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  • Nick Pond’s SA print safari – Print21 magazine article Part l

    Every city has its own flavour, its own distinct infusion of culture and industry, and Adelaide is no exception. What are the quirks, challenges and achievements paving the way for the people of print in the deep south? Nicholas Pond heads to the City of Churches to find out.

    Let me be the first to raise a glass of fine Barossa Valley Shiraz and say, sweet Lord Adelaide, you are a sorely neglected gem. Well done, sir or madam. This was my first visit and as I stepped off the plane and was met by a crisp South Australian autumn morning, I was sold right there.

    "Let me be the first to raise a glass of fine Barossa Valley Shiraz," Nick Pond

    The region is rightly famous for its world-class wineries, rolling acres of lush vineyards rich with punchy whites and splashy reds, and then there’s the inimitable City of Churches itself. It’s steeped in history, and wears its heritage proudly alongside a bristling edge of innovation and change.

    And with that autumn bite on the wind, change was certainly in season as I set off to try and get a sense of the local printing scene. The blend of old and new was in the air, tangible, and nowhere more so than with the printers I met. As run lengths drop, printers are turning their attention to the latest processes and technologies to adapt and survive, and when it comes to Adelaide the digital revolution has found a rich crop.

    Finsbury Green grows digital

    Finsbury Green is an iconic name, not just in South Australia but nationally. Finsbury’s raft of print awards spills out over more than three walls in its spacious lobby. The family-owned business is built on the combined pillars of quality and its well-known dedication to environmental standards. Its heritage is firmly based in the offset world but, as national manufacturing manager Robbie D’Angelo shows me, the revolution has well and truly broken ground here too.

    “First and foremost, this company has been built on the reputation that we are a quality printer. Over the years we’ve embraced environmental accreditations as well, which are core to the business now, so when we made the decision to go digital it had to be in line with sustaining and maintaining those standards,” says D’Angelo.

    Powered by a Kodak NexPress SE3000, Finsbury’s digital division is thriving. Since it was set up three years ago, the division has gone from strength to strength with all the national network’s digital work coming through the Adelaide hub.

    My visit finds Finsbury in a state of transition, as the man who oversaw that crucial set-up and has guided the division through the years prepares to hand over the keys. Damon Hammond, digital production manager, looks back on his accomplishments over the past three years, and reveals some of the challenges and triumphs.

    The passing of the torch at Finsbury Green: incoming and outgoing digital division managers, Chris Monteleone and Damon Hammond, hand over the keys to the Kodak NexPress SE3000.

    “I moved here from Brisbane for the opportunity to set up something from scratch. It wasn’t just setting up a digital department, it was working to integrate it with the existing offset mindset, which was a challenge in itself,” says Hammond.

    “It’s more than just picking up work and adding value, I think it’s actually helped drive change across the board. Digital has brought a lot of automation which now we’re trying to move into the rest of the business.”

    In fact the digital division hit capacity late last year and has just ratcheted up to two shifts, opening up new jobs and opportunities. Hammond leaves the digital team in the safe hands of Chris Monteleone, a Finsbury man for 18 years who is keen to pick up the ball and keep it moving forward. For Hammond, though, the success of digital for Finsbury Green speaks for itself.

    “I’m very proud,” he says. “It’s turned out well. It’s been successful, it’s been profitable and it’s growing.”

    Tender moment for Reflex Printing

    It’s not the biggest shock to see an offset printer branch out into digital but Mark Frankcom, owner and founder of Adelaide Digital, tackled the issue from quite another angle. Frankcom was running the straight digital set-up and turning a tidy profit until four years ago he went the other way entirely and bought up Reflex Printing, a mostly offset operation.

    “It’s been an interesting transition,” he admits. “Digital leads the business for me, no question. The offset side is flatter, but what it’s done is complement my digital by allowing me to do a wider variety of work, basically.”

    The move has seen him grow the company from a staff of four to fifteen, and bring on new business opportunities. Crucially for Frankcom both operations play to their strengths and stand up on their own, as well as meshing easily to add value for customers.

    In fact, Reflex Printing has only just finished upgrading its digital arsenal, with the spike in short-run, tight-turnaround work driving more and more business its way. A Konica Minolta man, Frankcom says that his brand new pair of C8000s are already well and truly earning their keep.

    One of two new Konica Minolta C8000s powering Mark Frankcom’s own personal digital revolution out at Reflex Printing/Adelaide Digital.

    “They’re replacing two C6500s that we’ve had for about five years now. Moving up to the 8000s was a no-brainer, the quality, the registration and the speed are all a step up. It means we’re able to handle more throughput and deliver the highest quality work on the market,” says Frankcom.

    It’s an investment that has already soundly paid off, with Reflex landing a new government tender. A major coup for the team, the deal covers coursework material for TAFEshop nationally, as well as all TAFE general printing for South Australia.

    Frankcom has confidence in the technology at his disposal and the support he can rely on to get the job done.

    “The service department in Konica Minolta smashes the competition. It’s just the attitude they’ve got. They look after you, they’ve got that ethos. And they have enough techs out there to cover it. It means we can go after these sorts of jobs and know that support is going to be there.”

    At the junction of offset and digital

    Leon and Sheila Torzyn head up another family-run Adelaide business embracing the digital revolution head-on. Running twin Konica Minoltas, a C6501 and C7000, alongside a four-colour Heidelberg SM-52, Print Junction has refined its specialised offering to target short-run books and brochure work. After 18 years in the business, Print Junction has successfully grown from a pure offset shop to a fully-equipped digital design studio.

    “With us starting out just offset, the test with digital was matching the print. Customers don’t care whether it’s digital or offset, they just want it at the highest possible quality,” says Leon Torzyn.

    “That’s why we went with the Konica gear. The ink on paper closely resembled the offset offering. That’s where we wanted to be, so it allows us to transfer work between the two. It’s got terrific output.”

    “You gotta know when to fold ‘em…” Leon and son Nathan Torzyn unpack their Horizon BQ-280 PUR binder.

    That output has helped land the business work with headland brands from Qantas and Wesfarmers, through to printing Indigenous Business Australia’s quarterly magazine Inspire. As an indigenous Australian-owned company itself, Print Junction has formed particularly close ties in the community, balancing that line between national service and a traditional community printer.

    Up until four years ago, local walk-in traffic still made up a healthy mix of Print Junction’s business, but work on the city’s first elevated South Road Superway all but put an end to that. With construction effectively cutting off direct access, Print Junction’s digital flexibility became vital for its survival.

    “We used to have three banks right out the front. They left when the foot-traffic stopped, that was about four years ago. That’s when we really focused on broadening our horizons. The digital work, online ordering and digital print management were crucial, but because of the way our business had been developing we survived. And now we’re growing,” says Torzyn.

    Step up to the crease

    As run lengths continue to shift, more and more of Print Junction’s booklet work has transferred across from offset. This has opened up print finishing as a growing priority for the business, and for Torzyn the answer was simple. It came on the back of a truck – the day the Currie roadshow came to town.

    Riding out the digital revolution in style, the Horizon BQ-280 PUR binder has been a showroom centrepiece throughout the Currie roadshow’s epic cross-country trek, and its Adelaide stop-off was no exception. With his new Horizon landing the very morning of my visit, Torzyn is still getting the engines running, but for him it’s a logical progression for the business in the current climate.

    “We know where we’re at with the smaller runs, and that’s pushed the drive through to digital print finishing equipment. These have been built to prevent toner from cracking and to give the appearance on the folds of a nice, crisp, clean, clear fold. It opens up whole new opportunities for us,” he says.

    Maintaining quality standards: Robbie D’Angelo with Finsbury Green’s new Horizon BQ-280 PUR binder.

    And Print Junction aren’t the only ones expanding their digital Horizons. The team out at Finsbury Green are also just christening a brand new BQ-280 PUR, also fresh out of the Currie mobile showroom. Finsbury’s Robbie D’Angelo fills me in on the increased demand across the state fuelling these crucial purchases.

    “We’ve invested to bring this equipment in-house to really maintain our quality standards. It gives us a better control of the overall product. People are ordering shorter and shorter runs for booklet runs, brochures. It makes sense for that work to go digital, and as those jobs grow we need to be able to finish to the same level. We put in the PUR binder a week back, and we’re potentially even looking at a new machine to complement the NexPress,” says D’Angelo.

    Next time Nick meets John Bastoni, print manager at Academy Photography as well as dropping in on David McCloud of Label Partners

     

  • Winds of change – Mark Bladon joins Fujifilm

    Labels and narrow web get bumped up the totem pole as industry stalwart Mark Bladon signs onto the Fujifilm team. With over 25 years printing industry experience on both sides of the supplier line, Bladon brings a formidable pedigree in the graphic arts to his new role as business development manager for this thriving sector.

    Bladon (pictured) comes on board to help grow Fujifilm’s user base for its UVivid ink portfolio, as well as coatings for narrow web, flexo and UV packaging converters across the country. He will also have a hand in introducing new-to-market digital solutions aimed at short run job profiles. According to Bladon, the move will give him the chance to develop strong relationships in these important and growing markets.

    “Joining a company with Fujifilm’s resources and global footprint is a rare opportunity and I look forward with great enthusiasm to helping our label and narrow web customers negotiate industry changes between conventional and digital technologies. With leading products in both camps, Fujifilm is a strong partner for the profitable growth of label and narrow web printing businesses,” he says.

    A UK native, Bladon graduated from Southhampton Institute of Art and Design and served a full apprenticeship as a printer before relocating to Australia ten years ago. He worked his way up to pressroom manager, ultimately moving into a sales and marketing role and finally crossing the supplier lines when he joined KBA Australia in 2004. Bladon developed an exhaustive understanding of the offset market with KBA and, later, Heidelberg. He then moved on to gain valuable digital experience through a couple of stints with Konica Minolta and the Currie Group working on HP Indigo.

    Fujifilm’s national sales manager for graphic systems, Paul Budgen, praises the appointment and welcomes Bladon, saying, “Having someone with Mark’s depth of experience join the team is a tremendous boost to our goal of deeper penetration in the core graphic arts. The label sector is experiencing significant growth, which Fujifilm Australia intends to capitalise upon. Our Fujifilm Sericol narrow web inks and colour management already provide a firm platform to build on and the next step is to expand our hardware offerings. We are delighted to welcome Mark on board to help drive these initiatives.”

  • State awards KO’d as NPAs get Anstice revamp

    The 2014 National Print Awards truly marked the end of an era, as next year’s award season is now set to take on a very different flavour. The state-based Printing Industries Craftsmanship Awards (PICAs) have been canned in light of dwindling numbers and decline in sponsorships, with the NPAs reverting to a direct entry model for the 2015 Awards.

    The decision came off the back of a comprehensive review of the awards system undertaken late last year by Stephen Anstice, former CEO of IPMG. Facing industry-wide rationalisation, Printing Industries has laid down the law in a bid preserve the Awards’ ongoing relevance and viability. With events already scheduled the WA, Tasmania and Queensland PICAs will still go ahead, but Printing Industries CEO Bill Healey confirms that to maintain a fair playing field companies in these state will also be eligible for direct entry to the NPAs.

    Healey goes on to explain that the national award categories will also be overhauled to better represent the changes in technology and industry culture. An initial list of the new categories will be drawn up and be available for entrants by August 2014.

    “A new subcommittee of Printing Industries, chaired by deputy president Susan Heaney and including external industry representatives will be formed to oversee the awards and to work with the chairman of judges to select judges, review categories annually and manage the judging process,” said Healey.

    The review submitted by Anstice did recommend that the distinction between digital and offset process categories continue, with additional digital categories added to mark its increased prevalence. The jury is still out on the future of the business awards, or whether they might be spun off into a separate event. Emphasis throughout will remain on print quality.

     

  • Shutters come down on Focus deal

    Following a meeting with the fourth set of administrators on Friday Mark Shergill decided to move production onto his Print Warehouse presses to allow for the forthcoming auction of the building and machinery.

    Shergill, who was operating under an agreement with previous owner David Fuller, was also able to move some of the production team over to Print Warehouse. Shergill claims that he has been able to hold onto around 20 jobs despite what industry sources are calling a high-handed move on the part of administrators. Ironically this development comes as Shergill adds yet another business to his growing east coast print empire, finalising the purchase of Queensland’s PurePrint.

    The Acacia Ridge-based company will continue to operate as part of the new Focus Print Group with its current general manager Robert Mellor and 12 staff. Shergill is quickly developing a reputation for buying companies in distress and turning them into profitable and successful ventures. His chance to salvage Focus has come under serious fire, however, as administrators now intend to auction off the remaining equipment in the coming weeks.

    Shergill (pictured) stresses that Focus Print Group is still up and running, with production shifted to the Print Warehouse site. He explains to Print21 that he moved in quickly and struck a private deal with David Fuller to prevent exactly this kind of situation.

    “I’ve seen what happens when the administrators get in and try to run a printing business. When I bought BPA the administrators had been already been in for about six weeks. I thought, if I get this done fairly quickly and it’s only closed for a week and half, I can save more of it. The more we can keep the business going, the more we can try to save basically. Customers, staff, jobs, the whole thing,” he says.

    Nonetheless Shergill remains committed to customers and “the longevity of the print industry.” Speaking with Print21, Shergill reveals that the decision to pick up the PurePrint business in fact predates his involvement with the Focus Press deal. He explains that both purchases add their own unique value to what is now his national printing brand.

    “We wanted to create a strong presence in Brisbane and the Gold Coast, one in Melbourne and one in Sydney. We’ve completed that now. We’ve already got Dynamic Print up in Queensland, the plan is to eventually merge the [PurePrint] business with the Gold Coast site to get more production happening there,” he tells Print21.

    The PurePrint buy also secures the site’s two Komori presses, a 440 and a 526, which Shergill will continue to operate before going on to consolidate production with the old Dynamic Print business. The deal follows the previous owner, 72-year-old Hans, heading into retirement.

    This brings the running total up to seven printing companies picked up in last few years or owned by Shergill, including the Focus deal which remains up in the air. The new Focus Print Group includes his Sydney-based Print Warehouse and what remains of Focus, in Melbourne NewTone, BPA and Troedel Print, and in Queensland Dynamic Print and now PurePrint.

  • STI Lilyfield in the bag for Blue Star

    The t’s are crossed and the i’s are dotted on the Blue Star buy-out of Sydney’s iconic Lilyfield business from German STI Group. The official handover is now set for June 30, as Blue Star gets serious about boosting its wide format and point-of-purchase (POP) offering with further investment in new equipment and process tipped for the coming months.

    The deal that was first announced back in April has been finalised, which will see the Lilyfield business and all POP-related employees continue to work out of its current Padstow site for the foreseeable future. Blue Star confirms speculation that it will indeed consolidate the company’s commercial print work to the Blue Star Silverwater site, but has yet to reveal the full impact on staff in overlap areas.

    Matt Aitken (pictured), Blue Star group general manager print and DM, tells Print21 that he is excited about the move. STI Lilyfield currently provide end-to-end commercial printing and point-of-sale (POS) solutions, and Aitken is focussed on identifying synergies and adding new services for customers across the board.

    “Blue Star is already a very diverse business which gives us a strong value proposition for STI customers. Conversely, bringing on STI Lilyfield offers strong and unique capabilities to the Blue Star customer base,” he says.

    “The reaction from both customer groups over the past couple of months has been very positive and shows how highly regarded the STI business is in Australia.”

    The deal has Blue Star and STI Group enter into a global POP partnership to ensure the business continues to deliver leading innovative solutions to customers. According to Dr Tom Giessler, STI Group managing director, the two companies are well-matched in the partnership.

    “We specialise in driving our customers’ success by developing highly creative POP and competitive supply chain solutions. This partnership helps to further our aim of delivering a truly seamless service, no matter where in the world our customers and their needs are based,” said Giessler.

    Current STI Lilyfield managing director, Stephen De Lorenzo, also carries on with the business at its Padstow site. De Lorenzo replaced former managing director Graham Trickey in June 2013, and has been a steady hand in guiding the business through this expanding sector.

    Founded in 1979 by Reg Hammond, the iconic Lilyfield business was bought in August 2009 by STI Group, which operates nine manufacturing site worldwide and reported a $450 million group turnover in 2013.

    Blue Star continues to invest in growth areas, just last week announcing its entering a heads of agreement to purchase mailhouse business iGroup. Meanwhile, negotiations for a 50/50 merger with IPMG publicly fell through just a few days ago, but despite the set-back Blue Star remains on the warpath for expansion.

  • Heidelberg buys out Gallus and secures Swiss shareholder

    Gallus owner Ferdinand Rüesch cashes in its remaining shares in the Swiss label and folding carton suppier for an anchor stake with Heidelberg. In a landmark trade-off, Heidelberg picks up 100% ownership of Gallus while the share swap deal leaves Ferdinand Rüesch as its single largest shareholder, controlling 9% of the German press giant.

    The deal sees the Ferdinand Rüesch hand off its remaining 70% stake in Gallus Holding AG for up to 23 million new shares in Heidelberg valued at a minimum of €2.70 each, as well as a cash payment of no more than €10 million. The buy-out ties up Heidelberg’s total control of the previously family-owned Swiss press manufacturer, having acquired a 30% share in the business in 1999. The restructure is expected to be complete by July, subject to all relevant approvals.

    In exchange, Ferd. Rüesch AG emerges with a whopping 9% stake in the German offset company, which it undertakes to hold until July 31, 2015. The share reshuffle follows earlier announcement of significant ongoing consolidation and backs up Heidelberg’s strengthening its capital structure. According to Gerold Linzbach (pictured), Heidelberg CEO, the press giant is proud to have won the support of the Swiss brand as its new strategic anchor investor, and hopes to leverage it to open up new markets.

    “The full acquisition of Gallus will further enhance the cooperation of the two companies. Together, we will continue to foster the development in the growing market for digital label production,” said Linzbach.

    Heidelberg and Gallus are developing a portfolio of digital products for the labels sectors, commercial and packaging printing, utilising industrialised inkjet technology from Fujifilm. A Heidelberg inkjet label press based on the Gallus ECS340 platform will debut later this year, delivering 1200×1200 dpi, with inline finishing and embellishment. A B1 sheet-fed, still in development, will follow.

    Headquartered in Switzerland Gallus had a group turnover of CHF 188 million, and employs around 500 staff worldwide.

  • Letterpress steals the show at Pride in Print

    It’s another shining line-up across the pond, as the New Zealand printing industry celebrates its own night of nights, at this year’s Pride in Print awards. The tentpole event showcased the very best of NZ print, with supreme award going to the team at GTO Printers in a landslide win scoring solid tens across the board.

    The awards night saw a strong turn-out, with around 700 guests rocking up for the evening at the Sky City Convention Centre last Friday. Up against the toughest competition in the country, in the end it was the small specialist printing company from Birkenhead on the North Shore that nabbed the top prize. GTO Printers brought it home with a set of four fine-art prints titled “2 Colour Letterpress Prints”. The winning pieces were produced in black and brown on a 47-year-old one-colour press and, as well as the supreme, they also pulled the letterpress process and specialty products categories.

    The judges’ decision was unanimous, with comments including, “…it doesn’t get better than this… a brilliant retention of the finest details, particularly considering the impact process in the press… stunningly beautiful prints… an amazing job.”

    A clean sweep – Jane Caine recieves the Supreme Award for 2 Colour Letterpress Prints by GTO Printers

    Despite the high praise for the work GTO Printers’ principal Graham Judd missed out on the receiving the award in person. And quite right too, Judd was celebrating his 65th birthday with his family in Manhattan. In his absence it fell to Jane Caine, GTO Printers’ assistant manager, to do the honours on the night.

    “It is a wonderful reward. I have worked with Graham for 19 years and he is so passionate about printing. He’ll never retire, he loves it! He saw the potential for letterpress printing, saw a niche market for it with wedding invitations and ran with it and developed it. He went to the wedding shows, loved it and set up this letterpress exhibition,” said Caine.

    According to awards judge Symon Yendoll the win was a standout for its sheer craft achievements, about which he says, “craft-wise, letterpress is as hard as it gets.”

    Yendoll adds, “The level of detail is incredible. In one print, one of the bird’s eyes is open. It is tiny, like a pinprick, and yet it is as clear as can be. That is extremely difficult to do. The end result is a virtual 3D effect.”

    While the small team from Birkenhead swept the supreme board, the night was peppered with gems from across the industry. It was a diverse selection of companies and prints, big and small, but what they all shared in common was an eye for detail and flair for the creative. Below is the full list of golds, and a gallery of the winning entrants.

     

    PRIDE IN PRINT AWARDS 2014

    SUPREME WINNER
    Category Entry name Entrant
    Specialty 2 Colour Letterpress Prints GTO Printers Ltd
    Category Winners
    Category Entry name Entrant
    Publications Texts From Brazil Thames Publications
    Business Print KPMG Fuelling Prosperity Launch Book Sentra Printing / Nicholson Print
    Packaging Fishers Beef Sirloin Sealed Air Hamilton
    Labels Mess-Defying Label Impressions International Ltd
    Display Print Click Architects Flagmakers Ltd
    Promotional Print Farmers Beauty Webstar (Masterton)
    Specialty Products 2 Colour Letterpress Prints GTO Printers Ltd
    Industry Development Times Square- New York ‘See-Thru’ Postcard Foster Screenprinting
    Process Winners
    Process Entry name Entrant / Printer
    Web Farmers Beauty Webstar (Masterton)
    Offset Steinlager Challenger Pack Orora Cartons Wellington
    Gravure So Crispy Classic Coating Mix Amcor Flexibles
    Asia Pacific Branston St
    Flexo Fishers Beef Sirloin Sealed Air Hamilton
    Letterpress 2 Colour Letterpress Prints GTO Printers Ltd
    Finishing CCIA Calendar Color Communications /
    Centurion Print
    Digital India Wakefields Digital /
    Momento Photobooks /
    Kinetic
    Inkjet Tony Fomison – 1971-1990 Wakefields Digital /
    Momento Photobooks /
    Kinetic
    Screen Times Square- New York ‘See-Thru’ Postcard Foster Screenprinting

    2-colour-letterpress-prints-by-gto-printers

    Picture 1 of 13

    2 Colour Letterpress Prints, by GTO Printers

  • CMYKhub powers up with new eight-colour perfector

    Trade print specialist CMYKhub picks up another Ryobi 920 eight-colour LED-UV perfector, its second in just under a year. The state-of-the-art new press supes up the trade network’s Queensland manufacturing plant, more than doubling its capacity to deliver on tighter-than-ever deadlines.

    CMYKhub landed its first Ryobi eight-colour perfector off the show-floor at PacPrint 2013, going into its NSW plant mid-last year. The success of that investment has green-lighted this latest purchase, targeted at increasing productivity while remaining competitive. Clive Denholm, CMYKhub founder and owner, tells Print21 that perfecting presses with UV are the way forward for the business.

    “We are finding that deadlines are becoming shorter and the market is increasingly competitive. The UV presses allow us to print and cut work instantly, even on uncoated paper. The ability to produce a finished product in one pass is also vital to keeping us competitive and at the top of our game,” says Denholm.

    Clive Denholm, CMYKhub owner

    The new perfector replaces an older five-colour Ryobi, delivering more than twice the operational capacity. The company’s Melbourne plant was the first to make the move to perfector, upgrading with an eight-colour Komori HUV, followed by the two new Ryobi eight-colours. Carl Stobie, CMYKhub’s Queensland state manager, confirms that the move reflects pressures felt across the industry as a whole to reduce manufacturing costs and increase productivity.

    “The new equipment will empower our Queensland reseller network to sell a larger range of products,” says Stobie.

    In January 2014, CMYKhub came on board as official manufacturing partner for Snap Franchising’s Queensland network. The announcement signalled the opening of a new digital manufacturing site, kitted out with the latest Konica Minolta C8000 and a bizhub 1200 B&W. Denholm adds that the CMYKhub network also plans to upscale its digital footprint across all states, calling it “imperative” to round out the national trade specialist’s offering.

    CMYKhub recently opened its fifth national manufacturing site in Darwin, adding to its presence in Perth, Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane.

    The new arrival – Ryobi 920 eight-colour LED-UV perfector
  • Industry veteran picks up Mal Graphics

    Alan Dove (pictured) just couldn’t stay away, as the recently retired consumables expert backs up the industry and buys back into print. Alan and wife Karen step out of retirement to take over Sydney’s Mal Graphics, and they have their sights set on a bright future for the industry.

    Established in 1982 by Mick and Alice Leeming, Mal Graphics handles servicing and equipment for the offset market, with a growing focus on supplies and consumables. Dove brings 25 years industry consumables experience to the table and plans to grow the business into a “tradesman’s one-stop shop”.

    “I look forward to continuing the excellent service Mick and Alice have given customers over the past 32 years. I think with my contacts and experience on the consumables side, I hoping to take it to the next step. We’re still doing work in spare parts and I’ve got a portfolio of technical people out there, but I’m going to concentrate on consumables moving forward,” Dove tells Print21.

    According to recent retiree Dove his passion for the industry just proved too much for him to stay away, and that he is keen to get back on the support team. He says that business has been solid and he sees a positive future for print.

    He adds, “The industry’s not dead, it’s still alive and kicking and there are opportunities out there. We need to start talking the industry up, instead of kicking it in the guts. Print will always be needed, and there are still people out there who are prepared to have a go.”

    Mick and Alice Leeming extend their thanks to all their customers for their support over the years, confident that the business is in safe hands. Heading the other way to Dove, Mick says he has no plans for his retirement but he is looking forward to a well-earned rest.

    “Alan’s a great guy to be taking over. We think along the same lines, and I know it’s in good hands. There’s no two ways about it, he knows the industry and he’ll do well,” says Leeming.

    Dove has worked in the printing industry for the last 25 years, with AM International, Currie Group and Focus Paper, before finishing up with BJ Ball around July last year. He has also been an active member of the NSW Printing Industry Golfing Society for over 15 years.

  • PrecisionCore makes a splash at local launch

    Epson officially launches its revolutionary PrecisionCore inkjet heads into the Australian market. Consumer and business printers are first out the gate showcasing the next generation, scalable thin film piezo technology, with production devices dropping locally later this year.

    The launch went off in style at the Art Gallery of NSW, unveiling the first wave of products to use the new technology. The office devices came out gunning for the desktop laser market, boasting blistering print speeds, 50% lower printing costs and up to 70% lower energy costs. Also on show was a SureColor F2000 garment printer, the first of the commercial engines to debut in Australia.

    Locally, Epson is set to roll out its production printers to market later this year, kicking off with the SurePress L-6034VW digital label press. Using the groundbreaking PrecisionCore heads the new press, which officially debuted at Labelexpo last year, can achieve a print speed of 15 metres per minute across a 34 cm wide web. Craig Heckenberg (pictured), business unit manager, Epson Australia, tells Print21 that word of the technology’s transformative capabilities is already sparking considerable attention from across the industry.

    “The event tonight is the first in a line of launches for the PrecisionCore technology. There’s the retail equipment here now, and the commercial devices are just around the corner. That’s the thing about PrecisionCore, it’s completely scalable across Epson’s whole range of products, so from your everyday office printers, to the F2000 garment printer there, all the way up to the SurePress, you get the same high quality and the same speed,” said Heckenberg.

    The launch event pitted the high-speed inkjet heads up against comparable laser technology. Energy use monitors were hooked up to an Epson WorkForce 3600 and a laser device, showing the power idle costs at around $8 annually for the PrecisionCore and around $37 for the laser. The PrecisionCore also printed a duplex B&W document before the laser had finished warming up, delivering comparable quality.

    Work on the technology has been the defining development project for Epson, championed by the company’s president Minoru Usui. The result of many years and over half a billion dollars spent in R&D, PrecisionCore offers piezo crystal films of just one micron thick – one-hundredth the thickness of a human hair. This enables three times the print nozzle density, delivering the high levels of precision and accuracy necessary for fine detail work. The piezo elements are able to fire nearly 50,000 times per second, precisely controlling drop size from 1.5 picolitres up to 32.5 picolitres.

    According to Usui, “PrecisionCore represents a leap forward in printing performance. We continue to deliver outstanding quality thanks to superior dot control, and have introduced an original new system to ensure reliability. At the same time, scalability allows us to fully leverage our historical strengths of ink flexibility and print head durability.”

    For a more in-depth look into Epson’s PrecisionCore revolution click here, or you can check out the cover story in Print21‘s February issue.

    epsonlaunch01

    Picture 1 of 7

    Epson launches PrecisionCore at Art Gallery of NSW

  • Winds of change – Stockdale moves on from Stockdale

    Founder and CEO of leading industry recruitment company Stockdale Personnel moves on after 14 years. Tom Stockdale will step down at the end of June after confidently handing operations over to ten-year company stalwart, Sean Cathie.

    Stockdale set up the Melbourne-based business in 2001, which has steadily grown over the years to include a Sydney office that opened in 2006. Nearly two years ago the company was taken over by not-for-profit Interwork Australia, formerly INGT, which Stockdale says has been great for business. He tells Print21 that he’s leaving the business in the best state it’s ever been and looks forward to spending some more time with his family.

    Tom Stockdale and Sean Cathie

    “It feels like the right time to pass it on. We’re busier than we’ve ever been. We have more clients and more employees than we’ve ever had, I couldn’t ask for more. Sean has been with us for ten years and he knows the business inside and out, he’s as much a part of it as I am. It’s quite exciting actually, and we’re confident that it’ll be business as usual,” said Stockdale.

    Cathie will take over as general manager from the first of July, following a healthy transition period of about six months. A printing industry veteran, he takes up the reins as Stockdale Personnel continues to expand its business offering into large format, and signage and display.

    Stockdale adds that, “We made the decision early this year, so Sean and I have been working through the details for a couple of months now. We’ve been growing the business together for a while. This was a opportunity for me to spend some time with the family, but I imagine I’ll still stay in touch with the group.”

    Cathie joined the business in 2004 and is currently national operations manager. He started out in the industry in 1984 as an apprentice dot etcher with PMP, going on to move up the ranks to prepress manager. In 1997 he headed over to Prism Graphics as production manager, before making the move to Stockdale.

  • Unlock business finance and tap into digital publishing

    Next up on the webinar slate is a hands-on, hour-long primer in app design from the Adobe brainstrust. This look at digital publishing is followed two weeks later by a how-to guide for getting that vital finance application across the line.

    First cab off the rank, Brian Chau and Jamie Ragan, solutions consultants for Adobe Systems, will head up the 60-minute session, exploring how to build a digital publishing business from the ground up. For Leverage your InDesign skills: build a digital publishing business with Adobe DPS, Chau and Ragan will take a step-by-step look at how printing companies can transition existing in-house design capabilities to new platforms, and add value by turning print jobs into mobile applications. Leading the talk, they will showcase all the latest functionality of Adobe Digital Publishing Suite.

    Chau brings nearly 15 years experience working with Adobe, and is a certified expert in Dreamweaver and Flash. Ragan is an in-house trainer and works on pre-sales technical support for Adobe’s digital publishing suite. Leverage your InDesign skills: build a digital publishing business with Adobe DPS hits the broadband next Wednesday, May 28, at 1 pm (AEST). Click here to register, or here for more information.

    Two weeks later, veteran industry finance expert Wade Oldham takes up the hosting duties, aiming to take the headache out of securing business finance. Called Stress-free industry finance – without strings, the half-hour session will reveal some of Oldham’s own tips and tricks for successful finance applications and the best options for equipment finance, working capital finance and property finance. Picking up on last week’s topical market overview, Oldham also touches on how to approach financing business acquisition and mergers.

    Oldham has 30 years industry experience, working his way through banking and finance for the printing industry before founding Wade Oldham Finance in 1995. He works with businesses of all sizes, from managing national brands to helping small companies grow through smart finance strategies. Stress-free industry finance – without strings goes live Wednesday, June 11, at 1 pm (AEST), and will be followed up a 15 minute Q&A session. Click here to register, or here for more information.

  • Future Print trainee numbers up tenfold

    The industry training initiative Future Print is picking up steam and results are blowing away expectations. Over 85 business are now signed up for the program and more than 131 new trainees are ready to start, with roughly a quarter brand new to the printing industry.

    The joint initiative between Printing Industries Association of Australia (PIAA) and the Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union (AMWU) has seen a tenfold spike in numbers since it launched its upgraded website in February. Then there were just a dozen apprentices on the books, now the program has easily eclipsed its mid-year target intake of 120. Joan Grace (pictured), PIAA general manager for innovation, training and employment, says that support for the new model has exceeded expectations and that the focus is now on developing industry progression benchmarks.

    “As they will be used to assess trainee progress and determine their wage progression, getting the fundamentals right has always been one of our most important goals. We are in the middle of running meetings with businesses in the precincts to ensure the training and assessment model is meeting their requirements and have also met again with RTOs to ensure they are on board with the changes we are making across the country,” said Grace.

    The system of benchmarks will define workplace performance and competency across the trades. Performance will be evaluated in three main areas; workplace health and safety, business operations and general skills. Grace explains the benchmarks are being piloted at the moment, allowing for some tweaking before being rolled out across the board.

    “Consultation with our partner in the project, the AMWU, and various stakeholders is providing valuable feedback, allowing us to evolve the program to more closely meet industry needs,” she adds.

    “About a quarter of the Future Print trainees are entirely new to the industry, which is a great result, with the balance made up of existing workers whose employers have taken the opportunity to upskill their people to meet predicted future needs.”

    South Australia Precinct meeting (l-r) – Rob Slatter (Multi Color), Peter Clifford (Vivid Blue Design), John Evans (Graphic Print Group), Steve Hough (Print Graphic Displays), and Trevor Stone (Cadillac Printing)
  • Commercial print dodges Canon downsize

    100 jobs are on the chopping block as Canon cuts Australian staff by 10%. A bulk of back-office support and admin roles will be scrapped as the business restructures in a bid to boost local profits, but its Professional Print division looks set to survive the cull.

    Canon is arguably the largest graphic arts supplier to the industry with an Australian workforce of 980. In calendar 2013 it recorded a $7.55 million post-tax profit on turnovers of $756.5 million, revenue up just 0.3% year-on-year. A Canon Australia spokeswoman confirmed that the decision to downsize was down to increasing business efficiencies, going to on to say that it would not affect the company’s print division.

    “These roles are all administrative support functions and do not impact the way that printers work with their Cannon account manager or service technician. Importantly, these changes will make us more agile and able to respond quickly to customers in the commercial print space as we get set to step up our operations,” she said.

    “Last year we commenced a review of our local operations and we have been gradually implementing changes to improve our structure and processes. These include new and expanded roles for some of our people and the transition of other roles to external partners.”

    The downsize is expected to be completed by the end of the calendar year. It will see the 100-or-so dropped jobs outsourced to business process management providers Genpact Ltd. and Convergys. The spokeswoman adds that Canon remains firmly committed to the commercial print market, citing the company’s recent investment in its new state-of-the-art Sydney headquarters in Macquarie Park.

    “To further emphasis this, Canon is also excited to unveil some innovative new products in the coming months specifically targeted towards printers, which will demonstrate our further commitment in commercial print.”

    It is from its new Sydney head office that a majority of roles look set to be lost.

  • Wagner Labels doubles productivity with Gidue M3

    The latest in Nuovo Gidue’s digital flexo press technology, the Combat M3, has gone in at R. Wagner Prestige Labels, boosting production and opening up new markets. The M3 landed in February, handled by the team at Gulmen Engineering, and it has already more than doubled throughput for the business.

    The Combat M3 packs a punch, automating flexo print by digitally assisting the operator in setting up the press. Wagner Labels has been a traditional letterpress shop for over 70 years, but owner John Galea tells Print21 he is confident that the M3 delivers not only flexibility and speed, but also upholds the company’s commitment to quality.

    Adriano Melis (sales area manager, Gidue), Chris Galea (manager, Wager Labels), Ali Rezaki (Gulmen Engineering)

    “It’s about pushing the boundaries a bit. I always thought I’d go offset or digital, but then everybody’s getting into digital so I thought I’d step in a different direction. I did some trials and I was very impressed. Gidue really handles the high-end stuff. What we’re achieving is quite impressive and it’s early days yet,” he says.

    Galea adds that the M3’s 370mm wide web has doubled productivity on many jobs, but also means the business can tap into completely new markets, including flexible packaging. The press runs eight UV flexo printing stations and can handle unsupported films, pressure sensitive labels and special substrates.

    Galea says, “It’s a market right now where you have to be versatile. Gidue is just really open to new technology. It’s all just a lot of little pluses, and you need those things to stay ahead in the market.

    “Getting the M3, that was around a three-year plan. It’s just seeing the changes in the industry, and responding to the market. You’ve got to listen to your customers.”

    Keeping the business in the family is floor manager Chris Galea, son of John. Chris talks through some of the opportunities that the new Gidue M3 presents.

    “Our customers are always looking for something new, different, something that stands out. For us the benchmark is quality over everything else, and now the technology has come along that means we can still do that, but it’s faster and easier to do more complex work. The M3 also alleviates jobs on other machines, that have become more complicated,” says Galea.

    He explains that as well as speed and quality, usability was a key factor in the decision. The digital automation process allows for time saving measures like saving job specifications for repeat work. It is also kitted up with Digigap technology for automated die-cutting pressure, pre-register and register.

    “The wider web width has more than doubled our throughput, which allows us to be more competitive on a more even marketshare. It also means we can print bigger jobs like drum labels. We now have the opportunity to pick up that work too,” said Galea.

    The press went in over two weeks and has been thoroughly put through its paces over the past three months. Gidue sent out four specialists from Italy to oversee the install, and Eddie Gulmen, Gulmen Engineering, was on site to make sure everything went in smoothly.

    “This combination press is designed for flexible packaging and films as low as 20 microns for short, medium and long runs,” said Gulmen, “It’s a very, very nice machine.”

  • Ye olde Pantone guide to colour

    When Pantone published its first swatch book in 1963 it revolutionised the way we deal with colour and became an indispensable tool for any printing business. But long before there was PMS there was ‘A. Boogert’, an obscure artist who knocked out his own colour guide book in 1692 and beat Pantone to the punch by a whopping 271 years.

    The Dutch painter known as A. Boogert created his nearly 800-page masterwork as a guide to mixing watercolours, complete with instructions on how to create the incredible range of hues and tones. Handwritten and painstakingly illustrated, this medieval Pantone swatch book is titled Traité des couleurs servant à la peinture à l’eau, and currently resides in the Bibliotheque Mejanes in Aix-en-Provence, France.

    Historian Erik Kwakkel has translated parts of the text, including an introduction detailing the use of the colour in painting, and agrees it was undoubtedly an educational guide. An extraordinarily complex and detailed feat, the book is one of the most exhaustive works on colour ever assembled, right up to the advent of Pantone in 1963. An incredible accomplishment for its time, and a significant signpost in the development of colour theory, it remains an irony that few would have ever seen the single handwritten copy of the tome.

    A historical landmark, reproductions of the guide’s extensive colour panels reveal the detail of the book’s ambition. All it needs is a CMYK bridge, throw in some metallics and fluorescents and you’d be set!

    colors-1_0

    Picture 1 of 6

  • Nulab sees silver lining with twin Indigo 7600s

    Melbourne-based Nulab Group completely revolutionises production with not one but two new HP Indigo 7600s. After more than 40 years at the top of its game, the multi-award winning photographic print specialist replaces its entire silver halide set-up with the high-speed digital engines, and expanding the business further into corporate and point-of-sale work.

    Nulab caters to the professional photographic market, with exacting quality demands. It has also led the charge into the commercial photobook space since picking up its first HP Indigo 5500 six years ago. Michael Warshall, Nulab owner and executive director, tells Print21 that the push into digital has helped revitalise the photographic industry with new ideas and business opportunities.

    “The two Indigo 7600s print the equivalent to ten digital silver halide printers. For the professional level work we do our customers are very fussy about quality, there’s just nothing else on the market that can do that. But they’re also able to offer exciting new products that have never existed before. In the photo business it can be difficult to differentiate. People still want beautiful photography, but I also need to show them something new,” he says.

    On top of picking up the existing pro and photobook work, Nulab’s new Indigo 7600s are fully configured with seven ink stations and white ink, spot varnish, raised print, opening up new possibilities for Warshall. To take up the workload, the two Indigo 7600s have been specced up with double feeders and collectors to maximise throughput and already loaded with a range of premium substrates from metallic papers, to oyster pearl and matte.

    “They’ve been running about five weeks now, normal printing, testing and fine-tuning the ancillaries. The white ink has been great, we’ve used that for high-end variable data work on agency jobs, printing on black paper. We’re learning about all the different finishing options. Nulab produces a premium product,” says Warshall.

    He adds that once he was confident the presses could deliver the quality, he was also impressed by the environmental benefits of the Indigos over silver halide. Warshall goes on to thank the team at Currie Group for their support in getting the new machines on the ground, and working closely with the Nulab team.

    “Their service is fantastic. They have a level of expertise in equipment that we have in colour, so together it creates a great match. I’ve been in the silver halide business for 40 years, and this is totally different so it’s important to have good partners,” said Warshall.

    Installation of the first press kicked off mid-March, with the second following about three weeks later. He confirms the plan is to decommission all the silver halide printers starting from June.