo into the premium print process of choice for packaging.”

    Turning point: Jeff Clarke, Kodak.

    The proceeds from the sale will be used to reduce Kodak’s debt, with the remaining debt to be paid through more asset monetisation, or refinanced. Jeff Clarke, CEO Kodak, said the flexo division sale was an important step for the company. “This transaction is an important turning point in our transformation and is a significant, positive development for Kodak,” he said. “The sale of the Flexographic Packaging Division unlocks value for shareholders and strengthens our financial position by providing a meaningful infusion of cash which allows us to reduce debt, improving the capital structure of the Company and enabling greater flexibility to invest in our growth engines.”

    According to Christoph Leitner-Dietmaier, investment director at Montagu, Kodak’s flexo division is well-placed to take advantage of the growth in the packaging print market. “The company’s proprietary thermal imaging film technology enables it to offer a truly differentiated product that consistently produces high performing output. We are very much looking forward to working with the management as the business enters this next stage of its development,” he said.

    After the deal, which is expected to complete in the first half of next year, Kodak says it will focus on growth areas such as Sonora environmental plates, enterprise inkjet, workflow software, and brand licencing.

  • Ricoh expands gamut with ColorGate

    Ricoh has purchased German colour management software specialist ColorGate, the latest move in the manufacturer’s strategy to boost growth by expanding its product portfolio.

    Bigger and better: Jonny Rumney, Celmac.

    According to Jonny Rumney, NSW state manager at ColorGate distributor Celmac, the move will help ColorGate expand its footprint with the backing of a much larger company. “I’m quite close to the owners of ColorGate, I’ve known them twenty years, and they’re really excited about the whole thing. They sold the business to make it bigger and better – long-term, it’s going to be good,” said Rumney. “It seems like a logical step for both parties, especially in industrial print where they’re both important players.”

    The deal adds ColorGate’s colour management technology to Ricoh’s stable of industrial print solutions, which Peter Williams, corporate vice president and general manager of commercial and industrial printing business group at Ricoh, says will reinforce the manufacturer’s value offering. “By combining ColorGate’s proprietary software technology with our own industrial printers, Ricoh will provide solutions covering the whole printing workflow from pre-press to post-press,” he said.

    “This acquisition will enable ColorGate to expand its industrial printing business and global presence as together we become better able to support our customers to accelerate their transition from analogue to digital based production.”

    Thomas Kirschner, co-founder of ColorGate, says he is looking forward to continuing to serve as its CEO once the transition is complete. “We are delighted to have been selected by Ricoh to contribute to this strong future growth strategy whilst we continue to serve our established customer base, OEM partners and reseller channel,” he said.

  • Label converter makes big Impact on Coles

    Impact Labels has become one of just two companies certified by Coles Supermarkets as a preferred flexographic label provider.

    An Australian-owned company, Impact participated in a Coles forum to develop a benchmark certification for the supermarket’s packaging and labelling printers. In a trial, Impact used UV flexo solutions from Jet Technologies, such as Pulse Roll Label Products’ PureTone FPC (Food Packaging Compliant) inks, to achieve a 97 per cent accuracy in matching Pantone and special colours.

    Byron Hudghton, managing director, Impact Labels, says he is pleased with the certification, and looking forward to expanding his company’s partnership with Coles. “Impact is looking at the big picture in being able to prove to Coles, and other brand owners and retailers, what we can do to optimise colours using a standardised process,” said Hudghton.

    “We take a print by numbers approach that is analytical in set, measure, calculation and the processes behind it. By combining PureTone FPC’s high density, vibrant and substrate versatile inks, with the right controls, tools and systems, we are well-positioned to offer the best product that meets the expectations of our customers every time.”

    According to Jack Malki, director of Jet Technologies, Impact’s success with Coles was partly thanks to the high quality of PureTone FPC inks. “It is vital that the ink systems we supply to our customers are fully compliant with the most rigid industry regulations, particularly when it comes to food packaging and labelling applications,” said Malki.

    “PureTone FPC inks are not only migration compliant, but Impact also benefits from the high-strength mono-pigmented formulation, which gives cleaner, brighter colours, and, in combination with digital colour management, provides accurate, consistent brand colours, right first time.”

  • EFI and Starleaton team up for webinar

    EFI and Australian channel partner Starleaton will host a wide-format webinar next Tuesday, 20 November, to educate printers on how to grow their businesses with wide-format technology.

    The webinar will feature a live cross to EFI’s Manchester factory in the USA, where the company will present a live demonstration of three of its wide-format machines: the 16H, 24F and the new roll-to-roll 32r (pictured above). According to Megan Bisson, senior regional marketing for APAC at EFI, the webinar will be a valuable experience for Australian and New Zealand printers. “Sean Roberts, world manager of EFI’s global customer experience centres, and Ian Cleary, industrial product manager at Starleaton, will be discussing how you can differentiate your company from the competition and keep away from the traditional price war per square metre.

    “They’ll also look at how expanding your offering with fast-turn, high-margin wide-format printing on specialty, rigid and flexible substrates can expand your customer base,” said Bisson.

    Bisson says she’s looking forward to working with Starleaton on the webinar and educating printers on EFI’s range of wide-format offerings. “Sean, our inkjet expert, will discuss how EFI’s Wide Format printers give you access to the widest range of substrates because they’re capable of printing roll-to-roll, flexible sheets and rigid substrates and specialty items all in a single footprint,” said Bisson. “This is the first joint webinar with our partner, Starleaton, this year and we’re excited to have Sean run live demonstrations from the global customer experience centre on the US east coast.”

    According to Cleary, the webinar is important for Starleaton as well as EFI. “Part of our marketing program is allowing customers to understand the true depth of the EFI ecosystem and what it offers. It’s very broad – not just one printer or piece of software. There’s an incredible amount of diversity in their offerings,” he said. “EFI has world-class machines, it’s a world-class company, and it can be a great partner for your business.”

    Registration is open now for the webinar, which will begin at 10am AEDST on 20 November.

  • EFI to celebrate 20 years of Connect

    The Wynn Las Vegas, venue for EFI Connect.

    Registrations are open for EFI’s 20th-anniversary Connect conference, to be held at the Wynn Las Vegas from January 22 to 25, 2019.

    The conference will feature more than 200 sessions on MIS/ERP, web-to-print, Fiery and inkjet solutions. According to Megan Bisson, senior regional marketing APAC at EFI, the conference is a good opportunity to network with print professionals from around the world. “Last year’s Connect was the largest conference to date and our 20th anniversary aims to be bigger,” she said. “Our customers join us from across the globe for the educational sessions, industry-relevant keynote speakers and of course, the value of face to face connections with peers from different countries.

    “Due to the programme’s breadth, EFI Connect attracts all levels of a company – technical users to executive management, from those involved in the planning and execution of financial decisions, marketing, sales to day-to-day operations and production,” said Bisson.

    The keynote will be hosted by Bill Muir, EFI’s new CEO, who replaced Guy Gecht after the long-time boss stepped down this year. Muir will be joined on stage by Joe Popolo, CEO of The Freeman Company, for a fireside chat on experiential marketing and emerging digital strategies.

    Bisson says Australian and New Zealand printers will find plenty of value in attending, despite the distance. “Connect 2019 offers an opportunity to meet with peers from around the world to not only hear how they are pushing the boundaries, but to also understand how they are streamlining and automating their businesses to be more cost effective in market.”

    To register for Connect 2019, visit

  • Print21 – Issue 1058 Midweek SPECIAL

    Big news out of the United States today, with Australian print-on-demand company Redbubble buying out TeePublic, a similar company based in New York, for a tidy $57.7 million AUD. That move will expand Redbubble’s footprint in the US – it already has an office in San Francisco – and is an interesting example of Australian companies making their presence known in America.

    Oh, and apparently there’s an election on there as well.

    Welcome to the latest newsletter from Print21, the premier print industry news and information service for the Australia and New Zealand print industries.


    Jake Nelson
    Labels and Industrial Editor

  • Redbubble buys TeePublic for $57.7 million

    Personalised print platform: Redbubble

    Melbourne-based print-on-demand online marketplace Redbubble has bought TeePublic, a similar business with headquarters in New York City, for $41 million USD ($57.7 million AUD). The move expands Redbubble’s footprint in the United States.

    Excited: Barry Newstead, CEO, Redbubble

    Both Redbubble and TeePublic allow customers to choose designs printed by artists and have them printed on items such as shirts, mugs, and pillowcases. Barry Newstead, CEO and managing director of Redbubble, said TeePublic was a good strategic fit for the company. “The opportunity to serve our artists and customers alongside TeePublic to generate even more momentum in our combined businesses is compelling. This acquisition enables us to accelerate our marketplace flywheel together and emerge as the platform with scale to disrupt mainstream retail commerce.

    “We are excited to have completed the acquisition of TeePublic and warmly welcome the TeePublic team to Redbubble,” he said. “We see tremendous potential in the combination of the two businesses and look forward to the opportunity to serve our artists and customers alongside TeePublic.”

    Adam Schwartz, co-founder and CEO of TeePublic, will continue to run TeePublic as part of a multi-brand strategy. “We look forward to partnering with Redbubble to bring more creativity into the world, leveraging our shared capabilities to support the artist and designer community,” said Schwartz. “Redbubble’s experiences in growing its own business and developing its technology platform are a great fit for supporting TeePublic on the next steps in our journey.”

    Started in 2006 by three friends in Melbourne, Redbubble listed on the ASX in May of 2016 and opened a European office in Berlin last year. It is projected to make a profit in the 2018-19 financial year.

  • Print museum to reopen after $130k revamp

    The new foyer at the Penrith Museum of Printing features a copper plaque depicting Gutenberg’s workshop.

    The Penrith Museum of Printing will hold a grand re-opening after its six-month closure, during which $130,000 was invested in expanding and revamping the facilities.

    The additions include extra floor space for equipment that previously had to be kept in storage, plus a library and a new foyer featuring a copper plaque depicting Gutenberg’s workshop. According to committee member Bob Lockley, the space requirements for new equipment was a key driver for the decision to renovate. “We’re getting many more tours through now we’ve expanded our floor space. We have more equipment in and special pieces on display in the foyer, and there’s a lot of interest,” he said.

    The museum is the only “working” print museum in Australia, with functional letterpress machines and courses on typography and poster-making for letterpress. “People like to print things like wedding invitations in letterpress – it’s the old-fashioned way of doing it,” said Lockley. “People want to learn how to do it, for the novelty of it. We’re preserving the past for the future.”

    Aside from the heritage-value letterpress equipment, the museum’s collection includes several 100-year-old Linotype machines and an extensive collection of books on printing. According to Lockley, it gets all its revenue from sponsors including the Single Width Users’ Group (SWUG) and Club Paceway Harness Racing, and from tour fees. “We have no government funding and no other income. The place is run entirely by volunteers, and they do all the work and upkeep,” he said.

    The re-opening will be held on the 21st of November, at 6pm.

  • Print21 Magazine: Checking the checker

    The Techkon SpectroCheck.

    Since taking on distribution of Techkon colour measuring instruments in 2016, David Crowther’s Colour Graphics Services has not looked back, as the German precision manufacturer continues to innovate and expand its range.

    David Crowther of Colour Graphics Services, also known as The Colour Doctor, is preparing to roll out the latest innovations from German colour management developer Techkon. Read about it in the latest issue of Print21 magazine.

  • Pidgeon beats Patterson in PIAA Board vote

    Kevin Pidgeon, managing director of Lithocraft, will replace Ron Patterson on the board of Printing Industries in Victoria.

    At the same time Martin Guilliamse from Mark Media has succeeded Peter Clark as the Tasmanian board member.

    The ascension of Pidgeon and Guilliamse means that for the first time in several years all nine PIAA board members are currently running print businesses.

    Great leadership: Kevin Pidgeon.

    In a members vote Pidgeon defeated Patterson, who had served on the Board since 2016, and was a somewhat controversial figure given tbat he had not been emoyed in print for some time, in the Association’s biennial elections; Patterson had previously been the PIAA’s state secretary for Victoria until 2012.

    Pidgeon’s appointment to the PIAA Board follows the heavyweight trio of Theo Pettaras, Richard Celarc and Tom Eckersley, who all joined last month.

    Andrew Macaulay, CEO PIAA, told Print21 he was happy to see the Lithocraft founder join the Board. “The Association now has 100 per cent printers on our Board, which is terrific. We’re excited to see Kevin step up – he’s such a highly-respected printer in Victoria and a long term supporter of the industry. He founded a successful business, and he offers great leadership for the Association.

    “We thank Ron for his enthusiasm and interest in the Association during his term on the Board, and we wish him well,” said Macaulay.

    According to Pidgeon’s profile on Lithocraft’s website, the managing director has had a big impact on the company’s success: 50 years’ experience in the printing and graphic arts industries has helped Kevin build Lithocraft into one of Australia’s leading print and workflow solution providers. Lithocraft’s success is a testament to his focus, his determination to do things better, and his continual investment in the latest technology and best people.

    Martin Guilliamse, general manager of Mark Media in Hobart, has taken over from retired former AIW owner Peter Clark in Tasmania. “The Association would like to thank Peter Clark for the great work he did re-invigorating the Tasmanian membership, and the stewardship he showed,” said Macaulay.

    Following the elections, the Board now consists of Walter Kuhn, Theo Pettaras, John Georgantzakos, Kevin Pidgeon, Sarah Leo, Anthony Pittaway, Richard Celarc, Tom Eckersley, and Martin Guilliamse.

  • Winds of change: Ex-Ten CEO to head HT&E

    Proven track record: Hamish McLennan, HT&E.

    Former Network Ten CEO Hamish McLennan has been appointed chair of Here, There and Everywhere (HT&E), to guide the company forward following its sale of Adshel to outdoor media company oOh!Media.

    The appointment of the ex-TV executive is one more step away from print for HT&E, formerly APN News and Media, which has pivoted hard towards radio and digital following its rebrand last year. The company still owns Cody Out-of-Home, an outdoor advertising operation in Hong Kong, but no Australian print assets; its newspapers were sold to News Corp in 2016.

    McLennan was appointed after an extensive search process by the Board of Directors. Paul Connolly, acting chair of HT&E, said McLennan was an outstanding choice to helm the company. “Hamish is an experienced media and marketing executive who brings unparalleled expertise to the Board, given the global roles he has held and his depth of understanding of the changing media landscape and the demands of advertisers,” he said. “He has a proven track record as an outstanding leader across the media and advertising sectors and will be invaluable as HT&E evolves post the sale of Adshel.”

    McLennan said he is looking forward to taking up the position, citing the quality of HT&E’s assets, management, and balance sheet as attractive features of the company and vital for its future growth. “Radio is a fantastic medium with proven ongoing growth potential and HT&E has the leading metropolitan radio business in the country and the best radio talent in Australia. I am delighted to be joining HT&E at this pivotal point in its evolution.”

  • Australia loses Wrap King crown

    New king: The winning entry from MetroWrapz in the Avery Dennison Wrap Like a King challenge.

    Australia has been cast down from the King of the Wrap World’s throne, with Florida’s MetroWrapz taking the top prize at Avery Dennison’s Wrap Like a King finals at the 2018 Sema show in Las Vegas.

    MetroWrapz beat out Launceston’s Fingerprint Signs, as well as Funkeefish from the UK and WrapStyle Korea, to wrest the title of King of the Wrap World away from Australia for the first time. 

    The winning design from MetroWrapz, Mission Flyer 2.0, was based on the WWII-era P51 Mustang aircrafts used by the Tuskegee Airmen. According to Bruno Dede, president of MetroWrapz, the level of attention to detail on the project had raised the bar for the company. “Chrome film with a matte lamination set this one of a kind wrap apart, and Avery Dennison film helped us stay true to the Air Force plane that inspired this project,” said Dede.

    “MetroWrapz earned the global wrap king title against a competitive field, and we’re proud to have the shop represent the installers that use our films,” said Jeff Losch, marketing director, Avery Dennison Graphics Solutions.

    The aged look was in among entries this year, said Justin Pate, co-owner of The Wrap Institute, who served on the eight-judge panel. “Weathered effects were a big trend among entries in 2018, with three of the four continent winners using printing and lamination to create rusted, worn looks,” he said. “MetroWrapz came through with the most impressive project that took Conform Chrome and Supreme Wrapping Film to unconventional places.”

    The former reigning champion, Nick Caminiti of Exotic Graphix in Melbourne, hung up his crown this year after two consecutive victories.

  • Print21 – Issue 1058 Weekend SPECIAL

    Plenty of printers on the edge of their seats in Perth waiting for the outcome of the battle over Picton Press currently being waged by the ATO, which may be adopting a new strategy over tax debts, and the adminstrator, Cor Cordis – stay tuned.


    Welcome to the latest newsletter from Print21, the premier print industry news and information service for the Australia and New Zealand print industries.


    Wayne Robinson

  • Industry legend bows out at 86

    A million stories: Norman J. Field (right) with partner Elly Wilson.

    Printing industry stalwart Norman J. Field is retiring at the age of 86, after more than 60 years in the industry.

    An honour: Dave Chaplin, Eastern Press.

    Founder of Norman J. Field Printing, Field has spent the past 18 years consulting for Victoria’s Eastern Press. Colleague Dave Chaplin, senior account manager at Eastern, said Field was a ground-breaker, having been the first printer in Australia to produce 200-line screen print. “He’s always been known for the quality of his work and his high ethical standards,” said Chaplin. “He’s one of these blokes who has a million stories. He’s had a wonderful career and he’s a great gentleman, so it’ll be sad to see him go.

    “It’s been an honour and a pleasure to work with him. He’s raised the bar for the industry over the years.”

    Field was the recipient of this year’s Industry Legend Award at the National Print Awards, and reflected on the monumental changes he’d seen over the course of his career in his acceptance speech. “Having spent 62 years in this exciting industry, I have witnessed incredible changes from my first introduction to Gestetner machines using typewriters to cut stencils which could only produce typewritten copy with no images,” he said. “I always embraced, and willingly experimented with, any new products which I believed kept the company ahead of the competition.

    “After growing from two employees to 168 over 20 years, I am eternally grateful to the wonderful people who gave the company such a great reputation, and I thank them for their expertise and friendship.”

    Field will now be able to spend more time with his family, including partner Elly Wilson, his adult children, and his grandchildren.