Archive for April, 2004

  • Drupa schism – digital divide is splitting the industry

    It is a remarkable fact that no German press manufacturer makes a digital press. In fact, no mainstream traditional offset press manufacturer anywhere has made the transition to digital press manufacturing – not in Europe or Japan or the USA.

    The major press makers have abandoned the burgeoning digital printing market, the only sector of printing that has shown consistent growth in recent years, after a number of ill-fated attempts to bridge the divide. The big four – Heidelberg, MAN Roland, KBA and Komori, along with Mitsubishi, Goss, Shinohara, Hamada and others, are all identified as having failed to adapt to the changing market for presses.

    The divide between offset printing and photo-electronic imaging is wider than ever at drupa 2004, whihc opens its doors in Düsseldorf next Thursday.

    Them and us

    The digital printing market, recognised universally as an important sector in the future of printing – its supporters claim it to be THE future of printing – is provided with engines manufactured by non-traditional latecomers to the printing industry, large corporations that mostly have their main business away from graphic arts – Xerox, Hewlett-Packard, Canon, Konica-Minolta, Océ, Epson, Kodak, Ricoh. Comprised almost entirely of US and Japanese corporations, the one European contender, Xeikon, has barely survived a crash-scarred history that is in stark contrast to the excellence of its technology. The US/Japanese axis of dominance in the world of computer technology has translated effortlessly into similar market power in digital printing.

    Is it simply that familiarity with computer chips is the deciding factor? Are the Europeans so inept at digital technology that they cannot make a fist of the new imaging possibilities? Or is the divide more fundamental – recognition that the traditional press makers have no reasonable chance of successfully competing on this new turf? Are the major companies, beleaguered by deteriorating balance sheets, unable to change sufficiently, to adapt to the new manufacturing processes, victims of the straitjacket corporate immobility they so often advise their customers to avoid?

    Subhead: If at first you don’t succeed . . .

    Certainly nobody could accuse Heidelberg of not having a go at winning for itself a central role in digital printing. Bravely plunging into the fray with partner Kodak in the development of the NexPress, which was premiered at the previous drupa in 2000, Heidelberg has sweated blood trying to make a success of its digital printing division.

    It took on board the Kodak black & white engines, formed a new company to handle the NexPress, and laid its considerable clout on the line by espousing the inevitability of a digital printing future. As the largest, by far, of the big three press manufacturers its imprimatur of digital printing has gone a long way towards assuaging the fears of traditional offset printers. Most of the almost 400 NexPress engines sold over the past four years are installed within Heidelberg’s customer base of established commercial printers, candidates that are relatively inaccessible to the digital companies.

    The NexPress by its very existence laid to rest the quality concerns of the industry concerning digital printing. If Heidelberg said it was good enough then . . .

    Fades as the leaves

    But it did not last. NexPress is a single product company, trading a high-end colour digital machine that has as its main differentiator a million copies per month duty cycle and the reliability of an offset press. Built to last with the rugged construction of a traditional press it was sold into the teeth of its own Heidelberg competition. Despite reassuring noises from Heidelberg spinmeisters, the NexPress was inevitably going to compete with its own offset press line, especially the SM52 and even the half-size presses.

    While Kodak contributed colour technology to the NexPress, the manufacture, distribution, sales and service was left entirely to Heidelberg. The formation of a digital division necessitated the reconceptualizing of the economics of printing machinery sales; the click charges, the consumables, the service personnel.

    It was a big ask and required deep pockets and last year, under pressure from falling offset press sales, which provide the core financials of the company, Heidelberg called it quits. It passed the NexPress and its digital division over to Kodak and exited the digital press field with a two-year non-compete clause that effectively exiles it from the sector.

    What becomes of the broken-hearted?

    Heidelberg is not the only major press manufacturer to attempt, and fail, to enter the digital printing sector. MAN Roland has a long history of re-badging the Belgium-based Xeikon engine as its DICOpress. (In fact the list of companies that licensed the Xeikon technology is a roll call of the industry and includes Xerox, IBM, and Agfa.)

    At the last major trade show, Ipex in Birmingham two years ago, the industry was treated to an impressive array of DICOpresses in distinctive MAN Roland livery. It was very much a case of ‘me too’ as the company sought to assure the industry that it also had a strategy to take it into the digital age. It persevered through the collapse of Xeikon, continuing to licence the printing engine even as the company was hawked through the Belgium technology market in search of a buyer, which finally turned up in the form of Punch.

    But it’s fair to claim MAN Roland’s heart was never really in it. It was a reaction to the market, not a proactive initiative. The company’s trading arm took on the product line because it was asked to and with reluctance when it added up the costs of establishing a service organization from the ground up to support a thin coverage of presses. Undoubtedly it took warning from the fate of Xeikon itself and its other licensees all of whom were getting out of the business.

    Suffice it to say, there are still DICOpress engines for sale from the company, which are likely to be made available at a very attractive prices, following MAN Roland’s decision last year to get out of digital printing.

    Others gave digital the swerve entirely

    KBA never really got into digital printing, preferring to devote itself to direct on-press imaging with its Karat series. (And here is a good chance to lay to rest the claim that major press manufacturers do have digital presses when they refer to direct-imaging on-press. Lasering an imaging on a printing plate that is already mounted on the press is perfectly appropriate technology for companies that have a single press and do not want to buy off-line platemakers. It is not digital printing, it is offset printing, no matter what they say.)

    The Karat series has continued to make progress, pioneering ‘push-button’ offset. The fact that it, and the other DI presses, rely on a stream of rasterized data links it into the digital workflow, but when the wheels begin to turn the economics are all offset.

    In fact all the offset press manufacturers have ‘direct-image’ presses, a concept pioneered by Heidelberg and Presstek. Komori, Mitsubishi, Shinohara and even prepress company Screen, have DI presses that are a world apart from digital printing. MANRoland has taken the concept even further with its DICOweb, a on-press imaging system for web presses. Even Xerox got in on the act in a rare venture into offset territory, but its involvement with the DocuColor 223, an OEM small offset press, also premiered at drupa 2000, was short lived and it soon scurried back over to its own side of the digital divide.

    Digital print is personalised print

    One of the main selling points of digital printing is the notion that print has the potential to become a personalised medium. The allure of individually targeted brochures, advertisements, stamps, study guides, books, wine labels, newspapers and magazines, cereal packets, as well as accounts, bills, statements and demands for overdue payment is the siren song sung by the promoters of digital printing equipment.

    The fact that in the decade since digital printing first made its appearance – at IPEX 1992 – personalised print is still a miniscule part of the market leaves its supporters unfazed. Their belief in its potential defies the indifference marketers have shown towards having their printed message personalised, and the almost insurmountable problems of having clean and effective databases. The risks of getting a personalised promotion wrong and outraging the customers i.e., by having the names spelt wrongly or even including an inappropriate photo, overwhelms the benefits and the costs in the majority of cases.

    The other, safer, facet of commercial digital printing is ‘versonalization’, which is another way of saying very short printing runs. Undoubtedly this is the greatest area of strength for digital printing and the one where it has most potential. Figures currently floated in Australia have the average print run under 5,000, with some claiming in the US it is fewer than 3,000 and decreasing. The crossover economics between digital and offset are between 1,000 and 2,000 copies, depending who you talk to.

    This has galvanised the offset printing industry into challenging the short-run advantages of digital with fast make-ready, sealed DI imaging and polyester plates. In a straight out efficiency and economics competition for the short run market i.e. sub 3,000 copies, there is little to be gained by either technology until you descend to 100 to 200 copies. Once there a different pricing and invoicing structure must come into play for anyone to make money.

    Big-end digital printing at drupa

    It is almost impossible to discover how the two main digital printing manufacturers are faring in the commercial printing market. Xerox and HP are undoubted profitable companies – Xerox only recently back from the brink as a result of Anne Mulcahy’s turnaround strategies. How much of that profit comes from selling their high-end digital printing production engines, the once-called Indigo machines, and the 6060 and now the iGen3, is anyone’s guess.

    Even the unsinkable Benny Landa, founder of Indigo and often referred to as ‘the father of digital printing’ eventually found the going too tough and took HP’s cash for his company. He passed on the widest range of presses, up to and including 8,000 copies per hour magazine digital web machines. Its success is in the concept rather than in the number of sales.

    Meanwhile Xerox has spent countless millions developing the iGen3 with only the remotest possibility of getting its investment back in the short-term.

    The crux seems to be that digital printing has evolved from its original domain of the desktop where Xerox and HP both have enormous presence, up into the commercial printing market where its tenure is a lot more problematic. The ability to produce digital presses that can output a million copies a month does not presage a competitive market advantage. In the high-speed transactional market and in the mono colour information markets digital and its uppity younger sister inkjet, are the natural choice. But in commercial printing the verdict is less clear-cut.

    Heidelberg recognised it could not compete with the investment race to develop ever faster digital presses and got out. But could it be that underlying the decision, and those of the other offset press manufacturers, is the sense that the real business of printing is still offset and that digital will only ever colonise a small province?

    Whatever the motives, at this drupa there is the emergence of two printing industries with little contact or convergence once the data stream hits the RIP. It is unlikely a definite winner emerge over the next few weeks.

  • Prepare to meet your (File)Maker

    FileMaker Pro 7 is a relational desktop database information management system that represents a major uplift in capability. With over 100 new features, this is the most significant new version of FileMaker Pro since its creation. It has been redesigned using a streamlined, relational architecture that simplifies information management by storing multiple tables within a single file and dramatically expands its data capacity to eight terabytes per file, 4000 times the previous limit.

    The FileMaker Pro 7 product line also incudes FileMaker Developer 7, FileMaker Server 7, FileMaker Server 7 Advanced and FileMaker Mobile 7.

    FileMaker Developer 7 is an enhanced version of the program with over 100 features especially for the developer including the ability to create external functions plug-ins, developer utilities, a script debugger, file maintenance tools and more.
    FileMaker Server 7 makes it possible for organisations to share databases over LANs and the internet. Its features live back-ups, server side processing, improved event and statistics logging, encrypted data transfer, remote administration, remote administration auditing and a command line interface. FileMaker Server can copy databases while clients are using the file and takes full advantage of multiple processors.

    FileMaker Server 7 Advanced (replacing FileMaker Pro 6 Unlimited) is a standards-based web server application. It is everything you would expect from a high-powered server software including support for all the acronyms, instant web publishing (IWP) that supports over 70 FileMaker Pro scripts, custom web publishing using Extensible Mark-up Language (XML) and Extensible Style Language Transformation (XSLT), SSL Encryption (a protocol developed by Netscape for transmitting private documents via the internet), Open DataBase Connectivity (ODBC) and Java DataBase Connectivity (JDBC) application support. It has been totally re-architectured to support the server-based model for better reliability, functionality and security.

    FileMaker Mobile 7 is a version of FileMaker designed for Palm OS and Pocket PC handhelds.

    New ways of looking at the world.

    For current users of FileMaker Pro, a number of aspects of the software have been enhanced. A single file can now contain multiple tables while multiple windows let you see data in different layout simultaneously. There is a new data model for managing relationships between tables as well as a visual relationships manager so that you never lose your place. Improved security for controlling file access, enhanced and more secure web publishing and a more powerful ScriptMaker with additional functions, more powerful buttons and support for security-related script steps.

    New functionality means that you can import, store and export any file type including pdf, digital images, video, music and Microsoft Office applications – Word, Excel and Powerpoint, using new ‘container’ fields and also lets you open multiple windows within the same database, providing simultaneous access to different views of database information.

    A solution that may have required over 30 separate files can now be managed with a single file containing 15 tables and other processes to manage relationships. This makes relationships easier to handle and files easier to administrate, back-up, compress and optimise. This is amazingly useful when you see it in operation, especially for project work.

    The new data model for managing tables and relationships allows you to create tables, fields and relationships on an intuitive relationships graph work panel even if you don’t have extensive knowledge of relational models. A relationships graph makes it easy to manage multiple tables within a single file simply by drawing lines between fields. This provides a graphical view of a database that is more flexible than an ‘entity-relationship’ (ER) diagram. This feature opens up the world of database management to the novice in a way never possible before. The professionals will also extensively use it.

    So big it’s bigger than big.

    There have been a number of field and layout enhancements to the new FileMaker Pro 7. Bigger is better with significantly larger amounts of information able to be stored in a single file, theoretically up to eight terabytes (don’t ask, it’ll make your brain hurt). Maximum text size has increased from 64 kilobytes to two gigabytes – about one billion characters while the ‘container’ fields can store pictures, files, mp3 and QuickTime formats and OLE objects up to four gigabytes.

    Fields can contain new timestamp values that let you store numbers and dates in a field to reference a fixed point in calendar time. Field names can contain up to 100 characters while number fields can contain up to 800 digits or characters and the same digits as negative values.

    Like most database applications, FileMaker saves (commits) user data automatically. This can be frustrating even for the most advanced user, as we occasionally want time to think before saving. FileMaker Pro 7 can be set up to ask a user to confirm layout and schema.

    The new program lets you reuse value scripts, privileges and security settings, at the same time as providing 30 starter solutions, better data validation and direct editing of scripts. A single solution can be accessed from multiple platforms – Windows XP, Mac OS X, Palm OS and the web – and can save FileMaker Pro files to both Windows and Mac concurrently from either Server or Pro running on either platform. It is a major development and well worth the upgrade for current users of the software.

    FileMaker Pro 7 and Developer 7 are both available now and sell for $499 and $875 respectively. The upgrade prices are $249 and $150 rebate respectively. FileMaker Mobile 7, Server 7 and Server 7 Advanced are due to ship in winter. l

    Audrey Larsen is a principal of CompuVision, a Sydney-based graphics training, design and production enterprise. She can be contacted on (02) 9356 3557, mobile 0412 410 414 or at .

  • Heidelberg ‘exceeds’ its high-end drupa expectations

    “The most exciting news is around the Speedmaster SM102 and CD102 ranges. Drupa will provide the stage for the world premiere of the most impressive Speedmaster CD102 range ever designed for the high-end market. Even internally our expectations have been exceeded by the changes we are seeing in our flagship press.”

    Preset Plus Feeder and Delivery
    The range includes the new Preset Plus feeder for both series presses and the remodelled Preset Plus delivery for the Speedmaster CD102 and later in the year for the SM 102.

    “We are setting new benchmarks with these new feeder and delivery systems,” says Sommer explaining that both feature excessive preset possibilities.

    “The Preset Plus Feeder and delivery dramatically reduce makeready times, at the same time boosting sheet travel efficiency. Interfacing through the CP 2000 control centre, operators can programme stock thickness or paper formats which will automatically be translated into the respective format and air settings in the feeder and in the delivery. This has never been seen anywhere in the industry, and meets our goal to continue to reduce makeready times thus increasing productivity.”

    Preset Plus delivery which also features a new drying system, Drystar 3000, makes the CD102 the number one packaging press enabling the use of water based coatings, metallic, gold and silver as well as specialist coatings such as blister and UV.

    Remote controlled diagonal register of coating unit
    Another first is the remote controlled diagonal register enabling the application of fine details in coating that in the past had to be adjusted manually to register the coating unit. “With the remote new register these adjustments can be made remotely from the CP 2000 console at a range of + or – 1mm with a displayed accuracy of one hundredth of a millimeter.”

    New Anilox Roller bearing

    With an increasing trend towards flexographic coating applications, the chambered doctor blade system is a prerequisite for gold or silver applications and is very popular for other types of coatings due to its coating quality.

    In the past changing over from one coating application to another has been time consuming, especially in respect to changing the anilox roller. However, with the new Heidelberg quick change anilox roller bearing this is reduced to change time of only 3 minutes.

    These innovations open new doors for Speedmaster users, putting them in a stronger position in today’s highly competitive market.

    “In a market place where the trend is towards shorter production runs, we can achieve up to 8-10% increased productivity through the array of features that will be launched at drupa 2004. That’s a huge leap. Shorter makeready times give you the opportunity of an overall faster throughput. With averagely higher running speeds you have more capacity on the press, are able to put through more jobs and optimise the cost per job across shifts. Freeing up capacity gives you the freedom to take on more work, thereby increasing your turnover.”

    Heidelberg Prinect

    “One of the big advantages with the Heidelberg range is that we have prepress integrated as a core competency. Through Prinect we are able to integrate and repurpose data enabling us to control the workflow starting in pre-press through to finishing.

    The Prinect CP 2000 Centre permits a function expansion with new software modules such as Axis Control Reporting or Image Control Reporting for statistical evaluation of the measured results when using one of these latest colour measurement systems.

    “If somebody uses the high end colour measuring system Image Control, Heidelberg offers a new colour interface module for the creation of Colour profiles. I recommend for everybody who attends Drupa to keep an eye on these developments and I promise there will a lot of new releases in the Prinect arena at drupa.”

    The integration functionality of Prinect CP 2000 also extends to new offerings such as DryStar Advanced enabling the operator to enter and control parameters of the new DryStar 3000 generation, and to reuse and save all dryer settings including pile and guide plate temperature for repeat jobs.

    UV Solutions

    Sommer says the driver for all innovations is faster makeready times which equate to greater productivity across the workflow.
    UV is another area of innovation in which Heidelberg is leading the field. In recent years UV print sales worldwide have increased nearly three times as quickly as sales for conventional offset products. Sommer says Heidelberg has been working very closely with IST UV Equipment resulting in the incorporating of IST’s drying control systems directly into the CP 2000. Another unique feature of the CD102.

    “On top of this Heidelberg has released new software for UV printers which we call Instant Start UV. This software basically eliminates wash up waiting times resulting in a huge impact on productivity reducing down times up to 25-30%. There is no alterative to this software on the market providing another exclusive benefit to our customers.”

    New Modular Coating System

    For those printers who throughput less volume in respect to coating jobs, the new coating system allows the last printing unit of the press to be converted for working with dispersion coatings. This entry-level solution means print shops will in future be able to offer their customers print products with a protective coating and remain competitive.

    Sommer says many of the advances to be released at Drupa will also benefit the long perfecting market which is growing consistently in Australia and New Zealand, including the new coating systems.

    “In the past when we talked about long perfecting, we were talking about 8 colour because the trend was towards printing four colour jobs through one pass. Today the trend is towards 10 colour presses because customers are demanding spot colours or print varnish.”

    Within our last financial year we sold and installed 6 SM102-10-P presses documenting this trend. Heidelberg leads the long perfecting market in Australia and New Zealand with now well over 40 installations and more presses on order.

    “I would suggest the modular coating system that is now available for CD102 could be installed twice in a long perfecting machine enabling the press to produce in one pass, ink and coating on two sides of the sheet. This would have a dramatic impact on the throughput time of the job.”

    Another feature of the Speedmaster 102 range is the integration of Heidelberg’s range of peripherals – the Star Peripherals. The integration of these peripherals is made possible through CAN – computer area network – making features such as the Drystar 3000 fully accessible through the CP 2000 console.

    The Star peripherals feature water-cooling making them more environmentally friendly on a number of levels as Sommer explains.

    Speedmaster Star system

    “In the last year we have successfully launched in Australia presses with water cooled peripherals which dramatically reduce the waste heat issues in the print shop. These peripherals are essential in a high-end operation, but they inevitably release waste heat when the presses are running at high speeds. By being water cooled, their impact is dramatically reduced on the press room environment- no air velocity, no dusting, no spray powder gathering. A consistent press room climate contributes to productivity. Water cooled technology can reduce up to 50% of waste heat thereby reducing your electricity bill and creating a stable environment.”

    So there is plenty to look forward to when visiting Drupa, last but not least for drupa 2004 the Speedmaster SM 102 and CD 102 has been fundamentally redesigned meeting latest product safety and operation requirements.

    “We have been used to big steps in the past – technology took a huge step at IPEX ’98, and another at drupa 2000. In between there have been various product improvements in and additional accessories, but with the drupa 2004 generation we are setting a new benchmark that has topped everything we have seen in the past. With these innovations, almost anything is possible.”

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

    At a time when the company doubled net income in Q1 from sales that were more than10 % up and with its digital cameras more than making up for the fall off in consumer film, the commercial division posted a $16m loss against a profit of $9m last year. Margin must be tight because sales were up a whopping 51%.


    Mind you, it’s not as if Kodak’s latest acquisition, NexPress, cost it too much. When ownership of the crown jewels of digital printing transfers on May 1, Kodak will pay Heidelberg the king’s ransom of one US dollar. The rest of the $250 million will come over five years, if and when it is generated by NexPress itself.
    We should all buy businesses on such terms.


    And the promise of digital printing springs eternal. According to a new Trendwatch report US printing firms’ interest in variable data printing has been holding steady for the past five years. Overall, 13% of graphic arts firms see variable data printing as a top sales opportunity for their businesses. Among digital printers, this rises to 27%.
    It’s not huge, is it?


    Helmut J. Dangelmaier, President of PrintCity, has his own spin on drupa’s Print City hall where many companies including Agfa and MAN Roland are cheek and jowl.

    “This will be my tenth drupa, and at every previous one I’ve had to walk from one end of the exhibition complex to the other for back-to-back meetings, sometimes involving a 20 minute walk. While it may have kept me fit, it has always been very inconvenient and wasted valuable time. PrintCity here presents a practical solution. Visitors can conduct their meetings at the Intelligence Centre, and then it’s just a short walk across Hall 6 to see PrintCity’s live factory environment.”


    The hard time hitting the major press manufacturers are causing cherished practices to be overthrown. AMN Roland is threatening its German unions with moving some manufacturing to lower cost countries such as Poland or Romania where wages are cheaper. No final decision has been made yet, but even the idea is an indication of how radically the industry is changing.


    And finally . . . the original ‘make up a word’ competition, the Washington Post’s Style Invitational, is still giving us really useful and brand new words. Here are this year’s winners:

    1 – Bozone (n.): The substance surrounding a stupid person that stops bright ideas from penetrating. The bozone layer, unfortunately, shows little sign of breaking down in the near future.

    2 – Foreploy: Any misrepresentation about yourself for the purpose of getting laid.

    3 – Cashtration (n.): The act of buying a house, which renders the subject financially impotent for an indefinite period.

    4 – Giraffiti: Vandalism spray-painted very, very high.

    5 – Sarchasm: The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person who doesn’t get it.

    6 – Inoculatte: To take coffee intravenously when you are running late.

    7 – Hipatitis: Terminal coolness.

    8 – Osteopornosis: A degenerate disease. (This one got extra credit.)

    9 – Karmageddon: It’s like, when everybody is sending off all these really bad vibes, right? And then, like, the Earth explodes and it’s like, a serious bummer.

    10- Decafalon (n.): The grueling event of getting through the day consuming only things that are good for you.

    11- Glibido: All talk and no action.

    12- Dopeler effect: The tendency of stupid ideas to seem smarter when they come at you rapidly.

    13- Arachnoleptic fit (n.): The frantic dance performed just after you’ve accidentally walked through a spider web.

    14- Beelzebug (n.): Satan in the form of a mosquito that gets into your bedroom at three in the morning and cannot be cast out.

    15- Caterpallor (n.): The color you turn after finding half a grub in the fruit you’re eating.

    16- And the pick of the literature: Ignoranus: A person who’s both stupid and an asshole.

  • Job of the Week -Production Planner (Trainee Opportunity), Canberra

    Our client is a large sheet-fed commercial printer in Canberra, with over 100 staff. Equipped with the latest 8/Colour 102 Speedmasters, CTP and full bindery capability, they offer the opportunity for an ambitious, keen and talented young printer to get off the factory-floor and into a production admin. role.

    You will be trained on the latest production planning software (Scenic Soft) and receive full training in a large modern, well-equipped production environment.

    This is a genuine career opportunity – you must have a proven record, preferably on 6 or 8/Colour large presses and have confidence in your ability to the challenges of moving into a management role. You will be required to occasionally fill in on the press as a back-up, if and when required.

    This role attracts a substantial package, and if you believe you could rise to the challenge, please email your resume and cover letter (MS Word only) or call James Cryer on 02-9904.6222.


    Search for more of the industry’s most attractive career opportunitites Print21Connect

  • To Digital or Not To Digital?

    One of the key questions on the minds of print owners and executives is not only, ‘Where is business?’ or ‘How do I find a great print sales person?’ but also, ‘Should I go digital print or not?’

    Many of these printers, even those under $5 million in sales volume, have already adopted computer-to-plate. They have moved beyond desktop to formalize their digital workflows. This will be a prime requirement for success in the printing industry of the future, as systems for completing transactions with customers, as well as increasing the efficiency of the flow of data in the plant, become essential.

    So now comes the question, ‘Should digital printing be added to these workflows?’

    For most printers, the answer is no! At least not the high-speed digital printing solutions offered by Xerox, HP, Xeikon, and others. Their major digital print solutions will simply be too complex for the manpower, capital available, and gestation time required for these solutions. Printers this size, as well as those with sales in excess of $10 million, will require deep pockets, extreme patience, major reorganization, and a whole new set of branded services to ultimately meet the requirements of the digital print buyer.

    This is not to say that smaller solutions will not be appropriate. These solutions include lower volume copiers from Xerox, Canon, HP, Hitachi, Ricoh, and others. These toner solutions will provide all printers of any size sales volumes with the opportunity to deliver the broad range of print volume requirements for a customer’s print needs, from short run versioning to the upper limits of current traditional offset press equipment. This will be important as tomorrow’s print buyers, like today’s, continue to reduce the number of printers they see and use.

    There is no doubt that most printers of all sizes (most quick printers have offered digital toner capabilities for years) will be forced into adding digital printing to their digital workflows. This is especially true as alternate communication mediums take pages away from print, causing print budgets to decline, and requiring shorter run lengths. In addition, as major corporations and specific vertical industries gain control of how they can make best use of their data based information, their current printers serving their traditional print offset needs will see their volumes decline (especially as their limited budgets are utilized on higher priced digital printing and data development).

    ‘Do You or Do You Not’ will not be simple. Selecting the technology to purchase will be relatively easy, compared to major shifts required in organization and administration of the digital organization, marketing and sales. Some of these changes (to be covered in depth in future articles) include:

  • Most print customers of printers are neither familiar with nor demanding either short run, versioned digital printing nor one-one personalized printing. There is a whole education process, a process and a service not within the current capabilities of most printers, especially in the sales size under $10 million.
  • The digital print sale is really a data management (data creation, data pinpointing, data collection, data manipulation, and legacy data conversion) sale. Projected future growth in digital print volumes will greatly rely upon the ability of the customer to professionally manage this data. Printers are simply not familiar with this essential element of the digital printing process, and it is doubtful that a majority of printers will be able to develop their own internal resources to successfully provide this service.
  • To provide these data services, printers will have to partner with major and minor service companies specializing in data consulting. They will have to rely upon these providers’ expertise, to work with customers in the creation of data streams that will ultimately drive a printers’ digital presses.
  • Printers will have to re-brand their image from commodity to a partner in the customers’ data stream, target marketing, and a partner in the entire set of communication processes (e-mail communications, internet interactivity, broadcast e-mail and other traditional media, as well as the complete set of media used for a coordinated targeted marketing approach) with some of this media already important in a company’s personalized marketing approach.
  • A whole new sales and marketing structure will be required, demanding a new type of consultative (solutions oriented) sales representative with digital technical skills and knowledge. It will also require a high level IT specialist and digital project manager, who can blend the digital workflow of the printer with the systems of customers and prospects. The sales call will often require not only the sales representative, but also the IT specialist and the database partner. Simply coordinating dates and times with those of the customers’ VP of Sales, product manager, marketing director, etc. will be an interesting task.
  • The bottom line is the transition from traditional offset for the average printer, no matter their size, will be both time consuming, expensive, and difficult. At the same time, for long term survival, most commercial printers will have to create a strategic approach through their involvement in both traditional and digital print processes.

    Terry A. Nagi is President of Terry A. Nagi & Associates and DigitalPrint Resources, a print consultancy dedicated to assisting printers enter the digital world (from electronic prepress to digital printing) in a successful, well-strategize way. Terry concentrates on the planning, marketing, selling and management of a digital print operation. Fellow respected consultant’s deal with the other disciplines of finance, production, and general management.

    Terry Nagi can be contacted at 202/342-1727; fax 202/965-1722;

  • Colour management is essential for quality printing – drupa 04 perspective

    Today colour management technology has reached a high level of maturity. Only ten years after it first appeared on the market, ICC colour profiles have become indispensable in modern premedia. The operation of digital proofing systems would be simply impossible without modern colour management.

    It can be said without exaggeration that colour management has revolutionised digital proof printing. It is only thanks to targeted colour transformations that standard printers from Canon, Epson, HP and other manufacturers from the office area can be used as proofers. A whole series of newcomers in the print industry supplier community offer an intelligent combination of a PostScript RIP with integral colour management functions.

    The quality of these low-priced proofing systems has now reached such a high level that even discerning customers accept such digital proofs as contract proofs. Modular proofing solutions are regularly to be found among the leaders in the digital proofer tests conducted by the European Color Initiative (ECI) together with the Bundesverband Druck und Medien e.V. (German Printing and Media Industries Federation – bvdm).

    Only the profiles are standardised

    Meanwhile, the fourth version of the ICC profile specification is available ( ). It is a little-known fact that to date only the colour profiles have been specified and thus de facto standardised by the ICC. The functions of the second main component of a colour management system, the so-called colour management module (CMM), have not yet been precisely specified by the ICC.

    To a certain extent, the functions of a CMM can be derived from the profile specifications, but this does not apply to all operators. Especially in the past, different interpretations of a job could lead to visibly different transformation results. For example, different interpolation algorithms can produce slight tone value differences. In most practical cases, this will not be noticed. If, however, a 2% grey is calculated instead of a tone value of zero (paper white), in most cases this presents a massive production problem. The grey then has to be removed manually, often involving major editing effort.

    In general, the CMMs available today from established manufacturers of colour management components have a very high degree of compatibility. Practical everyday problems are only rarely attributable to an error in the CMM. So far, there has not been an official ISO standard for colour management. However, a draft standard has been prepared and, in 2003, a joint task force of the ISO and ICC was launched to convert the results of the ICC work into an official ISO standard.

    Problematic: skills in working with colour profiles

    While the technology of colour management has reached a high degree of maturity, the same does not yet apply to all users. Working with colour profiles and profiled workflows is still a major problem area. It is no mere chance that notably digital proofing is the field in which users work with colour profiles in virtually all systems, since applications here are locally limited. In fact, operation of such systems is actually particularly straightforward. In most cases, proofing simply requires two local colour profiles: one to characterise the print scale to be simulated and another to characterise the rendering properties of the proof printer. If both colour profiles describe the actual rendering conditions, excellent results should be achieved.

    However, users often somewhat hastily assume that their production process ideally corresponds to a standardised print scale (e.g. ISO 12647-2). If the digital proof is not accurate, the first place to look should be in actual production. All too often, standard print conditions are applied without criticism or colour profiles are taken from the Internet and used without question.

    Photoshop is exemplary

    An important step for the widespread use of colour management technology is the now very extensive implementation of ICC mechanisms in the application programs of the print and media industry. Special importance is attached to Adobe Photoshop, the dominant tool for image processing. After several attempts, Photoshop in its seventh version is regarded as a model of well thought-out ICC-based colour management implementation.

    Users skilled in working with colour profiles will find in Photoshop all the tools they need to initiate colour transformations or address profiles. One interesting aspect is that the Photoshop architects have even added a number of functions which are not yet covered by the ICC standard but which are very useful in modern workflows.

    For example, the black point compensation function mentioned earlier carries out scaling of the black point, which is often desired to make image reproduction with colour profiles more predicable and altogether simpler.

    Microsoft neglecting the ICC standard

    As Microsoft has neglected the ICC standard in recent years, Adobe has created its own colour management interface, called ACE. Based on the ICC standard, it is regarded by many experts as a reference implementation. Adobe products, which are so important for the graphic arts industry, now contain a standard colour management platform across all supported operating systems. Incompatibilities at system level (often used as an excuse for application problems) can now be virtually ruled out, at least across the Adobe product line, including the important interfaces with PostScript and PDF.

    Information on the subject of colour management is widely available in the world’s largest library, the World Wide Web. However, this information should also be treated with caution. Only few sources can be truly regarded as comprehensive and accurate.

    Interested users are advised to subscribe to the mailing lists of the ECI ( ) and Apple ( ), which provide advice on problems from a now extremely competent international user community.

    Colour management becoming increasingly important

    Modern prepress technology is set to move ever further away from exclusive print production for standardised offset print. Multiple use of production data is still at an early stage. Numerous large and small production jobs are being run at customer request from media- or process-neutral data files (e.g. IKEA and Neckermann catalogues). Colour management is a key technology, and its importance is set to increase further.

    There is still a lot to do for the ICC as far as colour management functions are concerned. In a worldwide user survey, respondents called above all for improvements in handling CMYK data, greater predictability of transformation results and increased user-friendliness. Lars Borg, colour management expert at Adobe Systems and current Chairman of the International Color Consortium, is working flat out to develop the ICC standard further. The criticisms and ideas put forward by users have been distributed among the ICC taskforces and will soon result in further improvements.

    Prof. Dr. Stefan Brües lectures at the University of Wuppertal and played a major role in establishing the ICC Committee and developing the ICC standard in his earlier work with FOGRA.

  • Beware: Bargain Trap – drupa warning!

    The important thing is to consider the entire life cycle of an investment and all the costs connected with it, i.e. the total Life Cycle Costs of a printing system.

    In the hourly rate for sheetfed presses, for example, a machine’s imputed depreciation allowance normally accounts for little more than 20 per cent of the cost. As much as two thirds are administrative, sales, personnel costs and material overhead.

    A typical illustration concerning sheetfed offset printing in Germany: a negotiated 10-per-cent discount on the investment merely yields a 2-3-% advantage in the hourly rate – the equivalent, for example, of faster makeready by one to two minutes. And not to forget: the cheaper press, too, has to be financed and utilized with print jobs. It is essential, therefore, to approach the buying decision in a logical manner, considering all aspects with care and insight.

    First, Analyse Order Structure and Costs

    A thorough order-structure and cost-accounting analysis should be carried out at the very least before making a strategic investment decision. In addition to the investment sum, encompassing also format class, colour capacity and equipment of the press, it is necessary to look at hourly rate,
    productivity, product costs and profitability or payback.

    If all costs have been optimized to the extent that the most favourable hourly rate is known, rationalization potentials or higher productivity by press automation should be focused on. The resultant higher investment sum may well mean an advantage. The effect can be determined by comparative product costing, which will show, for example, to what extent the higher automation influences the unit costs.

    Into this enter all elements of the workflow as a whole, such as plate costs, methods of production, individual makeready times, wash-up processes, pile changes, net outputs and white waste as well as postpress operations. This costing can also be done for different run lengths. The result will be an overview of production costs on the basis of various conceivable press configurations. First conclusion can now be drawn concerning one’s own market situation: Is the desired profit margin achievable?
    Example of an hourly rate structure: Because of the low share constituted by the imputed depreciation allowance, a negotiated discount of ten per cent on the investment produces only two to three per cent advantage in hourly rate, maximally.

    Only an Overall Examination Can Illuminate the Efficiency

    In the final costing step, the total production costs should be compared with the obtainable market price. This includes different utilization scenarios, cost/capacity cross validations, and the life cycle costs of the alternatives in question. From this, relative values can be determined regarding payback time, profitability and investment risk. Only when such overall examination has been completed can conclusions be drawn as to the efficiencies of different offers and, finally, the most advisable choice.

    There are Different Processes to Choose from

    MAN Roland’s sheetfed portfolio comprises a large number of alternatives for the various production scenarios. From small format to XXL, there are presses for different process versions, e.g. straight printing, printing with sheet reversal, two to ten inking units, inline coating also with perfecting, UV coating, white priming or integrated trim cut. Here already it is necessary to make the right selection, suited to the customer’s print-product portfolio.

    The right choice of format alone has significant effects on the efficiency of the overall process. For example: through to the folded sheet the small (OB) format is the most efficient in publications and commercial printing with products of up to 12 pages and runs up to 15,000 sheets, according to studies by EUROGRAFICA.

    With higher page counts and longer runs, the medium format (3B) dominates. But upwards of 48 pages and in runs up to 10,000 sheets, the large sizes (6, 7 and 7B) can be an alternative to consider. The importance of closely analysing the product range in question before making a decision is evidenced by the following example: With short runs of 24-page products, i.e. three sheets of eight pages each, and accordingly short runs, the small format can be superior to the medium format (note the small light-green point in the illustration re “Format segmenting”).
    Format segmentation for printing periodicals and commercial work: page counts and run lengths play a decisive role in the right choice of format class.

    Inline Functions and Automation

    Other features deserving special attention are the new inline processing possibilities like embossing or hot-foil embossing, which MAN Roland will be introducing at drupa. Furthermore, automation versions, which can decisively influence the efficiency, are increasing in number.

    While automatic functions like CCI ink setting, plate change or blanket wash-up are widely used already, more will be available to choose from in future: e.g. increasing integration into the printnet and PECOM network, automated plate change for coating units or sheet-travel monitoring with the aid of cameras from different locations in the press. The brand-new direct drive of the plate cylinder, MAN Roland DirectDrive, to be seen in action at drupa for the first time, sets standards in this respect. It will enable simultaneous changing of all plates and concurrent automatic cleaning of the cylinders, and by massively reducing makeready times it will make possible even higher efficiency, particularly in short runs.

    Saving Effects in Ink Control

    Especially when using long sheet offset presses with sheet reversal, the process of approval to the OK sheet is of great importance for the efficiency. By systematic standardization and the use of automatic ink control systems (CCI, Colorpilot) enormous savings are possible in this area. A reduced number of approval processes and reduced waste mean considerable rationalization potentials with payback times of less than a year.

    The few examples and costing aspects mentioned clearly show that investment decisions must not be based solely on price, but take into account the holistic effects on the company and its strategic product mix. The printer sells print products and consequently must include their entire production chain in his decision, and optimize his own production costs as a whole. Rash decisions by printing companies are known to have led to overcapacities and unforeseeable cost developments. In a weakening market, many of them had to give up as a result. This danger is inherent also in the “bargain trap”.

  • Ask not what you can do for the Government . . .

    With a federal election looming this year, what do we as an industry want from our Government in Canberra? While it is tempting to ask for the same generous treatment as the textile, clothing and footwear, car manufacturing or cane growing industries, the print, packaging and visual communications industry is not dead on its feet and doesn’t need to be propped up with buckets of Government assistance.

    Putting aside the temporary assistance for our book industry through EPICS, our industry receives zero (or even slightly negative) financial assistance from Government. This has worked fine in the past. But the industry is in a very different market to that of 20 years ago. Profits are down for the bulk of the industry, employment is falling, small businesses failing and consolidation is proceeding at a frightening pace. Add to that the burgeoning print industries in Asia, with their eyes on western markets, and then this industry will need a strong partner in Government to survive and grow.

    So again, what does the industry expect from Government in this climate? If all the political parties are as serious as they say they are about improving the skills and employability of our young people, then our industry must surely warrant attention. With its high technology, and knowledge economy focus, our industry must rank with the most desirable for good careers and employment prospects. This is an industry that can leverage our high levels of education and skills to become a major player in the world economy. We were once that with our primary products, why not with the innovation and talent of our businesses?

    What is it we want?

    There are a number of areas to explore with the political parties before the next federal election:

  • Industry rationalisation: while ever we have too much capacity in the sheetfed market, firms will simply not have the profits to re-invest in the types of technology and training needed to capture new markets. The next Commonwealth Government needs to support an industry rationalisation program that can guarantee a stable and orderly exit from the industry for those that wish to go.
  • Industry specific programs: governments pride themselves on giving assistance to companies to export, do business planning, assess risk and so on. But these generic programs rarely hit the spot. They seem to have rhetorical value only. Assistance programs designed to suit the needs and demographics of our industry are vital to its success.
  • Export assistance: studies we have conducted show that to tackle the world market, through exports or import replacement, the industry needs to be encouraged to develop new forms of partnering and collective strategies to make serious inroads into larger markets.
  • Research and development: one of the keys to success for our industry, and others, is to capitalise on innovations. In an area like the print and communication industry, where innovation happens so quickly, being ahead of the game is vital. The industry currently has the Cooperative Research Centre and the National Print Lab at Monash University to assist in some areas, but innovation in this industry requires more than refining the use of paper and paper products. Government support is needed to improve the research and development of innovative new products, whether new materials, hardware or software.
  • Strategic thinking, not ‘hands-off’: if this industry is to survive and grow, a policy of ‘she’ll be right’ and ‘free trade for all’ will fail. Our competition in the Asian region is under no illusions about the importance of playing the game to win. China, Japan, Korea, Singapore and Thailand, to name a few, are all interested in printing everything we read in Australia, not just the $1 billion worth of imports we now have.

    Will the next Government listen?

    Governments can’t satisfy everybody. So why should our claims be more pressing than any other? In simple terms, they are not. Nor are those of the car industry (which employs 55,000 not 120,000 Australians, as we do). What counts in these circumstances is how the industry argues its case. With one voice, or many.

    This industry has more organisations representing its interests than perhaps any other in Australia. The reasons are historical and related to its origins as a craft-based industry. But dealing with governments requires a different approach. The Printing Industries Association of Australia is currently seeking input from small and large member companies on the key issues for them in the forthcoming years.

    In addition, we are discussing these issues with industry associations within the industry, and those connected to it – designers, teachers, students and so on. Knowing what we want as industry is the first step. I encourage the industry to give us feedback so that we can speak with one voice on the things that really matter to us. We will then write to all the political parties putting our position to them. When we get a reply, we will let you know how they will support our industry.

  • Böttcher Australian and New Zealand drupa Social Calendar

    Printing Industries is coordinating several ‘must attend’ events during Drupa where you can take some time out to relax and enjoy the ambience of your tour. The action begins on your arrival with functions during both weeks of the exhibition.

    A welcome drink and briefing session will be held at the Messe Centre in Düsseldorf on both 5th and 12th May from 3pm to 5pm. This is open to all Australians and New Zealanders attending drupa. You will need to find the Messe Reception Room, Entrance North then go to the first floor (Don’t worry – it’s signed). No bookings required – but don’t be late.

  • –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––

  • One of the main events each week is the Australia Night Dinner held on the respective Fridays of 7th and 14th May at the famous German Brewery in Düsseldorf’s Altstadt.
    All welcome. Admission is by pre-booking only and that must be done in the next week or so by contacting Marty or Sonia at Eastern Suburbs Travel on (02) 9388 0666 or for out-of-towners call 1800 634 714. E-mail:


    DES & EFI present ANZ Day at Drupa

    Please come and join ANZ Drupa attendees and tour organizers for a pleasant
    couple of hours in Düsseldorf from 4pm on Monday 10th May. It’s
    Australia/New Zealand Day at drupa, courtesy of hosts Ian Clare and
    Russell Cavenagh of DES, distributors for EFI’s proofing (formerly Best)
    and workflow products.

    Come along to EFI’s area in Hall 4, stands B34 and B40 (facing), and enjoy some great Aussie/Kiwi hospitality at a special function laid on by DES and EFI. Enquiries:
    Phone: Russell on + 61 (0) 2 9743 6708.

    Look for the Aussie and Kiwi flags!


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    Printing blankets, rollers and impression cylinders in modern sheet-fed offset presses are cleaned by various types of automatic washing units. Böttcher washes and Printing aids are specifically designed for this purpose. They offer strong cleaning action and outstanding reliability and have been tested and approved by press manufacturers and have FOGRA certification.

    Printing aids

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    During printing operations, deposits consisting of paper coating material, calcium, printing ink ingredients accumulate on press rollers. These deposits cause glazing of the roller surface, which in turn lead to poor ink transfer and inking roller blinding.
    Böttcher recommend intensive weekly cleaning of rollers with special cleaning pastes and gels. This extends roller service life and ensures consistent print quality.

    Cleaning pastes

    BöttcherPro Calciumfix
    Cleaning gel for removal of stubborn calcium deposits on inking rollers. The original ink absorption properties are restored.
    Regular (weekly) use helps prevent accumulation of calcium deposits. BöttcherPro Calciumfix is packaged in tubes for easy, economical application.

    Feboclean EK
    Cleaning gel for removal of stubborn calcium deposits on inking rollers. Packaged in tubs.

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    BöttcherPro Cleanfix is packaged in tubes for easy, economical application.

    Feboclean RE
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    *Plus packaging and shipping cost within Australia $14.95 per order, orders over $120.00 are delivered free.

    To find out more information or to order some products, contact Mitchell Mulligan on +61 2 9659 2722 or e-mail

    Visit Böttcher on the web

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

    This is your opportunity to lobby a polly on major issues including:

  • Taxation
  • Labour relations
  • Training
  • Dealing with the government
  • Government regulation
  • Infrastructure
  • The pre-election survey can be downloaded from and responses will be collated, analysed and presented to the major political parties for their response.


    Don’t forget to mark your calendar for the upcoming Sappi Printer of the Year Awards in Melbourne at Sheraton on the Park on June 10. Becoming one of the most sought after prizes in the industry, the regional SAPPI Trading Printer of the Year winners are entered in the world championship event, which takes place in Cape Town later in the year. This year the numbers have almost doubled with a good deal of interest from New Zealand. Will a local printer get the guernsey? Is this the Australasian region’s year to become recognised as the best printer in the world? Watch this space.


    Fancy an intellectual sojourn in the historic university city of Heidelberg this summer? The Print Media Academy there is hosting a series of English language seminars for professionals in the printing industry in June and July. “Enlighting Perspectives through Expertise and Dialogue” is the title of the series but despite this they are down-to-earth, hands on affairs dealing with such matters as Process Standardization, and PDF Tips and Tricks.
    For further information contact that meister of printing, Greg Grace at


    Now here’s a decent bit of pork barrelling we perhaps could emulate. In the state of Illinois, USA there is a tax exemption on printing machinery that has made cities such as Chicago printing powerhouses. But now the Governor, Rod Blagojevich, wants to levy a 6.25 % tax on presses to close what he describes as a loophole. Major printing company, RR Donnelley is threatening to halt investment in the state where it employs 1500. It says the state, “is no longer a favourable state for business.”


    The good guys at GAMAA have opened the wallet and sponsored the business session of the Junior Printing Executives Association’s Annual Conference. The conference will be held on 28th – 30th May at The Hunter Valley Gardens. The speaker for the business session is Catherine De Vrye. author of the #1 best seller, Good Service is Good Business. Her latest book is, Hope Happens!…Words of Encouragement for Tough Times.

    It’s going to be a great conference – get more information from Kelly Bourke 0414 925 199.


    And finally . . . you’ve more than likely seen this, but it’s still a good ‘un. From Norman Koslowski, who reckons whoever put it up will be fired soon.

    1) Go to

    2) Type in “weapons of mass destruction” (DON’T hit return)

    3) Hit the “I’m feeling lucky” button, NOT the “Google search”

    4) Read the “error message” carefully. The WHOLE page.

  • APN News & Media decides on Agfa violet CtP

    After evaluating several CtP systems, Sunshine Coast chose Agfa as supplier for its move to the new prepress technology. The installation commenced on 18 February and the first live job went to press on the 10th March.

    Agfa installed a single :Polaris XEV platesetter, together with an online :VSP85S processor and online plate stacker. Sunshine Coast has also chosen Agfa’s :N91V violet photopolymer plate, as this proved to be the most cost-efficient solution.

    Gary Osborne, Sunshine Coast’s Group Production Manager, sees the company’s move to CtP as a major turning point for the newspaper.

    “Our transition to CtP has been smooth and we have identified considerable benefits for our company. The installation was carried out in a very professional manner and met all our on-time expectations. On press, the results have been very pleasing with printer’s comments of notable water reduction and a sharper, cleaner print,” he said.

    “For Agfa, this is the first site in Australia to start using our violet photopolymer technology,” said Koni Neuhofer, Agfa’s Newspaper Product Manager, “and there are several newspapers who will commence with similar systems very soon.”

    APN publishes 24 daily and more than 90 non-daily newspapers across Australia and New Zealand. In Australia, its newspapers service Queensland and northern New South Wales.

    In New Zealand, APN operates the country’s largest metropolitan daily, The New Zealand Herald, which has been published since 1863, as well as a number of top-ranking regional and community newspapers and mass-market magazines. APN also operates major printing businesses, as well as a market-leading security plastics company.

  • Job of the Week – Telephone Sales Executive, Sydney

    This position is based at Homebush, and report to the Sales Manager Telemarketing Operations.

    The Job:

  • To plan and implement professional territory management
  • To maintain and update customer records and the territory database
  • To complete assigned customer call programme and conversion
  • To be familiar with all DSD products, marketing prices and benefits and, to communicate this information to the customer base
  • To work cross functionally to promote FX and DSD products and services
  • To promote customer satisfaction through identification and fulfilment of customer requirements.
  • To achieve financial targets.
  • The Person:

  • Should have excellent communication and interpersonal skills,
  • Proven and successful sales experience,
  • Team player and people management skills,
  • Ability to work under pressure,
  • Computer skills.
  • David Caldwell
    Human Resources Division
    North Ryde
    Tel: (02) 98565390
    Fax: (02) 9856 5482

    Closing Date: 26th April 2004


    Search for more of the industry’s most attractive career opportunitites Print21Connect

  • GAMAA leadership workshop explores the ‘Game of Business.’

    The high-end workshops are an integral part of GAMAA’s Leadership Programme for 2004 and are developed in conjunction with the Melbourne Business School, a division of the University of Melbourne.received an overwhelmingly positive response from participants.

    According to GAMAA President Dr David Rands, the most significant outcome at the end of the three day residential workshop was that participants left with a greater understanding of the role leadership plays in enabling companies, and individuals, to expand their horizons.

    “As our knowledge and understanding of these workshops grows it is clear that what is developing is the opportunity for participants to be exposed to range of management skills and processes that will challenge their working practices and provide them with a way forward in developing strategies for the future,” he said.

    The “Thinking Strategically” workshop was facilitated by Professor Vivek Chaudhri who presented models and theories behind business strategy, and this was complemented by Peter Singline, of Brand DNA, who explored “branding”, both personal and organisational.

    A press statement from GAMAA said participants were challenged through invigorating and lively discussions and interactive sessions but perhaps the most consistent comment was that the workshop provided an environment in which to reflect, and explore both personal and corporate goals. Reflection is vital, but often missing in the hectic pace of daily business.

    Other presenters at the workshop were Robert Dore and GAMAA executive officer Anni Rowland-Campbell on organisational change.

    Limited places are now available for the second leadership workshop, “Developing Leadership”, to be held from 27 to 29 August in Sydney. For information, contact Pam Fairnington at GAMAA on (02) 9417 7433 or 0409 241 177 or visit

  • The 12 Digital Realities: Not to be Overlooked

    This specific article concentrates on 12 digital realities (and some myths) of which all printers should be aware.

    The challenge is not technology. Significant alternatives are provided by numerous manufacturers. The real challenge is in customer acceptance, at least in these early years. These challenges are compounded by;

  • a reticence by sales representatives to pursue digital business (initial small orders normally equal small commissions),
  • their unfamiliarity with the technology as well as how customers can best use the technology (many still have a difficult time with desktop without compounding the issues of database management, digital asset management, direct mail and fulfillment),
  • the need to contact buyers with whom they are unfamiliar (from the purchasing agent to the marketing executive) and
  • dealing with major issues of internal database availability, database building, or external purchase of database information.
  • All this leads to a discussion of 12 specific digital print realities (or myths).

    Not Ready for Prime Time

    Despite the enthusiastic forecast by vendors as well as noted research organizations, customer acceptance and utilization of variable and short run printing has yet to reach a “critical mass”. This is not to say such mass will not be reached in the future. It is just a fact that currently, most print buyers are unfamiliar with digital print, do not see where it can be of value, are not normally the decision makers who are impacted by the benefits of this new-to-market process. Excellent case studies are available on the benefits of variable printing (see information later in this article), yet relating these to a buyer’s goals and objectives seems to be difficult.

    One-on-One Marketing Requires Efficient, Effective, Data Bases and Their Management

    The fact is most potential users have not created the systems nor collected the data to drive an effective one-on-one marketing campaign. Those that have databases on their clients and prospects (frequent users) often find it difficult to retrieve this information. Marketing may see the value of variable or short run printing, but the IT Director may have different directions. Add to this the sales representative who cannot fully, accurately discuss database management as it applies to the printer’s own digital operation, and you have a less-than desirable scenario.

    Short Run is Simply Too Expensive

    Print buyers are still convinced that the lowest price per 1,000 impressions is the best way to buy print. Individuals who forecast the future of digital print have based their forecast on an ever-decreasing cost per page, down to below $ 0.10. This reality has not been achieved, and this forecast of growth at this lower cost may be overly optimistic.

    Current Economic Condition

    Until current economic circumstances return to more positive growth for major organizations, print-buying budgets will continue to be suppressed. This makes it even more difficult to convince print buyers they should spend significantly more dollars on digital print benefits yet to be proved.

    A Wide Range of Choices

    Xerox and HP are certainly powerhouses in the development of digital print technologies. They are the voices most frequently heard. Yet, there exists a number of lower speed, lower cost providers who provide digital print solutions that should not be overlooked. Printers simply have to attempt to make a realistic forecast of the typical run length required in the future by their main customers and prospects, and translate this into their first decision on which digital print vendor to be selected.

    Major Infra-Structure Considerations

    Buy a new sheetfed offset press, and most printers do not have to change electronic prepress or the bindery/finishing capabilities. Purchase a digital press, and significant changes may be required in electronic prepress, plus the installation of short-run binding and finishing. New workflows will probably have to be developed. Simpler and faster estimating, order entry, and client communications will have to be implemented, or the cost of these may overtake the profitability on individual orders.

    Mailing Initiatives

    Almost all digital print will be mailed. This puts an additional burden on those printers without their own internal mailing facility, who have to find and work with an effective mailer (often a concern for many printers) and for the sales representative to understand and explain (and work with) the mailing requirements of clients.

    Data Base Considerations

    The immenseness of this reality cannot be overlooked. Digital printing is database driven. Systems are still under development, but almost perfected. As with the desktop era, effectively working with a client’s databases may prove both frustrating and full of roadblocks. Many printers’ desktop technicians may find it difficult to convert to database managers.

    Instantaneous Estimating

    If it can’t be estimated instantaneously, how can it be printed the same? Clients will expect a price list approach, or at least almost instantaneous estimates. New estimating systems may be required to match this reality.

    Instantaneous Communications

    Instant printing also requires instantaneous communications. Buyers want to know where their order is “right now”, with a desire to deal with their printer via Internet based information transfer, and experience fast, efficient data transfer – nothing less! The reality is most printers today are not ready for this instant communications era.

    The Value of PODi

    Any printer considering a digital print operation should visit the web site It is a non-profit organization that was initially comprised of main vendors of digital print technologies, but now an ever-growing number of digital printers themselves. PODi has already developed its own personalization software (PPML). It has also documented over 140 examples (case studies) of the benefits and effective use of digital printing. Many are available for review and can be downloaded from their web site. PODi provides extremely effective promotional and proof materials to share with customers and prospects on the benefits of digital print.

    New Priorities in Advertising and Promotions

    Traditional print marketing/advertising/promotion was normally directed at informing the print buyer of the virtues of the printer. This included capabilities brochures, equipment lists, samples, etc. Digital print promotion will initially require education and training. Buyers will simply have to learn how to use digital print benefits, advantages, graphics development, database management, etc. Newsletters and seminars will be a popular form of promoting digital print.

    New Competition

    Quick printers are already in this business. Major franchise organizations (such as Kinko’s, Sir Speedy, etc.) will continue to grow in offering digital printing to an ever-growing list of corporate clients (especially through its own direct sales force). Photo processors (check out and are extremely interested in marketing/selling the lessons learned in moving from analog to digital in photo processing to the print community. Competition in the world of digital printing will not only be from trade shops and traditional printers, but from new providers not previously faced in commercial print.

    Okay – so these actually amount to 13 versus 12 realities (myths). There are others. It is important that any and all printers considering a conversion from commercial to digital print take each of these realities into consideration.

    Terry A. Nagi is President of Terry A. Nagi & Associates and DigitalPrint Resources, a print consultancy dedicated to assisting printers enter the digital world (from electronic prepress to digital printing) in a successful, well-strategized way. Terry concentrates on the planning, marketing, selling and management of a digital print operation. Fellow respected consultants deal with the other disciplines of finance, production, and general management.

    Terry Nagi can be contacted at 202/342-1727; fax 202/965-1722;

  • Edwards Dunlop dampens stock listing rumours

    The paper merchant, which is owned by GS Private Equity through a company called Detagna, last year added Raleigh Papers and BJ Ball to its original merged stable of Edwards Dunlop and Commonwealth Paper. It has applied to the ASIC for a name change to Pridium but denies it is going to merge the corporate entities under the one umbrella.

    Following the acquisitions from New Zealand-based Carter Holt Harvey, the expanded Edwards Dunlop group claims a 20-25% market share in both Australia and New Zealand. At the time of the takeover Andrew Rothery, Managing Director
    GS Private Equity, indicated the company had plans for further expansion.

    “Edwards Dunlop is now extremely well placed to assert its leadership among the independent paper merchants. Since again becoming an autonomous company, Edwards Dunlop has been recognised as a substantial player in the Australian market for printing and writing papers. Edwards Dunlop has the size, the structure and the strategies in place to become an even more substantial company,” he said.

    He admits that taking the company public would be a viable exit option for the investors, but cautions against reading too much into the current name change.

    Ambitions for Pridium to go public would put further pressure on publicly-listed paper merchant CPI, which in divesting itself of its graphic machinery division enter: CPI exits prepress in Archive Search has made itself more appealing as a reverse takeover target.

    According to a report in The Financial Review CPI has a relatively small market capitalisation of $31 million as opposed to the gross assetts of $154 million of Detagna.

    Such as takeover move would make sense in a paper market that is in the process of consolidation and would serve the interests of the equity investors. CPI has struggled in recent times and posted some major losses. The addition of CPI to Edwards Dunlop Group would make it the unassailable challenger to the PaperlinX merchants.