Archive for October, 2001

  • More news…extra… stuff we could not leave out… people news

    For those looking for more information on SkinnyScript (GO #16) try www.podbook.com
    I have not been able to rasie any further information on local availability of this fascinating technology but this is the company that developed it. Watch this space for further news.



    Jonathon Clark is the new managing director of Print & Pack Australia following the departure of Terry Fox after seven years in the chair. In a statement Print & Pack said, “It had become necessary and a requirement that the Managing Director of Print & Pack Australia be permanently located in Sydney. For personal and family reasons, Terry did not wish to relocate from Melbourne and therefore this decision had to be made.”

    Jonathan Clark has been in Australia since 1999 supporting MAN Roland’s web division in Asia Pacific. He is well known and highly regarded throughout the region. The move should prove a change from his previous MAN Roland focused roles as Print & Pack is a diversified graphics supplier with one of the largest ranges of equipment agencies in the industry.



    Also on the move is Graham Freeman, senior vice president worldwide sales for Adobe. Formerly head of the Australian company he headed off to the US in 1996 to take up a senior management position with the software giant. In a brief announcement Adobe said that as part of a reorganisation Freeman would be leaving the company.

    In his previous post at Adobe, Freeman was vice president and general manager of the Asia Pacific and Latin America (AP&L) geography. He was responsible for all functions of that region since its establishment in October 1996 including sales, services, support, and operations. Freeman more than doubled the growth of AP&L to $37.3 million in FY98 and expanded the geography’s scope from one to nine countries including Australia, Brazil, China, Hong Kong, India, Korea, Mexico, Taiwan, and Singapore.



    Agfa will continue to sell Polaris despite its purchase of Autologic. It renewed its contract for the continued development and enhancement of the product range with Strobbe Graphics, the company that manufactures the Alfa Polaris Platesetter. The Polaris was designed for Agfa by Strobbe Graphics to meet the specific needs of newspaper producers, the sector where Autologic is the industry leader. In Australia, Polaris was the first CTP installation in the newspaper industry. Over 350 Polaris systems are installed worldwide.



    On the day the WAM!NET workflow roadshow opened in Sydney, its parent company announced that it has closed on a $100 million working capital facility from Cerberus Capital Management, a New York City-based private investment firm.
    Company officials said that the financing is expected to be the last round of funding required for the company to reach profitability and become operating cash-flow positive in 2002.



    At this year’s Frankfurt Book Fair the electronic publishing industry admits most readers would still rather curl up with a book than a bulky, expensive screen. In contrast to last year, when some electronic publishers predicted paper books would become museum pieces within a generation, the industry has scaled back its ambitions.
    “The electronic book has not fulfilled expectations. It has come back down to earth,” said Sabine Kaldonek, a spokeswoman for Frankfurt Book Fair. “The technology still needs working on and we need to consider which titles and content is suited.”
    Analysts see most demand for electronic books with reference or business information, because the technology allows large texts to be searched by keywords and annotated.



    “Users can finally put the floppy disk to rest permanently,” said Peter
    Dawson, Iomega Corporation, Australia and New Zealand at the launch of the
    latest Zip 100MB USB Powered Drive. The drive receives both data and power through a single USB cable, eliminating the need for an additional power
    cable. It is hot swappable, which means users can connect and use the drive on any computer without turning the computer off. Weighing less than 700 grams, this is one of the smallest high-capacity, portable data storage solutions on the market. It comes loaded with software for easily copying an entire floppy collection to a single Zip disk.



    The UK’s national mapping organisation, Ordnance Survey, has installed an interactive touch-screen kiosk at the New Forest Visitor Centre in Lyndhurst for walkers, cyclists and outdoor enthusiasts. The coin-operated kiosk takes advantage of the internet to provide customers with a database from which they can search by postcode or place name before printing out paper copies of the exact area that they want. The New Forest kiosk is starting a three-month trial, which, if successful, could see similar kiosks across the country.

    Ordnance Survey has been working with partners Avatar Interactive, an e-business and interactive kiosk solutions company, and eMapSite.com, an operator of an online distribution portal for digital mapping. The system uses Netshift kiosk operating software. Maps are printed on a Hewlett-Packard colour laserjet printer. (Courtesy of DotPrint)



    As electronic marketplaces and e-business software vendors struggle or hit the wall, privately owned New Zealand printing firm Norcross Group has invested a further $5 million in its e://volution subsidiary. Henry Norcross, managing director of Norcross Group and e://volution, said the money would be paid in stages over three years as a secured loan.

    “It’s an expression of confidence in where we have got to. We wanted to shore up the future of our product and our company for the next three years,” Mr Norcross said. “The Norcross companies – our print operation, Avenue Publicity and Norcross Office Products – have had phenomenal success winning business with our sell sites. Those companies need to support this technology to ensure its sustainability for the group.”



    And finally this for the Tommy Cooper Corner from Andy McCourt, DJS.
    “I backed a horse at 20 to 1 yesterday…..
    ….it came in at half-past three”

  • Guide to PRINT21 activities in your State

    The workshops focus on using the Business Diagnostic Toolkit to deal with the issues that can make or break printing companies. Each workshop runs for approximately two days. They cover identifying companies’ strengths and weaknesses, meeting customer’s needs and coping with changing industry conditions.
    Interested parties are advised that State Government subsidies may be available to cover some of the cost of the seminars. Check with your local PIA office.
    _________________________________

    Australian Capital Territory – Canberra
    Inquiries: act@printnet.com.au
    Ph: (02) 6251 0673
    Fx: (02) 6251 0673

    • October Breakfast briefings.
    • Mid November Two day seminars TBA (full day) $1,000 (members). $1250 (non-members).

    ___________________________________

    New South Wales
    Inquiries: Darren Jensen
    Ph: (02) 9248 7300
    Fx: (02) 9299 0087

    Country briefings – All sessions run from 2-5pm.
    Country Seminars will be planned following the country briefings.

    • Tamworth 17 October
    • Coffs Harbour 18 October
    • Orange 22 October
    • Nowra 23 October
    • Sydney 23, 30 October
    • Sydney 6, 13, 20 November

    Seminars.
    Half day sessions over five weeks.
    Morning sessions 8.30am -11.30am at the offices of Department of State and Regional Development, Level 2, 470 Church Street, Parramatta.
    Afternoon sessions 4.30-7.30pm at Printing Industries, Level 10, 99 York Street, Sydney. $1,000 (members).
    $1250 (non-members).
    ___________________________________

    Queensland
    Inquiries: Neal McLary
    Ph: (07) 3356 0022
    Ph: (07) 3356 0027

    Briefings

    • Gold Coast Early November
    • Sunshine Coast Early November
    • Brisbane Southside late November

    Seminars TBA $1,000 (members). $1250 (non-members).
    ___________________________________

    Tasmania
    Inquiries: Anita Struck
    Ph: (03) 9819 6144
    Fx: (03) 9819 6292
    Briefings and seminars. Dates and venues to be advised.
    ___________________________________

    Victoria
    Inquiries: Anita Struck
    Ph: (03) 9819 6144
    Fx: (03) 9819 6292

    Seminars (two day sessions) $1,000 (members). $1250 (non-members).

    • Geelong 22-23 October
    • Shepparton 29-30 October
    • Albury – Wodonga 5-6 November
    • Ballarat 12-13 November
    • Melbourne November 19-20 – SOLD OUT
    • Melbourne 26-27 November

    ___________________________________

    South Australia
    Inquiries: Albert Chizmesya
    Ph: (08) 8223 7391
    Fx: (08) 8232 0872

    Briefings.
    Adelaide 18 October 5.30-6.30pm.
    Includes light refreshments. $30
    Paradise Wirrina Resort,
    Second Valley 2, 3 and 4
    November Seminar.
    The Profit Scenario.
    Guest speaker Goran Roos.
    _____________________________

    Western Australia
    Inquiries: Paul Nieuwhof
    Ph: (08) 9361 4625
    Fx: (08) 9362 5085

    Briefings

    • Perth 6-7 November
    • Leederville 25 October
      Seminars $440 (members – includes member discount and State Government subsidy). $770 (non-members – includes State Government subsidy).

  • Adobe Roadshow – October 23 to November 9

    The free Adobe roadshows have proved increasingly popular in recent with large crowds attending this year’s PDF presentations. Attendees are advised to book early to avoid disappointment. The latest versions of Illustrator and Indesign have a new range of tools that focus on making repetitive tasks faster and complicated tasks simpler. In addition the roadshow will provide an opportunity for those who missed out on the previous Acrobat tour to catch up on the latest in PDF technology.
    There will be a special Adobe for Developers session to cover form and database creation, Adobe scripting, XML and SVG techniques – in applications such as Acrobat 5.0, InDesign 2.0 and Illustrator 10.
    (Bookings for the Developers session by phone only – 1300 550 205 in
    Australia, 0800 444 735 in NZ)
    Call 1300 550 205 or visit www.adobe.com.au/events
    to book online.
    In NZ, phone 0800 444 735 or go to www.adobesystems.co.nz/events

  • PIA fights attack on unsoliticted advertising

    The PIA has presented a submission to the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) which is examining the control of unsolicited advertising material delivery. However the study paper commissioned by the Government’s Legislative Council focuses on all distribution aspects rather than only where signs indicate the material is not wanted.

    Printing Industries’ National Director, Philip Andersen, said it was necessary for the Government to put the report back into context and not focus on all unsolicited advertising.

    “Printing Industries supports the view that the industry has already taken a responsible position to ensure that infringements both of the Litter Act and to the issues of privacy are effectively minimised with its code of practice,” he said.

    “We reiterate the points made by the Australian Catalogue Association that:

    • Householders already have a mechanism available to them to reject free advertising material should they wish to do so.
    • All councils and EPA’s are aware of the Distribution Standard’s Board (DSB) role and channels are in place to encourage communication.
    • A toll-free complaint Hot Line has been set up and councils, community newspapers and EPA’s have regularly advised consumers of this service.
    • The incidence of complaints is miniscule – just one in 10 million pieces of free advertising material delivered.
    • The percentage of NSW householder’s letterboxes displaying No Advertising Material stickers when last assessed in 1999 had not grown over the 5 per cent level measured in1993.

    “In other words there does not appear to be a strong community desire to restrict the distribution of such material,” Mr Andersen said.

    He said there was little to suggest the “so called” problem was of sufficient magnitude to warrant legislation.

    “A more appropriate response would be to give greater support to the distribution industry self-regulatory approach. Any legislative approach would be complex and negative for most stakeholders.”

    Mr Andersen said the report failed to consider the unintended consequences of such an approach.

    These included:

  • The viability of many printing companies currently struggling with weak market conditions and eroding margins who would be further affected by loss of printing volume.
  • he value chain loss affecting printers, prepress houses, designers, advertising agencies, ink, paper, equipment and other consumables suppliers.
  • In addition to printing industry job losses, the loss of jobs by “walkers” (estimated at 100,000 people annually) involved in door-to-door delivery, many of which are either elderly or fund raisers for community groups and charities.
  • Loss of business by retailers and manufacturers who rely on the high readership and sales value of this very effective advertising medium.
  • The restriction on information distribution to consumers affecting business, Federal, State and Local governments and authorities and community organisations.

Mr Andersen said unsolicited mail was seldom mentioned in the EPA survey Who Cares About the Environment 2000 or in focus groups on litter held in early 2000.

“The submission by the Catalogue Association refers to a 1997 Victorian study The Litter on our streets which showed that free advertising material made up only 2.1 per cent of the litter stream in the study,” he said.

“It would seem therefore that the calls for restrictions cannot be sustained on environmental grounds.

“The discussion paper also makes the claim that ‘there is evidence that many people have developed a new, broader understanding of litter as a waste and ethical issue’ but the evidence is not cited.”

Mr Andersen said that if a case for government intervention could be sustained, then a thorough cost benefit analysis should be undertaken before considering actual legislation.

  • PGI trys to keep its distance from failing Polaroid

    The move became necessary following Polaroid’s descent in Chapter 11 in the USA and its stated intention of selling all or parts of the company.
    The Australian office of Polaroid would not comment on the situation here so there is no way of knowing how the move will impact on the distribution of the PGI proofing products: Prediction Automatic Digital Halftone Proofing System and the PolaProof 2230 and PolaProof 1420 Imager Gold Digital Halftone Proofing Systems.

    In a letter to US customers and distributors, Anthony Crupi, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the company, reiterated that PGI has been operating as an independent entity since 1999 when the Graphics Imaging Division operations were acquired from Polaroid Corporation.

    He points out that while operating as an independent company, PGI currently uses the trademark name “Polaroid” under license in its name and in association with its proofing products to provide continuity in its products.

    The proofing systems use patented laser ablation transfer (LAT) technology to transfer a wide selection of industry standard colour sets including metallics, spot colours and opaque white pigmented printing inks by directly imaging or transferring to actual printing stocks. They are widely used in the packaging industry.

    Polaroid said it intends to continue shipments of its core instant imaging products to customers as normal and continue to pursue opportunities to maximize the potential of its Opal and Onyx instant digital printing systems.

  • World’s largest printer to close seven plants

    The closures will result in the loss of around 2,400 jobs or six per cent of the company’s workforce and will result in the creation of larger print production facilities.

    Most of the plants affected are in North America although there will be also be job losses from facilities in Europe, Latin America and India. Quebecor estimates profits will be 15 pre cent under expectations expected in the third quarter. The revised estimates are mainly the result of a slowing demand for printed products, particularly in the US and Europe, because of an overall economic slowdown and a significant drop in advertising spending. The company says this has been exacerbated by the tragic events in New York and Washington.

    Tony Ross, Quebecor World’s director of communications, said the economic slowdown is ” much greater than we imagined.” The company expects the workforce cuts and closures to save an annualised $45m.

    Chief executive Charles Cavell says: “The redeployment of assets into larger and more efficient facilities will have the added benefit of reducing fixed costs while retaining production capacity to be available when the economy rebounds.
    “An already weak market demand had been further disrupted by the terrorist attacks in the US. Although printing has historically proved to be recession-resistant, we are not immune to the economic consequences of these horrific acts,” he said.

  • Capacity utilisation plummets as business confidence deteriorates

    The Trends survey by Printing Industries shows the improvement in business conditions forecast in the June 2001 quarter failed to materialise.

    According to Hagop Tchamkertenian, Printing Industries Manager of Industry and Commercial Policy, the September quarter proved to is another disappointing trading period for the printing industry. Business confidence has deteriorated when compared to the previous quarter and the same period this time last year.

    Capacity Utilisation

    Only 59.6 per cent of printers who responded were operating at capacity levels of 70.0 per cent or over – well down from the 75.8 per cent proportion this time last year. The proportion of respondents reporting lack of orders as the primary barrier to an expansion in production increased to 84.1 per cent. This time last year the figure was a much lower proportion at 74.5 per cent.

    Capital Expenditure Intentions

    Over the forecast period (December quarter 2001 and March quarter 2002) a balance of 10.8 per cent of respondents expect to increase investment in plant and machinery, while 1.5 per cent are anticipating reduced investments in buildings.
    Compared to the same period last year, capital expenditure intentions in plant and machinery have improved.

    Employment and Overtime

    Employment levels were reported to have declined by a balance of 12.7 per cent. Balances of 2.0 per cent of respondents are anticipating increased levels of employment during the December 2001 quarter. Overtime levels were also down by 30.7 per cent of respondents. Over the outlook period (December 2001 quarter) overtime levels are being forecast to decline by 5.4 per cent of survey respondents.

    Orders, Production and Sales

    Production indicators recorded reductions of 12.6 per cent for new orders and 9.4 per cent for production. Survey respondents are anticipating improvements to take place with a balance of 30.0 per cent of respondents expecting increased levels of new orders, while 31.8 per cent are expecting a similar outcome in production levels.

    Total sales were reported to have reduced by 9.3 per cent of respondents. This trend is not expected to continue into the next quarter as 28.0 per cent of respondents, on balance, are expecting improvements in sales levels.

    Costs and Prices

    A balance of 43.3 per cent of respondents reported that material cost pressures were more intense in the September quarter. Further increases in material costs are now likely in the December 2001 quarter as 18.9 per cent of respondents are expecting further increases.

    On balance, 33.1 per cent of respondents reported an increase in average wages, a trend that is expected to continue in the December 2001 quarter with 19.5 per cent of respondents on balance anticipating such an outcome. Other labour costs were reported to have increased by 24.5 per cent of respondents.

    Average selling prices were reported to have fallen by 22.2 per cent of respondents. This is the third consecutive quarter that saw a fall in average selling prices.
    Over the outlook period, marginal improvements may take place as a small balance of respondents are expecting an increase in average selling prices during the December 2001 quarter.

    Net Profits

    The profitability situation was reported to have deteriorated during the September 2001 quarter by a balance of 34.4 per cent of respondents.
    Over the outlook period, improvements in net profits may occur as a balance of 14.1 per cent of survey respondents are anticipating such an outcome.

    Outstanding Debtors

    The number of outstanding debtors was reported to have increased in the September 2001 quarter by a net balance of 30.7 per cent of respondents. The September quarter result was once again above the expected outcome.
    Over the outlook period an improvement in the number of outstanding debtors is unlikely to occur as 18.1 per cent of respondents on balance are forecasting further increases.

    A total of 151 companies responded to the September 2001 quarter survey out of a sample size of 295 companies.
    The survey makes reference to net balances or results obtained on balance. These results are obtained by subtracting the proportion of survey respondents who indicate things have gone up from those indicating things have gone down for a given survey question.
    Net balance results give indications of directional movements of key economic indicators (up is associated with an improvement, while down is associated with deterioration). It does not however give changes in magnitude or actual levels.

  • Challenge 21 opens in Sydney

    A good roll up of industry professionals at Star City heard him give a thought provoking review of this year’s World Print Congress in Beijing as well as an outline of the changing activities of his Adelaide and Canberra-based company under pressure from the new business environment.

    The conference was opened by Rod Spencer, Graphics Arts Person of the Year who said the industry was in the midst of redefining itself, struggling to find a suitable label to describe its changing activities. He commended the organisers under Chairman Bob Lamont and sponsors GAMAA for putting on such a fine conference with its theme of Merging Graphic Technologies.

    The two day conference will conclude tomorrow night with a formal dinner.

  • KBA to enter the Australian market

    In what it says is a show of confidence in its web and sheetfed products – and the Australasian market – KBA, one of the biggest press manufacturers worldwide, announced it is planning to set up a new subsidiary, KBA-Australia, in Sydney early next year.
    This will extend KBA´s existing sales and service network for the region, whose hubs are KBA Asia Pacific in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, a number of bases in China (Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou), where it has a strong market presence, and KBA (HK) in Hong Kong.

    In recent years KBA has steadily expanded its market share in Asia. Now it has set its sights on the Australian and New Zealand market where it has not had representation since Edward Keller resigned the agency earlier this year.

    According to Warwick Roden of Roden Print in Sydney, one of the few KBA printing sites here, KBA has not sold a machine in Australia since he bought his 28 inch Rapida in 1991.
    “Hallelujah!” he said when told of KBA’s intentions. “I’ve been hammering at them for years to open an office here. While their equipment is first class, you can’t expect people to spend over a million dollars on a press when there is no local service.”

    Other KBA presses in Australia are at the Reserve Bank and the Melbourne plant of Walter Alteri.
    The new KBA Australian office will have a local management and sales team supported by a permanent resident sales and engineering unit from KBA’s headquarters in Germany.

    Says KBA executive vice-president of web sales, Walter Schumacher, “The decision to set up the new company was inspired by decision-makers in the Australian and New Zealand printing industry, who are eager for cost-effective, technologically advanced production alternatives. Our product mix and services will enable us to offer printers in Australia and New Zealand customised systems to support regional diversity.

    “In the current financial year the KBA group will post a turnover of 1.25 billion euros. Our web offset presses for newspaper, semi-commercial, telephone directory and commercial production, our Rapida sheetfed offset presses and our digital offset presses hit the mark among print entrepreneurs who demand an exceptional standard of output, reliability and print quality.”

    In other news KBA announced it is forming a “strategic partnership” with US direct imaging specialist Presstek to market the A3-size Ryobi 3404DI, incorporating Presstek’s ProFire imaging technology, as the 46Karat. The partnership also includes an agreement for KBA to sell the Dimension 200 and 400 two- and four-page platesetters and Anthem plate outside the US and Canada.

    The 46Karat will be assembled by Ryobi, which has an association with KBA dating back to when the Japanese manufacturer assembled the company’s first sheetfed offset press, the Rapida 72K.

    Agfa distributes Ryobi presses in Australia and New Zealand.

  • Aldus and Graftek come together

    “It’s a perfect synergy,” said Ian Guanaria, general manager of Aldus Engineering. “Together Aldus and Graftek will be one of the largest suppliers of wide and narrow web converting equipment to the printing, packaging, converting and paper making industries.

    “We have known Peter and his principals for many years and our product range was lacking a quality narrow web press, so we see this merger as a major step forward for all concerned.”

    “It makes perfect sense to join our two companies”, said Mr Sage. “Graftek has been steadily growing since we opened the doors and now we are at a stage where we needed to expand our sales, service and marketing standards.

    “Combining with Aldus gives us a great opportunity to expand our product range and utilise their existing staff and offices in Australia and New Zealand.

    “Graftek is the agent for Mark Andy, Comco, Rotoflex, Tools & Production and GEW UV. To add these products to the Aldus range means that our clients will have the advantage of a wider range of choices and expertise at their service. We can now offer a total service to the industry,” said Peter Sage.

    Aldus Engineering, established in 1949, specialises in the under licence manufacture of equipment from such companies as John Dusenbery & Tidland in the USA and Jagenberg in Germany. It is also the agent for well-known companies such as Harper, Fife, Graymills, Teknek, PCMC to name a few. The new company will employ some 40 staff in its manufacturing plant in Sydney and sales offices in Melbourne and New Zealand.

  • Overflow column… the stuff we couldn’t leave out…

    PMP has signed a $250 million eight year Telstra directories contract with Pacific Access. Robert Muscat, Chief Executive of PMP, said the company was extremely pleased to retain such a significant and strategically important print contract. “The renewal of the Pacific Access directories contract is particularly satisfying as it cements a long-standing relationship between our companies and follows several other strategic customer wins for our print business in recent months.”
    The Telstra directories will be printed at PMP Print’s Clayton printing facility in Melbourne, with Pacific Access supplying its own paper. The agreement continues the relationship with Pacific Access, which has seen PMP print Telstra’s directories for the last 76 years.
    “The Clayton facility is the largest printing plant in Australia. The significant volume of work represented by the Pacific Access directories contract underpins the continued profitability of the Clayton site,” said Muscat.
    The sale of the Clayton plant is part of the current PMP takeover proposal from IPMG.

    Imation has filed a $450 million antitrust lawsuit against what it alleges is a price fixing cartel. The case is against Quantum Corporation, the Californian company that produces DLT tape drives which are widely used in the printing and graphic arts industry. Imation accuses it of price fixing and conspiracy to monopolize the production and sale of data storage tape compatible with Quantum’s DLT tape drives.
    The lawsuit charges that Quantum has fixed prices on DLT- compatible tape, invited Imation to join an illegal tape cartel including Fuji and Maxell, inappropriately extended patents on licensed DLT tape drives to tape media as a way to enforce its monopoly hold on the tape market, and misrepresented DLT- compatible tape as an open standard with competitive pricing.

    The appointment of well-known industry identity Russell Robertson as CyraChrome’s Manager – Packaging Graphics, further demonstrates the company’s commitment to flexography in Australia, according to the company’s press release. Robertson heads up CyraChrome’s fastest growing business unit.
    “CyraChrome has demonstrated to me a genuine commitment to the packaging graphics industry, backed by a team with real passion for the products they offer and high-level technical support to match,” enthuses Robertson. “This relationship promises to be a win-win situation all round: an exciting new challenge for me; a new growth phase for CyraChrome’s packaging business; and a clear message to our customers that this particular supplier supplier is expanding and demonstrating long-term commitment at a time when other suppliers are cutting back.”
    CyraChrome’s packaging offerings are spearheaded by the Asahi flexo plate range.
    In other news CyraChrome has appointed Perth’s Desktop Applications as its WA distributor for digital proofing and workflow products. The agreement will expand CyraChrome’s coast-to-coast digital proofing and wide-format printing reach. The existing agreement on analogue proofing products – primarily DuPont Cromalin – with West Graphic Supplies remains unchanged.

    A new service, running independently of Apple Computer Inc, has been instigated to help Macintosh professionals get in touch within the Australasian region. The service, which has been named MacPeopleDownunder aims to provide a searchable registrar of individuals and organisations making it easier for people providing services to be found and for those requiring services to get things done. If you are working with Macintosh products, you can sign up and help get the ball rolling at : www.aumac.lindesay.co.nz

    Industry colour and IT guru, Andre Economou, has set up shop in the HP Design Graphics Warehouse at Milson’s Point, Sydney. He is the official HP colour expert with special emphasis on proofing and RIP management. Andre, late of Canon, has started his own firm, Support IT Consulting, but will work closely with HP and its channel partners. He can be contacted on akeconomou@optushome.com.au

    The Design Graphics Warehouse (DGW) is this year’s winner of The Australian Marketing Institute’s (AMI) National Awards for Marketing Excellence in the category of Professional Services. DGW is a professional services group which offers designers experience in real world projects and delivers customers a professional and new way of meeting their budgets. According to the press release, the DGW marketplace challenge was to create energy in the marketplace for professional design and graphics services, which were entrenched in old design-to-print processes, and a stagnant market for such services.

    Sydney or Melbourne is in line to get Océ digital newspapers by the end of the year. New York has become the second city for Océ’s project to roll out a worldwide network of digital newspapers printed via the internet. Océ’s business development manager Paul Krisson says other locations in Johannesburg and either Melbourne or Sydney will soon join the network. The company has signed with Xerographics Reproduction Centre (XRC) to print the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung in New York, with Océ acting as the international data distributor. Laser-printed versions of newspapers are a growth area, with Newspaper Direct in New York already working with a network of 83 newspapers around the world. However, they are far from being profitable, with monthly sales so far covering only about 20 per cent of costs.

    A new user-interface called Pliable Display Technology creates a virtual lens that zooms a portion of your computer screen so you can inspect details (or read the tiny type). Nowhere is this more valuable than with PDF documents, especially those with multiple columns of type. PliablePaper for Acrobat lets a user read PDF documents without spending unnecessary effort on page navigation. Simply blow up the text inside the lens, then slide the lens up and down the columns. At the same time, you maintain a view of the document in its entirety — no information is hidden or moved off the display.

    Indigo and Nilpeter have signed an OEM agreement at Labelexpo Europe that will see Nilpeter’s inline finishing solutions for Indigo’s WebStream digital presses sold through Indigo as a single package. The Omnius WebStream digital presses produce on-demand, digital labels in four to seven colours. Nilpeter has developed an interface unit with web-tension and web-guidance controls; digitally controlled or conventional die-cutting and waste rewind; a laminating unit for cold and UV lamination and varnishing; and a UV-flexo varnishing unit for Indigo customers.

    The Adobe Studio Web site is Adobe’s new premiere design network for the creative community and the first Network Publishing solution for creative professionals. Companies including Apple and Hewlett-Packard Company are providing solutions through the Adobe Studio Web site to enable designers to be more productive and efficient in managing their projects.
    Adobe Studio www.adobestudio.com has tools and services to enhance the way creative professionals work. Within Adobe Studio is Adobe DesignTeam, a subscription-based collaboration service, which enables creative professionals to communicate and collaborate with team members, clients and third party service providers in one secure, online location. It does not require an expensive network and server infrastructure to deploy or maintain, so users can be up and running in minutes.

    New issue of Heidelberg’s Print Process magazine focuses on the subject of reading. It reports on an Argentinian printshop which makes reading material into real works of art, invites the reader to a “happening” at the largest bookshop in Europe and shares some interesting (business) ideas from the world of digital book printing. The magazine also takes a look at the electronic paper newspaper of the future.
    The renowned neuro-psychologist Prof. Ernst Pöppel explains what goes on in the brain during reading. And anyone who has ever struggled trying to write their memoirs will be interested to read about the biography agencies with bright ideas.
    Personal copies of Print Process can be ordered free of charge by faxing + 49 89 89 50 60 30 or from the internet at www.printprocess.net

    And finally
    The following are new Error Messages are planned for Windows 2000:

    • 1) Smash forehead on keyboard to continue.
    • 2) Enter any 11-digit prime number to continue.
    • 3) Press any key to continue or any other key to quit.
    • 4) Press any key… no, no, no, NOT THAT ONE!
    • 5) Backup not found: (A)bort (R)etry (P)anic.
    • 6) This is a message from God: “Rebooting the universe, please log off.”
    • 7) Keyboard not attached. Press F1 to continue.
    • 8) BREAKFAST.SYS halted… Cereal port not responding.
    • 9) COFFEE.SYS missing… Insert cup and press any key.
    • 10) Bad or missing mouse driver. Spank the cat? (Y/N)
    • 11) Runtime Error 6D at 417A:32CF: Incompetent User.
    • 12) WinErr 547: LPT1 not found… Use backup… PENCIL & PAPER.
    • 13) Windows VirusScan 1.0 – “OS/2 found: Remove it? (Y/Y)”
  • XML Asia Pacific in November

    This year’s conference at the Sydney Hilton Hotel, November 5-8, is particularly relevant as new XML implementations have emerged in the past 12 months which are impacting on the direction and growth of the information sector.
    The international speaker line-up is comprised of leaders in the field of XML and markup technologies including:

    • Tim Bray, Antarcti.ca, Canada – co-editor of XML 1.0!
    • Lauren Wood, SoftQuad, Canada – Chair of the W3C Document Object Model Working Group
    • Mark Colan, Technology Evangelist, IBM, USA
    • Charles Myers, Senior Manager, ePaper Group, Adobe, USA
    • Doug Tidwell, Cyber Evangelist, Web Services, IBM, USA
    • Bill Smith, Manager, XML Technology Center, Sun Microsystems, USA
    • XML Asia Pacific is directed at those industry professionals who need to understand, or actively participate in, the latest developments in information integration, electronic commerce and markup technologies. Last year almost 500 delegates attended the conference and exhibition, representing an increase of almost 100 per cent over the previous year.
      Further details at: www.xmlasiapacific.com

    • New SkinnyScript delivers serious reduction in file size

      Developed by Consolidated Magna and PODbook in California, SkinnyScript is reported to have has been successfully trialed over many months to ensure that the compression and decompression of colour files produces no distortion or loss of graphics information.

      SkinnyScript is based on Adobe PDF and is similar to other file compression algorithms on the market, such as FastFile, but it is aiming at much larger file reductions without compromising image quality. Smaller files will produce increased throughput, lower storage requirements and allow faster communication.

      In order to introduce the technology, PODbook worked with Copydot Prepress, a colour service bureau that specialises in preparing publications for print for North American publishers. Testing was extensive and took many months to complete.

      Once satisfied with the results, the companies sought out a large consumer magazine to adopt the technology in full-scale print production and found a participant in Silicon Valley. Due to hit the stands this week, the October issue of San Jose Magazine, “the Magazine for Silicon Valley’, is a four-colour, 180 page city and regional magazine.

      Publisher, Gilbert Sangari said; “Imagine someone coming to you with what sounds like a publisher’s dream and wants you to be the guinea pig. It took us literally half the normal time to do our October issue. Not to mention handling the files back and forth between the magazine and prepress via e-mail, not jazz disks.”

      Of particular significance is the fact that the 180 pages of the magazine originally comprised18 gigabytes of data, all of which were processed using SkinnyScript to yield a final product totalling only 400 megabytes, roughly 45 times smaller. These files were delivered on a single CD to the printers for computer-to-plate (CTP) printing. The bulk of the magazine was printed at Quebecor World Vancouver, a division of the world’s largest printing company.

      This is the first time that SkinnyScript has been employed in a prepress environment as all previous work had been focused on meeting the requirements of digital printing.

    • No deal on Adobe fonts for non-creative use

      The refusal leaves the industry back where it started two months ago, when an Adobe instituted crackdown on font piracy sparked uproar. It means that most accepted workflow practices in the industry where fonts are forwarded with the job are continuing to break the software copyright law.

      The use of fonts for outputting film or plates by printers and prepress houses who do not have their own copies of the fonts is illegal. While Adobe is currently operating a ‘font truce’ until November and assuring the industry that printers and prepress houses are not being targeted, it was hoped a ‘non-creative use compromise’ would have removed the fear of prosecution for the graphics industry.

      Gary Donnison CEO of PIA, believes the Australian Adobe personnel genuinely tried to get the compromise through but he recognises that Australia and New Zealand are too small to effect any change in the multinational’s policy.

      “Font compliance is a difficult question. Work practices have grown up that are in effect illegal and must be addressed. We have put forward some proposals on behalf of the industry and we are currently seeking a legal opinion on whether Adobe can enforce its end user licence provisions,” he said.

      “We have also been contacted by the ACCC on this matter and have supplied them with information on the competition aspects.”

      PIAA has negotiated a much reduced licence fee of around $8000 for the Adobe Font Suite for its members while the truce is in force – it’s usually sold for in excess of $20,000 but during the truce is priced at $16,000. The special offer is also available to GASAA members.

      According to Craig Tegel of Adobe they took a range of suggestions to the USA and the present scheme is a major win for the local industry. He emphasises that the company is not adopting an aggressive attitude towards font compliance and is much more interested in working with companies to ensure they are legal.

      The Adobe strategy is to make designers responsible for ensuring that when they dispatch a job the printer or the prepress house already owns the fonts. According to Gary Donnison, AGDA members have indicated they are not interested in enforcing Adobe licenses and there is also some question as to the legality of the approach.

      PIAA is cooperating with Adobe in developing training courses to minimise the problems of transferring fonts. Fonts embedded in PDF files are not subject to licensing issues.

      Keen to downplay industry concern Adobe is taking a ‘softly softly’ approach but the problem is unlikely to go away as long as there is chance of someone being prosecuted for illegal use of fonts while processing jobs in the normal ‘non-creative’ course of business.

    • Heidelberg has the most successful year in the company’s history

      Worldwide sales rose by more than 15 per cent to AUS$9.8 billion (Euro 5.3 billion) up from previous year AUS$8.5 billion (Euro 4.6 billion).
      Orders received also exhibited pleasing growth in all divisions, standing at around AUS$10.1 billion (Euro 5.5 billion). This is 18 per cent up on the comparable figure for the highly successful previous year, just under AUS$8.6 billion (Euro 4.7 billion).
      Operating profit rose by around 10 per cent from AUS$854 billion (Euro 463 million) to AUS$933 billion (Euro 506 million).

      Addressing the AGM, Bernhard Schreier said the milestones during the year included the opening of the Print Media Academy in Heidelberg, the Drupa trade fair in Düsseldorf and the company’s successful move into digital printing.

      In his forecast for the progress of the current 2001/2002 fiscal year, Bernard Schreier pointed out the effects of diminishing global economic growth for the graphic arts industry.

      “After an anticipated three per cent at the start of the year, the global economy will grow by less than two per cent. This is something that will impact on order books throughout the industry.”

      Over the next few months, he anticipates that sales will drop noticeably as a result of the situation in the USA. “In the second half of the year (October 1, 2001 through March 31, 2002), there will be a fall in the volume of orders received,” he said.

      Nevertheless, the company is aiming to maintain its sales and operating result for the 2001/2002 fiscal year as a whole at the same high level as last year.

      “Of course, we cannot exclude the possibility that, if our customers’ investment plans become more uncertain, we may not be able to quite equal last year’s figures, despite our cost-cutting measures.”

      A similar scenario is anticipated in Australia and New Zealand where Andy Vels Jensen, HAN CEO, anticipates the first six months of the year will be challenging, with severe price competition, a feature of the local industry, exacerbated by a slowdown in activity. Although he reports an increased market share in most areas, especially in the large 102 perfecting presses, he confirms that in other areas HAN has “walked away from some sales because of the desperation prices being offered.”

      HAN has completed a cost cutting and efficiency boosting restructure ahead of the global company, slimming the company down from 300 to 250 personnel and refocusing the activities into solutions centre. The reductions, mostly from early retirements and mainly from back office roles, have left untouched the150 technical support personnel, the largest team in the industry.

      Customer response has been very positive to this month’s change in account management operations with every HAN client now having a sales and service manager to look after all their requirements.

      “We are in very good shape for the future,” said Mr Vels Jensen. “This year we will be launching the CD 74 which will create a lot of interest. Our cost structure is now right for us to be able to move forward. You’ll be hearing a number of exciting announcements from us in the near future.”

    • Agfa to buy Autologic for $42m

      The companies jointly announced that they have signed a definitive agreement under which Agfa will acquire Autologic of Thousand Oaks, California. Under the terms of the agreement, a newly formed Agfa subsidiary will make a cash tender offer for all the outstanding shares of Autologic common stock.

      Autologic designs, manufactures, markets and services computer-based electronic prepress systems to the publishing industry. The company has a substantial share of the newspaper imagesetting market and employs approximately 370 people worldwide.

      It operates through wholly-owned subsidiaries in eight countries, including Australia where it has a dominant market share in newspaper imagesetting systems. Highlighting the synergies to be expected worldwide, Agfa has installed the first series of CTP systems into newspapers in Australian and New Zealand. Autologic’s sales worldwide last year amounted to US$81 million.

      “The acquisition builds on Agfa’s commitment to develop and market advanced digital prepress production systems for the publishing and printing industry. The focus of Agfa’s Graphic Systems Business Group is on the commercial, newspaper and packaging printing industries,” said Agfa CEO, Ludo Verhoeven. “Autologic’s customers, products and resources fit perfectly with our strategic objectives.”

      “Our Board concluded that the transaction is fair to, and in the best interests of, our stockholders,” said Autologic Chairman and CEO, William Shaw.

      There are bound to be some local job losses as a result of the takeover as the company looks for economies. Agfa has already announced a one-time restructuring Horizon project that will see a reduction of 4,000 jobs worldwide over 2001-2002 as it tries to restore its profitability.

      Agfa blames “increased competition and price erosion in its traditional imaging market, a trend towards consolidation of the current technologies and an accelerated transition from analogue to digital technology.”

      However, the company says improved profits will be driven by new digital solutions. A strategy of building volume in computer-to-plate has already been paying off and the acquisition of Autologic will provide a further boost.

      “Autologic computer-to-plate (CtP) and computer-to-film (CtF) systems have earned an excellent reputation for reliability and productivity,” said Marc Elsermans, general manager of Agfa’s graphic systems business group.

      “The company’s loyal and longstanding customer base adds to Agfa’s strong presence. Autologic’s newest developments in production workflow software and output systems augment and complement Agfa’s. In particular, Autologic’s newspaper customers will benefit from Agfa’s broad range of systems which include graphic film, analogue and digital plates and proofing systems.”

      The offer is expected to be completed before year-end.

    • GAMAA vetoes LIA speaker

      An invitation to John Todor, a US customer relationship management consultant, was withdrawn when his inclusion at this month’s LIA Challenge 21 conference was found to breech the GAMAA sponsorship agreement.

      The invitation to Todor, which was accepted, was issued by Michael Mogridge, then managing director of ODIS, who said he was “extremely disappointed and angry” at the way the matter was handled. The conference committee had initially agreed to Todor’s inclusion in the programme before it was pointed out that only speakers sponsored by GAMAA member companies could appear.

      Committee chairman, Bob Lamont, said that when the LIA accepted “the very generous sponsorship,” it was on condition that GAMAA would be the sole patron of the conference. When approval was given to include Todor, who ODIS would sponsor by paying his airfare from the US, the exclusion clause “was overlooked in the fine print.”

      Although undertakings had been received from Michael Mogridge that the speaker would not promote any particular product, such as the Indigo digital press for which ODIS is the agent, GAMAA believed it was reasonable to expect that some exposure would result, to the detriment of its member’s interests.

      “It shows the closed door attitudes of some sections of the industry. I am very angry about this,” said Mogridge, who is a long-term supporter of the LIA. His father, Bill Mogridge, was the Association’s Federal President when he passed away in February.

      GAMAA would not officially comment until executive secretary, Annie Rowland-Campbell, returns next week from visiting graphics merchant organisations in the US, Canada, UK and Europe.

      John Todor, Ph.D. is the managing partner of The Whetstone Group, a US consulting group that specialises in creating demand in the market place and devising strategies, tactics, and tools for sales and marketing. He cosponsored the Toronto Summit on Relationship Marketing; published Relationship Marketing: Strategies and Technologies; and wrote Marketing Automation: Tools for Handling the Complexities of Relationship Marketing. His new book, Winning and Keeping Customers will be published this month.

      Challenge 21 takes place in Star City OCTOBER 26 – 28. Keynote speaker is Gary Field Professor of Graphic Communication at the California Polytechnic State University, one of the world’s foremost authorities in the area of colour reproduction, management and quality.

      Other speakers include Professor Robin Williams, Dean faculty of Art, Design and Communication, RMIT and UNESCO Chair in Communication, Dr.Karl Kruszelnicki, Professor Julius Sumner Miller Fellow at the University of Sydney and well known radio talkback science commentator and Brian McGrath, Director of European Sales, Seven Worldwide, one of the worlds leading global graphic communications companies.

      Organisers are confident the current turmoil in the airline industry will not have a significant impact on attendance at Challenge 21.