Archive for August, 2005

  • Job of the Week: Printing Technical Sales Executive

    Bottcher Australia is seeking a highly motivated, skilled and professional sales executive to join their Sydney based operations. Bottcher are a 280 year old company suppling rubber rollers, blankets and chemistry enjoying an unrivalled reputation for quality products and customer service.

    Your new position is a key appointment. You will be responsible for driving sales growth in NSW by developing existing clients and new business.

    You have in-depth technical knowledge of offset printing. You are either a successful industry salesperson looking for a new challenge, or a trade-qualified printer with the ability and ambition to succeed in sales.

    You have excellent communication skills, a record of building strong client relationships, keen problem-solving abilities and a customer-care outlook.

    The role offers an outstanding package and real prospects for career development.

    Contact Adam Todd in confidence, or post/fax/e-mail your resume marked “Sales Executive NSW”

    Böttcher Australia
    PO Box 415
    Kellyville NSW 2155


    To view more printing and graphic arts career positions click here for Print21 Online employment section.

  • Fuji Xerox Australia cracks half a billion in revenue

    A spectacular 50 per cent increase in the number of colour prints being produced on the company’s engines fuelled a five per cent growth in revenue for 2004. Sales of office colour systems rose by more than 40 per cent, while sales of colour systems in the production environment also increased by 27 per cent.

    Phil Chambers, managing director of Fuji Xerox Australia (pictured right), claims the results clearly demonstrate the company’s dominating market presence. “In the first half of the calendar year, we achieved a leadership position in most, if not all, of the key strategic markets in which we operate.”

    “This has confirmed our position as one of the market leaders and we will continue to meet and exceed our customer’s expectations to retain this position,” says Mr. Chambers. “We are very optimistic about the future. During the first half of 2005, the trends of the previous 12 months have accelerated.

    “In a buoyant market, overall revenue growth has increased with a strong performance from the three strategic growth areas of office multifunction colour devices, production services – both the black & white and colour business – as well as Fuji Xerox Global Services.

    “Our total revenue growth to date is 13.5% whilst our equipment revenue has grown 23.3%. The unit sales in our office colour business are up by 41% supported by a 53.4% increase in colour print/copy volume. We have seen similar results in our production business with unit sales up by 74% and colour print volume up by 42.6%

    “In response to this optimistic climate, we have invested considerably in additional sales coverage as well as market and business development activities. The outlook for the balance of 2005 is very positive and we see continued growth and demand for colour both in the production, office and document related services business.”

    Strong growth in press installations – iGen3, DocuTech180 and Nuvera

    Market penetration of the company’s digital flagship iGen3 (right) is proceeding as planned, with six systems already installed with another several planned before the end of the year. “Despite our success with the iGen3, I stay with my commitment to the market that we will not place more than 12 units in any one year period and that we will work closely with our customers to ensure a successful and profitable installation, ” he said.

    The company has also seen strong growth with the recently launched DocuTech180 Highlight Colour Digital Press that has as its main application transactional documents with the capability to increase the effectiveness of personalised communication through ‘spot’ colour. This technology is particularly effective where the customer does not wish, at the present time, to move to full colour digital output.

    The Nuvera range of monochrome production printers has also been well received with significant upgrade activity from the market-leading DocuTech and DocuPrint products.

    In the ‘light’ production space, the Document Centre 900 and 1100, printing at 90 and 110 pages-per-minute respectively, have performed beyond Fuji Xerox’s expectations with over 100 units installed in the past four months.

    Global Services will continue to grow

    Another key growth area is the Fuji Xerox Australia Global Services business that provides on site document management services to commercial and government organizations. For the fifth year in a row, revenue growth from this business area has exceeded 50% with the main growth coming from the Document Supply Chain Services, Xerox Office Services, Imaging Services and Business Process Outsourcing. “We are predicting that growth will continue at this rate for the foreseeable future,” says Mr. Chambers.

  • Business achievements on the agenda for Get Connected Conference

    The Get Connected Conference in November is a consolidation of Printing Industries’ NSW Conference and Business Awards, the LIA’s Printacular Biennial Conference and the Forum of Asian Graphic Arts Technology, hosted for the first time in Australia.

    The shout has gone out for entries to the Business Achievement Awards for the best in environmental initiatives, best in business practices and the best in education and training. Awards will be judged according to the varying resources and needs of different size companies, with a new category, best in occupational health & safety initiatives, also added for 2005.

    Nominations close on Friday 7 October, with the winners to be announced at the Get Connected Conference gala dinner on Friday 18 November. For more information and entry forms please call Printing Industries on 1800 227 425 or e-mail: .

    The entries for the different categories will be judged against the following criteria:

    Best in Environmental Initiatives:

  • Cleaner Production initiatives that maximise efficiency and resource utilisation, as well as lowering emissions to the environment on a unit production basis (eg. being efficient and green).
  • Initiatives to reduce emissions to the environment: – land, water and air.
  • Waste minimisation initiatives (eg reduction of substrate waste, spoilage make ready, binding, supplies, shipping and dispatch wastes).
  • Recycling practices, internal or external, where new recycling initiatives have been successfully introduced.
  • Utility management where successful energy and water savings action have been implemented.
  • Improvements to the management of the environmental impact of the organisation with demonstrable outcomes.
  • Communications of environmentally beneficial printing to customers and the general public.
  • Other environmental achievements by the organisation.
  • Best in Education and Training

  • Structured staff training program (management, production, sales, apprentices and trainees).
  • Youth awareness program (tours, work experience and markets).
  • Employee orientation.
  • Training records and number of training activities per year: documented education and training programs.
  • Other training initiatives.
  • Best in Innovative Business Practices

  • Use of Benchmarking to align the business to best practice.
  • Application and outcomes of using the Print21 and Business Diagnostic Tools within the business.
  • Examples of certified business practices (e.g. ISO 9002).
  • Market development and diversification example.
  • Commitment to business ethics, customer service and human resources principles.
  • Demonstrated business innovation.
  • Best in OH&S Initiatives

  • How effective and meaningful consultative processes have been implemented and continue to function.
  • Examples of how the Risk Management program has been implemented and sustained. Are there measurable results that the risk management program is working such as reduction in the rate and severity of accidents and injuries, less downtime due to accidents, increased commitment from employer and employees etc?
  • Details of how safety training programs are utilised to provide knowledge and information to employees and to improve the level of safety and safety awareness.
  • Processes used to identify OHS responsibilities and comply with OHS legal obligations.
  • Strategies for improving return to work outcomes and minimise workers compensation costs.
  • Tumultuous year for Bluestar produces record profit

    The trans-Tasman printing group posted operating revenues of $368.4 million and earnings of $50.3 million. Compared to the prior year, revenue was up by 8.8 per cent and earnings by 13.4%. Net profit after tax was $15.1 million compared to $9.4 million the previous year.

    According to Keith Brodie, managing director, strong print demand, combined with focus and commitment from management and staff, helped the company power through a challenging year.

    “Generally print demand was strong in both Australia and New Zealand. In the early part of the year BPSG’s key focus was on several significant equipment implementations in both our sheetfed operations and at Webstar Australia,” he said.

    “These installations were all successfully completed and the resulting lift in capacity enabled BSPG to win several new sizable print contracts. The major benefits from these contracts will be realised in the next financial year.”

    The blaze that destroyed the Format premises, one of two Bluestar sheetfed facilities in Wellington, triggered a major refurbishment that got the facility back in production with no disruption to customer supply.

    “With support from our staff, suppliers, customers, and other BSPG business units Format was able to maintain and service all its customers throughout a period where its production capability was severely limited. With a concerted effort from staff, suppliers and building contractors, brand new pre-press, print and bindery equipment was very quickly installed and the business fully re-established by early December 2004,” said Brodie.

    In November 2004 BSPG acquired the business of Sydney-based printing company Merritt Madden Printing and its pre-press operations Enhanced Graphics. These two businesses were successfully folded into the company’s existing Sydney business unit, Link Printing. Print machinery and bindery equipment purchased as part of the acquisition has been transferred to and installed at four other business units.

    “Webstar Australia is now firmly established as Australia’s leading high-quality mid-volume web offset printer winning several medals at the 2005 Australian Print Awards. This is a notable achievement given Webstar Australia’s relatively short history,” said Brodie.

    “This past year has been very busy with large installations, a major fire and an acquisition. Throughout the year management and staff have kept their focus and commitment and delivered a strong result. We thank them for their outstanding contribution.”

    During the year BSPG generated cash flow from operating activities of $38.3 million. Overall net debt at 30 June 2005 was $100.8 million and total equity and capital funds were $47.3 million. Total assets as at June 2005 were $230.7 million.

  • Australia can’t get enough consumer magazines – news commentary by Andy McCourt

    In the past year total sales of audited consumer magazines rose 1.2% to around $1.05 billion. Advertising revenue posted a bumper 11.6% increase in the first half of 2005 compared to the same period in 2004.

    At least ten new consumer titles have launched this year including ACP’s monster Madison in March. As reported on Print21online two weeks ago, PMP produced an even larger 400-page issue of Pacific Magazine’s Marie Claire to mark its tenth anniversary this month.

    Home, lifestyle, food, women’s and health categories were the big winners according to the ABC figures. Some notable increases:

    • Shop Till You Drop + 29.9%
    • New Woman + 11%%
    • Cosmopolitan + 10.2%%
    • Australian Country Threads + 22.9%%
    • Men’s Health + 12.2%%
    • Penthouse + 18.9%%
    • Dirt Action + 11.5%

    Sharp decreases were recorded in some sectors, reflecting rapid changes in consumer expectations. Barbie plummeted -47.7%, Burke’s Backyard by -21.2%, Inside Sport by -21.5%, The Bulletin by -13%, Time by -11.2% and 4×4 Trader by -10.9%.

    On the newspaper front, virtually all mastheads recorded decreases or plateau circulations. Only Victoria and Tasmania’s Sundays showed any verve, with the Sunday Age and rival Sunday Sun-Herald both up 2.8% and the Sunday Tasmanian up 2.3%. The West Australian, Financial Review and Northern Territory News posted modest gains but all ‘big’ papers dropped slightly with the Canberra Times down 3.2%, possibly indicating literacy problems in the capitol.

    Nevertheless, advertising dollars continue to flood into the right glossy magazine titles with new start-ups and makeovers targeting demographics not serviced by ‘tired’ older titles.

    There’s no sign of let-up with Tim Trumper, chairman of the Magazine Publishers of Australia, quoted as saying, “There is optimism in the magazine sector.”

    MY CALL – Goes to show if you do something well and understand your target market, you’ll win out whatever the media. It’s not just at the web production end that we are seeing great changes. This year’s magazines look brighter, more dynamic, better merchandised and ‘out there.’ Interesting, creative ideas will never go out of style and with society’s trend to form urban ‘tribe’ cultures; there are plenty of opportunities to service niche interests with a magazine.

    Whilst the publishers are sitting reasonably pretty with the increased advertising revenue, the boom does not necessarily translate down to the printers, who are still struggling with margins eroded by increased raw material costs and punitive negotiations for contracts. This has still not stopped the massive re-kitting of the press halls and maybe, just maybe, the new automated gear will run at lower cost-per-copy.

    All computing and business titles in the ABC audit lost circulation, indicating that these sectors are turning more to the internet for information.

    But take heart from the fact that Australia’s biggest circulating magazine at 819,809 copies and an increase of 8.2% services electronic media.

    Yes, Foxtel magazine pips everything else, and it’s all subscription!

  • Creo customers to switch over to Kodak plates

    Already the company has closed the Middleway plant in the US, which produced the thermal Mirus and Fortis and the conventional Eternus line of plates. Bing Wang, local regional vice president of marketing for Kodak GCG, assures customers that all existing contracts for Creo plates in the region will be honoured while emphasizing that no interruption in supply is anticipated.

    “While production is halting on the Mirus, Fortis and Eternus line of plates, we have enough existing stock to continue supplying our customers in the region for at least a few more quarters,” says Wang. “This provides us with plenty of time to assist our customers with the transition.”

    The printing plate plant will be out operation by the first quarter of 2006, resulting in the discontinuation of the plates, along with all associated chemistry.

    Wang insists that Kodak has every intention of making the transition process an easy one. “We will help them every step of the way with the testing of the new plates, the process of migrating from the old Creo products and with the installation into their production environment.”

    Australian and New Zealand group Blue Star Print is a current user of the Mirus line of plates, and technical manger Stuart Truemen is relaxed over the prospect of the shift. “The move doesn’t surprise me. With both Kodak and Creo producing plates, there has to be a rationalisation somewhere,” he says. “I expect to hear from Kodak about it shortly.”

  • Agfa going gangbusters with Azura installations

    With installations currently underway in Brisbane, Adelaide and Sydney, Abbott & Co in Perth is the latest print provider to be up and running with Azura plates. Printhouse Nelson has also become the first printer in New Zealand to adopt a chemical free system, with the South Island company commissioning an Agfa Acento mid-format CTP device running Azura plates.

    (Right: Tony Woodall, general manager, & Aaron Tombs, production manager, of Printhouse Nelson, NZ’s first chemical-free CTP install)

    Abbott & Co has converted its Heidelberg Topsetter over to Agfa’s chemical-free solution, and last week hosted an open house to demonstrate production conditions to the WA printing industry. Those in attendance were taken on a tour of the factory to witness a four-up CTP job imaged on the Azura, and subsequently printed on a five-colour Heidelberg press.

    James Smedley, managing director of Abbott & Co, claims Azura was chosen for its reduced make-ready times and elimination of chemical use. “The change over was flawless, the Agfa team had us up and productive in a matter of hours and the printed result is superior to what we were used of achieving,” he says. “I would recommend Azura wholeheartedly.”

    (From left: Garry Muratore with James Smedley)

    Garry Muratore, marketing manager for Agfa, claims the interest shown in the Azura during PacPrint is now consolidated with nation-wide installations. “What is interesting is that not all sites are new to CTP, in some cases Azura has completely replaced an existing competitive CTP plate,” he says. “The reason is simple – customers want a clean, consistent and water free plate, and Azura provides all of that and more.”

    Agfa’s half-year results have also revealed a strong interest worldwide in its new CTP plates, with the UK and the US in particular credited with particularly strong sales of Azura products. Sales for the firm’s Graphic Systems printing division rose by 5.9 per cent to reach $1.4 billion, with the growth attributed to strong volumes in digital printing plates mainly driven by Azura, boosted by the company’s determination to resist further price erosion.

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

    Reports to Clancy have the members scratching their heads over some of the pointed criticisms of the newly launched heatset web proofing guidelines. One source maintains it’s because the Melbourne professionals are more up to speed, but that’s only stirring. However it does appear that the call for an Australian proofing standard is growing and won’t go away.

    Perhaps someone should ask the Federal Government for a science grant, instead of criticising the unpaid 3DAP volunteers.


    One consensus at both meetings is the difficulty in finding good prepress houses. At this stage of the industry’s evolution as stand alone prepress companies hit the wall one by one, printers are left fielding files that are created by designers who have not got a clue. The attempt to ‘dumb down’ the art and science of graphics prepress is producing a generation of operatives without the necessary skills to deliver value to their own customers.

    As 3DAP member Bruce Sinnott pointed out to a despairing TAFE teacher at the Sydney launch, the guidelines are only the tip of a pyramid that is built on years of training and eduction.

    There is a lot of prepress work that cannot and will not be automated, no matter how good the software.


    Perhaps the 3DAP committee, in addition to its association with its USA counterpart should be looking at getting in touch with the people in Ghent, Belgium. Set up to create, test, and disseminate best practices and specifications for publishing workflows, the Ghent PDF Working Group (GWG) has recently welcomed Heidelberg as its latest high profile member. The GWG, which is comprised of a who’s who of the international industry, focuses on developing standards for the production and pre-flighting of PDF files for a variety of specialist applications based on, and compliant with, ISO PDF/X standards. It’s at some remove from 3DAP’s remit but proofing is part of workflow.

    In welcoming the latest member Erwin Danis, Chairman of GWG said, “We would be hard-pressed to overstate the many benefits we, and therefore, the graphic arts industry, will derive from Heidelberg’s membership in the Ghent PDF Workgroup.”


    And while on the subject of proofing … EFI announces the availability of the latest publication in its popular ABC’s Series. ABC’s of Proofing is available free via mail or download at and provides printers and their customers with information and guidance regarding this most important step in the production of print. It joins EFI’s other uniformly excellent titles focusing on the areas where the company has commercial products – ABC’s of Print MIS, ABC’s of VDP, and the ABC’s of Workflow.


    Harking back to the Melbourne/Sydney interchange in the first item, it was pointed out to Clancy recently that perhaps the reason the greater Sydney train commuting public is so obviously underwhelmed by the News Limited ‘freebie’ MX, is that the original title stands for Melbourne Express. Hard to think of a more difficult title to sell, or even give away, around Wynyard station during rush hour.

    Certainly advertisers in both Melbourne and Sydney appear to have no difficulty in ignoring the free sheet. Makes you wonder why News bothers?


    And finally … some people voted this as the funniest joke in the world.

    A couple of hunters are out shooting pigs when one of them suddenly falls to the ground. He doesn’t seem to be breathing and his eyes are rolled back in his head. The other bloke whips out his mobile phone and calls the emergency services.

    “My friend is dead! What can I do?” he asks the operator.

    The operator, in a calm soothing voice says: “Now just take it easy. I can help. First, let’s make sure he’s dead.”

    There is a silence, then a shot. The bloke comes back on the line.

    He says: “OK, now what?”


    Book Club – Benchmarking Volume 1: Performance Indicators

    The Government-funded report on the workings of Australia’s printing and graphic arts industry is the most significant industry publishing event in more than a decade.

    “A must read for all companies interested in improving business performance and increasing profits”.

    This book, produced and published by the Printing Industries of Australia, was initiated by the industry’s need for “well-defined information on performance standards and model templates for business processes”.

    This publication is a must for those who want to see the industry grow and business prosper.


    Order Benchmarking Volume 1: Performance Indicators for AUD$93.50 plus GST and postage. Printing Industries and is available only to Print21 Online readers.


    To buy Benchmarking Volume 1: Performance Indicators and to browse the Print21Online Graphic Arts Library click here.

  • Large format rules the roost at Visual Impact

    Large format print specialists, Starleaton Digital Solutions, will be taking the opportunity to launch a range of products that spans the end-to-end spectrum of the ink-jet printing, with contributions from Kodak, ColorGate and Seal Graphics.

    Gary Smith, director with Starleaton Digital Solutions, claims the company’s selection at Visual Impact will further accelerate the versatility and competitiveness of this medium. “From humble plotter beginnings in the 90s, large format inkjet has really come of age as a major graphic arts force,” he says.

    ((L to R: Starleaton’s Ben Eaton, Peter Eaton and Gary Smith with the new Kodak 1200i )

    Fellow director Peter Eaton also agrees that the market power of large format is here to stay. “It is indeed a new era for large format and Starleaton, is right at the forefront of the revolution. We encourage all signage and non-signage large format print operators to come and see us at the expo.”

    Sydney company Hyphen will be releasing its Arakis range of flatbed printers at Visual Impact/ Image Expo Sydney 2005. The belt-fed devices can accommodate materials up to 50mm thick. There are four different printers ranging from 17-inch widths to 44-inches. Printing at 2880 dpi on a variety of coated substrates such as art board, gator foam and ready stretched artist canvas, high quality photographic and art reproductions can be output in a matter of minutes.

    The Arakis systems eliminate mounting, stretching and gluing of materials onto thicker substrates and leave their owners with more time to make money. According to co-proprietor, Jay Chinchen, the very reasonably priced Arakis range will quite easily provide return on investment within months if not sooner. Catch the Hyphen team at Visual Image stand 83 and 84 with Budde International next week before they head off to Print05 in Chicago.

    Starleaton covers the spectrum

    Starleaton covers a full range of non-solvent inkjet printers that extend from 17” to 60” in output width, and new at the expo will be the Kodak 1200i system. Available with both a 42” or 60” machine, the system comes with the option of Kodak’s new Quantum dye, which the company claims to have longer durability than any other pigmented ink. Starleaton also supplies a range of printers from Epson and HP.

    On the finishing end of things, Starleaton will be launching the first ever 55” economy laminator/mounter from Seal Graphics, priced at under $15,000. The other finishing product to be released at the show will be the 54” AquaSeal liquid Signcoater, which puts a smooth gloss coat on solvent or eco-solvent printed materials.

    No less than four new inkjet substrates from Kodak will be unveiled at Visual Impact, suitable for a range of applications across the signage industry. The new products include Production Backlit Film, Universal Backlit Film and Production Universal Adhesive Vinyl.

    Starleaton will also have a range of new software available at the event. Its stand can be visited at booth 118 and 151-152 during the Visual Impact Expo, which will be held at the Sydney Exhibition Centre, Darling Harbour, from Thursday 1st to Saturday 3rd September, opening at 10:00am each day.


    Book Club – Benchmarking Volume 1: Performance Indicators

    The Government-funded report on the workings of Australia’s printing and graphic arts industry is the most significant industry publishing event in more than a decade.

    “A must read for all companies interested in improving business performance and increasing profits”.

    This book, produced and published by the Printing Industries of Australia, was initiated by the industry’s need for “well-defined information on performance standards and model templates for business processes”.

    This publication is a must for those who want to see the industry grow and business prosper.


    Order Benchmarking Volume 1: Performance Indicators for AUD$93.50 plus GST and postage. Printing Industries and is available only to Print21 Online readers.


    To buy Benchmarking Volume 1: Performance Indicators and to browse the Print21Online Graphic Arts Library click here.

  • Octopus reaches out to new sites

    The two new installations of the Octopus X4 printer from Czech-based manufacturer, Grapo, are at Mobilewraps in Launceston, Tasmania, and Whites Law Bindery in Victoria. They follow the debut appearance of the Octopus at the PacPrint exhibition in May where its ability to print on a wide range of substrates attracted a good deal of interest. It brings to three the number of Octopus X4 units installed by CyraChrome in Australia since the launch of the printer late last year.

    “These installations highlight once again the versatility and range of applications that are possible with the Octopus,” said Mat Barusel, CyraChrome’s digital wide format specialist. “The two companies have very different backgrounds and are not from the traditional signage sector. However, the ability of the Octopus to print on all types of substrates, coupled with its reliability and ease-of-use, make it ideal for different digital print applications where flexibility is important.”

    Whites Law Bindery, for instance, is a well-known niche book bindery specialising in short run and ‘one-off’ publications such as high quality, hand-crafted leather-bound volumes, ledgers, presentation boxes and illuminated bound manuscripts. The emphasis here is on creativity and the ability to produce unique printed items. The installation of the Octopus X4 will increase the range of substrates and materials that can be used for printing onto directly.

    At Mobilewraps in Launceston, Tasmania, Scott Lovell (pictured below 2nd from right with staff) is using the new Octopus to expand the range of digital print options available to local agencies, designers and sign shops. The Octopus is believed to be the first UV flatbed printer to be installed in Tasmania, although it can also be used to print roll-to-roll.

    “We were looking for a machine to print directly onto material and be very flexible,” said Scott. “That’s why we went for the Octopus rather than a true flatbed because it’s a smaller market in Tasmania and it needs to be more versatile.”
    Mobilewraps started less than three years ago specialising in the production of vehicle graphics. Since then the business has grown to include real estate signage and other trade work from sign shops.

    “We see the installation of the Octopus as a good opportunity and a way to move forward,” said Scott. “We knew we had to increase our options and the range of services we provide to customers.”

    Since its installation at the beginning of July, the Octopus has been used to print directly onto a range of material including corflute, aluminium sheets, polypropylene and clear acrylics.
    The Octopus X4 was introduced to Australia late last year by CyraChrome offering a cost-effective, high quality production system for wide format UV printing. It prints up to 2040mm wide and can handle practically any substrate up to 40mm thick, ranging from conventional signage media (cardboard, banners, mesh and vinyl sheets) to wood, metals, glass and ceramics.

    The Octopus is designed for reliable, trouble-free operation using high quality industry components. It features four Xaar XJ-500 print heads with ink supply from six litre capacity metal tanks. Ink curing is by means of an air-cooled UV lamp mounted on the print carriage. Print resolution is 360 x 360 dpi at a speed of up to 45 m2 per hour.

  • Job of the Week: Flexographic Printer, Sydney

    In the process of relocating from Marrickville to a new site on the Bankstown Airport precinct, Globus is gearing up for growth and requires an experienced printer to add capacity to the plant up to and through the busy Christmas period.

    It is an exciting time in the organisation’s history, new machinery, new products and a new location and facilities will make the next 6 months something extraordinary at Globus.

    6 month contract (may extend)

    Contact details:

    Kevin Miller

    Ph: 02 8700 1700

    Mob: 0421 616 748

    Fx: 02 9519 3330


    To view more printing and graphic arts career positions click here for Print21 Online employment section.

  • EFI boosts MIS with EIS

    The Executive Information System (EIS) tool will be included free of charge with the next upgrade of EFI’s print management software, taking the form of a visual ‘dashboard’ that provides a graphic representation of real-time business information. EFI claims the tool received a fantastic response from customers since debuting at its annual Connect user conference in June.

    EFI product manager Michael Henderson claims the tool presents a visual representation of a business’s current positioning, allowing users to ask questions and drill down for more detail. “This is a revolutionary advance over the current process of exporting data to a spreadsheet or printed report for tedious evaluation,” he says.

    “Management teams can work with EIS to present information critical to key business decisions on the fly. The ability to refine the data by asking questions makes EIS an excellent working tool.”

    The new software draws its strength from what EFI labels its OLAP (On-line Analytical Processing) analysis service, as well as new data analysis and query tools to keep the process simple and intuitive.

    Eric Holtsmark, sales director for EFI Asia Pacific, claims EIS will assist printers in understanding the information that has been collected. “EIS helps printers exploit the value of the information they’ve collected, providing a solid foundation for important business decisions,” he says. “We believe EIS will become the printer’s ‘GPS’, providing a high-level view of the business landscape while helping to map the path to success.”

  • KBA still struggling with 1st half results

    The results represent an improvement on KBA’s loss of $29.7 million for the first half of 2004, with its operating profit also reaching just under $2 million during the second quarter.

    KBA president and chief executive Albrecht Bolza-Schünemann attributes the loss to a number of factors, including “currency losses, higher prices for commodities and energy, below target sales and the additional cost of getting a new generation of sheetfed presses up and running.”

    KBA experienced reasonably strong sales during the half year, with overall sales climbing 29.2 per cent from the previous year to reach $1,111 million. Sales for web presses enjoyed the highest rise from 2004, climbing 25.2 per cent to reach $614 million, while sheetfed sales were also up 12.3 per cent to reach $770 million.

    KBA also emphasises that in spite of the absence of any major stimulus like last year’s Drupa trade fair, it achieved a 17.7 per cent increase in group order intake to $1385 million over the period, up from the 2004 figure of $1,176.9 million.

  • HP shifts into super wide with $300m buyout

    The acquisition extends HP’s involvement with large-format printing into the digital super-wide category, complimenting its existing range of printers and digital presses. It also opens the door for a potential technology swapping between the two companies, with HP to benefit from Scitex Vision’s proprietary print head technology.

    According to Peter Carrigan from GSA, the company currently responsible for distributing Scitex Vision in Australia, supply to local markets will remain unchanged following the purchase. “As far as we understand, there will be no changes from the current arrangement,” he says. “We have a signed contract to continue distribution of Scitex Vision machines, so as far as GSA is concerned it is business as usual.”

    Carrigan also believes the purchase bodes well for the future of Israel-based company. “The purchase is great news for Scitex Vision, and there are certainly plenty of benefits attached to having a big brother like HP.”

    HP large format vice president Enrique Lores claims the purchase strengthens his company’s position as a one-stop print provider, and will accelerate its push into the digital print market. “Wide-format signage is one of the fastest growing opportunities in the market,” he says. “Currently, 17 percent of printing in this area is done digitally and we expect that to double within the next five years.”

    Scitex Vision supplies wide and super-wide format printers for signage and industrial applications, including outdoor advertising and packaging. HP has also commented on other potential areas of synergy between the two companies, which will include inkjet technology, services and support, distribution channels and the supply chain.

  • Konica Minolta platemaking purchase not for local market

    American Litho manufactures offset printing plates for the newspaper and commercial markets, and the US division of Konica Minolta expects the deal to close before the end of August. However, this will have little impact on the local market, with the Australian division of Konica Minolta currently having no plans to distribute American Litho’s printing plates.

    Frank Mellish, general manager of sales and marketing for Konica Minolta Australia, claims his company is not currently set up to address this market. “Who know what may happen in the future, but there are no plans at this stage to bring the printing plates to Australia.”

    While the involvement of Konica Minolta’s US division with printing plates extends over several years, the company claims it reached a point where a manufacturing facility in the US was required to support the local market. This was the primary motivation behind the purchase of American Litho, which recently tripled its manufacturing capacity with the opening of a new plant.

    Steve Schuster, president of Konica Minolta’s graphic imaging division in the US, claims that while it has made a late entry into plate manufacturing, the acquisition will provide it with the resources to close the gap. “We will utilize the Konica Minolta core competencies in chemical formulations and coating technologies to produce a broad range of CTP products,” he says.

    Konica Minolta USA will continue to produce American Litho’s current product line, and will add its own product line, which includes new upcoming Violet, YAG, and Thermal CTP technologies.