Archive for September, 2001

  • More news…extra…the overflow column…more news

    It will present a full day free seminar in major capital cities in October. Sponsored by WAM!Net and the Printing Industries Association (PIA), it brings together such key work flow players as Adobe, Agfa, Optus and Red Source.The series of seminars will be broken into corporate and media sessions.
    The corporate session looks how corporations can get value out of their IT spend. The media session answers how collaboration and customer content management can deliver a solution to all businesses.
    In Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane on 16-18th October 2001, don’t miss it. Info to register from WAM!NET Australia – 02 9460 2665 or

    Goss moves overseas
    Web press maker Goss has closed its last US plant and transferred all its press manufacturing to sites in France, England, Japan, and China. About 370 workers at the Cedar Rapids, Iowa, plant were dismissed without severance payments in the August 31 closure. Another 90 employees were fired at Goss’ headquarters in the Chicago.
    According to a report in Editor & Publisher, Goss insists the move will not change its ability to service customers.
    “We are fully able to satisfy any and all single-width or double-width customer demand in the Americas or in the international markets from our existing product ranges,” said Goss President Richard Sutis.
    “We already manufacture Community presses in Shanghai, China, and a version of the Urbanite in Sayama, Japan. Existing Urbanites can also be expanded by shaftless Universal towers as an alternative.”

    Reader’s Digest goes stochastic
    Hannanprint in Alexandria claim an Australian first with the heatset web printing of Reader’s Digest with CreoScitex Staccato screening. The process moves away from the traditional half tone dot used in offset printing to imaging the plate with a multitude of randomly placed spots.
    Stochastic screening allows for smoother skin tones, fewer artefacts such as moiré and deeper colours. Hannanprint predicts that most of its magazines and catalogues will switch to stochastic screening within the year.

    If you can’t beat them
    Xerox has sold its first offset presses in the US, marking a significant milestone in the company’s move to a complete provider to the graphic arts market. Four of the five are for Xerox DocuColor 233 DI-4 direct imaging digital offset presses. The fifth press was a Xerox DocuColor 400 DI-5.
    All DocuColor DI Series models use the Presstek ProFire on-press laser imaging system.
    “The impact digital technologies are having on the graphic arts workflow is creating what we call The New Business of Printing, characterised by just-in-time turnarounds and personalised printing services delivered over the internet,” said Elaine Wilde, senior vice president and general manager, Xerox Worldwide Graphic Arts Business.
    ” Xerox also is undergoing a major transformation into a company that offers a broad and complete range of products, solutions and services for the graphic arts marketplace.”

    Toner cartridge re-fillers take Lexmark to court,
    They claim Lexmark engaged in false and misleading conduct in advertising a rebate program for laser cartridges sold at lower prices than identical Lexmark cartridges. The only difference is that consumers supposedly agreed – by the act of opening up the rebated cartridge box – not to recycle the cartridge to remanufacturers.
    The complaint, filed in California, said Lexmark’s statement that its rebate program, which is called a prebate because it occurs before any cartridge is returned to Lexmark, lowers the cost of printing and helps the environment, was false. The real purpose of the prebate, according to the complaint, is to deprive remanufacturers of the used cartridges that they need to provide low-cost competition to Lexmark.

    Steal This Session
    A new digital rights session has been added to Seybold San Francisco’s 2001 Seybold Summit on Wednesday, September 26 at the Moscone Center. The conference track entitled Steal This Session: The Digital Millennium Copyright Act Great Debate, examines the hotly contested issues surrounding the controversy of this new US law.
    The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) created in 1998 to bring copyright law into the digital-age has recently come under fire. The arrest of Dmitry Sklyarov in July has rekindled criticism that the DMCA exceeds protecting owners of copyright against piracy.
    In an open forum discussion, experts will discuss if the DMCA is too harsh, whether its exceptions are sufficient, and whether it strikes the right balance between commercial publishers and individuals.

    And finally this from Pincus Jaspert, industry guru and all round good guy.

    There was this guy in a mental hospital. All day long he had his ear to the wall, listening. The doctor would watch him do this day after day. The doctor finally decided to see what the guy was listening to, so he put his ear up to the wall and listened.
    He heard nothing.
    He turned to the mental patient and said, “I don’t hear anything.”
    The mental patient said, “Yeah, I know. It’s been like that for months!”

  • Barco Graphics and Purup-Eskofot get together

    Barco owns 49 per cent of the new company, which has a project name of BPE (a new company name will be released early next year), and Kirkbi A/S, the parent company of Purup-Eskofot, has 51 per cent. The combined turnover of the two organizations is in excess of US$ 227 million.

    In Australia, Currie and Company distributes Purup-Eskofot products, up to its A2 polyester platesetter, while the larger formats are the province of Print & Pack. Barco has long been the preserve of Edward Keller, which in recent times has reduced its involvement with the graphic arts industry, relinquishing a number of agencies (such as KBA and Xeikon) to concentrate on its packaging business.

    In a statement the new company, which started to operate immediately, said the sales, distribution and support channels for BPE’s products will essentially remain the same as before, since the major market segments in which Barco Graphics and Purup-Eskofot operate today are largely different. There will be some product rationalisation when the range is consolidated into a single portfolio.

    The new company combines the management, R&D, manufacturing facilities and distribution resources of the previous entities. The product lines of the two companies will be merged into one integrated portfolio.

    The company claims the broadest line of computer-to-plate products of any organization in the world, and market leadership in a number of graphic arts and packaging business areas.

    Barco Graphics is a leading global supplier to the packaging industry for digital pre-production solutions, with an integrated approach to graphic and structural workflows. It claims world market leadership in flexo computer-to-plate imaging, supported by a co-marketing agreement with DuPont Cyrel.

    In addition Barco says it is the world leader in digital prepress solutions for the cartographic market, while remaining a leading player in the digital document printing market as an OEM supplier to Xeikon and IBM.

    Purup-Eskofot is one of the world’s leading digital prepress suppliers to the commercial printing, the newspaper publishing and the quick printing markets. It is the world leader in copydot scanning solutions, and in the computer-to-polyester-plate imaging market where it has OEM and distribution agreements with AB Dick and Mitsubishi Paper Mills.

    The head office of BPE will be in Gent, Belgium. Hardware and software product development will be in Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Norway, Czechia and the USA. All manufacturing will be in Europe. William Schulin-Zeuthen, currently President and CEO of Purup-Eskofot will become CEO of BPE.

    In a statement, the company said, “The formation of BPE will create one of the most innovative suppliers to the graphic arts markets. Both founding organizations have a history of bringing highly advanced products to market with great success.

    “Barco Graphics almost single-handedly created the packaging prepress market. Purup-Eskofot invented the internal drum imagesetter and also produced the world’s first successful commercial computer-to-plate systems. It also developed the first copydot scanning systems in the world.

    “The combined R&D groups will continue this advanced product development and it is expected that a number of new systems will be launched within the next twelve months. These will include enhancements to existing products as well as product introductions for new market areas.

    Key future technology development areas include:
    * Enhanced laser imaging technology: BPE is developing an 830 nm thermal laser diode system for use with its internal drum CtP systems.
    * UV Imaging – The Purup-Eskofot subsidiary DICON has been working for many years on the development of a system to image conventional printing plates directly from computer data. This is achieved through the use of high power UV lamp light sources linked to fibre optic arrays, rather than using very expensive UV lasers. A development prototype of this technology was shown at the DRUPA 2000 exhibition.

  • Creo and Presstek are still slugging it out in court

    Giving a new twist to the win-win scenario, the two litigants are dissatisfied with the verdict, even though both claim it vindicates their position. The dispute centres on the on-press imaging technology sold through CreoScitex.

    The court determined that the printing presses using Creo’s imaging technology do not infringe Presstek’s patents. The court affirmed that neither Creo’s imaging technology, nor printing presses that use Creo’s imaging technology, such as Heidelberg’s 74 DI, infringe the patents.

    Presstek claimed a victory in that the court recognised the validity and enforceablility of its patents. It strongly disagrees that the Creo technology is not an infringement.

    Creo headed back into court to get the patent enforceability overturned while Presstek claimed the judge made a mistake and wants to appeal.

    Presstek’s president and chief executive officer, Robert Hallman, said, “We are pleased that the Court affirmed the validity and enforceability of these patents. With respect to its conclusion of non-infringement, however, we believe the Court relied on minor differences between the Presstek patents and Creo’s DOP System that do not justify the Court’s determination of non-infringement. As a result, we will be seeking review of that determination in the Court of Appeals.’

    Dan Gelbart, Creo’s President and Chief Technology Officer, and inventor of the SQUAREspot(TM) thermal laser imaging device said, “We are pleased to see that the court has confirmed the uniqueness of our imaging technology and that our technology does not infringe Presstek’s patents. We believe that intellectual property rights anchor our position.

    “Over the past six years, the outstanding performance of our unique Squarespot imaging heads has led to our strong leadership position in the computer-to-plate (CTP) marketplace with more than 3000 CTP machines installed-by far the largest installed base of any CTP design.’

    Since commercial shipments of the on-press version of this product began in 1999, more than 500 imaging devices have been put into use on digital offset printing presses at commercial printers around the world.

  • Avery Dennison in takeover of rival Jac

    Major consolidation is likely to result as the local market has a considerable over supply of production capacity. Avery-Dennison, previously known in Australia as Fasson, has its laminating plant in Adelaide, while Jac, officially Jackstadt, is located in Melbourne.

    Industry sources estimate that both companies have approximately the same share of the market, with Finnish rival Raflatac a close third with between 20 and 25 per cent. Kari Palli, regional managing director of Raflatac, sees the takeover as an opportunity to gain market share.

    “In these matters one and one never adds up to two. You’ll always find some customers who don’t want to deal with the larger company,” he said.
    The deal is dependent on approval by national competition authorities but it is not anticipated the ACCC will become involved. However the local companies are tight lipped with all inquiries directed to a public relations company in Hong Kong and thence to Germany.

    The US$400 million all cash sale was not unexpected as Jac, although once dominant in Australia and New Zealand, has been losing market share in recent years and has struggled in a number of markets overseas.

    “The combination of our two companies, both industry pioneers, will create value for Avery Dennison shareholders, while providing substantial benefits for customers and new opportunities for employees of both companies,’ said Philip M. Neal, chairman and chief executive officer of Avery Dennison.

    “Our management and employees have built one of the truly prominent companies in our industry over the past 50 years,’ said Dr. h.c. Werner Jackstadt, chairman of Jackstadt. “We are pleased that the JAC brand name, headquarters and business operations will play a continuing role in Avery Dennison’s future.”

  • Become a Quark 5.0 beta user

    “QuarkXpress 5.0 is a key component of our strategy for media-independent publishing,” said Jürgen Kurz, vice president of product management at Quark. “It’s a single application that publishers can use to create content for print, Web, eBooks, and more. It’s critical that tools and processes converge for publishing businesses to remain competitive. QuarkXpress 5.0 helps publishers cut costs by giving them a single tool to deploy content to multiple media.”

    What’s New in Quark 5.0

    QuarkXpress 5.0 has a new Tables feature that allows users to create graphically rich tables to structure design elements or organize complex data. Rows and columns in QuarkXpress tables can contain picture and text boxes with virtually all the typographic and image control users expect from QuarkXpress.

    The new Layers feature allows users to isolate items on separate tiers within QuarkXpress documents, and lets publishers manage document variants quickly and easily. This feature is for users who need to manage complex projects such as targeted marketing materials, multiple versions, and documents with language or text changes.
    QuarkXpress 5.0 also has a revised, more efficient print user interface, enhanced PDF support, contextual menus, and improved colour management.

    The program is designed for multiple media by enabling its page layout environment for Web design. Designers who are familiar with QuarkXpress can become productive Web designers immediately without having to learn new tools.
    It is an open application that relies on industry standards to generate content for print, Web, and eBooks. Users can import and/or export dozens of file formats, including HTML, PDF, and XML.

    In addition, the XTensions interface allows developers to enhance the functionality of QuarkXpress to meet the needs of unique publishing workflows. There are now more than 500 commercially available XTensions that augment the capabilities of the QuarkXpress software.

    Testers can offer feedback or report technical problems by sending an e-mail message to General inquiries about QuarkXpress 5.0 beta software should be directed to

  • Hewlett-Packard buys the rest of digital press maker Indigo

    The buy-out of the remaining 86.6 per cent of Indigo’s shares propels HP into the arena where Heidelberg and Xerox are jostling for the title of leading supplier to the printing industry. By getting the marketing force of such a huge company behind it, the deal makes Indigo technology a serious competitor for the estimated $400 billion commercial and industrial printing market. It also delivers HP the largest range of high-end digital colour printing engines which are currently available and being installed.

    In Australia and New Zealand, Indigo, which has an installed base of 28 presses, is marketed by agent ODIS, which was recently integrated as a division of parent companyToyo Ink. Long-term ODIS founder and managing director, Michael Mogridge, has left to take on consultancy work with Indigo.

    It is not expected the Hewett-Packard takeover will have any immediate effect on the marketing arrangements of Indigo in this region.

    The buy-out sees the end of a ten-year chapter in Indigo founder Benny Landa’s crusade to transform the printing industry through digital printing. “Our vision has always been to lead the printing industry into the digital era and to see Indigo technology pervade the commercial printing market,” said Landa. “Now, as part of HP, that goal is in sight.”

    The arrangement is not unexpected as HP was already promoting Indigo products under its own branding in the US. Intensive R&D is currently underway to re-engineer the Indigo technology into other HP printers.

    “HP intends to lead the transformation of commercial printing into a web-enabled, all-digital industry,” said Vyomesh Joshi, president of HP’s Imaging and Printing Systems. “The speed, image quality and cost effectiveness of Indigo’s technology will now be available to a larger audience through HP’s brand strength and global reach.

    “By linking Indigo’s digital press to higher-value pages, we believe we can grow our commercial printing division over time into a multi-billion dollar HP business. We have worked closely with Indigo’s management for several years and expect a smooth transition as they join the HP team.”

    Upon completion of the transaction, Indigo will operate as a new division within HP’s Imaging and Printing Systems business.

  • Edwards Dunlop and Commonwealth Paper owner wants more

    The new player comes in as a result of PaperlinX disposal of the two businesses under the terms imposed by the ACCC on its Spicers’ acquisition.

    GS Private Equity, an investor specialising in MBOs and management buy-ins, has created a holding company, Detagnia Holdings Pty Ltd for the businesses and installed Joe Foster, once a turnaround agent for Corporate Express, as managing director.

    According to industry bible, Ausnewz Pulp & Paper, Foster maintains that the acquisition provides a platform for growth and that he will be taking a long hard look at additional acquisitions.

    There is likely to be a cull of the large number of grades of paper that Edwards Dunlop currently supplies and the Commonwealth Paper name is almost certainly to disappear from the industry.

    CPI, as the only publicly listed paper and graphics arts supply company, is most vulnerable for a straight forward share market takeover, especially with its share price in the doldrums following a dismal performance in the past financial year. Raleigh is owned by Carter Holt Harvey, which has displayed little enthusiasm for growing the business.

    The sale comes against a background of consolidation by PaperlinX merchants following the Spicers acquisition. Four new and reconstituted merchants come into being on October 1 – Daltons Fine Paper, Spicers Paper, Dalton Web Paper and Spicers Office Paper.

    The Tomasetti Paper House (TPH) range of paper has been divided between Daltons and Spicers. Bill Eichhorn remains at the helm of Daltons while Greg Street of TPH moves over to Spicers. All web business has been rolled in to the newly created Dalton Web Paper under Gordon Anthonisz with office papers to be handled by Spicers Office for which a general manager has yet to be appointed.

    The money from the sale of Edwards Dunlop and Commonwealth Paper, reputedly around $70 million, will be used to further PaperlinX’s grand worldwide strategy.

    “We are pleased with the outcome of the sale process achieved within the ACCC undertakings,” said Ian Wightwick, Managing Director of PaperlinX. “This conclusion allows both PaperlinX, and the businesses being sold, to focus on the future. This sale has created a vigorous competitor in the market which we regard as healthy.”

    Commenting on the proceeds from the sale, he said, “We aim to reinvest the funds received from this sale into paper merchanting internationally.”

  • Print 01 cut short by New York catastrophe

    Many exhibitors closed their stands, the crowds melted away and the bustle in the huge halls at McCormick Place evaporated as the printing and graphic arts industry, along with the rest of the world, grappled to cope with the acts of terror.

    A decision was made to keep the show open but reports from Australians who attended confirm that very little business was done after September 11.

    Graphics On-Line would like to take this opportunity to express sympathy and solidarity with the victims of the attack.

    Up to that moment the show was a huge success with a record number of exhibitors, good attendance and many new products making their first public appearance.

    The sales launch of the NexPress 2100, the digital color press from the Heidelberg’s joint venture with Kodak, was very successful. More than 70 units were sold at the show.

    Products that were considered to be key at Print 01 were included in a Must See Them list compiled by a panel of industry consultants and trade magazine editors.
    The products and processes, selected from over 200 nominations, were in five categories:
    1. Proofing,
    2. CTP,
    3. Direct-to-Press Fixed Imaging Presses,
    4. Digital Printing – Colour Variable Imaging
    5. Single Colour (B&W) Variable Imaging

    1. Proofing

    * AGFA Sherpa Digital Proofing Systems: The Grand Sherpa is a turnkey digital proofing solution that includes 1440 x 1440 resolution inkjet engine colour management, quality management/calibration software, high-performance proofer RIP, media, and technical support. Prints eight colours up to 33″ x 46″ at 360 dpi.

    * DuPont Certified Colour Contract Remote: The system links Cromalin Digital or Digital WaterProof ink jet proofers automating the processes of sending proofs and receiving hard copy contract proofs at remote locations. Colour critical data from sender to receiver is compared and certified that a match has been achieved.

    * Heidelberg Colour Open Digital Proofing: Heidelberg workflow with integrated colour management outputting to the HP Designjet 5000 on specially certified proofing paper with standard ICC profiles to produce contract quality proofs at 1,200 x 600 dpi.

    * Hewlett Packard Designjet Proofing System: With a low cost sensor, closed loop colour calibration and proprietary colour correction algorithms, the Designjet promises to deliver with 90% accuracy on Pantone colours and offsets standards. 2,400 dpi, six colour printing up to 13″ x 19″ in four minutes.

    * Imation / Xerox Colour Proofing System: Imation MatchPrint Professional Server provides RIP network connectivity to the Xerox DocuColor 12 printer/copier to produce colour proofs to the MatchPrint standard at 600 x 600 x 8 dpi. Colour proofing papers help produce proofing fidelity.

    * Imation Virtual Proofing System: Combines Imation colour technology with Real TimeImage image streaming, collaboration and colour management tools to deliver a CMYK colour proof to a monitor. System includes customised CRT monitor, colour management technology and a suite of proofing solutions. Claims to accurately render CMYK colour to RGB displays.

    2. Computer-to-Plate

    * Heidelberg Prosetter Series: Heidelberg’s new family of three platesetters, the Prosetter 52, 74 and 102 for 2,4 and 8 page formats offers output resolutions from 2400 to 3386 dpi with an output speed of up to 16 plates per hour. The new line utilises violet laser diodes for the imaging source, which coupled with an internal drum design, offers a lower cost alternative to thermal CtP systems. The equipment images plates sensitive to violet light in the 405-410 nm wavelength which are generally lower in cost compared to thermal plates.

    3. Direct Imaging (DI) / Direct-to-Press Fixed Imaging Digital Presses

    * MAN Roland DICO Web: DICO Web is a roll fed fixed image Direct-to-Press machine that utilises a unique imaging and de-imaging technology. A thermal transfer tape comes into contact with a blank cylinder surface. Then a CreoScitex digitally controlled infra red laser heats up the image areas transferring in-receptive material to the print cylinder. After a cylinder conducting step, the press is ready to run. After the run is completed, the cylinder is erased and ready for a new job. Introduced at Drupa 2000.

    * Komori Lithrone 640 Digital Press (formerly known as the Project D Press): Currently the only 40″ FI digital press the Lithrone 640 was shown at Drupa 2000. The Lithrone 640 uses by CreoScitex Square Spot technology 830 nm, 240 beam thermal laser imaging systems. Komori claims that plates can be imaged at 2400 dpi in less than four minutes and that the press can be run by a single operator.

    4. Digital Printing – Colour Variable Imaging

    * Heidelberg NexPress 2100 VI Digital Press: The NexPress 2100 is a digital production colour press that sets new standards for uptime, reliability, image quality and consistency. It combines the power of a press (rugged, reliable design that performs like an offset press) with the flexibility of a printer (ability to mix papers, change finishing options and create print runs as small as a single piece) to provide a unique digital colour printing solution. Long awaited commercial product introduction.

    * Scitex Digital Printing 3700 VI: Offers multiple rows of ink jet heads to print anywhere on a web up to 40″ wide in single, spot or process colour at speeds up to 1,000 feet/minute. Commercially available.

    * Xerox – iGen3 VI Digital Press: Formerly demonstrated as FutureColor. Commercial introduction 2002. The revolutionary digital press from Xerox was on display and samples were printed in live time. Xerox made the headlines by claiming it would produce prints at an unprecedented five cents per copy.

    5. Single Colour (B&W) Variable Imaging

    * Xeikon DMP 8000 VI: Using magnetographic technology and printing in black at 600 x 600 dpi on webs up to 20.5 wide at speeds up to 196 f/m, the new Xeikon press can output 425 lettersize pages per minute. A twin engine version ups the output to 860 pages.

    * Check Technology Imaggi Monochrome Press: At a speed of up to 300 pages per minute, the Imaggi II claims to be the fastest digital cut sheet printer in the world. Output is 600 x 600 dpi on an 18.75″ x 26″ paper format.

  • PMP posts a $500.9 million loss

    Magazine mastheads led the way losing $433.3 million at the stroke of a pen, while distributor Gordon & Gotch’s goodwill evaporated to the tune of $22.6 million as part what Bob Muscat CEO says is, “clearly a disappointing result.”

    Printing volumes were down 11.4 per cent after a record first half-year performance which led to a final result of $82.1 million for the 2001 financial year, compared to $96.7 million for the year before. The poor second half result was “due to a rapid decline in market conditions during the fourth quarter.”

    According to a PMP statement, Show Ads EBIT (earnings before significant ‘non-recurring’ items, interest and tax) contribution for the 2001 financial year was $2.1 million, 77.9 per cent lower than the previous year. Performance was adversely impacted by several factors, including the second half slump in the print market and Show Ads’ exposure to the retail sector.

    Show-Ads’ generates up to 40 per cent of its revenue from retailers, which made it vulnerable to the general economic downturn experienced during the 2001 financial year. It is also the main distributor of advertising data into newspapers and suffered from a fall in newspaper advertising during the financial year.

    On a brighter note PMP secured its financials with its Australian banks agreeing to a new debt facility to refinance the company’s domestic borrowings. The company also believes its backers will sign off on the Seven/PMP joint venture by September 30.

    Meanwhile there have been no further announcements on the IPMG invitation to PMP to resume merger talks.

  • Overflow column…more news.. extra news…more news…extra news…

    Frank Kellet resigns from PANPA.
    Popular executive director ends 16-year stint at the helm of Pacific Area Newspaper Publisher’s Association (PANPA). He is heading off to the Publishers National Environment Bureau, an organisation that tries to limit the adverse impact of newspapers and magazines on the environment.

    End of an era sees Frank Huntley retire from PaperlinX at the end of the month. The former head of Daltons put his mark on the paper merchant that had an unsurpassed reputation for staff training and customer service. In recent years he has been in charge of merchanting for PaperlinX, formerly Amcor. His retirement comes as the company gears up to implement major changes to paper merchanting in Australia following the buyout of Spicers.

    Xerox wins patent battle in the U.S. Supreme Court. Xerox Corporation and Copier Services Unlimited (CSU), an independent company offering service on Xerox copiers, have reached a settlement. Under the terms of the settlement, CSU has agreed to pay Xerox both a damages award for copyright infringement and additional compensation for patent infringement and attorney fees. The terms of the settlement agreement remain undisclosed.
    In 1994, CSU filed a lawsuit claiming that Xerox’s refusal to sell parts and manuals and license diagnostic software violated antitrust laws. Xerox counterclaimed alleging that CSU had infringed Xerox’s copyrights and patents in diagnostic software and certain Xerox parts.
    The court ruled in favour of Xerox also finding that Xerox was not obligated to supply its patented and copyrighted parts, manuals, and software to its competitors.

    US companies spent $3.9 billion on CRM software in 2000 and are on track to spend $10.4 billion in 2001, according to a recent study. Research firm IDC recently estimated that total revenues generated by the CRM (customer relationship management) services industry will grow from $61 billion in 2001 to $148 billion in 2005.
    This explosive growth of CRM, which shifts marketing away from mass marketing techniques and toward the use of personalised communications created for each customer, raises serious challenges for the commercial printing industry. Printed material has always been a staple ingredient in mass marketing efforts, and commercial printing companies have generated a significant portion of their revenues by providing that material. Companies are now being urged to examine the role will commercial printing companies will play in the marketing communications of the future. New business models and competencies will need to be developed in order to grow and prosper in a CRM driven marketplace. The study suggests digital printing is a key component of any future strategy.

    “Agonising process getting new work agreement from Fairfax,” says union organiser Gordon Stanton. It took the best part of ten months for the new workplace agreement for Fairfax Chullora to be reached prompting Stanton to label it the “worst negotiation that I’ve ever been in, bloody agonising.”
    The Chullora printers worked without an agreement since February as the company pushed for control of the rosters in the face of union defiance. Commissioner Harrison, tired of endless conferences in the city, convened meetings on site in an effort to break the impasse. The new three-year agreement sees the 130 printers getting three and a half per cent rise per annum plus $1,000 in Fairfax shares. They kept control of the rosters, according to Stanton.

    Forms printers pick up in US. After enduring a tough year in 1999, printers in the forms and documents market saw profits rise last year according to the latest Printing Industries of America (PIA). Profit as a percentage of sales rose from 0.77 percent in 1999, to 1.78 in 2000.
    In even more encouraging news, the percentage of value-added profits grew from 1.47 percent in 1999 to 2.55 percent in 2000. Forms and document printers’ profits still remained well below the average for the printing industry. Profit leaders in the binding industry—those firms in the top 25 per cent of profitability—averaged 7.52 per cent profit on sales.
    In Australia the industry sector remains under pressure following the collapse of leading player, Champion Forms.

    Former Prism employee to head rival OCS in Australia.
    Optichrome Management Information Systems is opening a subsidiary headquartered in Brisbane with offices in Sydney and Melbourne. The company, which sells Optimus MIS, will continue to work with former distributor Print & Pack Australia. Heading the operation will be Steve Moore, who joined rival MIS supplier Prism four years ago. Optimus has been available in Australia since 1985.

    Then finally, did you hear about the weedy little bloke who thought that having a big savage-looking dog as a pet would help him pick up women and deter toughs from bullying him? In the window of a pet shop he spotted a huge, shaggy, slavering dog that seemed to fit the bill. He went in and asked the assistant, “How macho’s the doggy in the window?”

  • PRINTEX03 is open for business

    Held at the Sydney Convention & Exhibition Centre in May 2003, PrintEx03 will again function as a complement to PacPrint in Melbourne in order to service the Sydney-based graphic arts industry.

    According to Angus Scott, chairman of PrintEx03, this second Sydney show will continue with the model it launched in 1999. “The key difference between the two shows is the compact nature of PrintEx, where all exhibitors have a space limit of 90 sq.m. with shell-scheme on all stands. Suppliers will need to carefully consider how to showcase their products and services for maximum impact.

    “Considering that the printing and graphic communications industry is now at the centre of the knowledge economy it is crucial that the industry has regular opportunities to view new technologies and gain a core understanding of the ever-increasing sophistication of what’s on offer. PrintEx is a vital part of this.”

    The PrintEx03 Board is comprised of GAMAA representatives Angus Scott (Chairman), Gary Seidl (Vice Chairman), Terry Fox and Grant Churchill together with representatives from the Printing Industries Association of Australia (PIAA), National President John Flynn, Chris Segaert and Scott Telfer.

    PrintEx03 will take place in Halls 1 & 2, Sydney Convention & Exhibition Centre, Darling Harbour from Thursday 29 May to Saturday 31 May, 2003. The exhibition is presented by GAMAA (Graphic Arts Merchants Association of Australia) and the Printing Industries Association of Australia.

  • Tough time for Penfolds

    In the Australian printing industry where the vast majority of companies are privately held, the published results of companies on the stock exchange give an indication of the stringent trading conditions affecting the industry.

    One of the most notable printing groups Penfold Printing reported a full year net loss of $292,000 blaming a market slump in the second half, which wiped out a profit in the first half and relatively weak trading conditions. Overall, the company posted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation of $3.75m compared with $6.05m the year before when the company paid a 4.5 cent a share dividend.

    The company said the dividend payment was withheld in order to conserve cash in a “most difficult time for the industry. The industry remains patchy but slightly improved in recent months. Directors are cautious about trading conditions in this environment as it is still relatively weak.”
    The company which is made up of such high profile printers as RT Kelly, Concord Communications and Mockridge Bulmer was exposed to a number of high profile corporate failures this year including HIH and OneTel. Mockridge Bulmer was the hardest hit suffering from weakness in the advertising, consumer and telecommunications sectors.

    A bright spot in the gloom was the report that David J File, acquired by Penfolds in June, performed satisfactorily. Even brighter is the new corporate makeover of RT Kelly.

  • Computer to press is the future of offset

    Direct imaging on press has secured the future of offset printing in the world of on-demand short-run printing. With the success of the Heidelberg 74 DI, which has been adopted by printers around the world since its debut at IPEX ‘98, digital offset printing has proved its versatility and opened up new opportunities for the traditional imaging process.

    According to Neville Richards, Direct Imaging Product Manager, Heidelberg Australia, the press has secured its place in the industry due to the versatility of the design. “Some of the Australian printers that have installed the 74 DI are putting through up to 20 jobs per day. Overseas we’ve seen up to 35 jobs per day,” he said.

    In Australia there are four Speedmaster 74 DIs, all five-colour machines and one with a coater. The first press was installed in February this year at PrintNow in SA. Since PacPrint in May there has been a rush with three more installations – Red Rover in Victoria, Q-Multimedium in Perth and the latest, Combined Creative Services in Sydney.
    Overseas the 100th Heidelberg 74 DI has been sold to Loyal Digital Printing in Japan which bought the first press in early ‘99 – when it is installed the Tokyo company will have four of the A2-format machines.

    The 74 DI is the latest in the on-press digital imaging revolution that Heidelberg began back at Print ‘91 with the first GTO DI. This was followed in 1995 with the popular QM DI before the ‘98 launch at IPEX of the 74 DI.

    The technology has revolutionised the small offset and the half-sheet size market with its fast turnaround and on-press processless thermal plate imaging. Local benchmarking suggests that the three and a half minutes imaging specification is actually quite conservative. Direct imaging has brought fast, closed loop, digital printing to the short-run offset market, with virtual ‘hands free’ one-man operation of a major four- and five-colour press.

    The presses come with a Heidelberg Delta RIP to facilitate CIP3 workflow. This allows the transfer of prepress data and facilitates the automatic setting of ink zones. Three of the Australian 74 DIs have the new Ink-Line cartridge system that gives a tightly controlled dose of ink in the ducts and makes it easier for a single operator.

    Neville Richards believes direct imaging has ensured the future of offset printing in a digital world. “The customer’s print demands are changing and it is up to the industry to meet their requirements. On-press imaging means that offset printing can successfully compete in the world of short-run, on-demand printing.”

  • Digital print to dominate Chicago show

    The ongoing competition between Heidelberg and Xerox spilled over on to the front pages of the Wall Street Journal prior to the opening of Print 01 in Chicago. Anne Mulcahy, Xerox CEO vowed to “dethrone Heidelberg as the printing industry leader by the end of 2002”.

    Heidelberg Digital communications director, Douglas Sprei, who was more than happy to get such coverage in a national daily, disregarded the claim.
    “The journalist was planning just to write about FutureColor, we wouldn’t even have got a mention. Heidelberg is a German printing equipment company; we’re not going to be on the cover of a US business paper. It was well timed for Print 01,” he said.

    The two companies are squaring off at the show with Heidelberg taking first orders for delivery of its digital colour press, NexPress, while Xerox has changed the name of its advanced digital press from FutureColor to Docucolor iGen3. The Xerox press will not be ready for at least another 12 months so Heidelberg is looking to take as much advantage of its ready now product as possible.

    A major area of contention is the recent Xerox claim that its new micro fine toner technology will cut printing costs to five cents per page. Heidelberg Digital president Wolfgang Pfizenmaier responded: “Our strategy is not to fool our customers with crazy figures.”

    The third major player in high-end digital printing, Indigo, is launching its Platinum press at the show, while we can expect a new digital packaging press using Xeikon technology from MAN Roland’s Dico range.

    The show, the largest in the USA, is predicted to attract 90,000 visitors over seven days to the 850 exhibitors of which Heidelberg, as usual, has the largest stand.

    Apart from digital printing a lot of attention will be on the various computer to press applications with Man Roland and Komori both presenting different technologies.

    Coverage of the highlights of the show will be featured in the next issue of Graphics On-Line. If there is any particular area you would like to see featured in-depth send an e-mail to the editor.

  • Baldwin to acquire Kompac

    Baldwin sells press cleaning systems, fountain solution and ink control, spray dampening, web control and press protection, drying systems, and newspaper inserter equipment. In July it divested its Roll Handling Business to Megteg for $10m, but still posted a loss for the year.

    The Kompac product is an industry leader and has proved very successful for Varn in Australia and New Zealand. However since Varn was taken over by Day International, Kompac is the only mechanical technology in the enlarged company’s press chemical and blanket portfolio. It is obviously a better fit for Baldwin.

    Baldwin is run in Australia and New Zealand by Peter Tkachuk who has recently been given the Asian market sector to manage as well. He declined to comment on the proposed acquisition but said he was pleased with the direction of the company under its new management.
    “We’re getting back to the businesses we know best,” he said. “You’ll be seeing a lot more of us from now on.”

    Kompac has a major installed base in the region, especially in the small to medium sheet-fed offset sector. According to Brent Stephen, managing director of Varn Australia, the 500th Kompac on a Heidelberg GTO in Australia and New Zealand was recently installed. Over 80,000 units have been installed worldwide. The Kompac, which makes up 25 per cent of the local Varn business operation, made its reputation with the claim that it guarantees 50 per cent saving in start-up waste on offset presses – or your money back.

    In a statement Gerald Nathe, Chairman and CEO of Baldwin Technology said, “The proposed acquisition of Kompac is another in a series of steps to focus Baldwin on the accessories and controls market. Kompac’s dampening systems business, and its excellent reputation complement and extend Baldwin’s product and market coverage. This is a great addition to all of those Baldwin products in the market that have been making measurable quality and productivity differences in pressrooms around the world for many years.”

    “The sale of Kompac enables Varn to focus more of our resources on our core pressroom chemicals operations,” said Steven Wilson, President of Varn International. “I am very proud of the Kompac associates and the industry leadership position we have developed over the years. The sale to Baldwin will allow Kompac to continue to build on that industry leadership position.”
    The closing of the transaction is expected to occur within the next two months, subject to completion of a definitive agreement.

  • $330 million USA book printing export window

    The 24 US book publishers who said they were interested in sourcing book printing in Australia in response to a recent Austrade study, have a larger combined turnover ($330 million) than the $250 million that is generated by the entire local industry. But according to Hagop Tchamkertenian, Printing Industries Manager of Industry and Commercial Policy, they identified the costs of shipping and the distance involved to Australia as two major areas of concern.

    “The challenge facing Australian book exporters is to address these perceptions, whether real or imaginary, identified by the study. For example, while travel distance was identified as an area of concern, the study also revealed that American publishers currently source much of their four-colour work from Asian destinations such as Hong Kong and Singapore,” said Mr Tchamkertenian.

    According to the study, cost, quality, service and delivery timeframes are the main factors considered by American publishers when considering new book printing suppliers. The cost factor was by far the most dominant criteria with 53 per cent of the publishers identifying it as the primary criteria, followed by 23 per cent who nominated quality.

    According to Mr Tchamkertenian, Australian printers are ideally placed to meet these cost requirements not only because of the low Australian dollar but also because seasonal production factors work in their favour.

    “The American publishers have their busiest season in summer, which corresponds with our winter. Capacity utilisation rates in web printing are at their lowest level during the period of May to June in Australia. Australian book printers can utilise this slow period in demand to service the book printing needs of American publishers,” he said.

    Print runs and delivery times

    Delivery times are also within the local industry’s capability with the publishers nominating a turn around of four weeks or more. Australian book printers estimate they need four to six weeks to deliver books into the American market. However they will miss out on re-prints which have shorter delivery needs of less than four weeks.

    Most of the American publishers surveyed had between 101 to 500 book titles in print, with a significant proportion having between 2,001 to 5,000. The typical print run is up to 5,000, although it can rise to 50,000 copies.

    Mr Tchamkertenian indicated that the snapshot study conducted by Austrade has fulfilled the brief it was given.

    “We have just touched the surface of the iceberg, the real opportunities are likely to lie beneath the surface,” he said “While the low Australian dollar is conducive to increased exports, the development of an export strategy is a prerequisite for achieving export success. Now that the study has identified book exporting opportunities in the US, the next step is to draft an exporting strategy to help Australian book printers penetrate that market.”

    The book export study which was funded under the Infrastructure and Industry Growth Fund component of the Enhanced Printing Industry Competitiveness Scheme also ties in well with a larger Printing Industries initiative – PRINT21. One of the key recommendations of PRINT21 concerns market development and Printing Industries views market development through exports as a viable strategy.

    Copies of the Printing Industries/Austrade study can be obtained by contacting Hagop Tchamkertenian at Printing Industries on 02 9248 7300.

  • IPMG backs up for another go at PMP

    Less than five months after being knocked back by the ACCC in its efforts to take over PMP, the Independent Print Media Group (IPMG) is back in the fray spending over $10 million for eight per cent of the company’s shares as a sign of its “serious commitment to implement this merger.” The Fairfax and Hannan family owned publishing, printing and media group “invited” PMP to re-open merger negotiations via a media statement which caught the board of the ailing printing and publishing giant by surprise.

    In response PMP said, “IPMG’s media statement… comes as a surprise to the company. PMP has not received any indication of transaction terms or structure from IPMG, aside from the broad references contained in IPMG’s media statement.”

    The move is part of a long determined campaign by Michael Hannan, IPMG’s managing director, to become the largest printer in Australia. He is confident the Australian printing environment has changed sufficiently since May to get agreement from the ACCC, with whom the company has had extensive discussions over recent months.

    Key to the new marketplace is the entry of Singapore-based Time Publishing Group, which as Argyle Times picked up the Melbourne plant of defunct Diamond Press. In addition the imminent opening of the Webstar heatset web printing plant in Sydney along with the success of AIW group in Victoria means there are now more vibrant competitors in the game.

    Despite this, if the merger goes ahead the enlarged company would still control about 70 per cent of the contract printing market and 80 per cent of the magazine distribution market in Australia. To further allay ACCC fears, and the objections from customers such as Kerry Packer’s ACP, if successful IPMG would off load a major part of PMP’s printing capacity.

    In its media release it said, “following discussions with the ACCC and considering the concerns raised by customers for the need to have an alternative printer capable of handling the largest and most complex jobs, IPMG has proposed the sale of significant stand-alone heat-set printing capacity in the form of PMP’s heat set and commercial printing operation situated at Clayton, in Victoria, once a merger has been implemented.

    “This operation currently produces a wide and comprehensive range of publications, including the largest magazine printing job in Australia and many other significant magazine titles.”

    IPMG maintains that whoever buys the Clayton operation would be another significant competitor in the printing market with the ability to print a comprehensive range of publications and supply a full range of printing services. The money raised would also go towards reducing PMP’s backbreaking $500 million debt and “enable it to reinvest in upgrading plant.”

    The suggestion to dismember the profitable printing component was not well received by PMP, which responded, “IPMG’s suggested sale of PMP’s Clayton heat set printing operation is not consistent with the company’s view of how best to maximise PMP shareholder value. “

    The original merger deal was for IPMG to merge itself into PMP in order to gain a controlling stake. At that stage it was valuing PMP shares at $1.55. So how lucky can Michael Hannan be? PMP is now selling for 60 cents after sinking to a low of 38 cents in July.

    The issue is complicated by the recent arrival in PMP of Kerry Stoke’s Seven Network, which spent $20.35 million for a 12.7 per cent stake. It also is not overly enthused at the IPMG gambit. “We don’t think this is the time for PMP to be looking to dismember its business as proposed by IPMG,” Seven said in a statement.

    At time of going to press the ACCC is making no comment.