Author Archive

  • Print21 newsletter – Issue 1061 WEEKEND SPECIAL

    As the world moves into what was once the realm of sci-fi, robots are beginning to enter the printing industry. I have been to two modern plants recently where robots are performing great jobs on what was previously repetitive backbreaking work prone to mistakes. Great to see on many levels – are you considering them?


    Welcome to the Print21 weekend newsletter, from the team at Print21, the people who know print.


    Wayne Robinson
    – Editor


  • Scott invests in Iridesse from Fuji Xerox

    With the new Fuji Xerox Iridesse: (l-r) Murray Scott, John Scott, Tim Scott

    Multi-award winning WA print business Scott Print has invested in a new Fuji Xerox Iridesse, the six-unit digital colour print solution.

    With two Fuji Xerox Colour 1000s, two Xerox (monochrome) Nuvera, and a Fuji Xerox Versant, the business is well versed in digital printing, and the digital printing market. As the digital business sees continuing growth, Scott Print was looking to make the next step and was keen to be able to offer a point of differentiation to the market adding to its bottom line.

    Joint general manager John Scott says, “Scott Print is a progressive business, we work hard to evolve and to make sure we are positioned to capitalise on emerging opportunities in markets and technology.”

    The Iridesse – launched a year ago by Fuji Xerox – is far from a standard digital print engine, for a start it has six print units which accommodate CMYK plus any two from the quartet of metallic silver, metallic gold, white and clear varnish. It also has an ability to print on thicker stock and can print sheets up to 1.2m long.

    Scott says, “The Iridesse was appealing to us as it offers options that are not available on other systems. Being able to print 400gsm card is good, especially for applications such as business card printing. The long sheet ability means we can print 1.2 metre banners, but it is also good for multiple other applications, including book jackets, particularly for A4 landscape books.

    “The quality is outstanding. Scott Print was first an offset printer, and there is no doubt at all that the Iridesse prints to offset quality. In fact, the look is really similar to the way our Komori H-UV presses print.”

    Although Scott print already has five Fuji Xerox printers that did not mean the Iridesse was a done deal before it started. Scott says, “We did of course look at other systems, but the Iridesse just had options that we could see would work for our clients. And having all our presses from one supplier is undoubtedly useful, one supplier is one point of contact.”

    Scott Print bought Fineline Printing a year ago, and it too was a Fuji Xerox house, printing in monochrome. Scott says, “Like us they had a positive experience with Fuji Xerox.”

    The new Iridesse was installed in August this year, with Scott Print now fully up to speed on its capabilities. John Scott says, “The Iridesse has surpassed my expectations, in quality, flexibility and productivity. Its ability to print white ink is important to us, particularly for clients in the marketing and advertising agency sector, who really embrace printing on black stock and other coloured stock, it gives them an ability to create a perception of high quality. We thought the demand would be there for it, and so it has proved.”

    “The gold and silver that the Iridesse lays down is sparkling, a real bonus, and again is being warmly embraced by the market, the creatives are all looking to set their work apart, and when we communicate the ability of the Iridesse to them you can see their excitement. All these options on the Iridesse are available within one pass, which meets their need for speed of turnaround. Our clients are really happy with the investment we have made, which you can see by how busy the printer is.”

    Along with the Iridesse, Scott Print also invested in the Fuji Xerox Freeflow Core digital workflow solution and XMPie, which has seen all its digital presses go onto the one central network. Prior to that the printers all operated through their individual Fiery rips. John Scott says, “The level of automation that we have been able to achieve through Freeflow has blown our socks off. Impositions, finishing, it is all now controlled by Freeflow. We have the Duplo finishing solution, the set-up is created in Freeflow. The workflow is a revelation.”


  • Fujifilm to show Acuity Ultra at Cactus

    Fujifilm Acuity Ultra: Launch event at Cactus Open House November 29

    Printers will be able to see the new Fuijfilm Acuity Ultra in action the week after next, as the supplier and the SGIAA host an Open House at first Australian customer Cactus Imaging.

    Owned by oOh!Media, Cactus specialises in out of home advertising, commercial print, retail, and events. Visitors will see state of the art roll to roll digital printing, and the CPS workflow system, along with the latest innovations in banner finishing.

    The event will be the Australian launch of the new Fujifilm Acuity Ultra large format printer, with all printers invited. Cactus general manager Keith Ferrel says, “We have one of the first in the world, we could not be happier with the quality.”

    Ashley Playford, national sales manager Graphic Systems says, “We were delighted when Cactus decided to be the first business in Australia to install the new Acuity Ultra. Cactus has a long pedigree of being first to market with the latest print innovations, and the Acuity Ultra is a great addition to its already impressive print arsenal.

    “We are looking forward to showcasing the exceptional print quality the Ultra delivers at the Open House. This is a platform that delivers high quality at high speed.”

    The Acuity Ultra comes in 5 metre and 3.2 metre widths, with up to eight colour channels, including white. Ink is a new low film weight Uvijet GS Fujifilm product. Drop size is 3 picolitre, which Fujifilm says delivers the highest quality. It will print at up to 236sqm an hour.

    SGIAA president Nigel Davies says, “An Open House of a plant such as Cactus Imaging is seldom available. Cactus is internationally renowned for its innovation, fast turnaround, and quality. This plant is impressive, and anyone involved in the wide format industry should not miss this event.”

    The Open House will be held on 28 November at the Cactus Imaging plant in Silverwater NSW, from 5-7pm.

    Tickets are available here:

    The event is free for SGIAA members and Fujifilm guests, with a small charge for non-members to cover the cost of refreshments.

    First in Australia: the Fujifilm Acuity Ultra at Cactus Open House week after next

  • Print21 Issue 1060 MIDWEEK SPECIAL

    It is not every day that a new $50m print site is opened, so congratulations to all at IVE on the new Franklin Web NSW plant, and with just 10 people per shift pumping out four million pages an hour the world class site is the height of automation, great to see in Australia.


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


    Wayne Robinson
    – Editor


  • IVE opens new super automated $50m Franklin Web NSW heatset site

    Super automated: new $50m Franklin Web NSW site

    Diversified marketing services group IVE has officially opened its new $50m Franklin Web NSW print centre, wowing guests at the opening event with its unprecedented levels of automation.

    The 15,000sqm Franklin Web site operates 24 hours a day seven days a week, and is capable of producing four million pages an hour, all with  just ten staff on site at any one time, with 34 overall on the payroll. Human touch on the print is virtually nothing.

    16 metres a second: manroland Lithoman 80pp presses

    It has two huge manroland Lithoman 80pp presses, each running a 2.06m wide web, pumping out work at 16 metres a second, and which have just one printer for each press per shift, and another one floating between the two presses. The Lithomans run non-stop 24 hours a day.

    The Kodak plateroom is virtually lights out, producing 280,000sqm of plates a year, with all prepress handled at Franklin’s Victoria site, which also takes care of production planning and scheduling.

    Gammeler postpress is highly automated, with robots loading pallets, and Rima log stackers for preparing the print for the bindery. Postpress has been designed so that if one line fails the presses will both feed into the other. The bindery has a Muller Martini Corona 15,000 an hour perfect binder and two Muller Martini Primera 25,000 an hour saddle stitchers. IVE also has another similar perfect binding line at its Webstar business in nearby Silverwater.

    Bindery power: Matt Aitken, chief operating officer IVE Group (r) with Print21 editor Wayne Robinson on the opening event tour

    The paper store is about to get AGVs to take the rolls onto the presses. The new site will print around 5000 tonnes of print each month. Each roll of paper, which has around 22 kilometers of paper on the reel, takes just 23 minutes to print. All paper is PEFC certified, and comes from Tasmania, Scandinavia, Germany and North America. The site holds seven to eight weeks worth of stock, around 10,000 tonnes of paper.

    Person in charge of the site is general manager Richard Clark, who came from AIW – which his father Peter Clark founded in 2002 – in Melbourne, and which IVE bought along with Franklin Web, for $120m. Phil Taylor, former owner of Franklin Web, is now stepping back from the business.

    Opening the site IVE executive chairman Geoff Selig paid tribute to the staff for getting the plant up and running on time, and said that the catalogue business was ‘going gangbusters’ with volumes up by 2.6 per cent in the last 12 months.

    Selig said, “The investment in catalogue production came after an extensive review of the business, which resulted in three major actions. First we bought Franklin and AIW, for $120m, then we retired aged plant and equipment, and finally we invested a further $50m in the new NSW Franklin site to provide our customers, especially those in NSW and Queensland, with production power and assurance of that production.”

    Dennis Wickham, managing director of press supplier manroland Australasia says, “This project has produced a world class print centre. It has been a real two way partnership between IVE and manroland, who have worked closely together to achieve the desired goal. I am proud to have played a part, and to see the manroland Lithomans running non-stop is a great outcome.” Almost all heatset presses installed in Australia in the last decade have been from German manufacturer manroland.

    Web management: (l-r) Steve Maidens, general manager, Blue Star Web; Richard Clark, general manager, Franklin Web NSW; Darryl Meyer, group general manager, Web Offset – Blue Star Web and Franklin Web; and Brad Hoffmann, general manager, Franklin Web VIC

    There is a third heatset press on site, a 16pp Heidleberg Sunday press that came from AIW and will be used as instant back up or overflow  should it be required. IVE has 18 heatset presses within the three sites of Franklin NSW, Franklin Victoria and Blue Star Web, including another two identical 80pp manroland Lithomans at the Franklin Sunshine site in Melbourne

    All plates are recycled, and 100 per cent of paper waste is baled and sent for recyling in Albury, where it is recreated into paper for Fairfax and News papers.

    With its Franklin Web and Blue Star Web business IVE has around 50 per cent of the heatset market in Australia, and it has around 20 per cent of the sheetfed business through its Blue Star Group. The company launched on the ASX in December 2016.

  • EXCLUSIVE: Picton creditors furious as administrator pushes DOCA through

    DOCA: Picton Press directors Graham Kennedy (left) and Dennis Hague

    Furious unsecured creditors of Perth based Picton Press are up in arms, as the company is set to come out of administration with a Deed of Company Arrangement (DOCA) that the administrator says will see most of those creditors receive between just 1c and 2c in the dollar for the $2.25m  they are owed.

    The directors’ proposal for a Deed of Company Arrangement was passed at the reconvened second creditors meeting, which saw it get over the line in numbers of people thanks to employees, but fail in the money vote from the unsecured creditors. Chairman Jeremy Nipps of administrator Cor Cordis declared the votes a deadlock, and used his chairman’s casting vote to push through the DOCA, in line with his recommendation in the report to creditors, and providing creditors present with reasoning for doing so.

    The DOCA, which Nipps hopes to have signed and finalised by the end of the month, will see Picton directors Garry Kennedy and Dennis Hague back in full charge of the company, which they have been running since putting it into VA in May with Nipps handling all the finances since then.

    Unsecured creditors are owed $2.25m, but under the DOCA the debts will be parked in a creditors trust, into which the directors Kennedy and Hague will put $205,000 when the DOCA is signed, and a further $290,000 in 12 months time.

    On the day of the meeting the 27 Picton employees were first asked to a 10am meeting with the administrator, where he reminded them of the options and their likely returns outlined inthe creditors’ report. Not surprisingly when the creditors meeting took place at 1pm they all voted for DOCA.

    A further vote was then taken at the 1pm meeting on the basis of the money owed, which saw the DOCA proposal defeated by $1.98m of the $2.25m. Nipps then cast a deciding vote, in favour of the DOCA in line with his recommendation in the report to creditors, and providing again the reasoning. One of the creditors present told Print21, “I couldn’t believe it, we voted against and it still got through.”

    The ATO, which is the biggest creditor at $1.3m voted against the DOCA, and is pursuing its winding up order against the company, the case is due to be heard in court on November 27. However Jeremy Nipps of Cor Cordis says he is confident an agreement with the ATO can be reached before then.

    The ATO though is under pressure from its newly established $320m anti-phoenixing unit to not be seen to be allowing companies to shed their debts and carry on. One outraged creditor told Print21, “It’s a disgrace. If the ATO lets this go through that new unit may as well go fishing, at least they would enjoy being completely ineffective.”

    Nipps is dismissive of claims that the DOCA is effectively a phoenix ploy under another name, he says, “There is nothing untoward in this whole process. Due process has been gone through. It is not a phoenix. The DOCA is a better outcome for everyone than liquidation. The process complies with the Corporations Act and the ATO did not sight any concerns at the meeting or during the process as to concerns of phoenix. In fact as noted in the meeting had the directors made a further contribution of funds the ATO was likely to have supported the DOCA.”

    Rival Perth printers, and indeed printers around the country, are unlikely to see it that way though, as Picton has effectively shed 98-99 per cent of its unsecured debt, and will now carry on with the same directors and the same kit in the same market.

    Nipps says, “Picton will be on the ATO watchlist for sure, and will have to pay its creditors on time going forward. I accept the DOCA will be a bitter pill to some, but it is the best outcome.

    “The company has been trading well since May, and has just won new contracts with two of its biggest customers, which is pleasing.”

    According to the creditors report prepared by Cor Cordis Picton hit trouble four years ago when it installed its new B1 ten-colour perfector at the same time as the WA economy collapsed. The press was bought on the basis of an $11m turnover, but turnover went from $12.5m in 2011 to $7m in 2017.

    Debts owed by Picton include $2.25m to unsecured creditors, $663,500 to employees, and $6.8m to secured creditors, of which $5m is owed to the primary creditor Westpac against the directors’ property, $1.46m owed to the secondary creditor NAB against the KBA ten-colour, and $382,000 owed to the third creditor, the CBA, against the company’s two Kodak Nexpresses.

    Of the unsecured creditors the ATO is owed $1.3m, with paper merchant Ball & Doggett owed several hundred thousand dollars, although the merchant was insured. Total amount owed to unsecured creditors owed more than $10,000 apart from the ATO is $884,000, with $94,000 in total owed to those with less than $10,000 due. Related parties are owed $1.27m, with Dennis Hague in for $800,000 of that.



  • ANALSYIS: Picton paper options shrinking

    Paper: possible Picton options thinning

    The ability of a DOCA enabled Picton Press to operate an ongoing sustainable business will to a large extent depend on its paper supply, and options appear to be thinning.

    There are only three suppliers that could deliver what Picton needs; national players Ball & Doggett and Spicers, and local operator Stockman Paper. Of these Ball & Doggett and Stockman are both unsecured creditors, the former to the tune of several hundred thousand dollars, although it is insured, the latter for tens of thousands.

    Craig Brown, CEO of Ball & Doggett told Print21 yesterday that, “We will not be supplying Picton Press with paper. It is a question of integrity. I have written to the owners to let them know that.” Similarly Stockman is certain to refuse supply.

    That leaves Spicers – and leaving aside any ethical or strategic imperative – its CEO David Martin has previously stated he will not supply any printer he cannot get insurance for, and with Ball & Doggett’s insurer looking at between 1c and 2c in the dollar for the $400,000+ it is owed it is unlikley any insurer will step forward.

    That could leave a bleak outlook for Picton. It is unlikley to be able to source supply direct from mills as that is fraught with risk. It could try buying from an east coast merchant, or buying through a third party.

    Any merchant that does supply to Picton will likely face the wrath of the rest of the Perth printing community, who are fuming at what they see as Picton being able to shed its debt and compete against them without it.

  • Pride in Print entries open

    Gala dinner for winners: Pride in Print

    New Zealand’s premier print awards Pride in Print are open for entries, for work produced in 2018. The winners will be announced at a gala dinner at TSB Arena on May 3 next year.

    Entries are welcome from any person or company associated with the production or purchase of print. Entries must have been printed in New Zealand between 1 January to 31 December this year, and can be from any production process.

    An official entry form must be fully completed for each entry submitted. An entry fee is payable per entry. For entries received after 31 January a late fee will apply.

    There is no limit to the number of entries submitted. Entries can be placed in more than one category, one copy of each entry and a completed entry form must be submitted for each category entered.

    Judging is based on the technical excellence in all facets of the production process, and allows for specialists to make a judgement based on the potential and the limits of that process or processes, the materials and the equipment used. Elements of typography and good design must inevitably be part of this judgement, as will the effective and innovative use of materials.

    Each category has different requirements, please refer to for Judging Information to Assist Entrants.

    Supreme winner at the Pride In Print awards 2018

    The Awards are co-hosted by Pride In Print New Zealand, The Designers Institute of New Zealand, New Zealand Paper Forum, Plastics New Zealand Incorporated, Print Finishers Association, PrintNZ, Self Adhesive Label Manufacturers Association of New Zealand (Salma), Quick Printers and Copycentres Association, WePrint and GS1 New Zealand.

  • Mutoh appoints Sign Supplies New Zealand as national dealer

    New in New Zealand: Sign Supplies signs up with Mutoh, pictured (l-r) Russell Cavenagh, general manager Mutoh, with Charles Schnauer, managing director Sign Supplies.

    Mutoh Australia has appointed Sign Supplies New Zealand as a national dealer for sales and service across the full range of Mutoh printers for New Zealand.

    Russell Cavenagh, general manager, Mutoh, commented “Sign Supplies provides a high level of professionalism and commitment to the industry across New Zealand and the Pacific Islands. With offices in four key centres it has excellent market coverage and is well respected within the industry.”

    Sign Supplies managing director, Charles Schnauer, added, “We had been looking to partner with a major printer supplier for some time, but equally important was ensuring quality and value, which is the case throughout the wide range of products that Mutoh offers.”

    Mutoh manufactures productive, cost-effective printers in EcoSolvent and UV, and offers solutions for emerging markets such as dye sub and soft signage (textile). Schnauer says, “We believe Mutoh is the ideal partner for Sign Supplies, to better service our new and existing customers, and to offer growth and productivity opportunities now, and in the future, to their businesses.”

    Sign Supplies has in stock the range of Mutoh inks and a range of printers available for demonstration. 

    Sign Essentials to distribute Mutoh in New Zealand, including the new Mutoh VJ 1638UR LED UV roll to roll printer.

  • GJS celebrating 40 years in print

    Celebrating 40 years: Greg Stone, GJS.

    GJS this month is celebrating 40 years in business, having grown to become a premier provider of solutions and services for the textile, promotional products, custom photo gift, sign and display industries throughout Australia.

    GJS says it plans to celebrate the milestone birthday in style, with surprises and delightful activities for both customers and staff. It also says it is aiming to double its staff numbers in the next three to five years.

    GJS was founded by Graham John Stone in 1978 after he returned from active service in the Vietnam war. He retired in 2012, with his son Greg Stone taking over.

    During his deployment, he had used his printing skills for the creation and dissemination of strategic allied communications, as well as aerial photography. Returning to Australia he continued with his passion for print, and began reconditioning and selling used screen printing equipment.

    The business took off quickly and Stone was soon manufacturing his own screen printing equipment to keep up with demand. Production continued at an exponential pace, and in 1987 GJS was manufacturing some of the world’s largest screen printing machinery, including the AusJet 5000 jumbo dryer.

    In 1999 after two decades of dominance in the screen printing space, GJS went online with what it says was the Australian print industry’s first website and e-commerce platform, and it says it has continued to lead the way in digital and social innovation ever since, claiming it now has more engaged online audiences than all its competitors.

    “Digital is in our DNA and always will be,” said Greg Stone, who took over from his father as managing director of GJS in 2012. “Early in its introduction to the market we identified digital decoration and customisation as the way forward, and have strived to bring the best innovations and technologies to market for our customers.

    “From identifying dye sublimation as an emerging trend and growing to become the country’s largest supplier of the technology, to helping Brother Australia bring to market its first direct-to-garment printer, GJS has always had a measure of what the next big thing will be in digital decoration,” he added.

    GJS says it has developed a business model that fuses together modern technology and solutions, whilst still maintaining a focus on old-school customer service and support. It is a model that resonates with its customers with hundreds of positive reviews and testimonials online.

    In 2015 it launched its first national series of Roadshow events, steering away from the traditional trade-show model, with the goal of getting closer to its customers and add extra value to their businesses.

     This year, GJS launched its own knowledge base and Creator Community to bring together digital decorators and share best practice. Now featuring 800 articles, how-to guides, and instructional videos, GJS says the knowledge base and Creator Community have become the go-to place for digital decorators Australia-wide.

    In the last five years GJS has doubled its headcount with the appointment of additional team members in New South Wales, and new teams in Queensland and Victoria, and has set a strategic goal of doubling this headcount again in the next three to five years.

    Stone says, “There is no other organisation better placed to lead the digital decoration and customisation revolution than GJS.

    “Our focus remains firmly on being our customers’ trusted partner, by providing them with innovative solutions that help them reach their potential. These symbiotic relationships that we continue to build are not only securing the future of our customers’ businesses and our own, but the digital decoration industry itself,” Stone concluded.

    Expanding: GJS

  • Mimaki signs up Sign Essentials

    Sign Essentials now supplying Mimaki: (l-r) Tomomitsu Harada, general manager, Mimaki; Sean Strange, owner, Sign Essentials; Jason Hay, national sales manager, Mimaki

    Sign Essentials is now a Mimaki dealer, with the company set to supply and service Mimaki wide format printers and other solutions thoughout Queensland, NT and northern NSW.

    Sean Strange, general manager of Sign Essentials says, “Mimaki has some fantastic products that fill a few gaps in our existing offerings. We are particularly excited with the new UCJV300-160 and UCJV150-160. These innovative printer/cutters with UV-cured inks offer the ability to output high quality graphics in excellent time without the need to out-gas. This decreases production times significantly, which is great because we all know deadlines are getting shorter and shorter.”

    Sign Essentials will be a one-stop-shop for Mimaki, offering sales, training, support and service as it does with its existing range of products.

    “The way we do it now works well” says Solomon Ferreira, service manager at Sign Essentials. “Customers like being able to contact our team with any enquiry, knowing we can help them sort it out. We regularly visit most parts of Queensland and northern NSW already, so it will be easy for us to add our new Mimaki customers to the trips.”

    Sign Essentials and Mimaki representatives have met several times over the last few weeks and have quickly developed an excellent working relationship. “We have been impressed with the professionalism of the team at Mimaki” says Strange. “It was a big decision for us, and Mimaki has respected the process we had to go through. We are definitely not replacing what we had, for us it was important we add to our offerings, and are able to offer more choice to our customers. We feel we can achieve these objectives with the Mimaki range.”

    “Mimaki Australia is proud to have Sign Essentials on board with the brand” explains Jason Hay – National Sales Manager Mimaki Australia. “The excitement with the opening of our new showroom at Murarrie and partnering with Sign Essentials shows the commitment from Mimaki moving forward in Queensland. Sign Essentials has great experience in the Queensland market, especially in sales and service in Brisbane and far north Queensland. The respect that Sign Essentials has in the Queensland market, was a clear factor in adding this partnership to join our existing network. This has certainly strengthened the Mimaki model and presence for sure.”

    Mimaki products are available from Sign Essentials now. The showroom is located at 20 Prosperity Place, Geebung. Sign Essentials has been selling to, supporting and servicing the Queensland sign and graphics industries since 1991.

    Mimaki Queensland showroom is located 4a/20 Smallwood Place Murarrie QLD.

  • Print21 Issue 1059 Weekend Special

    It has been a tragic week for the industry with the passing of Cliff Royle, one of its brightest innovators. Our hearts go out to his family and friends in this difficult time. If you are struggling, please reach out – there is all the help you need out there.


    Welcome to the Print21 weekend newsletter, the premier news source for the Australia and New Zealand print industries.


    Wayne Robinson
    – Editor

  • New PIAA board are all printers

    PIAA president Walter Kuhn (right) with Federal Labour leader Bill Shorten.

    All nine members of the new incoming PIAA board are running print businesses, the first time that has been the case for several years.

    And with the exception of president Walter Kuhn the entire board – which starts in January – is new, with the industry anticipating it will bring more fresh ideas and impetus to print’s peak association, which comprises almost 500 of the country’s leading print businesses.

    Along with Kuhn who owns Kuhn Corp in Qld is fellow Queenslander Tom Eckersley from Eckersley Group, Richard Celarc from multi-state Opus Group, Theo Pettaras from Digitalpress and John Georgantzakos from Spotpress in NSW, from Victoria is Lithocraft’s Kevin Pidgeon, Tasmania’s newly elected Martin Guilliamse from Mark Media is in, the SA member is Sarah Leo from Openbook Howden, and from WA it is Anthony Pittaway from multi-award winning digital printer Discus on Demand.
    A wide range of printing is represented on the board, including offset, digital, general commercial, packaging, books, and community newspapers.
    The new board waves goodbye to industry veterans Ron Patterson, defeated by Kevin Pidgeon in elections, and former AIW boss Peter Clark – defeated by a toss of the coin after a drawn result in Tasmania with Mark Guilliamse.
    PIAA is fresh from its Print2Parliament success, which saw 100 printers and politicians mingle and discuss the industry issues – including energy and IR – at Parliament House with the gold award winning print as the stunning backdrop. It has also just gained international recognition for its Sustainable Green Print programme from print environmental lobbyist Verdigris.

    Andrew Macaulay, CEO PIAA, told Print21 he was delighted to now have a board composed entirely of printing professionals. “To have such a high-calibre group of people step up in what is a voluntary role with very real responsibilities, and will take real time for their businesses, is a reflection of their commitment to the industry,” he said.

    “It is symbolic of the importance of giving the industry a stronger voice for people actively engaged in the print sector, and reflects the changes we’ve made over the past few years in refocusing the association and giving a forward strategic look.

    “I look forward to working with them – they will certainly increase the metabolism of the organisation.”
  • Primefire 106 in series production

    First will be first: with the Heidelberg Primefire at Colordruck are Montserrat Peidro-Ines, senior vice president digital print systems, Heidelberg, and Print21 editor Wayne Robinson

    The world’s first digital B1 inkjet sheetfed press, the Heidelberg Primefire 106, is now in series production, with 25 packaging printers around the world already in the queue to receive one, and more orders soon to be signed.

    The company has been running beta machines for the past year, but has now installed its first series machine, in Colorado, with its second currently going into a Chinese printer

    Speaking to the world’s trade press at the Heidelberg Packaging Days event at the company’s sprawling manufacturing centre in Weisloch, Heidelberg board director Stefan Plenz said, “Projections for packaging print continue to show growth, and that is really before plastic became such a big issue, any trend away from plastic will boost carton packaging even further.

    “Digital packaging will grow fastest of all, it has barely begun, and we predict it will treble in output over the next five years, a 300 per cent growth. Digital packaging is a bit of a chicken and egg situation, there is only a small market at present as the technology has not been developed, however the launch of the Primefire will give brand owners new options for short run and variable data packaging.

    “The Primefire 106 is the first B1 inkjet in the market. It uses water based inks for food safety compliance. It is an industrial scale machine. Its design principles were for a reliable, repeatable, robust digital print solution.”

    Plenz says the Primefire 106 is suited to the Australian and New Zealand markets, with its capability to print short runs and variable data. He is dismissive of the concept of runs of one, but says mass customisation is a likely application. He says, “Consumers will drive brands to personalisation, to short run and to quick turnarounds. The same trends that are impacting Europe and the US are seen in Australia, and make the Primefire a clear choice to meet the market.”

    Heidelberg then took the trade press to the site of the first Primefire, family owned $70m turnover ColorDruck, deep in the Black Forest, which has been running a beta machine for the past year. Its joint managing director Martin Bruttel said the company had been looking at digital packaging technologies since 2014. It decided to install the Primefire and at the same time launch a web-to-pack service, commissioning a development company to come up with the software.

    He says, “We went with Primefire because we have trust and confidence in Heidelberg. Since we installed the machine we have found that the print quality, the registration, the reliability have met our needs. We are using the machine to create a whole new business with our web-to-pack solution of short runs in short time frames, and with personalisation. What Coca Cola and Nutella did with labels we can do with cartons.”

    The Primefire 106 combines the Heidelberg paper transport with Fujifilm print heads. It prints in seven colours at 2,500 sheets an hour. Its initial application is in the packaging sector. Heidelberg says the gamut if the seven colours means there is no need for spot colours to achieve brand colours.

    Montserrat Peidro-Insa, Heidelberg’s senior vice president for digital print business said, “The first beta machine is running at 86 per cent uptime, the second at 80 per cent. These are offset figures not digital, which is testimony to the capability of the Primefire, a digital press.

    “Primefire is offering printers much more than digital migration, it offers new business opportunities, and contrary to what the Bible says, the last will not be first, the first will be first.”

    The Heidelberg Packaging Days comprised a whole series of seminars, workshops and educational sessions, along with machine demonstrations across the range of Heidelberg offset and digital print solutions, and its folding carton and folder gluers from partner MK Masterworks, all under the Smart Printing banner. Among the jobs Heidelberg was printing sheets with inline embellishing including foiling and embossing.

    Plenz says, “The printshop today can benefit from full digitisation, whether the output is to an offset plate through CTP or a digital press like Primefire. It is important that today’s printer automates and digitises the workflow as much as possible, to achieve the highest operational efficiencies.”

    Print, foil, emboss in one pass : Heidelberg Packaging Days

  • Vale Cliff Royle

    Vale Cliff Royle, print industry inventor

    Well known Australian print innovator and former Shannon Books, RoyleBind and Purple Press owner Cliff Royle has tragically passed away, taking his own life on Tuesday.

    Royle was known over the years for his passion in developing innovative printing techniques, winning many awards, both in Australia and overseas.

    Among his inventions was a technique for printing digitally on top of laminate, a hard cover case binding system for short run jobs, and a lay flat photobook hardcover system.

    Sadly though his projects struggled to gain commercial success, his latest company Purple Press went into liquidation two months ago.

    Industry identity Barry Webster, friend, business associate, and supporter writes: “It is with a sad heart that, with the family’s approval, I announce to the printing industry the passing of Cliff Royle.

    “His family asked that I let the industry know about his death, as he was an integral part of it for many, many years with Shannon Books and later being an innovator and creator.

    “Cliff has many friends in the industry who would be extremely saddened by his passing. He also leaves behind a heartbroken daughter and immediate family.

    “Cliff was a dreamer always looking at new ideas, new ways of doing things and always done with the upmost of enthusiasm, passion and integrity winning many, many awards for his endeavours, with what turned out in the end to not be successful.

    “I will always remember Cliff as a terrific client, a terrific business partner and more than all of that a terrific guy who had strong ethics and would always be willing to help.

    “Rest in peace Cliff, you deserve it mate.

    “If anyone out there is feeling under pressure or feeling like they just can’t cope, please call the suicide help line on 11 11 14.”

    Walter Kuhn, president of Printing Industries, mourned Kuhn’s loss on behalf of the PIAA. “The Board of PIAA and myself were particularly saddened by the news of Cliff Royle’s passing. We send condolences to his family,” said Kuhn.

    “Mental wellness is too often unspoken about at any workplace, but it is particularly not spoken about in a manufacturing workplace. This statement unfortunately rings true for the visual communications industry.”

  • EXCLUSIVE: Taxman battles administrator over Picton plan

    Seeking DOCA: Picton Press directors Garry Kennedy (left) and Dennis Hague

    The directors of stricken WA printer Picton Press are seeking to take back control of the company through a Deed of Company Arrangement (DOCA), but the ATO sensationally blocked its progress in the second creditors’ meeting this week.

    At the meeting the administrator spent time explaining to the unsecured creditors that a DOCA – which would hand back control of the business to the current owners Garry Kennedy and Dennis Hague – was the best way forward, as it would give the creditors the most money. The alternatives it said were either winding up the company or ending the administration, both of which would provide worse outcomes for unsecured creditors.

    However, once Jeremy Nipps from administrator Cor Cordis had finished his presentation recommending the DOCA, and opened up for questions, the ATO spent the best part of an hour – by speakerphone – grilling him over why things would be any different if the company kept going.

    Nipps then moved to the resolutions, the first of which was to agree to Cor Cordis remuneration for work carried out so far, to the not inconsiderable sum of $344,000, before the vote on whether to accept the DOCA proposal.

    The vote on the administrator’s remuneration is usually a formality, albeit okayed through gritted teeth, but in an almost unprecedented move the ATO voted against, and as the largest unsecured creditor – with more than half of the debt – the vote failed, and Nipps, after recovering from shock, adjourned the meeting without moving to the rest of the votes, including the vote on DOCA, leaving the future of the company in limbo.

    The ATO then took its winding up order back to the court the next day, with Cor Cordis seeking an adjournment. Unlike the previous two occasions where it sought and won adjournments without any issues, this time it had to present an affidavit to the court, the contents of which it managed to have suppressed. The court agreed to adjourn and set a new date of November 27.

    Industry insiders say the ATO is under intense pressure from the government’s newly established anti-phoenixing unit to make sure it is not or is not perceived to be enabling phoenixing. DOCA is a fully legal mechanism, intended to allow debt-laden businesses to negotiate with their creditors and agree a timeline for an agreed part repayment of the debt from a business that then trades on. However in practice it often means the company in trouble is able to offload its debts for a fraction of the amount it owes and carry on as before.

    This leaves rival companies furious, as they argue they are having to price their jobs to pay their tax bill and other unsecured creditors in full, where the DOCA company does not.

    Debts owed by Picton include $2.25m to unsecured creditors, $663,500 to employees, and $6.8m to secured creditors, of which $5m is owed to the primary creditor Westpac against the directors’ property, $1.46m owed to the secondary creditor NAB against the KBA ten-colour, and $382,000 owed to the third creditor, the CBA, against the company’s two Kodak Nexpresses.

    Of the unsecured creditors the ATO is owed $1.3m, with a major paper merchant owed several hundred thousand dollars, although the merchant was insured. Total amount owed to unsecured creditors owed more than $10,000 apart from the ATO is $884,000, with $94,000 in total owed to those with less than $10,000 due. Related parties are owed $1.27m, with Dennis Hague in for $800,000 of that.

    Cor Cordis says if the company is liquidated all unsecured creditors will receive nil cents in the dollar on the debts. Employees will receive 100c in the dollar in DOCA, but down to as little as 2.6c in the dollar if the company goes into liquidation.

    The DOCA would enable the administration to end, and Picton directors Garry Kennedy and Dennis Hague to run the company as before, but with the $2.25m debt to unsecured creditors placed in a creditors trust, which would pay 15c in the dollar for creditors owed more than $10,000 – which is almost all of it – and between 79c and 100c in the dollar to those owed less than $10,000.

    Hague and Kennedy have said they will put $205,000 into the trust within a month and a further $290,000 by next December. Under the proposed creditors trust employees will receive 100c in the dollar that is owed to them.

    Cor Cordis has had the business up for sale since May, with 23 parties expressing an interest. All offers have been considered in conjunction with the DOCA proposal. Of the 23 parties 18 received confidentiality agreements, and five made offers, but all of them were only for the main press, a KBA ten-colour B1 perfector, with the offers likely to have come from the big UK and German second-hand machinery dealers.

    Print21 has reached out to Garry Kennedy and Dennis Hague for comment.

  • EXCLUSIVE: Picton administrator view: co was trading while insolvent

    Happier times at Picton: Garry Kennedy, (far left) and Dennis Hague (far right).

    The administrator for debt-laden Picton Press says it is its preliminary view that the company was trading while insolvent for at least 17 months before it was issued with a winding up order by the ATO in May.

    Presenting its findings at the second creditors’ meeting, administrator Cor Cordis says it has referred the Picton directors Garry Kennedy and Dennis Hague to ASIC for possible investigation.

    Cor Cordis says, “Our preliminary view is that the Company was insolvent from 1 December 2016 after it defaulted on a $200k payment due under a payment arrangement with the ATO at the end of November 2016. Furthermore, the ATO debt continued to accumulate significantly from that point onwards.

    “There is a potential claim for insolvent trading with a range of between $nil to $1.22m. The range is reflective of any statutory defences that the directors may have against an insolvent trading claim which may be brought against them.”

    Under the heading Offences by Directors in the report, Cor Cordis says, “We consider that breaches may have been committed with respect to Section 180 in respect of not taking due care and diligence to adequately manage and deal with the ATO debt; and Section 588G in respect of allowing the Company to trade whilst insolvent.

    “The Administrators intend to lodge a Section 438D report with ASIC to report the potential breaches of directors’ duties before the second meeting of creditors.”

    Cor Cordis said it had “not found any evidence of unreasonable payments being made to the directors of the company”. It also said there was no evidence of payments or benefits being made to related parties.

    The likelihood of ASIC prosecuting any case are thought to be slim, trading while insolvent is hard to prove, and ASIC has only rarely taken anyone to court, and only then in high profile cases. Creditors can take the case to court, but the costs are prohibitive. ASIC has copped a heap of criticism recently in the Royal Commission into Banking as toothless and ineffective.

    Picton has continued trading since the administrators came in at the beginning of May, with 27 staff now on the books, down from 35 in May.

    Cor Cordis says the company’s troubles began when it bought a new $4m press in 2014, which coincided with a dramatic downturn in the WA economy due to the end of the mining boom.

    The press was financed on the basis of an $11m turnover, but soon after it went in the WA economy went into freefall, as did Picton’s sales, which plummeted from $12.5m in 2011 to $7m in 2017. Although it managed to make its monthly payments for the press, its growing debt to the ATO meant it could not gain any refinancing, despite numerous attempts to do so.

    Picton was established 40 years ago, and then bought in 2005 by Dennis Hague, Garry Kennedy and Michael Paton, the latter of whom parted ways with the company two years later.

    Print21 has reached out to Garry Kennedy and Dennis Hague for comment.