Archive for July, 2007

  • New Zealand is inspired by the Kodak possibilities

    Kodak GCG swept through New Zealand last week in a whirlwind tour that showed the industry the endless possibilities of its range of digital print, printing consumables, unified workflow and one-to-one marketing technology.

    ‘Inspired by the Possibilities’ tour took in dates at Dunedin, Christchurch, Wellington, and Auckland. Kodak put out the call and was rewarded with an impressive 200 people in attendance from around 70 different companies.

    (L to R: Ross Gilberthorpe, Kodak, Graeme Duncan and John Boyle, Rainbow Print, and Derek Fretwell, Kodak)

    Visitors came from across all the different sectors including packaging, prepress, web and wide format with a heavy interest shown on the creative side from advertising and design agencies.

    Ross Gilberthorpe, marketing manager for Kodak GCG in Australia and New Zealand, says the enthusiasm for the event indicates a recognition from the industry of the breadth of services offered by the Kodak GCG, with the theme of ‘inspiration’ truly represented the focus of the evenings.

    “Kodak CGC is now New Zealand’s largest supplier of prepress, workflow, consumables and digital print with innovative technologies that far exceed any supplier in the printing and related industries,” says Gilberthorpe.

    “We wanted to show every major centre our commitment to the New Zealand marketplace and as it turned out the event was very well received.”

    Kodak draws it together

    Kodak took centre stage last year following a series of high-profile acquisitions when it drew its KPG, Creo, Versamark, Encad and NexPress divisions together to form its Graphic Communication Group (GCG). Last week’s roadshow marked the unveiling of the ‘new’ Kodak to New Zealand, its new technology and a new vision for the country’s graphic arts industry.

    “While Kodak GCG already has a big presence in Australia, many people in New Zealand weren’t yet aware of the group,” says Gilberthorpe. “The event really made for a great opportunity to head out and present the Group to the marketplace and introduce all of its different components. Many attendees were saying they didn’t realise Kodak had all this fantastic technology!”

    Many also did not realise the scale of Kodak’s presence in New Zealand. In addition to its own GCG activities Kodak is also supported by Coates NZ and Flint Ink NZ for its consumables range, Heidelberg for its plates along with Arque Graphics for proofing and wide format offerings.

    Introducing the team

    Gary McCormick, renowned comedian and TV personality, was present during the tour to provide a few laughs as well as perform MC duties and introduce the different speakers.

    First up was well-known industry identity, Derek Fretwell, general manager of Kodak GCG in New Zealand, who introduced his graphic arts team to the attendees. In addition to Fretwell the NZ Group consists of two sales managers, a service manager and six engineers.

    “Kodak GCG offers the largest prepress service team in the country with 24/7 support available across all our sites,” says Fretwell.

    Fretwell went into detail about Kodak’s vision for the future of graphic arts, in which it sees digital and offset printing working side by side with unified workflow tying all the different processes together.

    “This is definitely the direction that we see the industry heading, with both offset and digital playing a major part in many businesses,” says Fretwell. “And of course, Kodak will be there to provide the tools and the technology to make it all happen.”

    The tour also marked the celebration of 10 years of CTP from Creo and Kodak, an event of particular significance to the New Zealand industry as three of its business have used the company’s CTP for nearly that long – Rainbow Print in Christchurch, Megalith Litho in Wellington and APN Print in Manukau.

    “All of these businesses still have their original CTP systems in operation, which is an extremely long lifespan for any high-tech product. Rainbow Print has only just ordered a replacement and has again decided to stick with Kodak’s proven CTP technology,” said Fretwell.

    Steve Pratt, general manager of enterprise solutions for Kodak GCG, then took to the stage to discuss Kodak’s digital printing technology in more detail, including the recent installation of the country’s first NexPress to Zoom in Hamilton.

    David Patterson, technical sales support for Kodak GCG, discussed the unified workflow offerings that are available to help link together all the different components of a modern graphic arts business, before Gary McCormick returned to cap the evening off with a little more light entertainment and humour.

  • Agfa’s eco-friendly :Amigo plates help Printgraphics go green

    One of the early adopters of Agfa’s new developer-free :Amigo thermal plates is Melbourne magazine and periodical printer Printgraphics. The plates handle run lengths to 200,000 (500,000 baked) and use the same ThermoFuse technology as the :Azura system to physically bond the image to the plate without chemical processing – reducing process variables and ensuring consistent, high quality plate production. Together with an :Avalon LF platesetter, the new CtP system is also helping Printgraphics reduce its chemical usage in line with the requirements for ISO14001 environmental accreditation.

    “We run about 1500 plates per month but we have the capacity to do more,” explains Printgraphics’ director Mark Terrill (pictured below). “We got the system spec’d for growth. Our average press run is around 8,000 but we do go well over 100,000 for some jobs. Using the :Amigo plates gives us more flexibility with long runs and they behave exactly the same as the ones we were running before.”

    Printgraphics was established in 1979 by current managing director (and Printing Industries’ Victorian Regional Council President) Ray Keen. It moved into its refurbished premises Mt Waverley in 2002 and has been steadily growing since then. It operates two Komori presses – one 5-colour and a newer 6-colour 40 inch – which handle 1030x800mm plates. Before installing its own CtP system, Terrill says they relied on outsourcing their digital plates.

    “Bringing it in-house gives us more flexibility with clients [like giving them test proofs at no-charge] and gives us total ownership of the jobs, which our customers really like.”

    The new system comprises an :Avalon LF with PlateManager, :Amigo plates, and a :Grand SherpaMatic imposition proofer for mock-ups, :ApogeeX workflow, and the accompanying workstations. Although Printgraphics looked at many other CtP systems, Agfa was chosen because of its quality product and holistic approach.

    “Agfa was happy to do the whole package, right down to the MACs and the software … and their advice and professional approach was very good.”

    The :Avalon LF incorporates Agfa’s High Definition Imaging Head (with Grating Light Valve), a three-pin registration system, external-drum design and high-powered processing, auto-calibration, and an advanced operator terminal. Maximum plate size is 1130mm x 820mm . The PlateManager – a four-cassette, automated plate loader – can hold a total of 240 plates online.

    The :Amigo negative-working plate combines a standard electrochemically-grained and anodised aluminium base with a single coating of ink-accepting thermofusable (latex) particles. During exposure to a standard thermal laser, the coating absorbs heat in the image areas, fusing the particles and bonding them to the plate.

    To handle the long press runs, the :Amigo’s latex pearls are smaller than the :Azura (which handles press runs to 100,000). This provides a greater surface area (for higher plate sensitivity and resolution) and ensures the image adheres effectively to the aluminium substrate during fusing so it can handle longer runs.

    Because of the stronger latex bond, a mild chemical wash-out is used to remove non-imaged areas (rather than the gum used for :Azura). However, as Garry Muratore (Agfa’s Oceania marketing manager) explains, the amount of chemistry used in this clean-out step is small compared to a standard processed plate.

    “A conventional processor using developer will utilise up to 300ml per square metre of plate processed, depending on plate type. :Amigo uses 20 to 50 mils and one batch can clean up to 5,000m2 of plate.”

    Muratore believes that, as more ‘green-aware’ printing operations like Printgraphics strive to become ‘environmentally-responsible’, sales of Agfa’s ThermoFuse plates will increase further.

    “It is encouraging to see such a major printer taking up Agfa’s :Amigo plates,” he says. “We’ve already had significant success in Australia and New Zealand with our chemistry-free :Azura plates [and] we expect to see the same with our :Amigo plates.”

  • White & Gillespie installs Creo CTP for flexo

    An open house in Melbourne on July 8 at one of the industry’s best known packaging specialist prepress suppliers, will usher in a new era of high quality digital flexographic platemaking when White & Gillespie unveils its ThermoFlex Wide II.

    The installation and premiere is the culmination of almost two years of research of competing imaging technologies by Geoff White, CEO, which was finally decided by a meeting in Vancouver with laser guru and Creo founder, Dan Gelbert.

    “Before leaving Australia we were pretty much confused by the claim and counter claim made by the vendor representatives,” relates Geoff White. “One major area of contention between the two imaging technologies was imaging system depth of field. Esko and Hell use fibre laser and these units have exceptional depth of field. This effectively means that no auto-focus mechanism is required where this technology is used.

    “Creo’s technology uses an optical system to shape the beam, and the depth of field is such that without an auto-focus system this technology would struggle to meet our stringent manufacturing requirements. To our delight, whilst in Vancouver, we were given access to Creo’s founder and laser guru, Dan Gelbart. Dan’s technical knowledge in the area of lasers is amazing and he was able to iron out any concerns we had about the technology. . . . After weighing up all the issues it became obvious to us that the Creo unit provided the best foundation for quality flexographic plate manufacture.”

    The company installed its Creo ThermoFlex Wide II running BASF Nyloflex Ace plate material. Visitors to the Open House will be able to see the system in operation and judge the results for themselves.

    According to Geoff White the original decision to make the move to digital flexographic platemaking came as a result of market demand.

    “The market dictates what we do because we’re a service organization, and the market decided emphatically they wanted digital plates. Although we were able to offer very good product with our analogue plates, the market was telling us they wanted digital There are definite quality improvements in digital plates,” he said.

    White & Gillespie chose the ThermoFlex Wide II because it fully met their needs: industry-leading productivity, consistent imaging times between plates of different thickness, fastest sleeve-imaging currently available and increased process control. The ThermoFlex solution offers decreased plate loading/unloading time, and allows the operator to image multiple plates at the same time since it is not necessary to mask the unused area of the drum.

    As well, platemaking productivity is not sacrificed on thicker flexographic plates. The ThermoFlex provides the fastest sleeve-imaging currently available, imaging sleeves, as well as plates and film, and features semi-automatic changeovers from sleeve imaging to plate imaging. In addition, its slow drum rotation prevents vibration and balance problems, and such resulting issues as print artifacts, plate fly-off and reduced imaging consistency.

    White & Gillespie saw the move to digital in terms of increased quality, cost savings, and an opportunity to grow the business. “Logically that will happen because we will supply analogue and digital plates,” said Geoff White. “We expect to convert a number of customers over to digital where it is more suitable, but we also see growth in the market place and hope to gain new digital clients.”

    If you are interested in seeing the latest in flexo digital imaging
    next week, contact:

    Andrew Adams
    National Sales & Marketing Manager
    Ph: (03) 94604522

  • Cyrachrome snares first Queensland sale for Octopus

    CyraChrome is pleased to announce the installation of its Octopus X4 UV wide format printer at Brisbane-based signage specialists ISS.

    The new printer was unveiled recently at a launch party held by Innovative Sign Solutions, the Brisbane-based signage specialists, where it was introduced to an invited audience of customers and work colleagues by the proud new owners, Malcolm and Corinne Matthews (pictured right).

    The occasion also marked the opening of new production facilities for Innovative Sign Solutions in the Brisbane suburb of Newstead, as well as a new corporate identity and branding for the company designed to highlight its latest capabilities and business philosophy.

    Malcolm Matthews welcomed attendees to the company’s new premises and thanked everybody involved for helping to bring the dream of expanding the company’s capacity to fruition.

    Michael Laird, CyraChrome managing director, was also on hand to help launch the new printer and invite everybody to witness the star attraction going through its paces.

    This latest installation of an Octopus X4 digital printer in Brisbane continues the highly successful introduction of the system to Australia since its launch last year.

    (Right: Malcolm Matthews and Sam Hawkins of Innovative Sign Solutions demonstrate the new Octopus with Roger Lundgren from CyraChrome)

    The printer offers the most cost-effective, high quality production system for wide format UV printing on the market, capable of printing up to 2040mm wide on either roll-to-roll or rigid substrates up to 40mm thick. Its UV-curable inks can print on practically any substrate from conventional signage media (cardboard, banners, mesh and vinyl sheets) to wood, metals, glass and ceramics.

    The Octopus X4 is manufactured by Czech printer specialists Grapo, and is distributed exclusively in Australia by CyraChrome.

    Speaking after the launch, Malcolm Matthews paid tribute to the hard work and dedication of CyraChrome, particularly that of Phil Burrell, the CyraChrome representative in Queensland, for making the installation possible.

    “Phil was very patient, he made himself available, nurtured our dream and followed it through all the way,” he said.

    CyraChrome also assisted by providing a wide range of printed samples from the Octopus to demonstrate the variety of possible applications and to help target potential new customers.

    Matthews said he was initially attracted to the Octopus because of its versatility in output onto both flexible and rigid substrates, the quality of its components and the expertise in colour management provided by CyraChrome. Twelve months of research into solvent and UV inks had also shown that UV printers are a much safer option, both operationally and for the environment.

    Complete signage service

    Innovative Sign Solutions began life in Brisbane five years ago when Malcolm and Corinne moved there from Broome. The company originally offered a specialty engraving service to the local market using both mechanical and laser engraving equipment.

    From this base, the company has built a complete signage service, including engraving, etching, backlit signage, thermal printing of name badges and ID tags, fleet graphics and fabricated signage, culminating in the installation of the Octopus printer for all types of UV printing onto flexible and rigid substrates.

    Malcolm Matthews said the goal of the company had always been to provide the best possible experience for its customers, a fact reflected in the 87% referral rate from existing customers.

    “It’s a question of convincing the client that they’re dealing with the right company,” said Matthews. “We offer a money back guarantee on our work and, in four years of operation, we’ve never had anybody say they’re not happy with the service.”

    The new Octopus produced its first paying job on the day following its launch and already interest from new and existing customers is high. Matthews intends to offer a bureau-type service to local signage market, building on the reputation of the Octopus for quality and flexibility allied with the commitment to service provided by everybody at Innovative Sign Solutions.

  • How to keep your customers satisfied

    We’re all familiar with fast food; but how many of you have heard of “slow food”? Terry Gallagher has some tips on how to get cooking with your business …

    The term is a movement to enjoy slowly-prepared, home-cooked meals with family and friends. That approach seems foreign to much of the business world today, which seems to feel the need for ever-increasing speed.

    Your customers expect you to do more in less time at lower prices; and they want you to keep them better informed of what is happening. Mobile phones, PDAs, email, broadband and wireless internet have created expectations that you will be “always available” and that you will have an “instant answer”.

    However, you and your business need to find the right balance. Each of us can aim to work smarter in order to meet the ever-rising expectations of customers – not just work harder.

    In printing and packaging you cannot just keep pedalling the same bike faster and faster. So how can you provide faster and more consistent turnaround for your customers’ jobs?

    How can you give your customers more accurate information about when their work really will be ready? How can you be more responsive to your customers while still staying sane? Can you do better than answering your customer’s enquiries by saying “I’ll call you back after I go down to the factory floor and check.”?

    Quote & Print can help you do the following:

    Shop Floor Management, Employee Times and Scheduling modules
    Q&P’s Shop Floor Management, Employee Times and Scheduling modules can give you a faster, more accurate picture of how the work is flowing through your printing plant.

    When you are on the phone with your customer or in your customer’s office using a wireless internet link, you can see immediately what is happening on the factory floor and exactly where the critical jobs are up to.

    Quote & Print is seeing its customers making a concerted push in using these system solutions effectively. Is your business taking advantage of these capabilities?

    Internet Business-to-Business modules
    The new third-generation Quote & Print Internet solution is QPONLINE.

    The new QPONLINE software modules offer more flexible solutions to meet the needs of your customers and prospects. These modules can help you to strengthen your relationships with existing customers and assist your efforts to win new contracts and tenders.

    Some of our customers are having great success winning these bids. One of the success factors is this when you already have one or more existing customers live with QPONLINE you have more credibility to win the next customer … and the next …

    QPONLINE is not just a shopping cart – but part of your integrated Management Information System (MIS). This means your customers’ orders are managed through your integrated Quote & Print database.

    Our internet solution will enable you to handle a growing workload more efficiently. Your customers can be placing internet orders while you sleep!

    The QPONLINE suite includes modules for:

  • Internet Print Ordering and Management
  • Personalised Stationery
  • On Demand Printing
  • Internet Production Tracking

    Your Quote & Print distributor can advise you which of these modules will be of most benefit to your business in helping you to become more responsive to your current customers and win new business.

    You can use the Quote & Print integrated Management Information System to provide your customers with the “Rapid Response” service they are expecting today. This is far preferable to running around faster and faster in ever-decreasing circles – and the powerful Q&P system may even give you time to fit in a visit to the mountains or the beach!

    Perhaps you will also have time to enjoy some “slow food”!

  • X-Rite PerfectPalette for packaging and commercial printers

    Easy-to-use software builds customized colour libraries in seconds.

    PerfectPalette provides packaging and commercial printers with a quick and easy way to create custom colour palettes from PANTONE libraries or spot measurement colour values. Developed in partnership with Enovation Graphic Systems (A Fujifilm Company) PerfectPalette tackles the challenge of getting the right spot colour simulation the first time, avoiding multiple adjustments to make spot colours match the target from prepress to the pressroom.

    “PerfectPalette was developed from scratch and customized to meet and exceed customer requirements and the needs of the printing marketplace,” said David Mulligan, ColoRite Equipment, (pictured) the exclusive X-Rite agent in Australia. “Packaging and commercial printers will appreciate the speed, accuracy, and ease of creating and customizing multiple colour libraries from PANTONE or spot colour values. The end result is a precise colour match the first time, minimizing ink usage and paper waste.”

    In the pressroom, PerfectPalette will allow companies with six and seven colour presses to produce work that simulates spot colours, which would otherwise require additional units or multiple press runs. Designers will now be able to specify more spot colours with greater accuracy and not be limited by standard spot-colour conversion tools. PerfectPalette enables the optimised reproduction of corporate colours, serving the client’s colour critical needs without having to pay for special inks.

    Other key benefits of PerfectPalette:

  • Supports various output formats including Adobe Colour Swatch format and the native FinalProof GXT format
  • Advanced palette engine optimises custom colour palettes, yielding more precise matching without sacrificing processing time
  • Custom co-efficients for Delta E 94 and Delta E CMC to allow for the highest level of accuracy and control in building custom colour palettes
  • Custom libraries allow users to add corporate colours to pantone libraries, or build colour references manually
  • Availability:

    PerfectPalette is available immediately in Australia through ColoRite Equipment for AUD $595.
    Or David Mulligan on (02) 9488 8157

  • The Gang’s All Here – complete list of exhbitors

    Everyone who is anyone has a presence at PacPrint 05. Here they are with Stand Number.

    • 3M 1508
    • Access Office Systems 1611
    • Accura Information Solutions 1809
    • Adkote 420
    • Adobe Systems 1104
    • Advanced Engineering Systems 423
    • Advanced Machine Technology 1036
    • AE Hudson 805
    • AGFA 304
    • ALC, Australian Laminating Company 1645
    • Aldus Engineering 929
    • Allkotes 632
    • Alpha UV System 1410
    • Andstine Services 140
    • Anitech 622
    • Applied Pressroom Technologies 1040
    • Artwork Systems 146
    • Ausko Graphic Systems 215
    • Australian Flexographic Technical Association 2023
    • Australian Graphic Design Association (VIC) 1936
    • Australian Graphic Servicing 133
    • Australian Print Finishing Association 2021
    • Australian Printers Supplies 642
    • Australian Sign Supplies 2014
    • Australian Visual Solutions 538
    • Australian Warehouse Solutions 1610
    • Autotape Services 127
    • Avery Dennison Materials 1225
    • Avflex 645
    • Baldwin Graphic Equipment 850
    • Becker Vacuum Pumps 141
    • Bindomatic 540
    • Bindweld Plastics 1425
    • Birk & Blyme 1336
    • Boomerang Tapes 1640
    • Bˆttcher Systems 722
    • Bound to Impress 1608
    • Brayman Graphic Engineers 708
    • Brissett Rollers 910
    • Budde International Technologies 1652
    • Busch Australia 1621
    • C.P. Gluing 1044
    • CS+G Signage Group 1821
    • Candida Stationery 2007
    • Canon Australia 806
    • Castrol Industrial Lubricants & Services 147
    • Cello Paper 1354
    • Celmac 1211
    • Centennial Media 1921
    • Choice Inks 438
    • Coates Australia 927
    • Colorite Equipment : X-Rite 732
    • Converta Machinery 530
    • Conway Printers Engineers 725
    • Corex Plastics (Aust) 539
    • CostMaster 1642
    • CPI Group 535
    • Creo Australia 512
    • CT Consulting 439
    • Currie & Company 504
    • Cyber Aust 0335, 0437, 0451
    • CyraChrome 839
    • D & D Graphics 712
    • D2P 252
    • Dataflow Business Systems 944
    • Dahle Australia 1453
    • Dainippon Screen (Aust) 639
    • Danka Australia 1541
    • Davinci Automation 928
    • Davis & Jenkins 710
    • Day International / Varn 612
    • DES 939
    • Design Graphics 108
    • Designwyse Australia 1205
    • DFC Packaging Group 1009
    • DGI TECH 124
    • DGS Mimaki 352
    • DIC Colortron 926
    • DIC International Australia 925
    • DIEC Australia 608
    • Digicolor 212
    • Direct Information Systems 145
    • Display Design Aust 1752
    • Display Systems Australia 1618
    • DKSH Australia 1232
    • DNL Cartons & Packaging 2018
    • DS Chemport (Australia) 442
    • Eco Cycle Industries 809
    • EFI 940
    • EMSEAL 1046
    • Enhance Packaging 204
    • Epson Australia 810
    • Esko-Graphics 340
    • FERAG Australia 222
    • Finishing Resolutions 956
    • Flint Ink 1022
    • Foil Tech 2005
    • Folk & Co . Ltd. 144
    • Font Factory 1716
    • Fontshop 1648
    • Fuji Xerox Australia 404
    • FX Products 1824
    • G2 Solutions 955
    • Gallus Australia 118
    • Gandinnvations 1004
    • GASAA 2026
    • BC Australia 1203
    • GCC Technologies 1307
    • Gerhardt Australia 1745
    • GMG Color 941
    • Goss International 950
    • Graffica 228
    • Grafika Links 354
    • Graphic Arts Merchants Association of Australia 1822
    • Graphic Machinery & Supplies 1110
    • Graphic Systems Australasia 0322A
    • Graphite I.T Solutions 203
    • Great Engineering 1332
    • SB Chemical 122
    • GWYDIR 942
    • Halifax Vogel Group 1504
    • Halm Industries International 1742
    • Heidelberg Graphic Equipment 804
    • Heraeus Amba Australia 207
    • Herben Numbering Systems 952
    • Hilton Plastic Laminating 704
    • Hurst Australia 1115
    • Hyphen Asia Pacific 922
    • BS Design Resources 1407
    • icorp a division of compnow 1304
    • IGT – Intergraphic Technology 1440
    • Image Magazine 1328
    • iMedia Imaging Supplies 443
    • Impression Technology 422
    • Independent Ink Technologies 1614
    • Indtex Australia 1906
    • 1612
    • Innovia Films 106
    • Inspection Systems 1814
    • Intergrafica Print & Pack 322
    • International Graphic Supplies 1527
    • ISIMAT 125
    • ITT Jetpak 1436
    • ITW Simco 1811
    • JASCO 1519
    • Jet Technologies 531
    • Jetbest Corporation 1523
    • JL Lennard Graphics 434
    • J-Teck3 Australia 1816
    • K B Lithographics 1924
    • Kayell Australia 1026
    • KBA Australasia 510
    • Kiel Industries 1005
    • Kodak Graphic Communications Group – NexPress 0520
    • Kodak Graphic Communications Group – Polychrome 0520
    • Kodak Graphic Communications Group – Versamark 0520
    • Konica Minolta Business Solutions Australia 518
    • Kurz Australia 1316
    • Label Line 1430
    • Label Power 2010
    • Lamination System 647
    • Laser & Sign Technology 2006
    • Laserlife 1531
    • LATMA Australia 2024
    • Lifhart 143
    • Lithographic Institute of Australia 2028
    • Longmark Commercial Finance 2020
    • Lotters Superloop Binding Wies 1511
    • MacDermid Printing Solutions 1140
    • Macro Asia Pacific 930
    • MailPack 1146
    • Manoukian Australia 802
    • Masterbind International 1016
    • Maverick Equipment 604
    • Megtec Systems 110
    • Merck 1142
    • Metromatics 1441
    • MIKOH 125
    • Milford- Astor 216
    • Minipack International 1740
    • MIRUNA LTDA. – Brazil 251
    • Mitsuike Corporation 126
    • Moore Stephens Technology Australia 1411
    • Mosaic M.I.S Ltd 1014
    • Muller Martini Australia 240
    • My Inventory 957
    • National Print Awards Concourse
    • National Printing Ind. Training Council 2022
    • National Printing Laboratory 807
    • Needles Eye Industries 1746
    • Network Marketing 1340
    • New Mediatech 924
    • Nordson Australia 1042
    • Norwood 1342
    • Numbering Equipment Supplies 1352
    • OcÈ-Australia 1220
    • Omnitech Graphics 1404
    • OneVision Software AG 1806
    • Optimus Management Information Systems 1446
    • Pacfilm 1144
    • Pacific Inks Australia 1744
    • Pack Synergy 425
    • Paper Handling Equipment 1704
    • Paskal Australia 2009
    • Pent Net 1346
    • Photo Electronic Services 1424
    • Pitney Bowes 2017
    • Plastequipment International 136
    • Plunkett & Johnson 327
    • POP Online 954
    • Positive Camtec 1836
    • Powermedia 1904
    • PrePress I.T. 534
    • Pressroom Graphics 830
    • Price Wizard Software 625
    • Print 21 1848 – come around and say Hi!
    • Print Super 119
    • Printatape 1633
    • Printer Magazines Group 1330
    • Printers Post 1348
    • Printing Industries Association of Aust 1942
    • Printstock Products Ltd 105
    • PRISM Software 1003
    • Prismatic Inks 2008
    • Product Distribution Australia 936
    • Proprint 923
    • PT Store 750
    • Q.I. Press Controls Australasia 201
    • QLM Label Makers 1932
    • QPA/NIPPA 2025
    • Quickcut 1747
    • Quote & Print Software 1416
    • Raflatac Oceania 1106
    • Rapid Machinery Company 1604
    • Ricky Richards (Sales) 1616
    • Ricoh Australia 208
    • Rietschle Thomas Australia 1923
    • Rilecart Binding Supplies 1448
    • RMIT – International Centre of Graphic Technology 1846
    • Roland DG Australia 1120
    • Rollmakers 525
    • ROSSINI – SPA 1334
    • Rotary Engineering 1548
    • Roto Packing Materials Industry Co. LLC 1741
    • RotoMetrics Australia 1322
    • RS International Australia 1516
    • Sanderson Superior Packaging 1113
    • Sandstone Software 943
    • Scandinavian Electronics 2019
    • Scitex Vision 424
    • Screen Printing & Graphic Imaging Association of Australia 2027
    • SCSI Integration 104
    • Seaga 714
    • Sericol Australia 1200
    • Shanghai Jutu Digital Technology Co. Ltd 2015
    • Shapemakers 209
    • Shunde Modern Packing Material Factory Co Ltd 142
    • SICPA 1546
    • Signages Accessories Supplier 152
    • Signwarehouse Australia 101
    • Smart Digital Aust 1526
    • Smart Products 2013
    • Social Printing 1326
    • Spectrum Inks 2002
    • Starleaton Digital Solutions 1102
    • TAFEDA Pl – The Paper Embossing Specialists 1433
    • Talk Graphics 2004
    • Techspan Australia 1428
    • The Microcare CD Group
    • The Software Press (TSP) 1532
    • Thermo-Print 115
    • Thortec 440
    • Toyo Ink Australia 904
    • Transparent Technology 627
    • Trio Packaging Systems 706
    • Twin Loop Binding 1311
    • U V Ink Technology 148
    • United Power Group 1431
    • Uteco Converting SPA 130
    • Venture Tape Australasia 1712
    • Venus Hartung 1228
    • Viponds Paints 1714
    • Virtual Training Company, Australia 205
    • Visual Industries Suppliers Association 1711
    • Visy Technology Systems 1804
    • Wacom / Corel 1512
    • Wade Oldham Finance 827
    • Walcar Graphics 650
    • Walls Machinery 1840
    • Web Dynamics 812
    • Wenzhou Yaohua Printing Machinery Co Ltd 1625
    • Whites Law Bindery 123
    • World Wide Graphics 1910
    • Xeikon Australia and New Zealand 1751
    • Xgroup 1922
    • Yaselan Australia co 1021
    • Zenith Rubber Ltd 202

  • Direct marketing trends: US vs. Australia

    Strategic consulting firm, Winterberry Group has just released its projections for the direct mail marketing industry and relevant vertical markets in the US in 2007 and has identified eight trends that are expected to predominate.

    In this exclusive report, Maria Nordstrom, general manager of Fuji Xerox Australia’s Production Services Business Group provides insight on how these trends relate to the Australian market.

    Macro Direct Mail Industry Trends

      Complex, high volume multi-channel campaigns will become the industry standard, driven by enhanced marketing database segmentation tools and widespread CRM adoption.

    Nordstrom: “In Australia, multi-channel campaigns have advanced admirably in the past year. Amongst Fuji Xerox customers alone, we have seen some truly innovative use of print, SMS and web pages to create unique, successful CRM campaigns. However, the uptake is slow in comparison with the US. Education is the key. We need to continue to spread the word as to what can be achieved through sophisticated yet very achievable use of multi-level variable data and a variety of communication channels.”

      Forthcoming postal rate increase, combined with new delivery point validation regulations, will drive the need for advanced data hygiene and postal optimisation services.

    Nordstrom: “Any direct mail campaign has the potential to be a success if the data is driven by good segmentation and accuracy. In this country, there are definite cost advantages to having an in-depth understanding of Australia Post mailing requirements as well as using bar-coding and regional offerings.

    “The direct marketing industry has recently achieved some inroads with changes to Australia Post’s Print Post service that now permits some level of personalisation of publication covers, text pages and advertising.”

      Strategy and creative service providers move to integrate analytics and consumer targeting services with their existing portfolios, in order to counteract the threat of service commoditisation in the agency space.

    Nordstrom: “The agencies that achieve the most compelling DM campaigns will definitely be those that consider analytics an integral part of any DM campaign right from the planning stage. Great attention should be given to data segmentation and the associated calls to action or offers for each segment.

    “The composition of data and creative to form the variable piece is the most critical stage that can easily be overlooked and is best approached with complete knowledge of the whole campaign.

    “Fuji Xerox’s Profit Accelerator initiative is based on the premise that our success is determined by that of our customers. By applying specialist knowledge and skills to enhance delivery, a company’s value is measured by the unique service it provides and commoditisation can be avoided.”

    Vertical Market-Specific Trends in Direct Mail

      Media mix reallocation and the proliferation of new channel options threaten direct mail’s budgetary primacy as the preferred below-the-line marketing vehicle.
    Nordstrom: “While SMS, web, video and some voice channels have been utilised here, they are still the exception rather than the norm. A little over a year ago, ADMA’s 2005 Direct Marketing and Privacy Report revealed that 89% of those surveyed open direct mail. Around the same time, the Commercial Economic Advisory Service of Australia (CEASA) reported direct marketing as a 1.5 billion dollar market growing at 8.1 per cent per year.

    “During 2006, alternate mediums were not anywhere near as visible as DM to pose any immediate threat.”

      Digital print applications, empowered by capability enhancements developed in 2006, grow dramatically throughout 2007.

    Nordstrom: “Digital print will undoubtedly continue its impressive development through 2007. Not only does digital print make the personalisation of messages and images possible in a single print run, the resources required to orchestrate large jobs are decreasing and cost-efficient small print runs are more prevalent.

    “So too, the revolutionary developments in digital inks and paper dramatically reduce waste; and the improved reliability and increased speeds are making the once impossible possible.”

      Catalog marketers increase or maintain circulation but accelerate the reduction on average page count per book, reflecting the changing role of the catalog and offsetting rising mailing costs.

    Nordstrom: “This trend is an indication of the almost ubiquitous use of internet in the US. In Australia, printed catalogues are primarily produced periodically and delivered widespread as “junk mail” by individual vendors or retail organisations. As a result, there should be no visible impact on the catalogue industry here.”

      Inserts and color utilisation play a more significant role in statements, as marketers move to leverage the format for marketing purposes.

    Nordstrom: “We too are experiencing this trend. There is growing popularity in companies multi-purposing bills and transactional statements by incorporating personalised marketing messages into these mail outs. Fuji Xerox’s latest state of the art, continuous feed production systems, will enable these types of applications to be produced effectively in full colour.”

      Marketer consolidation (and corresponding service expansion) leads to the increased use of direct mail for branding and promotional purposes.

    Nordstrom: “Market consolidation has an undeniable presence in Australia – news of telecommunication, IT, marketing, advertising – even print industry companies seem to merge with notable regularity. Australian print providers must carefully plan and identify opportunities from every angle and those with associations with merging organisations may well find a sweet spot with customer, personnel and stakeholder communications during these major changes.”

    Maria Nordstrom concludes, “The US direct marketing industry has long been held as a benchmark of what can be achieved through communication that is both innovative and astute. The best results for the Australian DM industry is surely to learn from those markets more advanced than our own, emulating success and adapting practices to suit our own particular conditions and resources.”

  • Canon launches the much awaited imagePRESS C1

    With revolutionary technologies and breakthrough image quality, Canon’s desirable new imagePRESS finally bridges the gap between digital and offset printing.

    Canon managing director, Shuichi Tsukahara, (pictured) presided over one of the most significant launches of the year when the imagePRESSC1 was presented to the industry in Melbourne and Sydney.

    Mr Tsukahara said that purchasing the imagePRESS was an important development for the company, which would increase their profitability further.

    “The launch is big news for Canon,” said James Fewtrell, Assistant General Manager. “And 2007 is an exciting year because not only are we launching the imagePRESS, it’s also Canon’s 70th birthday.”

    On the technical side, Kit Andrews, Program Manager, Digital Production said that since first viewing the machine in Drupa 2004, its developments have gone from strength to strength. “I’ve seen nothing more dynamic in this industry than the imagePRESS,” he said. He attributes the success of the machine to the three core principles behind its making: quality, efficiency and performance. “When someone wants a quality proof from now on, they’ll say: ‘Get me an imagePRESS print’,” he said.

    As the first member of Canon’s imagePRESS family in Australia, the C1 is the first digital device ever to provide true offset-quality printing, bringing new technologies to the market that deliver both image quality and colour stability.

    The imagePRESS C1 is designed for the proofing, photo-reproduction and short-run colour printing market. It will soon be joined by a family of imagePRESS devices superbly designed to meet the needs of production colour environments.

    “Instead of just revamping a digital printer to improve quality, Canon has built a range of entirely new technologies from the ground up to take digital printing into the future. These new technologies have been developed to bring the best of offset quality, stability and media flexibility to the digital world, merging the best of digital and offset creates the imagePRESS. The imagePRESS family incorporates technologies that were previously only found on offset presses as well as brand-new Canon-only innovations,” said Steven Brown, (pictured) Market Segment Manager, Production & Graphic Arts, Canon Australia.

    “The new toner, belt and drum systems in the imagePRESS family combine to offer outstanding image quality and stability day after day, while an oil-less fusing system provides the authentic look and feel of offset.”

    V Toner and Gloss Optimisation

    Breakthrough quality begins with the new V Toner. A large colour space helps allow for accurate colour reproduction while the tiny toner particle size, which averages 5.5 microns, produces brilliant and sharp detail. Digital prints have traditionally suffered from a three-dimensional appearance. In the past it was possible to see the layering of individual colours, which produces a textured print with shadowing around areas of built-up colour.

    This is still the case with the most expensive competitor machines, but no longer with Canon. The oil-free V Toner, coupled with new fusing technology, produces Gloss Optimization for the “look and feel” of offset printing. Gloss Optimization excels even on high gloss media that carries high, dense areas to help ensure no three-dimensional appearance. Gloss optimisation also ensures that the toner takes on the characteristics of the print medium: gloss paper produces glossy prints, while matte or satin produce smooth, non-glossy results. The toner matches the print medium, enabling a range of output textures never before seen from a digital printer.

    Elasticised Rubber Transfer Belt (blanket)

    Like a traditional offset press, the imagePRESS C1 features a rubber blanket. This new Elasticised Rubber Transfer Belt (ERTB) moulds itself to the texture of the paper being printed so that the blanket is in contact with every part of the page regardless of its texture. It then snaps flat before the next page, and this process continues regardless of the texture of each individual page. This ensures even colour spread across the page with the consistency traditionally associated only with an offset press.

    Canon’s revolutionary new drum has been developed to achieve long life and a smooth, consistent image. The machine checks sixteen drum sections during printing, verifying that the density of toner is equal across the face of the drum to deliver smooth, consistent colour across the entire page. The result is unrivalled print quality, free of banding or areas with little toner coverage.

    Further Innovations

    The imagePRESS C1 sets new standards in image quality and performance for printing and proofing: colour production at 14ppm with 1200dpi with 256 gradations for exceptional image quality.

    The device offers printing and proofing on a wide variety of media sizes up to 13″ x 19″ (330 x 482mm) – including a range of coated and uncoated stocks that previously couldn’t be used for digital printing. Media flexibility goes beyond just traditional handling of thick and coated media by the new elasticised rubber transfer blanket technology, maintaining an exceptional level of quality for creative and production environments.

    The imagePRESS C1 also incorporates a large, easy to read, touch-screen LCD control panel for easy operation, and automatic calibration and control systems provide outstanding colour stability and consistency. The device includes built-in colour sensors that check both toner density and colour fidelity at the image creation and fusing stages, continuously updating the imaging system in real-time to ensure stability.

    Unparalleled business opportunities

    Exceptional image quality and flexible media handling ensure the imagePRESS C1 works in many ways for your business. From proofing, to short run, to print on demand and even variable data printing – this is the digital device to open new opportunities.

    Flexible feeding capabilities permit the inclusion of hardcopy in your digital workflow with the Duplex Automatic Feeder, while using the optional Paper Deck Lite adds high capacity feeding to your process. Advanced finishing options are also available, including saddle-stitching, centre-fold, punching, stapling and stacking.

    Canon has reinvented the colour print market. The imagePRESS C1 is first in a family so unlike any other printers that they will permanently change the way you look at colour. It’s dependable, predictable and reliable: able to deliver consistent output time and time again. The straightforward operation and revolutionary technologies enable the C1 to achieve consistent colour from job-job, day-day, month-to-month, and year-to-year.

    Whether you’re producing critical design proofs, marketing collateral and reprints or simply colour business documents, the imagePRESS C1 digital printer provides the quality and reliability to achieve success from the first run.

    Features at a glance:

  • 14 pages per minute print speed
  • 1200 dpi with 256 gradations
  • Outstanding image quality
  • Oil-less fusing
  • Exceptional media flexibility

  • Chromaticity delivers colour to Canon Staff

    Colour guru, David Crowther, holds forth at the Chromaticity training for Canon sales and technical staff at the DES facility in Sydney.

    Canon Australia, an industry leader in colour print production and graphic arts, recently sent eight of its technical and sales staff to a customised Chromaticity colour management training course to keep them ahead of the game in the colour management arena.

    The training took place at the DES headquarter in Sydney at the end of October 2006.

    For Canon’s digital production solutions group the recent launch of new digital colour printing technology – Canon ImagePRESS C1– signifies Canon’s latest entry into the high-end, high-quality colour, professional digital press market. Canon recognises that in order to fully develop in the professional colour arena, their staff need to be competent and increase their skills and knowledge of advanced colour management.

    “We approached Chromaticity with our needs and they proposed a customised course to suit,” said Paul Fennell, training consultant, Canon. “Chromaticity are unparalleled in the colour industry, the course has benefited sales and technical staff. It has given them a greater confidence and improved their skills in the colour critical market. It has been an invaluable experience for us, increasing our efficiency and understanding.”

    Covering a range of topics from ICC colour management basics through to press to proof output, the course proved valuable for all attendees. “They definitely got a lot out of it,” said David Crowther, Australian representative for Chromaticity.

  • Clemenger BBDO moveS up to digital proofing

    Not all brands can be equally trusted, but it was Epson’s unsupassed reputation for manufacturing only the best inkjet colour printers that resulted in Clemenger BBDO choosing its products when it came to making the move to digital proofing.

    The company began four and a half years ago using the Epson Stylus Plus 9600. Today, it uses both the Epson Stylus Plus 9800 and 4800. “We chose to use this hardware because it was a proven product internationally,” said Ubaldo Merlino, (pictured), production director of Clemenger BBDO.

    The Epson Stylus Pro 9800, designed for high-end professional graphics and photo markets where quality, speed and economy are essential, has the ability to generate prints at sizes up to 44-inches wide. The Epson Stylus Pro 4800, which can accept paper widths of up to A2 17-inches (432 mm), is designed to fit into all production environments.

    Merlino speaks highly of Epson’s hardware, which he believes has had a positive impact on the company’s workflow. “What really stood out to us about this hardware was its consistency and reliability,” he said.

    Having not used any similar hardware prior to Epson, this new venture has opened up exciting new doors for Clemenger BBDO, Merlino said. “We now have the ability to do digital in-house proofing,” he said. Epson, combined with the GMG proofing systems, has had a positive effect on Clemenger BBDO. “As a business we’re now going to have greater efficiency and colour control which in the long term means a better product,” Merlino said.

  • Blue Star New Zealand goes with HP Indigo

    Print quality was the deciding factor when Nicholson Print Solutions in Auckland went shopping for digital print.
    A seamless offer crossing over between offset and digital without any discernible difference in print quality was the bottom line for Glen Climo, CEO of Blue Star Print NZ, the largest printing company in New Zealand. “We wanted to maintain the same offer to our clients, not provide a substitute quality for offset. The decision had nothing to do with price, the big thing was quality of the print,” he said.

    The HP Indigo 5000 is Blue Star’s first digital colour production machine and is the only A3 press at high-profile Auckland printer, Nicholson. Its arrival at the major printer represents a significant step forward in the acceptance and development of digital printing in New Zealand. A second HP Indigo 5000 is due to be installed at Blue Star’s Format printing company in Wellington in February, by the local HP Indigo agent, AM International.

    According to Glen Climo, the intention is not to go and seek out digital work as a separate business but to bring all of the company’s current digital spend in house. “We currently do a truckload of digital business and this will give us complete control of our branding. Because we already have the front end in place and the ability to move files across our network its not been a huge learning curve for us.”

    The ability to provide high quality variable data printing has already drawn the attention of some Nicholson clients and a number of VD jobs have already gone through the press. This is an area where the company sees the opportunity for expansion.

    Format already does some black and white, and quick printing digital colour out of Wellington but Climo sees the HP Indigo as moving the offering to a different level. “This is a very different technology. The quality is as good as offset and it will allow us to provide the short print runs demanded by our clients.”

    The Blue Star decision is seen as further evidence of the quality of the HP Indigo technology by Rob West, channel development manager ANZ, HP Indigo. “When companies of this size make a decision, it’s only after exhaustive testing and comparison. I’ve always been confident that when people see the quality coming off the HP Indigo they’ll decide in our favour.

    “Blue Star’s two presses provide a solid recommendation for all companies, large or small, considering entering or upgrading their digital printing offer.”

  • Last Chance to Secure your Polar 100th Year Anniversary gift!

    Polar’s 100th year anniversary celebration, where the customer receives a free upgrade on selected machine models, is coming to a close. A number of guillotines with the following special features are still available.

  • PACK 1: Graphic process visualization for POLAR X high-speed cutter. Reduces potential operating errors to a minimum.
  • PACK 2: Swivel backgauge for POLAR XT high-speed cutter (as of model 115). Aligns the printed image parallel to the edge of the sheet

  • PACK 3: Two free stainless steel air tables (75 x 75 cm) for POLAR 78 XT and POLAR 92 XT high-speed cutters.

    Each of these FREE machine up-grades are designed to improve efficiency and productivity, and complement following unique Polar features.

    Chemical nickel plated machine table

    • Complete machine table protected
    • Ensures corrosion-free long life
    • Handles bottom sheets without marking and reduces waste

    Hydraulic clutch

    • Optimal transmission of power to knife stroke
    • Higher reliability
    • Proven performance for over 30 years

    Polar Direct Positioning System DPS

    • Exact positioning at high-speed
    • Highest measurement accuracy with direct-mounted pulse generator
    • Spindle block with re-circulating ball bearings for play-free movement of back-gauge

    Knife change OptiKnife

    • Fastest and safest knife change increases available machine time for cutting
    • Menu guide for ease of changing
    • Exact setting to cutting stick extends the life of knife
  • This special offer will be held open until 28th February 2007, or until sold out.

    For more information or to contact us about this offer please visit or or call 1300 135 135 (AUST) 0800 684 684 (NZ).

  • Signwave rolls into Western Australia

    Strang, who has spent the past nine years working overseas in Dubai arrived back in Australia and saw that there was a gap in the Western Australia signage and graphics market. “Perth offers a great opportunity to build a business within what is a booming economy,” he said. Originally intending to open his own business, Strang began a search for a suitable partner and found Signwave, where he became the nineteenth store in the franchise.

    The team of four have only been open for a few days, but all is going well according to Strang. “It’s all been very upbeat so far,” he commented.

    Service, delivery and execution are what Signwave prides itself on, according to Strang. “Our mantra is ‘visual communication’. We are about helping our customers communicate a message to their target audience, and we will do this whilst striving to stand out from the competition through superior service and product delivery.”

    Still new to the world of signs and graphic arts, Strang believes that the area of Perth will be receptive of Signwave and has high hopes for the future. “While this is a new industry for me, it’s an exciting opportunity and I’m looking forward to working within the community to provide some excellent signage solutions,” he said.

    Pictured (l-r): Brad Htoon, Jim Strang and Daniel Morris.

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  • Jobs of the week: Direct Marketing Account Manager, Perth

    We would like to complement our sales team with an experienced, full time, senior account manager. The role is 75% internal.

    Qualifications, Skills and Competencies:

  • A minimum of 5 years experience in agency or mailhouse services, print or data management would be ideal.
  • Experienced in taking client briefs, disseminating and overseeing the resultant workflow.
  • A relevant discipline from university, tafe or adma would be well considered.
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Strong attention to detail and the ability to multi-task in a pressured environment
  • Fluent in MS Word, Excel and PowerPoint
  • Experience in project/campaign management
  • A team player, with a strong drive and ambition to succeed and develop at Zipform.


  • An Account Manager essentially provides support and structure to managing client services.
  • Maintain effective communication with customers and all production departments.
  • Up-sell and cross-sell to existing and new customers

    Key Responsibilities:

  • Maintain and grow a customer base
  • Provide customers with detailed proposals and quotations.
  • Forward-schedule jobs and liaise with Operations Manager
  • Maintain client stock inventory
  • Review finished work and prepare pre-billings
  • Provide reporting on customer portfolio/budget as required
  • Conduct site tours and client presentations.

    Please contact: Jolie McLaren––––––––––––––––––––––––––

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

  • August 1 is D-day for Adobe

    Following the Adobe Forum Meeting on 17 July in the USA, the company said that it would come up with a solution by 1 August.

    The meeting attracted more than two-dozen members of the printing industry in an open forum-style fashion. As a result of the concerns expressed in the forum, three key recommendations emerged. These include: re-evaluating the implementation of the FedEx Kinko’s service in Adobe Acrobat and Adobe Reader, exploring options of making print service providers more discoverable in Adobe’s creative products and investigating the ability for printers to distribute a branded plug-in to their customers.

    “The next steps are to review the meeting notes and for Adobe to communicate its response by 1 August,” said Johnny Loiacono, senior vice-president. “Today’s forum was open and honest, and Adobe looks forward to continuing the dialogue and working toward a solution.”

    Loiacono also admitted to that: “Getting their [customer’s] input should have been baked into the process.”

    In Australia, Printing Industries national communications and technology services manager, Joe Kowalewski, said that last week’s meeting in the USA between Adobe CEO Bruce Chizen and members of his marketing team with industry representatives had allowed everyone to “put their cards on the table”. (Printing Industries members’ views were represented by its US sister organisation, Printing Industries of America PIA).

    “Our feedback makes it clear that Adobe have acknowledged they made an error of judgement and Mr Chizen reiterated this point on several occasions,” he said.

    “It has also been underscored that Adobe is bound by contractual issues which need to be resolved. However that is not an issue of concern for the many thousands of angry printing companies who are growing impatient waiting for a suitable solution to be forthcoming.

    “In reality there is only one reasonable solution, the removal of the ‘print to Kinkos’ button via a new Acrobat reader release and related upgrades of its other affected products.

    “With such a move we believe Adobe could begin to minimise the impact of this controversy and start to rebuild its standing and reinforce the confidence of the industry in Australia and the many other countries affected.”

    Kowalewski said that Adobe’s undertaking to produce a statement on August 1 needed to be supported by both tangible and industry acceptable solutions to the issue.

    “Our industry and the industries of our affected colleagues do not want a PR exercise. What they want urgently is a solution to a problem not of their making that is potentially affecting the print procurement procedures of customers each day it is left unresolved,” he said.

    Printing Industries CEO Philip Andersen will meet Adobe Australia officials in Sydney July 27 to follow-up on the US meeting.

    As outrage towards Adobe grows, the floodgates have been opened for Quark to make a comeback. According to a spokesperson from Quark, loyalty is growing.

    “Quark has always been committed to helping all output providers grow their businesses,” the spokesperson said. “Naturally this remains very high on our list of priorities.”

    “Our output provider and printer communities are letting us know they’re pleased Quark is listening to the printer community and delivering the support they need to remain competitive, and they appreciate the direction we’re moving.”

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  • Election spells good times for printing business

    The survey, completed by companies across all states and originating from 16 printing and associated sectors showed that business confidence now stands at the highest level since the September quarter 1994.

    This surge is a result of the imminent federal election, according to Hagop Tchamkertenian, national policy and research manager, Printing Industries.

    “Given that we are probably three to four months away from a federal election, the printing and associated industries are reporting increased confidence about future business prospects,” he said.

    But the industry optimism was not reflected in the actual trading outcomes reported for the June quarter, said Hagop (pictured below). Outcomes for a range of key economic indicators such as orders, production, sales, net profits, employment and overtime were all below expected outcomes.

    Important June 2007 quarter developments reported by the survey respondents include:

  • Modest increases reported in orders, production and sales;
  • Reduced employment and overtime levels;
  • Increased investment in plant and machinery and buildings during the past six months;
  • Finance reported more easier to obtain;
  • Labour availability was reported to have deteriorated once again for the 12th consecutive quarter;
  • Increases reported across all production cost categories;
  • Selling prices reported to have fallen for the 26th consecutive quarter;
  • Reduced levels of raw material stocks; and
  • Increased numbers of outstanding debtors.

    On the critical issue of capacity utilisation rates, the June 2007 quarter results show that 65.2 per cent of respondents were operating at capacity levels of 70.0 per cent or higher, up from the 64.9 per cent proportion reported last quarter and the 60.7 per cent proportion reported this time last year.

    83.9 per cent of survey respondents ranked lack of orders as the primary barrier to increasing production levels, higher than the 82.0 per cent during the March 2007 quarter, but lower than the record 94.9 per cent during June quarter 2006.

    According to Hagop, the September 2007 quarter is expected to yield the following results:

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

    The June 2007 quarter report reveals high capacity utilisation/activity rates were achieved by the Cheques and Securities, Labels, Quick Printing, Graphic Arts Machinery and Supplies and Paper Merchant sectors.

    Considerable levels of excess capacity seem to exist in the book binding, screen printing, graphic reproduction, desktop publishing and graphic design, digital printing and greeting cards, calendars and diaries sectors. All product sectors are expecting improvements to take place in general business conditions during the September and December 2007 quarters.

    While most sectors are either forecasting increased investment or no change in plant and machinery over the next six months, the folding cartons, other packaging and paper converting and greeting cards, calendars and diaries sectors are forecasting reduced investments.

    Material costs are moderating on the back of a much stronger currency with the net balance outcome reported during the June 2007 quarter being significantly lower than the corresponding outcome 12 months ago. Raw material stocks were also reported to have declined helping to reverse last quarter’s reported rise which was the first rise since September quarter 2000.

    Whether or not these buoyant times will continue is uncertain. “It remains to be seen whether the confidence will hold up during the September quarter,” Hagop said.

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