Archive for January, 2004

  • Clancy column . . . the overflow . . . best bits . . .funnies

    First cab off the rank is:

    • Tony Dalleore of MacDermid Graphics who will be there manning the booth of the Australian Flexo Technical Association. Undoubtedly he’ll also be spending some time at the company’s main stand.
    • Graham McKenzie will also be at the show flying the flag for DS Chemport as part of the Fuji Hunt organisation. Nice to see the company maintaining its own regional identity.
    • Jack Cumper from Melbourne will be exhibiting his Emseal technology at Hall 11. Be sure to drop in when you’re passing by.
    • Jason Kent is down as the representative of GSB Chemical, one of our more proactive export oriented companies.
    • Robert Murphy will be here showing Australian software expertise at the Serendipity stand in Hall 8.

    It may not be a huge number but it is good to know that we do produce some products for the worldwide market. I’m sure there are many more who could hold their own against the best in the world if they had a go.

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    It’s not easy representing yourself to an international audience. We’re lucky that English is the world language, so that even at a German press conference most of the business is comprehensible . But spare a thought for the Japanese, German and Italians manufacturers who have to present to a hall full of journalists.

    Clancy’s award for the bravest effort goes to Nobuyuki Hayashi, general manager information products marketing division of Fujifilm, who slowly and carefully, superbly mangled his prepared presentation. He didn’t have to do it but I imagine he felt it demonstrated the company’s commitment to international relations.

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    Mind you, some native English speakers are a bit hard to follow. In listening to the joint English and US presentations one was reminded of Winston Churchill’s comment that American and England were separated by a common language.

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    Clancy came across Andy Tribute at the drupa press conference and was advised of his new information site, Andy’s Blog. There’s no doubt about it the man has forgotten more graphic arts information than most of us will ever learn. Check it out at www.attributes.co.uk/blog

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    If you come to drupa in Dusseldorf in May be sure to bring a wireless card for your laptop or PDA. The Messe (German for fairground) will be transformed into one of the world’s largest wi-fi hotspots, with remote internet access across the entire 17 halls. You buy a card and away you go.

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    As you read this on Thursday the four-day drupa press conference is still going on. Further reports will come your way next week. Meanwhile it’s getting colder in northern Germany and outside the first swirls of snow are filling the sky. Home and sunny warm weather never seemed more attractive.

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    And finally. . . local jokester, Astrid Sweres, kicks off 2004.

    A blonde walked into an electrical store and asked “how much is that TV?”
    The salesman said “we don’t serve blondes.”
    The next day she put on a dark wig and went back to the store and asked the salesman “how much is that TV ?” and the salesman said “we don’t serve blondes.”
    So the next day she put on a red wig and went back and asked the salesman “how much is that TV?” and he said “we don’t serve blondes.”
    Finally she wailed: “OK, what’s going on, I come in as a brunette and as a redhead and you keep on saying you don’t serve blondes. I don’t get it. Why?”
    “Because that’s a microwave….”

  • Industrial sized inkjet press installed at Visy Displays in Melbourne

    The Scitex Vision CORjet machine, which will boost Visy Displays’ product offering, has already enabled the company to expand into new markets, while offering new services to existing clients.

    Maintaining high environmental standards is something that is extremely important to Visy. Sybil Clyne, General Manager of Visy Displays says, “Our aim is to supply our customers with environmentally sound, leading edge, packaging and display solutions. The Scitex Vision CORjet meet these needs, so it was an easy descision. Trials on our 100% recycled clay coated corrugated board proved the best fit to our existing business, and the machine uses water-based inks, which corresponds well with our high profile environmental policies.”

    “The CORjet’s ability to carry out cost effective short runs was a big draw for us, with its automatic feed system proving to be a real benefit. It is perfect for POP, packaging prototypes and print on demand solutions where time is of the essence, it has given us the edge in the area of new product development.”

    Visy Displays’ six-colour CORjet was installed at the end of September 2003 and produced its first commercial job in October.

    “We had previously steered away from fast turn-around, short run work,” says Sybil Clyne, “but the CORjet has opened new doors for us. Now, we are producing an increasing number of bright, colourful merchandisers for in-store promotions of FMCG products for well known national and international brands.”

    Clay-coated corrugated board is a specialty of Visy’s production and the stock is well suited to POP displays because of the high definition and vibrancy of the colours that can be produced. Visy Displays installed a flatbed CAD-operated digital die-cutter alongside the CORjet, so displays and packaging can be quickly scored and die-cut, ready for assembly. The combination of this of state-of-the-art equipment enables fast and economical production of concept mock-ups of displays and packaging.

    “We can show clients an excellent sample of proposed displays very quickly,” Sybil Clyne says. “It’s helped the sales and marketing effort enormously not only for our own sales team but also our clients’.”

    The CORjet is the first digital inkjet press developed for the corrugated market. It can print sheet sizes up to 160 cm x 320 cm (63” x 126”) at a rate of up to 150 m2/hour (1614 sq ft/hr) delivering up to 29 full format sheets per hour in high quality 600dpi “two-pass mode.” The printing process is completely automatic from the high-capacity automatic loader that feeds the print unit, to the dryer and finally to the automatic unloader. The CORjet has 3.8 litre (one gallon) ink reservoirs and so can be run with minimal supervision.

    At the heart of the CORjet is the proprietary Aprion® Technology including the piezoelectric print heads that can be arranged in multiple arrays and a wide range of configurations. The result is a robust system that can deliver more than 25,000 drops per second from each of 512 nozzles on each print head. This not only gives speed, but quality and a stability that ensures repeatability.

  • First drupa for Fujifilm Graphic System Division


    The FujiFilm team at drupa

    A new emphasis on international marketing saw Fujifilm’s top management make the pilgrimage to the drupa press conference. They came to support a broad range of new products to be launched at the show.

    As expected the company’s main focus is on CTP, its focus boltstered by the figure that more than 60 per cent of total plate usage in the European and North American markets is now CTP .

    Thermal plate technology

    Fujifilm was first to introduce a positive thermal plate requiring no pre-heat (Brillia LH-PI) and is now following that up with the LH-PJ, a new generation plate with the benefits of better resistance to chemical attack, UV ink compatibility without post baking, improved scratch resistance and better ink/water balance characteristics. It is also bringing a new newspaper thermal plate, the LH-NN, to market later this year.

    Photopolymer plate technology

    Fujifilm’s new Luxel B2 violet platesetter being exhibited at drupa will be running the visible light photopolymer plate, Brillia LP-NV. It is being promoted as providing high productivity and quality with consistency at an affordable cost.

    Processless plate technology

    Fujifilm will release a ‘technology announcement’ concerning processless plates at drupa. The company shrugged off comparisons with the KPG announcement of the commercial availability of its processless thermal plate, merely saying the development of processless plate technologies continues.

    Colour Management System (CMS)

    Fujifilm is developing its own CMS based on its colour evaluation experience in the fields of reversal film development and laboratory colour print technology. It is based on a RGB workflow and the strategy is to develop a Digital Master Image as a standardised colour management technology.

    Other releases from Fujifilm

    A new Fujifilm FM screening solution, designed to image on both thermal and photopolymer plates, will also be launched at drupa. And in keeping with the JDF theme of the show there will be a new generation of the Celebra Extreme PDF digital printing, digital proofing and CTP workflow system. The new products will introduce a range of JDF functionality and offer a Mac OS X interface.

  • Industrial inkjet from dotrix at drupa

    Taking pains to position the company’s market as outside the normal commercial printing space, Rob Haak, ceo of dotrix, claimed that inkjet, and specifically drop on demand imaging, was the future of printing. Targeting production printers who print with industrial inks on substrates that require high throughput and short runs at 24 meters a minute, the dotrix printing system is not sold as a standalone imaging setup but as part of some manufacturing or converting process i.e. label converting or packaging.

    At present the base technology used in the .factory, SPICE (single pass inkjet colour engine), is being used as an OEM mainly by Mark Andy in its flexo-inkjet label press range. There are four of these lines running throughout the world. Apart from labels the main target markets are point of purchase and decorative printing. dotrix is also investigating how its UV-curable inks can be used in security printing.

    Although it will remain as a standalone division of Agfa with its own location in the Belgian city of Ghent, dotrix can expect its new owner will seek to expand the market segments it operates in. As the latest in a long line of inkjet and digital printing involvements, Agfa sees the dotrix acquisition as its re-entry into the broader printing market.
    “dotrix will allow us to take a position in the markets of digital printing and to gain larger access to industrial printing niches,” said Albert Follens, board member and general manager of Agfa Graphic Systems.

    Capable of single pass colour printing at 907 square metres per hour at 300 dpi in widths of up to 63 cm wide, the .factory will be seen at drupa in a stand-alone roll-to-roll version as well as with the integration of a jumbo unwinder and sheet cutter. There will also be significant developments to the software and construction of the .factory aimed at improving its stability and quality. The developments include a new UV curing unit, software developments including Pantone matching capabilities as well as extended portfolios of substrates and inks. These will enhance its suitability for key industrial print markets such as the packaging, display signs and decorative sectors.

    Agfa announced on January 5 that it had reached agreement with Barco to acquire the 75 staff dotrix for around Euro 6 million.

  • Screen has 11 new products for drupa

    In keeping with the JDF focus of drupa 2004 much of Screen’s concentration is on improving and expanding its Trueflownet business environment. The new modules are:

    • Trueflow 3.0 workflow
    • Ritecontrol, print manager
    • Riteonline, a web browser-based online print ordering system
    • Riteportal, for online PDF creation
    • Ritetransfer, a communication portal for file transfer from the Trueflow system
    • Riteapprove, a remote proofing service

    The system is designed to be a highly-automated print ordering and production workflow system.

    New plate systems from Screen

    As you would expect Screen, as one of the leading manufacturers of CTP systems, is bringing new platemaking systems to the show. The three devices are:

    • a 30mW version of the Plate Rite Micro, its B3 violet machine
    • a brand new 16-page large format platemaker, the PlateRite Ultima 1600
    • and a new high-speed model in the PlateRite Ultima series, the 32000

    New direct-image offset press, TruePress 344

    The most intriguing of Screens new products is the TruePress 344, a thermal imaging DI press to replace the original visible light TrueFlow 544. The automated press is unique in its claim to automatically adjust not only the ink coverage but also the water levels. It scans every 6th printed sheet to ensure it is in accordance with the original calibration and adjusts the ink/water balance accordingly.

    The press uses a thermal imaging head on a processless flexible plate, the name of which has yet to be announced as the manufacturer has not yet launched the plate.

    Targeted at the small commercial printer wanting to get into digital imaging, the TruePress 344 allows them to continue using the same ink and paper. It has a maximum printing speed of 7,000A3+sheets per hour and is rated as being able to produce a 500 sheet single-sided job from start to finish in less than 15 minutes. The make-ready time of five minutes is achieved by a combination of a high-speed 830nm MALD (multiple array laser diode) with the new processless plate technology.

    The previous TrueFlow press was not made available by the local Screen organisation in Australia and New Zealand. It remains to be seen if the new improved version will be enough to tempt Gary Seidl to enter the DI printing market.

  • Heidelberg to mirror-image customer reality

    The era of the stand-alone component is gone and being faster, higher, stronger is no longer the goal. Flexibility, efficiency and the most economic solutions are what customers need and what Heidelberg will concentrate on at drupa.

    In a fairly circumspect presentation on Monday, Schreier (pictured) laid out the company’s plans for drupa, reaffirming that Heidelberg will again be the largest exhibitor there occupying two halls, while not revealing any of the new products to be shown. He sounded a cautionary note warning that drupa, while undoubtedly a prestigious event, “isn’t a guaranteed triumph. Success won’t just fall into our laps.”

    Heidelberg will present various solution models to ensure visitors can enter the segment that best suits their situation. “Our goal, and this is especially true in the current climate, is to return our customers’ businesses to profitability,” he said.

    The solutions relate to different market segments; industrial print, packaging print, commercial print, commercial web, and variable data print. Heidelberg continues to present itself as the only supplier able to provide integrated solutions across the broad industry spectrum.

    In keeping with the JDF theme of the show he singled out Prinect, the Heidelberg workflow control system, as one of the most important elements in the presentation. “There is a lot of talk about increasing productivity and reliability in production. We will be demonstrating how this talk can be translated into action,” he said.

    He pointed out that a new version of the company’s process and production control workflow, Prinect Print Ready was released a few weeks ago and promised more innovations in a similar vein at drupa. The company has released details of a number of new drupa products, such as the Speedmaster 102 www.print21online.com/index.cfm?pageid=feature&id=9 and Schreier made the point that the tradition of maintaining secrecy on new products until show time was now almost entirely abandoned by manufacturers eager to steal a march on the competition.

    He did confirm what Heidelberg would not be showing at drupa; no newspaper presses. This is in line with the continuing negotiations with unnamed parties on the future of the company’s web division. And on the progress of that matter and on the fate of its digital interests, he was also silent, only confirming that talks were going on and “that we will make the appropriate decisions by the end of our fiscal year in March 2004, in good time for drupa.”

  • KPG signs to buy the graphic arts division of RealTimeImage

    The addition of the online monitor proofing and production facilitator expands KPG’s declared role of building bridges to new technologies. It fits in well with the previous acquisitions of Imation and the Mitsubishi Diamond Plate in one of the broadest product portfolios in the industry.

    RealTimeImage is the leading remote proofing and collaborative system based out of San Francisco. It enables product development and production cooperation across remote sites along the entire process. It is distributed and promoted in Australia and New Zealand by CyraChrome www.cyrachrome.com.au

    In an upbeat, bullish presentation at Dusseldorf, Jeff Jacobson, ceo, warned against over-promoting the technology advances promised for this drupa. Nominating the 1984 introduction of the Apple Mac, which was the birth of PostScript, along with the 1995 development of the Internet, as defining moments, he maintained that most of the subsequent industry gains have come from incremental developments. “Real revolutions don’t come around very often,” he said.

    The no-process thermal plate finally arrives

    At this drupa KPG will launch its Thermal Direct Non Process Plate, its first attempt to produce what many see as the natural development of CTP technology. The new plate is targeted at small to medium-sized commercial printers who will benefit most from eliminating the storage, use and disposal of processing chemicals. Getting rid of the processing stage also cuts make-ready time.

    Suitable for imaging on standard CTP devices, the Thermal Direct plate does not need a debris removal system. The company claims it is also compatible with a wide range of inks and fountain solutions, including alcohol and most alcohol substitutes. It is capable of print runs of up to 75,000 impressions and can hold 1% to 98% dots at 200 lpi and is suitable for use with FM screening. The pre-sensitised aluminium can be handled in daylight environments for up to one hour or in yellow light environments for up to four hours.

    Monitor proofing for the pressroom

    The KPG Matchprint Virtual Press Side proofing system to be launched at drupa, allows virtual proofing to extend beyond agencies, creatives and prepress to the print shop floor. Operating through a web browser at www.matchprintvirtual.com it puts the printer into the approval loop.

    The system is currently in beta testing in the USA and is designed for medium to large commercial printers. “With Matchprint Virtual Press Side System, the pressman benefits from being able to view the same Matchprint Virtual proof that the customer has approved whilst the job is on the press,” said Doug Edwards, vice president of research and business development. He said there will be an integration of RealTimeImage into the system.

    The system uses KPG colour calibration software, including the new Color Fidelity Module, with a high-end customised and colour accurate monitor, controlled lighting and proprietary ICC-based colour management.

    Worldwide launch of the KPG Color Fidelity System

    The new KPG colour management system for printing and publishing is composed of three modules designed to provide easy, high quality colour transformation of digital images and ensure predictable colour from image capture to print and digital media. It is complementary to most popular graphic arts software and is designed to deal with the increasing number of RGB images coming into the process.

    * Module 1. – Automated conversion to a selected colour space. Profiling and conversion camera and scanner software.
    * Module 2. – Dynamic visualisation during colour editing. A colour calibrated workstation with soft-proofing using industry-standard tools.
    * Module 3. – Accurate conversion of pages with ROOM (Rip once output many) A RIP that enables colour accurate flattening of pages and conversion of images and pages using preset settings for printing such as SWOP to SNAP.

    “The system will help customers overcome issues of cost, quality, efficiency and consistency,” said Edwards.

  • Live from Dusseldorf – drupa 2004 technology agenda

    In front of almost 100 trade journalists from around world, the organising committee of drupa 2004 fired the first shots in a campaign to attract a targeted 350,000 visitors to the ‘Olympics’ of the printing and graphic arts industries. Coming hard on the heels of one of the most severe economic downturns ever to affect the industry, this year’s drupa is a more pragmatic and down-to-earth event than the hoopla of the millennium show in 2000.

    After waking with a hangover from the dot com euphoria of that time, the printing and graphic arts industry this time around is not looking for any ‘magic bullets’ to transform the grim reality of shrinking markets, increased competition from other media and the massive consolidation being forced on it by price wars and over capacity. Technology is no longer considered the holy grail of success; business requires solutions to real life problems that are not always amenable to the installation of another piece of expensive hardware.

    Which is why this drupa is being termed the JDF show. Job Definition Format is a standard for process automation in the graphic arts. It’s not a product, a piece of heavy metal or shrink-wrapped software. The definition that the organisers of drupa 2004 favour, is that JDF provides a standard language for collecting and preserving data about a print job throughout its life cycle; includes a command and control language that allows workflow or MIS systems to drive individual devices on the shop floor; and provides a methodology for automating business and production workflows.

    JDF is the responsibility of the CIP4 Organization www.CIP4.org and there is a special JDF Parc at drupa where the organisers are putting on a major educational push to dispel the uncertainties about what JDF is and does. All the major equipment manufacturers at drupa 2004 are promoting the JDF compatibility of their workflows, the integration of their equipment and their commitment to providing flexible end-to-end solutions, either alone or in concert with others to the production problems facing the industry.

    There’s not a lot of money in JDF for manufacturers but it is the next essential stage in the workflow evolution that is gradually transforming the graphic arts into a computer integrated manufacturing industry.

    Ironically the lack of focus on hardware may be just the reason why the industry will turn out to visit this year’s show. What is changing is the way work is done and at drupa the opportunity is there to explore the real time linkages between the different parts of the process. The continuing schism promoted by the formation by Creo of Network Graphics Production (NGP) and supported by a substantial list of companies with the aim to speed up the development of JDF, will add considerable interest to the developments. Heidelberg, Screen and Agfa are among a number of companies that are declining to participate, preferring to remain supportive of the CIP4 Organization.

    Print City, the alliance of companies that operates on the philosophy that no one supplier can provide the best end-to-end production solution, will be pushing the linkage of JDF between its partners’ equipment in Hall 9 at drupa.

    JDF is not a done deal and drupa will provide an opportunity to gauge just how far its development has come. What is certain is that it is the future of the industry and everyone needs to be aware of how it is going to change the business of printing.

    This is the 13th drupa and its organisers are facing uncertain times along with the rest of us. It is a tribute to the show’s central role in the industry that despite the hard times it is a sold out show with 160,024 square meters filling the 17 massive halls of Messe Dusseldorf. This time around there are 1,635 exhibitors from 50 countries (including five from Australia), down from the 1,943 in 2000. The organisers explain the decrease in numbers as a result of the amalgamations that are a continuing feature of the industry in recent years, although they recognise that many have simply disappeared, victims of the harsh conditions since the millennium.

    This will not be a revolutionary drupa, there will be no spectacular new imaging technology to amaze and awe, and the industry may be all the better for it. This is an evolutionary time and its effects are likely to be significant and permanent. The landscape of the printing and graphic arts industry is changing considerably, and drupa 2004 will be a good place to get a clear view of the road ahead.

  • Clancy column . . . the overflow . . . best bits . . .funnies

    Sandra joins HAN from Fuji Xerox where she has worked for the past 15 years in a variety of roles including: Copy Service Agent, Sales Executive – Strategic Account Management, Production Specialist and most recently Graphic Arts Specialist/Area Sales Manager.

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    Oh it’s a glamorous and uproarious night. This year’s 21st National Print Awards at Sydney’s Darling Harbour on 19 March, will be presented by gorgeous TV face Sandra Sully and funny man Vince Sorrenti.

    Being true professionals the two of them are sure to make it to the stage on time, unlike many of the entrants who needed an extension of the deadline for entries. Yesterday’s delayed cut-off saw so many latecomers that officials were unable to give an accurate number of entries.

    If you want to be there on the night contact Marika Jones on 03. 9819 6144

    For more information on the NPA visit www.nationalprintawards.com.au/Home/index.htm

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    Not only is Creo getting into the printing plate business but in the US it is also selling Xerox printing machines. Under the agreement Creo will resell Xerox’s mid-range and entry-level production colour digital presses.

    Although the agreement does not extend to Australia and New Zealand expect the close cooperation between the two companies to increase as Creo supplies the Spire DFE for the iGen3, the first of which machines are due here in the first half of the year.

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    Deadlines never rest and if you’re a young design creative looking to make a good career move, don’t miss out on the February 29 cutoff for Agfa’s Young Creatives Competition. Check it out at www.agfa.com/aycc/2003
    Winners will be announced in mid-March.

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    You sometimes forget that there are alternatives to Adobe’s graphic arts software. One of the most venerable is the CorelDraw Graphics suite, which is now in version 12. Due to be released in February it has three integrated graphics applications, plus a collection of other useful tools and utilities all in one box. The new suite includes CorelDraw 12 for illustration, page-layout and vector drawing; Corel Photo-Paint 12 for professional digital imaging; and Corel R.A.V.E. 3 for motion-graphics creation. Competition is a good thing – it keeps everyone honest.

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    Maybe it has something to do with its ceo, but Xerox was named one of the top 30 companies for executive women to work in by the National Association for Female Executives, a US association for women professionals and business owners. Companies selected must demonstrate at least two women on the board of directors, an increasing number of women in senior management, programs that groom women for upper management, flexi time and other initiatives. NAFE also considers the number of women with profit and loss responsibility.

    “During its stunning turnaround, Xerox continued to emphasize women’s advancement, and today has women in positions integral to revenue-generation and bringing new technologies to market,” said Dr. Betty Spence, president of the NAFE. Xerox’s Ceo is the very impressive Anne Mulcahy who has turned around the once-moribund giant, narrowly avoiding the rocks.

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    Expect some serious competition for all kinds of printing contracts to come out of Thailand in the near future, The Sinsakhon Printing City, the world’s first dedicated printing industrial estate outside Bangkok is now officially under construction. Participating printers and publishers are cleared for 100% direct foreign investment, tax exemptions for up to eight years and from import tax on equipment and raw materials for two years. The US$77 million government-backed project is designed to make Thailand the region’s printing powerhouse.
    Clancy will be keeping his good eye on this story.

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    And finally, to start off 2004 at a level we intend to continue i.e. bad and getting worse.

    Two goats were walking in the Hollywood Hills when they came across a can of film.

    The first goat got stuck in and ate the film with obvious relish.

    “How did you like it?” asked the other.

    “Not bad, but I liked the book better,” said the first.

  • Association re-locates to member heartland

    The association moved its headquarters last week to a new two-storey building at 25 South Parade, Auburn, in the heart of Sydney’s western suburbs major population centre. Printing Industries national president, Chris Segaert, said the move provided a significant increase in floor space and parking facilities.

    “The new two storey building was bought by Printing Industries to provide better and more convenient training and meeting facilities for the industry,” he said. “The high cost of city parking, increased cost of building maintenance, levies and other related overheads made the CBD an increasingly expensive proposition.

    “The Auburn building is new with minimal overheads, has 23 on-site parking spaces and is adjacent to Auburn railway station. It is a far more convenient location for members to attend training courses and briefings and the various activities staged by our affiliated associations.”

    He said Printing Industries would be putting a new emphasis on training and employee relations services in 2004. This included investigation of Internet based training delivery.

    “The additional space will allow us to set up better facilities for member companies in a more accessible location. Our facilities include additional meeting rooms, extensive kitchen and outdoor facilities. Technology equipment needs are also being reviewed,” he said.

    “Our historic books collection dating back over several centuries, including the replica Gutenberg Bible display, will now have a permanent, secure and publicly accessible home.”

    Members are invited to visit the new offices on completion of the fit-out currently underway.

    The Auburn location is also the registered office of the Label & Tag Manufacturers Association (LATMA) Australia and LATMA NSW; the Screenprinting and Graphic Imaging Association of Australia (SGIAA) and SGIAA NSW; NSW Junior Printing Executives Association (JPE); Community Newspapers Australia (CNA); Lithographic Institute of Australia (LIA) and Printing Industries Credits.

    Contact details are:

    25 South Parade, Auburn NSW 2144

    Ph: 02. 8789 7300
    Fax: 02. 8789 7387

    Postal address: PO Box 234 Auburn NSW 1835.

    All e-mail contacts remain unchanged.

  • FedEx buys Kinko’s for US$2.4 billion

    Although Kinko’s does not having a major presence in Australia where it has ten stores – three in Melbourne and seven in Sydney – it operates 1,200 stores worldwide mostly in the US. It is known for pioneering the 24-hour seven-day a week operation printing and production business model, although only a third of its stores operate at this level.

    The local operation says it is still too early to say what effect the FedEx takeover will have apart from increasing the number of drop-off points for customers. FedEx started to operate an Australian air courier service out of Sydney in 1998.

    Internationally the takeover is seen as a go-ahead for Kinko’s, formerly a $2 billion turnover privately held company based in Dallas, to significantly expand its number of locations.

    “Kinko’s successful transformation from traditional copy centre operator into a global, digitally-connected provider of an array of valuable business services reflects the outstanding efforts of the company’s exceptionally talented leadership team and team members,” said George Tamke, chairman of Kinko’s.

    “The FedEx and Kinko’s combination will substantially increase our retail presence worldwide and will enable both companies to take advantage of growth opportunities in the fast-moving digital economy,” said Frederick Smith, chairman, president and chief executive officer of FedEx Corp. “Our two companies share a similar background, culture and customer focus, and that common ground is extremely important as we prepare for future growth and success.”

    FedEx runs services to 215 countries worldwide.

  • Kick off for Kwik Kopy printing awards

    The awards, which were judged last week, attracted 56 entries from the 106 Kwik Kopy stores around the nation and the winner, who is yet to be announced, has been entered into the National Print Awards. The competition is designed to promote the perception that the franchise stores are more than copy centres.


    Pictured are the industry judges with Kwik Kopy staff (left to right) Belinda Grimaldi, Edwards Dunlop Paper; Steve Dunwell, Currie & Co; Connie Mason. Kwik Kopy; Reto Ambuhl, Fuji Xerox; John Post and Sue Waite, Kwik Kopy; and Greg Grace, Heidelberg.

    According to Connie Mason, general manager, Kwik Kopy, the high standard of entries laid to rest any question mark concerning the quality of printing at the franchise stores.

    “The Awards demonstrate the high calibre of colour and design work which is being produced by our centres. This supports the key message that we are communicating to our customers – that Kwik Kopy Printing Centres have the skills to do more than just copy,” she said. “We are proud of the calibre of the entries and congratulate our winners. Awards such as these help create awareness of the level of professionalism that exists today throughout our network.”

    The winners will be announced in February at a series of interstate award functions.

    In making their decisions the judges commented:

    • “There was a very broad range of entries for the Print Awards and the majority of them were excellent. Only a small number had faults and perhaps shouldn’t have entered but overall the quality was great and the range and diversity was quite exceptional.” Steve Dunwell, State Manager NSW/ACT, Currie & Co.
    • “There were a number of different categories and more colour work than I expected. Judging would have been quite difficult if it hadn’t been such a strong team effort. The standard of entries was very impressive.” Belinda Grimaldi, Account Manger at Edwards Dunlop Paper.
    • “The standard was very good. The entries in the Spot Colour category stood out as they were of extremely high quality. The digital category was a little disappointing, but overall a fantastic effort.” Reto Ambuhl, Business Manager of Strategic Account, Xerox.
    • “The quality of the entries was excellent, quite unbelievable. The high standard is a compliment to the franchisees. It’s a fantastic step forward for the quick print industry.” Greg Grace, Manager of the Print Media Academy, Heidelberg.
  • Countdown to Düsseldorf – a Bottcher drupa update

    16 of the main graphic arts manufacturers including Heidelberg, Xerox, Canon and MAN Roland are launching their drupa campaigns at a special event in Düsseldorf.

    The event signals the start of Print21Online’s in-depth coverage of the major graphic arts trade show with editor Patrick Howard making the trip to report on what the industry can expect in technical innovation.

    Next week’s issue of Print21Online will be live from Düsseldorf.

    The preview event will focus on the new products and developing technologies, with company CEO’s laying out the market trends they see as shaping the industry. Already this drupa is set to introduce a record number of new products for the printing and graphic arts industries.

    Not all the main manufacturers are taking part in the preview sessions with the third largest press manufacturer KBA choosing instead to play its cards close to its chest. However the company has announced that it will be launching and operating a new 16pp Compacta heatset web press at the show. In a press release it says, the new press will target the high end of the 16pp market and complement the 1997-vintage Compacta 215 – the world’s first shaftless commercial press – which has carved out a sizeable share of the mid-range performance market.

    Australian and New Zealand drupa interests running high

    Travel companies are reporting a high level of interest for tickets to drupa. Marty Knespal of Eastern Suburbs Travel says he has almost sold out of rooms in the centre of Düsseldorf. He reports that those who are intending to take advantage of group travel fares have until February 4 to confirm their places.

    He is holding tickets for 4 May, 11 May, 12 May or 19 May 2004 – Sydney or Melbourne to Frankfurt – but they are going fast. Contact Marty on estclovelly@optusnet.com.au for more information on some great deals and to make a booking.

  • Agfa $9 million bid to get back into digital printing

    The Euro 6 million deal marks a re-entry for the company into digital printing. Agfa had two previous involvements with digital printing; with the Xeikon-based Chromapress, which it terminated in 2000, and with digital inkjet as a development partner with UK-based Xaar for its Page-Wide Array, which it also cancelled.

    “This acquisition fits in our growth strategy for Graphic Systems,” said Albert Follens, member of Agfa’s Board of Management and General Manager of Graphic Systems. “dotrix will allow us to take a position in the market of digital printing and to gain larger access to industrial printing niches such as decoration, packaging and security printing.”

    dotrix employs approximately 75 staff and its turnover in 2003 is estimated at close to 5 million Euros. “We are excited to be part of the world’s largest pre-press company, said Rob Haak, CEO of dotrix. “End-users will benefit from new product offerings and extended services, which will lead to increased customer satisfaction. With improved time-to-market and Agfa’s recognized brand name we expect to rapidly expand our customer base.”

    dotrix’s printing solutions consist of a high-speed full-colour industrial digital press (the.factory – the dot factory) based on inkjet technology and UV inks, a raster image processor for driving the digital press and workflow software to support the different applications.

    “We fully recognise the value of dotrix’s innovative developments in inkjet technology”, added Jan Van Daele, head of Agfa Imaging Solutions, “We are planning to add the experience and skillset of the dotrix staff to our own internal expertise in imaging. Consistent print quality requires a balanced integration of print engine, printing ink and substrates. We believe that this acquisition will give us a maximum synergy to offer cost-effective digital printing solutions in rapidly growing applications, such as packaging, label printing, decoration, object printing and security.”

    Founded in September 2001, dotrix NV is a spin-off from Barco NV, located in Ghent. As a start-up company, dotrix has developed prepress solutions for security and decorative printing applications along with industrial printing workflow systems in various market segments.

  • Industry summit at Canberra highlight of PMA

    Leading politicians and industry figures will attend the Print Summit as part of the nation-wide celebrations of print and the printing industry planned by the Printing Industries Association of Australia.

    “We are determined to highlight the benefits and the vitality of our industry to the government and the country at large,’ said Gary Donnison, ceo Printing Industries. “Print Month Australia is a platform for all members of the industry to bring their activities to the notice of local communities and national business groups.

    “Our industry is world-class, and makes a significant contribution to the national economy. We want that to be recognised by the community and the politicians that represent it.”

    “This is the first time that we have attempted to market the industry to the outside world. We want to see the ‘power of print’ recognised, and to reach out to young people about the opportunities that are available in the industry.”

    The organisers of PMA are currently drawing up a calendar of printing and graphic arts events around the country and are seeking ideas and support from all sectors. Exhibitions of printing, open houses, educational initiatives and promotional events are all planned.

    Suppliers, as well as printing companies, are encouraged to join in and display the distinctive PMA logo. “It’s a time for everyone to contribute to the successful presentation of the industry,” said Andy McCourt, one of the organisers. “I’m asking everyone to participate in whatever way they can to make Print Month Australia a great success.”

    Contact Andy on andy@mccourtconsult.com

  • Paper converters merge Brisbane businesses

    PACTS Paper is the new fifty-fifty joint venture taking over the goodwill and other intellectual property of each existing business with effect from 1 March 2004. With turnover exceeding $20 million, the new business will employ 60+ staff (initially at its two existing sites in Brisbane). The entity will be one of Australia’s largest manufacturers of plain and printed paper roll products, including thermal and bond point of sale and calculator rolls, facsimile rolls and computer listing paper.

    According to a joint press release the merger will enable both entities to more quickly develop their products, pricing and services for the benefit of customers, suppliers, employees and shareholders.

    Shop-A-Docket has signed an exclusive supply agreement for the new entity to produce its printed advertising and blank rolls for its supermarket and variety store customers for the next two years. The primary Shop-A-Docket advertising and Hotdockets Internet businesses, operated by Shop-A-Docket, will be otherwise unaffected by this transaction.

  • Worldwide Online Printing set to double sites in Victoria

    The combination of new stores and existing print/copy shops will see Worldwide add to its existing four sites in Victoria with more to come, according to Clive Denholm, ceo. “We’re focused on increasing our presence in Victoria in the first half of the year. There’s been a very good response to a series of advertisements we ran in The Age over the past few months.”

    Worldwide Online Printing is the WA-based pioneer franchiser in the hub printing business model that is currently being adopted by other printing groups. It operates 54 stores Australia-wide, opening two new stores in recent weeks; the conversion of an existing printing company in Adelaide and a new greenfield site in Gosford, New South Wales.

    The hub and spoke franchise model operates by having minimal capital investment in the outlets with a high-speed data network to centralised offset printing hubs in capital cities. Onsite digital printing, usually using Fuji Xerox equipment, combined with remote offset back-up allows each outlet to provide a large range of quality printed products without the huge capital investment in printing machinery.

    According to Denholm the group owes its success to strong management and marketing support coupled with benchmarking between sites. This has lead to strong ongoing improvement of the model.

    “As the printing market consolidates the advantage of group marketing and buying power will certainly play an important part in running a successful business. Worldwide is interested in talking to small to medium size print/copy shops about joining its network.”

    Clive Denholm can be contacted on 0407 454 468.