Author Archive

  • Exclusive: Whirlwind blows out as CMYKhub steps in

    Sold: Andrew Cester sells Whirlwind assets to CMYKhub

    The country’s largest trade printer CMYKhub is buying the assets of rival Whirlwind, as industry consolidation continues apace.

     Speaking to Print21 this morning, CMYKhub managing director Trent Nankervis said, “Whirlwind managing director Andrew Cester and I have been talking for five years. He is a friend. The family values of Whirlwind match those of CMYKhub.

    “We are growing at ten per cent a year. It is a great fit.”

    Buying: Trent Nankervis, CMYKhub

    Nankervis has just secured a lease on the Whirlwind building in Knoxfield, which will continue as a production centre. Staffing has yet to be worked through, as has the position of Andrew Cester. Nankervis said, “Andrew would be a great asset to the business. We expect some synergies in the back office. With our growth I am always looking for good staff.”

    Nankervis was on his way to the Knoxfield site to meet staff this morning.

    The deal does not include the Sydney arm of Whirlwind, which was Lindsay Yates before Whirlwind bought it from Paul Richardson and David Shoppe 20 months ago, with the aim of it becoming Sydney’s leading high end printer. It was converted into a digital hub a year later, with the offset kit including a B1 Heidelberg moving down to the Whirlwind centre in Knoxfield to join the two Komori multi-unit perfecting presses on the site, which also houses the country’s first MGI JetVarnish digital embellishing system.

    Whirlwind was established by the Cester family in 1998 out of its design business, and grew to become a leading trade printer, developing its own web-to-print system. In 2004 it was ranked as one of the country’s top 50 fastest growing businesses. In 2015 it reached the million jobs milestone.

  • Hannans to up stake in Ovato

                    Ovato: new share offer to raise $15.5m

    The Hannan family is increasing its stake in the country’s biggest printer Ovato (formerly PMP) as the company offered its shareholders new stock in a $15.5m cash raising bid.

    Existing Ovato shareholders were offered one new share for every 2.3 they currently hold. The Hannans underwrote the offering, and are buying shares not taken up by institutional investors, who took 59 per cent of those on offer.

    The family currently owns 40.3 per cent of the business. Each of the directors who hold shares in Ovato and the CEO Kevin Slaven took up up their full entitlements.

    Michael Hannan, James Hannan, Lindsay Hannan, Sayman Pty Ltd in its capacity as trustee of the Lindsay Hannan Family Trust, Adrian O’Connor, and Richard O’Connor (the Hannan Family) currently have a relevant interest of 40.36 per cent in the company between them.

    The raising comes against a background of a steep drop in revenue in the current financial year, with the company telling investors it now expects sales to be down by around 12 per cent on the previous year.

    The company is seeking the $15.5m to strengthen its balance sheet, and accelerate the work on its supersite in Warwick Farm, which is due to receive its new 80pp manroland Lithoman over winter.

    Ovato is blaming the election for softer retail spend, plus the sharing of print between Nine (Fairfax) and News Corp, and price cutting in New Zealand, as reasons for the falling sales. Its full year EBITDA is likely to be down by $7m, in latest forecasts to around $30m-$33m.

    Ovato placed its shares in a trading halt while it placed the offer, which equates to one new share for every 2.3 already owned at 7c.

    Shares in the business, which was PMP before its rebrand earlier this year, have plummeted over the past 18 months, losing 90 per cent of their value. The Hannan family company IPMG merged with PMP two years ago, with the Hannans becoming the largest shareholders.

  • PIAA back to work with govt on fivefold target

    Lobbying: Andrew Macaulay with prime minister, Scott Morrison prior to his re-election

    Printing Industries Association of Australia (PIAA) is congratulating the government on its surprise re-election, and is set to continue its lobbying on five fronts.

    PIAA had issued warnings against a Labor government, believing its policies on industrial relations, particularly a much higher minimum wage and the double dipping of casuals, would damage print businsses.

    The PIAA has been strongly lobbying the government for the past three years on behalf of the printing, packaging and visual communications sector, which is the country’s biggest manufacturing sector. CEO Andrew Macaulay and president Walter Kuhn in particular have been regular visitors to the corridors of power in Canberra.

    In particular, PIAA will be lobbying the new government on five main fronts. It is talking to the minister for jobs and industrial relations for an increase in the definition of a small business employer from 15 to 25 employees by headcount. It is seeking to get a reduction in the burden of red tape on small business from the minister for small and family business.

    It is also pressing the federal treasurer for a a simplified tax system for small business, and continues to work for secure funding for apprenticeships and traineeships across the sector from the minister for skills and vocational education.

    Finally, it is pressing the government for secure, stable, reliable and cheap energy for industry, through the minister for energy.

    Andrew Macaulay, PIAA CEO said, “We look forward to continued open dialogue and to further strengthen our working relationship with both the government and the opposition. We want to work with the government and the parliament to make Australia the best place in the world to do business, so Australians can have the jobs, living standards and opportunities to which they aspire.”

  • Mezographic signs for new €3/4m Durst

    Its a deal: Frank Mezo (left) with Matt Ashman (centre) and Christoph Gamper, CEO, Durst

    Mezographic has ordered a new Durst flatbed digital UV printer in a 750,000 deal inked at Fespa in Munich.

    It will arrive in Australia in August, where it will go on display at PrintEx before being installed in the Mezographic production centre in Dandenong in Melbourne’s south east.

    Speaking to Print21 at Fespa, company owner Frank Mezo said, “It is our second Durst, we have bought it for the versatility and quality. I saw it last year when I visited Durst to have a look at another model, and knew that this was the machine for us.”

    The new P5 250hs is the flagship of the Durst range, targeted at mid to high end users, and designed to print POS on a range of media. It will pump out 600sqm an hour.

    Matt Ashman, sales manager for Durst in Australia said, “Mezographic is one of the leading display print business in Australia. It is always pleasing when a printer of its calilbre buys a second Durst. The new P5 250hs will do a tremendous job for Mezographic.”

  • Permark takes Fespa gold award, Seen double silver

    Gold: Permark’s hospital bed controller wins in the Fespa functional printing category

    Auckland printer Permark took gold in the global Fespa awards for its screen printed hospital bed controller, while Seen Technology took two silvers, and Cactus Imaging won a bronze.

    The Permark entry was screen printed on a Thieme press. Permark said, “This product was the result of two years of development and prototyping with the client. The product has been in production for eight months, the client is pleased, and orders are increasing.” Permark is currently producing about 100 a month.

    The job is a reverse screen printed polyester, which has been embossed and laminated to a multi-layer membrane switch. Its fine pitch conductive traces are over-printed with graphite in tight register.

    Seen Technology took silvers in the direct printing on 3D products category, and for non-printed signage. The 3D award was for its Australia Post stamps job, printed with 3D resin, and flatbed digital on a Mimaki UV printer.

    Silver: Seen Technologies job for Australia Post

    Seen has a Massivit 1800 3D printer which produced the non-printed signage silver winner, a reproduction of an Australian icon: the FJ Plus 8 man and 3D fabricated text first installed in the 1940s at the famous Fletcher Jones Factory in Pleasant Hill Warnambool Victoria.

    Cactus Imaging took bronze for what is Australia’s largest building wrap, the Amex 101m x 21m at Sydney Airport car park. The image was printed in five metre widths on the Fujifilm at Cactus, and welded together to make three pieces of 34m wide. Zippers were then sewn in for ease of installation.

    Bronze: The Cactus Amex job at Sydney Airport

    The Fespa Awards saw India head the gold winners list with four printers picking up top gongs from the 13 available, with two companies from Russia and two from Switzerland also collecting gold. The Fespa 2019 Best in Show went to UK outfit VGL, for posters produced in the digital category.


  • Print21 Issue 1106: WEEKEND FESPA SPECIAL

    The outcome of the election will have a real effect on print businesses. The two main parties have different policies on wages, energy, industrial relations and training. And whoever wins will be governing in an increasingly volatile world. Make your vote count.


    Fespa this week has been instructive. The technology developers are pouring money into print. Opportunities are emerging in new markets for print business owners who can leverage their existing skill sets.


    Welcome to the ANZ print industry’s online news bulletin, brought to you by Print21 – the people who know print.


    Wayne Robinson
    – Editor

  • Fespa Live Day 3: Ricoh launches roll-to-roll, flatbed, and DTG

    Appearing at its fourth Fespa, imaging giant Ricoh launched new roll to roll printers, a new UV flatbed printer, and a new direct to garment printer.

    Ricoh’s new Pro TF6250 UV flatbed printer is a smaller version of its first flatbed launched last year, at 2.5 x 1.3m.  Graham Kennedy at Ricoh said, “It leverages our powerful print heads with drop on demand technology to deliver versatility and productivity in equal measure.”‘

    The latest addition to Ricoh’s large format printing portfolio for sign and display applications is the new Pro L5100 Latex Series, whihc comes in two formats: CMYK x two and CMYK plus white. The three Gen 5 printheads will pump out 46sqm an hour.

    The direct to garment range has been expanded with the new Ri1000, which joins the Ri100 and the Ri6000. The Ri1000 uses a magnetic system on the platen, meaning garment loading is ultra quick. It comes in CMYK plus white.

    Kennedy said, “Ricoh is using its core competencies of printhead technology and inks to provide a range of productive technologies for a variety of applications.”

    The company acquired ColorGate last year, and now has the software integrating with all Ricoh technology and that of others. Kennedy told Print21, “Our software will also enable colour fidelity across a range of products irrespective of technology, ink type, or media, which is key to brands.”

  • Fespa Live Day 3: Océ launches new Colorado

    Océ has launched the Colorado 1650 roll-to-roll printer, expanding the application capabilities of its growing UVgel wide-format family.

    The Océ Colorado 1650 can cure prints with both matt and gloss finishes, and can lay down gloss on a matte stock and matte on a gloss stock. It has the same productivity and image quality as the 1640, printing at 159sqm an hour and 1,800dpi.

    Dale Hawkins, marketing manager at Oce ANZ said, “The new Colorado 1650 is designed for print business that are working with a lot of SAV, the flexible ink in particular supporting that media.”

    The 1650 is a four-colour, 1.6m-wide device which makes use of Canon’s exclusive UVgel ink technology. It joins the Colorado 1640 launched two years ago, and differs from it in having a more flexible version of its UVgel ink, which the company says increases the ‘stretchability’ to 85 per cent compared with 15 per cent on the 1640. Oce says this opens up additional applications such as soft signage, vinyls, and canvasses.

    The new Colorado 1650 also has a new curing system, FLXfinish LED, which enables users to automatically switch between matt and gloss finish without changing inks or substrate. Océ says this is aimed at high quality indoor and high impact indoor/outdoor applications respectively.

    Océ said the new version came from customer feedback after the 1640 hit the market – there are 800 now installed – and perceived four key pillars on which to build: productivity, automation, cost of ownership, and media versatility.

    According to the manufacturer, the four-colour configuration of the Colorado with UVgel inks can achieve the same colour range as rival technologies that require additional inks and spot colours, minimising ink wastage and cost of ownership.

  • Fespa Live Day 3: Mega trends converging for Kornit

    Kornit CEO Ronen Samuel says four mega trends are converging for commercial printers to exploit with the range of Kornit textile printers, three of which were on show at Fespa.

    According to Samuel, personal expression, social media influencers, booming e-commerce, and sustainability mean that digital garment printing is set for surging growth over the coming years. Speaking to Print21 this morning, he said, “These mega trends will stay with us for a long time, and are accelerating – they are not the come and go type of trends. Together with the advent of Kornit direct to garment technology, they represent a perfect storm to enable print businesses to ride these trends successfully.

    “For commercial printers, direct to garment with digital printing represents a great opportunity to get away from low margin commodity print and into a sector with huge growth. And we are never going to not need clothes,” he said.

    On its booth were the Kornit Atlas and the Kornit Avalanche Poly Pro. The technology was complemented by a Kornit Storm HD6, a direct-to-fabric sample area featuring prints from Kornit’s upcoming Presto system, and an installation of Colorgate’s Textile Production Server for Kornit.

    The Kornit Atlas is a heavy-duty system created for super-industrial garment decoration businesses. It is designed to deliver a typical annual production capacity of up to 350,000 impressions, optimising production efficiency and cost of ownership. The Kornit Atlas is aimed at highly productive garment decorators, mid to large size screen printers, and innovative businesses looking to combine state-of-the art technology with lowest cost of ownership; this makes it easier than ever to address the requirements of leading and mid-sized brands, as well as new generation digital brands. The Kornit Atlas uses water-based Kornit NeoPigmentT Eco-Rapid Inks which are eco-friendly, GOTS approved and OEKOTX certified, and serve as the main driver of the retail quality prints.

    The Kornit Avalanche Poly Pro features the company’s NeoPolyT Technology, the industry’s first digital, industrial process for high-quality printing on polyester. Polyester is the second largest category in the overall T-shirt market, it is key in the sport segment, and is growing in the athleisure and functional apparel segments. Currently polyester is printed predominantly by analog solutions, which creates major technological, cost and sustainability challenges.

    The new Kornit NeoPoly Technology addresses these challenges with a new process and ink set implemented in the renowned Kornit NeoPigment process. Kornit says its new process handles polyester applications without compromising on design, run size, substrate or labour.

    In the direct-to-fabric section of the booth, the company showed samples from the new Kornit Presto, the only industrial single-step solution for direct-to-fabric printing. The Kornit Presto solution eliminates the need for pre and post treatment of fabric and allows for high-quality printing on an extraordinarily broad variety of fabric types and applications. The Kornit Presto does not consume water in the printing process, with the company claiming it is the most environmentally friendly solution available for direct-to-fabric textile printing today.

  • Fespa Live Day 3: Esko launches cutting upgrades

    Esko is launching two new hardware solutions at Fespa: the Motorised Roll Feeder for soft signage applications, and the Kongsberg C Edge, the upgradable digital cutting table.

    The latest version of its integrated software range, Esko Software Platform 18.1, is also on show.

    The new hardware comes as Esko recognises that sign and display producers today require more flexibility, efficiency and accuracy in operations. Russell Weller, Esko product manager, said: “These latest launches at Fespa demonstrate our commitment to innovation in hardware and software, enabling our customers to unlock long term production flexibility and profitability.”

    Esko claims the Motorised Roll Feeder is the only solution in the soft signage industry that delivers great cutting results on tensile materials from the first cut through to the end of the roll. Eliminating inaccurate cuts on soft signage jobs due to wrinkles, stretch distortion or imperfectly rewound rolls, the new Motorised Roll Feeder incorporates an active material feed to avoid stretch, by actively feeding the material to the Kongsberg C64 digital cutting table rather than pulling it.

    The new upgradable Kongsberg C Edge delivers production capability of up to 75m/min at an acceleration of 1G. The table is complemented with a range of customizable fittings, including a conveyor feed system, a new Fast Tool Adapter which Esko says is to reduce downtime and maximise performance, a heavy-duty unit for high quality corrugated crease lines, and the CorruSpeed tool, a non-oscillating device for high quality cutting even at high production speeds.

    Weller added: “At Esko, we believe in connecting from design to finish to boost our customers’ productivity and efficiency. At Fespa we are demonstrating our latest hardware innovations backed by our comprehensive portfolio of software solutions including ArtiosCAD 3D constructional design software, iCut Suite for sign print finishing and shape nesting, Device Manager for job management optimisation, and Automation Engine, our prepress workflow automation software.”

  • Fespa Live Day 3: 450sqm/h Jeti Tauro centre stage at Agfa

    Centre stage: Jeti Tauro at Agfa

    Centre stage at Agfa is the Jeti Tauro H3300 LED hybrid printer, which is running with manual input and output tables at 450sqm an hour.

    The 3.3m-wide machine is available as a roll-to-roll system or with manual loading and unloading, semi-automation or full automation.

    Described by the company as a “hybrid workhorse combining award-winning vivid six-colour print quality (plus white or primer) with extreme productivity, low ink consumption and automation, it produces smooth, detailed UV-cured prints up to 3.3m wide at up to 453 sqm an hour.”

    The Jeti Tauro H3000 is available in three colour configurations: the six-colour (CMYK, light cyan, light magenta) Jeti Tauro H3300 LED 6C, the six-colour-plus-white Jeti Tauro H3300 LED 6C W12, and the six-colour-plus-white and primer Jeti Tauro H3300 LED 6C W8P4.

    Agfa is also showing its 3.2m-wide Anapurna H3200 LED hybrid printer, a mid-range six-colour plus white hybrid LED-curing inkjet system, suited for a variety of rigid and flexible substrates up to 3.2m, for indoor and outdoor applications. Agfa also has the latest version of its Asanti workflow tool.

  • Fespa Live Day 3: Weiszberger to bring textured print to Australia

    Textured printing: Abe Weiszberger (r) with Dimense CEO Arkadj Bliumin

    Abe Weiszberger, managing director of Stick on Signs, has signed a deal to bring the Dimense textured printer to Australia, with the Latvian manufactured machine expected to begin shipping at the turn of the year.

    The Dimense prints and textures in one pass, onto a range of matte, gold, pearlescent, suede and silver stocks, giving a raised effect to the print.

    Weiszberger – who also imports the Massivit 3D printer – said, “This is something different to run of the mill large format printing. It has multiple applications in feature walls, children’s bedrooms, corporate office space.

    “It is a water based latex system which is PVC free, effectively a green printing method.”

  • Print21 Issue 1105: Fespa Day 2 Special

    Having all your eggs in one basket can be tricky. Cactus was 90 per cent billboards, until the owners decided on a strategy of diversification and automation. Today its eggs are spread across multiple baskets, a much better situation. Diversification is one of the main themes of Fespa this year.


    Welcome to this special Print21 newsletter for the ANZ print industries, from the giant Fespa show in Munich, brought to you by Print21 – the people who know print.


    Wayne Robinson
    – Editor

  • Fespa Live Day 2: Ferrel says automate and diversify

    Diversify and automate: Keith Ferrel at Fespa

    General manager at Cactus Imaging Keith Ferrel was one of the select number of presenters at the Fespa Theatre, and told his audience that diversification and automation were essential for business growth.

    Ferrel said that the company was a 90 per cent billboard printer before it decided to diversify. He said, “We moved into building wraps, transit, events, retail, and construction. We bought the best equipment to do this.”

    He also said the company had responded to changing situations around it: for instance, the legislative requirement for buildings under construction or renovation to have mesh wraps around them.

    Ferrel also said Cactus had invested in highly automated finishing technology which had slashed turnaround times, as part of its strategy of investing in automation.

    He told the audience that the company had also developed a whole new product, Cactus Gold, which provided extra care and generated extra revenue.

    The threat of digital signage is real but can be met with “speed, speed and speed”, he said, pointing to the fact that while 54 per cent of outdoor media spend was now with digital, the rapid increase in print changeovers from two a year to the current 14 a year, with higher numbers on the horizon, meant more print.

  • Fespa Live Day 2: Mutoh reorients to meet market

    General manager of Mutoh Australia Russell Cavenagh says Fespa marks a new phase in the renowned Japanese engineering company, as it focuses on becoming a market driven operation.

    Cavenagh said that Mutoh is looking at where markets are opening and developing solutions. “From Mutoh, UV is now available in small format, roll to roll and large format flatbed. It has no VOC, no odour, and is good to work with,” he said.

    Mutoh is also offering a new resin based ink, MP31, which for a water-based ink offers long outdoor life, two phrases that Russell said “did not usually go together”, but in this case do. MP31 shows the characteristic of the substrate.

    In textile printing, Mutoh has both direct to garment and dye sublimation systems, with its ValueJet 1948WX on show able to print 125sqm an hour of dye sub paper. Mutoh is also showing its ValueJet 1938TX DTG printer. Cavenagh said, “Textiles is a growth opportunity, and Mutoh has solutions for whatever appraoch a printer wants to take.”

    Launched on the stand at Fespa is the new flatbed UV PerformanceJet, the name marking a departure for Mutoh from its standard ValueJet moniker. The new flatbed comes with a 2540x1250mm bed, its four heads scalable up to six. It is able to print 30sqm an hour, with text sizes as low as 5pt.

  • Fespa Live Day 2: Durst moves to P5 platform

    Durst is moving to a new print platform, the P5, which includes hardware and software, plus a white label web-to-print textile solution that print businesses can use.

    New platform: Durst launches P5

    The P5 includes a trio of new wide format printers: the flagship 250HS, and the hybrid 350 and 250. Also new is the Durst workflow software which includes Durst Smartshop ecommerce for B2B and B2C engagement. It includes an online editor, and is described by the company as an immersive customer experience.

    Matt Ashman, national sales manager at Durst’s ANZ supplier PES said, “The P5 is designed to increase speed, productivity and versatility. It is a whole new ecosystem.”

    The P5 series is based around a smaller ink droplet size, and comes with new LED curing for low energy costs. The flagship P5 250 HS pumps out up to 600sqm an hour at 1200dpi. The P5 210 is the entry level machine with a capability of around 120sqm an hour. The P5 350 is a 3.5m printer which is both roll to roll and flatbed.

    Ashman said, “One of the key benefits of the new P5 series is the ink purging, which is just once a week. The printers are aimed at high volume businesses and those with aspirations.”

    Durst is also about to launch a new textile printer, the Alpha, which comes with no need for a calender system. Ashman said, “It will print 600sqm an hour of high quality pigmented ink. Textile printing is ready for take off in Australia, and the Alpha is a great means for entrepreneurial printers to exploit that market.”

  • Fespa Live Day 2: swissQprint launches Karibu roll-to-roll

    Swiss technology developer swissQprint has launched Karibu, its first roll-to-roll printer, which local supplier Phil Trumble of Pozitive says will provide flexibility and quality to print businesses.

    Trumble says the new 3.4m Karibu has been designed to offer something new in the market, he said, “We could not just come in with the something that was the same as everything else. The new Karibu has some great innovation, for instance the cassette feeding system, which reduces media changeover time from 15 minutes to 3-4 minutes.

    “The Karibu also has a system for printing mesh which means that there is no cleaning necessary afterwards. It has on-the-spot inspection of backlits, and dual roll printing. Some are simple features, like the light indicating progress bar, so the operator can see how the print is going from anywhere in the factory.”

    The company has developed an ink set specifically for the new Karibu. The cured ink has a flexibility to ensure suitablity for all media. The inks are NVC free and Greenguard certified.

    Trumble said, “Karibu will be welcomed by print businesses who want quality for backlits, fabrics, day nights and the like, and by those who want versatility. It will print on a wide range of media; in fact, more than a hundred media have already been certified for the Karibu. All this of course with the reliability for which Swiss engineering is recognised.”