Archive for April, 2005

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

    Taken in his early 50’s, Ed’s battle with a mortal illness has left many grieving. He was one of the true visionaries in the industry and his company continues to be a leading light.

    Always a good friend, he is remembered with much affection.

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    There are openings and there are openings.

    PacPrint05 (May 23 –29) is lucky enough to have two opening ceremonies: the first at 10.00am at the Melbourne Exhibition Centre when the chairman of the PacPrint board, Meredith Darke, president of GAMAA, Gary Donnison, ceo Printing Industries and Brian Bradford of Reed Exhibitions gather to cut the ribbon to let the hordes flood into the hall. Later that day Steve Bracks, Premier of Victoria, will make a tour of the exhibition floor before declaring the exhibition officially open at 5.00pm in the Clarendon Room just as the show closes for the first day.

    Clancy is left speculating on descriptions of the two ceremonies – the ribbon cutting and the opening; the opening and the inauguration; the photo opportunity and the power launch? Either way, getting into the Premier’s gig will test the most determined gatecrasher.

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    You have to love the Germans, and especially the people of Düsseldorf who organise the drupa prize. This prestigious award by Messe Düsseldorf showcases the German pre-occupation with the higher values. This year’s winner is especially apt given the nationality of the new Pope Benedict XVI. Titled The altarpieces in St. Peter’s Basilica, Rome, as propaganda it goes to art historian Wiebke Windorf.

    In the course of her research Wiebke had to make frequent trips to Rome and haggle with the authorities to get access to the records. Letting the lady speak for herself … “Working in the Vatican Library with the original 17th century documents was truly thrilling. It was very difficult to resist the temptation to let myself be sidetracked from my thesis and dip into the ancient texts to my heart’s content.”

    And you thought drupa is about printing.

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    It’s not that they are trying to speed up departures, but airlines intend to stop printing tickets by 2007 and rely on electronic tags thereafter. Internet-only ticketing is on the way with the International Air Transport Association (IATA) figuring on saving over $3.7 billion a year for its 270 member airlines. Already one in five airline passengers fly with an e-ticket and this is set to double in a year.

    Now if they would only stop making you take off your shoes before boarding the flight we can get back to running to catch the plane.

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    It’s a new twist to the idea of folding money. A worker at the U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing, Fort Worth, Texas, was arrested after confessing to stuffing uncut sheets of $20 and $10 dollar bills into his pockets over a period of seven years. Donald Stokes got away with $700,000 before he was rumbled, which makes sense when you learn he worked as a verifier, someone who accounts for all the currency produced at the facility.

    Stokes was captured in Oklahoma City earlier this month. He fled after federal authorities found stolen money at his home, and was caught three weeks later.

    But here’s the scary part. The plant, one of two in USA that prints the nation’s currency, produces 18 million bills daily, worth about $169 million. (www.whattheythink.com)

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    And finally … you know the world’s economy is in good hands when … at an international conference of economists in Paris, the opening speaker concluded her remarks with the observation –

    There are three kinds of economists, those who can count and those who can’t.

  • Book Club –

    A new edition of Pocket Pal is always an event in the printing and graphic arts industry. First published in 1934, this indispensable reference work has long been the authoritative introduction to the graphic arts for artists, designers, publishers, advertisers, students and buyers of printing. It has also proved to be a handy reference guide for printing professionals.

    Pocket Pal is the ultimate argument solver, jam packed with facts, figures, diagrams and illustrations of all major imaging processes. It provides concise and detailed information on prepress, press and post press, with individual sections on paper and a graphic arts glossary. Readers will find information on types and typographies, including proofreading, type, colour charts and digital prepress.

    The 19th Edition is edited by Frank Romano, RIT School of Print Media (Michael Riordan, RIT, Assistant Editor) and builds on the millennium edition’s initiative to bring digital printing into the mainstream of the industry’s reference. The result is a thoroughly up to the minute reference work that also retains the solid background knowledge that has made it such a favourite for generations.

    Pocket Pal is easy to read, an inexhaustible resource, and provides printing and graphic arts professionals with the wherewithal to fully understand all facets of their industry.

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    To buy Pocket Pal: Graphic Arts Production – New 19th Edition and to browse the Print21Online Graphic Arts Library click here:www.bluelinemedia.com.au/index.cfm?pageid=shop&productType=1

  • Candidate of the Week: Printing Specialist

    Chris Leech:

    Former part owner of pioneer Copy Shop – Sutton International Pty Ltd T/A COPIES PLUS.

    Comprehensive knowledge and hands-on experience of all aspects of Copying, Binding, Laminating and Plan Printing etc.

    Now seeking casual or full-time employment in the industry.
    Prior  Ad Agency Experience         

    Phone: 02 9436 4224 
    Mobile: 0411 395 127  
    Fax:     02 9906 1668    

  • Job of the Week: Sales Specialist – Display Graphics

    The position will suit a sales professional who is focused on delivering exceptional sales growth through the delivery of superior technologies and services to our customers.
    Based in Lane Cove, you will be responsible for the development and execution of the sales strategy required to secure both new business and increase the volume at existing customers.

    The position has responsibility for selling our extensive range of wide format inkjet imaging equipment, colour management & workflow software, service contracts, and most importantly, our range of consumables to the NSW sign market. After-sales support is a key requirement of the business and as such you will be required to attain a strong working knowledge of the various hardware and software solutions sold.
    You will have intimte knowledge of the signage and display graphics market and be experienced in selling capital equipment and consumables to the sign making industry. As such you will possess excellent communication skills, commercial acumen and the negotiation capability required in closing sales.

    To support your sales initiative we have first class technical support teams, together with modern, professional demonstration facilities in both NSW and Victoria.

    An attractive package is available to the successful candidate including base salary, incentives, car allowance, laptop and mobile phone. There is flexibility with regards to the remuneration with a strong emphasis on high rewards for achieving results.

    If you are interested in this opportunity, please forward a copy of your resumé and contact details to our email or fax to (02) 94208188.

    Confidentiality is assured.

    Email resumes to
    jobs@cyrachrome.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

  • Heidelberg back in the black – News commentary by Andy McCourt

    Just one year after selling its loss-making digital division to Kodak and eight months after divesting its web press division to Goss, Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG has staged one of the most remarkable Lazarus-acts in corporate history.
    Highlights of the preliminary results are:

  • Sales up 3 percent to 3.2 billion Euro
  • Incoming orders climb by 8 percent to 3.5 billion Euro
  • Net profit of 61 million Euro achieved
  • Free cash flow of 154 million Euro well above expectations
  • Agreement signed on safeguarding the future of Heidelberg’s German sites
  • CEO Bernhard Schreier stated; “Even if the markets and the global economy did not exhibit the robust growth that we had hoped for, particularly in recent months, the figures nevertheless show that we are on the right track and that our measures are beginning to take hold.”

    Sheetfed offset press sales accounted for most of the turn-around, with a 5% increase in sales and a 10% increase in incoming orders – possibly the post-drupa effect. Post-press continues to make an operating loss but this has been reduced from – $30 million in 2003-04 to -$3.3 million for the current year.

    Heidelberg’s global workforce has been cut by 18% from 22,782 to 18,679 and concessions have been agreed between staff unions for extra unpaid working hours in return for improved pension terms.

    Concerning this move, which alone will save $166 million, Dr. Herbert Meyer, chief financial officer at Heidelberg stated; “After controversial and difficult negotiations, we have arrived at a solution that is acceptable to all parties. This solution will raise earnings in the long term and will help to increase further the competitiveness of the Heidelberg Group.”

    MY CALL

    It’s good for the entire industry.

    The Heidelberg barometer has long been the scale of measurement for the overall health of the industry. Particularly encouraging are the forward-orders.

    It’s taken press manufacturers a long time to adapt sensibly to the technological and IT revolution but today a modern press can proudly claim to be a networkable, and valuable, peripheral in the communications matrix.

    The insane global domination Heidelberg strategy of the 90s is gone, and so are its architects. At one stage, Heidelberg had a massive consumables warehousing and logistics structure being set up in France, supposedly to supply the world’s print industry with every little requirement. Forays into digital and mainstream web proved unsustainable. The one-stop shop became the dead-stop shop.

    You can’t be all things to all people. Even supermarkets know this and where they do adventure into non-core lines, it’s a low-risk strategy that ‘skims’ a few sales from specialist outlets, using convenience and value as the persuaders. They don’t bet the farm.

    Interestingly, Bernard Schereir – lifelong Heidelberg career exec and native Heidelberger – spent his formative management years in sheetfed offset and later headed up both Heidelberg-Harris (web) and the Digital venture. Now he’s back with the ‘knitting’ that he knows so well.

    It’s also interesting to note how economies have been achieved at Heidelberg. The workplace agreements are axiomatic to safeguarding German manufacturing jobs and plants – and preventing those jobs from exiting to places like China.

    Heidelberg was not the first to achieve this. KBA agreed with its workforce that 2 hours per week extra would be worked, by management and staff, for 2 years from January 2005. KBA too has reported good results and a bursting order book. MAN Roland is in a similar position.

    However, with a strong Euro, soaring steel prices, (Australia’s iron ore export price has increased about 70% in the past 3 months), high oil prices and the volatile state of global bourses, complacency is not advisable for Germany’s press manufacturers.

    Welcome back in the black, Heidelberg. Now stay there.

  • World Press Photo Exhibition to touchdown in Sydney

    The exhibition showcases a range of provocative images, with the mission statement of communicating powerful emotions that transcend the power of words. The winner of the World Press Photo of the Year 2004 is an image of a woman mourning the death of a relative killed in the Asian tsunami, taken by Reuters photographer Arko Datta in India on December 28.

    “Canon Australia is delighted to again be the major sponsor of such a prestigious exhibition that pays tribute to the photographic excellence of the international press,” says Mr Shuichi Tsukahara, managing director of Canon Australia. Marking a first for the competition, this year is significant in that it is the first time that all entries were judged in digital format.

    “The fact that this renowned professional photography competition was judged entirely in digital is indicative of the level of acceptance the format has achieved,” said Stuart Poignand, marketing manager Canon Australia’s consumer imaging product group. “The immediacy and quality made possible by the latest digital SLR models have revolutionised photojournalism.”

    The winning images were selected by the World Press Photo Foundation from a record 69,190 entries (submitted by a record 4,266 photographers) from 123 countries. The Australian winners for 2004 include Adam Pretty, Dean Sewell, Patrick Brown and Trent Parke.

    The World Press Photo Foundation is an independent platform for international press photography, founded in 1955. This platform manifests itself in the annual World Press Photo of the Year Contest and the corresponding yearbook and exhibition.

    The exhibition will be on display for free at the State Library of NSW, from 24 June to 17 July 2005. Call (02) 9273 1414 for more information

  • Innovate ’05 packs ’em in

    Innovate ’05 is designed to assist printers, creative designers and marketers in offering their customers a full spectrum of cross-media communication services, preparing attendees for the fresh business opportunities offered by digital print like shorter runs, print-on-demand and variable data.

    A number of industry professionals presented at the Sydney show yesterday. Keynote speaker I.O. Technologies founder Eric R. Kenly imparted some of the wisdom gained from providing digital solutions to the big guns of graphic arts, including Canon, Kodak and Fuji Xerox. Ian Pulrang from EFI spoke on the benefits of incorporating CIM into business workflows, while Creo’s Alan Tam spoke on the ways in which both offset and digital can be integrated into a commercial print environment.

    Speaking to Print 21, Eric Kenly (pictured right) warned printers not to get caught up in the excitement surrounding digital technology, emphasising the importance of defining what your business’s core strengths are and finding the right technology to support these strengths.

    “Don’t believe the hype,” Kenly says. “In order to reap the most benefits out of the opportunities offered by digital, businesses need to take a look around at what is out there to find the digital solution that plays most effectively to the strengths of their organisation.”

  • Kodak profit heads down digital road

    The Eastman Kodak Company reported a fall in revenue of three per cent in the first quarter, which it attributes to focused cost reductions, along with the continued decline in traditional products by 18 per cent, despite an increase in the digital portfolio of 23 per cent. Sales of Kodak consumer film fell 29 per cent worldwide and 17 per cent in the U.S – while industry wide, consumer film declined by 20 per cent worldwide and 30% in the U.S.

    The company’s digital and film imaging systems sales of $1.801 billion were down nine per cent.

    Graphic Communications sales were a bright spot, posting $368 million, up 30 per cent, largely reflecting the acquisition in 2004 of the remainder of the NexPress joint venture. Kodak Polychrome Graphics will provide immediate earnings contributions for the remainder of the year. Kodak’s success in digital markets include increased sales of Kodak Versamark’s wide-format systems.

    Kodak chief executive officer Daniel A. Carp dismisses the overall loss as an inevitable consequence of the company’s digital evolution. “While the first quarter’s performance was disappointing, such short-term volatility is to be expected as we transform Kodak into a digital company,” he says. “We remain committed to increasing the value of the company over the long-term by delivering on our annual plans. We expect to do that in 2005 and beyond.”

    Kodak president and chief operating officer Antonio M. Perez emphasises the first quarter as the smallest in terms of revenue, claiming small changes in sales tend to have an exaggerated effect on company earnings in that period

    “January and February were soft for reasons that we understand, and we took actions mid-way through the quarter that resulted in much stronger performance in March. This makes us more confident of achieving our two key milestones for the year: digital revenue exceeding traditional revenue, and digital earnings growth exceeding the traditional earnings decline.

    “We are successfully implementing our digital growth strategy, and we continue to redesign our cost structure to achieve our financial goals. As a result, we remain confident of achieving our full-year guidance.”

  • Say goodbye to Haitch Australia

    Gerhardt Australia will eventually become the new name of the company, the change due to follow on from a significant capital investment at the Knoxfield manufacturing centre in Victoria. The facility’s equipment will be upgraded in order to boost capacity and service levels on its locally manufactured rotary tooling products.

    The management team has also been restructured, with two new appointments made in the production and sales divisions. Label-industry veteran Ian Sarney has rejoined the company as sales and marketing manager for the Asia Pacific region, while Joe Castuera will be utilising his 20 years of rotary tooling experience as the new production manager.

    Ian Sarney says he is looking forward to the planned name change, and claims Haitch Australia has already begun the process of integrating the Danish company’s MIS system. “Gerhardt is recognised as a leading force in rotary tooling, so there’s an easy fit between the two companies. Our company has been looking to establish a stronger presence in the Asia Pacific market, so we decided to move forward with Gerhardt.”

    Gerhardt International is a leading supplier of rotary tooling to the graphic industry worldwide. It has offices and production facilities in England, France, Spain, Italy, Australia and USA, and is also represented in Germany, Holland, Poland, Turkey, South America, Canada, Russia, India and the Far East.

  • PMP does its dough with decommission bungle

    Chief executive David Kirk claims the problem is related to PMP’s decision to install new presses across Australia, his comments implying that recent presses decommissionings have left the company at a disadvantage. “PMP is undertaking major restructuring of the capital base in the print business. This has reduced capacity more than we previously expected,” Kirk says.

    “We are simply not able to process the work in the six-month period we had previously forecast. In addition, we continue to see lower gross margins in print as a result of a higher share of contracted magazine and major retail work and less capacity available to produce higher margin spot work.”

    The company is locked in to produce low margin magazine work for the major publishers, such as Kerry Stokes’ Pacific Magazines, foregoing the high value spot market for catalogues.

    Kirk insists however that the company’s frustrations will be resolved before the year is complete. “While it is frustrating and disappointing to deliver lower earnings than previously expected in this six-month period, PMP is renewing the printing press fleet and bindery equipment with new state of the art equipment and we had to do this in the seasonally quieter months of the year,” he says. “When the equipment is installed we will achieve significant operating cost benefits and have new capacity available to sell in the busy Christmas period.”

    With the announcement of lower results the sharemarket punished the company by wiping 25 per cent from its share price. PMP’s share price hit an all-time high of $2.35 earlier this year, but last week saw it plummet to levels as low as $1.20. The catalyst for the shake-up was the revelation to the Australian Stock Exchange that 2004-05 earnings would come in between $70 million and $72 million, revised down from its previous forecast of $84 to $90 million.

    The revision brought back to mind the troubled years of Bob Muscatt’s reign when the share price dipped below 50 cents.

    PMP is currently undertaking one of Australia’s largest ever press installation programmes. www.PMP.com

  • Printing paper price-fixing claims resurface

    According to the leading article on the front page of the The Australian Financial Review (Wednesday 27 April) the ACCC is inquiring into collusive behaviour in the paper sector in addition to its ongoing investigation into the Amcor-Visy cardboard-box cartel allegations. No details of the investigation were forthcoming, with the report relying on unidentified sources.

    The alleged price-fixing first surfaced last year in industry rumour of a complaint by major printing companies to the August round of price rises promulgated by paper merchants. The merchants were confident the matter would be dropped as the round of proposed price increases was comprehensively knocked back by the printing industry.

    Although the ACCC will not comment on potential investigations, it is understood senior commission staff were assigned to check out the complaint.

    The AFR report maintains the complaint centers on alleged co-ordinated price increases of imported paper from two European suppliers. As most merchants carry a similar range of Europeans stock, price rises from the mills leave them little choice but to pass them on – if they are able. As one industry (yes, unidentified) source commented – “I didn’t realise the ACCC had authority over European paper mills’ prices.”

    The report of an ongoing investigation comes at a time when most merchants are publishing new price books in May, all promoting similar ballpark price rises. According to one merchant, the current round of price rises has as much to do with the increasing cost of doing business as it has with the higher cost of landed paper. He also makes the point that if there is any price fixing it must be very badly done as the cost of paper is at an historical low with many grades costing less than they did five years ago.

    Part of the higher cost of paper is due to the difficulty in getting shipping containers for paper from Europe. At least one merchant has had to resort to buying bulk space in order to get paper here in time to fulfil orders.

    A full report on the current paper pricing round will appear in the May issue of Print21 magazine.

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

    Every 15 minutes PacPrint visitors can be whisked away from the company’s 72.5 m2 display at the Exhibition Centre in downtown Melbourne by helicopter to view the company’s range of Komori presses at its well-equipped showroom in the far eastern suburbs. It’s a new twist on exhibitions and one that, if it catches on, will see visitors only turning up at the show to be taken away. Certainly CPI is not the only press manufacturer to decide not to bring heavy metal to the show.

    Mind, perhaps the cost of flying the helicopters will work out at about the same as bringing the presses to the show.

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    You have to love the by-laws and advice that exhibitions feel obliged to promulgate these days. Among the more arcane prohibitions in the guide book to PacPrint:

  • Photography is banned in the halls ( we can only hope this does not apply to journalists).
  • Prams are forbidden and children must be carried (we are a family friendly industry, trying to attract young people to our industry).
  • Canvassing is banned at the show (oh! they mean unauthorized canvassing).

    The organisers also feel moved to provide the following pieces of sage advice.

  • If visiting the show with more than one person – make a meeting point in case you lose contact.
  • Plan your time carefully. Allow enough time to complete all of your business.
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    Farewell Brian Bradford.
    If this PacPrint has come together with seeming ease and a lack of fuss, it may be down to the influence of Brain Bradford, exhibition manager of Reed Exhibitions. One of the nice guys Brian is the epitome of friendly British urbanity. But he is off back to Blighty after the show, which is a decided loss of civility to Oz.

    We will have to do at least one lunch before the parting.

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    US corporate raider and change merchant, Robert Burton, is a force to be reckoned with. Rebuffed, or at least stymied in his attempt to take over Creo (he walked away with a handsome profit when Kodak bought the company) Burton has turned his attention to one of the US’s largest printers, Cenveo. He and his cohorts have taken a 10 per cent stake in the company and are now launching a hostile takeover. As he did with Creo, he says he wants to become chairman and CEO, to slash costs and turn the company around. In a letter of demand to the company he said imperially, “Our patience is running out.”

    Now that’s old-fashioned corporate raiding. We’ll keep you posted.

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    Disturbing to hear from James Cryer of JDA about a young woman, Portia, a well-qualified press operator unable to get a job in Sydney. He writes, she gets asked at interviews if she has a boyfriend, if she’s got marriage plans, etc. She can, and has, run a big 102 Speedmaster single-handed for months – they couldn’t spare her an offsider! – and can’t find a job. Who says we’re male not dominated!

    If you are moved to indignation, or more imprtantly to action, contact James on james@jdaprintrecruit.com.au

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    And finally … here are a few quick fire triggers from Prairie Home Companion Haw! Haw! that have raised a smile or two around here.

  • A man who worked in the circus as the Human Cannonball told the ringmaster he was quitting. The ringmaster said, “You can’t leave! Where else can I find a man of your calibre?

    Boom boom!

  • There was a history professor and a psychology professor sitting on a deck at a nudist colony. The history professor asked the psychology professor, “Have you read Marx?”

    The psychology professor replied, “Yes, I think it’s from
    the wicker chairs.”

    Ouch!

  • Then there was the mechanic who was addicted to brake fluid – he said it was no problem, he could stop any time.

    Screech!

  • A guy walks into a bar and sees a strange-looking bottle full of a blue liquid behind the bar. He calls the bartender over and asks, “What’s that?”

    The bartender says, “Oh, that’s new. That’s liquid Viagra.”

    “Okay,” the guy says. “Pour me a stiff one.”

  • Good night!

  • 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: Print Finishing/Bindery Specialist

    This company is a leading distributor of premium printing and associated equipment with a network of offices throughout Australia and New Zealand. It represents an impressive list of suppliers in the printing and packaging industry from around the world.

    You will provide technical / product support to clients within NSW, QLD and the ACT, assisting at each stage of the sales process. You will also be required to carry out operator training and equipment demonstrations as part of your duties. As you become fully confident with your product range it is expected that you will then start to become more active in seeking and securing opportunities for new business.

    You must have an extensive knowledge of Print Finishing / Bindery equipment, have first rate communication skills and be willing to travel interstate and possibly overseas for sales and training purposes.

    If you need further information before applying, please phone
    Harry Carr on (02) 9891 3970.

    Otherwise email your resume
    or post to Level 1, 111 Phillip
    Street, Parramatta NSW 2150 or fax on (02) 9891 2787.

    Website: www.accessconsulting.com.au

    Email resumes to
    recruit@accessconsulting.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

  • Walking the directorship tightrope – Print21 feature

    Being a company director may bring status, influence and remuneration, but uppermost in the mind of most directors today, are the ever-increasing obligations and responsibilities and the degree of scrutiny to which they are subjected. Of particular concern to many is the responsibility of directors in relation to solvency.

    Unfortunately the printing industry has seen its fair share of casualties—often companies which have tightly managed their cash flow for some months, or even years, but have ultimately been unable to stave off inevitable insolvency. As if the demise of the business were not devastating enough, their directors have in many cases faced the unwelcome prospect of being found personally liable for debts incurred by the company.

    For private companies, the greatest exposure generally arises if the company finds itself unable to satisfy its creditors as they fall due—whether they be financiers, the ATO or suppliers. In this article, we provide an overview of the legal responsi-bilities of directors in this regard, including the implications of insolvent trading and the nature of directors’ liability.
    Responsibilities of directors

    Appropriately, shareholders, creditors and regulatory bodies hold the directors accountable for a company’s successes, failures and any financial loss they may subsequently suffer.

    Sections 180 to 184 of the Corporations Act sets out the basic expectations of a person appointed as a company director, including that they act honestly in the exercise of their powers and the discharge of their duties; that they should exercise a reasonable degree of care and diligence; and that they should not make improper use of information acquired by virtue of their position for their benefit or the detriment of the company.

    Directors also have a general duty to avoid any actual or potential conflict between their own interests and those of the company, and between their duty to the company and their duties to third parties – such as other companies of which they are also directors or officers. Owner-managed businesses in particular frequently engage in multiple transactions with directors and their related parties—not only the payment of remuneration and dividends, but often the rental of premises or commissioning of various services from entities related to the directors. In practice, in the event of insolvency, such transactions are likely to come under close scrutiny, particularly if they have not been entered into on arm’s length terms.
    Insolvent trading

    The section which generally gives the most concern to directors is Section 588G of the Corporations Act, which imposes a duty upon directors to avoid insolvent trading.

    This section stipulates that if a director incurs a debt and the company is insolvent at that time or becomes insolvent by incurring that debt and there are reasonable grounds for suspecting that this is the case, then the director may be held personally liable for the debt. “Incurring a debt” is construed widely and would include, for example, obtaining additional finance facilities, increasing a bank overdraft or drawing down further amounts on a revolving credit facility, ordering new plant and equipment or placing an order with a paper supplier.

    Under this part of the Act, directors are under a positive duty to ensure that the company does not incur debts whilst it is insolvent, otherwise they can become personally liable. Criminal liability may also attach to such actions.

    As such, it is essential that company directors understand the meaning of “insolvency” and are able to make a proper assessment, at any point in time, as to whether or not the company is solvent. This requires knowledge not only of the current financial position of the company, but also of its prospects and availability of ongoing financing. Put simply, a company is only solvent if it is able to pay all of its debts as and when they fall due.
    No excuses for directors

    Under the insolvent trading provisions, directors cannot argue a lack of involvement in the company’s affairs as a defence. The law makes no distinction between those directors actively involved in running the business and non-executive directors, whose involvement may be limited to a couple of days a month. Furthermore, there is no greater onus placed on the director with responsibility for finance, notwithstanding that he may be best placed to advise the board on the solvency position of the company. Family members who may have been appointed directors for tax, legal or other reasons, and who may have no active involvement in the company, need to be particularly aware of their responsibilities.
    Taxation liabilities

    The Insolvency (Tax Priorities) Act, enacted in 1993, armed the Commissioner of Taxation with powers to recover group, prescribed payments and withholding taxes directly from a director of a company which, as primary taxpayer, has not remitted these taxes by their due date for payment. This has since been amended to cover unpaid GST liabilities.

    The Commissioner commences the recovery process by issuing an assessment or an estimate to the company for the unpaid taxes. If this is not satisfied, a penalty notice equal to that amount may be issued against each of the company’s directors, giving them fourteen days to satisfy the claim or take one of the following actions:

    • Make an arrangement with the Commissioner to pay the liability
    • Appoint an Administrator to the company, or
    • Place the company into liquidation.

    After fourteen days has lapsed, if none of the above actions has been taken, each director is personally liable for the penalty and the Commissioner can proceed with recovery action.
    It should also be noted that, if a company settles a debt owing to the Commissioner in preference to other creditors and a liquidator is subsequently appointed, the liquidator may recover such payments from the Commissioner. If this occurs, the Commissioner is able to recover any payments set aside from the company’s directors.
    Trade Practices Act

    Section 52 of the Trade Practices Act makes a company director potentially liable to pay damages to creditors if he engages in misleading and deceptive conduct in the course of the execution of his duties as a director. It has been held that misleading and deceptive conduct includes the circumstances where a company incurs debts when the directors knew or ought to have known that the company could not make payment for goods supplied by a due date.
    Summary
    An appointment as a company director is not something to take on lightly. For an owner-managed business, the potential for directors to be held personally liable for company debts has significantly reduced the protection afforded by operating a business within a limited liability company.
    Unfortunately, these provisions expose company directors to a high risk of personal liability, which has impeded decision making by creating uncertainty, affecting corporate risk-taking and investment decisions. l

    Justin Audcent is a partner in HLB Mann Judd (Melbourne), which provides a range of audit, taxation, business recovery and consulting services to companies in the printing and allied industries. Ph: (03) 9606 3300.

  • Email drives desktop printing

    According to a report from InfoTrends/CAP Ventures that examines the future of documents in different workgroup environments, e-mail output accounts for 29.2 per cent of the total volume printed while web pages represent 21.5 per cent.

    The report also revealed that paper is no longer the medium of choice in the workgroups surveyed. Paper has become a transient medium according to InfoTrends/CAP, and is being used less and less as a means of maintaining permanent records.

    In related news, the Queensland government has moved to reduce its reliance on printed paper as a method of maintaining records. The government is developing electronic record keeping as part of its plans to reduce annual expenditure by $100 million, selecting Canadian technology business LogicaCMG for the contract.

    All of the Queensland government’s agencies and departments will be serviced by the contract, though the state’s treasurer has so far declined to offer details of the contract’s net worth.

  • Fuji Photo Film boosts Chinese investment

    The plant is slated to go into operation by March 2007, and will be the company’s second PS and CTP plate manufacturing facility in China. (Last year Agfa established a major plate manufacturing plant at Wooshi.)

    Fujifilm confirms demand for printing plates is growing worldwide. The new facility is intended to allow the company to both respond to increases in demand for printing plates in China as well as provide an export centre for the surrounding regions.

    Fujifilm established a local sales firm in Shanghai to deal broadly in graphic systems products like film, PS and CTP plates, prepress equipment and other items. The organisation is operating under the name Fujifilm Starlight Graphic Systems (Shanghai), and will provide different solutions including materials, devices and a means to respond to customer needs.