Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

  • A revolution in textile printing

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

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

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

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

    SureColor F2160 at a glance:

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

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

    Click for more information.


  • 1st new Techkon SpectroPlate into Australia

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

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

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

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

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

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


  • Graphics Grab: Big printers drag industry profits

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

    By WhatTheyThink

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

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

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

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

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


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

    Roxy Jacenko … Never fails to deliver.

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

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

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

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


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

    Peter Coleman

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

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

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


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

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

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

    Those were the days.


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

    “I’ll have a martinus,” he says.

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

  • Outdoor shake-up moves to NZ

    Biggest media player in NZ: QMS to merge its Kiwi business with MediaWorks

    The latest deal in the wave of major consolidations that are taking place in the outdoor media world (OOH) sees QMS merging its Kiwi out of home business with MediaWorks, New Zealand’s leading independent radio, TV and digital business.

    The deal, which is expected to complete in Q2 next year, will create New Zealand’s biggest media business. The new business will be 60 per cent owned by Media Works owner US hedge fund Oaktree Capital, and 40 per cent by QMS.

    The OOH market has already seen the top four players become two this year, huge sums are being invested, with JCDecaux buying APN Outdoor for $1.12bn, and oOh!media spending $570m acquiring Adshel from APN Outdoor – now known as Here, There & Everywhere (HT&E).

    The booming outdoor media market is growing across all sectors, and while digital signage is now responsible for more than 50 per cent of the revenue for the first time the revenue from print signage (also known as classic, or static) is also still growing.

    QMS owns print house Omnigraphics NZ which it says produces most of the billboards, banners, bus, vehicle, street furniture and truck imaging in New Zealand. It also owns MMT Print and project management company BMG.

    According to QMS Media, the new merged group will deliver ‘compelling value’ to advertisers, through a broader sales network and cross-platform revenue synergies.

    Jack Matthews, chairman of MediaWorks, said the merger ‘will represent a significant investment in and commitment to New Zealand.’

    QMS has also just completed its purchase of sports signage company TGI Corp and TGI Europe, which provide LED signage at major sporting events.

  • Graphics Grab Bag – Beware the Xmas print scam

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Await your earliest reply

    Sarah M Stamp.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

    We need our book awards back.


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

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

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

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


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

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


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

  • Amazon prints catalogue

    The world’s biggest online retailer Amazon has printed a Christmas catalogue for its USA business, as it attempts to cash in on the demise of the giant Toys R Us business.

    Print run is in the millions, rivaling the Christmas toy catalogues from Walmart, Kmart and Target. The Christmas toy catalogue is a huge event in the US, even in the internet age. The Amazon catalogue will be mailed and placed in Amazon-owned Whole Foods market stores.

    Amazon is using some QR codes in the catalogue which can be scanned onto an the Amazon app to make orders and to pay.

    There are no prices next to the toys; Amazon is thought to be using dynamic pricing depending for instance on how far the customer is from the nearest toy store.


  • 1st swissQprint Nyala 3S goes into CMP

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

    And that’s my whinge for the week.


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

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

    Christine Holgate, CEO of Australia Post.

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

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


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

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


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


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

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


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

    He thought for a moment.

    “I’ll take the soup,” he said.

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


    Is it only me or do others have a difficulty with the evolved name of the largest web press manufacturer … manroland Goss? I’m sure there’s every good marketing reason to keep both brands in the name, but to me it’s missing something – such as a vision for the future. Such mergers are often actually takeovers with one partner unable to survive without the other. Goss has gone through so many owners, even enjoying a Chinese buyout from Shanghai Electric Corporation (SEC) at one time, that there is little left of the original company, apart from the installed base. Its current owners, American Industrial Partners (AIP), a US-based private equity company is unlikely to have an appetite for long-term web press manufacturing. It’s more than happy to pass the running of the business over to manroland.

    So how long will the name continue?

    In our market it’s been a long time since Goss sold a press, whereas manroland has enjoyed something of a winning streak. While there may not be too many more web presses to go – although I’m told News Corp has to make a decision soon on its ageing Melbourne operation – there is a solid market in retro fits to keep older presses up to the mark. It has bitten the bullet at its Yandina plant in Queensland, opting for a retrofit for additional formats and an e-retrofit of the controls of the existing UNISET and REGIOMAN presses.

    And yes they will be manroland Goss retro fits.

    An outrageous slur on the industry came from Zoe Samios, an online commentator for Mumbrella, who tried to blame the ‘declining print industry’ for the demise of Cosmopolitan magazine. How she can construct an argument that efficient, productive printing companies are somehow to blame for failed publishing strategies is beyond me. Someone should point out the robust health of the catalogue sector that’s growing every year.

    Talk about shooting the messenger!


    Is there an association war brewing? This week Printing Industries under Andrew Macaulay CEO hosted a well attended Print2Parliament dinner for printers and federal politicians in Canberra. He told me he was very pleased with the resulting mix of ministers, backbenchers and working printers who travelled to the capital at their own expense.

    Graeme Russell, CEO Media Super, the industry’s super fund, spoke at the PIAA’s Canberra event.

    A day or two before, the new Real Media Collective, a collection of three industry associations – Australasian Catalogue Association, the paper group, APIA and Two Sides Australia – under industry identity, Kellie Northwood, CEO, also went to Canberra to lobby government, especially about Australia Post.

    It’s a good thing to engender activity and get our industry noticed in the halls of power, but the pollies are likely to become confused if we don’t get our act together. I don’t imagine there’s much chance of a common approach, is there?



    And speaking of printing associations, perhaps we can learn from the Canadians. The Canadian Printing Industries Association (CPIA) is a new peak body. It brings together different industry stakeholders, including suppliers of graphic arts equipment. The idea is to provide a national voice and platform for the graphic arts industry, and to serve as a connection point for Canadian regional associations.

    There are seven members of the CPIA within the new structure:

    • PrintForward Printing and Imaging Association,
    • Printing and Graphics Industries Association of Alberta (PGIA),
    • Saskatchewan Printing Industries Association (SPIA),
    • Manitoba Print Industries Association (MPIA),
    • Ontario Printing Industries Association (OPIA),
    • Quebec Association of the Printing Industry (AQII), and
    • Printing Equipment and Supply Dealers of Canada (PESDA).
    • In addition, the CPIA Board includes an at-large position representing the Atlantic Canada provinces.

    Canada has population of 38 million, a bit more than us, but there are plenty of similarities. Here, instead of rallying together we seem to be hell bent of splitting the industry unity with a proliferation of associations, each with their own executive and agenda. Maybe we need a Canadian solution.


    Wednesday morning at Jet Technologies to see Jack Malki host the Innovation Series for the label sector. Excellent event and well attended, as were the other two in the series, one in Auckland and in Melbourne.

    One of the presenters, Gary Seward, of Bristol-based Pulse Roll Label Products, had a word or two about the challenges faced by label printers meeting the labelling requirements of the EU, even before Brexit.

    As an aside he gave an example of some of the regulations in place by Brussels for the common market. Makes Brexit seem almost like a sensible idea.

    1. Water cannot be sold as a mean to rehydrate
    2. It is illegal to eat pet horses.
    3. Bananas must have a bend of at least 1/10.
    4. Jam is only jam if it’s 60% sugar, any less and it’s fruit spread.
    5. Children under eight cannot blow up balloons.
    6. Eggs must be sold by the kilo and not by a dozen.


  • Label innovation show rolls into Sydney

    Innovation presenters: (l to r) Jack Malki, Gary Seward and Peter Scott with Dieter Niederstadt in front.

    Jet Technologies and Screen drew a good crowd of industry professionals for the Sydney leg of a three-part series presenting the latest in labelling and narrow web printing.

    Jack Malki hosted the event at the company’s Rosebery HQ introducing a heavyweight line-up of speakers that includes Gary Seward of UK-based Pulse Roll Label Products, Dieter Niederstadt of Asahi Photoproducts in Dortmund as well as Peter Scott, the local managing director of Screen. Topics ranged from colour management between digital and flexo, how to improve overall equipment effectiveness with flexo to what we can do to ameliorate the amount of plastic waste going into landfill.

    Seward took a light-hearted approach to the bewildering array of regulations in the EU, the UK and Australia/NZ for food packaging. With a stereotypical British penchant for making light of serious matters he illustrated his presentation with examples of extreme regulations from the EU. He made the point that apart from tin and ceramics all material, including plastics, allow migration of chemicals through to foodstuffs. Much of the regulations are about finding an acceptable level of migration. As the managing director of his own ink manufacturing company this is a major preoccupation for Seward and essential knowledge to be passed on to his label and packaging printing customers.

    Clean transfer technology and a fixed seven-colour palette are the latest developments in flexo printing. Niederstadt proved to be a technology guru for the sector. He showed how printers by changing to Asahi’s new CTT plates were able to get the press running at 33% faster with one set of plates able to print for up to 22 hours.

    Peter Scott pressed the point that while the global print market is worth US$790 billion it’s only increasing at 0.8 every year. The packaging-printing sector on the other hand is at US$329 billion with a growth of 5.3%. Of that only US$10 billion is currently done by digital, which is increasing by 12% per annum. There’s a lot of upside there for printers looking to get into the digital end of the market.

    Jack Malki bookended the session with a piece on the impact of sensory packaging on consumers. It’s a favourite topic and valuable information for label printers to present to brand owner customers. Then he spoke with great conviction of the need for printers to get in front of impending regulation with OXO-biodegradable films. These can reduce landfill waste by up to 70%. It’s obviously something Malki feels very strongly about.

    The Innovation Series was in Auckland on Monday night, hosted by SALMA. Tomorrow Thursday it’s in Melbourne at the Yarra Yarra Golf Club, Bentleigh East, kicking off at 7.45am.

    It’s well worth your time.








  • Graphics Grab Bag

    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 a curious observer of the printing industry here and around the world.

    Ricoh is claiming a clean sweep of the Print18 Red Hot Awards at Print18 in Chicago. The company says that every one of its products that won an award, pretty impressive in a very competitive field. It had four digital presses recognised  … Printware LLC – iJetColor NXT, Pro C7200X Series, Pro C9200 Series, and Pro VC70000. All good gear.

    But what stood out for me was the award to Ricohs Clickable Paper. This has taken a while to come to fruition but it’s marvellous technology. It’ll change the way information is stored in print. When it was first mooted at drupa 2012, I recall talking with Kathy Wilson about the prospect of printing a section of Print21 magazine using the technology. It didn’t happen then because the technology had a way to go before it was a commercial prospect. Now it’s back as an enabler of linking print to the online world.

    Coincidentally, in this upcoming issue of Print21, we’ve got a similar  ‘print bridge’ technology on the cover and inside. ScanM from Eddie Gulman’s Infinite Technology uses similar invisible coding to augment printed material linking it to multi-channel content. Check it out in the printed version.

    All print will eventually be coded so its content is able to be updated without having to reprint.


    In the rapid evolution of printing across sectors, it’s nice to see tradition still has a strong hold. German press manufacturer, Koenig & Bauer, has rebranded its various KBA subsidiaries under the one long-standing name that comes from its two founders, Friedrich Koenig and Andreas Bauer who started the foundation German printing company 200 years ago.

    Claus Bolza-Schünemann

    According to Claus Bolza-Schünemann, CEO, the umbrella brand will cover all the Group’s subsidiaries, sales and service companies. There’s even a new logo, a fittingly literate ampersand.

    Even more satisfying is to report that Koenig & Bauer has an order backlog of over €800m this year. Major orders for security presses as well in folding carton and flexible packaging printing enables the second largest German press manufacturer, after Heidelberg, to move into its next century with confidence.



    A dramatic fall in the imports of A4 white copy paper into Australia is not the drastic result for printing that it first may appear.

    According to the good guys at Industry Edge while paper imports fell 28.9% over the year to July 2018, slipping to 39.7 kt for the full year and less than one-third of total imports from just three years earlier, it’s not all bad news. However in a lovely turn of phrase, Tim Wood’s people warn us not to be seduced by this data into considering the total Australian market for copy paper has collapsed, along with the imports.  It seems that having successful won its dumping case against all and sundry, the local producer, Japanese-owned Australian Paper, is strongly growing its market share. Reflex is the iconic brand and seems to be everywhere.

    New Zealand, on the other hand, has no local producer so the fall of 10.4% in imports over the year is a true and fairly dismal reflection of the decline in printing there.



    Nice work if you can get it. The new chief executive of the UK’s Royal Mail, Swiss national, Rico Back, got a ‘golden hello’ bonus of £6m for taking the top job. He was moving across from running the company’s European operation. While three-quarters of investors refused to support the pay deal and also rebelled against a £1m payoff for outgoing chief executive, Moya Greene, the payments went through anyway.

    This takes place against a background of £800m or 18% being wiped off the Royal Mail’s stock market value due to a profit guidance cut. Stamp price rises are not being ruled out as a means to rebuild profits.  UK postal workers are seething at the huge payouts after they were forced to accept changes to their pensions to help the company save money only months ago.

    Part of the problem is a larger than expected slump in marketing mail as a result of the GDPR, the new EU regulations that put tighter controls on personal information. This slammed the amount of unsolicited, junk mail being posted, something likely to be repeated here if new privacy laws go through. 


    I took on the novel role of camera operator yesterday at Woolloomooloo Wharf after the Epson annual technology showcase at upmarket restaurant Otto’s. Craig Heckenberg, general manager, took on the role of mine host from Bruno Turcato, managing director who’s travelling overseas. The usual stunning array of Epson products included google-style spectacles, fast scanners as well as printers for graphics, textile and technical applications. High-powered projectors are set to keep the company’s leading market position in that sector.

    My role as camera man came when colleague, Wayne Robinson, editor Print21, stepped out onto the wharf to give an on-the-spot  report of the event in addition to his usual weekly news wrap up. A windy day did nothing to deter him, the rain held off , the camera operator’s hands were mostly steady, and the report was broadcast almost before the event finished.

    It’s a wonderful multi-channel world.  Sign on here to receive the video updates.



    And finally …

    A professional gripe about the number of editors of various publications, including the nationally distributed Good Weekend who feel it necessary to write a ‘letter from the editor.’ It’s not on. Editor’s write many things including editorials. They receive letters ‘to the editor’ from their readers.

    Who do they think they’re writing their letter to … the Editor?



  • 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.








  • SA TAFE training – ‘Huge win of PIAA’

    Rob Hansen… has lost count of the number of printing apprentices he’s put through during his 38 years with Hansen Print.

    All print courses remain fully funded, prepress is back as an apprenticeship rather than a traineeship and a new standalone qualification for digital print is introduced at TAFE.

    This bizarrely named South Australian Industry Priority Qualifications Information, Media and Telecommunications Moderation Meeting gave the printing and packaging TAFE courses a huge boost. The meeting was held on the background of the delivery of the South Australian budget that allocated $202.6 million for apprentices and traineeships. PIAA President, Walter Kuhn, represented the industry in deciding what vocational training courses are funded, and what are not.

    His efforts drew appreciation from one South Australian member, Rob Hansen of Hansen Print, who described it as “as a huge win for PIA. Walter Kuhn performed brilliantly,” he said.

    Deeply frustrated by the treatment meted out to his new printing machinery apprentice, Nick Lacey, 18, who was hired in January, Hansen believes this decision is the start of a new day. He tells of Lacey’s three attempts to enrol as an apprentice this year, with TAFE and the privatised Print Training Australia even trying to cross the border to the Victorian-based Holmesglen. All said they are unable to deliver the apprenticeship.

    Walter Kuhn, president of the PIAA

    “It’s been a pain in the neck. I’ve been 38 years in the business, and can’t remember how many apprentices I’ve put through. But I’ve never seen anything like this.

    “Training in SA under the previous government was a dog’s breakfast. They flogged off all the equipment for a quick buck. I’m hoping this new Liberal government will be better,” he said.

    “Now it seems we’re back on track. The PIAA has had some issues in South Australia and they’ve had to make bold moves, everyone in business has to. But it seems to have paid off,” he said.

    According to Kuhn, the successful meeting was about giving clarity and priority to vocational and apprentice training in South Australia. As an employer of apprentices in his own business, he put the focus firmly on print training.

    Andrew Macaulay, CEO met this week with the new Minister Michaelia Cash, and is expecting a positive announcement from the Federal Government this week that will further benefit South Australian printers who employ apprentices.

    “This is an outcome that PIAA has been striving for over the last year, and we are very pleased to see such a complete and positive commitment from the South Australian Government. Based on continuing PIAA dialogue at Federal Government, we are confident that these plans will be fully funded. A win for the visual communications sector!”

    The Association has been in discussions with both the South Australian and Federal Coalition Governments regarding the need for urgent funding for the South Australian apprenticeship and vocational education sectors, especially for print.

    Andrew Macaulay, CEO who met this week with the new Minister Michaelia Cash, and is expecting a positive announcement from the Federal Government this week that will further benefit South Australian printers who employ apprentices.


  • New head honcho for Fuji Xerox Australia

    Fuji Xerox Australia headquarters in Sydney.

    Changing of the guard at the top of the industry’s largest digital supplier has Takayuki Togo replacing Sunil Gupta who served as managing director for two tough years at the head of the embattled enterprise.

    Togo-san, new MD FXA.

    The new man is currently the Senior General Manager of Fuji Xerox Asia Pacific Marketing, signalling a welcome return to a more marketing oriented management style after a period of necessary survivalism. According to the company Togo-san has extensive experience serving in leadership roles such as marketing and corporate strategy. It declares his leadership ‘is essential for Fuji Xerox’s growth path.’

    In a press release he said he’s excited about the enormous potential in the Australian market.

    ‘I’m thrilled to be leading Fuji Xerox Australia and to make it a growth driver for the entire Fuji Xerox organisation. I also want to thank Sunil who has led FXA to be at the forefront of other operating companies in providing best solutions and services that meet customer needs.’

    Sunil took over the reins in some of the darkest days of the organisation following on the heels of the departure of the notorious Neill Whittaker. He has presided over a massive reorganisation of Fuji Xerox Australia that has seen many long-term personnel depart, often to the opposition. The company lost its unchallenged preeminent position in the highly competitive production digital market to Konica Minolta with a resurgent Ricoh also making up ground.

    It is battling to unravel many badly written contracts that are losing it money, even as they maintain market share. A review of commission structures heralded for next year is likely to meet stiff resistance among sales staff.

    Sunil Gupta took the helm during the darkest days of FXA.

    Sunil will work with his replacement until the end of the month before returning to his home country, USA, having completed his assignment. He is described as being pivotal in making FXA a compliant, profitable, sustainable and growing enterprise again. ‘Now in a position of strength the organisation is focused on delivering exceptional results for employees, customers and all stakeholders,’ said the release.



  • Industry efficiency drives web press upgrades

    Andreas Schwoepfinger and Dennis Wickham, manroland Australasia

    Upgrades and retrofits at the News Corp Australia Yandina site from manroland Goss web systems are increasing production efficiency, quality and the availability of the press. An upgrade with a gluing system from Planatol, a retrofit for the production of additional formats and an e-retrofit of the controls of the existing UNISET and REGIOMAN presses are setting industry standards.

    According to Dennis Wickham, managing director manroland Australasia, the drive towards industry consolidation will see more printers getting extra efficiencies from existing press. “Printers are looking for new ways to ensure productivity keeps up. This is a good example of clever thinking,” he said.

    The upgrades of a new gluing system and for expanding the format flexibility help to make the press competitive for the future. It means News Corp can react to the growing market demands for more flexibility, productivity and quality. In the future the press can also produce narrow formats that are usually printed on heatset presses and have been outsourced so far. The gluing system enables gluing of the standard format.

    Additionally there has been a retrofit of the control system. This increases the efficiency as the availability of the press and the communication of the system improves tremendously. A control retrofit with latest server technology gets all components, such as colour and web control, infeed, folder and reel splicer and helps to integrate the upgrades perfectly.

    According to Andreas Schwöpfinger, Technical Service Director at manroland Australasia the new upgrades and retrofits will future proof the facility. “With the upgrades and retrofits, News Corp. in Yandina can react better and more flexible to the growing market demands and handle more orders in-house. At the same time, they can handle existing jobs with higher quality and more efficiency. Furthermore, the new formats offer a real added value and a stand-alone factor,” he said.


  • IPMG merger punishes PMP share price

    The loss of Coles catalogues along with the Pacific Magazine printing contract to IVE Group as a result of the IPMG deal saw PMP’s share price take a 13.7% hit on publication of its annual results.

    The region’s largest commercial printing operation said sales were up $132.1 million to $734.0 million but when compared on a like for like basis with the previous businesses, they actually dropped by $108 million from $842 million. It posted a net loss of $43.8 million for the year.

    Kevin Slaven, CEO PMP.

    Acknowledging the task of bringing the two companies together had led to an increase in manufacturing costs, Kevin Slavin CEO in an executive summary, declared the integration was now complete. He declared the consolidation of the businesses was an important and necessary step that has helped settle the pricing and capacity issues that have long plagued the sector.

     As part of a plan to retire older inefficient presses and reduce overall print capacity PMP is buying a new manroland 80-page press for Warwick Farm to be installed in the second half of next year.

    It maintains the new $20 million press will provide production efficiencies through wider web width, increased running speed and faster make-readies, and in addition cost efficiencies through reductions in labour, energy, and repairs and maintenance. Replacing older presses allows for a net reduction in our overall fleet capacity (circa 10-15%). It will be paid for largely through export credit funding with a four-year payback.

     In an upbeat report the company reported that print volumes as well as revenue from its top 20 retail customers increased with expectations of further growth in the coming year. Despite overall unaddressed volumes to household in slow decline, large retailers remain committed to catalogues as a key driver. PMP delivers to 6.7 million Australian households every week.

    Citing an improved industry structure and realignment of capacity it predicts that heat set prices will stabilise. However falling print volumes for newspapers and magazines will likely offset the savings gained from the merger next year.

    PMP New Zealand’s results were dismal with revenue down 6.8% to $120.1 million. Heatset volumes there dropped by 3.5% along with earnings, which were hit by lower selling prices.