Archive for the ‘Supporters’ Category

  • Screen Australia

    Booked up: (l-r) Darryl Wilson and David Reece from Jet Technologies, Peter Scott and Derek Field from Screen, and Matthew Vaughn from Jet Technologies with the Screen L350UV+ digital label press.

    UV inkjet is an up-and-coming technology in the world of digital label printing, and Screen’s L350UV inkjet label press has enjoyed considerable success in Australia and New Zealand, with five installations across the two countries. Now, the upgraded version has arrived on Australian shores.

    On the outside there is little visual difference between the Screen L350UV+ digital label press and its predecessor – the chassis looks virtually the same, save for the change in model number. Under the hood, however, there have been some significant upgrades, as Screen GP Australia’s managing director Peter Scott tells me.

    “One main difference from the previous model is that it now has an orange ink option. It is now CMYK plus white and orange, which increases the colour gamut,” says Scott.

    “In addition the L350UV+ has the ability to print at sixty metres per minute, up from fifty, which is a twenty per cent increase in productivity. It also has in the machine a chill roller, which allows it to print on thinner films and more heat-sensitive materials, so users can move into different markets.

    “The demo machine here at Jet Technologies is fully specified – the only option it does not have is low-migration inks designed for food-related packaging. We could bring in a machine with that option if we needed to,” he says.

    The original L350UV boasts five local installations: one in Sydney, one in Auckland, and three in Melbourne. More than a hundred are operating worldwide, and according to Scott, its customers could not be happier with it.

    “It has proven itself to be reliable, and customers have bought their second, third, and fourth machines from us,” he says.

    Jet Technologies’ showroom has seen four demonstration L350UV machines in operation, and now hosts the first L350UV+ to reach Australia. Scott expects it to be as successful as the original, if not more.

    “Global customers are now starting to trade in the old model and put the new one in, because of the extra colour and higher productivity. The L350UV+ is based on the original model, so the reliability, the head technology and all of those things are in place and have proven themselves.

    “As with anything Screen does, we look at improving the productivity and energy efficiency, and increasing the number of applications the press can handle,” he says.

    The demo machine at Rosebery has already proved popular, according to David Reece, sales director at Jet Technologies. “We were booked up for three weeks,” he says. “Label converters are coming in to see the machine in action, and they’re printing their own jobs to see the quality, high productivity, and low total cost of ownership this press has to offer.”

    Opened in 2014, the Jet Technologies demo centre has played host to not just the L350UV+ and its predecessor, but other equipment from the company as well; more is expected to come this year, including a laminator for the print and packaging division.

    “We always have a certain amount of equipment on show, be it Screen or otherwise – things like platemaking and rotary screen making equipment,” says Reece. “The L350UV+ is our flagship digital press on demonstration.”

    According to Reece, every L350UV sale Jet has made has been to customers who visited the demonstration centre. The showroom has been a useful tool not just for Jet Technologies, but the customers themselves, who can use it to learn more about the equipment they’re considering buying, he says.

    “The biggest benefit is that they can come, stay as long as they want – be it a day, two days, an hour – and run their materials hands-on with the machine to get all the information they need in an open and transparent way.

    “We have also worked with most of the major materials suppliers to qualify and test their products, and our customers can see how their own jobs will look on a variety of substrates,” says Reece.

    Screen and Jet Technologies customers can be assured they will not be left high and dry if they need help with their new L350UV+ presses.

    According to Scott, Screen has five engineers on the ground capable of handling the machine, while Jet Technologies offers application support.

    “The L350UV+ is not an orphan product – it is backed up by Screen and Jet Technologies’ experienced support teams, along with the whole Screen product range”, he says

  • Media Super

    Graeme Russell, CEO Media Super

    Media Super, like all industry super funds, appears to have come through the Royal Commission in good health. Among the blizzard of accusations of bad dealings and bad faith, the not-for-profit industry funds shone like a beacon. Print21 editor Wayne Robinson asks Media Super CEO Graeme Russell why that is.

    Superannuation funds have been in the headlines recently – and not all those headlines have made pretty reading, as the Royal Commission into Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services shone the spotlight into the darker corners of the industry. However, while the retail funds run by the banks and the likes of AMP suffered a litany of distressing revelations during the course of the Commission, the industry super funds that appeared came out more or less unscathed from the hearings.

    Sitting at the head of the printing industry’s super fund, Media Super, CEO Graeme Russell, now six years into the job, says industry funds generally have outperformed the retail funds. “There is a fundamental flaw, an irreconcilable conflict of interest with retail funds. They have to benefit both members and shareholders. Industry funds like Media Super have a single focus, and one stakeholder to satisfy: the member. All profits only go to members.

    “Industry funds generally have a values based foundation, as we were established to act only in the interests of our members. We are working solely for our members,” he says.

    The fallout from the Royal Commission has been spectacular, with members apparently abandoning retail funds in droves. Media Super alone has seen rollovers from other funds up by 60 per cent over the year before, and the final report is not even out yet.
    The Media Super fund that Russell oversees is the industry fund for the printing industry, as well as the media and creative arts industries. Its 80,000 members have some $5.5bn in the fund. Russell points to its rankings as evidence of its well being. It is consistently among the top performers; in the last 12 months, for instance, it is ranked as the top performer in the SuperRatings SR50 –Balanced Options ratings table.

    Not all print industry people are part of Media Super, although not surprisingly Russell believes those who are not should consider the Media Super option, especially if they are in a retail fund. He says there are three key reasons why print industry people should consider Media Super: performance, investment in print, and investment in the wellbeing of print people.

    High performer

    “First, according to SuperRatings, the performance of Media Super is strong. Our default MySuper product, the Balanced Option, has outperformed most retail funds used by major print employers for the last five years at least. Media Super’s My Super Balanced Option was ranked number one over the 12 months to November 30 last year,” he says.

    Part of the reason why industry funds in general and Media Super in particular consistently perform better than retail funds is that they make large investments in unlisted infrastructure and commercial property assets, both here and overseas. These have consistently delivered near or above double-digit returns. Media Super is one of the owners of IFM Investors, which is a vehicle for investing in infrastructure owned by a collection of industry super funds. Similarly, it is also a part owner of ISPT (Industry Super Property Trust), and of ME Bank, both also owned by a collection of industry super funds.

    “We have different asset allocations to the retail funds, and that has delivered superior performance over the medium to long-term,” says Russell. Industry fund members including those with Media Super also typically pay lower fees than retail funds, as they are not paying commissions or dividends.

    According to Russell, the second reason why many printing industry people choose to invest through their industry fund, Media Super, is that it invests back into the industry. A retail fund has no vested interest in the print industry, whereas an industry fund does. “We are strong supporters of the PIAA and of many industry initiatives, from Print2Parliament to the National Print Awards, apprenticeships, and encouraging young people to join the industry,” he says.

    “The third reason is that we are out there supporting people in the industry. For several years, for instance, we have offered print employers a mental health wellness programme, run by the industry funds’ own mental health foundation, Super Friend. Next year we will launch a financial wellbeing programme for our members: we will be visiting printers offering on-site training and education for financial health,” says Russell.

    The Media Super fund also provides a tool to track people’s retirement projections, enabling them to see where they will end up and whether they need to take further action. Typically people approaching retirement will want to be thinking about salary sacrificing if they can, given that compulsory super has only been part of the working life for less than 25 years. Those at the beginning of their working life should be in a good position by the time they come to retire with 40 years or more of super payments.

    Russell is proud of the mental wellness programme, which comes as part of industry and society accepting that mental health is not something to be brushed under the carpet and kept hidden, but is best dealt with in an open and non-judgemental way. Media Super is seeing an increasing number of claims through the Fund’s total and permanent disability (TPD) insurance based on mental health issues, and in fact it is now the number one reason people are claiming. “We want to be part of the solution that helps people before they get to that point and enables them to get help early, so they have a better chance of recovery and getting back to productive work,” says Russell.

    Well balanced

    The Media Super Board comprises 11 people: three from the PIAA, three from the AMWU, two from the Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance, one from Nine (formerly Fairfax), one from Live Performance Australia, and one independent. Russell reports to the Board, and his senior management team consists of himself, a chief operating officer, a general manager of investments, a general manager of engagement, and an HR manager.

    The $5.5bn fund has 80,000 members, and 13,000 employers making contributions, with the print industry the biggest sector; however, not everyone in print is a member, in fact far from it. A number of larger printing companies still use bank-owned or AMP corporate funds, almost all of which are delivering lower returns than Media Super.

    Media Super offices are located in mainland state capital cities, with around 30 full time staff working for the fund. The call centre and admin are outsourced to Mercer, in common with most of the mid to small sized industry funds.

    Russell himself has previous form in print: while he was studying at university he worked his way through in a phototypesetting trade house, which contracted out to local newspapers and magazines. A business degree and a chartered accountancy qualification took him eventually to the CEO of another industry fund, before he took the role at Media Super in 2013.

    Print’s transition
    After six years at the head of Media Super, Russell is in a good position to assess the print industry, which he says is in transition. “The notion that print is dead or dying is clearly far from the truth. What is happening is that print is in a period of rapid change. There will always be challenges with change. As I see the landscape, the bigger companies are well underway in their transformation programmes, and so are some but not all of the smaller companies. I’m not sure all of them will make the transition successfully. Some sectors clearly have a bright future: outdoor print for instance, as well as packaging and personalised print; others, envelopes for instance, have a less secure outlook.”

    With the nation’s super funds holding trillions of dollars, is Russell concerned about the government raiding the coffers through some form of taxation? “I think not, although there could be a rebalancing. At present the tax on super favours the higher income earners, and that does need addressing.”

    On the issue of governance, Russell and the other industry fund leaders are resisting government attempts to change the rules to bring them into line with the retail funds, pointing out it hasn’t exactly worked well with the retail funds.

    Advancing women
    One area that Media Super is especially concerned about is super and women. Under the current system women are disadvantaged, primarily because of their time out of the workforce during the childbearing and child rearing years. They also generally have lower wages, which translates into lower super. Russell wants changes. “We would like to see super continue to be paid when a woman is on paid parental leave. We also want to see it paid when people earn less than $450 a week, which is the current lower limit. Some of our members in the entertainment world may have some weeks when they are on low pay for one reason or another. It is simply not fair their employer does not have to pay super because they are not earning so much.”

    Strong position
    Super is a crucial part of the working life, and its guardians have a big responsibility. The message from Russell for people in the print industry is that Media Super is in a strong position and is consistently delivering a solid investment return. It has low fees and is focused on its members, while working for the good of the entire industry.

  • Screen Australia

    New Zealand-based label printer Unimax in Auckland, specialises in agriculture, transportation, health and food and beverage labels. With more than 30 years’ experience, the convertor is committed to offering the best value labels as well as promoting best practice environmental business. It aims to reuse or recycle the majority of its physical waste, reduce energy consumption, improve workplace efficiency and safety, and help customers lower their environmental impact.

    To support the growth and competitiveness of its business into the future, Unimax was looking to offer more variety in the printing options available to customers. After considering what is available, it made the decision to invest in a new digital printing solution.

    “We were looking for a digital printing press that offered the highest quality print product, consistency and was the most cost effective,” said Dinesh Kumar, director. “After weighing up the available options, we made the decision that the Screen L350UV stood out as the best solution.”

    Jet Technologies was brought in to consult on the Screen Truepress Jet L350UV with the assistance of Screen GP Australia and Fujifilm NZ. The L350UV offers a modern addition to the Unimax business, that was previously only printed conventionally.

    “By now being able to offer its clients both conventional and digital printing, Unimax is positioned as a fully-rounded label print house,” said Jack Malki, Director, Jet Technologies. “This allows them to offer a variety of options to customers.”

    The benefits of the L350UV

    The Screen L350 was an attractive option for Unimax due to the fact that its high speeds make it a very cost-effective option. Additionally, it delivers a higher uptime of 94 per cent compared to other printers, meaning more throughput and less bottlenecks.

    Digital printing opens up more colour options, including white ink, and the colour is more vibrant. The L350 also ensures that colour consistency is assured on every job.

    Label durability is also another benefit of the printer, with a longevity of 12 months minimum.

    “We needed a press that was capable of high-quality labels that wouldn’t scuff, fade or scratch,” Dinesh explained. “With the L350 we can also print on a wide range of substrates, including textured and silver, which avoids the need for top coating finishes such as foils.”

    “Being digital, the Screen L350 allows for variable data printing, while keeping set-up times low. It also opens the door to much more customisable labels to meet the needs and preferences of customers.”

    The results for Unimax

    Investing in bringing digital printing in house, rather than having to outsource has made Unimax a more competitive and versatile label printing business.

    It has made a big impact on the productivity of Unimax’s label printing, which has enabled the company to increase capacity and take on more customers.

    “The L350 is a very fast printer and on average we’re printing at 50 metres per minute. With the print jobs we’ve been able to move over from conventional printing & we have halved the time required,” Dinesh explained.

    “We’re also now able to offer customers a solution if they have urgent print jobs, as with the L350 we can do these in a day.”

     

  • Kornit aims for peak with new Atlas

    Kornit Atlas: Industrial scale t-shirt and garment digital printing

    Kornit Digital has launched Atlas, a new heavy-duty direct-to-garment (DTG) printer created to produce digital t-shirt and garment decoration on an industrial scale.

    Supplied in Australia by Kiwo, the Atlas will deliver a typical annual production capacity of up to 350,000 impressions.

    It is aimed at highly productive garment decorators, mid to large size screen printers, and, according to Kornit, businesses looking to combine digital technology with the lowest cost of ownership for a move into textiles.

    It will typically be used in  flexible garment production for print-on-demand and e-commerce, producing run lengths from one to 1,000, with set-up time virtually zero according to Kornit.

    The system is equipped with new recirculating print heads and comes with a newly developed ink, NeoPigment Eco-Rapid. The Atlas has a CMYKRG plus white colour gamut.

    The printing engine features an enhanced version of Kornit’s HD technology, with a rip that combine to produce, according to Kornit,  the highest standards of retail quality and durability.

    The Atlas comes ready for Kornit’s future releases of its cloud-based business intelligence, productivity analytics and optimisation software platforms, scheduled to be released in the second half of the year.

    Omer Kulka, Kornit’s VP of marketing and product strategy, comments, “This is a huge leap forward, not only for Kornit, but also for the direct-to-garment industry as a whole. We have delivered the Atlas on the collective feedback of thousands of Kornit systems’ operators and on the experience collected from hundreds of millions of printed garments.”

    The new NeoPigment Eco-Rapid ink is a main driver of the Atlas’ retail quality prints. Kornit says it provides a white ink opacity, matched to those of conventional screen inks, and meets highest durability standards on multiple fabric types. Its increased colour gamut and saturation allow for deep full tones and precise spot colour matching.

     The new Eco-Rapid ink will be integrated with new Storm HD6 and Avalanche HD6/HDK systems and will also be retrofitted to existing Kornit HD systems. Kornit intends to switch all existing HD customers to NeoPigment Eco-Rapid during the year.

    Atlas can be viewed in live demonstrations at at Fespa Munich from 14-17 May.

  • Epson SureColor F2160

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

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

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

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

    SureColor F2160 at a glance:

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

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

    Click for more information.

     

  • Currie Group

    Biggest installation 
in Australia: CMYKhub CEO Trent Nankervis and communications manager Glen Francis at the Melbourne print hub with the B2
HP Indigo 10000 and the HP Indigo 5600.

    National trade printing house CMYKhub has just installed five 
HP Indigo Digital Presses, the biggest order supplier Currie Group 
has received in the 17 years it has been supplying the presses.

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

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

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

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

    The quality of print we are achieving is high, on both coated and on uncoated stock, it is as vibrant as UV offset. We find toner sits on the sheet, where Indigo sinks into it, giving the quality. Just like offset 
HP Indigo prints to a blanket first then transfers onto the sheet, delivering a smooth dot.”
    “We first installed HP Indigo five years ago, and our experience since then with the printers and with the supplier Currie Group drove our decision to go with HP Indigo again for this major new investment.

    David Currie, executive chairman of supplier Currie Group says, “CMYKhub has been an HP Indigo user for many years, so it knows what it is getting, which is high quality print in a robust digital machine.
    “Everyone knows the commitment CMYKhub has to the market, to its customers, and its desire to provide them with the best print.

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

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

    CMYKhub is the country’s largest trade printer, and the only one with manufacturing facilities in Vic, NSW, Qld and WA. It is now fully owned by the Nankervis family, one of the best-known print families in the country, with a serious pedigree in print won over decades.

    In addition to its digital printing the company has been investing strongly in UV offset presses over the past few years, the Vic hub has an eight-colour B1 Komori H-UV, with the other manufacturing sites in NSW, WA and Queensland running eight-colour A1 RMGT LED -UV 920 series presses, and another about to go in.

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

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

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

    Nankervis says, “The Indigo quality coupled with the range of embellishments the Scodix machine can produce, allows our resellers to create low cost, but high perceived value short run orders.”

    The CMYKhub Indigo and offset production is rounded out by a comprehensive roll-fed and flatbed wide format production suite in the eastern states, with WA completing its installation in January. CYMKhub now has a total of nine HP Indigo presses in its Australian network – by far the most of any local printer – and has had no trouble finding people to run the presses.

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

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

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

     

  • EFI and Starleaton team up for webinar

    EFI and Australian channel partner Starleaton will host a wide-format webinar next Tuesday, 20 November, to educate printers on how to grow their businesses with wide-format technology.

    The webinar will feature a live cross to EFI’s Manchester factory in the USA, where the company will present a live demonstration of three of its wide-format machines: the 16H, 24F and the new roll-to-roll 32r (pictured above). According to Megan Bisson, senior regional marketing for APAC at EFI, the webinar will be a valuable experience for Australian and New Zealand printers. “Sean Roberts, world manager of EFI’s global customer experience centres, and Ian Cleary, industrial product manager at Starleaton, will be discussing how you can differentiate your company from the competition and keep away from the traditional price war per square metre.

    “They’ll also look at how expanding your offering with fast-turn, high-margin wide-format printing on specialty, rigid and flexible substrates can expand your customer base,” said Bisson.

    Bisson says she’s looking forward to working with Starleaton on the webinar and educating printers on EFI’s range of wide-format offerings. “Sean, our inkjet expert, will discuss how EFI’s Wide Format printers give you access to the widest range of substrates because they’re capable of printing roll-to-roll, flexible sheets and rigid substrates and specialty items all in a single footprint,” said Bisson. “This is the first joint webinar with our partner, Starleaton, this year and we’re excited to have Sean run live demonstrations from the global customer experience centre on the US east coast.”

    According to Cleary, the webinar is important for Starleaton as well as EFI. “Part of our marketing program is allowing customers to understand the true depth of the EFI ecosystem and what it offers. It’s very broad – not just one printer or piece of software. There’s an incredible amount of diversity in their offerings,” he said. “EFI has world-class machines, it’s a world-class company, and it can be a great partner for your business.”

    Registration is open now for the webinar, which will begin at 10am AEDST on 20 November.

  • EpsonPrecision Core

    Epson’s booth at Visual Impact 2018.

    Epson‘s booth at Visual Impact 2018 was laid out exactly like a typical print shop, and split into three zones: fabric, POS and signage.

    All print solutions on display were using Epson’s proprietary PrecisionCore print technology. Nathan Fulcher, marketing manager at Epson says, “PrecisionCore is what it says, precise, due to the microthin film piezo technology which effectively creates channels for the ink to sit in, much like microprocessor chips do for the electronics.

    “For the printer this means really fine printing with remarkable ink control and variable dots for fine gradations and a wide colour gamut, up to 99 per cent Pantone.”

    PrecisionCore is in all Epson print systems now, including the high-end SureColors and the lower end T-Series, which were being launched at the show.

    For just $2000 for a 24” model, or less than $5000 for a 36” T-Series, Epson has brought in a printer that produces sellable collour prints. Fulcher says, “They have just landed here, they will print coated and uncoated stocks, and can print both flatbed and roll to roll, with flatbed on media up to 1.5mm thick.”

    Also on the stand was the second-generation SureColor F2160 direct-to-garment printer, a successor to the F2000. Ryan Warby, business development manager for professional print solutions at Epson, said the F2000 was a popular and successful product. “It changed the industry quite a bit with its low maintenance and its reliability,” he said. “We’re improving on that with the F2160, adding a cleaning cartridge, adjusting speeds and resolutions, and putting in variable-dot printing. It’s a good step up from the F2000.”

  • Graffica

    Established over 21 years ago as a specialist supplier of press room and finishing equipment, our equipment is sourced from a variety of countries around the world. We choose suppliers that support us, and therefore in turn our customers requirements. Some of the machines we bring in are tailored to suit local conditions and expectations.

    We often bring in machines that are not mainstream products, for example 2.6m wide die cutters and guillotines, computer driven forme making equipment etc. Our customers know that even if it’s the only unit in Australia they will get a turn key installation and support that is second to none.

    Our products include:

    BCS machines

    Box maker / printer.  No Die Forme and no plates. Tool less and no previous box making skill required.

    Smooth 106

    High speed Smooth series, die-cutters and folding box gluers.

    Century 1650 and 1850

    Corrugated and display die-cutters.

     

    For more information, call us today on 0477 200 854.

  • Keeping your vision clear with MIS

    Running a small business can be tough at the best of times, but it gets tougher when information overload sets in. With a barrage of data coming in from all sides, it can be almost impossible to keep everything straight in your head. Fortunately, technology can help take some of the strain away from your brain. EFI’s Daniel Aloi looks at the benefits automating your processes can bring.

    Whether you’re running a franchise, a small print shop, a print-on-demand outlet, or an in-plant facility, it’s easy as an owner to take on many roles. All too often, you end up focusing on the day-to-day and losing sight of the overall view of your business.

    Investing in a good Management Information System (MIS) software suite is a great way to take the pressure off your decision-making. Having a software solution to take care of many of those small but necessary tasks within your business can save valuable time and money. It’s all part of running a print business: cutting costs, reducing job turnaround times, and winning more work.

    What to look for

    A decent MIS platform should be able to streamline your printing workflow, leading to less human involvement and fewer mistakes; give you an overview of your business performance and allow you to make improvements where necessary; and provide secure, fast and easy access to your business information at any time from anywhere.

    Production accuracy, waste reduction and job turnaround times all contribute to the success of your business, and often determine the satisfaction of your customers. Improving accuracy and job turnaround times while reducing waste will benefit your overall business performance, so it’s vital that your MIS has the capability to optimise these aspects of your business.

    The right MIS will also allow you to work with an easy-to-use interface allowing you to check in with your business at any stage. You can see quickly and easily how things are operating and make the right decisions quickly every time.

    In my years of industry experience, I’ve found it’s best to have an MIS suite behind you that can tick all of those boxes, bringing together everything you need in a single package – and EFI’s PrintSmith Vision does exactly that.

    An all-in-one solution

    EFI PrintSmith Vision is a browser-based, scalable and customisable print management solution. It’s designed to streamline operations, reduce costs and give you valuable insight into your business.

    Offering a modular architecture, PrintSmith Vision lets you choose the solution that best fits your business requirements, size, and budget. This solution provides the ability and flexibility to grow with your organisation as your business needs evolve.

    EFI PrintSmith Vision is a product that focuses on workflow, covering print estimating, production, accounting, sales management and e-commerce. Its reporting tools give you real-time analytics, so you can quickly identify productivity and job costing.

    To accompany the software and get you on the right track, EFI provides a customer service team staffed with experts to get your automation up and running within forty hours. EFI doesn’t just sell an MIS – we provide a complete solution including the support you need to keep it running and make it work hard for your business.

    Daniel Aloi is the regional manager for software at EFI, and is happy to answer your questions about PrintSmith Vision MIS. Contact him at efi_anz@efi.com.

  • Gecko Sticker Signage

     

    Become a Trade Client!

     

    We offer the highest quality – cheapest prices –  The most knowledgeable friendly staff in our industry & fastest turn around times with dispatch times guaranteed or the order is FREE!

     

    If you’re a:

    • Printer
    • Print Broker
    • Marketing Agency
    • Graphic Designer

    See for yourself how you can be your client’s ‘printing hero’ by playing our video now

    The five biggest benefits of using us:

    FREE SHIPPING

    Any order with Gecko Sticker Signage comes with free standard shipping across all of Australia. Dispatch times start from 2 business days and we’ve even thrown in free tracking too!

    PERFECT PRODUCTION

    We guarantee your stickers will be 100% free from production mistakes, so you can trust us to do the right job every time. And, if we do screw up, we’ll make it right by reprinting it for FREE!

    FAST QUOTES

    We answer all your questions and quote you super fast with a personalised quote to ensure you are quoted on the correct product with no hidden costs.

    URGENT NEXT DAY DISPATCH

    For urgent orders Gecko Sticker Signage has you covered. 24Hr next day dispatch service along with overnight express postage means you don’t need to miss deadlines. T’s & C’s apply.

    FREE ARTWORK

    Need some basic artwork done? Gecko Sticker Signage offers Free Basic Artwork service. T’s & C’s apply.

    Contact us today!

     

  • Currie Care Centre

    Currie Group has one of the largest service support teams in the industry for Australia & New Zealand.

    Contemporary printing is a technology-driven manufacturing industry. In factories and shops around Australia & New Zealand it utilizes sophisticated machinery, software, computers and workflows, frequently operating 24/7. In order to achieve optimum productivity everything in the complex process needs to perform reliably and as expected. When the unexpected fault occurs service response in terms of time and expertise becomes the crucial factor. That’s where the Currie Care Centre comes in.

    It’s no coincidence that Currie Group, the largest independent equipment supplier to the graphic arts industry across Australia and New Zealand, has one of the largest service teams in the industry. Almost 70 years ago the company started out as service engineers in Melbourne under Bill Currie, father of current executive chairman, David Currie. As printing engineers the business thrived for many years before transforming into the high-profile technology supplier that is today’s Currie Group.

    One thing that hasn’t changed in the company’s journey towards modernity and the future is the service ethos that first brought it recognition and reputation. The benchmark of the printing industry service offering is the Currie Care Centre, informed by the tradition of ensuring printers can rely confidently on expert knowledge and prompt service response times.

    Marcus Robinson’s approach as service manager Australia & New Zealand is deeply influenced by Currie Group culture. Starting out by serving his electrical apprenticeship with the company, he’s spent most of his 19 years there looking out for the service needs of the widest range of Australian and New Zealand commercial printers and label converters. From HP Indigo digital printing, Horizon finishing, Cron CTP and Scodix digital embellishing, Robinson has earned a reputation of being one of the best service professionals in the region.

    There is a down to earth pragmatism about the Currie Care Centre and Robinson that likely draws its inspiration from how it all began. Trade credentials are recognised as important as college degrees. “When I started I was fixing offset presses, but then one day I was called into the office to answer the phone when someone was sick. That’s a long time ago and I’ve never been back on the tools since.

    “A lot has changed since then, the company has grown, the industry has evolved and diversified but one thing that has remained strong is our loyal customers, some who have been with us for over 50 years. We must be doing something right.”

    A measure of the importance attached to his role by the Group can be seen in the number of employees that are dedicated to providing service. Over 60 percent of all the individuals that work within Currie Group are in the operations team, focused on delivering service via the Currie Care Centre. Through the Centre ‘Currie Care’ is a service contract offering whose benefits Robinson is continually promoting. Although not every customer signs on he’s convinced it makes good sense.

    “We promote Currie Care because it works for printers. When you sign on you know there’ll be no unbudgeted costs; it helps with business planning and peace of mind with no unexpected spare parts or engineer labour costs. We work on a monthly charge basis that our Currie Care customers incorporate into their budgets. We carry out planned preventative maintenance throughout the year to ensure machines are operating at optimal performance to prevent machinery break down’s or any unplanned stoppages. It lets us work very proactively with our customers,” said Robinson.

     

    The Currie Care Centre is staffed by experts to solve problems remotely.

    HP Indigo is the premier digital production press brand in the industry with machines serving commercial printing, labels and packaging. It led printing towards its digital destiny and is still blazing the trail in new forms and methods of production. No new technology emerges without teething problems and the Currie Care Centre and Robinson have been at the forefront of printing’s engagement with digital technology. The challenges faced along the way helped define the professionalism and sophistication

    of the current service response. As the company responsible for every aspect of the brand in the local market, Currie Group had to up-skill from its traditional expertise to servicing the latest in high technology electronics, computers and high-speed data transmission.

    To meet this challenge Robinson embarked on recruiting graduates with the required skill sets.

    “Gone are the days when we were only looking for electricians or fitters and turners. Now we want skilled engineers, university trained or industry experienced recruits with the right background. Our graduate program has been a great success. We recruit people straight out of university. These are candidates without industry experience, coming to us straight from university or further education. They’ve done a four to five-year degree. We hire them, train them and buddy them up with a senior engineer who takes them on the road and mentors them. So far, we’ve had nineteen people go through our graduate program over the past eight years,” he said.

    Training is at the heart of the Currie Care Centre ethos. With an end-to-end portfolio of equipment, it’s vital to keep engineers up to speed with new releases.

    “We’re very proactive about sending our people for training, whether it’s local in our state-of-the-art training centre, Israel, Japan or elsewhere. It’s investing good money in our people to make sure they’ve got the best background and training in the products. We do have specialists but try to keep a broad spread of skills across all equipment.”

    Currie Group provides training for its HP Indigo press operators to the highest possible standard and having highly skilled customer operators combined with the remote capabilities of the Care Centre provides a formidable solution for fast diagnosis and the resolution of issues as they arise.

    “Overall, it’s a dynamic team, we have a great mix of experienced engineers who’ve been with us for many years in conjunction with upcoming graduates. We recently held an internal training seminar for our product specialists and team leaders in our Melbourne Training Centre and after a quick poll we tallied three hundred plus years of Indigo experience in the room… now that’s unique,” said Robinson.

    “We are currently expanding, looking to hire talented service personnel in New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria and New Zealand and I’m always happy to hear from prospective candidates.”

    Right people, right place

    “We provide an unmatched service;” Marcus Robinson, service manager, ANZ.

    Providing service to the graphic arts industry has always been a matter of striking the right balance between investment and results. The debate continues as to whether service should be regarded as a profit or cost centre. What’s certain is that without it there would be a lot less value delivered to Currie Group customers. The development of the Currie Care Centre with state of art remote diagnostic tools has gone a long way towards increasing reach without necessarily breaking the budget.

    “Ten percent of our service team operate from the Currie Care Centre, this is a team of highly skilled engineers who run diagnostics and work with customers to resolve problems remotely. It helps avoid a site visit resulting in our customers being back in production faster,” said Robinson.

    Few organisations in the printing industry have the geographic spread of Currie Group, with service engineers in every major city throughout Australia & New Zealand.

    “Every Currie Group customer has a dedicated primary site engineer who gets to know the press, the operator and the workflow. It’s like always getting your car serviced by the same mechanic. When a customer calls in we’ll despatch the primary site engineer and if they’re elsewhere then of course another engineer is sent,” he said.

    Robinson believes his operation is unique in the industry due to its end-to-end service. Currie Group is the largest independent supplier when it comes to servicing the largest range of equipment. “It’s hard to say who has the largest service organisation. From a helicopter view I believe we’re the largest across the industry in end-to-end service. We have such a plethora of service offerings. We provide an unmatched service,” he said.

    There’s no doubt that a lot of the drive and commitment to the Currie Care Centre originates from David Currie. At a time when many organisations in the printing industry are cutting back on service numbers, Robinson is grateful for the full support he gets from the boss for his current expansion. It’s a commitment much appreciated.

    “David Currie is a great supporter of our service operations; he backs us all the way. I’m sure it’s because of how he started in business.” 21

     

  • Starleaton EFI FabriVU demonstrations

    Signage specialist expands digital stable

    ‘A breath of fresh air’: (l-r) Gino Dilello, Shirley Bernard, and Peter Wagener, All Flags, with a soft display printed on the new EFI FabriVU 340.

    From humble beginnings making and repairing flagpoles from a home bedroom in 1990, All Flags has grown to become one of Western Australia’s largest and most trusted suppliers of flags, signs and banners. Now, with the help of three new EFI VUTEk machines, All Flags has given its business a major boost.

    It’s pouring with rain when I make it to All Flags’ offices in Maddington, about 20 kilometres southeast of Perth’s CBD. Inside, the place is humming with activity – banners and signs being printed, cut and sewn on the bustling factory floor. Peter Wagener, managing director, proudly tells me of how the company has grown over the past 27 years. “We’ve gone from a three-person operation to having more than 30 employees today. We’re a very different organisation,” he says.

    A long-time VUTEk user Wagener this year decided to increase its digital wide-format capacity with the addition of three new EFI machines: the LX3 Pro hybrid flatbed/roll-to-roll printer seen at PacPrint in May 2017, the FabriVU 340 fabric printer, and the VUTEk 5r five-metre roll-to-roll printer. The LED ‘cool curing’ technology in these machines, which lowers the cost of consumables, as well as their high speed and quality of production, have been huge marks in their favour for All Flags. “We’ve stuck with VUTEk, and to be honest I’m very pleased we have. Being able to produce more work quicker lowers our operating costs and makes us more competitive.

    “I couldn’t be happier. It’s put a breath of fresh air into the place,” Wagener says.

    The EFI FabriVU 340.

    Len Page, Starleaton.

    Starleaton is a supplier for the VUTEk range, and All Flags has opened up its shop floor for Starleaton and EFI to demonstrate these new machines to their clients. Starleaton and All Flags have had a fruitful relationship from the beginning, says Len Page, state sales manager at Starleaton. “As All Flags has grown, we’ve grown with them. It’s been a really good partnership, and they’ve become quite a large business within WA,” Page says. “The new EFI VUTEk machines are a step up from what All Flags has had, in terms of speed and running costs. Their business has grown, and those machines have been really good for them.”

    For more information, contact Starleaton.

  • Epson SureColor F2160

    Hannah Nasari, Bowlilly (left) with Ryan Warby, Epson, and the new SureColor F2160 DTG printer.

    When boxing promoter and fashion designer Hannah Nasari decided to launch her own kids’ clothing line, she needed a direct-to-garment (DTG) printer that could translate her ideas into reality – and Epson’s latest machine proved just the thing.

    Nasari is set to launch her label, Bowlilly, at the end of the year, with kids’ sizes from three to seven. “The whole brand is a beautiful bohemian luxe range,” she said. “I’ve got a line coming up of kids’ T-shirts, and hopefully some mummy-and-kid shirts as well.”

    To support her new business, based in Padstow in Sydney’s southwest, Nasari purchased Epson’s latest garment printer: the SureColor F2160, one of the first of its model to arrive in Australia. “I’m looking forward to using the new machine. It can print within a timeframe of just three to five minutes, so the productivity is amazing,” she said. “I had to print out some shirts for a gala and market day last weekend, and I was able to produce at least 25 to 30 T-shirts within the hour. It was fantastic, and the quality was wonderful. I’m happy to have the machine behind my brand.”

    Hannah also gave Epson’s Garment Creator software her seal of approval for utility and ease of use. “I can design my print on Illustrator and transfer it into the software, and it gives me an accurate estimate of cost. It’s very helpful and very useful.”

    The second-generation SureColor F2160 is a follow-up to Epson’s previous model, the F2000, which according to Ryan Warby, business development manager for professional print solutions at Epson, was a very successful machine. “It changed the industry quite a bit with its low maintenance and its reliability,” he said. “We’re improving on that with the F2160, adding a cleaning cartridge, adjusting speeds and resolutions, and putting in variable-dot printing. It’s a good step up from the F2000.”

    The addition of variable-dot printing is a significant improvement from the F2000’s single dot size. “We can print small, medium and large dots, which gives us better gradients and higher resolution without sacrificing speed – in fact, it speeds it up for us,” said Warby. “It also allows us to be more economical with the printing, as it uses less ink.”

    Warby is very happy to work with Bowlilly, and looks forward to continuing to explore the fabric printing market. “Hannah’s doing some great work, and the quality that comes out is fantastic,” he said. “It’s been exciting for us being in this textile space – the textile market has been analogue for a very long time, and is now moving towards digital. We’re seeing that not only in DTG, but in the dye sublimation side of the business as well.”

  • Hornet’s Horizon BQ-470 PUR/EVA binder

    The Horizon BQ-470 PUR/EVA binder at Eastlink Bookbinding.

    When John Mandile, a bookbinder by trade, saw a lack of trade bookbinding services on Melbourne’s south side, he jumped at the opportunity to expand his business – and Currie Group provided just the tool he needed to do it.

    Currie Group supplied Mandile, the owner of Hornet Press, with the Horizon BQ-470 PUR/EVA binder, which gave him a huge leg up for his new trade finishing house, Eastlink Finishing. “It’s a great little machine,” he said. “We’re binding runs of up to 10,000 on it, it’s upped our own print because we can now do PUR and perfect binding in-house, and it’s given us an array of new clientele for Eastlink. We’re doing a lot of trade PUR binding for other printers since we bought it.”

    Since Eastlink launched in January, Mandile (pictured left) has been impressed with how the BQ-470 has handled everything he’s thrown at it. “It’s versatile – you can use it for small books, large books, short and longer runs. The setup is really quick, and they’re actually pretty bulletproof. They don’t take up a lot of space, and they’re very reliable.

    “It’s one of the best pieces of equipment that I own, aside from my printing presses,” he said. “Horizon kit is really good – it’s dependable, it’s quick, it does the job. For what we use it for, it’s excellent.”

    Currie Group account manager Vince Pignataro says Hornet Press is a long-term client that has purchased multiple pieces of equipment from Currie Group over the years. He says the new Horizon binder is a significant upgrade for the company.

    “The Horizon BQ-470/four clamp perfect binder offers PUR and EVA which covers all work quality from offset to digital stocks. The PUR gives Hornet Press the ability to produce a flatter looking book, when opened. Another important aspect of PUR glue binding is that the pages are very strong and it’s much less likely that the pages will ever fall out.”

    Currie Group’s service and support have also earned Mandile’s seal of approval, and the first-time customer says he’ll definitely go back and buy again in future. “Currie Group is an excellent supplier. They gave us a date they’d install the machine, and they installed it on that date – they even offered to put in another machine beforehand until ours arrived in Australia,” he said.

  • State of Indigo – NSW leads by a nose

    With two weeks left in Currie Group’s State of Indigo competition, the Blues are one win away from wrapping up the series – but if the Maroons take next week, a nailbiting tie-breaker will be in store.

    NSW leads 4-3 in the nine-week competition, meaning the next round could decide the contest for the Premier State – but Queensland can’t be counted out yet, with a great opportunity next week to square the board and put the Maroons back into contention for an epic grand finale.

    MVPs so far are:

    • Week 1: CMYKhub (NSW) & Cornerstone Press (QLD)
    • Week 2: Super Labels (QLD) & RFID n Print (NSW)
    • Week 3: Assta Label House (NSW) & Ultra Labels (QLD)
    • Week 4: CMYKhub (NSW) & Cornerstone Press (QLD) (the same as week 1)
    • Week 5: CCL Sydney (NSW) & Nova Press (QLD)
    • Week 6: Emerald Press (NSW) & Label Power (QLD)
    • Week 7: Allclear Print + Signs (QLD) & Graphic Packaging (NSW)

    The competition is based on the weekly Print Beat scores of HP Indigo printers. Adjustments are made to ensure a level playing field – mostly through factoring in week-over-week improvement percentages. The state that has the best combined Print Beat results on their HP Indigo printers for March and April will be crowned the winners at the end of the competition.

    PrintOS Print Beat is a cloud-based print optimisation solution that delivers historical and near real-time data for better, faster decision-making and improved print operations, making day-to-day print operations more efficient, productive and enjoyable.

    The top two companies from the winning state will win two tickets to join Currie Group and HP at Game One being held at the MCG in Melbourne with return air fares and a night’s accommodation.

    MVPs Week 1 and 4

    Picture 1 of 7

    Week 1 and Week 4 MVPs: CMYKhub (NSW) & Cornerstone Press (QLD)

  • FUJIFILM Australia

    2018 will be the year of robotics in print:

    The term ‘robotics’ conjours up various ideas of machines replacing humans for repetitive tasks. The automotive manufacturing industry has used industrial robots for many years, beginning with spot-welding robots at General Motors in 1961.The ensuing years saw the ‘arms’ become more versatile with increased movement and dexterity but it was the introduction of sensors, camera vision and integrated circuits that enabled industrial robots to really take off.

    By the 1980s, industrial robots were a multi-billion dollar industry, with over half of production going into the automotive manufacturing industry. With China’s car manufacturing increasing exponentially, companies such as Great Wall Motors were able to build new production lines that were robotic from scratch. One such line uses 27 ABB robots working collaboratively, with ABB IRB7600s placing panels exactly in the right position and then passing instructions to ABB IRB6640 welding robots for the spot-welding. In such an automated line, over 4,000 welds are made precisely on a car body in only 86 seconds.

    Paint robots are also used, removing humans from the toxic atmosphere of spray booths and reducing waste by precise metering of paint flow. While automotive is still the highest user of robots, other industries are adopting them, often in a human-machine collaborative environment.

    The medical industry is one such, with ‘Da Vinci’ robots being used by surgeons to perform minimally-invasive surgeries such as prostatectomies. Pipette robots are often seen in television reports of medical research, filling vials with liquids for testing of pharmaceuticals. Military use of robots and allied technologies such as drones are having a major impact on the way that conflicts are conducted.

    Manufacturing is a natural co-adopter of robotics along with automotive. Again, it is the robotisation of repetitive or dangerous tasks that have first attracted attention.

    The ABB robotic arm positions another sheet on the bed of an Inca Onset X3.

    Robotics in wide format

    Moving on to wide format production, robotics are at their best when automating repetitive functions. The reliability and accuracy of ‘robotised’ functions far exceed human error-prone manual handling. Nowhere is this more obvious than the loading and unloading of large sheets on the faster breed of flatbed UV printers, such as the Inca Onset X-series from Fujifilm. Handling boards and sheets can be unwieldy at up to 3.22 x 1.6 metres and, particularly for a long run of say 1,000 sheets. Sheets and boards can be damaged by inappropriate storage and handling. The OH&S implications for workers tasked with manually loading and off-loading them are also significant.

    Industrial robotic handling can also solve the problem of heavier, thicker sheet handling. Materials such as ACM, acrylics, wood, MDF and even door panels still have to be loaded and unloaded manually with basic flatbed automation geared to thin sheets, but robot-automation can handle the heavier materials.

    It is for these reasons that many of Fujifilm’s Inca Onset installations are with half or three-quarter automation; typically from Hostert or Inca, where sheets are automatically unloaded from the imaging bed and stacked on pallets. But now it can go a whole lot further. Partnering with ABB Robotics, Fujifilm and Inca are able to make high-production wide format an automated, safer and more cost-effective process, enabling previous press operators to focus on more enjoyable and higher-skill tasks.

    Mike Wilson, sales & marketing executive with ABB Robotics notes: “Look at the types of jobs that robots are taking over. Many of the roles that are being automated are arduous, repetitive and physically demanding. Is it sensible in this day and age for people to be deployed in such tasks, especially where training or apprenticeship programmes exist that could help them to be put to better use?”

    Inca Onset X3 in unattended production mode with ABB robot sheet positioning, take-off and stacking – at 900 square metres per hour.

    Robots create new jobs

    Some critics of robotic automation cite job losses as detrimental to its implementation. It’s more a case of job transfer as the evidence is that other jobs are created in managing the greater productivity. Where manual jobs are genuinely lost, re-training and courses are there to re-skill the employees into more future-proof enterprise. The transport industry is far bigger today that it was in the days of the stagecoach, and employs millions more people.

    For high-productivity flatbed board printing, the automation of loading (from short or long edge of sheet), registration and offloading & stacking can enable a single operator to be highly productive, having only to deliver palletised stacks of boards to the ‘on’ robot and take away printed pallets from the ‘off’ robot. The speed and media change-over benefits add to productivity – with attendant cost-savings. Ink refills might be necessary but with the high-capacity ink tanks of the X-series, these can be planned in to downtimes, or filled ‘on the fly’ during printing.

    One significant benefit of an Inca/ABB robotised flatbed line is that, if a proof sheet needs to be pulled from the print run, the robot can be instructed to deliver it to the operator rather than the delivery stack: “Here’s the proof you asked for Sir!” Similarily, the ABB robotic arm can place one, two, three or four sheets on the Inca Onset vacuum table from a single feed stack, to be printed and then delivered to a single pallet stack.

    ABB robots have outstanding position repeatability of ± 0.1mm, with excellent path accuracy, thereby permitting accurate and repeatable sheet loading on the vacuum table. Images are consistently printed in the same position on the substrate, making post-print finishing easier and more efficient. Unloading does not have to be solely to a stacked pallet – optional features include unloading to inspection tables, cutting tables or to stacks on a conveyor belt, enabling faster, automated finishing processes within established workflows. Taller stacks can be recessed for easier handling.

    Robots are often thought of as Star Wars C3PO or R2D2 types emulating human behaviour. In reality, the vast majority of the world’s robots used in manufacturing are ‘arm-types.’ The effectiveness of ABB’s robotic automation can best be appreciated by viewing this video:

     

    Of course, with any machinery operation, safety is a primary concern. ABB and Inca have ensured the highest levels of safety guarding that doesn’t get in the way of productivity. Measures include load and unload area light curtains, programmable laser scanning system, protective hand guarding and proximity sensors that halt printing should someone stray into the danger zone. ABB has also introduced the YuMi range collaborative or ‘buddy’ robots that are designed to work alongside humans and ensure their safety. Advanced ABB Ability programming means that complex tasks – even solving Rubik’s cube or making sushi – can be keyed into the instructions.

    It’s all in the MIS and workflow

    Without clear instructions, even human workers might stand idle and non-productive. It’s the same with robotic automation. Just as the automated car, medical and manufacturing production lines mentioned at the beginning require a constant stream of data to produce press-ready plates in the right order for each and every job; so an Inca Onset X3 with ABB robotics flourishes on a data-driven workflow. Job queuing for size, sheet type, print run and finishing is the nutrition that keeps robots well fed and happy. This is also available from Fujifilm via XMF, Caldera or ColorGate software.

    That and maybe a little oil!