Archive for the ‘News’ Category

  • Opus exits ASX

    Richard Celarc: executive chairman Left Field Print Co

    Print group Opus has exited the ASX and will be relisting on the Hong Kong stock market, as the assets in the group have been transferred to Left Field Print Group in a three for one share deal.

    Current Opus Group executive chairman Richard Celarc will become executive chairman of Left Field Print Group. He will have the largest individual shareholding in the group, with Lion Rock Group the controlling shareholder.

    Trading as TopCo the Left Field Print Group listing in Hong Kong will enable Opus to raise capital, with the company saying it will be making major investments in plant and equipment for its Australian business over the next two years. It will also provide higher liquidity to its shares.

    Speaking to Print21 Richard Celarc said, “There is a good appetite for investing in print on the Hong Kong market, with excellent share trading and capital raising.”

    Left Field Print Group – which will be domiciled in Bermuda – is 75 per cent owned by Hong Kong based Lion Rock, which also owns 1010 Print Group.

    Opus owns book printers McPherson’s and Ligare, and major government print provider CanPrint, which also operates in the commercial sector. Celarc says, “From the board’s perspective, it is business as usual for all of our printing business in Australia.”

    The company’s share price on the ASX has stayed within the 30c-45c band for the past five years. Its price on departure from the ASX was 43.5c, up 3.7 per cent on the day.

    The latest Opus figures – the last on the ASX – showed its profit almost doubling in its first half, profit after tax almost doubling to $6.3m, with the company saying its book printing activity was the reason. Sales slipped by two per cent to $38.8m.

  • PIAA welcomes Jobs and IP Ministry change

    Welcome move: Andrew Macaulay with the new Cabinet Minister for Jobs and IR Kelly O’Dwyer

    The PIAA says Scott Morrison’s decision to move the Jobs and Industrial Relations Ministerial Portfolio into Cabinet is a welcome move for the nation’s print businesses.

    The printing and packaging industry’s peak body says that there is a lot to do in the field of industrial relations, including delivering certainty to businesses on wage rates, entitlements, casual employees and inconsistent decisions coming out of the Fair Work Commission.

    The PIAA says Morrison’s decision to move this portfolio into Cabinet long reflects PIAA’s advocacy that industrial relations reform needs to be at the forefront of the Government’s policy agenda. The Association has also congratulated Kelly O’Dwyer on her appointment to the role of Minister.

    Paul Mitchell, PIAA’s national workplace relations manager, said, “The Prime Minister is obviously looking to make a difference in this field in a short space of time and it is long overdue.”

    The PIAA is also welcoming the appointment of former Fair Work deputy president, Graeme Watson, as the Minister O’Dwyer’s senior advisor on Industrial Relations. Watson spectacularly resigned from the Fair Work Commission in early 2017, citing unfairness with the current Fair Work system.

    CEO of PIAA Andrew Macaulay met with Watson and Minister O’Dwyer in Canberra. Macaulay said that his discussions with Watson were positive, noting that, “Graeme Watson has spent his entire life in the field of industrial relations delivering fair outcomes for business and employees. His appointment is a sound one and we look forward to working closely with him.”

  • Kurz launches variable foiling

    Variable foiling for flexo and digital: Kurz

    Kurz is set to launch a digital cold foiling system at Labelexpo next week, which it says will enable variable data to be used in the foiling process, meaning every label can be different.

    The DM-Liner UV-Ink Roll-to-Roll system comes in built-on and built-in configurations, for conventional narrow web and digital label presses respectively. According to Kurz Australia’s Dave Murphy, the system uses inkjet heads to print adhesive onto the substrate.

    “We print the data in the glue, nip the foil over it, and then it is UV cured and stripped,” he said.

    The system will make its trade show debut at Labelexpo. The built-on unit will be exhibited in conjunction with Nilpeter, and the built-in unit with the Mlabel press from Mprint.

    “We have had a fait bit of interest so far, and we will get more after more people see it,” said Murphy. “The main areas of focus are for short runs and variable data – there is no changeover or flexo plates necessary, so every label can be different.”

    Digital foiling: Kurz

  • Print power standard launched


    Power standard: new ISO for print systems

    A new print energy power consumption standard has been launched, ISO 20690, with wide format solutions developer swissQprint the first company to gain certification.

    Print environmental lobbyist and Verdigris blog founder Laurel Brunner writes, “As certifications go, this is probably not desperately exciting to most people. But to the people behind the document (including me), it is indeed exciting, especially since SwissQPrint, a leading manufacturer of large format digital printers, has achieved certification within a few months of the document’s publication. SwissQPrint becomes the first in its field to declare its energy efficiency data according to ISO 20690.

    “Establishing energy efficiency was one of the major drivers in the development of ISO 20690 and it is hoped that other companies in this sector will follow the SwissQPrint lead. Ideally we will have energy consumption data for multiple printing engines, provided using a common means of calculating it.

    “The standard is based on work initiated by Fogra, the German print industry association. It is not coincidental that Fogra also provided SwissQPrint with its certification, but mercantilism is what keeps such organisations in the black. Being in the black means they are all the better able to support their members.

    “The new standard ISO 20690 explains how to measure the electricity a digital production press uses, based on various typical machine combinations including Best Quality and Best Productivity. This is a standard for the printing device, so it does not apply to individual components such as the fans or compressors. The energy usage information of individual device components is obviously interesting to manufacturers. But it is less interesting to printing companies who want to know the overall energy requirement of a device. The energy calculation is important for cost of ownership calculations, and for working out the overall carbon footprint of the device and the prints it produces.

    “SwissQPrint worked with Fogra to establish that according to Fogra’s tests the Nyala large format printer has excellent energy efficiency. This is a spongy qualifier, however Fogra has made the data available on its website so it can be compared with other evaluations.

    Laurel Brunner

    “ISO 20690 requires that a report is produced as part of the certification process. The report must state the energy efficiency of a tested device defined in square metres per kilowatt hour. Fogra will has produced a report that covers in great detail how the Nyala was tested, because the standard requires a summary of the basic device details.

    “This includes its configuration and set up for various production modes, measured power usage and energy efficiency, plus any additional information relevant to the evaluation process. Ideally it should be possible to replicate the results in repeat testing by different people. This makes the standard and data obtained robust and valuable for comparison purposes.

    “ISO 20690 is all about helping companies to make informed investment decisions, when it comes to hardware purchases that use lots of power. SwissQPrint has hopefully started the ball rolling and we can expect many more certifications to ISO 20690 in the coming months.”

  • Townsville wins newspaper print award

    Winning: Inside the News Corp Townsville Print Centre

    The News Corp Townsville Print Centre has won the Print Centre of the Year in the annual NewsMediaWorks newspaper awards.

    Best run of press award went to the Apple Daily in Hong Kong, while best use of print was awarded to the Courier Mail for its SOS Save our Schoolkids campaign.

    Winner of the best execution of print advertising for a client in the community category went to News Corp’s North Shore Times, while Fairfax Media’s Tasmaninan The Examiner took out the regional award, and natinal award was son by the New Zealand Herald .

    The Townsville Print Centre is one of the sites earmarked to print Fairfax newspapers in part of the print sharing deal inked by the two companies in July, with Fairfax to close its Ormiston site as a result.

  • Esko and Scodix collaborate in packaging


    Packaging enhancements visualised: Esko and Scodix

    Major packaging technology developers Esko and Scodix are collaborating, with Scodix foil, embossing and varnish applications being added to Esko Studio software.

    The companies says that having Scodix applications to Esko Studio software and its Visualizer module will make it easier for brands and packaging converters to prototype and present digital enhancements, without the need to run them on press.

    Scodix – supplied in Australia and New Zealand by Currie Group – will see its packaging enhancement applications available to view within the Esko Studio suite, including, Scodix Foil, Scodix Embossed Foil, Scodix Sense for UV embossing, and Scodix Spot for varnish applications.

    Scodix presses bring digital enhancements to printed materials for both commercial print and folding carton in a post-print process, including multiple applications on one platform. Both the Scodix Ultra2 series and the Scodix E106 Digital Enhancement Press offer capabilities which enhance printed materials by layering polymers digitally onto printed products. The company says these effects add value and help packaging stand out on the shelf in a highly competitive consumer market.

    Esko Studio software allows designers to present and test their ideas and designs by quickly and easily turning them into high-resolution virtual 3D prototypes, which can include product enhancements such as special inks, varnishes, foils or other finishing effects.

    A subset of Scodix applications is now included in the Visualizer library, which according to the company eliminates the need to print and manually reproduce special finishes during the prototyping and presentation stage.

    Print samples can now be designed and viewed on the Esko Studio Software and then printed on a Scodix Digital Enhancement Press, using real foil, without the need for molds or dies. Quantities ranging from one to thousands can be printed in a cost-effective way.

    “Esko helps Scodix to digitally prototype and present their digital enhancements as part of the design process,” said Chris Rogers, solutions marketing manager at Esko. “Now Scodix users can take advantage of the Studio suite and Visualizer module to render and view high value realistic 3D images containing a variety of digital enhancements.”

    Nigel Tracey, head of packaging at Scodix says, “With Esko solutions touching some 90 per cent of packaging worldwide during at least some stage of production, it is the ideal partner for us as we continually work to make Scodix production faster, easier and more cost-effective.

    “By being able to view a photo-realistic image of the design with our digital enhancements, even under different lighting conditions or in a simulated retail environment, designers can reduce the number of prototypes they need to produce, saving time and money. We look forward to continuing our collaboration and to include even more Scodix applications within the Studio suite over time.”

  • PIAA says casuals ruling a king hit

    Impact: Casuals ruling

    Printing Industries has condemned a unanimous decision by the full bench of the Federal Court that potentially awards annual leave entitlements to many casual workers, saying it will put print and packaging jobs at risk.

    The Association has come out with all guns blazing, with the president Walter Kuhn, Board director John Georgantzakos, and CEO Andrew Macaulay all lambasting the ruling.

    Alarming: Walter Kuhn, PIAA.

    Walter Kuhn, president of the PIAA, said the decision was alarming. “This decision is a king hit on the livelihoods of Australian employers and employees – in particular small businesses. Employers will have to work out urgently if they have to offer fewer casual jobs in case the work becomes too regular, creating unintended consequences and liabilities,” he said.

    Andrew Macaulay, CEO of Printing Industries, said the ruling could affect almost every printer in the country. “Nearly everybody is affected by this – most printers’ variable labour requirements are filled by casual staff. Core employees will be permanent, but any business with variable production requirements uses casuals,” he said. “It’s an example of the unconsidered consequences of industrial relations policy that was intended to be good.”

    The ruling came from WorkPac Pty Ltd v Skene and was in favour of a truck driver employed at a Rio Tinto mine, who argued that despite being employed as a casual worker, the regular nature of his rostered days meant he was owed approximately $21,000 in annual leave and $7000 in interest.

    According to Kuhn, the decision jeopardises the extra pay and flexibility that accompanies a casual position. “Inflexible rules in most workplace awards mean casual employees, who might be deemed permanent because of the Court’s decision, may be locked into fixed hours. That means they lose out on being able to choose their shifts, change their hours or pick up extra hours when they become available.

    “A casual employee is generally paid a higher rate to make up for the fact that they don’t get permanent employee entitlements such as paid leave,” he said.

    Macaulay warns that printers may have to consider not only how they manage casual hires going forward, but whether they are vulnerable to past liabilities. “There are printers who could be exposed, not because of what they’re going to do, but because of what they have already done,” he said.

    Unfair: John Georgantzakos, PIAA.

    SpotPress managing director and PIAA director, John Georgantzakos said, “This decision has the potential to create billions of dollars in liabilities for Australian businesses, most of which are small businesses.

    “How can it be fair that an employer can pay a higher casual rate in lieu of things like paid leave, follow the rules in their award or enterprise agreement – and then face penalties and have to pay again for leave? To a lot of people, it looks like double-dipping.

    “People running small businesses have told me this could send them to the wall and that means thousands of people could lose their jobs.

    “What’s more if businesses are bankrupted and employees laid off, the existing Government guarantee of termination entitlements will see taxpayers foot the bill.

    “This highlights yet again how our workplace relations laws are poorly designed for the job they need to do. Parliament urgently needs to change the Fair Work Act so it is clear people employed and paid as casual employees, are casual employees. Employers and employees need to have certainty and confidence about their futures.”

  • Visual Impact Wrap Up

    Breaking free at Visual Impact: Russell Cavenagh, Mutoh

    The big wide format show has just concluded, Print21 is as always first out with the show reports, and following on from our initial news on Friday here is Part II of the wrap.

    Agfa showcases duo

    Agfa showcased two wide-format inkjet printers on its stand: the Annapurna 1650i hybrid machine, and the flatbed FB2540. Michael Culver, inkjet manager for Oceania, was optimistic about each machine’s prospects. “Our market requires two types of solutions: true flatbed, and hybrid. Both have been getting plenty of interest, and we’re hoping to close a few sales from this show,” he said.

    Plenty of interest: Michael Culver, Agfa.

    Alfex Laser focus

    At Alfex Laser’s stand, there was plenty of interest in a variety of laser cutters and engravers. Jordan Buhagiar, laser division manager, said one key advantage of the technology is its flexibility. “The biggest thing is that a lot of pieces of equipment out there are designed for just one application,” he said. “Lasers can be used for literally a million different applications across different substrates and industries.”

    Flexibility: Jordan (left) and Christian Buhagiar, Alfex Laser.

    AVS kit to help you grow

    Australian Visual Solutions showed off a range of wide-format printing and finishing hardware, including a new Colex conveyor system from the USA. According to Daniel Yeoman, hardware manager, AVS customers came to the stand looking for equipment to grow their businesses. “They’re not necessarily here to open their cheque books – they want to do research on where to take the business next and what’s going to help them get there,” he said. “Engagement with our customers is key.”

    Engagement: Daniel Yeoman, AVS.


    Currie Group truck rolls in

    Not everyone at the show was focused on wide format, in fact the biggest stand on the floor was from Currie Group, which had brought in its mobile showroom truck showing the latest HP Indigo 7900 Digital Press, linked to a Horizon booklet maker.

    In front of the truck Currie Group was showing some of the nifty Horizon finishing solutions, with the Japanese manufactured kit continuing to offer printer innovative cost effective solutions, inlcuding the Horizon CRF-362 Creaser Folder with pre-programmed and self programmed finishing options, and no cracking on digital printing thanks to its compression folding technology. Currie Group was also showing its innovative Horizon rotary die cutting unit, aimed at printers who want to be getting into the packaging market, the 3000sph system enabling printers to perfom die-cutting in house. The Horizon SmartSlitter SMSL-100, which essentially does everything in one pass including both ways perforating, folding, slitting and scoring. was also attracting much interest.

    Biggest stand, multiple finishing solutions and HP Indigo 7900: Currie Group


    Going local with Euro Poles

    Peter Wagener, MD of Perth flag and banner printer Euro Poles, teamed up with a Fremantle-based brewery for a free beer tasting. He said his stand was a testament to Australian manufacturing. “There are alternatives to having to go to China for your print,” he said. “You can get it done locally in Australia, and with much better quality than you’d get out of Asia.”

    Going local: Peter Wagener, Euro Poles.

    Fuji Xerox beyond speeds and feeds

    At the Fuji Xerox stand, staff showed off a pair of roll-to-roll printers, one from Fujifilm and the other from Epson – but both were mostly covered up. According to Paul Budgen, national portfolio manager for wide format and 3D at Fuji Xerox, this was part of a “clean sheet” approach to engaging with customers. “Too often we fall into the trap of just talking ‘speeds and feeds’ with customers, whereas there’s a number of different elements that, if we include those into the mix, make our customers a lot more money,” he said. These include Fuji Xerox financing options, and application and technical support, said Budgen. “We also have business analysts to help customers sort out whether this is their forever machine or just one step in a process where they’ll upgrade at some point.”

    Clean sheet: Paul Budgen, Fuji Xerox.

    Graphic Art Mart scoring goals with 3D

    Dominating the Graphic Art Mart stand was a huge statue of a rugby player, 3D printed on Massivit equipment. “We’ve just signed an exclusive dealership arrangement with Massivit, so we have our 1.8-metre rugby player here to show off the capabilities of their 3D printers,” said Jessica Tailby, product marketing manager. “He’s generated a lot of interest for us.”

    Exclusive: Jessica Tailby, Graphic Art Mart.

    Hexis wrap battle

    The boxing ring at Hexis’ stand gave all comers the opportunity to duke it out in a wrapping contest, with each round giving contestants ten minutes to show off their wrap skills for the ultimate prize: a trip to Hexis’ plant in France. It was a big drawcard for the stand, said Clicia Carrijo, national sales manager. “A lot of people have been very interested,” she said. “They’ve wanted to come into our stand, get our swatches and talk about our products.”

    Drawcard: Clicia Carrijo, Stickittome.

    HP rigid makes debut

    The buzz at HP’s stand was all about the launch of two Latex R-series printers for rigid signage. The 1.6-metre R1000 made its first appearance on Australian shores, accompanied by its big brother, the 2.5-metre R2000. “It’s a huge jump for the industry to be able to transition from UV ink for rigid printing to our water-based latex ink for the first time,” said Jeremy Brew, large-format application specialist at HP.

    The R2000 has been installed since April at Easy Signs in Ingleburn, Sydney, but Visual Impact was the R-series machines’ first public outing. “The first time I saw this R1000 was when we uncrated it the other day,” said Brew. “It’s straight out of the crate, set up on Sunday, we’ve been printing all day and the reception has been great.”

    Debut: Jeremy Brew, HP.

    Kissel + Wolf sells kit to CMC Gold

    Kissel + Wolf supplies equipment for digital, offset and screen printing across three brands. At its stand, Martin Stacher, managing director, proudly showed off a Mutoh ValueJet 626UF flatbed UV printer, sold to CMC Gold in Victoria. “We actually sold this a couple of days before Visual Impact, but we wanted to show it here because we’re excited we did,” he said.

    Sold: Martin Stacher, Kissel + Wolf.

    Mimaki ID Cut slashes labour time

    Mimaki’s stand featured a range of roll-to-roll and flatbed products for sign and display, as well as flatbed UV for promotional products. According to Brad Creighton, national marketing manager, the focus of the stand was on one main feature, shared across its signage equipment. “It’s called ID Cut. We create an identification code that can be used to cut on a lot of different platforms,” he said.

    ID Cut is built into a broad spectrum of Mimaki products, including the UCJV series of UV-LED printer/cutters. “It enables immediate printing, immediate post-production benefits – there’s no waiting for drying, outgassing or curing,” said Creighton. “You can apply the graphic immediately, laminate immediately, and cut into it immediately.”

    ID Cut also enables batch cutting, says Creighton. “We can send lots of prints with cut data down to the printer,” he said. “That data is stored, you can take the product out and laminate it if you want, then put it back in. It will register those ID codes and autonomously grab the data from our software. That takes a lot of labour out of the converter’s hands.”

    ID Cut: Iman Monem and Brad Creighton, Mimaki.

    Multicam rugged Australian engineering

    Newcastle-based Multicam manufactures cutting and routing equipment on-shore. Stephen Heusz, manager, said buying Australian-made kit has advantages beyond supporting local industry. “We don’t work through distributors or agents – we sell, service and support the machines ourselves,” he said. “You can, if you want to, talk to the guy who actually built the machine.”

    Australian engineered: Stephen Heusz, Multicam.

    Mutoh providing value for money

    Mutoh drew in customers with the debut of its new ValueJet 1638UR roll-to-roll UV inkjet printer, which prints at 23 square metres per hour and is priced at around $30,000. “We’ve already got a lot of interest in it because it’s an aggressively-priced machine,” said Russell Cavenagh, general manager of Mutoh. “It comes ready to roll. We’ve sold the first couple already, and they haven’t even arrived in the country, so we’re excited about that.”

    The stand featured high-quality backlit displays printed on the 1638UR, which Cavenagh said impressed more than just the customers. “Even the guys who put the signs up for us asked us what it was printed on. When the signage guys are getting excited, that’s always a good omen,” he said.

    Another star attraction was the ValueJet 626UF flatbed UV printer, which recently won Product of the Year in its category at the SGIA awards in Las Vegas. “We launched this in April of this year, and we’ve been consistently selling all our stock. I’ve been doubling my stock coming into the country every month, and it’s all selling out,” Cavenagh said.

    OKI colours won’t run

    OKI Data Australia exhibited two of its roll-to-roll ColorPainter devices: the popular M64s and the H103.4. “This is the second occasion that we’re showcasing our products, and we’re having a lot of our end user customers visiting our stand today,” said Jeremy De Silva, product marketing manager.

    According to Renato Locano, wide-format technical support specialist, ink density and durability are two key advantages for OKI printers. “Even for car wrapping, when the media is stretched out, you don’t see any white dots or white markings. That just goes to show how good the inks are,” he said.

    Durability: (l-r) Jim Walsh, Jeremy De Silva, and Renato Locano, OKI.

    Pozitive breaking finishing bottleneck

    Pozitive’s stand highlighted a variety of print finishing solutions, including flatbed cutting tables from Summa. According to Phil Trumble, managing director, more printers need to consider investing in automated finishing equipment. “There’s lots of people out there who have multiple fast printers, but they’re not always considering the next step after the printing is done. Often you have staff spending hours trimming and cutting posters,” he said.

    Automated cutting tables like the Summa can boost a business’s production, says Trumble. “When you no longer have staff standing around for hours doing menial trimming and cutting tasks, and they’re instead off doing more useful things, then your productivity is a lot higher and your costs come down,” he said.

    Productivity: Phil Trumble, Pozitive.

    Spicers flying off the shelves

    Spicers distributes a range of hardware solutions for sign and display, including Roland and Mimaki printers, and finishing equipment from Neolt and Rollsroller. These were on show at its stand at the front of the Visual Impact floor, alongside films from 3M.

    According to Glen Makary, national sales manager for sign and display, customers were champing at the bit for both the hardware and consumables throughout the show. “We have a lot of leads on all the platforms we have here, and we’re not expecting to take any of it back to our factory. All of it should be sold,” he said.

    Popular: Glen Makary, Spicers.

    Starleaton flying fabric flag

    Starleaton’s stand featured a heavy focus on textiles, including printing on Epson and EFI machines, cutting with Zund, calendaring, and stitching. According to Ben Eaton, CEO, textiles are enjoying massive growth. “More and more people are opting for environmentally-friendly solutions, and logistically, in countries like Australia, it’s also much easier to ship textile signage around due to its low weight,” he said.

    A Zund cutting table and an Impulsa sewing machine were two of the biggest draws to the stand, said Eaton, due to customers’ enthusiasm for automated solutions. “Automation, or semi-automation, is where everybody seems to be wanting to invest,” he said. “There’s no fat in businesses in terms of extra personnel, so they want reliable machines that will be running all the time and let them redeploy the staff to more productive areas of the business.

    “It’s not about replacing bodies, it’s about getting them to use their time more efficiently.”

    Efficiency: Ben Eaton, Starleaton.

  • Graphics Grab Bag – this week in printing

    Grab Bag – definition: a miscellaneous collection: a potpourri.

    Welcome to the inaugural issue of Graphics Grab Bag, a weekly record of engagements and observations from an observer curious about the printing industry here and around the world.

    The big news this week was the Visual Impact show at Olympic Park, Sydney. The sold out show was a testimony to Peter Harper’s belief in the format and persistence in bringing it into being. Peter (above) is the GM Visual Connections, the graphic merchant’s association that runs the events. He’s now the sole GM or will be soon, when Karen Goldsmith leaves at the end of the month.

    I spent a couple of days at the show, trying not to get between sales people manning the stands and their prospects. It’s not something a wise person will do.

    Good to meet David Currie at the ‘big truck,’ always has the largest exhibition stand at these shows. He was chatting with a revived Steve Dunwell, back from a hiatus after finishing with manroland last year. No title on his Currie business card but he says his wife wants him out of the house. He’s helping young Will Currie at the NSW office. Welcome back Steve.

    1st-day sale: Martin Stacher with Sharlene Sach, Kissell+Wolf

    Honours for making the first-day sale at the show went to Martin Stacher of Kissel + Wolf, formerly known as Kiwo. He sold a Mutoh ValueJet 626UF to Melbourne printers CMC Gold, setting the tone for what I believe was a good transactional show. Clever inkjet machine the Mutoh compact unit is being used in shopping centres to print on anything and everything: wood, cups, plastic etc.

    Russell Cavenagh, the new GM of Mutoh holds great hopes for the prize-winning printer.

    Cameron McLachlan gets ready to fly with bon voyage from IanParkinson & Sylene Poncet.

    Across the way the cheers were ringing out as contestant’s battled it out in a wraparound ring. The Hexis people hosted the competition for best wrap artist to cover a 3-D boarding pass with shrink-wrap. Cameron McLachlan from Gold Coast Wraps beat off some strong competition. He won a 5-day trip to France to visit Hexis HQ in Montpelier. He was presented with the boarding pass by Sylene Poncet who flew here for the occasion and Ian Parkinson, managing director Hexis Australia.

    Talk about stoked.

    At Print Promotion in the Marriott, Pitt Street: Peter Scott, managing director Screen Australia, Dr Markus Heering VDMA and Scott Telfer, Customer CX.

    Away from the show, the German VDMA Print Promotion caravan rolled through Melbourne and Sydney on Monday and Tuesday. Promoted by Printing Industries, the hugely informed contingent was led by Dr.-Ing Markus Heering, VDMA, Geschåftsfuhrer (managing director for those without German). The level of technical knowledge and expertise of the German printing industry always impresses me. The line-up of products and processes shows why German technology is regarded as best in the world.

    Highlight for me was the description of a sheet-fed gravure press from HC Moog, a 3rd generation family-owned, press manufacturer from near Frankfurt. It was presented with enthusiasm regardless of the fact that, insofar as I’m aware, there’s not a single sheetfed gravure press anywhere in Australia or New Zealand.

    UV driers from IST Metz, the latest in laser die cutting from Polar and box making from Kolbus, filled out the program. Dierk Wissmann who’s been with Heidelberg Australia long enough to be considered a local, presented the press manufacturers digital ‘FIRE’ line up of presses, while David Murphy, from foilmaker Kurz, definitely one of ours, born and bred, showed what can be done with foils. I scored a couple of excellent posters.

    Kurz embellished posters from drupas past.

    Pity the free event wasn’t better promoted as I’m certain many more printers and owners would have found it as fascinating and informative as I did.

    And finally …

    Just when you thought it safe to go back onto the aisles, here’s a throwback to well before the #metoo world. Heck of a way to attract partners.

    See you around the traps.








  • Riposte! Printing Industries strikes back

    Last week environmental blogger Laurel Brunner contributed a series of blogs published by Print 21 titled Spreading the Suitability Message. Throughout the series Brunner accused industry groups of failing to do anything substantive about suitability.

    Brunner a UK-based author neglected to recognise the significant long-term contribution the Printing Industries Association of Australia has made toward sustainability through its nationally recognised Sustainable Green Print (SGP) program.

    SGP is Australia’s best recognised and most widely implemented industry sustainability program. Developed over ten years by the PIAA the program was launched in 2009, and since then has been implemented in hundreds of print businesses nationally and required by government as part of some tendering processes.

    PIAA was the first Australian industry group to develop a market-based suitability program, and today SGP remains a well subscribed benefit to PIAA members.

    Part of SGP’s formation was to counter green washing claims within the broader manufacturing industry. Today rigorous accreditation and annual re-accreditation lies at the heart of the program’s credibility, something which PIAA CEO Andrew Macaulay recognises as critical to the program’s ongoing success, “Sustainability programs are only as credible as their minimum standards and the reliability of these being enforced. SGP has topped it’s class nationally on both counts.”

    The programs structure takes participant businesses through three levels of accreditation, the top level being comparable to the base level requirements for ISO14001. Each level has key deliverables that must be demonstrated to auditors over several months before a business is accredited. Businesses must then demonstrate on a monthly basis that sustainability targets are met and report annually to maintain accreditation.

    A major party of the program’s ongoing success is the positive commercial proposition it offers print businesses. By reducing waste and energy expenditure businesses save money, particularly during a time of high energy costs, SGP provides a practical and inexpensive solution to increase margins. As well as this business report a strong positive response from their clients and have found ongoing commercial advantage when tendering for work – particularly to government and the not-for-profit sector.

    Part of SGP’s long-term success is that the programs recognises the commercial realities of the industry, as illustrated by CEO Andrew Macaulay, “SGP has proven its longevity because it was developed to meet environmental outcomes while remaining relevant to our industry. For print businesses faced with an increasing cost of energy a savvy program like SGP makes a lot of sense.”  

    Credit where credit is due, PIAA has invested and encouraged participation in the SGP program over a decade, the continued success of the program should be celebrated as a commercially viable example of improving our industries sustainability. The program is open to all print businesses and PIAA welcomes the opportunity to speak to printers keen to learn more.










  • GSP and Omnigraphics best outdoor print

    The winning Everyone loves their winter Woolies campaign, printed by Omnigraphics.

    Ad campaigns printed by GSP and Omnigraphics have won awards in the Outdoor Media Association’s quarterly Creative Collection competition, which recognises the best out-of-home campaigns.

    Best traditional use of out-of-home media went to a campaign for Cenovis Multivitamins, printed by GSP, while the Omnigraphics-printed Move with Momentum Energy took the honourable mention. Woolworths’ Everyone loves their winter Woolies campaign, also printed by Omnigraphics, won the category award for best use of a special build.

    The Cenovis Multivitamins campaign, printed by GSP.

    According to guest judge Andrew Dowling, founder and managing director, DO Agency, the entries were of a high standard, making judging difficult.”There was spirited debate amongst the judges about who should be the eventual winners across each category,” he said. “While all finalists put forward a strong case for selection, the panel came to a unanimous decision based on each winner’s ability to go beyond the obvious and generate an OOH campaign that spoke to its intended audience, in a unique or personalised fashion – whether that be through the topical relevance of the brand and message, seamless integration of technology, or creative impact.”

    The Move with Momentum Energy campaign, printed by Omnigraphics.

    The OMA says Creative Collection, which was launched in 2013, ‘celebrates the big, bold, and audacious canvas that is Out of Home’ by recognising the best campaigns every quarter. The competition for Q2 2018 attracted 32 entries from companies including Adshel, APN Outdoor, JCDecaux, oOh!media, Paradise Outdoor Advertising, QMS Media, and TorchMedia.

  • Government extends instant asset write-off

    The government has extended the instant asset write-off through 2019, which allows small businesses to claim depreciation on new equipment to the value of $20,000 immediately rather than having to write it down over several years.

    Positive result: Andrew Macaulay, CEO PIAA.

    Andrew Macaulay, CEO of Printing Industries, said it was positive that the bill had received broad support in both the House and the Senate, but further action needs to be taken. “Small business is the backbone of the country and accelerated depreciation is an important measure in helping business to invest and grow,” he said. “We call on the Government to end the annual uncertainty associated with renewing the write-down and to do the right thing to support business by making it permanent.”

    Macaulay has also called on the government to lift the $10m threshold, allowing more businesses to take advantage of the scheme; index the $20,000 writeoff amount to account for inflation; and bring forward already-passed tax cuts for small, medium and family businesses. “It is critical that Government policy helps our sector to grow and prosper, so Australians can have the jobs, living standards and opportunities to which they aspire. Many PIAA members have used the instant asset write-down over the past few years to purchase machinery and other plant equipment. It is a great cost-saver for print and packaging businesses,” he said.

    “Print and packaging businesses need certainty and policies that will support their ability to grow, hire and invest.”

    The bill passed through Parliament with no amendments, despite Greens Senator Nick McKim’s proposal to lift the amount to $30,000 for assets related to clean energy or energy efficiency. “It’s good to see a politician endorsing a policy PIAA wrote to Parliament about, seeking extra money for energy abatement and renewal technology,” said Macaulay. “We would encourage this above the continuation of the $20,000 write-off, which is good news for small business.”

  • Multiple applications shine at VI

    Platinum Sponsor: John Wall, managing director, Roland DG, celebrating 30 years of VI sponsorship

    Multiple applications from the same hardware is the key theme at this year’s Visual Impact in Sydney, which is in its final day today.

    As the poster print market becomes ever more crowded vendors were using the show to communicate the ability of today’s print solutions to also be used for new applications such as soft signage, textiles, interior décor, as well as POS, outdoor and indoor graphics.

    The show had some 108 exhibitors on the floor, with Roland DG once again the platinum sponsor. John Wall, managing director of the company says, “Printers often either have the means to enter new markets with the technology they have, or with a little extra investment can have the means to offer their existing customers more.”

    Wall pointed to Roland DG’s new LD-80 Laser Foiling unit, which print foil images onto promotional products as an example of a simple way to add a new revenue stream for a $13,000 investment.

    Companies such as Neopost, Epson and HP all have multiple application zones on their stands, designed to show printers at the show the different work they can produce from the same printers. Morgan Quinn, product marketing manager at Neopost says, “We often find that smaller print businesses are at first hesitant to consider new applications, but once we show them how straightforward it is they quickly pick it up, and of course new applications means new revenue streams.”

    Multiple applications: Neopost solutions at VI

    Epson also launched its T-Series printers, priced at less than $4000 for the 24” and less than $5000 for the 36”, which can print both roll to roll and rigid, onto stock 1.3mm thick, and both of which use Precision Core technology.

    Oce had its first-time buyer promotion on its Arizona 2200 flatbed printer, which sees payments delayed for the first three months, and the company supplying enough ink and media to produce some 3500sqm print. Dale Hawkins, marketing manager at Oce says, “The promotion means new buyers have the opportunity to get up and running without cash flow pressure.”

    HP lanched its first Latex flatbed print system the R-Series, and also launched its first White ink. Mutoh had new roll-to-roll systems and a new flatbed for promotional print, while Mimaki had full size flatbeds and a display cabinet of 3D printed examples. Graphic Art Mart became a dealer forthe Massivit large size 3D printers and had a full size rugby player in 3D on the stand.

    Not all exhibitors were focused on wide format, the biggest stand at the show was from Currie Group, which had its mobile showroom on the floor with an HP Indigo 7900 inside and a Horizon bookletmaker inline. On its stand it had a trio of Horizon finishing solutions, including its folder creaser, a die-cutting system, and the SmartSlitter.

    Currie Group: SmartSlitter, die-cutter, creaser folder and HP Indigo 7900 on the biggest stand at VI

  • oOh! chief says speed is key

    Brendon Cook, oOh!Media (right) and Kelvin Gage, Dscoop.

    The keys to out-of-home media success are ‘speed, speed, speed and cost’, said Brendon Cook, CEO of oOh!Media, at a Visual Impact breakfast seminar hosted by Dscoop.

    Speaking before a crowd of 90 people, Cook outlined oOh!’s strategy with both digital and classic  (traditional print media), and stressed the importance of being able to move quickly in today’s fast-paced environment. “We used to have to sell 99 per cent of our monthly budget for large-format printing in a classic-only world seven days before the start date. Today, we sell 20 per cent of our revenue during the four weeks of the month,” he said.

    Cook compared the outdoor media industry to Facebook, whose CEO Mark Zuckerberg ordered the company to focus on ‘mobile, mobile, mobile, and social engagement’, and presented an alternative mantra for the out-of-home sector. “Speed is becoming everything. Your number one business plan should be speed. We live in a fast-paced world. Clients want to move quickly, they want to get it in, out up,” he said. “Your number two should be speed, your number three should be speed, and number four should be cost.”

    According to Cook, digital outdoor advertising provides flexibility and speed of change; in a case study he provided, oOh! was able to push out the news of Commonwealth Bank dropping ATM fees to all its digital billboards as it was being announced on TV. Classic, he said, is useful for building brand fame, selling product, and providing local and relevant content. “I still firmly believe in the power of classic. In a more digitised world, we still use it,” said Cook.

    Kelvin Gage, chairman of Dscoop Asia-Pacific and Japan, urged guests to take Cook’s message on board. “While this is a rapidly-evolving industry, there is still plenty of room for static traditional printing as well as more dynamic digital advertising,” he said. “Some of the key take-homes were the need to be dynamic and agile. Speed to market is critical these days, and obviously the digital market allows us to do that more easily, but the ability to get quicker turnaround times for printed media is also important.”

    The next major Dscoop event is the Dscoop USA 2019 conference, which will be held in March in Orlando, Florida.

  • PMP and Franklin top ACA awards

    The country’s big two catalogue printers PMP and Franklin Web took home the major awards at the 27th Annual Australasian Catalogue Association (ACA Awards).

    PMP printed the ‘Myer Christmas #2 Augmented Reality’ catalogue that won Judges’ Choice, while Franklin Web printed Kmart’s ‘Inspired Living’ catalogue, which was crowned winner of the new category, Customer Insights.

    PMP also printed the winning awards for Catalogue Retailer of the Year – Up to 1.5M (David Jones), Catalogue Retailer of the Year – Up to 3.5M (Myer) and Catalogue Retailer of the Year – Over 3.5M (ALDI).

    Other printers that received recognition on the evening were, Complete Colour Solutions for Beacon Lighting ‘Designers Lighting & Fan Collection’, Lindsay Yates Group for the Freehold Capital ‘On Bourke’, Rooster for APT’s ‘Small Ships Antarctica, Arctic & Northern Europe’, and Gunn and Taylor for Claire Skinner’s ‘Transcendence’ in the Excellence in Craft category Best in Class.

    ACA Awards: PMP and Franklin big winners with Dave O’Neil the MC for the night

    The event, held at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre’s prestigious Melbourne Room, was a celebration of print as a strong marketing platform across Australia and New Zealand. The 600 guests had Australia’s funnyman Dave O’Neil keeping them entertained as Master of Ceremonies throughout the 41-category ceremony.

    This year there was a strong focus on effective marketing with the addition of new categories – Point of Sale, Customer Insights and Corporate Social Responsibility.

    Adrian O’Connor, CEO, Print & Distribution, PMP said, “Every year the ACA Awards go from strength to strength in celebrating the diversity and ever-growing nature of catalogue and letterbox marketing. It is a privilege to work with so many PMP clients who value this marketing channel and its critical impact generating sales for their businesses. I am proud to be part of an amazing industry producing catalogues we know Australians and New Zealanders love.”

    Natalie Taylor, national sales director, Franklin Web (an IVE business) commented, “This year’s event focus on the broader print industry shows how much the Association and industry has grown with our customers. From the planning phase to delivery, printers are part of the entire journey.

    Kellie Northwood, Chief Executive Officer, ACA commented, “We’ve seen many more commercial printers entering for their retail work and pushing the print boundaries further to connect with audiences and build brand equity. It’s a true collaboration between agencies, retailers and printers to produce the best possible campaigns for their customers.”

    For a full listing of Winners and Finalists go to

  • Plockmatic buys Watkiss

    Bought: Watkiss developer of Powersquare for digital printing systems now part of Plockmatic

    Manufacturer of the PowerSquare branded finishing solutions Watkiss Automation is being  acquired by rival Plockmatic Group, in further industry consolidation.

    The deal is the latest in a line of acquisitions by the Swedish based Plockmatic, it bought digital finishing solutions developer Morgana five years ago, and Italian bindery equipment manufacturer KGS in 2016.

    The company says the acquisition extends the Plockmatic booklet making range into the high-end market segment where digital prints are created using both toner and advanced high-speed inkjet technology.

    Watkiss has been supplied in Australia by AGS since 2016. Glenn Maynard, managing director of says “These changes will not have any immediate impact for the Australian market, and we are looking forward to embracing opportunities that this new arrangement with Plockmatic may bring in the long term.”

    Chris Toll, regional sales manager – Plockmatic Group ANZ, Asia based in Australia said,
    “This brings the high end spectrum of booklet making to our growing range of finishing products. I am looking forward to working more with AGS and Glenn’s team for the Watkiss products”

    In addition to Powersquare technology, which is usually implemented online to a digital print systems, Watkiss manufactures offline bookletmaking systems and a range of finishing equipment.

    Watkiss – which was family owned – manufactured from the UK. Members of the family will make the transition to Plockmatic.

    Scott Russell, Plockmatic Group vice-president of inline systems says, “We are seeing a growth in bookletmaking applications in the inkjet-enabled cut-sheet segment. Inkjet has made digital print for longer runs for catalogues, magazines, brochures and other documents more cost-effective and we wanted to be there. Watkiss is already inkjet-ready and performing well around the world on a number of these emerging devices.

    “The Plockmatic Group can now address a larger number of the growing applications, both in terms of page count by going higher volume with Watkiss, and across the spectrum of applications with creasing, binding, perforating, provided by Morgana, all optimised for digital.”

  • Kodak offering data analytics to all

    Kodak has launched an extension to its Prinergy prepress workflow and resource management system, intended to optimise human resources and the use of consumables on press.

    For many years now the graphics industry has benefited from cloud computing, initially with the Software-as-a-Service model pioneered by Agfa, and latterly with a growing range of subscriber based cloud services.

    Adobe started the cloud ball rolling some years ago with CSS subscriptions, and HP has developed the industry’s most ambitious offering with its PrintOS service, available since 2016.

    Most of the leading manufacturers offer cloud based services and support of one sort or another, but the emphasis on data analytics has not been much trumpeted. That could be changing.

    The new service from Kodak not only helps offset print service providers save money, but also improves environmental impacts by helping to improve the management of waste, ink and energy usage.

    It is based on continual analysis of ink and plate usage, and the data is collected via the Prinergy workflow system. Print service providers can use this information to improve planning and consumables purchasing decisions. The idea is to use real life data to anticipate what to buy and how much of it, in line with purchasing and procurement models in other sectors such as hospitality and transport.

    Kodak reckon that the snappily named Decision Analytics Ink & Plate Usage Service will make it easier for companies to produce accurate quotes and to protect margins, since costs will be known, including labour costs. Inventory planning should also be improved, particularly for packaging printers dealing with lots of different inks.

    High level business intelligence is becoming a feature of the wider graphic arts landscape and it will be a tool that allows smaller companies to compete with the bigger players. Companies that lack their own IT department or business intelligence specialists are vulnerable to competitors who have such resources in place and which use data analytics in their cash flow forecasting and inventory management.

    But data analytics are not natural companions for inky fingered traditionalists, which is why smaller printing companies should take heed of Kodak’s announcement and start the conversation. Partnering with a manufacturer who can help make sense of the data and how to work with it, is a lot easier and far cheaper than trying to turn oneself into a data mandarin.