Archive for February, 2002

  • Overflow…. more news…. overflow…. extra news…. overflow….

    Gerry Paulusz is the new Managing Director of Agfa Gevaert Australia and New Zealand. The well-known industry figure will take up his new role on April 1 in addition to keeping his responsibility as Business Group Manager Graphic Systems for the subregion Oceania. He succeeds Freddy Duffeler who will assume the position of Managing Director Agfa Gevaert in Japan from the same date.
    Gerry Paulusz becomes the first Australian since Tom Harrington in the 1970s to hold the top position in Agfa in the region. He joined the global imaging corporation three years ago following the takeover of his own Printing Technologies graphics supply company.

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    When the fat lady sings department. Our piece in Print21 Online last week on the establishment of a new CTP supplier in Sydney, CTP North, proved to be a bit premature. We got a call from a bemused Ian Lindsay of printing firm Lindsay Yates to inform that yes, along with most progressive companies, he is looking at development options, one of which might involve CTP, but no, the exploratory talks undertaken so far can in no way be construed as a decision in that direction. He kindly promised to let us know if, and when.

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    Goodbye Elle. PMP is closing the glossy monthly magazine Australian ELLE. The joint venture mag failed to garner sufficient readership and found the recent downturn in the advertising market too much despite substantial investment by the joint venture partners Hachette and PMP. The March 2002 cover date on sale now is proposed to be the last issue of Australian ELLE published by the joint venture. Australian ELLE was not included in the Pacific Publications joint venture formed in September 2001 between PMP Limited and Seven Limited and its proposed closure is unrelated to that business.

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    In a recently completed CAP Ventures forecast, analysts predict that the document outsourcing market will enjoy a compound annual growth of 12 per cent. This will grow the document outsourcing market in the US alone from US$27.8 billion in 2000 to just over US$50 billion in 2005.

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    Going to IPEX? Printing Industries informs that it still has some rooms available in the accommodation-challenged British Midlands. Many industry types who are making a late decision to go are finding house full signs everywhere. Fear not – give Joe Kowalewski at Printing Industries a buzz on (02) 9248 7300. He’s still got package deals, non-package deals and a whole host of options on how to get there. IPEX, often referred to as the Australian industry’s ‘home show’ because of the number of British in the industry here, is on April 9 in Birmingham.

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    French press unions have effectively prevented the launch of the first Parisian Metro free newspaper. CILP, one of the strongest press unions in Paris, has so far refused to allow different distribution arrangements apply to the Swedish-owned daily to those of other dailies. Around 300,000 copies were scheduled to be printed by France-Soir north of Paris.
    The French Metro, similar to the Melbourne freebies, aimed to use workers positioned at, yes, metro stations and strategic points to hand out copies of the paper as permission has not yet been given for circulation bins.

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    Large format CTP comes of age with the announcement of the 600th installation of the CreoTrendsetter VLF Quantum platesetter to a trade shop in Italy. Creo claims this means that in the six years since its introduction the thermal CTP solution has captured more than 75 per cent of the world’s market.

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    Financial and integrity basket case Enron is finding its troubles are giving newspaper publishers a way of getting off the hook. The company entered into hedge fund contracts with major newspapers to avoid steeply climbing newsprint prices. Now that newsprint prices are heading the same way as Enron’s reputation, publishers are paying more than market price for newsprint. As a result the newspapers are breaking the contracts invoking Enron’s financial troubles, not their own, as the reason.

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    A 13 unit Rapida 105 installed in South Africa is being nominated by KBA as the longest B1 sheetfed press in the world. The 5/5 press has three coating units, a double delivery extension and can take a reel-to-sheet feeder as well as standard sheets. The press measures 32 metres in length (105ft). It also has interdeck UV lamps giving the press 16 dryers in all.

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    And finally….

    Two elderly couples were enjoying a friendly conversation when one of the men asked the other, “Fred, how was the memory clinic you went to last month?”

    “Outstanding,” Fred replied. “They taught us all the latest
    psychological techniques – visualization, association – it made a huge difference for me.”

    “That’s great! What was the name of the clinic?”

    Fred went blank. He thought and thought, but couldn’t remember. Then a smile broke across his face and he asked, “What do you call that red flower with the long stem and thorns?”
    “You mean a rose?”

    “Yes, that’s it!” He turned to his wife…”Rose, what was the name of that clinic?”

  • Russians take on MAN Roland for Xeikon

    An expected bid from the Xeikon management failed to materialise in the wash-up of the digital press manufacturer who failed to find a new investor during three months of bankruptcy protection. Another mystery bidder remains in the background.

    The Russian bid comes from a joint venture between Yam International and Alpha Capital.

    MAN Roland’s interest is solely in Xeikon’s colour engines, which it uses in its DICOpress range. “We are not interested in black-and-white, only colour,” said spokesman Thomas Hauser. “Now we wait for the courts and are in discussions to find a good solution.”

    Yam International is Xeikon’s Russian-based distributor, and Alpha Capital is providing the funding for its bid. According to a report in Dot Print it is a surprising move because the company is unknown outside its home territory, although it is believed it could be fronting a bid from a consortium of Xeikon’s value-added distributors.

    “The Yam bid is interesting and intelligent, because they know the products and the company,” said Xeikon executive chairman Gino Despeghel, who said morale among Xeikon staff remained good. “Everybody here is holding hands and hoping for a solution,” he added.

    The announcement of the two preferred bids follows consultations with Xeikon’s staff and management. The Belgian court aims to finalise the sale by the end of the month.

    No announcement has been made yet regarding Xeikon’s black-and-white operations, the former Nipson business that is 90 per cent owned by Xeikon.

    “It is a daughter to Xeikon and needs to see what happens to the mother before they work out their future,” added Despeghel.

  • ‘Reticence to invest’ impacts on Heidelberg

    Chairman Bernhard Schreier said “This clearly reflects the reticence to invest that has been prevalent in the USA since the beginning of the last calendar year and the effects of the worsening global economic climate since September 2001.”

    He went on to say that Heidelberg has devised a three-pronged strategy to tackle the challenges of the next few years in the graphic arts industry. These involve extending the company’s lead on the offset market and assuming a leading role in postpress. The third objective of the strategy involves digital printing, an area in which Heidelberg aims to become a major international player over the next few years.

    On December 31, 2001, the Heidelberg Group had a workforce of 25,700.

    Improved results for Digital and Web

    The company said sales in its Digital Division fell by some 15 per cent to Euro 482 million. The operating loss was Euro 88 million. Nevertheless, with sales of Euro 149 million, the loss in the third quarter was a significant improvement on previous quarters. The launch of the new NexPress digital colour press was very successful. Heidelberg had already received more than 130 orders by the end of the third quarter.

    Sales in the Web Systems Division were Euro 454 million, only 7 per cent below last year’s figure. With sales in the third quarter of Euro 236 million, the Division made up considerable ground. The operating loss grew to Euro 123 million, but here too a turnaround is in sight and the loss in the third quarter was well below that of preceding quarters.

    Sales in the Sheetfed Division climbed 7 per cent to around Euro 2.4 billion. The operating profit was Euro 368 million, 2 per cent up on last year.

    Compared with the previous year, sales in the Finishing Division were down around 2 per cent at Euro 277 million. Operating profits of Euro 21 million fell to Euro 4 million because of the situation in the USA.

    Progress in the regions quite positive

    The Asia/Pacific Region saw a very pleasing improvement in sales of around 11 percent. The NAFTA region continues to be shaped by the economic slowdown in the USA and a consequent reticence on the part of customers to make new investments. As a result, sales by the Heidelberg Group in this region decreased some 15 percent to Euro 958 million. Business in the other regions was quite positive, although these also experienced a slowdown in growth. Sales for the Central Europe Region also increased, to around Euro 1.4 billion. Heidelberg also recorded improved sales in Eastern Europe, Central and South America and the Middle East and was thereby able to extend its leadership on these markets.

  • Print: The Original Information Technology

    The campaign with the theme, “Print: The Original Information Technology,“ has been adopted by the Printing Industries of America (PIA), the Graphic Arts Technical Foundation (GATF), and the Printing Association of Florida (PAF) in a consolidated effort to unite the US industry and champion the value of print.

    According to the organisers without print, other revolutionary information technologies such as the telephone, the television, the computer, or the Internet could not have been invented. Yet a major study by the British Printing Industries Federation of the public’s opinion of print confirmed suspicions—print media is not as well perceived as other media.

    “Repositioning print media as an integral part of the information technology—or IT—sector of the US economy will be a main objective of this campaign,” said Ray Roper, president of PIA, at the campaign launch, in Miami, Florida. “It will also focus on positioning print with some specific audiences who are important to our industry such as our lawmakers. This awareness and positioning will be achieved through the consistent use of the campaign theme and logo by print media companies and the associations that represent them over an extended period of time.”

    The Printing Industries Association of Australia is in contact with the organisers to see if elements of the campaign can be used here. “We have very close ties with the US bodies and are always keen to assist in raising the profile of printing in the broader community,” said Joe Kowalewski, Marketing Manager, Printing Industries. “We are looking at this new campaign to see how it would fit in with our overall industry promotional strategies.”

    Everyone Aboard

    The US organisers are attempting to spread the word as wide as possible. “Print: The Original Information Technology,” or Print IT, can be supported by every segment of the printing industry—sheetfed or web printers, gravure, flexographic or digital printers, even textile printers, “said Roper.

    In the past, numerous specialty niches with differing messages proved to be a challenge in presenting a unified message. Under this campaign, which is applicable to all, the vast numbers and diverse businesses are opportunities to raise the frequency of the message and reach numerous audiences. PIA has initially called upon 26 industry organizations to adopt the campaign.

    “We need everyone’s help to provide a consistent, coherent message promoting print media to the average consumer,” sad Roper. “Our advantage is having no less than an army of communicators—1.2 million employees in nearly 46,000 facilities nationwide—rather than a handful of large companies only contributing funding toward an awareness campaign.”

    Also, unlike many commodity industries that receive government assistance to fund the use of mass media in awareness programs, the printing media industry has the advantage of being a communication industry. It has the capability in its plants and publications to create and convey a positive image for the industry on a nationwide basis.

    Through the Print IT campaign, PIA will provide the guidance and access to promotional tools to support a national effort to increase the awareness of and appreciation for print media. The organization is currently identifying sources for a wide variety of materials that will feature the logo and theme of the campaign. Such materials include large truck decals, posters, billboards, decals for offices, bumper stickers, corporate identity materials such as letterhead, business cards and invoices, yellow page advertisements, web pages, shipping cartons, etc. Revenue generated from the sale of these materials will underwrite the cost of promoting the campaign.

    Check out the campaign at www.gain.net

  • PaperlinX record sales up 80%

    The company explained that the overall result reflects a strong performance in its Communication Papers business through the lower cost of imported pulp, record production and sales volumes and stable selling prices. The Packaging Papers business was impacted by lower domestic demand and lower export selling prices. Although earnings in the merchant businesses were higher than in the prior period, the global economic downturn, low level of consumer confidence and the competitive trading environment led to reduced sales volumes and in turn squeezed margins.

    PaperlinX paper merchants operate in Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia, USA and Canada. The paper trading business sells paper in over 40 countries.

    With the inclusion of Spicers Paper and Coast Paper, sales increased 169 per cent to A1.1 billion with operating profit before interest and tax more than doubling to $29 million. Sales volume increased 130 per cent to 527,000 tonnes. Profit after income tax was $64.8 million, an increase of 24 per cent over the six months to December 2000.

    According to the company business conditions over the last six months have reflected the worst global economic recession since 1994. There has been a significant fall in demand for printing papers reflecting lower levels of advertising and promotion which is symptomatic of the economic downturn, not only in the North American region, but also in Asia and Australia. A combination of slowing demand and increased competitive pressure has resulted in a shift by many customers to paper purchases yielding lower margin paper sales. Depressed demand in the Australian printing market was exacerbated by the collapse of corporations who were major paper consumers.

    During the period PaperlinX also embarked on a substantial transformation of its Australian merchants, restructuring the business to have four merchants; Spicers Paper, Dalton Fine Paper, Spicers Office Papers and Dalton Web Papers.

    These businesses were established on 1 October 2001. According to PaperlinX the merchants are now operating well with substantial cost reductions and synergy benefits expected to flow through to improved results in the second half.

    In New Zealand, the businesses were restructured from May 2001.

    PaperlinX continues its overseas expansion with a new greenfield operation in Kansas City and good results from the newer locations in Minnesota, Denver and Hawaii. The major impact in North America has been a fall in volumes and margins – which has occurred generally throughout the merchanting industry.

    In Asia, the merchanting businesses reported to have weathered conditions well with improved trading conditions in recent months.

    Pacific Paper Marketing, our paper trading business, had a record result driven by the availability of paper from its various suppliers including Australian Paper.

    Communication Papers

    In the six months period Australian Paper’s Communication Papers business had sales revenue increasing four per cent to $420 million and operating profit before interest and tax up 59 per cent to $70 million.

    Communication Papers are used in printing, publishing, office and home. The business benefited from the reduced cost of imported pulp as world pulp prices fell. Paper selling prices were able to be maintained, partially assisted by the devaluation in the Australian dollar. Record paper production volume was achieved, with sales volume up three per cent driven by another record production period from Maryvale 5 – the company’s newest paper machine.
    Export sales were 12 per cent of sales volume, representing the highest ever level of export sales.

    Packaging Papers

    The Packaging Papers business, undertaken by Australian Paper, had a difficult six months. Despite sales revenue being up 3% to $144 million on volume 5% higher than the previous period, operating profit before interest and tax reduced to A$21 million due to lower Australian sales, an unfavourable product mix and significantly lower export selling prices.

    Demand in Australia, predominantly from the major customer, Amcor, was lower, reflecting the impact of Amcor’s plant stoppages in July 2001 and general economic demand. Excess production was exported, predominantly into Asia, where selling prices had fallen significantly compared to the same period in the prior year due to an abundance of available product and uncertainty over the strength and future trend of the USA economy. Product mix was less favourable during the period, although customers have indicated a return to normal levels in the period ahead.

    In the period, 25% of sales volume was outside of Australia/New Zealand, compared to 13% in the prior year.

    Maryvale 2 machine, which makes bag and sack papers, performed exceptionally well during the period despite a major mechanical failure in June 2001.

    PaperlinX has continued to deliver solid growth in the last six months, albeit in difficult worldwide economic and business conditions.

    With the initiatives undertaken in restructuring the merchanting business following the acquisitions of Spicers Paper and Coast Paper, and the focus on cost reductions, PaperlinX is well positioned to capitalize on a turnaround in economic conditions. Further gains in productivity are also being pursued by PaperlinX’s Australian paper manufacturing operations.

    Following the divestments made over the last six months, PaperlinX is well placed strategically to pursue the international expansion of its merchanting business as appropriate opportunities arise. These divestments, with lower debt levels and the consequent lower interest bill have impacted the results for the six months, at this stage only partially compensating for the loss of operating earnings.

    The results for the next six months will continue to be materially influenced by international economic conditions, especially those in North America. PaperlinX is well positioned to benefit from any growth in the consumption of paper. The company has strong positions in its respective markets and is focussed on the extraction of synergy benefits from recent acquisitions and the achievement of operational cost reductions. In addition, PaperlinX has the financial capacity to take advantage of acquisition opportunities, which are consistent with its overall strategic direction.

  • Australian printing industry downturn enters its second year

    Falls were noted in most of the key indicators including business confidence, orders, production, sales, net profits, selling prices, number of outstanding debtors, employment and overtime levels and production costs

    No improvement is expected in the present March quarter, which is traditionally the slowest time of the graphic arts year, according to Hagop Tchamkertenian, Printing Industries Manager of Industry and Commercial Policy.

    Some 159 companies employing a workforce of more than 12,000 people participated in the December 2001 quarter survey.

    Some positive trends emerging from the survey include:

    • A reported easing of the labour market
    • Increased availability of finance and
    • Increased investment in capital expenditure.

    The survey results confirm that capacity utilisation continues to be low with only 68 per cent of respondents indicating that they are operating at capacity utilisation levels of 70 per cent or more, and almost 81 per cent of the respondents indicating that lack of orders remains the primary barrier to increasing production levels.

    “Given that traditionally the March quarter is a quite quarter for the industry, expectations are not very optimistic,” said Mr Tchamkertenian.

    According to the respondents the March 2002 quarter should show:

    • Modest reductions in orders, production, sales and net profits
    • Small reductions in selling prices
    • Increased availability of finance
    • A further easing of the labour market
    • Further falls in employment and overtime levels
    • Further increases across the production cost categories
    • Declining stock levels and
    • Rising number of outstanding debtors.

    Despite this respondents are forecasting over the next six months to August 2002

    • Improvement in business conditions
    • Increased investment in machinery and equipment and
    • Declining investment on buildings.

    Any one interested in obtaining a copy of the full survey report can contact Printing Industries- on Ph: (02) 9248 7300 or e-mail: info@printnet.com.au

  • Melbourne sheetfed print merger

    Garry, Greg and Ray Nankervis, owners of Impact Printing have taken a majority stake holding in Southern Colour in a move that heralds a major shift in sheetfed printing in Melbourne. The brothers will continue to operate their own high profile company, as well as take positions on the board of Southern Colour. Steve Brown, erstwhile owner of Southern Colour will take on the role of sales director in the company. He will retain shareholding and continue to be a member of the board.
    Rod Dawson (pictured right), former general manager has been appointed the new Managing Director of Southern Colour.

    The two companies, one in Brunswick, the other in the eastern suburb of Keysborough, will operate as a single sales identity but will maintain their separate premises. Impact Printing is recognized for its in-depth technical skill base while Southern Colour has one of the most high profile sales and marketing operations in the industry. The combination of the two entities who, between them, have a sales turnover in the region of $40 million is indicative of the rationalization pressures that are gathering strength in the sector.

    In a statement released, the partners said: “The new board of Southern Colour would like to assure all their customers, suppliers and partners of their on-going commitment to achieving excellence.”

  • Overflow…. more news…. overflow…. extra news…. overflow….

    New role for Howard Dare

    High profile industry identity, Howard Dare has taken on the newly created role of Director of the International Centre of Graphic Technology at RMIT University. The important position is seen as a key development in the graphic industry’s future education direction and according to Howard Dare, “reflects the increasing awareness in the industry for the need of a different approach to education.”
    Howard Dare is best known to the industry as a Managing Director of Heidelberg Australia, a position he initially held for many years until when he was assigned to help create Heidelberg’s worldwide postpress division during the company’s reorganisation. He later formed the Heidelberg Asia-Pacific Division and was its first Managing Director.
    He retired from Heidelberg last year, before being persuaded to spend more time focusing on his early career direction – education. His appointment into what is assuredly the pivotal position in the graphic industry’s tertiary and technical education is seen as a coup for RMIT University. Few people are better connected than Howard Dare within the industry in Australia, New Zealand and around the world.

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    The new Creo word mark, using a 100 per cent cyan, builds on the original Creo logo, which was introduced in the early 1980s. According to Amos Michelson, Creo CEO, it represents the combination of creativity, innovation, and technology that has made Creo a leader in the graphic arts industry. Over the coming months, the new word mark will be applied to each of the nearly 300 products in the Creo portfolio.
    “The introduction of the new Creo name and logo signals an important evolution for our company,“ said Michelson. “By uniting all of our activities worldwide under a single, strong brand, we are recognizing a new era of growth for the company.

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    Well known industry identity Andre Boers, formerly the Asia Pacific Director for CreoScitex, after leaving the company late last year has moved to Kodak Polychrome Graphics (KPG). The urbane Boers will take up the role of Director of Digital Business Development Asia Pacific, but not until March. “ I need to take a long holiday and do a bit of travelling with the family,” he said. He will be responsible for integrating the Imation family of products into the KPG proofing range.
    In other KPG news, the company has bought the Encad wide format business to further bolster its digital printing division.

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    Can you make money using the Tool Kits from Print 21?
    If you’re in Sydney there is an opportunity to find out at an industry breakfast on Thursday February 21 at the Pacific International Parramatta. Grahame Barrett, consultant and Printing Industries delivery partner for the PRINT21 Diagnostic Tools will deliver a practical seminar to guide you through the PRINT21 workshop. Start: 7.45am – Finish: 9.30am
    Register with Que Nhi Luong, Ph: (02) 9248 7300. Fax: (02) 9299 0087. This is one of a number of Print 21 events being held by Printing Industries. Check the Printing Industries calendar on this site for one near you.

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    Rhys Burton is KBA’s man in Australia.
    New Zealand-born Burton, a 36-year veteran of the Australasian supply business and formerly with Edward Keller, has had an association with KBA going back some ten years. The press manufacturer has had good success in New Zealand but failed to increase its base in Australia.
    ”The productivity and reliability of KBA technology is second to none, and has not been given the attention it deserves in Australia,” says Burton. He is determined to change this with the establishment of an Australian subsidiary. The branch will be located in Sydney, staffed in NSW and interstate by local sales people supported by engineering staff from KBA’s headquarters in Germany.
    According to a press release… the decision to proceed at this time with such an investment was inspired by a show of confidence from industry management throughout New Zealand and Australia.

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    Depending where you stand, UK industry groups Picon and the BPIF report contrasting moods among their members in their latest quarterly trends surveys. Picon, which represents the industry’s equipment manufacturers, found that 19 per cent of its 140 members were more optimistic towards future trading conditions in last year’s fourth quarter compared to only 2 per cent in the previous quarter.
    However, the BPIF’s Directions survey reported a minus 32 per cent balance among printing members’ views on the general state of the trade for the final quarter of 2001, compared to the forecast positive balance of 52 per cent for that period. It also reported a minus 42 per cent forecast for the first three months of 2002, although firms working below capacity had dropped from 79 to 67 per cent. Picon said that 30 per cent of equipment manufacturers expected a rise in UK ordering and 18 per cent predicted an increase in export trade during this quarter.

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    Webinars are here!
    The tyranny of distance, means that local participation in the new Agfa series of online seminars ‘webinars’ about the latest in CTP technology and workflow will only be for those dedicated souls who log in late at night. The Agfa Webinars are free of charge, will last for approximately one hour, and will run several times until March. Check out a description of the two Webinars and the presenters for each and register on
    http://www.agfa.com/graphics/webinars/webinar_register.html

    The webinars are international so stated times are US Eastern Standard Time
    (plus 14hours for Australia). CTP Seminar
    February 12, February 26 – 10:00 am EST (1600 CET)
    February 5, February 19, March 5 – 2:00 pm EST (2000 CET)

    Implementing a Computer-to-Plate Workflow – What You Need to Know
    February 7, February 21, March 7 – 10:00 am EST (1600 CET)
    January 31, February 14, February 28 – 2:00 pm EST (2000 CET)

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    R.R. Donnelley, reputedly the world’s largest printer, is expanding into China through a partnership with the Shanghai Press and Publications Administration. The US company has formed a joint venture agreement to build a $30 million print manufacturing plant in Shanghai. R.R. Donnelley, the only Western commercial printer in China, will maintain 100 per cent operating control and employ approximately 300 people. The new plant is currently under construction and will start operating later this year.

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    The paperless press office at the print show.
    Virtual Press Office (VPO) has been appointed the official online press kit management service for IPEX 2002 to provide an alternative to printed press information kits. “At a show the size and scope of IPEX, there are literally hundreds of press packs available and collecting and transporting physical press kits can be a problem, particularly for overseas media”, explains Sam Cherry of Virtual Press Office. “Exhibition press packs are very costly to produce and exhibitors always seem to have too many or too few. They require printing, collating, expensive photographs and constant monitoring.”

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    Hewlett Packard is looking at ways to improve the Indigo press. HP engineers in its laboratory in Palo Alto have decided on ways to implement HP technology within the Indigo press. According to reports this means automated cleaning systems, a less expensive laser system, integrated computer and new ink canisters. On the software side, HP is looking at incorporating Indigo presses into networks for worldwide distributed printing and splitting jobs into batches for parallel print production.

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    Demonstrating the American love of a good court case California-based software design company Electronics for Imaging (EFI) and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have filed suit against a total of 94 companies, including Microsoft and IBM alleging infringement on their patented image-editing software.

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    Dutch digital print engine manufacturer Océ has revealed the extent of its troubles with results that show pre-tax profits falling from E221.7m (Aus$309) in 2000 to E155.8m (Aus$217) in 2001. Revenues during the period were almost static at E3.23bn. All areas of the business were affected though its Document Printing Systems suffered most in loss of revenue and through intense competition. There was sales growth in wide format ink jet printing. Océ is beginning to implement a restructuring process intended to put the company in better shape to handle the transition from analogue to digital. The office products sector is likely to suffer most as a result the company warns.

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    And finally for the first of the new Print 21 On-Line bulletins, this from Peter Barnett of Daltons Fine Paper.

    A man in a hot air balloon realized he was lost. He was reducing his altitude when he spotted a woman below. He descended a bit more and shouted, “Excuse me, can you help me? I promised a friend I would meet him an hour ago, but I don’t know where I am.”
    The woman below replied, “You’re in a hot air balloon hovering approximately 30 feet above the ground. You’re between 40 and 41 degrees north latitude and between 59 and 60 degrees west longitude.”
    “You must be an engineer,” asked the balloonist.
    “I am,” replied the woman, “How did you know?”
    “Well,” answered the balloonist, “everything you told me is technically correct, but I’ve no idea what to make of your information, and the fact is I’m still lost. Frankly, you’ve not been much help at all; if anything you’ve delayed my trip.”
    The woman below responded, “You must be in Management.”
    “I am,” replied the balloonist, “but how did you know?”
    “Well,” said the woman, “you don’t know where you are or where you’re going. You have risen to where you are due to a large quantity of hot air. You made a promise which you’ve no idea how to keep, and you expect people beneath you to solve your problems. The fact is, you’re in exactly the same position you were in before we met, but somehow, now it’s my fault.”

  • Xerox will take orders for iGen3 at IPEX

    Xerox has thrown its weight, money and prestige behind the iGen3 in an attempt to dominate a market that is being fiercely contested by both Heidelberg with its NexPress and the Hewlett and Packard- backed Indigo. It is on the record as predicting that the iGen3 will revolutionize digital colour printing the same way the Xerox DocuTech did for monochrome printing in the early 1990s.

    “For many years, the industry has been anticipating what they call the colour DocuTech,” said Frank Steenburgh, senior vice president and general manager, Xerox DocuColor iGen3 Digital Production Press Business. “I believe that iGen3’s acceptance in the market will meet and exceed the success of the DocuTech.”

    Steenburgh believes the reasons for iGen3 market success are not just based on the machine’s revolutionary technology but on the people bringing it to market. Steenburgh has handpicked a 50-member team to manage the marketing and launch of DocuColor iGen3. The team includes Xerox veterans from the original DocuTech team, colour team and Graphic Arts Industry Business, as well as printing professionals with prior experience at industry competitors.

    “This dedicated team will ensure that when launched, iGen3 will give customers the best quality and the most value, while helping make their businesses more productive and profitable,” said Steenburgh. “My team has included plans to help graphic arts providers make money from the first day they take delivery of the press.”

    The company will extend its Marketing Partnership Programs aimed at educating printers on how to grow print volumes through creating demand for digital colour in the marketplace. These programs will train printers on a variety of different topics, including how to sell digital print, one-to-one marketing, and optimising workflow for digital applications.

    The Xerox iGen3 thrust is expected to draw similar promotional responses from the two other suppliers that industry observers predict will increase the penetration of digital technology into the industry.

    Steenburgh, often credited as the father of the DocuTech, was responsible more than a decade ago for bringing the first Xerox DocuTech monochrome production printer to market. The DocuTech products have been credited for creating the on-demand production printing market and have generated more than $15 billion in revenue for Xerox. Steenburgh was appointed to his current post in October 2001.

  • Xeikon goes belly up

    Xeikon failed in its attempt to find new finance after three months in creditor protection and the Belgium company will now sell its assets before putting itself into liquidation. Always recognised as having one of the most promising toner-based digital printing technologies, Xeikon never recovered from the double body blow of both Agfa-Gevaert and Xerox withdrawing their sales channel support.

    Agfa, which is the supplier of the Xeikon micro toner, made a decision to merge its Digital Printing Systems Business Unit into Xeikon in mid-2000 but the effect was to collapse its own sales channel. For Xerox it was always a stopgap technology while its own colour imaging came to market. Agfa says that in light of the liquidation announcement it would write off its remaining $23 million stake.

    Xeikon’s own attempts to build a viable brand were always hamstrung by a lack of size and funding. Now that Hewlett-Packard has picked up rival Indigo there is no longer any room in the market for a white knight to fund a revival of the company.

    MAN Roland hitched its digital strategy to the Xeikon technology star through the development of its Dico press brand. It is practically unthinkable that the major press manufacturer will allow any of its putative competitors to pick up the failed Belgium company’s assets and gain control of the important technology.

    Print & Pack, the MAN subsidiary in Australia, is currently servicing the installed base of Xeikon, Agfa, Fuji Xerox and IBM machines in the region. It recently sold its first DicoPress into Melbourne.

  • QuarkXPress 5.0 is shipping – but don’t hold your breath!

    Following widespread public testing with more than 370,000 users, Quark Inc. has released QuarkXPress 5.0 in the US. The highly anticipated upgrade fuses tools for print and Web design in a single application for media-independent publishing.

    “We have been putting QuarkXPress 5.0 through extensive quality tests, and we are now ready to release it for use,” said Quark president and CEO Fred Ebrahimi. “We are confident that the new features and enhancements will help the industry become more efficient and more productive. QuarkXPress 5.0 is an important step towards helping publishers realize more cost savings by integrating layout and production for print, Web, and new media.”

    Modulo in Sydney is shy about committing itself to a date when local users will be able to get their hands on the new program. This is understandable following embarrassing delays with the previous version whose Australian release had to be postponed a number of times.

    “We are hoping for sometime near the middle of the year,” said a source, unable to give any real explanation for the delay.

    It is theoretically possible to buy a copy of the US English version over the Internet but Quark wants you to wait on the International English version due out later. There is talk about having to ‘legalise’ any US copy later

    Going on past performance the International English version eventually sold here will cost considerably more than the $995 (AUS$1809) the program costs in the States – expect something near the $3,000 mark.
    And why the difference? Well, that’s just the way they like it.

    Productivity enhancements

    QuarkXPress 5.0 has a range of new and enhanced features to support print, Web, and PDF workflows. 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.

    It has a revised print user interface, enhanced PDF support, contextual menus, and better colour management.

    “I like the improved interface for printing in QuarkXPress 5.0. The new Print dialog box is very straightforward. I feel like I’ve been working with it all along,” said Michael Kresse, director of technology for EconoPrint, a commercial printer in Wisconsin.
    “We’ve been printing files without any problems, and I like the fact that our customers will be able to package fonts with their documents. It’s also working well with our variable data imaging software, which is an added bonus.”

    New Tables functionality allows users to create graphically rich tables to structure design elements or organize complex data. QuarkXPress table cells can contain pictures and text with virtually all the typographic and image control users expect from QuarkXPress.

    “Tables have been a blessing for me, especially when jobs come in at the last second,” said Larry Graff, design editor at Semiconductor International, the leading technical publication serving the global semiconductor industry.
    “It used to be a very time consuming process. QuarkXPress 5.0 takes only a few moments to put a table together. From very simple to more complex tables with colour overlays and photos, the new Tables feature has been a great help.”

    The new Layers feature allows users to isolate items within QuarkXPress documents, and lets publishers manage hundreds of document variants quickly and easily. This feature is ideal for users who need to manage complex projects such as targeted marketing materials, versioned projects, and documents with language or text changes.

    New yet familiar tools for Web design

    QuarkXPress 5.0 empowers designers who create content for multiple media by bringing the world’s leading page layout environment to the Web. Designers who are familiar with QuarkXPress can become productive Web designers immediately without having to learn new tools.

    “Our customers have told us that it is vital for them to manage costs by merging print and Web workflows,” said Brett Mueller, senior product manager at Quark. “QuarkXPress 5.0 is a direct response to that customer request. It’s a true design environment for both print and the Web, so designers can to take their rich skills to both media, and beyond.”

    Easy license management

    With the release of QuarkXPress 5.0, publishers with multiple-seat installations will benefit from new license management software. Quark License Administrator makes it easy for organizations to install software and manage user access throughout the enterprise, so very large organizations can share the use of a smaller number of licenses.

    Quark License Administrator is a server-based system that lets site administrators create customized user pools and assign customized access privileges to each group. The server can be configured to allow remote users to check out software for use off the network as well as to acquire additional licenses to meet the needs of changing workflows.

    Customisable software

    “Quark has taken its already robust XTensions API and made it even better. There are more ways to hook into the application and it’s more informative for developers, so we can develop even more powerful XTensions software,” said Paul Schmitt, president of A Lowly Apprentice Production Inc.

    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, delivering vital niche solutions to Quark customers.

    A Lowly Apprentice Production is the developer of many popular XTensions modules for QuarkXPress, including ShadowCaster, an easy tool for creating transparency and shadows on text and graphics within QuarkXPress, and ImagePort, an XTensions module that lets designers import native Adobe Photoshop files into QuarkXPress documents, and then manipulate the layers, channels, and paths within those files. The new ImageAdjuster lets users correct the colour of TIFF images within the QuarkXPress user interface.

    Pricing and availability

    QuarkXPress 5.0 is available for both Mac OS and Windows, and can be purchased at www.quark.com or by calling Quark customer service at 1.800.676.4575. List price in the United States is. Users of QuarkXPress 4.x can upgrade for $299. The upgrade price for users of QuarkXPress 3.x is $399. Refer to product code UZUXAA59A.

  • New plate provider to open in Artarmon

    Spitting Image partners, Steven Marshall and Graham Maslen are entering into a joint venture to establish and run a dedicated CTP plant in Sydney’s northern suburbs. The business, CTP North, plans to open its doors during March and will be offering plates to printers across the industry.

    The partners have done their sums and looked at the progress of other prepress houses that have moved into CTP such as Adstract. Even though they have not yet settled on an equipment brand, Steven Marshall indicates his preference for a thermal system.

    “If you are selling plates to the industry it has to be thermal, I think,” he said.

    He believes there is little cost justification for printers to set up their own CTP systems, especially when they are only running one or two presses.

    “It costs a lot of money to put in CTP, up to a million dollars. Why would they bother when they can get plates at the prices the trade is offering now.

    “We’re still putting through a lot of film in Darlinghurst but we know we have to go to CTP. This kind of alliance is happening all across the industry.”

    The other partner in the joint venture is Lindsay Yates.

  • Print 21 goes on-line

    Following on from the government-backed industry report, Print 21, which was launched last year, Printing Industries has undertaken the responsibility of implementing its recommendations for better management practices throughout the industry. As part of its media strategy it has initiated the Print 21 media matrix in order to develop an industry-wide communications channel to promote informed dialogue and enhance debate.

    The initiative will deliver an enhanced graphic arts media to the region. You, the reader, are able to subscribe to a quality industry magazine, Print 21, a Niche Media Group title. The periodical will focus on in-depth management and technology features by leading industry commentators and analysts. You can also continue to receive up to the minute news and special offers from industry suppliers through the fortnightly e-mail news bulletin, Print 21 On Line from blueline media.

    According to Gary Donnison, CEO of Printing Industries, the new development represents a quantum leap into the future.

    Printing Industries has chosen to communicate the interests of our members to a broader audience across the industry and across Australia. This joint venture is the first in a number of new initiatives that the industry will see from the Association. For us it represents a more positive and aggressive way of ensuring that we represent the interests of the industry and our members.”

    Patrick Howard is taking on the dual role of Executive Editor of Print 21, the magazine and Publisher/Editor of Print 21 On Line.

    “I look forward to encouraging an active forum that can facilitate the airing and discussion of interests important to every member of the industry. The enhancement of community is the most important role of the media and through the Print 21 media initiative Printing Industries is declaring its intention to provide a focal point for the entire industry.”

    Print 21 On-Line is an enhanced version of the popular Graphics On-line e-mail news service which was launched by blueline media last year. We have changed the layout and the subscription model and over the coming months we will add new functions to make it a better portal for Australian printing and graphic arts industry professionals. All comments, criticism and suggestions are welcome. Correspondence will be entered into.

    Current On Line subscribers will receive discounted subscriptions to Print 21 the magazine from its first issue in February by contacting thoward@bluelinemedia.com

  • ACP makes a move to InDesign

    The announcement that Consolidated Press (ACP), Australia’s largest publishing house is switching to InDesign, gives Adobe over 50 per cent of magazine publishing layout programs, according to Jordan Reizes, Adobe Marketing Manager.

    “ACP publishes over 40 per cent of Australian Magazine which when added to the users we have in Murdoch Magazines and News Limited Magazines takes us over the half way mark,” he said.

    The numbers are important to Adobe as one of the major drawbacks to the adoption of InDesign has been the lack of a skilled user base when compared to industry-standard Quark. The company has now hired a new education segment representative to press the leading colleges to make InDesign at least equal to Quark in the training of design students. Paul Stephens, who rejoices in the title, Development Manager for Education and Anti-Piracy, will be lobbying such design institutions as Enmore School of Design in Sydney, RMIT in Melbourne and Douglas Mawson in Adelaide.

    “If over half the magazine work in Australia is being done on InDesign then it makes sense to turn out designers with a good knowledge of the program. That’s not counting the number of freelancers who have to deal with these companies,” he said.

    The ACP contract is a major win for InDesign, which has battled to establish itself since its launch four years ago. The strategy was always to target the big publishers in the expectation that the rest would follow.

    “Of ACP’s 58 titles, 14 have so far converted to InDesign,” said Michael Mangan, Chief Information Officer of ACP. “Features such as clipping paths are no longer needed with InDesign 2.0, this will save a tremendous amount of time.”

    ACP expects to convert its remaining titles by September 2002.

    The move comes with the launch of InDesign Version 2.0, which was tested by some beta sites in the prepress industry.

    Mike Ditchett from Sydney’s David Graphics said: “We have trialed the InDesign beta V2 with multiple output devices and found the process smooth and without any major issues.”

    Service providers can find more information about outputting InDesign 2.0 from Adobe’s Partner site at http://partners.adobe.com/>

    Version 2.0 introduces editable transparency effects such as drop shadows, table creation, long document support, extensible mark-up language (XML) import/export support and a greatly enhanced printing interface.

    InDesign 2.0 provides native support for Mac OS X and Microsoft Windows XP and tighter integration with other Adobe products such as Acrobat, Illustrator and Photoshop.

    Pricing and Availability
    Adobe InDesign 2.0 is available for an estimated street price of $2,046 (including GST). Estimated street price for education institutions is $611(including GST).

  • Snap Dot Com Sydney closes its doors

    Snap franchisees were given the opportunity to pick the eyes of the Mascot production centre when well known industry consultant Maurice Gilet wound it up last week. The customer list was split in two, with some going to a newly created Snap franchise along with 16 of the original employees. Other customers that did not fit into the franchise model were transferred to SOS Printing, which took another seven. Two more employees found work with Snap Corporate. The remainder were made redundant.

    Apart from the seven DocuTechs, which were transited with their contract arrangements, there was approximately $1 million of equipment sold, mostly to Snap franchisees. The orderly disposal of assets was due in part to the company’s determination to “do the right thing by everybody,” said Gilet.

    “ We also had great cooperation from Printing Industries and the unions. The industry rallied around and we achieved the best result possible. It demonstrates what can be done if people approach these things in the right way.”

    Gilat was hired late last year to run the ruler over the operation and write a report. He stayed around to administer the final rites. He predicts there will be more rationalisation in the industry this year, referring to his agreement with a US study that said there would be 25 per cent less printing companies in existence in two years time.

    According to Grant Vernon, CEO of Snap the closure should be viewed in terms of a reorganisation. The franchise company is not turning its back on the production hub method of printing, but rather on bringing the concept within the operations of its franchise owners.

    “Our business needs to evolve. We’ve significant expansion plans in a number of territories as well as in targeting national accounts where we can add value.”

    Snap Dot Com was the printing franchises’ unhappy venture in production hub printing that cost former CEO Tim Hentke his job and millions of dollars lost in investment. The Sydney business was the final identity of the former Current Knowledge, which grew from the merger of Jackson Printing and Pink Panther.

    Snap Dot Com in Melbourne is still in existence but will be sold as a franchise business, dropping the Dot Com name.