Author Archive

  • A revolution in textile printing

    When the SureColor Fabric series was first launched it represented a revolution in textile printing. The equipment was designed from the ground up to provide a complete single-vendor solution with simpler operation, higher durability, and superior imaging.

    The F2160 is Epson’s latest generation Direct To Garment (DTG) printer. It features enhanced production flexibility, higher productivity, reduced maintenance, and a lower running cost.

    Optimised for customisation and value-adding on cotton based garments such as T-shirts, Polo tops, jeans and sweats, it will image onto a range of polyester sports and leisure wear, and can also be used for promotional and décor items including tote bags, tea towels and cushions. Prints can be made on pre-cut fabric or directly to finished garments with a heat press used to ‘fix’ the dye.

    The printer can be ordered in a 4-colour configuration for high speed volume production as well as a 5-colour configuration for flexible CYMK + white work. Hardware is covered by a comprehensive on-site warranty with service cover extendable up to three years.

    SureColor F2160 at a glance:

    • Direct to garment low-cost customisation of shirts, caps, bags, and more
    • Epson UltraChrome® DG ink delivers crisp and bright images with a low tack finish, high stretchability and good wash/UV durability
    • Improved performance and enhanced image quality with smoother gradation, an expanded gamut and Dmax
    • New platen grip pads enable faster loading and setting
    • Upgraded self-cleaning print head and new auto cap washing system for enhanced reliability, reduced maintenance and wastage
    • Supplied with enhanced Epson Garment Creator application software
    • Diethlene glycol free ensures for a safer work environment with Oeko-Tex certification so garments can be worn by adults, children and infants
    • Available in high speed 4 colour and flexible 5 colour with White configurations
    • Comprehensive warranty with service cover extendable up to 3 YEARS
    • Supports a wide range of garments with natural and man-made

    Epson UltraChrome DG Ink was developed to support fabric with a 50% or greater cotton content. It adheres well and fixes easily for images with a low tack finish that have good UV/wash durability. Both the ink and Pre-Treatment liquid when applied to cotton fabrics conform to the latest Oeko-Tex Eco Passport standard with garments safe for use by adults, children and babies.

    Click for more information.

     

  • Epson SureColor F2160

    When the SureColor Fabric series was first launched it represented a revolution in textile printing. The equipment was designed from the ground up to provide a complete single-vendor solution with simpler operation, higher durability, and superior imaging.

    The F2160 is Epson’s latest generation Direct To Garment (DTG) printer. It features enhanced production flexibility, higher productivity, reduced maintenance, and a lower running cost.

    Optimised for customisation and value-adding on cotton based garments such as T-shirts, Polo tops, jeans and sweats, it will image onto a range of polyester sports and leisure wear, and can also be used for promotional and décor items including tote bags, tea towels and cushions. Prints can be made on pre-cut fabric or directly to finished garments with a heat press used to ‘fix’ the dye.

    The printer can be ordered in a 4-colour configuration for high speed volume production as well as a 5-colour configuration for flexible CYMK + white work. Hardware is covered by a comprehensive on-site warranty with service cover extendable up to three years.

    SureColor F2160 at a glance:

    • Direct to garment low-cost customisation of shirts, caps, bags, and more
    • Epson UltraChrome® DG ink delivers crisp and bright images with a low tack finish, high stretchability and good wash/UV durability
    • Improved performance and enhanced image quality with smoother gradation, an expanded gamut and Dmax
    • New platen grip pads enable faster loading and setting
    • Upgraded self-cleaning print head and new auto cap washing system for enhanced reliability, reduced maintenance and wastage
    • Supplied with enhanced Epson Garment Creator application software
    • Diethlene glycol free ensures for a safer work environment with Oeko-Tex certification so garments can be worn by adults, children and infants
    • Available in high speed 4 colour and flexible 5 colour with White configurations
    • Comprehensive warranty with service cover extendable up to 3 YEARS
    • Supports a wide range of garments with natural and man-made

    Epson UltraChrome DG Ink was developed to support fabric with a 50% or greater cotton content. It adheres well and fixes easily for images with a low tack finish that have good UV/wash durability. Both the ink and Pre-Treatment liquid when applied to cotton fabrics conform to the latest Oeko-Tex Eco Passport standard with garments safe for use by adults, children and babies.

    Click for more information.

     

  • 1st new Techkon SpectroPlate into Australia

    No sooner released onto the world market than a local printer has ordered the latest in plate measurement technology.

    Well-known printing colour guru David Crowther of Colour Graphic Services, the Australian agent for the award-winning, high-end German print technology manufacturer was impressed by the speed of the industry’s response to the launch.

    “We don’t sell too many SpectroPlates here. People mostly use the Techkon SpectroDens spectrodensitometers but a printer phoned me up and I sold the first one yesterday, the same day it was launched,” he said. “The SpectroPlate All-Vision is the only measurement device that can be used for processless plates, which are becoming more common.”

    The new generation Techkon SpectroPlate is a high resolution digital microscope that measures dot percentage, screen angles, lines per inch/cm, dot gain and AM, FM or Hybrid Screens of traditional offset or process-less, chemistry-free printing plates. It boasts a unibody case that is precisely machined from a single block of aluminum to maximize durability and reliability in harsh production environments. It is also now equipped with a high-resolution anti-glare display and well as an improved user-interface.

    The Techkon SpectroPlate has been a long-standing favorite among the top plate manufacturers due to its speed, accuracy, and reliability. The SpectroPlate is the latest Techkon instrument to be added to its New Generation line and now includes:

    • Inductive charging
    • New generation battery with up to 10X lifespan
    • Micro USB port
    • Charging on console and USB port

     

  • Graphics Grab: Big printers drag industry profits

    Printing is a tough game; a good industry but a hard place to make a quid, especially for large businesses.

    By WhatTheyThink

    Startling statistics coming out of the USA reveal that the industry makes an overall profit of 4.12% before taxes during the past 18 months. However, large printing enterprises, those with US$25+million in assets, averaged a bare 1.04% in profits for the same period. In fact they actually went backwards for a number of quarters.

    Meanwhile for smaller printers, those with less than $25 million in assets, profits before taxes for the past six quarters averaged 7.41%, which is not too bad.

    The people who collect the stats, What They Think, reckon the low profitability of the large printers is a long-term drag on overall industry profitability.

    It’s difficult to get comparative figures for the local industry, but PMP, the largest printer in the Australian region posted a net profit after tax this year of >minus $34.8 million. The share price started 2018 at $0.51 and ended it at $0.20.

    It reinforces what many printers already know, that big isn’t always better. Perhaps there is an optimum size for a profitable printing enterprise after all.

    _________________

    For those of us in the business of journalism there’s little satisfaction in seeing the competition publish a typo error. Any schadenfreude will be quickly followed by making a similar stuff up.

    Roxy Jacenko … Never fails to deliver.

    However some are too good to let go by unmentioned. First there’s the subeditor’s nightmare in the New York Post of Julia Roberts getting better ‘holes’ as she grows older.

    Closer to home, publisher Allen & Unwin, had to pulp the entire print run of Roxy’s Little Black Book of Tips and Tricks. Written by Sydney-based PR flack, Roxy Jacenko, the tome made it past six professional proofreaders to the stage where review copies were sent out before someone saw that the cover blurb said the author ‘Never fails to disappoint.’ It should, of course, have read ‘Never fails to deliver.’

    The quote came from radio host Jackie O, but left Jacenko unfazed. “It’s a fuck-up, but Jackie’s a friend,” she said.

    The publisher wouldn’t reveal the size of the pulped print run.

    _________________

    Another straw in the wind this week with the news that Peter Coleman, well known newspaper industry identity and publisher of the authoritative GX Report will no longer print his magazine. This is a particular loss of an excellent publication. Not only does Peter write very well with an in-depth knowledge of newspapers, but printing has defined his professional life.

    Peter Coleman

    I first came across him as editor of Bill Minnis’ Ink magazine in the 1990s, a leading printing industry publication out of Melbourne. Before that he ran his family’s newspaper publishing and print works in the UK for many years. He grew up around Goss Community presses with printing ink in his blood.

    But the newspaper industry is continuing to struggle in the internet age, with titles closing left, right and centre. Few are buying new presses and Peter bemoans the loss of Goss, his long-term foundation advertiser following its takeover by manroland.

    As with many other publications there’s a virtual life after print. Sign on at www.gxpress.net

    _________________

    It wasn’t always so. Newspaper professionals facing an existential battle will be chagrined at a report I came across in a file copy of Newspaper News, the Yaffa Media publication from July 1929. Under the headline; ‘British Companies’ Huge Dividends’ it reports that the rush to buy shares in newspapers is ‘one of the most remarkable features of the investment market in recent years.’

    It goes on to express no surprise as it reveals The Daily Mirror made a profit of £479,529 and paid 30% per ordinary share.

    Shareholders in The Sunday Pictorial did better with a dividend of no less that 25%, which pales in comparison to the Financial News, which from a profit of £93,500 paid shareholders a whopping 175% per ordinary share.

    Those were the days.

    _________________

    And finally… did you hear about Julius Caesar walking into a bar.

    “I’ll have a martinus,” he says.

    The bartender gives him a puzzled look and asks, “Don’t you mean a ‘martini’?”
    “Look. If I wanted a double, I’d have asked for it!”

  • Graphics Grab Bag – Beware the Xmas print scam

    With the same inevitability of the arrival of sunburn, hangovers and Santa Claus comes the latest in printing scams. Fred Mayer of Adams Print, Breakwater, Victoria, alerts me to this fairly insane proposal he received. It’s dead dodgy, even if you have to work out what the scammer is actually about. Fred forwards it to alert other printers to be on their guard against the sob-sister scams of the Season.

    It comes from someone called Sarah M Stamp. The initial email goes…

    I really wish i could call you directly, Am a single mother with two lovely girls for about three years now and sadly i had a motor bike accident since the 29th of Oct, was a fatal accident and just recovered back my foot also broken ribs but still fighting partial hearing loss & currently undergoing surgery, this will be the best way to communicate with you which i hope it won’t be a problem.

         I will need to make preparations for the event (22nd of Dec) before my arrival…As a single mother i have been trying my all to give my girls the best and right now i have been planning to give them a surprising amazing sweet sixteen birthday party. I have been anticipating these surprise day for my kids in awhile now.

    As am looking up to print 1000 copies of simple design invitation cards without their photographs attached is an artwork to be on below quality. 

    Matte-uncoated Paper 330gsm
    Card Envelopes : 148 x 148 mm Kaskad Bullfinch Pink 100gsm ( Optional i can later get them at the paper store if you can supply )
    Flap: Square, 
    Invitation Standard Size: A5 (5.5W x 5.5H inches) or A6 size (5.5W x 5.5H inches).

    If other details needed please don’t exitate (sic) to ask. Names: Hazel Stamp and Maeve Stamp.

    I look forward to read back from you the total cost and a design sample if possible as it will be picked up in your store by 2pm 13th Dec.

    Await your earliest reply

    Sarah M Stamp.

    After getting a quote for the cards, she comes back with:

    So sorry for my late response as i have been under-medications and so weak…Thanks so much for the sum up quotes i really appreciate as it’s affordable for me and i feel so satisfy now. I will like to make the total deposit $583.00 payment for my cards printing now as it will be picked up if not 13th then by 2pm 14th Dec… Also need you to please help me out with a little favor for more proper arrangement.

          I have decided to make the party their way as to give my big girls a colorful celebration with friends and families so i did organised a party planner who would have the house ready for the party, buy the things needed and put them in place before my arrival for the party which I would have loved to pay them directly but they not setup for credit card payment which is the only way I could make payment at this moment.

          And honestly to avoid any delays I will be forwarding you my credit card details to charge through the total sum of $3,633.00 which you could have $583.00 for the Cards then have the rest $3,050.00 transferred to the planner when the fund is cleared in your account so they can have all things arranged before my arrival.

          I so much wish to pay them directly but I am at the hospital right now and will undergo a surgery soon for my hear disabilities. Due to condition beyond my reasonable control for now it won’t be convenient for me doing direct deposit into their account and my account online access is inactive that is why i want you to assist me… I hope you will understand me by putting my condition into consideration and I am sorry if however it cause you inconvenience.

         Kindly get back to me if there’s any extra amount due to the transaction so I can forward my card details to charge the funds. Looking forward to read back from you at your earliest convenient time,

    And there you have it. Fred says that he did follow up in the spirit of the Season …

    I did point out I’m more than happy to visit her in hospital and then help set up the party so that the twins would really have a hoot of a time as part of our customer service and as we do like to help people in obvious distress. After all it is Xmas, but obviously she wasn’t keen on the idea! Go figure.

    Oh yes, tis the season to be …on your guard. If you’ve heard of any other Christmas scams, please let me know.

  • CMYKhub installs five HP Indigos

    Biggest installation in Australia: CMYKhub CEO Trent Nankervis and communications manager Glen Francis at the Melbourne print hub with the B2HP Indigo 10000 and the HP Indigo 5600. National trade printing house CMYKhub has just installed five HP Indigo Digital Presses, the biggest order supplier Currie Group has received in the 17 years it has been supplying the presses.

    The five HP Indigo presses at CMYKhub join the four the company already has, and means that each CMYKhub has two HP Indigo, with the exception of Sydney, which has a B2 HP Indigo 10000 Digital Press.

    Melbourne also has a B2 HP Indigo 10000, the remaining seven are from the HP Indigo 5000 and 7000 range and include one in Melbourne, two in Brisbane, two in Perth, two in Brisbane and two in Cairns. The five presses just installed by Currie Group include an HP Indigo 7800, a 7600 and a trio of 7r digital presses.

    Trent Nankervis, CEO of the family owned CMYKhub says, “The quality of print on the HP Indigo is at a similar level to the offset print we get from our Komori and Ryobi UV offset presses, and this was key in opting for HP Indigo for our digital fleet.

    “CMYKhub is determined to offer its trade partners every possible advantage, which is why we have installed HP Indigo presses in each of our print hubs around the country, in fact most of them have two. HP Indigo offers offset quality, in short runs, with variable data and on demand printing.

    The quality of print we are achieving is high, on both coated and on uncoated stock, it is as vibrant as UV offset. We find toner sits on the sheet, where Indigo sinks into it, giving the quality. Just like offset HP Indigo prints to a blanket first then transfers onto the sheet, delivering a smooth dot.”

    “We first installed HP Indigo five years ago, and our experience since then with the printers and with the supplier Currie Group drove our decision to go with HP Indigo again for this major new investment.
    David Currie, executive chairman of supplier Currie Group says, “CMYKhub has been an HP Indigo user for many years, so it knows what it is getting, which is high quality print in a robust digital machine.

    “Everyone knows the commitment CMYKhub has to the market, to its customers, and its desire to provide them with the best print. The HP Indigo provides quality print on demand, in short runs with variable data if required. As a trade printer CMYKhub has to meet a wide range of requests from its clients, the HP Indigo is clearly a key part of its solution.”

    Trent Nankervis says, “We are also seeing a lot of demand in the market, particularly from the agencies our customers deal with, for print produced on HP Indigo, HP has done a great job in back selling the benefits of Indigo.”

    CMYKhub is the country’s largest trade printer, and the only one with manufacturing facilities in Vic, NSW, Qld and WA. It is now fully owned by the Nankervis family, one of the best-known print families in the country, with a serious pedigree in print won over decades.
    In addition to its digital printing the company has been investing strongly in UV offset presses over the past few years, the Vic hub has an eight-colour B1 Komori H-UV, with the other manufacturing sites in NSW, WA and Queensland running eight-colour A1 RMGT LED -UV 920 series presses, and another about to go in.

    The only exception is Far North Queensland, which has two HP Indigo presses to compliment its rollfed and flatbed wide format printers, but no longer runs offset. Nankervis says, “If we have a call for a long run job we will print it in Brisbane, but the HP Indigo presses up there print virtually everything our customers need, they do a terrific job. The market is really suited to HP Indigo, for instance there is lots of tourism print, and that print is produced in many different languages to accommodate the different visitor groups, which is ideal for Indigo.”

    “Part of our aim in installing digital print solutions was to be platform agnostic, so as far as the customer is concerned the result is the same with digital and offset, and we achieve that offset quality result with the HP Indigo. It is then a question of which is the most efficient to print, and that depends on factors such as run length, turnaround time, whether there is variable data.”

    The company has two B2 HP Indigo systems, one each for Melbourne and Sydney. Nankervis says, “The B2 sheet size gives us a serious point of difference in the digital short run, on demand market. We can produce digital products to the B2 space like A2 posters, landscape books, and presentation folders.”
    CMYKhub also runs a Scodix digital embellishing press in both Melbourne and Sydney (also supplied and serviced by Currie Group).

    Nankervis says, “The Indigo quality coupled with the range of embellishments the Scodix machine can produce, allows our resellers to create low cost, but high perceived value short run orders.”
    The CMYKhub Indigo and offset production is rounded out by a comprehensive roll-fed and flatbed wide format production suite in the eastern states, with WA completing its installation in January.
    CYMKhub now has a total of nine HP Indigo presses in its Australian network – by far the most of any local printer – and has had no trouble finding people to run the presses.

    Nankervis says, “When we put a new one in lots of people put their hands up to train on them. We have had offset guys, prepress people looking to upskill, even a couple of finishing staff.”
    “We print to satisfy requirements of resellers, so deadlines can’t be moved because of machine down time. With the HP Indigo we really appreciate the service, support and back-up we have from Currie Group. All the Indigo presses are also self-diagnosing, and we have a 24-hour hotline to HP Indigo in Israel if we need to talk to someone there.”

    David Currie says, “Currie Group is one of only two authorised HP Indigo trainers around the world. Thanks to the investment we have made we are able to train HP Indigo users around the country, both to operate the press and where appropriate to provide engineering input.”

    Trent Nankervis says, “Installing five HP Indigo presses in one swoop I think shows that we believe Indigo is now very much part of the CMYKhub value proposition. Our customers – printers around the country – need to know they will be receiving the highest quality print, and on time every time. With our UV offset presses and quality matching HP Indigo digital colour presses, I think we are showing the market that we are completely committed to achieving that.”

     

  • Graphic Grab Bag – personalised print problems & bring back our book awards

    Personalised digital communication has faced a long uphill battle to become accepted. Apart from bog standard utility and financial statements with names and addresses, the degree of personalisation has never matched digital print’s capacity to tailor make a true one-on-one communication.

    Part of the problem is the lack of knowledge from clients who don’t know what can be done, or the effectiveness of good personalised printing.

    According to the people at InfoTrends, much of the blame can be shafted home to procurement departments in large corporations, the very businesses that can make best use of the technology. In a report out this week, Pricing for Digital: Overcoming Obstacles on the Path to Profitable Pricing, they claim procurement departments are aggressively pursuing lower prices even as production costs (driven by consumer expectations for high quality, personalized, and secure communications) continue to climb.

    Many enterprises, particularly those with the greatest volume of transactional communications such as banks, health insurance and government, are only interested in transmitting their messages as cheaply, not as effectively, as possible.

    ________

    Signing off… the ten who turned up for the wake of The Galley Club last year; (left to right) Nicola Martin, Michael Schulz, Janis Griffith, Andy McCourt, Terry Flynn, Robert Stapleford, Chris Stevens, James Cryer, Glenn O’Connor and Patrick Howard.

    I was reminded by the announcement of the winners 2018 British Book Design & Production Awards, that we no longer have a local event. Ever since the Galley Club folded into oblivion last year, despite the herculean efforts of Michael Shultz, Australian designers, publishers and printers are without a means of peer recognition. It’s a shame.

    This year’s UK award for books produced locally goes to a volume entitled, That Book. The title is a collection of photographs, ephemera of US life in the 1970s. It’s filled with images, photographs, maps and words printed on papers, on films with die cut and throw outs and tip ons. The bewildering complex imposition arrangement had sections varying greatly from single pages upwards. Ludlow Bookbinders did the hard yards.

    There’s a wonderful sense of the globalisation of the publishing industry at the awards

    UK printers were named 28 times in the shortlists across all sections, behind China with 35 short listed titles and winners in seven categories. Italian companies won three sections outright with 21 shortlisted. There were also shortlisted entries from Germany, Latvia, Belgium (one winning), India, Thailand and Serbia.

    We need our book awards back.

    ________

    Reinforcing the fact that new technology rarely complete replaces what’s gone before, comes the release from Fujifilm the of the Instax Creative Kit! Just in time for summer holidays it’s a mini film camera for people who want to have printed pictures. Of course it comes in Flamingo Pink and Smoky Grey.

    My grand daughter has her entire bedroom walls almost covered in shiny little images from the HP Sprocket version.

    Away from the mini photos I’m told both Kodak and Agfa also have thriving businesses in one-off film cameras for tourists and special occasions. People like to have printed photos and we rarely go to the trouble of downloading them and taking them into a camera store.

    Me, I’m attached to my phone, but I do miss the printed-out photos.

    ________

    Christmas closure notices are coming in torrents. This year Friday 21 December is the popular shut down with reopening divided between those who come back around the 3rd or 4th and the rest who wait the full two weeks for Monday 7th January.

    Most printers, being SME family owned businesses are taking the full break. Here at Print21 we’re following suit.

    ________

    And finally… Did you hear about the vet who’s also a taxidermist? There was a sign outside his office. Either way, you get your dog back.

  • Print21 Breaking News! $21.6 million bribery fine. Wednesday 27 November 2018

    Corruption is never a acceptable way of doing business especially when it comes from trusted and prestigious organisations. Note Printing Australia and Securency were fined a massive $21.6 million for bribery and corruption. The case was dogged by bumbling and blunders by the regulators. It’s not good enough.

     

    Wane Robinson
    Editor

  • Graphics Grab – a tale of two magazines, Delicious and White Magazine

    Kerrie McCallum, Editor of Delicious.
    Photo: Ad News.

    The News Corp magazine, Delicious, was named the Magazine of the Year for 2018 last night. Editor Kerrie McCallum was named editor of the year and the designer, Hayley Incoll made it as designer of the year.

    According to an Ad News report, it secured both the top spot in monthly print while Delicious on Sunday tops the weekly print charts.

    Congratulations all around but it does bring into sharp relied the different methods of measuring readership.

    According to the Roy Morgan magazine readership figures Delicious slipped 15.7% to 306,000 readership in the year. On the other hand EMMA, the news media industry print readership survey, has the magazine over the year with an average readership per issue of 621,000.

    Meanwhile Delicious itself claims a total monthly reach of 628,000 for print.

    It’s to do with fusing online and print readership figures.

    ————

    In my understanding if there’s a mother lode of gold in Australian magazine publishing its’ the bridal industry magazines. Check them out in the newsagents. There are quite a number of them; Bride to Be, Modern Wedding, Luxury Weddings, The Knot, Cosmopolitan Bride Magazine, the list goes on. Generally they’re over 200 pages, packed with glossy colour and every page generates revenue.

    Final issue # 41

    But one of the most successful, White Magazine, has shut down after refusing the feature same-sex weddings. Targeted by LGBTIQ supporters on social media and abandoned by trade advertisers fearful of the impact, founders Luke and Carla Burrell, just couldn’t come to terms with the change.

    White Magazine is no longer economically viable,” they said in a blog post.

    ————

    After moving to Yaffa Media this year, I came across a treasure trove of bound volumes of Newspaper News, the forerunner of all the printing and advertising magazines. Back in 1929, under David Yaffa publisher, it featured ‘Latest development in the printing Arts’ as the main headline, reporting on the 8th International Printing and Allied Trades Exhibition held at Olympia London.

     

    Marvellous stuff. Among the many machinery manufacturers on show, few names remain. One that stands out is Heidelberg, which was selling its Automatic Platen. With a capacity of 3,000 foolscap sheets per hour, or 6,000 two-up for small jobs and envelopes, even then it was a very productive machine.

    Stay tuned for other items from these invaluable tomes.


     

  • Graphic Grab Bag – New Xerox and EFI CEOs face tough beginnings

    John Visentin

    New Xerox CEO John Visentin is coming face-to-face with the fact that the presses that come out of the US are less popular than the ones developed by Fuji Xerox in Japan. In his first presentation since taking the top job he reported that sales on the US-made iGen and Versant machines fell by 17%, while there was ‘better than anticipated demand’ for the Japanese-made Iridesse.

    His first quarterly figures were fairly dismal even as a New York court lifted the injunction against the two companies discussing their merger. Overall equipment revenue fell by 3.8% to US$511 million compared to $531 million 2017. Revenue for the quarter was 5.8% lower at $2.35 billion ($2.50 billion), delivering a pretax profit of $192 million ($167 million).

    Not surprisingly he wasn’t happy with the result. Addressing analysts he said, “We were disappointed in the revenue in Q3. We have an action plan to improve revenues that include, among other things, simplifying the organisational structure, improving alignment of compensation and evaluating contracts that are not profitable.”

    Reports are that part of the action plan includes reviewing the development of Xerox’s overall engagement with inkjet. “We are examining our RD&E investments in xerography and inkjet to ensure that we maintain technology leadership and that we have the best approach to realise the high rates of return that we require.”

    ––––––––

    There was a similar result, if a different problem, for another new CEO in his first Q3 presentation. Bill Muir of EFI also faced disappointing financial results, despite declaring record sales and record revenue of $257 million for the quarter. A combination of delays in shipping the new Vutek superwide-format hybrid printers plus a slump in sales of existing engines as customers hold off waiting for the new machines, saw the company report a pretax loss of $2.3 million.

    Add a drop in the rivers of gold that are the sales of ink due to a shortage and higher prices of essential photoinitiators from China and the outlook is challenging for the new boss who replaced long-term honcho Guy Gecht.

    The bright spot comes with growing sales of Nozomi, the high-end inkjet packaging press. Seven machines shipped in the quarter with eight more expected before the end of the year. Revenue targets for the Nozomi have been lifted from an expected $50 million a year to $65 million and likely to go as high as $70 million. Next year EFI is banking on $120 million from the Nozomi, mostly from equipment sales. This is set to grow even further as users hit optimum ink usage of between $500,000 to $1 million per machine.

    EFI is continuing to shift towards being an inkjet company: the industrial inkjet division has sales of $154.9 million up from $142.9 million, and software continues to grow to $40.4 million while the iconic Fiery RIP declines to $61.8 million.

    ––––––––

    There goes ‘the cheque’s in the mail’ excuse.

    Well OK, so few people mail cheques any more but for those that do a new innovation from the US Postal Service allows people to check if it the payment is indeed in the mail. Informed Delivery is a service where letters are scanned as they pass through the system and a greyscale image sent to the addressee.

    This means you can see what’s coming your way in the mail, even when you’re away on holidays.

    Users can get notifications through email, online dashboard or mobile app. They also have the ability to interact with digital content, such as special offers and related links. So far 13 million US Postal users have signed on to the free service.

    Next year users will be able to sign electronically for their deliveries when away from home.

    ––––––––

    Some marketing campaigns work while others crash and burn.

    The Epson sponsorship of the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport Team is one of the more successful. The team secured its fifth successive FIA Formula One World Constructors’ Championship bearing Epson logos on the winning car. The victory came on November 11 after drivers Lewis Hamilton, who won the race, and Valtteri Bottas, combined to outpoint their nearest rivals at the Brazil Grand Prix in Sao Paolo.

    “Everyone at Epson is delighted to see the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport Team win this year’s championship,” said Munenori Ando, executive officer and general administrative manager of Epson’s Sales & Marketing Division.

    And why am I telling you this?

    The genesis of Epson’s engagement with Formula One came from a certain innovative Australian marketer and long-term Japanese resident, Nathan Fulcher. Now back at the company’s North Ryde HQ, I’m sure he’s very pleased with the result.

    Congratulations.

    ––––––––

    And finally … I came across this laudatory paean of praise for books from astronomer Carl Sagan.

    What an astonishing thing a book is. It is a flat object made from a tree with flexible parts, on which are imprinted lots of funny dark squiggles. But one glance at it and you’re inside the mind of another person. […] Writing is perhaps the greatest of human inventions, binding together people who never knew each other, citizens of distant epochs. Books break the shackles of time. Books are proof that humans are capable of working magic.

     

     

  • 1st XMPie innovation event flies into Palm Cove

    Coding in the tropics; Enda Kavenagh & Ayelet Szabo-Melamed, at the XMPie Innovation event.

    An elite troupe of Israeli software engineers delivers two days of in-depth workflow and cross media presentations to local printers and coders at the inaugural XMPie regional innovation event.

    Hosted by Enda Kavanagh, Sales Manager – Asia Pacific at XMPie, the series of technical and commercial expositions drew more than 30 industry professionals to the far-north Queensland resort. Comprising a good mix of commercial printers, web professionals and software vendors, the occasion reinforced the company’s status as the leading multi-channel, automated marketing, web2print and VDP solutions supplier.

    The range of industry professionals emphasized the growing importance of software solutions to printing companies seeking to become multi channel providers. XMPie’s top technical and administrative team, led by vice presidents, Ayelet Szabo-Melamed and Idan Youval flew in to update their customer base on the latest developments and new products in the industry standard software.

    Addressing such topics as using XMPie server APIs, powering ecommerce operations and introducing uStore X, the sometimes deeply technical presentations were avidly attended and well received by the software community. Head of XMPie R&D, Yaron Tomer, made no bones about the company’s intention to collect feedback and expectations on the upcoming release of a new version of the web products uStore. He was not disappointed in the informed and enthusiastic engagement by the audience. Gathering customer feedback and input is a noted attribute of XMPie’s operations.

    According to Kavanagh, the response from the XMPie community was very encouraging for more local events in the future. “We’ve seen the numbers of customers attending the XMPie event in the US grow in the past few years. This is the first time we’ve held an event here and I’m very happy with the result,” he said.

    XMPie is a Xerox company with HQ in New York and R&D in Israel. Individuals from iconic digital graphics developer Scitex and EFI founded it in 2000. It provides a customer communications management suite (CCM), a scalable end-to-end Adobe with open architecture. It has become widely used among commercial printing enterprises in Australia as well as providing modules for such leading management workflow system developers as printIQ. Both Mick Rowan and Adrian Flemming from printIQ made a presentation at the event along with will Furphy of Technique.

    A full report on the XMPie Innovation event will feature in the upcoming issue of Print21 magazine.

    Between sessions at Palm Cove the Dashing Group mingled with the hosts, Yaron Tomer (XMPie) standing, Chris Collier,Dashing Group, Nimi Gorali, Dashing Group, Ayelet Szabo-Melamed (XMPie), Dan Ries, Dashing Group, Yaron Mohaban and Enda Kavanagh (XMPie).

     

     

     

  • Graphics Grab Bag – XMPie in Palm Cove

    This week Patrick Howard is at the XMPie Innovation Event in Palm Cove, Queensland. Here is an edited version of his scheduled presentation to the 70 industry professionals who attended.

    Hello, good to be here. Always a pleasure and an honour to meet with such a bunch of engaged professionals. I sat in on some of the coding sessions yesterday and understood not a word. But there was commitment and concentration in the audience. Very impressive.

    When Enda [Kavanagh] asked me a few days ago to talk to you today, he suggested a review of the local printing industry might be an appropriate topic. It’s a tall ask in the three minutes he gave me, but let’s see how we go.

    There is, of course, no single printing industry: there’s packaging print, signage print, labels, newspapers, books, catalogues and of course, general commercial printing. They’re all very different, and we in the industry are the only group that talks about printing. Everyone else talks about packaging, signage, labels, and newspapers, i.e. the products themselves.

    And despite predictions of the death of print, it’s not doom and gloom by any means. Most of these sectors are thriving and growing.

    • Packaging and labels are powering on with the growth in population and the arrival of digital printing.
    • Signage is still riding the wave of wide format inkjet, which for the past five years has resembled a boom in the number of machines purchased and installed.
    • Catalogues are at least stable if not growing, and still produced in huge numbers..

    However other sectors… newspapers, books and general commercial printing while still accounting for the largest market in terms of money and volume, are in decline. When I’m talking with paper merchants, they put the fall in the volume of printing papers at between 5 -10 per cent per year, and that’s been going on now for at least a decade.

    As most commercial printing is in the form of marketing collateral, the drop can be squarely attributed to the decisions made by the marketing community. This market is changing fast. John Wanless of Melbourne printing company, Bambra Press, tells me it’s changing by the month, sometimes by the week.

    Young marketers see print as yesterday’s technology. While we can still argue that print is a valuable element in marketing, we’re pushing uphill to convince them it’s anything more than an a campaign add on.

    Will it change? Can a push back succeed in the face of the overwhelming influence of online in every aspect of our lives? I doubt it.

    So what does this decline mean?

    In terms of printing businesses it means fewer and fewer, with more consolidation to come. It means less presses bought. Offset manufacturers are working hard but the market is drying up before their eyes. Digital is doing better, but the transition from offset is not growing the pie very much.

    The printing companies that are still out there are becoming more polarised between the very large, such as Blue Star in Sydney and, say, the Nankervis group in Melbourne, and the smaller ones, those with less than $10 million with less than $5 million turnover.

    Wayne Finkelde of ABB is on the acquisition trail. He tells me he’s looking to buy more print companies along the east coast but can’t find ones of the right size of around $20 million, to fit his purpose.

    At this rate it’s not unthinkable there’ll only be three or four large printing companies in both Melbourne and Sydney.

    Funnily enough, this was the rational behind the ill-fated Geon venture. Roy Mackenzie of private equity fund Gresham, told me so in the early days of his hectic ride. Roy, a tall Scottish bluey bloke was running two funds worth  $13 billion. I thought he knew what he was talking about, but I was wrong.

    “M’boy,” he said to me in the spectacular setting of his penthouse office on Macquarie Street with expansive harbour views all the way to the Heads. “M’boy,” he said, disregarding that I was his senior by at least 20 years, “I’m going to do to the printing industry what happened to video rentals. A few years ago there were Mum and Dad video stores on every corner. Then along came Video Ezy and Blockbuster and mopped them up.

    “That’s what we’re going to do to printing. In three to four years time there’ll be two or three big printers and that’ll be it.”

    Did I mention he was running $13 billion in funds? When I get there, I thought, I’ll tell him he’s insane. But then I held my tongue.

    As we all know, Geon went terribly wrong, but perhaps Roy wasn’t as crazy as I imagined; perhaps he was just ahead of his time.

    Will it happen? Will printing be shared between three or four large companies in Melbourne and Sydney?

    You’d have to say it’s on trend.

    But the production of print is only part of the story. Trade printers such as Whirlwind, CMYKhub, LEP, and Hero are enabling a very different kind of SME printing enterprise that can outsource its actual production. While battling rising prices in ink and paper, the trade printers appear to be in good health. Paper went up 20 per cent this year, with another 20 per cent due in January and yet another hike forecast for May next year. Ink is following suit, especially as more printers move to more expensive UV curing.

    This kind of printing enterprise is becoming more and more sophisticated. And that’s where XMPie comes in.

    Surviving print businesses, large and small, whether massive factories, production hubs or outsource portals, all rely on a ‘no touch’ model of production. Their goal is a hugely automated process to output as much as possible with as little labour input as possible.

    The much touted ‘dark’ printing shop is to all extents and purpose already here and the software and production management guys are the ones enabling it. XMPie is enabling it. And it’s a good thing.

    Yes, they’re putting lots of people out of work, which is inevitable, but they’ve an even greater challenge ahead; to put themselves out of work.

    The skills of the printing industry have long moved beyond craft. They’re now moving past assembly line manufacturing, no matter how productive, towards automation and robotics.

    The code writers are the power behind all of this. You are the geeks, if they’ll pardon me the expression, who have assembled at the XMPie Innovation Event in Palm Cove. You’re enabling a hugely productive, automated and largely robotic printing industry. This is the future and you are the masters of the universe.

    But some educators have a different take. They tell me there’s no point in teaching kids how to write computer code because in a few years time computers will be able to do it faster and much better. It means that these esoteric code jockey skills are set to become as redundant as those of the lithographers of old, the film setters, and the craft printers.

    What these futurists reckon kids need to learn now is how to live with accelerating change, how to navigate a future world where nothing is certain and the jobs that will be available are currently largely unimagined.

    And the best way to do that?

    Well, it seems the old philosophers had the answer all along.

    Kids today have to learn life skills, mostly around the ageless imperative to … Know Thyself.

    In an increasingly fluid and uncertain world, a firm sense of self is likely to be the main, possibly the only, constant in your life. And that’s the software code that really matters.

  • Graphics Grab Bag – goings on around the printing traps this week

    Adriano Gut shows off the swissQprint.

    Out this week to CMP, otherwise known as Clarke Murphy Print, in Chatswood to witness the performance of its latest swissQprint Nyala 3S flatbed printer. A relatively small turnout showed yet again how difficult it is to get industry people to attend events in Sydney. Which is a shame, because Adriano Gut, long term swissQprint product manager who spent years working with Phil Trumble’s Pozitive in Sydney, flew over from Switzerland to make the demonstration.

    Good to see him again and he confesses to still balancing hometown loyalties between there and Australia. He flies home today and I’m sure he spent his time productively meeting customers during the week.

    Full marks too for Ben Murphy who allowed Pozitive to hold the event at CMP’s premises. Normally he jealously guards what goes on inside the plant, and even on Tuesday we were allowed to see the signage section, but no more.


    Warren Davey

    Still on the Pozitive event at CPM, I met with Warren Davey who’s now the Melbourne representative of Phil Trumble’s business. I’ve known Warren for many’s a long and noted his progress through a succession of jobs and companies, including his own. No one knows the wide format sector better. He was last with Spicers in Dandenong but left last year in a downsizing before joining Pozitive in January.

    Goes to show that a good hand is never without good work. He tells me there’s another swissQprint Nyala 3S flatbed printer going into Melbourne in the near future.


    Lynette Vella and Geoff Power partners in Digital Graphix.

    And finally on the CMP event, I met two people who illustrated something I’ve known for a long time. For a start-up business, the best working model is a partnership. Lynette Vella and Geoff Power kicked off Digital Graphix sharing their talents and ambitions in the early years of the century. They bought the first swissQprint ever to go into Australia in 2012 and have expanded into not only printing but outfitting food franchises across Australia through their Showpiece Graphix. All in all a very successful business.

    But what struck me was the enthusiasm with which he spoke about the working partnership and the level of trust and support the partners give one another. Their two families also go on holidays together.

    It made me recall that to my knowledge one never has more than one business partner in their life. There’s something about the relationship that’s so special it can never be replicated.

    I’m be interested if anyone can let me know of a subsequent business partnership after the first one dissolves.

    Because never say never.


    For something completely different, if Shanghai can, why can’t we?

    Shanghai Telecom has announced the completion of its fiber network deployment program. The company now claims to lead the world by providing 10Gps throughout the citywide wireline broadband access network.

    This connects nearly 20,000 communities across the city, providing 10 million households with access to a 1Gps bandwidth connection

    Best speed I can discover from our NBN is 100Mps for the top price structure. Why they can do it and we can’t, I don’t know.

    To celebrate the rollout, Shanghai Telecom gave users the opportunity to nominate street and lanes that embody what they termed the history and characteristics of the renowned “City by the Sea”. One thousand streets and lanes were eventually selected to be printed on the specially designed, limited-edition cans. About 40 million internet users participated in the campaign.  

    _____

    And finally

    A man was found murdered in a bathtub full of milk mixed with corn flakes.

    The police are looking for a cereal killer.

     

  • 1st swissQprint Nyala 3S goes into CMP

    Celebrating the first swissQprint in Australia in 2012, Adriano Gut (left) and Phil Trumble (right) with Lynette Vella and Geoff Tower of Digital Graphix at the CMP open house yesterday.

    Full service Sydney printer steps up for its 5th flatbed machine, with another to come from the Swiss company after seeing it operate at FESPA.

    The normally private Clarke Murphy Print opened its signage division facility to allow Phil Trumble’s Pozitive, the local swissQprint agent, to host an open house where it could showcase the latest Nyala 3S to a select group of customers. The fastest flatbed ever to come from the highly regarded manufacturer was put through its paces by Adriano Gut, product manager, who made the trip from Switzerland.

    The Nyala 3S (the S stands for speed) is a single pass CMYK production unit with a top speed of 370 M2 in billboard mode on the 3.2 x 2 meter flatbed. The highly engineered machine has tandem print mode and an endless vacuum that eliminates masking on the table. According to Gut, who is well known to the local industry from his time with Pozitive, it’s very energy efficient – one hour’s operation uses the same power it takes to boil two kettles of water.

    Already up and running at CMP over long shifts, six days a week, the Nyala 3S produced a number of jobs in different speed modes during the demonstration, including four different sheet jobs, front and rear with zero down time. Trumble made the point that although jobs are often printed on large sheets, most are cut down to poster size. The endless vacuum makes sheetfed printing just as productive as roll to roll.

    swissQprint regards the new generation Nyala as a radically changed model even though it looks the same as those that came before. It has LED curing and a completely new wiring system for its electronics.

    “The Nyala 3S prints in a completely new way for us. We always focused on delivering the very highest quality and we had to convince management that a fast billboard mode was what the market also wanted,” said Gut. “It’s still high quality but it’s productive and very reliable at the highest speed.”

    He made the point that it’s ten years since the first hand-assembled swissQprint machine came from the factory. It took the company two and a half years to reach 100 installations. By the end of this year he expects 1,100 installs.

    Pozitive is the exclusive swissQprint agent in Australia for the six years since Geoff Tower and Lynette Vella, Digital Graphix, bought the first Impala here. It’s still running strongly at the Castle Hill plant. Both were at the open house yesterday at CMP and a beaming Tower reckons that first Impala, “made our business.”

     

  • Landa launches Nanography into China

    Getting the deal done: Michael Mogridge, GM Asia Pacific & Japan, Landa Digital Printing, Rich Wu, CTO ZRP Group, Yishai Amir, CEO Landa Digital Printing and Song Deng, Sales Manager, Greater China, Landa Digital Printing

    ZRP Printing Group, Zhongshan, is the seventh printer around the world to be confirmed for installation of a Nanographic digital press. The Chinese printer joins a growing list with four presses already installed; in Israel, Germany, Switzerland and the USA, along with announcements of the first UK and French customers.

    Local Australian and NZ printers who’ve signed letters of intent will have to wait until at least after drupa in 2020 before there’ll be one in our neck of the woods.

    To support the first Chinese installation Landa Corporation has opened an office in Guangzhou to service what it hopes will be one of its largest markets for the new inkjet technology.

    According to Michael Mogridge, Asia Pacific regional director, the move signifies the next stage in the ramp up of the company’s production. “It’s starting to pick up well. We’re taking it carefully, making sure it’s all deliverable. The print quality is fine; now we’re focusing on the dependability, like with any new technology,” he said.

    Landa is no different to other press manufacturers in focusing on the Chinese market. Mogridge confirmed the importance of the Chinese market to the company, especially for packaging. “Twenty years ago practically no Chinese women used cosmetics. Now over two hundred million do and there are two hundred more who want to.”

    He identifies a growing requirement for ‘green’ printing, especially for water-based ink, as a key driver in favour of Landa Nanography presses. There is increasing pressure on printing companies to clean up their processes if they want to remain in urban areas close to their customers.

    ZRP is a major packaging print provider with four plants throughout China.

     

  • Wayne Finkelde – the pragmatism of printing

    Determined: Wayne Finkelde

    Printing is a tough game, a hard fought competitive space with little room for dreamers. It is a manufacturing and service industry under pressure of consolidation as printers battle for a share of a decreasing pie.

    No-one understands the fierce dynamics of the printing hierarchy better than Wayne Finkelde, CEO of AAB Holdings, owner of several leading print business. He knows there is only so much room at the top, and he is determined to be in the winner’s circle.

    Read Patrick Howard’s absorbing interview with Wayne Finkelde in the laest issue of Print21, which has just hit your desks, or click here to read online.

  • Graphics Grab Bag – goings on around the printing traps this week

    The publishing date of a magazine is always an occasion of heightened expectation, especially for the people who appear in its pages either as subjects or as advertisers. The arrival of the printed copy is an affirmation of print’s undeniable physical presence, real world solidity in a universe of ephemeral tweets and twitters.

    The latest issue of Print21 is a cracker, even if I do say so myself. Packed full of good information, personality and news of the industry on both sides of the Tasman Sea, its arrival is a worthwhile occasion to brew a cuppa, close the office door and take a few minutes to enjoy being part of the huge world of printing.

    Which is why it’s so frustrating when Australia Post, the sole monopoly provider fails to perform its part. Print Post is the publication service for magazines. Like everything else now there are two levels of service, Standard and Priority. Unfortunately it seems as though Australia Post takes the Standard service as an excuse to leave pallets of magazines sitting on the warehouse floor for as long as they feel like.

    And that’s my whinge for the week.

    _____________

    Speaking of postal services, I see the US Post wants to raise its mailing services product prices by approximately 2.5 percent from January next year. The new prices will include a five-cent increase in the price of a first-class mail stamp from 50 cents to 55 cents. That’s about half what it costs us to post a letter in Australia.

    Blowing its on trumpet US Post adds, that … The Postal Service has some of the lowest letter mail postage rates in the industrialized world and also continues to offer a great value in shipping. Unlike some other shippers, the Postal Service does not add surcharges for fuel, residential delivery, or regular Saturday or holiday season delivery. It receives no tax dollars for operating expenses and relies on the sale of postage, products, and services to fund its operations.

    Christine Holgate, CEO of Australia Post.

    The Postal Service made $1.4 billion profit and $522 million in ‘controllable income’ in the first quarter last year. The difference is that one figure includes workers pension scheme and the other doesn’t. The $1.4 billion number was in the primary earnings table provided by the USPS to the Postal Regulatory Commission, while the $522 million figure was included in the footnotes of the report. Either way, it proves there’s money to be made in postal services, even as ‘granny mail’ declines.

    Australia Post under its new CEO, Christine Holgate, this year posts a full-year after tax profit of $134 million, up 41 per cent. This is despite an 11 per cent decline in letters volume that was offset by parcel growth up 10 per cent.

    _____________

    The deal is going down at Xerox in the USA. Not only have the private investors repudiated the merger with Fujifilm they’ve now made good on their promise, or threat, to return 50 per cent of what they term ‘free cash flow’ to the shareholders. The company, which was on its knees only last year, has declared a quarterly cash dividend of $0.25 per share on Xerox common stock as well as a quarterly cash dividend of $20 per share on the outstanding Xerox Series B Convertible Perpetual Preferred Stock. Under CEO John Visentin, it clocked up a 5.8 per cent fall in revenue to US2.4 billion. Earnings per share took a hit too but luckily the ‘free cash flow’ went up by $157 m to $251 m. Mind you in a footnote the report says … * Prior year cash flow compares adjusted to exclude incremental pension contribution of $500M and to include deferred proceeds and beneficial interest from sales of receivables within working capital. So really, who knows?

    Finally Xerox is declaring financing debt at $3.4 billion, which includes leasing of equipment, as well as unfunded pension costs of $1.4 billion. So that’s all right then.

    _____________

    Meanwhile, I understand the rift between Xerox and Fujifilm is so deep – the two are heading to court in the US to sort out a case that’s likely to last for generations – that personnel are not allowed to communicate with their counterparts across the Pacific. It’s slowly edging towards all out war with both companies threatening to sell directly in to the others territory.

    _____________

    In North America, OKI Data has issued a warning that people are trying sell ‘clone printers’ into the market.  I hasten to add there are no reports of the same thing happening here.

    The company warns that the ‘clones’ are not covered by warranties, not eligible for OKI service and will not receive firmware or driver updates. It seems the motive is that the counterfeiters are altering the machines in order to use ‘white toner.’ OKI says these companies are not “partners” and have no business relationship with us.

     _____________

    Then there was the guy who turned 80 and the nursing home threw a party. Up walked a gorgeous woman and offered him some super sex as a birthday present.

    He thought for a moment.

    “I’ll take the soup,” he said.