Archive for February, 2005

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

    Contrary to our call last week that she will join Amos Michelson, ceo, and Mark Dance, chief financial and operating officer in taking a hike, Judi is slated to become the top person in the company when the acquisition goes through.

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    In other Creo news Mark Wilton, Creo – Global Marketing Manager, NGP
    sends word from chilly Vancouver that the connectivity partnership is rapidly approaching its 50 member mark. The cross-vendor interoperability initiative, utilizing the JDF standard, continues to grow to cover all regions in the world, he says, and is revolutionising the graphic communications industry via integration through co-operation.

    Astute readers will recall Mark’s tenure as marketing manager, Creo Australia.

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    The indefatigable Gary Knespal of GASAA is putting together a series of knowledge breakfasts at the show in Melbourne in May for those bright of eye and clear of head. Each morning, during PacPrint 05, briefing breakfast sessions will take place at the Melbourne Convention Centre (a short walk to PacPrint) to look at the key offerings of the show. Frequent visitor to these shores from the USA, David Zwang, will give his hot picks for the show and assist visitors in making sense of the wide range of solutions on offer. To sign on www.gasaa.asn.au/raw_register.html

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    Sad to report the sudden passing of Barry MacDonald, well-known and respected industry identity, supply company owner, member of GAMAA and one of its representatives on the PacPrint board. Long a stalwart of the labelling and forms industry, Barry through his company Web Graphics played a prominent role in many industry initiatives throughout the years. Tireless in his efforts and steady in his commitment to the greater good, he was a pillar of strength and will be sorely missed by many in diverse sectors of the industry.

    Vale Barry.

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    New faces at Imagetext Publishing Systems in Auckland with arrival of Kossack Chambers and Milind Kulkarni. Their inclusion in the sales team at the large and well-established Apple graphic arts solution providers sets managing director Darius Mistry’s mind at rest. “Finding talented and committed staff is always difficult. In Kossack and Milind we have found both these attributes, but also we have found individuals with specialist knowledge of our industry. I am delighted to have them on board”. Imagetext has a turnover of $6 million and employs over 25 staff, and claims to be Apple New Zealand’s largest professional supplier into the graphic arts marketplace

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    Mark Reid, well-known industry identity has taken over the reins of Melbourne security printer formerly known as SNP SPrint (Australia) from its Singapore owners and changed its name to SEP SPrint Australia Pty Ltd. Ever the dedicated printer, he forwards the following ‘mission statement’ which he intends to display in the company foyer in time honoured tradition. In light of the recent typographical furore over the Print21 subhead font, we include this to restore some calm and sanity.


    Beatrice Ward was a typographer who lived from 1900 to 1969. Some of our readers will recognise her elegant monograph on the essential nature of our industry, which she composed in 1932. It used to be displayed, faithfully set in Perpetua, in the foyer of most printing businesses.

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    And finally . . . this from the ever youthful John Youngman whose tendons are on the mend.

    A police officer pulls over a speeding car on the Hume outside Wangaratta.

    The officer says, “I clocked you at 120 kilometers miles per hour, sir.”

    The driver says, “Gee, officer I had it on cruise control at 80, perhaps your radar gun needs calibrating.”

    Not looking up from her knitting the wife says:
    “Now don’t be silly dear, you know that this car doesn’t have cruise control.”

    As the officer writes out the ticket, the driver looks over at his wife and growls, “Can’t you please keep your mouth shut for once?”

    The wife smiles demurely and says, “You should be thankful your radar detector went off when it did.”

    As the officer makes out the second ticket for the illegal radar detector unit, the man glowers at his wife and says through clenched teeth, “Darn it, woman, can’t you keep your mouth shut?”

    The officer frowns and says, “And I notice that you’re not wearing your seat belt, sir. That’s an automatic $75 fine.”

    The driver says, “Yeah, well, you see officer, I had it on, but took it off when you pulled me over so that I could get my license out of my back pocket.”

    The wife says, “Now, dear, you know very well that you didn’t have your seat belt on. You never wear your seat belt when you’re driving.”

    And as the police officer is writing out the third ticket the driver turns to his wife and barks, “WHY DON’T YOU JUST BLODDY WELL SHUT UP??”

    The officer looks over at the woman and asks, “Does your husband always talk to you this way, Ma’am?”

    Says the wife . . . “Only when he’s been drinking.”

  • Heidelberg – the once and future company

    The Heidelberg Print Academy stands some distance from the entrance to the old town of Heidelberg in southern Germany with its quaint university precincts of narrow streets, dotted with16th century church steeples, clustering under the brooding hulk of a picturesquely ruined schloss. The Academy is an award-winning structure of soaring glass and steel surrounding a ‘silo’ of empty space, that stands symbolic of Heidelberg Druckmaschinen’s aspirations to be a leader among Germany’s hi-tech corporations.

    It is in the right location – Heidelberg is the technology capital of Germany with significant biochem, IT, software and media corporations located there, as well as NATO headquarters. In addition to its role as an international training centre for the graphic arts industry, the PMA functions as a social locus, boasting a Michelin star restaurant on the top floor, ’Schwartz’ and a convivial bar on the first floor that acts as a meeting place for people from all over the globe. Outside on the pavement a 12-metre tall aluminium ‘horse’ rears and stamps in sculpted kinetic rage.

    Scorched by the firesale

    As well it might. It has not been an easy time for the leader of the sheetfed press manufacturing industry. During 2004 Heidelberg disposed of its digital printing division as well as its web press division; the latter to Kodak, the former to Goss. Although part of an overall strategy to realign the company back to its core competencies, the transactions could not be described as lucrative. In the case of the digital division no money changed hands, with Kodak taking back the black & white digital business it sold to Heidelberg five years before. It also assumed responsibility for the ownership and continuing development of the NexPress, the high-end digital production press jointly owned by the two companies. There is a performance-based agreement for periodic payments to Heidelberg, to a maximum of $150 million, if certain sales targets are met.

    The Goss International deal is scarcely less onerous, with Heidelberg transferring its sizable web press manufacturing division for 15 per cent share of the enlarged company. Not a bonanza by any means.

    And yet, at the annual end of year press conference in Heidelberg in December, Bernard Schreier, CEO, (at right) and his new board member, Jürgen Raufert, were not dismayed by what could easily be described as a catastrophe. Rather they were in good spirits, like men who have come through the fire and survived. Yes, they freely admitted, the sale was not easy or pleasant and there were costs – hundreds of millions of dollars (an estimate puts it over euro500 million [AUD$860 million]). Even now with much of the pain behind it, the reduced company has posted a 2nd quarter loss of Euro 59 million, while declaring its continuing operations are expected to generate a small net profit of Euro 4 million. It’s not a great result, but it is better than expected and quite enough to convince the Heidelberg board that its decision to cut loose the loss-making operations was correct.

    Run too fast, fly too high

    That Heidelberg was forced to such drastic action is really not so surprising. Like the printing industry itself during the past decade it proved to be the victim of unfettered ambition to grow beyond its means. As the printing industry increased its production power to the stage where it is now suffering from chronic over capacity worldwide, so Heidelberg under previous management got caught up with plans to take over the world of graphic arts. It wanted to be number one not only in its traditional sector of sheetfed press manufacturing, but also in finishing, prepress, digital printing, web presses and even newspaper presses. In short, it wanted to be first in everything.

    At the millennial drupa 2000 such hubris reached its apogee with Heidelberg amazing the world with a full-scale newspaper press in operation, massive sheetfed presses, new digital engines and a plethora of new models and developed technology that took up two crammed full exhibition halls. For a brief moment it seemed as though Heidelberg could indeed take over the industry. It was a great party, but it was doomed to come to an end. In the painful light of a 9/11 dawn the economic bubble burst, the economies of the developed world slowed dramatically, the graphic arts industry went into a painful slump, Heidelberg’s top management took the last train out and its new team was left to find a way to stem mounting losses that almost threatened the survival of the company.

    At the same time the company’s power utility parent, REW, made it plain that it wanted to sell off its controlling interest in the loss making press manufacturing subsidiary. This could only take place if Heidelberg was whipped into better shape, with a coherent strategy that would appeal to international investors. And so began the year of hard decisions.

    Came the dawn

    Heidelberg at the start of 2005 is a vastly different company than the vulnerable, over extended corporation entering last year’s drupa cycle. It is now a company back in control of its destiny, fully publicly owned, focused on what it does best – the manufacture of sheetfed printing presses, the prepress equipment required to feed them, workflow to automate them and finishing equipment to complete the cycle. It is has cut staff, closed facilities, shortened hours, slashed costs and streamlined its management. It is now looking at exploring manufacturing options in China, initially to assemble folders but with an eye on long-term press manufacture there. More importantly, it is re-creating itself as a service and consulting company as well as a manufacturer.

    The language used along the corridors and in the workshops at Heidelberg now is down-to-earth, focused on the nitty gritty of printing with little of the hyperbole that characterised its flaming ascent. Proactive service and customised presses are the centre of attention, bottom line profits for its customers and a determination to retain its dominance in the sheetfed market are the messages coming from its executives. Packaging is attracting more of Heidelberg’s attention as the digital revolution continues to sweep across information printing. Consolidation is decimating its customer base – in the five years to 2005 up to 30 per cent of printshops in Europe will disappear.

    Do you want die cutting with that?

    In response Heidelberg foresees printers developing specialisations, exploiting niche markets with specialised equipment. The company is moving away from relying on production model presses, a one size fits all approach, to promote the benefits of customisation.

    The world longest sheetfed press is currently being installed at a secret location in Germany. Designated as a CD102-LY+8+YLYLY+1X3, the 16-unit Heidelberg press is designed for a wide variety of applications in commercial printing, but with an eye on packaging and label processes. It has two flexo units before eight offset units ahead of an additional five flexo units and a final offset unit for matt coating. This is a seriously customised press and indicative of the lengths printers are now prepared to go to gain differentiation in the market. It is not a press for everyone and as Jürgen Rautert said, “a printer entering that field should verify in depth his job structure. A machine going to these extremes has limited resale options.”

    On the other hand the Heidelberg team of approximately 50 specialists that develops these customised presses has the ability to remake any size machine. The smallest customised model is a Speedmaster 52 with coater, UV dryer and inline die cutting. Currently running in the UK it is massively productive machine when compared to offline processes. “Such a machine has a limited number of jobs you can run on it, but that’s the nature of customising – tailor-made solutions for profitable niches,” reaffirmed Rautert.

    Are you being system served?

    With its field of action curtailed to the offset sheetfed printing market, Heidelberg is determined to develop new proactive service models that cover the entire production process. As the only major press manufacturer with its own prepress (it has just released the first wholly Heidelberg developed thermal platesetter, the SupraSetter) and its own finishing line, it is in a unique position to develop an end-to-end production service concept. Working on the basis that three to four per cent of print sales are used to cover print shop service costs, which doesn’t include production downtimes, it is Heidelberg’s contention that with its service extending to the printer’s entire value-added chain in sheetfed printing, it can significantly lower the total cost of ownership while ensuring a transparent price/performance ratio.

    It is sometimes easy to forget just how widespread the Heidelberg influence in sheetfed printing actually is. With more than 200,000 customers and 40 per cent of the market it has 5,4000 sales and service specialists at 250 branch offices in 170 countries. From its global logistics chain it dispatches 5,000 deliveries of parts per day.

    As part of its system service model ,Heidelberg is promoting a new print quality test complete with test form and assessment performed by its own specialists. A business simulation tool, BizModel, will allow customers in partnership to pinpoint potential areas where production can be improved.

    The pragmatic realignment of Heidelberg is a realistic response to an untenable situation. The new corporate model may lack some of the media fizz of the glory days when it seemed the convergence of communication technology would position the printing industry as the key knowledge manager of the future with Heidelberg as its handmaiden. It may still happen, but if the Heidelberg experience is anything to go by it will not happen overnight and in the meantime survival is essential – for the company and its customers.

  • Scitex Vision boosts local presence with new sales director

    Turner will be responsible for the marketing and business development of Scitex Vision’s digital printing presses, as well as for the company’s inks that are used in industrial graphic arts and packaging applications. His new position will be a consolidation of 15 years of experience in IT sales and marketing, which includes stints at Eastman Kodak and NEC Business Solutions.

    According to Turner, the creation of the position is very much an indication that Scitex Vision is increasing its prescence in Australia and New Zealand. “While the company will be continuing to work with its current distributors, my appointment as sales director will provide another point of contact and support for local customers. In essence, it will serve to enhance the relationships we have established here already.”

    Yariv Avisar, president of Scitex Vision Asia Pacific, also claims that the appointment acknowledges the growing importance of the company’s customer base in the region. “Our business has experienced rapid growth in this region during the past 12 months, and the appointment of a locally-based manager improves our ability to meet the needs of the Australasian market.”

  • New Zealand daily newspaper printer picks Agfa CTP

    The move to fully-digital newspaper production is a first for printing a daily newspaper in New Zealand and, because of its close proximity to the international dateline, Printcorp’s is the first newspaper CTP device to go in to action as each day dawns. The installation is also a milestone for Agfa – the Advantage is its first in the southern hemisphere.

    Printcorp is part of the APN News and Media publishing group, responsible for producing two daily broadsheet newspapers as well as its 40 to 50 other weekly print jobs. Included with Printcorp’s new CTP pre-press system is the latest Advantage DL platesetter and Arkitex automated workflow software.

    The Advantage platesetter features violet imaging technology coupled with its safe, low-cost and heavily customisable functionality, and has allowed Printcorp a 30 per cent increase in production. The Arkitex software integrates equipment and production tasks, as well as employing advanced communication technologies like PDF, JDF for data transmission.

    Printcorp general manager, George Murcott, claims the motivation behind the decision to trade traditional printing methods for computer-to-plate production was its clear financial advantages. “It is very hard to ignore the rapid return this choice offers to the business. The efficiencies of CTP speak volumes to a daily newspaper, providing opportunities to extend deadlines that can be used to capture more up-to-date news, or alternatively, extend the selling period.”

    Murcott also has praise for the ease in which the CTP system was integrated into Printcorp’s operations. “The process is simple, reliable and backed by strong technical support. The Advantage system meets our requirements, and has almost halved our production times.”

    For the full storyclick www.bluelinemedia.com.au/index.cfm?pageid=feature&id=12

  • Green agenda strengthened with OS recycling plant

    Fuji Xerox Australia will be among the companies making use of the new state-of-the-art environmental plant, with another eight Fuji Xerox companies from across the Asia Pacific region sending waste to the facility in Chonburi, Thailand. The project has already been subjected to an in-depth review by governments in Australia and Thailand, and Fuji Xerox plans on sending as many as 30,000 items of equipment and up to 500,000 supplies cartridges for recycling on an annual basis.

    Old copiers and printers were until recently recycled in Australia, The local recycling ratio of 85 per cent meant that the remaining 15 per cent was still being sent to landfill. Phil Chambers, managing director of Fuji Xerox Australia, claims the new facility will allow his company to move even closer towards meeting its environmental objectives.

    “This plant is a great global initiative for Fuji Xerox,” says Chambers. “It will see the business achieve a virtually zero landfill recycling solution for eight countries in the region, many of which don’t have the recycling capability we have in Australia. This is a real testament to Fuji Xerox’s commitment to a sustainable development vision.”

    The Thai plant operates from a 10,000 square metre facility that was purpose built in the Chonburi Industrial Estate, and currently employs 100 people.

  • Blue Star to boost its presence in Victoria

    Victoria is to be Blue Star Australia’s main focus over the next 12 months, with the company commencing a search for acquisitions in the sheet-fed printing and direct mail industries. The company was responsible for turning over $150 million in Australia during 2003-04, but is looking to increase that figure to $180 million for the next financial year.

    Blue Star Australia chief executive Geoff Selig confirms the company’s intentions to expand in Australia. “We are currently looking at appropriate printing businesses in Victoria for potential acquisitions, more specifically in the sheet-fed, mail and logistics sectors.”

    Selig also confirmed that Blue Star’s Australian operations are on track for continued success, growing through its own internal strength rather than by acquisitions alone. “The growth we’ve experienced over the last 5 years has been consistently strong, and, for the most part, organic as well.”

    Blue Star already has a significant presence in Australia with offset printing operation Webstar, which generated approximately $30 million during the last financial year and has a list of clients that include Derwent Howard, Next Media and ACP. Some of the other Australian companies under the Blue Star brand include King’s Mail Service, Link Printing and Techniche.

  • 1st Regioman press is a techno advance for newspapers

    The high-tech site, scheduled to open in early 2006, will combine the APN printing operations from Maroochydore with those from the company’s site at Bundaberg.

    According to Gary Osborne, group production manager for APN Newspapers in Australia, the design of the new site has been driven by the need for a more flexible and efficient print capacity. “When the new plant is up and running, it will be producing four daily newspapers every night. When you take into account the delivery schedules on top of that, the time constraints for the production of all these editions are critical. The Regioman’s format and running speed make it the right press for the type of work we do and the time constraints under which we work.”

    The Regioman press at Yandina, installed by Intergrafica Print & Pack, will print 64 pages of back-to-back colour at a top speed of 75,000 copies per hour. The Uniset tower included in the press will also be used for additional coldset colour as required, as well as for combined coldset and heatset printing and standalone heatset products for internal and external clients. It runs at a top speed of 60,000 copies per hour in straight mode.

    “This has been a very exciting project to be involved in,” says John Ostler (pictured right), general manager for the web at IPP. “Not only because it’s the first Regioman in Australia, but also because the combination of single and double width presses in a single line is a very important development for newspaper production in this country.”

    The combination of the double width, single circumference Regioman towers and single width, double circumference Uniset towers is a unique configuration for MAN Roland. The result of a joint development between APN and MAN Roland, the design and engineering teams from MAN Roland worked through the complete production requirements of APN to ensure the press configuration and equipment met their unique requirements. The process took more than two years of planning to bring to fruition, the final details being confirmed just prior to Christmas.

    APN News & Media publishes 24 daily and more than 90 non-daily newspapers across Australia and New Zealand. The sites at Maroochydore and Bundaberg are both responsible for producing several daily newspapers, as well as a range of smaller publications and commercial work.

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

    A seminal figure in the rise of the company to its pre-eminent role in the graphic arts industry he proved to be a hit with the black-tie crowd in his talk on Japan’s new business climate.

    Catching up with someone he regards as a long-time friend was Phil Chambers, managing director of Fuji Xerox (Australia).

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    The tom-toms are beating ever louder as PacPrint draws nearer. Latest take on the show is that there are exhibitors from 11 countries taking stands. Countries represented include Brazil, Germany, India, Singapore and Italy, as well as China, Hong Kong and New Zealand. In 2001 visitors were welcomed from more than 20 different countries and the 2005 Board anticipates the number to be greater this year as companies diversify across the region.

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    GASAA’s latest 10-second pop-up survey of the graphic arts industry comes up with the figures that 89.6% of respondents were now using some form of broadband internet service for business use. Just on 10% remained with a dial-up service.

    68% of all users had ADSL internet connections, 16% were using cable access, with only 5% currently using wireless services. None of the respondent to the quick GASAA poll were using Satellite services for internet and file transfer.

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    Lots happening people-wise in Brisbane. Virginia-based business Scanlon Printing has consolidated its position as a Queensland leader in print management with the appointment of Debbie Luttgens (pictured) as sales manager. Luttgens brings over 30 years experience from printing and publishing industries in Europe, the USA and Australia.

    During more than two decades working for international printing giant Conde Nast Publications in the UK, Luttgens’ she has handled the publication and circulation of well-known titles including Vogue, House & Garden, Vanity Fair and Tatler.

    More recently, Queensland Sales Manager for Inprint, Luttgens said she needed little convincing when the opportunity to join Scanlon Printing was presented.

    Also entering the fray in the northern capital is Louise Sykes (left). She’s joining specialist prepress supplier, CyraChrome, which is expanding its presence in Queensland. Based in Brisbane, Louise will be looking after sales and technical support for the entire range of CyraChrome prepress products with a particular focus on the ColorTuner proofing and colour management system.

    “I am a former customer of CyraChrome and a long time user of ColorTuner so I know what it is like from the client’s perspective. I am able to talk to users on their level and address their needs,” said Louise.

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    Here’s something to keep an eye out for . . . Kristina Holdorf and her company, Urban Fresh, are negotiating with SCS (Scientific Certification Systems) to bring FCS Chain of Custody Certification to Australia. This will enable buyers to ensure the paper they are purchasing comes from sustainable forests. It’s something that is long overdue here.

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    And finally . . . here’s piece of nostalgia for confession, girls who kiss and tell, and young love.

    There once was a religious young woman who went to confession. Upon entering the confessional she said, “Forgive me Father, for I have sinned.”

    The priest said, “Confess your sins and be forgiven.”

    The young woman said, “Last night my boyfriend made mad passionate love to me seven times.”

    The priest thought long and hard and then said, “Squeeze seven lemons into a glass and then drink the juice.”

    The young woman asked, “Will this cleanse me of my sins?”

    “No, but it will wipe the smile off your face!”

  • Book Club –

    In the publication industry, there has never been a guide for folding. Designers have never understood all of the folding options available to them, and have not had access to the math behind proper digital document set-up. Until now.

    Finishing Experts Group, an industry-specific publishing company, has just released Fold, a first-of-its-kind, two-volume set that creates an essential system for the printing and design industry by establishing naming conventions and standardizing the folding process.

    Fold is an 850-page reference manual with over 1,000 illustrations that systematically documents and classifies more than 180 brochure folding styles, breaking them down into eight folding families (accordions, basics, exotics, gates, maps, parallels, posters and rolls). Each folding style is named, numbered and illustrated. Then, each style is diagrammed with proper folding compensations for accurate digital document setup. There are also tips and considerations for each.

    The reference manual, written by Trish Witkowski, a creative director with a Baltimore marketing firm, is the product of five years of industry research.

    Geared toward print and design professionals, industry organizations, binderies, folding machinery manufacturers, and the graphic arts education market, Fold provides a common language for designers and printers/binderies, giving everyone the same frame of reference and saving valuable time and resources.

    “As a professional designer, I would often become frustrated with the lack of a comprehensive resource for folding,” said Witkowski. “This guide fills a vacuum in the industry. My hope is that the book not only will be the go-to guide in the industry for folding, but that it also can serve as a springboard for creativity.”

    Trish Witkowski is currently the creative director for a marketing and communications firm in Baltimore. She earned her master of science in graphic arts publishing from Rochester Institute of Technology’s world-renowned School of Printing Management and Sciences and a bachelor of fine arts degree in graphic design. She has taught design and desktop publishing at the college level, and is the co-author of The Adobe InDesign Guide.
    Fold is available exclusively in Australia and New Zealand from Print21Online

    Table of Contents Volume ONE

    • Visual Index…………………………………….. 1
    • Folding List……………………………………. 33
    • Getting Started
    • How to Use This Guide………………….. 43
    • How This Guide is Organized………… 47
    • Understanding the Lingo……………….. 49
    • Format Options………………………………. 52
    • Folding Preparation
    • Planning for Folded Matter………………. 55
    • Setting-Up the Digital Document…….. 56
    • Placing Fold Marks………………………….. 60
    • Making Sequenced Folding Dummies.61
    • Modifying the Folds in this Guide………. 63
    • Folding 101
    • Folding Basics…………………………………. 67
    • How Paper Effects Folding………………. 69
    • Die-cutting, Scoring and Perforating… 71
    • Wafer-seals and Glue………………………. 72
    • Reference Materials
    • Conversion Chart……………………………… 75
    • Press Sheet Sizes……………………………. 76
    • Standard Envelope Sizes………………….. 77
    • Finishing terms…………………………………. 81
    • Folding Families
    • Accordions………………………………………… 85
    • Basics……………………………………………… 279
    • Exotics……………………………………………… 373
    • Table of Contents Volume Two
    • Gates……………………………………………….. 435
    • Maps………………………………………………… 509
    • Parallels…………………………………………… 551
    • Posters…………………………………………….. 681
    • Rolls…………………………………………………. 779
    • Index…………………………………………………. 845

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    To buy FOLD: The Professional Guide to Folding and to browse the Print21Online Graphic Arts Library click here:www.bluelinemedia.com.au/index.cfm?pageid=shop&productType=1

  • Job of the Week, Senior Sales Executive, Sydney


    This is a Senior appointment, it involves business development and promotion of the company’s Specialty UV Printing services into existing and new markets.
    You will be provided with excellent support both in personnel and state of the art equipment capabilities. You must be capable of assessing new market opportunities and converting prospects into profitable new business.

    If you are a successful sales executive with a proven track record selling commercial printing solutions. If you are well presented and possess excellent communication and negotiating skills. If you thrive on success and on being highly rewarded for achieving your own and company goals.

    You should contact Phil Delaney at Graphics Plus Printing on 02 95655444.

    Email resumes to
    e-mail: phild@graphicsplus.com.au  

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    To view more printing and graphic arts career positions click here for JobsOnline21: www.bluelinemedia.com.au/index.cfm?pageid=jobs01

  • The game’s afoot! Commonwealth Games Print opportunities – News Commentary by Andy McCourt

    The closing ceremony is pictured, featuring taxi cabs adorned with graphics promoting the Melbourne games.

    On February 10, Prime Minister John Howard unveiled the high-tech Koori-style ‘Message Stick’ baton (below) that will carry the Queen’s message to 71 nations in a 180,000 km, one-year journey commencing from London on March 14. Inside the baton are two cameras, a microphone, a GPS tracking system and data storage.

    Printing, signage and merchandising contracts for the 2006 Commonwealth Games will be awarded through a tender process, and the time to register interest is right now!

    By registering your organisation on www.melbourne2006.com.au (click Tenders); you can
    view Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games opportunities

  • nominate your industry categories of interest
  • be alerted by email to opportunities that match your nominated categories
  • download tender documents and further information
  • manage your organisation profile
  • be registered with Industry Capability Network for other supply opportunities.

This is the largest event in Melbourne since the 1956 Olympics and the print opportunities are huge. Screen and Digital Large Format printers can tender for signage, tee-shirts, apparel, flags, banners, vehicle graphics, posters and other merchandise. Flexo printers can tender for plastic and paper bags, boxes and packaging. Offset printers can pitch for tickets, programmes, souvenir books and brochures. Many large Games sponsor corporations will also add specially branded products to their ranges.

Following the printing disappointments of the Sydney Olympics (see My Call), Melbourne 2006 is an opportunity to keep most of the printing contracts within Australia where they belong.

MY CALL

Get in there now and tender!

Make waves that all Commonwealth Games printing contracts should be awarded to local printers. We don’t want a repeat of Sydney 2000 where 11 million tickets were printed in the USA, and then they would not fit the turnstiles!

In May 2000, Olympics Minister Michael Knight told the NSW Parliament about two “unintended consequences” of making a “fundamental error in adopting the Atlanta model of Olympic ticketing.” Neither were the tickets barcoded, which meant they could not be scanned. However the problem was resolved, it was kept very quiet, but the tickets still came from the US.

The second big print disappointment of Sydney 2000 was Diamond Press’s bankruptcy just months after winning the contract to print the Olympic programme (Archive search “Diamond Press”). You would think a blue-chip job like that would make sufficient profit to tide a firm over the inevitable post-Olympic downturn but disaster struck just six months after the athletes left Sydney. Some industry insiders blame the ‘creative financing’ deal for Diamond’s web presses and there could be a cautionary tale here, echoed here last week by MAN Roland’s ceo (USA) Yves Rogivue.

The lesson may be, don’t use creative capital financing to win jobs by discounting excessively. It’ll catch up with you, and all the other unfortunates caught in your web of debt.

If we make the same mistakes twice, we are found wanting. Australian content should be an influencing factor in the tendering process. If it is not we may find that PMCs and Australian-based representatives of offshore printers may win tenders and ship the jobs overseas.

The terms of the Games tendering process will have a great deal to do with whether the jobs stay in Australia or not, and by registering your organisation on www.melbourne2006.com.au, you will at least have the opportunity to influence these terms.

  • First look at power of personalised printing

    “Variable Data Printing 2005: Finally, the Data Is In!” provides an insight into who is both producing and purchasing variable data printing, also covering what volumes it is being used and the different technologies that are performing the jobs. Printers, trade shops and designers all took part in the study, which also addresses some of the perceived benefits and barriers to using VDP.

    TrendWatch Graphic Arts specialise in the assessment of trends and developments in the graphic communications markets, and aimed with the report to offer the first truly comprehensive look at what is going on in the VDP marketplace.

    “For manufacturers, printers and creatives alike, the data in this report is absolutely critical,” says TrendWatch analyst Heidi Tolliver-Nigro. “It gives us the first realistic picture of the actual dynamics of the marketplace and the information needed to maximize opportunities for growth.”

    Those interested in purchasing a copy of “Variable Data Printing 2005” can visit the TrendWatch Graphic Arts eStore where it can be downloaded in PDF format, or email info@trendwatchgraphicarts.com for more information.

  • Fuji Xerox hits the road with magic show

    The first major technology promotion of the year, the ‘special effects’ are the personalised products that the company is promoting as a major part of the future for digital printing.

    The Roadshow is launching several new machines in the Fuji Xerox range, including the DocuColour 8000 and the Nuvera 120, which represent the company’s new generation imaging technology in colour and black and white. Personalised invitations and websites for informing the industry of the event broke new ground using variable data software XMPie PersonalEffect.

    Attended by professionals from all across the graphic arts industry, the focus of the show is the DocuColor 8000, the ‘little brother’ of the iGen3. According presenter Chad Pearce, (pictured in full flight at the Sydney show) production colour marketing manager at Fuji Xerox, the improvements in the DocuColor 8000 are readily apparent to those who decide to move up to the new model.

    “While the products look very much the same,[as the 2060] there’s been a lot of research and development conducted to make sure that we can build on the great results that we’ve had in the past,” he says.

    “In comparison to what was already a leading position in terms of image quality and productivity, the DocuColor 8000 is another step up.”

    If you want to catch the presentations the Fuji Xerox Special Effects Roadshow will roll into Canberra next Tuesday, 22 Feb night, followed by the final show in Perth a week later on March 1.
    Contact Chad Pearce on chad.pearce@aus.xerox.com

  • Jeff Jacobsen scores top job at Kodak Graphics

    Tasked with delivering an organisational restructure, and shooting for integrated sales and services across the diverse portfolio Jacobsen becomes one of the most powerful figures in graphic supply. The appointment is considered recognition of the work he has done in leading KPG to a prominent industry position.

    In addition to been promoted to the role of chief operating officer of the reorganised Graphic Communications Group, he will also be responsible for leading the Graphic Solutions & Services division. Kodak Versamark CEO and Eastman Kodak Company vice president Nachum Shamir has been named the president of the group’s other Transaction & Industrial Solutions division.

    Kodak takeover target Creo has also announced several new leadership appointments to its North American management. David J. O’Brien has been positioned as vice president of operations and finance for Creo Americas, Filip Buyse has been promoted to vice president of sales, while Barry G. Quart has secured the job of vice president of marketing.

    Creo ceo Amos Michelson and president Judy Hess will not make the transition to Kodak and will seek other futures.

  • Fairfax moves back into magazines with Amex title

    The deal with American Express to publish a local version of Travel + Leisure represents Fairfax’s first big push back into paid magazines since it pulled out of the sector in the late 80’s.

    The successful US publication currently has a circulation of around 976,000 copies a month, and Fairfax General Magazines (currently publishing free titles) are in charge of preparing the local version for publication in September. The title is set to lock horns with other similar themed titles on the market, including the ACP published Australian Gourmet Traveller.

    Fairfax spokesman Alan Revell claims the title offers the company an excellent strategic opportunity to leap back into magazine publishing. “This venture with American Express Publishing is an exceptional opportunity for Fairfax to expand its presence in the magazine market,” he says. “We have been looking at different business opportunities that would allow us to expand our magazine publishing portfolio, and we feel we will now have a publishing powerhouse in this sector that will be exceptionally hard for competitors to match.”

    Fairfax already publishes several specialist titles, among which are BRW and Shares.

  • Labour shortage problem in graphic industries worst in 10 years

    The latest survey results have again highlighted labour availability as a serious problem for the printing industry, representing the worst outcome in a decade. This development is attributed to a tightening of the labour market due to record levels of employment in Australia. Labour shortages have now displaced capacity constraints as the second most common barrier to increased production, behind only a lack of orders for industry respondents.

    Seasonal factors during the December quarter were responsible for an improvement in trading across a number of key economic indicators, including orders, production, sales and net profits. Despite these improvements however, business confidence in the industry is significantly lower than it was 12 months ago, though the general business expectations indicator remains at a positive level.

    According to the ‘Printing Industry Trends’ survey report, other important December 2004 quarter developments reported by the survey respondents include:

    • Increased employment and overtime levels
    • Reduced selling prices
    • Increased investment in plant and machinery
    • Finance reported more easier to obtain but labour availability was reported to have deteriorated once again
    • Increases reported across all cost categories
    • Increased numbers of outstanding debtors

    On the critical issue of capacity utilisation rates, the study results show 74.4 per cent of respondents were operating at capacity levels of 70.0 per cent, a rise from the last quarter’s 70.8 per cent but below the 77.1 per cent reported this time last year.

    76.9 per cent of survey respondents ranked a lack of orders as the primary barrier to increasing production levels. This outcome is slightly higher than the 75.2 per cent reported during September 2004 quarter, and significantly higher than the 67.4 per cent proportion reported during December quarter 2003.

    Industry respondents are not optimistic that the strong trading conditions will continue into the March 2005 quarter. According to the respondents the March 2005 quarter is expected to yield the following results:

    • Net balance falls in orders, production, sales and net profits
    • Further falls in selling prices
    • Increased availability of finance
    • Reduced availability of labour
    • Increased employment but reduced overtime levels
    • Further increases in all production cost categories – average wages, other labour costs, and average material costs
    • Declining stock levels
    • Reduced number of outstanding debtors

    Over the next six months (March and June 2005 quarters) the respondents are forecasting:

    • Increased investment activity in plant and machinery
    • Reduced investment activity in buildings

    The outlook for general business expectations over the next six months remains favourable across most states, with the most optimistic state being South Australia. The December quarter also revealed that the highest capacity utilisation rates were reported in Queensland and Victoria.

    As for the product sectors, high capacity utilisation rates were reported during the December 2004 quarter in the following sectors: cheques and securities, folding cartons, greeting cards, calendars and diaries, and other packaging and paper converting.

    Considerable levels of excess capacity have been identified in the graphic reproduction, screen printing and quick printing sectors. The majority of product sectors are forecasting either slight improvement or little change for business conditions over the next six months.

    Capital expenditure intentions remain positive with only sectors to forecast reductions during the March and June 2005 quarters including folding cartons, graphic reproduction books, as well as magazines, periodicals and newspapers.

    Outstanding debtors are expected to fall during the March 2005 quarter, which has been linked to improved cash flow management and practice.

    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.

  • Rural Press lies in wait as media jungle comes alive with rumour

    Speculation is building on the future direction of Rural Press, with the possibility of changes in 2005 to Australia’s strict media ownership laws. The laws currently prevent businesses from owning more than one newspaper, radio or TV station in a single city, yet the Federal Government’s proposed changes would clear the way for Rural Press to implement a number of buyouts.

    The latest financial results for Rural Press reveal a lift in profits by 39 per cent to a record $58.4 million. Investment bank Goldman Sachs JBWere expects Rural Press to lead a big industry realignment if the Howard government succeeds in softening the restrictions after July> According to a report in the Sydney Morning Herald some of the names dropped as potential acquisitions include West Australian Newspapers, Southern Cross Broadcasting, Austereo Group and a number of other regional and rural publications.

    Managing director Brian McCarthy declined to confirm any of this speculation, yet also did not rule any of it out. He insisted that the company was not about to leap into any inappropriate deals, yet emphasised that the company is still looking out for acquisitions that will work for shareholders.

    McCarthy has gone on record as claiming that metropolitan newspapers would be a likely target for Rural Press, confirming that metropolitan television is not one of the company’s key strengths. Rural Press owns more than 200 newspapers and magazines across three countries, and purchased five local newspapers in the second half of last year as part of an acquisition strategy that McCarthy says will continue.