Archive for February, 2004

  • The old and the new – Leipzig Museum at drupa 2004

    A drupa update brought to you by

    Setting up an old fashioned printing shop among the powerful new equipment of the 21st century they will conjure up the atmosphere particular to the world of work characterised by handicrafts – the scent of oil, paper and printer’s ink.

    And the guests from Leipzig, the tradition-steeped city of books and publishing, will be bringing with them all manner of interesting exhibits related to the “black art” of printing – lead types and wooden letters, for example, which document how even centuries ago printers used ingenious ideas and clever techniques to simplify their craft. A small selection of setting and casting machines will also be on display in an area of roughly 200 square metres in Hall 4, alongside hand, platen and cylinder printing presses.

    Visitors can also try their hand at the presses – at least on the smaller machines, where postcards or aphorisms can be printed. The cylinder press will be operated by the museum printers and will produce sample copies of some of the most important and enduring typefaces – something which the museum has in great abundance.

    Students and, of course, anyone else interested will have the opportunity to gain an insight into the full spectrum of fonts created over the last 200 years and trace the changes each style wrought. This is a one-off opportunity to see lead types up close, to let some of the fascinating aura surrounding printing and the printed word rub off, and relive the Gutenberg legend.

    A nostalgic visit to the origins of the “black art” is sure to provide an interesting diversion alongside the cutting-edge innovations in print, media, publishing & converting that will be on show in the halls of the Düsseldorf Trade Fair Center.

    The Leipzig Museum for Print Art is one of the most multifaceted institutions of its kind. Spread across four floors, it displays manual types, mechanical types, presses as well as binders. Even a type foundry is on hand, and still in working order – a real rarity! From craftsmen’s tools to the sophisticated technology used in modern printing in the latter half of the 20th century, the entire spectrum of equipment is represented in every phase at the museum by operational machines. It just goes to show what human ingenuity and intelligent engineering are capable of achieving.

    If you are thinking of going to drupa better be quick as accomodation is filling fast. Contact:

    Marty Knespal
    Eastern Suburbs Travel
    phone: 02. 9388 0666
    Free call: 1800 634 714
    estclovelly@optusnet.com.au

    ABN 30 361 883 217 and Travel Agents Licence No. 2TA003353

    Crown Travel
    phone: 03. 9598 4211
    Free call: 1800 808 809
    info@crowntravel.com.au

    ABN 14067981168 and Travel Agents Licence No 31972

  • Agfa outlines strategies at pre-drupa conference in Belgium

    Albert Follens, Director Graphic Systems and member of the board, (pictured) opened the event by reinforcing the company’s goal to be the industry’s preferred partner for prepress products and services, and vigorously help promote the power of print.
    “We will be there to provide customers with the means to innovate and grow profitably by making the printed medium more competitive,” Follens said. “We will also provide the global digital infrastructure to integrate and manage processes and data from content creator to delivery.”

    Among the new products Agfa is launching in 2004 are several new violet laser and thermal platesetters. Among them, a new entry-level system called :Acento, a 4-up thermal system. Also new for 2004 is a manual version of the popular violet 4-up :Palladio, more powerful 8-up :Galileo and :Palladio systems, and faster :Xcalibur 45 and VLF thermal systems.

    New processles plate

    Additionally, Agfa announced it is launching a new chemistry-free plate, :Azura, which will be available before drupa.

    “The ideal processless plate does not exist today. So, instead of spending years showing you theoretically processless plates, we have decided to launch :Azura. It is real and it works, and it offers a true growth path towards a truly processless plate,” said Theo De Keersmaecker, Agfa’s director, CtP systems.

    Agfa’s :Azura is an aluminium plate that uses a physical rather than a chemical process to provide high quality, thermal imaging. Based on the same, proven technology that is used in Agfa’s :Thermolite Plus plates, :Azura is a non-ablative plate that offers very wide exposure latitude, very wide press latitude and run lengths of up to 100,000 impressions.

    While in normal thermal plates, a latent image is formed during plate imaging, which then needs to be processed chemically to produce a lithographic image, :Azura plate imaging requires a clean-out or gumming step of non-image areas only. The plates offer excellent robustness for pressroom handling.

    worflow rules with :ApogeeX Version 2.0.

    “Agfa has the best line-up of workflow products in the industry and the new releases for drupa will only serve to make it better,” said Garry Muratore, Oceania Marketing Manager.(pictured)

    On the workflow side, Agfa launched version 2.0 of its workflow software, :ApogeeX. The latest release focuses primarily on system scalability and load distribution of process intensive tasks. It also comes with new connectivity features such as drivers for new Agfa and non-Agfa CtF and CtP imaging devices as well as proofers.

    Agfa also announced the latest version of its web-enabled product management software solution, :Delano, which will be used in all PrintCity Print factories at Drupa, in May. PrintCity, an alliance of independent graphic arts technology providers, will show Drupa visitors how to improve the print manufacturing process by delivering complete solutions in an open-systems architecture.

  • Big end of town digs deep for PacPrint 05

    In the face of enthusiastic supplier interest in larger stands, the PacPrint board has ditched the idea of having a bare bones, booth-style exhibition in favour of old style ‘throw everything you’ve got at ‘em’ showtime.

    “We took the idea out for a spin in an effort to help keep down exhibitors’ stand construction costs,” explained Ron Patterson, Chairman of the Board for PacPrint 05, “But the major exhibitors were not in favour of limiting the design scope of the exhibits and as a result the Board determined to allow multi-storey stands as has been the case in the past. No doubt we will be seeing some truly innovative stands which is always exciting for visitors.”

    He said that response from the major suppliers has been tremendous, with, for instance, both IPP Print & Pack and Canon taking significantly larger stands than at previous shows.

    “The board is extremely pleased with the response from industry to the next PacPrint which promises to once again deliver a spectacular event. Space bookings and applications from almost 80 organisations represent over 70 percent of the target size. With over 15 months left before the exhibition opens in Melbourne this is a tremendous result. Visitors to PacPrint can expect to see the cream of the industry displaying the latest technology, solutions and equipment available.”

    In addition to the exhibits, PacPrint 05 will feature a dedicated workshop area where a high calibre seminar programme will be mounted in support of the industry’s move to promote further education and grow its knowledge base. All seminars and educationals will be complimentary.

    Changes at the Helm
    In February the PacPrint Board farewelled Exhibition Director, Tony Farrington who has retired. Brian Bradford, former chairman of Reed Exhibitions, has taken up the helm.

    Norm Lembke of Reed Exhibitions, who was account manager on PacPrint, is also on the move and has handed over the reins to Thurain Aye, who is contactable for stand applications on 02 9422 2472.

    About PacPrint 05
    Spanning five days, PacPrint05 will bring the world of printing and graphic technologies to Melbourne and is once again anticipated to fill the halls of the Melbourne Exhibition and Convention Centre.

    Presented by the Graphic Arts Merchants Association of Australia (GAMAA), and the Printing Industries Association of Australia (PIAA), PacPrint 05 will provide the industry with access to the latest technologies, solutions, services, equipment and products.

  • Six GAMAA scholarships for 2004

    Dr. David Rands, President of the Graphic Arts Merchants Association of Australia (GAMAA) said that the 2004 recipients represented the diverse market segments that comprise the printing and graphics technologies industry.

    “These students come from a broad range of businesses spanning traditional print producers through to digital solutions and book publishers demonstrating the complex matrix that is today’s industry,” he said. “On behalf of GAMAA I congratulate the successful 2004 scholarship recipients who were once again chosen from a high calibre of applicants and wish them well with their studies.”.

    The successful recipients for 2004 are:

    • Sean Budden, Independent Consultant
    • Troy Cavanagh, Imagebox Group
    • Paul Dennett, Wilcom Pty Ltd
    • Lisa Hanrahan, Random House Publishing
    • Maria Nordstrom, Fuji Xerox
    • Steven Strang, DMC Direct Print Solutions

    The GAMAA Education Scholarship Programme provides middle to senior managers working in the printing and graphic technologies industries with an opportunity to advance their leadership and business management skills. An integral element of the programme is the series of residential workshops.

    “Our 2003 students have said the workshop component enhances their formal studies and enables them to think outside the square and develop practical ways of implementing what they have learned. Content for the workshops will continue to evolve in 2004 and will provide not only the scholarship students, but the broader industry, with a unique, interactive, educational resource,” said Dr. Rands.

    The 2004 students will join the continuing 2003 scholarship recipients in attending the two compulsory residential workshops which will also be offered to the industry.
    There are limited places still available for the leadership workshops:

    Thinking Strategically to be held at the Melbourne Business School from Friday 26th to Sunday 28th March, 2004 inclusive. Modern business, regardless of industry, is all about alliances, customer relationships, supply chain management, and understanding and leveraging the value of products and services – it is about understanding “the Game of Business”.

    This workshop seeks to develop participants’ skills in identifying potential new opportunities outside their normal scope of thinking, together with building “the brand” of both their businesses and themselves.

    Developing Leadership to be held in Sydney from Friday 27th to Sunday 29th August, 2004 inclusive. Doing business successfully in the 21st century is largely dependent on working with people. This workshop will explore the fundamental nature of leadership as a core component of management within an organisation, from leading the customer service and sales team, to working with regional and national teams.

    Participants will enhance their skills in managing teams, further understanding mindsets of power, facilitating organisational learning and leveraging the mechanics of coaching to increase their effectiveness as leaders within their own organisations.

    The cost of attending each live-in workshop is $2,950, all inclusive (with the exception of transport). For information, or to apply to attend a GAMAA Leadership Workshop, contact Pam Fairnington at GAMAA on (02) 9417 7433 or 0409 241 177.

    For more information about the GAMAA Education Scholarship Fund or the Residential workshops visit www.gamaa.net.au or enquire at info@gamaa.net.au

  • PMP cuts 90 people from Digital and closes Lane Cove site

    PMP Digital paid the price of not improving sufficiently during the first quarter. The Lane Cove NSW site is to be sold and the division relocated into the PMP Printing plant at Moorebank. This is part of the plan to more tightly integrate PMP Imaging into the printing infrastructure.

    Overall a $11.6 million upturn in earnings for PMP Limited in the first half to December is attributed to ongoing performance improvement. This comes despite the drag of previously contracted low-margin printing work. Printing and Distribution divisions’ revenue fall of 4.7 percent to $408.4 million is blamed on the closure of some units, notably the Moorabbin plant, a decline in paper prices and to a stronger Australian dollar.

    Despite the hard competitive print market Kirk promises that PMP, as the largest printer in the region, will not take the lead in discounting prices. “We’re not going to be a cause of competitive behaviour that’s inconsistent with fair returns in the industry, “ he said in an interview with Corporate File.

    “In printing, we think the volume in the market is solid, and volume growth is a bit above the long-run trend, which is probably two or three percent. Prices are still competitive and you’ve got to work hard to retain and grow your business.”

    New Zealand volumes continue to improve

    PMP reported that the trend to increased print volumes in New Zealand continued. The company relocated the 32-page Goss press from the closed Moorabbin site in Victoria to the Auckland printing works. Another capital investment sees a brand new 32-page Mitsubishi press for Christchurch going in to replace two older presses there.

    Overall there was a 15 percent earnings improvement in the New Zealand operation, mainly due to operational efficiencies, with improved profitability in digital and distribution

    Building a stronger performance culture

    Kirk is committing PMP to continuous improvement with an emphasis on building a stronger performance culture. He nominates as key getting the right plants and operating procedures, the right people running the businesses under the right organizational structure, and making sure the right information is available to the right people at the right time.

    “Once you’ve got the systems and processes and people in place it becomes a culture over time. The key thing is that we understand what we have to achieve. It’s a work in progress,” he said.

    The company will continue with its policy of not paying dividends, preferring to work at reducing its debt, which it targets to be $222 million by the end of the financial year.

  • CPI Group buys Boomerang Paper

    One of the remaining independent merchants, Boomerang Papers, established 1969, went into receivership this month, with reported substantial liabilities to paper mills. The group, which has facilities in Victoria, Queensland and Western Australia is known for its supply of carbonless and label papers.

    A statement by CPI to its staff said the company has bought Boomerang Paper, which it claims is a $50 million revenue business. CPI will continue trading Boomerang Paper as a separate entity and as of today the previous owner, Ian Aiken, was still at the company’s premises in Victoria. So far there is no statement on the ramifications of the takeover with regard to staffing or the rationalisation of premises.

    It is unusual for paper merchants in Australia to go under, due to the strong support they generally receive from the mills. Industry insiders speculate that Boomerang was hard hit by the fall off in the continuous forms market. Stora Enzo, as the largest supplier of carbonless paper, is likely to have major exposure to the company’s failure, although according to news reports most major suppliers have substantial liabilities. Stora Enzo is also a shareholder in CPI Group

  • Candidate of the Week – Gary Mackellin, Senior Manager Printing & Graphic Arts

    He is committed to:

  • Client Satisfaction – ensuring on time delivery and a quality product whilst maintaining a consistent result
  • Quality Improvements – researching and developing new procedures
  • Culture Change/Integration – keeping abreast of technological advancements, providing support to ensure staff have an understanding for accepting change
  • P & L Responsibility – continuing to deliver bottom line profits to share holders
  • Operations Consolidation – focusing on all aspects of the business to deliver greater growth and sustainability
  • Performance Management Program – the introduction of KPI’S, succession planning & staff training
  • Presentations to Clients/Senior Management & Staff
    Staffing – Conflict Resolution, Team Building & Motivation
  • Professional Experience

    (1998-2003) PMP Digital (formally Show-Ads Omega)
    Victorian Operations Manager

    Responsible for:

  • Management of staff (Including 12 Divisional Hubs)
  • Implementation of state of the art technology and process improvements to ensure the company position remains as leaders in the marketplace.
  • Successful negotiation of EBA agreements.
  • Reduction of material usage from 14.9% to 3.4%.
  • Reduction of overtime from $1 ml to $50,000 p.a.
  • Responsible for current restructure implementation and new workflow processes.
  • Management of effective financial Budgeting to deliver a profitable result.
  • Develop & maintain appropriately skilled staff.
  • Provide training for staff to develop and maintain a standard of excellence.
  • Provide Performance Management programs to enhance staff development.
  • (1997-1998) Scott Graphic Arts (division of Show-Ads Omega)
    General Manager

  • Managed 22 staff
  • Re-branded to Scott Digital and successfully launched into market place.
  • Introduced multi-skilling, training and new quality control procedures.
  • Introduced new shift rosters.
  • Reduced material usage from 12.8% to 6.9%
  • Increased sales revenue by 34%
  • Promoted to Victorian Operations Manager 1998
  • (1995-1997) Show-Ads Hobart
    General Manager

  • Managed 14 staff.
  • Increased sales revenue by 500%
  • Introduced multi-skilling and new quality control procedures which reduced material usage from 16.9% to 7.8%
  • Promoted to General Manager of Scott Graphic Arts (Melbourne)
  • (1987-1995) Scott Graphic Arts (division of Show Ads Omega)
    Sales Manager 1991-1995

  • Managed 8 Account Managers.
  • Introduced new sales strategies which increased sales revenue by a further 28%
  • Promoted to state General Manager Show Ads Hobart 1995
  • Sales Consultant 1989-1991

  • Introduced to sales with no experience and qualifications.
  • Increased sales revenue by 42% within 2 years
  • Promoted to Sales Manager 1991.
  • Department Supervisor 1987-1989

    Supervision of 16 staff members

    (1986-1987) Scanagraphix
    Production Manager

    Managed Production Department

    (1977-1986) Show-Ads Omega

    Production Manager 1984-1986

  • Client Servicing of Major Accounts
  • Department Supervisor 1980-1984
  • Supervision of 8 staff
  • Responsible for the delivery of all publishing material for major magazines throughout Australia.
  • Apprenticeship 1977-1980
    Completed four year Apprenticeship in Graphic Prepress within three years and promoted to department supervisor

    Qualifications/Professional Development
    Certificate in Graphic Prepress

    Referee
    David Hoban
    General Manager
    Expo Hire
    44 White Street
    South Melbourne Vic 3205
    (03) 9676 7777

    Robert Inglis
    RMIT Program leader
    Master of Business School Accounting Law
    Level 15, 239 Bourke Street Melbourne 3000
    (03) 9925 5715

    Brian Rodda
    Digital Media Services General Manager
    PMP Digital
    359 Plummer Street
    Port Melbourne 3079
    (03) 9245 1222

    Robin Dixon
    Chief Operating Officer
    PMP Digital
    359 Plummer Street
    Port Melbourne 3079
    (03) 9245 1222

    ___________________

    Gary Mackellin
    18 Lamplight Way,
    Attwood Vic 3049
    Ph: 9333 4509
    Mobile 0400 506 894

    Email contact: gmackellin@yahoo.com.au

  • Quickcut annual user roadshow in Australia and New Zealand

    “The Quickcut User Conference is a unique forum that brings together advertisers, publishers and printers. Held in all major cities in Australia and New Zealand, it is the ideal opportunity for Quickcut users to learn about enhancing their use of our products, as well as finding out about our latest innovations,” said Heike Lorenz, marketing projects manager, Quickcut Australia.

    “The Quickcut Technical Support team will be on hand to answer any queries our users may have, as well as demonstrating new services and applications.

    “The conference is for anyone who wants to ‘get more’ from their workflow.”

    Lorenz predicts over 800 attendees with major sponsor Adobe Systems also being an attractive drawcard. Other topics on the day include:

  • QuickPrint and PageStore tips and tricks
  • The future of Spec Ads & GRADS
  • Colour Management
  • Getting the most from your Adobe products
  • Product news
  • Workflow Solutions and Automation Production Processes
  • The Quickcut User Conference will be held in Melbourne on March 23, Adelaide on March 26, Brisbane on April 6, Sydney on April 21, Perth on April 28, Wellington on May 4 and Auckland on May 5.

    Attendees are able to register for the user group by sending an email to register@quickcut.com.au

    Quickcut is a privately owned Australian company established in 1976, which has become a world leader in the validation & delivery of advertising material in a digital format, with offices in Australia, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Malaysia, New Zealand, South Africa, United Kingdom and the U.S.A.

  • Update to Quark 6 identifies 29 known issues

    Other performance enhancements with the upgrade include the Edit Original XTensions module, which gives Mac OS users the ability to select a picture then open and edit it in a preferred image editing application – such as PhotoShop.

    A new font mapping utility lets QuarkXPress 6.1 users create and manage rules to govern automatic font substitution. Font substitution rules can be imported and exported, so rules can be shared among multiple users. Font mapping rules can be applied to QuarkXPress projects and project templates as well as legacy documents and templates.

    QuarkXPress 6.1 features improved integration with Microsoft Excel. Users can import text, picture, and chart data directly into QuarkXPress 6.1 from an Excel workbook. An entire spreadsheet or a range of cells can be imported, and QuarkXPress 6.1 respects formatting information such as borders, colours, patterns, and backgrounds, as well as hyperlink data contained in the spreadsheet.

    The QuarkXPress 6.1 update is available to QuarkXPress 6 customers at no charge. The upgrade still leaves a list of 29 known issues, which can be viewed at www.quark.com/products/xpress/tech_info/61knownissues.html

    The QuarkXPress 6.0 installation CD is required to install version 6.1.

  • CEO of MAN Roland doubts drupa will be a turning point

    The following is an edited version of an article by Gerd Finkbeiner, CEO Man Roland, (pictured) the second largest press manufacturer.

    Who is not anxiously waiting the days in Düsseldorf with mixed feelings? An old German proverb says: ‘In May everything’s fresh and new.’ Will drupa in May give the industry a big thrust forward, as it has so often done in the past? Will it mark a new start and put the print services providers on track for recovery and sustained growth?

    The present situation rather indicates that it won’t. The global economy is admittedly improving but growth rates are still not sufficient to stimulate the printing industry, even when some people are already talking about strong economic recovery. The advertising and publishing industries are still searching for concepts with which they can arrest the decline of recent years by their own efforts.

    And the printing industry? It’s right in the middle of a far-reaching transformation process, which involves capacity adjustment and also demands new business models.

    Investments in Special Applications

    In view of this, are the prospects of a springtime revival in Düsseldorf dismal?

    Not necessarily, because many printing companies have already decided to move forward now and not wait for the economic recovery. They are transforming their companies into modern services providers which first of all analyse precisely what their customers want and need, and then have the courage to invest in the equipment they require for their specific
    applications. This makes them trendsetters, which many others can follow.

    Automation and total integration

    As they are doing this, these pioneers are utilising all the opportunities that automation offers. And digital workflows are increasingly overcoming the obstacles associated with separate production stages.

    Total integration of administrative, organisational and technical processes driven by software solutions also supports automation. A fully automated production process from transferring data to the print form right through to the finished product is already reality.

    In the near future, JDF-based solutions will also help to make all the up-stream, downstream and surrounding processes more efficient. And they will also guarantee that contracted quality is provided despite the fact that shorter turnaround times are demanded.

    Added value for inimitable services

    This in turn creates latitude for the media services providers to concentrate more on creative applications, on the customers’ special wishes, and on refining their business models. They put themselves more and more in the position of their customers to understand what they really want and offer them print products tailor-made to the communications solutions they are seeking. The added value thus created makes their services inimitable and unique.

    drupa: marketplace and communications platform

    drupa 2004 will focus very strongly on total integration. But it will also be characterised by a higher level of cooperation, communication, and
    advisory services.

    Merely parading high-tech items and gigantic machines would not help the printing industry and its supply industry to find the solutions needed for their future tasks. And so MAN Roland will have fewer
    exhibits in Düsseldorf than is normally the case. Instead it will be there with selected high-tech solutions, as an open cooperation partner in PrintCity, and as a total integration pioneer with printnet.

    The special emphasis on the topics of applications, automation and added value all interacting will change the character of drupa. It will be a marketplace for technical innovations, and a platform for communication and decision-making for more creative business models in the future.

    It’s not only the economic stalemate that makes for mixed feelings. The imminent changes to the business alignment of many companies in our
    industry will cause even more emotional ups and downs.

    But after having mixed feelings, one always makes a decision. Those wishing to move forward will experience a drupa that opens up previously unknown possibilities. The advance of total integration will see the printing industry positioned as a future-oriented services sector that plays a leading role in the communications business.

  • Scots claim PaperlinX too dominant in paper merchanting

    A proposed increase of between five and eight percent in the price of paper struck a raw nerve at the Scottish Print Employers Federation (SPEF). According to a report by Barney Cox in Print week the proposed rises were described by a SPEF director as “completely unjustified” and “betrayed a singular lack of understanding of the position of printing companies.”

    The Federation also expressed concern at the lack of competition in paper merchanting in the region where three of the four paper merchants, Howard Smith, Donald Murray and Robert Horne are all now part of the Australian-owned PaperlinX organization. This tended to take “competitiveness out of the market.”

    At home there is no sign of a paper price rise with the high Australian dollar keeping a downward pressure on the market. Some slight increase in the price of coated paper from overseas was mooted but that had more to do with increased freight costs. No significant price rise is forecast in the near future.

  • Agfa gets Thieme on team for flatbed inkjet

    The two companies have agreed to combine their strengths, expertise and proprietary technology to develop and market this new system jointly. The new system will resolve the quality and productivity issues that are inherent to inkjet systems for screen printing on the market today. The machine will be trialled at the end of this year and become available commercially in 12 months.

    This is a second move into commercial inkjet printing for Agfa, which recently bought dotrix. Like that company, this new printer will use ‘next generation’ inkjet and will “resolve the productivity issues that to date are inherent to inkjet presses for screen printing applications” says Jan Van Daele from Agfa.

    The agreement provides for both companies to combine strengths and proprietary technology. The key factor holding screen printers back says Thieme, digital systems product manager Konrad Vosteen, “has been digital’s inability to offer real-life solutions that will generate additional revenue streams”.

  • Creo buys a second plate making factory

    Under the terms of the transaction, Creo acquires the assets of Spectratech for approximately US$13.3 million and working capital of approximately US$6.0 million. The assets include Spectratech’s current plate business, land, manufacturing equipment, factory and storage facilities while the working capital consists of inventory and accounts receivable. Creo expects that the acquisition will be accretive to earnings by the end of this calendar year.

    “We have achieved a major milestone with today’s acquisition,” stated Amos Michelson, Creo chief executive officer. “Creo now has long-run negative plate technology with superior on-press performance that complements the strengths of the Creo Positive Thermal Plate (PTP). We also gain many new thermal plate customers most of whom already own Creo equipment.”

    Creo will introduce two Creo negative thermal plates based on the acquired plate technology – Fortis PN for the newspaper market and Mirus PN for the commercial and packaging market. Creo will launch both the Fortis and Mirus plates in North America, Europe, the Middle East and Africa immediately and in other regions later this year. The plates will be sold through the Creo global direct sales force as well as existing dealers and distributors.

    Mr. Michelson continued, “The Fortis thermal plate targets the specific needs of newspaper printers requiring a robust plate with quick roll-up and low water consumption. The Mirus thermal plate for commercial and packaging printers is a high resolution, very long-run thermal plate that is suitable for use with UV inks. Combined with the Creo PTP, which is optimized for medium to long run length commercial printing, we have a complete solution for printers in all markets.”

    “With the acquisition of this U.S.-based manufacturing facility, Creo more than doubles our wholly-owned manufacturing capacity and secures an ideal location for the distribution, logistics and support of our customers in the United States and around the world,” said Eyal Shpilberg, corporate vice president, thermal consumables. “An important part of this transaction is the addition of people with years of experience in producing, selling and supporting high-quality plates.”

    Technical Specifications: Creo Fortis PN (newspaper market)

    • High-resolution, negative working
    • UV- and IR- sensitive
    • Long run: 250,000 impressions unbaked
    • High contrast
    • Qualified for Staccato® 36 screening (1200dpi)
    • Scratch resistant
    • Stable shelf life

    Technical Specifications: Creo Mirus PN (commercial and packaging market)

    • High-resolution, negative working
    • UV- and IR- sensitive
    • Long run: 250,000 impressions unbaked and up to one million impressions post-baked
    • High contrast
    • Qualified for Staccato® 10 screening
    • Scratch resistant
    • Stable shelf life
    • Sizes up to 59” X 82” (1498 X 2082 mm)
  • $40,000 contest for Australian designer

    Entries are sought for what is claimed to be the richest ever design prize in the country, the $40,000 Victorian Premier’s Design Award. Professional Australian designers, both here and abroad, across all disciplines including graphic design, are invited to enter their best work completed between January 2002 and April 2004.

    This work will be judged by a distinguished panel of Australian designers and up to 100 projects will be selected for the Design 2004 Exhibition, which will run for three months at the Melbourne Museum. An expanded judging panel will then review the exhibition to select the winners of the Design 2004 Awards. The inaugural Victorian Premier’s Design Award will be awarded for the most outstanding design project in the exhibition.

    Six other prizes will also be awarded: the Melbourne Museum Design Acquisition Prize; The Melbourne Design Prize ($5,000), supported by the John Truscott Design Foundation and MELBOURNEmagazine; a $5,000 Award for Promise for emerging designers; and two Highly Commended Awards ($5,000). A People’s Choice Award will also be presented.

    “The Design 2004 Exhibition and Awards is a great moment for Australian design,” said Festival Program Director, Kathy Demos. “Firstly, it brings together the best-of-the-best recent work, puts it in context with the work of other designers, and puts it on public display at the Melbourne Museum, a stunning example of design in itself.

    “Secondly, it offers substantial recognition and prizes. And thirdly, the program is wrapped within a festival, which will demonstrate and celebrate the fantastic standard of design here, and highlight the value that good design can bring.

    “Over 500 expressions of interest have already been received, including many of Australia’s leading designers and I urge all Australian designers to put their best work forward,” she said.

    To obtain the Call for Entries Handbook and for information, visit www.designfestivalaustralia.com

  • Rural Press to spend $50 million in print expansion over next three to four years

    Brian McCarthy, managing director, reported company revenues up 5.2% to $251 million with net profit rising 23.4% to $42 million across the group’s diverse printing and publishing, radio, agricultural shows and US publishing activities. Printing and publishing provided the main dynamic with the Australasian business posting $228.8 revenue up from $209.8 in 2002. Operating margins in the division improved to 28.4% from 25.4%. Printing accounts for 18% of the company’s revenue.

    The company is presently assessing printing capacity at its major sites with regard to pagination colour, back-up between sites, future market needs and the capacity to expand its national network. It currently operates 17 web printing and seven commercial sheetfed printing sites. It publishes 158 regional and metro publications, and 56 agricultural publications.

    Its most recent new press installation at Ballarat last year is on track, working three shifts and getting 60% utilization. Overall printing volumes are up 15% at major sites.

    McCarthy said the board had considered changing the group’s name to more accurately reflect its activities. He committed Rural to continued growth with the company pursuing other opportunities.

    Without much elaboration the report said that the company’s New Zealand operation is “maintaining a sound contribution.”

    The half yearly report came after Rural Press gained control of the Tasmanian printing and publishing company of Harris & Company after a hostile takeover. It detailed some features of its acquisition, which includes a substantial web printing and small sheet fed printing works, in addition to two regional newspapers, The Burnie Advocate and the Launceston Examiner.

    The Hobart printing centre has an annual throughput of 3,000 tonnes with 40% of that comprising external work. The press is a MAN Roland web, the first of the new generation of presses when installed n the early 1990s. It is similar to those at Rural Press’ North Richmond, Canberra and Ballarat sites. It has a capacity of 48 pages; 32 pages full and 16 pages spot colour, or 96 pages full and 80 pages spot colour at 60,000 cph. There is also a small sheet printing business.

    The company will conduct an intensive analysis of efficiency and benchmarks of the Harris plant, which will report to group printing manager, Bob Lockley. Staff changes are flagged and the company will seek synergies with the introduction of Rural Press practices.

  • Printing business conditions surpassed expectations at end of 2003

    According to Hagop Tchamkertenian, Printing Industries Manager of Industry and Commercial Policy, (pictured) the latest survey reveals that industry trading conditions, which were expected to improve during the traditionally strong December 2003 quarter, surpassed expectations with strong growth reported in key economic indicators such as orders, production and sales. The key barometer of business confidence, the general business expectations indicator, improved during the quarter and is significantly higher when compared to the same period a year earlier.

    According to the report, other important December 2003 quarter developments include:

    • Reported improvements in net profits;
    • Increased levels of overtime;
    • Reduced employment levels;
    • Reduced selling prices;
    • Reported increased investment in plant and machinery;
    • Reported increased investment in buildings;
    • Finance reported easier to obtain;
    • Labour reported more difficult to obtain;
    • Reported increases across all cost categories; and
    • Worse than expected net balance for outstanding debtors.

    On the critical indicator of capacity utilisation levels, the survey results confirm that capacity utilisation rates improved during the December 2003 quarter in line with improvements in business conditions. 77.1 per cent of respondents were operating at capacity utilisation levels of 70 per cent or more (significantly up from the 62.9 per cent level reported during September 2003 quarter).

    Lack of orders, which has been a continuing source of concern in recent surveys also improved significantly with 67.4 per cent of the survey respondents ranking it as the primary barrier to increasing production levels, an outcome that is substantially lower than the 82.5 per cent proportion reported during September 2003 quarter, and the 86.1 per cent proportion reported during December quarter 2002.

    Tchamkertenian mantains that despite the strong trading quarter, expectations for the March 2004 quarter remain weak in line with seasonal influences and factors.

    According to the respondents the March 2004 quarter should yield:

    • Net balance reductions in orders, sales and net profits;
    • Net balance falls in selling prices;
    • An easing of the labour market;
    • Reduced employment and overtime levels;
    • Further increases in all production cost categories – average wages, other
      labour costs, and average material costs;
    • Declining stock levels; and
    • Rising number of outstanding debtors.

    Over the next six months (March and June 2004 quarters) the respondents are forecasting:

    • Increased investment in plant and machinery;
    • Increased investment in buildings.

    Commenting on the state based results Tchamkertenian said respondents from all states remain confident that business conditions will keep on improving during the next six months. The December quarter also revealed that the highest capacity utilisation rates were reported by respondents from Western Australia and Victoria.

    As for the product sectors, relatively high capacity utilisation rates were reported by the greeting cards, calendars and diaries, cheques and securities and labels, and books, magazines, periodicals and newspapers sectors.

    The majority of product sectors are forecasting improvements in business conditions over the next six months.
    Capital expenditure intentions also remain positive with most sectors forecasting increased investment during the March and June 2004 quarters.

    Any one interested in obtaining a copy of the full survey report can contact Printing Industries.
    Hard copies of the report cost $15 for members and $30 for non-members.

    Electronic copies of the report are also available on request and cost $15 for members and $30 for non-members. www.printnet.com.au

  • Bruce Tory RIP

    For may of us who grew up using Bruce’s text books during our years at TAFE and then as references after our training we will be indebted to his commitment to detail and innovation.

    Bruce was a influential figure at the old Leigh Marden and then Head of the School of Graphic Arts to then return to Leigh’s to see his working years out. He also had the honour of receiving a scholarship to study at the GATF and during his time in New York formed a life long friendship with Mike Bruno. Bruce was instrumental in bring Mike Bruno to Australia for a series of seminars in the 60’s.

    Suffering a stroke some 16 years ago did not stop him being intensely interested in our industry and he continued to use the resources of the LIA and several of it’s long term members to keep him constantly informed of current developments, in particular Warwick Roden. He was also an avid reader of our valuable trade press and use to ring to see what was behind the news.

    He will be sadly missed, a very good friend and mentor to many in our industry

    His funeral service is said to be held at the Northern Suburbs Crematorium, Delhi Road, North Ryde in the East Chapel on Monday 16 February starting at 1.15 pm, please see the forthcoming Sydney Morning Herald for exact details