Archive for the ‘Wide Format’ Category

  • DGS first past the post for AEG wide-format

    Wollongong-based wide-format specialist Digital Graphics Solutions (DGS) has become the first export partner for AEG’s wide-format inkjet products.

    DGS managing director Peter de Maagd signed the deal after visiting the recent AEG Voyager Conference in the UK. “We’re very excited at the prospect of being the first export customer of Image Technology and its AEG brand,” said de Maagd. “Our visit to the UK event gave us a deeper understanding of the company’s vision, and included discussions about the opportunities in the Australian market. The AEG Voyager Pro did not disappoint and we knew straight away that this product range is capable of delivering exactly what is expected of this powerful brand. We were impressed by the exceptional engineering, top class build criteria and the high quality prints it was producing.”

    AEG’s wide-format inkjet products have until now only been available in the UK.

    “Our first event for potential global distribution partners held here in the UK was a resounding success and demonstrated that there is a universal appetite for reliable, high quality and versatile wide-format printers such as the AEG Voyagers,” said Karim Ladhu, CEO of Image Technology,  the company responsible for all AEG printing equipment and supplies. “That DGS was the first past the winning post in terms of our international distribution agreements carries a slight irony, as they had the furthest distance to travel to the event. Even more so, it demonstrates our trust in DGS and its confidence in us and our products.”

    DGS has more than two decades of experience in selling and servicing digital printing and cutting equipment.  The company specialises in wide-format UV-curable, solvent-based and dye sublimation systems, direct-to-garment and textile solutions, sign-making cutters and a broad selection of software and consumables.

    The AEG Voyager and Voyager Pro UV-curable series of combination wide-format systems offers roll-to-roll and flat-bed throughput, with versatility in its ink options to make them easily configurable according to user requirements. The base ink-set of CMYK can be enhanced with light cyan and light magenta, plus channels for white, metallic and clear varnish. Orange, green, violet and red can also be incorporated to broaden the achievable colour gamut. Both printer models are fully field-upgradeable, and modifications to enhance original ink-sets or increase the number of installed ink channels can be performed at the customer site.

    DGS is exhibiting at Visual Impact Sydney on Stand VA14 in Hall 3, Sydney Showground, Sydney Olympic Park 13 – 15 May 2015.

     

  • VFX wins Australia’s 1st Fogra PSD certification with a global twist

    VFX Print Group is the first printing company in Australia to gain the prestigious Fogra Process Standard Digital certification and the first in the world to achieve it across all three digital platforms; small- large- and grand-formats.

    The certification has been awarded to six of VFX’s printers located across its Sydney and Brisbane locations, being three for PSD and a further three at Print Check Level. All six printers achieved an A score in the testing.

    According to said Bill Apostolidis, General Manager at VFX, demand for digital printing has been on the rise with the company working hard on improving digital printing processes to ensure a consistent output.

    “We’re delighted to have this capability recognised in being awarded Fogra PSD certification this month. In working towards the Fogra PSD certification, we rigorously tested all our printers to enable us to offer a reliably high standard of colour quality output for every type of digital printing we do,” he said.

    “This means that for business cards through to billboards, our customers can be confident that their digital colour printing will be perfectly brand compliant in every instance. It will also be consistent over time, whether it’s printed now or sometime in the future.”

    “This is particularly exciting for digital printing of large and grand format projects. We believe we are the first company worldwide with PSD certification for all three digital printing platforms, so we are looking forward to helping our customers achieve a first rate result, wherever they are in the world.”

    VFX has been working towards Fogra PSD accreditation for two years, using the ColorGate RIP software and collaborating closely with Celmac Australia and with HP’s Indigo and Scitex divisions.

    “Our preparations involved reviewing our entire print environment, not just the machinery,” said Apostolidis. “It’s been a really worthwhile journey that’s strengthened our broader business processes as well. Our customers have noticed the improvements and we’ve seen a sizeable growth in word of mouth recommendations.”

    In awarding VFX Fogra PSD certification, Fogra Graphic Technology Research Association, based in Germany, conducted comprehensive and detailed testing. This included examining output processes, colour fidelity and workflows for each of VFX’s six printers, to ensure a sustained and consistent colour quality output.

    “It’s been a really worthwhile journey." Bill Apostolidis

    “We’re really proud of having achieved this status. It demonstrates how serious VFX is in offering a high quality product with perfect colour vibrancy and consistency for all of our digital printing projects,” said a delighted Apostolidis.

     

  • Issue 651 – 24 September

    Printing has a long and proud tradition of professional involvement with the affairs of the industry. From its craft base up to the current high-tech manufacturing, individuals have been ready to volunteer their time to serve on committees of industry organisations. So it comes as no surprise to learn of an election tussle going on for membership of the board of the peak body, Printing Industries. Voting day is 8 October so there will be plenty of time to review what the candidates stand for. Members should take the time to become informed in order to cast a considered vote.

    You are one of almost 8000 industry professionals across Australia and New Zealand reading Print21.

    Patrick Howard
    Publishing Editor

  • HP claims top spot in global wide format sales

    The market leader shipped more than 30,700 printers to carve out a 39.9% marketshare ahead of Canon, Epson, Roland and Mimaki, according to the latest IDC large format printer data. Solid 10.3% year-over-year growth in the graphics sector saw more than 31,000 units shipped worldwide compared to 46,000 units for the technical segment, which still dominates at 60% of the total wide format sales.

    Despite the increase in numbers the total value of shipments fell to US$786 million in the quarter with a year-over-year decline of -0.5%. According to Phoung Hang, International Data Corporation’s program director, single digit growth is expected for inkjet over the next two years.

    “The technical segment of the large format printer market is the real driver of growth opportunity. The gains in the technical segment can be attributed to improved speeds and image quality,” he reported in the latest survey.

    This is how IDC reported the state of play among the major vendors.

    Vendor Highlights

    • HP remains the global large format printer market leader with more than 30,700 units shipped and 39.9% share. Its year-over-year increase of 7.4% was helped by positive gains in the technical (5.7%) and graphic (18.0%) segments. HP continues to lead the technical market, with almost twice the unit shipments of its next competitor, Canon. HP also maintained its second place position in the graphics market behind Epson.
    • Canon is the second ranked LFP vendor with more than 17,000 units shipped and 22.6% share. The vendor grew 5.8% year over year. This positive growth was driven by year-over-year gains in both the technical and graphics segments, 3.5% and 13.5%, respectively.
    • Epson strengthened its number three position with 12% year-over-year growth, the best performance among the top five vendors. The vendor recorded more than 15,200 units shipped and 19.8% share, up more than one point from a year ago. Its year-over-year growth of 12% was driven by significant growth of 16.5% in the graphics application segment.
    • Roland was the number four vendor in the worldwide LFP market with more than 2,700 units shipped in 2Q14. The vendor declined 2.9% year over year and held a 3.6% share of the overall market. Graphics application is Roland’s main market, which means the vendor’s year over year decline was driven by a decrease in the graphics segment.
    • Ricoh rounded out the top five vendors with a 2.5% share of the worldwide LFP market with unit shipments declining -11.7% compared to a year earlier. The vendor holds the top four spot in the technical market, where it saw a -12.1% year-over-year decline.

    Worldwide Large Format Printer Shipment Value, Market Share, and Year-Over-Year Growth, First Quarter 2014

    Vendors

    2Q14 Shipment Value ($M)

    2Q14 Market Share

    2Q13 Shipment Value ($M)

    2Q13 Market Share

    2Q14/2Q13 Growth

    1. HP

    $219.88

    28.0%

    $187.31

    23.7%

    17.4%

    2. Canon

    $129.36

    16.5%

    $142.32

    18.0%

    -9.1%

    3. Epson

    $76.65

    9.8%

    $75.48

    9.6%

    1.6%

    4. Roland

    $52.90

    6.7%

    $56.81

    7.2%

    -6.9%

    5. Mimaki

    $45.03

    5.7%

    $45.34

    5.7%

    -0.7%

    Others

    $261.64

    33.3%

    $282.21

    35.7%

    -7.3%

    Total

    $785.47

    100.0%

    $789.47

    100.0%

    -0.5%

    Source:  IDC Worldwide Quarterly Large Format Printer Tracker, August 28, 2014

     

  • High, wide & handsome – Visual Impact Day 2 with Andy McCourt

    Visual Impact Image Expo continues to pull in the visitors; the feel of the show on day two is even higher density of visitors, which must be very pleasing to organisers and exhibitors alike. There are more ‘sold’ signs on equipment too; how many are down to show impulse buying or pre-show deals who knows – but it’s good to see. The swissQprint Nyala is off to Sydney’s  Wizardry Imaging & Signs after the show.

    HP’ Latex 3000 sports two sold stickers; one to Printforce/Heroprint in Sydney and another to The Printcentre Group’s Rosebery, Sydney plant. The Canon OEM’d Zund ProCut cutter was also sold, to new wide format powerhouse Avon Graphics of Melbourne, who has discovered life beyond pure embellishing and the next generation of the Hone family flexes its muscle.

    Sold - HP's Latex 3000 in double sale success

    EFI has a big presence at VIEE with equipment on 2 stands – Spicers and DES. It was on the DES booth that I was able to catch up with Scott Wood, EFI’s wide format Product Manager worldwide, all the way from Meredith, New Hampshire. Scott was naturally pleased at the sale of the show H1625 LED to Newcastle’s Ownsprint (see separate story); and is bullish about how LED is impacting choice of wide format machines. “We still have some conventional lamp UV curing machines because there is an initial cost factor,” he says, “but these LED UV lamps are rated at 10,000 [or longer] hours instead of around 1,000 hours and they are pretty consistent right up to end time, with limited degradation in bulb power.”

    Sold - Scott Wood from EFI USA with the H1625LED heading for Newcastle

    He continues, “The 1625 LED is a great mid-level printer and adds versatility because, with low-heat LED curing, you can print on a lot more media such as heat-sensitive plastics that would curl under hot conventional UV lamps.” Released only six months ago, the H1625 LED has been a huge success worldwide as printers move away from solvents to a greener, lower energy use and more versatile solution. Classed as ‘entry level’ the H1625 still packs a production punch at up to 42.7 square metres per hour for non close-inspection graphics.

    Steve Green heads up EFI's Asia-Pacific business as VP

    Also at VIEE and on the DES stand was VP Asia-Pacific Steve Green, who has a massive responsibility for all of EFI from Japan down to New Zealand and across as far as India. Steve is well known in Australia from his time with Oce, Ricoh and Creo/Kodak. On the importance of wide format to EFI’s impressive stable of software, server and MIS products he says: “I suppose wide format could account for anything up to one third of EFI’s business, and it is growing rapidly. As more machines go into the market, more ink is used and we are finding our existing machines-in-the-field are producing more work than ever, adding to the ink volumes.”

    Green is full of praise for UV and LED UV; “It’s transformed the market,” he says. “Solvent inks are always a challenge in terms of VOCs, OH&S and drying time. With a UV cured print, you can go straight to finishing. LED UV is even now featured in our 5 metre billboard printers, such as the EFI VUTEk GS5500LXr released at the Shanghai Ad & Sign show recently. It was a sensation. No VOCs and solvent issues and a 7 picolitre grayscale droplet size that rivals smaller close-inspection machines.”

    The UV transformation of wide and grand format digital must surely now be complete – VUTEk practically invented super-wide format printing in the 1990s prior to its acquisition by EFI in 2005 and today LED UV is part and parcel of 5 metre roll machines. “One important thing EFI bought to wide format since the VUTEk and subsequent  acqusitions such as Rastek is a through knowledge of colour management. It was practically unknown in wide format, except for proofing, before then. With ColorProof XF as part of our Rip/workflow offering, we were able to bring wide format printers up to a high standard of colour management almost overnight.”

    From DES, Daniel Aoli(L) and Russell Cavenagh - having a good show

    The DES stand was a hive of activity at every level but we managed to catch up with general manager Russell Cavenagh and wide format business manager Daniel Aoli for a brief chat. On the VIEE show itself, Cavenagh says: “Well, we could always use more people but it’s been good so far. We play our own game, we don’t focus on the competition too much. A DES customer knows they will get a lot of value-add, a lot of technical support and shared knowledge.”

    Daniel Aoli agrees, “It’s all about the value we add to the products we supply, someone buying EFI equipment from us will know that that they get years of experience in Rip and colour management issues, that we are responsive and committed to their success.”

    Looking around the show, you could be forgiven for thinking that VIEE was doubling up as a performance car sales showroom. There are five Ford XR6s lined up in the area designate for the  ASGA & NZSDA Car Wrap Masters competition and elsewhere there is a Jaguar XK coupe, some Audis, a huge Ford truck, a couple of Holdens and a VW work van – all testament to the growth of vehicle wrapping.

    Cars galore - here freshly wrapped in the Car Wrap Comp.

    The scope and depth of the Sign and Display industries is also on display in that digital ( mostly LED) displays are there, cutters and routers, 3D thermoformed letters and neon. There is even a section for gun ‘weeders’ to compete in the ‘Speed Weed’ challenge. Weeding is the removal of unwanted areas from cut sign vinyl.

    Speed Weeding - a tedious but essential skill

    Watching the skills of the young weeders there, I am moved to advocate digitally printing finished lettered signs on clear vinyl and to heck with weeding but traditional skills die hard and the demand for adhesive vinyl cut lettering and logo signs endures.

    Can this industry continue its pell-mell growth and diversity into the future? Can it sustain umpteen new entrants into the flatbed UV equipment sector? Like all gold rushes, there are many prospectors staking their claims but a handful of major mines protecting their lucrative lodes – which is ultimately ink sales. Just from the top of the head, anyone considering a flatbed UV – and there are many – can chose from; HP, EFI, Canon, Screen, Inca, Fujifilm, Mimaki, Mutoh, Roland, HandTop, Flora, Agfa, Jetrix, SwissQPrint, Jeti, Durst, Docan, Gandy, Teckwin – and there are many unrepresented in Australia and New Zealand such as the exquisitely-named Shenzen Sky Air-ship Digital Printing Equipment Company.

    A couple of likely lads on the Epson stand - Garry Muratore and Andreas Johanson from Kayell

    Contrast this list of around two dozen with your choice of production digital cut-sheet printers: Xerox, Canon, Konica-Minolta, Ricoh, HP, Kodak; the ‘big six’ with a smattering of heel-nippers such as Riso, MGI and office-type machines. It would suggest consolidation is on the horizon in flatbed UV but how far away is that horizon?

    Signage, display and POP are not like offset flexo and gravure; they resist commoditisation and even when it threatens, new applications, materials and creative ideas surface – look at digitally-printed textiles as an example and of course vehicle wrapping.

    Not forgetting that signage is also about illumination - just like manuscripts used to be?

    Trivia-time; vehicle wrapping began only in the 1990s on London taxis but it was German taxis that really drove the market. Why? Anyone who has ever been to a Drupa or Fespa Munich will know that German taxis are two things; Mercedes and beige. Bad beige; boring grandad’s cardigan-beige. In those pre-digital print days, what was known as ‘marking films’ came to the rescue. Wrap any coloured Merc in a beige marking film to conform with German regulations and – that’s a bingo, ja? No one wanted to buy used beige Mercs due to the stigma attached to driving a used taxi so, rather than an expensive re-spray, they were either wrapped to begin with and peeled upon sale to reveal nice black, blue, or red paint; or began life as beige paint and were wrapped for resale.

    This year’s Visual Impact Image Expo has proved that there is plenty of life left in the creative graphic arts and profitability is far better than churning out B3, B2 or B1 sheets of offset print. But combine the two and you have a more compelling market proposition – which is why every offset and digital cut-sheet printer should have some form of wide format offering.

    That’s the theme for PrintEx 2015 next May, co-located with VIEE: the supposed ‘senior’ part of the industry can learn from what was once viewed as derisory signwriting and screen process printing.

    It’s all about Visual Impact.

    Even recruiters found VIEE a good hunting ground - James Cryer and Emma Cook of JDA

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

  • Owen Signs upgrades to LED at VI

    Newcastle sign shop signs up for EFI H1625 LED Printer’s reducing its energy cost, ease-of-use, quality and expanded substrate capabilities

    Owen Signs, which has been producing high quality corporate and architectural signs for over four decades, was looking for a solution that would allow them to grow their existing business. “We have a great customer base and we are really looking forward to expanding our product range to better service our clients needs,” said David Owen, Managing Director.

    The H1625’s white ink capabilities, combined with its single-pass, multilayer printing will enable Owen Signs to use a broader array of substrates, including back-lit acrylic, cardboard, glass and ACM (aluminum composite material), which are a top priority as they look to the future.

    David Owen was also focused on automating the company’s workflow and reducing costs. “We found that we were mounting a significant portion of our work which was time consuming and expensive. With the hybrid roll-to-roll flatbed capabilities of the H1625 we’re able to bypass extra steps in order to get more projects out the door.”

    In addition to manufacturing quality signs Owen Signs also has an in-house design team that is focused on helping customers build creative and unique solutions that bring their brands to life. Owen Signs expertise is also available for trade printing projects.

    The printer’s “cool cure” LED technology handles roll or flatbed media that cannot withstand the heat of other curing or drying processes. Plus, its instant on/off LED lamps provide more consistent imaging with fewer wasted prints. The lamps also last longer than the lamps employed in traditional UV inkjet printers, reducing users’ consumables costs.

    The printer also is a greener option compared to other print methods, printing with virtually no VOCs. Plus the printer’s LED lamps can significantly decrease power consumption. “Prior to purchasing the H1625 I was already a big fan of EFI’s LED technology, so when we found it was available in the wide format range the decision was easy.”

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    Peter Owen, Director Owen Signs, David Owen, Managing Director Owen Signs, Wayne Horton, Business Development Manager DES, Scott Wood, Product Marketing Manager EFI

  • What a hit! Visual Impact blows them away

    Andy McCourt covers the ground at VIEE Homebush.

    New Halls, new image - VIEE draws the crowds

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    If you thought trade shows are dying, think again. If you thought the printing industry was on its uppers, think again. If you thought you can just ignore Visual Impact Expo at Homebush, NSW Showgrounds between 9-11 Sept; think again.

    This show rocks. Speaking with the show organiser and general manager of VISA, Peter Harper – by 2pm on day 1, last year’s attendance figure had already been surpassed…with 6 hours of show left due to late night opening. “It’s going very well,” smiles Harper, “we have more floorspace than last year and we are in new halls 5 & 6 which have better power, logistics and airconditioning. The stands look great and the ASGA/NZSDA Car Wrap Comeptition is underway which is attracting big crowds.”

    It’s hard to disagree; for a first day of show the aisles and stands are busy and as the day draws on, more people are flooding in.

    Peter Harper - General Manager of VISA and driving force behind VIEE

    Roland DG, as usual, has pole position opposite the entry. The launch of Roland’s monoFab ARM-10 3D printer is opening many eyes to the potential of 3D prototyping but where Roland is unique is that it also offers the SRM-20 milling machine for subtractive manufacturing and engraving. Combining additive and subtractive (printing and milling) expands the product prototyping and short run manufacturing universe considerably. The ARM-10 is a resin-based 3D printer that ‘projects’ the material from 3D design software – and it sits neatly ion any desktop. How to make ‘makers’ happy?

    Roland's John Wall is all about creativity

    Roland general manager John Wall emphasises his company’s dedication to creative processes: “We’re always on the lookout for new applications for digitally-printed graphics,” he says, showing a neat heaxagonal-matrix idea where magnetised printed hexagons can be assembled into decorative panels and murals. Roland DisplayStudio is another initiative to integrate cistomer graphics for multi-purposing and the stand was full of textile, soft furnishing and decor products produced using Roland wide format solutions.

    A major announcement was from SCREEN and Graphic Art Martin that Screen’s Truepress Jet W3200UV flatbed will be distributed exclusively by Graphic Arts Mart.  “It makes sense that we should have a major consumables supplier such as Graphic Art Mart as our exclusive distributor for the W3200UV.” says Screen managing director Peter Scott; ” They are a growing company with a great reputation and experienced staff. I am delighted to welcome Mark Tailby and his team to the Dainippon Screen family of partners.”

    It's a deal! Peter Scott(L) of Screen and Mark Tailby (R) of Graphic Art Mart

    Graphic Art Mart has also recruited flatbed UV guru Michael Liveris to its team, based in Perth, and announced it has added the Fujifilm Acuity Advance range to its flatbed stable; something it did not have before. “This gives us top quality flatbed UV capability from around 22 sq/m hr up to 150 sq/m hr, with industry-proven products backed by great service,” he says.

    Kevin Shimamoto from Memjet USA

    Canonwas well represented by top guns internationally with President & CEO of Display Graphic Systems Atillo Mainoli on the Lions’ stand as well as Florian Hohlmann, International Sales Manager for the new ColorWave 900 Memjet-powered 42-inch wide format machine which was purring out 9 metre-long panoramas of the New York skyline in, like, 25 seconds! You have to see it to believe it; wide format at 18 linear metres per second. Okay, real life output is likely to be plan drawings and architectural concepts but whichever way you look at it; the ColorWave 900 is a profit machine epitomised. Present on the Canon stand was Memjet, SanDiego, VP Sales & Marketing of Wideformat Kevin Shimamoto who sees wide format at Memjet’s strongest market along with labels.

    Fast output from Canon's ColorWave 900 Memjet-powered printer

    Canon's wide format Lion King - Attillio Mainoli, President & CEO of Display Graphics worldwide.

    While on the Canon stand, who should we run into but our old mate Brian Haines, formerly a lifer with the PIAA and now with Longbottom Paper. Colin L. was not far away. Brian looked happy and it was good to bump into the industry stalwart at VIEE.

    A surprise exhibitor and always a pleasure to run into was Wal Sadlo’s Walcar stand where Wal and his colleague Darrin were displaying the OKI range of printers. Now these babies are not wide-format behemoths but they do print long banners based on the A3 wide format. Essentially, the OKI C941 is a 50ppm A4 colour printer (28ppm A3) but adds white ink and an LED imaging engine that lays the toner down on almost anything. You can print on transfer paper for imaging on T-Shirts, bags, caps, coffe mugs and labels or change the white ink for spot colour or glosscoat; or just pump out A4 colour if you’re keen on low profit margins. It’s an incredibly versatile little unit that won’t even set you back $25K and… wait for it… no click charges!

    "No click Wal" with the amazing Oki C941

    CPH Group was attracting a lot of interest in its KilkInk system, an alternative to the printer manufacturer’s own ink. CPH’s Daniel Hornsey showed just how easy it is to convert – slot in a KilikInk cartridge (more than double capacity of the standard 440ml one); click in the 1 liter bottle and…print away. The carts stick out a bot more than the standard ones but, hey, you are getting twice the ink at a discount to boot.

    Speaking of non-original ink; the market appears to be opening up with DGS pushing Bordeaux inks for Mimaki and other printers. Ink will continue to be a vexed issue in the wide format industry; if you change to non-original; what are the gains and what are the losses? These are the questions.

    Klik! CPH Groups KlikInk makes bulk feed easy

    EPSON always amazes people at trade shows and VIEE is no exception. Stunning graphics, new applications such as sublimation and a couple of new faces with aeons of experience – Ryan Warby, recently joined from Spandex and Roger Womersley, a Canon/Oce vet and occassional contributor to another trade mag whose name dare not be mentioned ;-). Just kiddin’.

    Ricky Richardswins show prize for best big hair with a wonderful blue-wigged saleslady. Perennially cheerful Sales Manager Matt Evans of the Gottleib-family textile company was showing several new media including Signflex backlit and the beautiful Fredrix Crystal Artist Canvas – acid free, water resistant and so archival that the Pharaohs would be proud.

    Big hair - Blue hair; on Ricky Richard's great consumables stand

    Spicer’s stand was very EFI-rich with the new VUTEk GS3250LX drawing crowds, as well as industry icon ‘Gazza’ Garry Smith. LED UV seems the way to go these days…low energy use; long-lasting lamps and a consistent result for the entire lamp life; which is anything up to 20x that of conventional UV. Fortunately, our Gazza has not gone the way of his eponymous UK footballer namesake; he’s still a picture of health!

    Here's Gazza - Spicers wide format man Garry Smith

    UV in wide format is reaching into solvent territory and Absolute UV is helping that push with very keenly-priced Chinese-made UV solutions that now go up to 3.2 meters in width. Phonse van Acker from Absolute UV says his machines can also be used for short-run labels where a tough, scratch resistant surface is required. Add a clear coat and they are even tougher. From around $40K who can argue?

    AVS showed the all-new Chinese-made Flora UV printers. Flora- isn’t that a margarine? Never mind, it still looks like spreading (sorry) – the price is right. Quality of image looked fine; but support is what flatbed UV is all about – we’ll see how far Flora can penetrate the flatbed/roll UV market in Australia. It’s a sandwich situation out there! AVS do back Flora machines with a 3-year warranty and much componentry is from Switzerland and Germany; bodes well.

    Something that is becoming more and more important in wide format businesses is MIS and workflow. As the industry becomes more sophisticated, so new IT needs are demanded. Optimusis at VIEE to provide MIS solutions not just for pure-bred wide format firms but also as extensions for, say, offset printers venturing into wide format but wanting to bring the new sector into the total MIS fold. Con James and Nicola Bisset were kept busy by interested parties keen on bringing their back offices up to speed with a reliable, versatile MIS.

    Optimus' Nicola Bisset and Con James talk to interested MIS parties

    Of course there were not only sandwiches but wraps everywhere at VIEE. Wraps competitions, wrap demos, wrapped trucks, cars and artifacts – it’s a wrapped world and why not? Blank spaces are boring – they need decorating and what better way than a good vinyl wrap from 3M, Avery, Arlon, Hexis, Grafiwrap or Neschen, (did I miss anybody- sorry?)

    Last but not least from the VIEE Day One round-up has to be a new initiative called Techie On Wheels. Omar Kassis has a tricked-out van that comes to you to fix your computer, workflow, data recovery and backup problems – onsite. He works with the major RIP and workflow vendors to understand file handling issues and is totally clued-up on curing viruses, malware and other such IT issues. Currently just a NSW service, he hopes to expand interstate. What a great idea!

    Omar Kassis and wife - Techie On Wheels for at your door computer problem solving

    That’s Day One at VIEE…all I could manage anyway. If you are in two minds whether to attend…get down there; it’s a great show and buoys your enthusiasm for the graphic arts. PrintEx next year (May) is co-located again with VIEE – they could do a lot worse than let Peter Harper and his team handle all the promotion.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Michael Liveris, flatbed UV guru, has joined Graphic Art Mart

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  • Signage apprentice makes the cut for Worldskills comp

    3rd year apprentice Kiara Sawtell is off to Western Australia this month to represent the signage industry in the building & construction category of the national competition. She qualified for the National competition while serving her apprenticeship at Signarama, Bankstown. She attends the South Western Sydney Institute of TAFE.

    Substrate supplier Spandex sponsors Kiara for her tools-of-trade. According to Nathan Barclay, marketing manager, the company was very pleased to help out. “It’s so good to see that people like Kiara, starting off in the industry, are taking the initiative to go as far as they can and expand their skillset. This is exactly what is needed and it gives us great pleasure to support her entry into the national WorldSkills competition.”

    WorldSkills Australia is part of a global organisation, headquartered in The Netherlands, dedicated to improving and sharing vocational skills worldwide. The 2014 WorldSkills Australia National Competition will be held at Perth’s Convention and Exhibition Centre between the 18th and 20th of September. With over 17,000 square metres of competition and exhibition space, there will be plenty of exciting and interactive activities covering every imaginable vocational skill.

    The three day event will showcase the skills of 500 of Australia’s best trainees, apprentices and students competing for the prestigious title of ‘Nation’s Best’ in over 50 skill and trade areas ranging from the traditional trades such as Plumbing, Bricklaying and Hairdressing to the more contemporary professions of Web Design, Fashion Technology and of course the increasingly digital world of Signage, which is a sub-category under Building & Construction. Winners of National categories can go on to compete at the International WorldSkills competition, due to be held in São Paulo, Brazil in August 2015.

    In preparation for her trip to Perth, Kiara was presented with her tools and toolbox by Nathan Barclay at her workplace, Signarama Bankstown. “I’d like to thank Spandex for believing in me and I promise to give my best at the National WorldSkills competition. I enjoy my trade along with all the challenges I am faced with and I haven’t stopped learning since the day I entered Signage,” she said.

    Give her the right tools, she'll finish the job: Nathan Barclay, Spandex with Kiara Sawtell.

    Asked about her future, Kiara says: “I finish my apprenticeship in January next year, so that is my first goal. In the long term I would like to operate my own sign business. I’m really excited about heading over to Perth for the WorldSkills finals.”

  • Spicers to supply total sign market in NZ

    Diversification strategy prompts the region’s largest paper merchant to acquire Total Supply, New Zealand’s foremost sign and display supplier.

    John Greenacre, GM Spicers New Zealand, has welcomed the acquisition as an opportunity to develop an even larger business from the two separate companies. “Spicers in New Zealand has always taken great pride in being not one large company, but in reality a series of local merchants very much focused on the local client experience,” said Greenacre.

    "Dean and I fully intend to be greater than the sum of our parts,” John Greenacre

    “Dean Stuart and his excellent team at Total Supply are very much aligned in this focus, which is how they themselves have built such an impressive business. Our two businesses therefore will complement each other tremendously and I am very excited at the prospects created by this, the next important chapter of Spicers journey.

    “By bringing our two business together Dean and I fully intend to be greater than the sum of our parts.”

    The move is in line with Spicer’s ongoing strategy to diversify its offerings to the market. In recent years the global company has steadily increased its participation and revenue from a number of sectors, not least sign and display.

    According to Andy Preece, Executive General Manager Spicers ANZA, the latest takeover will set the stage for the company’s rapid growth in the thriving New Zealand market.

    “This acquisition fully supports Spicers diversification plans, installing the group immediately as a leading local market supplier. The marriage of the two businesses provides the opportunity for rapid and significant growth with Total Supply now able to fully exploit Spicers significant national footprint and infrastructure, and further leveraging off a global parent that already receives 11% of its total revenue from the sign and display segment,” said Preece.

    “Deals such as Total Supply represent a core strategic priority for our businesses. This an excellent example of the ongoing execution of our program, and demonstrates our continued desire and ability to fund and drive diversification through targeted acquisition”

    Known as Total Supply since 2004, the business was originally incorporated in 1962 and has been serving the Graphic Art and Sign Industries throughout that time under various entities such as Letraset and Esselte NZ. In August 2004 after a successful MBO of the Sign Division of Esselte NZ, and also the subsequent purchase of Spandex NZ in 2008, Total Supply has evolved to become one of the key industry players within its markets and a significant business in its own right.

    Today Total Supply is New Zealand’s foremost sign industry supplier, committed to delivering quality, cost effective products and service.  It endeavours to supply everything a sign company needs to be at the cutting edge of technology, delivering upon a policy of excellence in supply range, service and compatible component systems.

     

     

  • Signwave vs Signarama – battle of the sign franchises

    It is a case of David and Goliath as the new master franchisors in the signage world go to work full time on expanding the smaller Signwave network even as major player Signarama opens its 100th store.

    With 17 stores in Australia, the three Signwave owners – Leo Baker, Dean Rowland and Linda Sultmann, who took on the role in February – are determined to take the fight to their larger competitor. They expect to not only open new centres but say they are fielding queries from existing sign businesses that want to co-brand.

    Baker, who sold his own South Melbourne store, established in 2000, to Craig Buchanan in order to work full-time growing the franchise believes it was a sound business decision.

    “Selling South Melbourne allows me to fully focus on my role in franchise support and development,” he said.

    He believes the sale has given him first-hand experience on what is required for a smooth transition on both entering and exiting the franchise. “Both Dean and I can relate to the franchise owner experience and know how to make it work for everyone’s best interests. Through Linda’s recent market research and business analysis, we have discovered there is still strong market generated demand for signage and graphics … it is obvious there is scope for so much more market growth – despite some recent, incredibly short sighted claims by others, that the industry is contracting.”

    Certainly the reported notion that the sector is contracting is not supported by the ambition of Signarama, which declares it intends to open10-15 new stores in Australia this year. According to Evan Foster, national director, United Franchise Group – Signarama’s parent franchisor – the opening of the 100th store in Australia, in Mosman NSW, is a milestone that represents a rapid expansion of the signage franchisor in this country and the company’s success in growing local businesses.

    “Signarama is proud to announce this 100th store achievement. The opportunity to extend Signarama’s marketing knowledge and signage services to businesses in Mosman and throughout Australia is an honour and we will continue to contribute a valuable, supportive role to maximise the bottom line for all businesses we work with,” he said.

    Signarama has been operating in Australia for 25 years where it employs over 500 people and is the largest global franchise company of its kind.

    When it comes to points of differentiation the Signwave people maintain their franchisees are on the whole larger operations, moving away from shop fronts towards industrial facilities. According to Linda Sultmann, director, their franchises are focused on higher volume businesses, forming strategic partnerships with larger clients. The new master franchisors initially intend to remain focused on improving the service and back up for existing clients, before embarking on a three to five year plan to double the number of franchises.

    Aiming to double the numbers within five years: Dean Rowland, Leo Baker and Linda Sultmann

  • HP scales its PageWide technology to wide format

    Two new Designjet models are released ahead of the imaging giant’s strategy to scale down of its PageWide technology.

    HP announced the release of two wide format machines at its media conference in Mumbai yesterday. The Designjet T3500 production eMultifunction printer is claimed as the most productive large-format colour multifunction printer in its category and ideal for use by enterprises. The Designjet T7200 is a full-colour large-format printer built for central reprographic and reprographic houses with high-volume print demands.

    Next year HP will make available in Australia wide format engines with PageWide technology. This will continue the HP strategy of building scale savings by migrating a single imaging system over different types of printing, from the high-speed commercial inkjet webs – the T- series – down to office multi-function devices and now to the Designjet wide-format printers. Using the scalable PageWide technology means the thermal inkjet heads can be produced in large numbers reducing the cost per unit.

    The 914mm-wide Designjet T3500, which does not use the PageWidfe technology,  requires no warm-up time and features an ultra-fast processor and a high-productivity scanner with batch-scanning, multipage PDF creation and scan-to-email capabilities.

    The 1,067 mm-wide HP Designjet T7200 can handle three heavy media rolls. It can produce both colour and black-and-white prints on a wide range of media, from bond to glossy photo paper, with a low cost of operation comparable to monochrome LED printers.

     

     

     

     

  • MGI Meteor to make an impact at Agfa showroom

    Agfa Graphics is running fast to pump up its digital offering, as it prepares its Scoresby showroom for the first MGI Meteor to strike this June. The Belgian-based plate supplier recently picked up local agency for the MGI from Ferrostaal ANZ, firming up its strategy to target printers transitioning to digital as run-lengths continue to drop.

    Agfa will throw open its doors to give printers a chance to see the MGI Meteor DP 8700 XL digital press in action, for a full roster of tours and demonstrations in the next couple of weeks. The move marks a significant step for the plate supplier into an already busy marketplace, and according to Mark Brindley (pictured), managing director, Agfa Graphics Oceania, it is fully committed to growing its digital business with MGI.

    “It’s hugely important for Agfa, and we’ve behind it from day one. We’ve been in the wide-format space for some time, but now we can truly partner with our customers as and when they make that leap to digital,” Brindley tells Print21.

    “The need to diversify to meet a changing market and maintain profitability is well established. In this respect, the addition of the MGI range of digital products to the Agfa stable in this region is very much in line with our commitment to partnering with our clients as they make the transitions necessary to meet a dynamic market.”

    The MGI Meteor DP 8700 XL can handle a broad range of substrates from paper and card, to synthetic papers and vinyls, self-adhesive labels, PET, PVC and polycarbonates. It is also able to product large-format print up to 1011 mm long. Brindley backs the flagship Meteor press as the ideal machine for offset printers looking to transition to digital, praising its versatility and cost efficiency.

    He adds that, “With the potential to help businesses open up entirely new revenue streams with high margin products in growth markets, it’s exactly the press a range of businesses can use – all at an investment level which makes it potentially one of the most profitable machines on the market. And, most importantly, it comes with the full service and support of the Agfa network.”

    Agfa has a history with MGI, already partnering with the french technology provider in a number of European countries. To support its Australian commitment to its digital push, two local Agfa engineers have already made the trek to France to get trained up on MGI’s full range of digital varnishing and finishing equipment.

  • HP Latex range comes 360 with Sydney launch

    HP tackles the rise in lower-volume work with its Latex 300 series and new Designjet Z-series production printers. The latest entries in HP’s large-format arsenal are unveiled in Sydney today, with a 50% boost in efficiency in the Z-series and 64-inch Latex 360 nearly tripling print times and cutting turnarounds in half.

    HP cans its popular Latex 260 model, picking up on greater market segmentation with its new third-generation Latex 300 series. Launched to the local market, the new portfolio targets printers expanding their signage offering with lower-volume demand, replacing the Latex 260 with three incremental new models. According to Jeremy Brew, application specialist sign and display, HP, the new offering caters to the larger numbers of small-to-medium printers and signage shops transitioning from solvent inks.

    “The Latex 360 effectively replaces Latex 260, with the new Latex optimiser more than doubling its speeds. But before the 260 used to service the whole market, from small sign shops and printers up to the medium run printers. The addition of the Latex 310 and the 330 in the 300 series really meets the customers where they are,” says Brew.

    The new series offers a complete portfolio for the low-volume market, starting with the entry-level 54-inch Latex 310. Next up the chain is the 64-inch Latex 330, tackling heavier rolls up to 42 kg and printing up to 50 square-metres per hour. The Latex 360 is also 64-inch but increases application versatility with an ink collector for porous textiles. Speed is also maxed with the Latex 360, running up to 91 square-metres per hour.

    According to Jeff de Kleijn, director and general manager, sign and display, HP Asia Pacific and Japan, this new range meets the needs of modern print businesses seeking to grow their offering.

    “Small to medium printing companies face the challenge of simultaneously addressing more applications to reach more customers while reducing costs and fitting in smaller spaces. Backed by proven HP Latex technology, the new HP Latex 300 printer series addresses these needs with durable quality and easy operation, helping customers break application boundaries and establish a competitive advantage,” said Kleijn.

    US-based displays specialists, All Star Signs have transitioned over from solvents with the HP Latex 360, and owner George Beitner is impressed with the impact the technology has made on his business efficiencies.

    “Since installing the HP Latex 360 printer, not only are we able to print three times faster than with our solvent device, we also decreased project turnaround time from one to two days to 24 hours. This difference alone has dramatically impacted how we do business,” said Beitner.

    Alongside the 300 range, HP’s Designjet Z-series pumps up print speeds by as much as 50% with the new Z6600 production printer and Z6800 photo production printer. The Z-series is also designed to deliver high-value indoor applications. The Designjet Z6600 boasts significantly improved consumable efficiency, using up to 30% less ink.

  • HP Scitex beefs up turnarounds for Sumo printer

    Graphic display heavyweight Sumo Visual Group quadruples its turnarounds with its new HP Scitex FB 10000 industrial press. The Melbourne-based large-format specialist makes its latest investment to target the spike in short-run retail jobs and streamline the business.

    After more than ten years servicing some of Australia’s leading retail brands this marks the first HP press for Sumo Visual Group. According to national sales director Gary Fawcett, the 100% digital shop had been turning away work, due to volumes of customer demand and tight client turnarounds.

    “We chose the HP Scitex FB10000 industrial press to reassure our clients that we can help them meet the tight deadlines crucial to the success of their campaigns. Our speed to market raises the bar in the industry as a whole,” said Fawcett.

    Fawcett claims that the HP Scitex has been generating turnaround times up to four times faster than the company’s existing portfolio of digital printers. Since it hit the ground in December last year the new press has earned its stripes as the house workhorse delivering complete campaign solutions within two days, while still maintaining Sumo Visual Group’s high expectations of print quality.

    The HP Scitex FB10000 turns around 1000 B1 sheets (1500 x 3000 mm) in less than two hours. The high throughput and flexibility is a critical asset, with around 70% of Sumo Visual Group’s customers in the retail space calling for frequent changes to marketing and in-store branding messages.

    Fawcett says, “The HP Scitex FB10000 ticks all the boxes – incredibly high speed, power and throughput, plus great image quality.”

    Along with the press, Sumo Visual Group has also invested in new prepress software and cutting and finishing equipment, streamlining workflow and increasing efficiency for the business.

  • Avery Dennison revs its engines at Top Gear Festival

    Car lovers and die-hard petrolheads alike gathered three-deep to catch a glimpse of Avery Dennison’s live car-wrap at Top Gear Festival. The pressure sensitive adhesive substrate manufacturer made its presence felt with an eye-catching stand at the fully loaded two-day Sydney event this weekend to showcase its expanded Supreme Wrapping Film range and drive business for its customers.

    Avery Dennison called on the skills and expertise of vinyl wrap specialists Carbon Demon to wrap a Holden International live on their stand in front of the Top Gear crowd. According to Peter Wright, Avery Dennison, technical marketing manager, it’s all about supporting the industry and helping to generate more use of the vehicle enhancement.

    “For the industry, bringing this stuff to Top Gear is so important. You come here and there a lot of cars wrapped, but people don’t understand the process and they don’t link our brand with that final product.

    “We’ve had crowds three-people deep here checking out the wraps. There’s such a mix here too, we’ve had race-car owners, people from various car associations. If you walk up there there’s about $6 million worth of sports cars and a club that is only supercars. They’re saying you must come and see us, and we get to pass that interest along to our customers,” said Wright.

    Built around the Holden parked slap-bang centre of the stand, Wright says the premise for the show is a simple one. One half of the car is left untouched, but pop round to the other side and a matte metallic film and some custom rims transform the vehicle before the crowd’s eyes.

    Wright adds, “We’re using the Supreme Wrapping Film range, a coloured, dual cast product specially designed for car wrapping. We’re up to about 80 colours now and we’re always adding to it. You’ve got the chromes as well, and textureds, like the carbon fibre and the brushed titanium, brushed copper, brushed black metallic. And now we’ve got pearlescents and satins are just about to launch.”

    Vinyl specialists Mike and Wendy of Carbon Demon were on wrapping duty, demonstrating the latest mattes and metallics to the roaring throng. Mike says that the dynamic Avery Dennison range is a must, helping him to create head-turning custom looks.

    “It’s easy to use, so when the vinyl is easy to use for the installer it makes my job easier it’s also easy to achieve the perfect result,” he says.

  • Media price rise wide across the board

    Companies have a few weeks to acclimatise to the recent round of paper price rises, now set to spread across the board into wide-format and signage. Sign and display supplier Spandex joins the growing crowd now committed to an increase, including Sappi, BJ Ball, K.W. Doggett and Spicers in the 8-10% range, while DES stands firm on its late-2013 bump.

    Blame is placed in the plummeting Australian dollar in all cases, with both sign and display suppliers join the paper merchants in acknowledging the changed market conditions. Tightening margins have forced Spandex to join the ranks. In a letter to its customers, Alex McClelland, managing director, Spandex, confirmed the move but stressed that increases would be “well below the double digit ones announced by the major paper merchants,” averaging around 3%.

    According to McClelland, “This is not a blanket increase, it varies across product groups and all are in low single-digit percentages. Arlon vehicle wrapping films for example decreased in price last year and, even with this year’s increase, are still below what they were pre-2013.”

    The letter emphasises that the business’s margins are tightly controlled, and that in the light of up to 18% drop in the Aussie dollar impacting its raw material prices, Spandex was unable to absorb the decline. It reaffirms its own range of large format media ImagePerfect with over 90 digital sign materials, remains its best value offering.

    Packaging and display specialist DES holds back from announcing any raises for the time being, standing firm on an increase implemented in September last year. Speaking with Print21, Russell Cavenagh, sales and marketing director, DES, agrees with the market sentiment that the falling dollar was too significant to be ignored or absorbed.

    “The currency drop was a big one. It was hovering at well over a dollar for an extended period, but when it dropped back down under 80 we acted and rolled out a 3-7% increase depending where we sourced it from. This all happened back in September. We’re not announcing anything now,” said Cavenagh.

    For the final paper tally – K.W. Doggett has committed an up to 10.5% increase, from March 17; BJ Ball says 8% from March 31; Spicers is 9%, also from March 31; and Sappi confirms 8-10% across all grades, sheets and reels from April 1.

  • Spicers open invite to see Mimaki latex white ink

    Mimaki and local distributor Spicers put out the call to get hands on with the world’s first latex white ink printer. Mimaki’s JV400LX is officially open for inspection in a series of demonstrations held around the country, kicking off in Brisbane, Townsville and Sydney, with further venues to be announced.

    Mimaki’s JV400LX (pictured) will be on display around the country from March 18 onwards, showcasing its three-way intelligent heater and three-layer printing capacity. In a strong push for the two new partners Spicers get behind the world’s first latex white ink printer, which it is calling one of the most innovative in the market. Harry Pagoulatos, marketing and business development manager, Spicers, says he is excited to be getting the wheels rolling with a fun, collaborative event.

    “We signed up our distributorship with Mimaki late last year, and this is a great opportunity to get people engaged with what we’ve got out there for them. It’s a great diversification for the business, and we have the substrates to complement the equipment. From a technology perspective it just seemed right, and now we’re able to get out there and showcase some of the machinery. There will also be a range of Spicers products at the events,” said Pagoulatos.

    The JV400LX uses Mimaki’s own water-based latex inks, LX101 and LX100, which is formulated as an eco-friendly alternative to contain reduced volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Combining this with its new orange and green inks, the LX range now cover 93% of the Pantone colour chart, offering an expanded vibrancy and reach of colour gamut.

    Event dates and venues are, from 10 am to 5 pm:

    • Brisbane – Flash Graphics, 19 Chester Street, Newstead – Tuesday, March 18
    • Townsville – IBIS Hotel, 12 Palmer Street, South Townsville – Friday, March 21
    • Sydney – Mimaki Australia, Unit 14/38-46 South Street, Rydalmere – Thursday, March 27

    Admission is free of charge, and puts guests into the running to win the lucky door prize.

    To register your interest, click here or contact a Spicers representative on 1300 132 644