Archive for November, 2010

  • IPMG Warwick Farm site still years away

    Completion of IPMG’s supposed gravure greenfield plant in Warwick Farm, Sydney, is still a long way off.

    In an interview with the Australian Financial Review this week, Michael Hannan, group managing director of IPMG, said that the print centre would not be completely finished for “a number of years.”

    “It’s a big project for us. It will come online progressively in multiple stages and will be in a position to meet client and industry demand within 18 months,” he said.

    “That initial stage will be fully operational within 24 months.”

    The article also noted that IPMG’s revenue had increased by 1.4 per cent to $508.7 million for the 2009-10 financial year. Profit was up to $2.4 million, an improvement on 2008-09’s result, which saw a loss of $77 million.

    According to Hannan, IPMG’s printing division, which claims to have the capacity to print over 378 billion pages annually, performed well. “The overall results disguises a commendable result from the printing companies in what was a pretty poor year for print volumes and in an industry that had too much spare capacity,” he said.


  • Time and tenders tell if Argus gets back in top form

    Argus waits for verdict on tenders to know if it will achieve 2011 sales outlook.

    At its annual general meeting, chairman, David Paterson described the year ended 30 June 2010 as “a very difficult year”. It has also been a time of rapid change and transformation for the company, with major events including the acquisition of the Moore Australasia business in January, followed by the sale of the Argus business in February and the recapitalisation of Argus in August.

    “A major part of today’s business involves the resolutions before shareholders of the two debt payment and subscription agreements which provides for the recapitalisation of Argus,” Paterson said. “The funds provided from these two transactions should provide sufficient working capital for the company to stabilise its existing operations and provide a sound platform for further organic growth.”

    In October, Argus announced a future outlook for the year ending  30 June 2011 for total revenue in the range between $54 million and $57 million, with projected earnings (EBITDA) between $1.2 million and $2 million.

    So far, monthly sales in the first quarter of this year have increased from $3.1 million in July to $4.2 million in September, with sales for the first three months of 2011 inline with the future outlook.

    Now, the pressure is on. In order to achieve the 2011 future outlook, the monthly sales figure needs to increase further to some $5.5 million by June 2011. According to a statement, the ability to achieve the increase in sales will depend on the results on a number of tenders that the company has recently submitted.

    Sales at this level equates to annualised total revenues in the order of $65 million. “Given these sales are achieved, the company will return to its historical performance levels by the end of the financial 2011 year,” Paterson added.


  • Konica Minolta moves up as major GASAA sponsor

    Konica Minolta shows its support to GASAA by becoming a major sponsor.

    GASAA executive officer, Garry Knespal (pictured) welcomed the sponsorship. “We have always enjoyed strong membership support from Konica Minolta. With the signing of the sponsorship program, we will be able to “add value” to this relationship through a series of activities and information services to our members and wider industry contact base of over 10,000 creative and professionals,” he said.
    “The timing is ideal for both GASAA and Konica Minolta as both are enjoying significant growth, recognition and influence in the graphic communications industry. This is particularly so with the launch of the bizhub PRESS C8000, Konica Minolta’s flagship digital press that leads an already impressive range of production print devices.”
    According to David Procter, national marketing manager, Konica Minolta Business Solutions Australia, the major sponsorship of GASAA emphasises the importance the company places on customer engagement through highly active and relevant industry bodies.

    “GASAA, as is Konica Minolta, is committed to helping print professionals make informed and smart decisions about the devices and applications most suited to their business needs. We look forward to working further with GASAA to enhance our understanding of the needs of its members and the wider industry,” said Procter.

    Konica Minolta BSA joins the association’s other Major supporters Adobe, Canon, Databasics, Fuji Xerox, Optimus and Ricoh.

  • 15 local printers power up Salmat SME push

    East coast printers are already pumping out letterbox collateral for the launch of Salmat online marketing portal, with printers in Canberra, South Australia and Western Australia set to follow shortly.

    At today’s beta launch of its marketing site, which will allow SMEs (small-to-medium enterprises) to design, print and distribute marketing material from January 2011, David Besson, chief executive officer of Salmat’s targeted media solutions division revealed that 15 printers across the eastern seaboard were currently printing material for small businesses who are trialling the portal.

    “We set a standard people had to meet to be part of a [printing] panel,” he said. “This type of industry has a quick turnaround and we tailored the panel to suit that.”

    Pictured: Looking to the letter box: David Besson (left) with Grant Harrod at today’s launch, Sydney Opera House.

    Business owners using the portal can expect a two-week turnaround from logging the job through to distribution. Both offset and digital print capabilities are available for users.

    According to Besson, printers within Canberra, South Australia and Western Australia will commence work within the next 30 days. “We won’t have anymore than 30 printers [in total],” he said.

    CEO, Grant Harrod, told Print21 that the letterbox is not only one of the most effective ways of reaching consumers, but it also means keeping presses ticking. He asserted that printing would stay local.

    “We’d like to create demand for the printing industry,” he said. “Print is one of the most effective forms of communication.”

    Salmat first flagged its intentions of launching the marketing portal earlier this year. “The SME market is an enormous market for Salmat to provide a business model that relieves the pain for them and makes local marketing easy,” Harrod said.

    He believes the portal’s most exciting says lie ahead of it and may eventually offer services outside of print, with SMS, email and promotions all being considered.


  • NZ paper merchant BJ Ball scores a win in Australia

    The private equity-backed supplier is now in effective control of mid-sized merchant, Focus Paper.

    Andrew Bull, CEO, denied his intentions to enter the market a month ago. The buyout inserts another contender in the Australian market, which is readjusting following the closure of the Tasmanian Mills.

    BJ Ball, the largest merchant in New Zealand, has a strong agency relationship with Nippon Paper Group, owner of Australian Paper. It sells many of the same web grades and is likely to be a close ally to the remaining Australian fine paper manufacturer. Nippon Paper Group is expected to expand its presence in Australia well beyond the marketing of product from the former PaperlinX mills, Maryvale and Kiama mills.

    The entry of BJ Ball will ratchet up the competition in an Australian marketplace, already reeling from intense price competition. Leading merchant CPI last week issued a call to action as a result of the tight market conditions. PaperlinX is accelerating the diversification of its business away from straightforward paper merchanting.

    BJ Ball has a history of pushing for growth and it is unlikely its new PE owner, Maui Capital, has stumped up the cash only to continue with Focus Paper’s below the radar operation.

  • Employers Mutual in the picture as PICA sponsor

    Employers Mutual Limited has signed up to become the major sponsor of the NSW PICA awards for 2011.

    The announcement and contract signing happened during a ‘thank you’ event for sponsors and judges of the 2010 NSW PICA held at the Art Gallery of NSW last week.

    Printing Industries CEO, Philip Andersen, said the 2011 commitment by Employers Mutual, the 2010 Platinum sponsor, was a milestone for PICA and indicative of the significance of the event.

    “Employers Mutual is our endorsed workers’ compensation specialist services provider for the industry and plays a significant role managing workers compensation matters for many of our member companies,” he said.

    “They have been very supportive of Printing Industries activities, sponsoring our NSW CEO forums during 2010 in addition to the PICA, and this latest commitment for 2011 is further evidence of their willingness to get involved with and support the printing industry.”

    Pictured: Philip Andersen, Peter Carrigan and Renata Geer, business development manager at Employers Mutual

    Andersen thanked all the judges for their “tireless hours” spent sorting through the 2010 entries.

    “All their work will now see some 35 NSW Gold medal winners go through to the National Print Awards (NPA) the winners of which will be announced at the NPA presentation dinner being held during PrintEx in Sydney on Thursday 5 May,” he said.

    The ’thank you’ event began with a guided tour of the David to Cezanne exhibition which was followed by the presentation of certificates of appreciation to the sponsors by NSW President and PICA Chairman, Peter Carrigan.

    Andersen commended WorkCover NSW for its two-year commitment as the major sponsor for 2009-2010 and for its ongoing work in assisting the industry with its OH&S issues.

    He also thanked Applied Training Solutions, Heidelberg, Kodak, Media Super, Brissett, Lanier, Australia Post, the Department of Environment & Climate Change, Epson, Fuji Xerox, Konica Minolta, Quote & Print, CPI Group, HLB Mann Judd, Skilled Force, Ferrostaal, mas National and Bottcher Systems for their 2010 sponsorship and invited them to participate in 2011.

    Lindsay Yates’, group managing director, Paul Richardson, was singled out for a special “thank you” for arranging the Art Gallery venue.


  • manroland Australasia Customer Club meets in Melbourne

    The manroland Australasia Customer Club held its first two-day information session in Melbourne last week to update locals on the latest developments from the offset press giant. Print21 editor, Simon Enticknap, was there to find out what went on.

    The first meeting of the manroland Australasia Customer Club followed on from dinners held in Sydney and Melbourne last year. Local Roland users were updated on the latest worldwide developments in sheetfed and web offset printing as well as local initiatives by manroland Australasia.

    Managing director, Steve Dunwell, kicked off proceedings by outlining how the company has grown since setting up as a independent supplier just over two years ago. The company now employs 42 staff and is looking to grow further. Over the past year, despite the slowdown in the industry, it has achieved some significant press sales with the likes of Fairfax Media, Franklin Web and VistaPrint.

    Peter Kuisle was one of two executives from manroland Germany who attended the forum, outlining new developments in web press technology. These include the roll-out of manroland’s autoprint ‘One Touch’ automation for newspapers which has now been adopted to varying degrees on 29 presses worldwide.

    Pictured: Marco Faulhaber (left) and Peter Kuisle (right) travelled from manroland in Germany to attend the first manroland Australasia Customer Club inaugurated by Steve Dunwell, manroland Australasia managing director (centre).

    The most impressive example was a video he showed of a site at Barleben in Germany which combines robotic plate loading with automated logistics to transport plates from prepress to the press and load them automatically. The video looked so futuristic that Kuisle had to remind viewers that it was real and not an animation. Using this system, one operator is able to change 196 plates on the press in three minutes.

    Safwen Hijazi (pictured below with Steve Dunwell) from plate manufacturer Xingraphics was one of two representatives from partner suppliers to attend the forum. Hijazi outlined the history of Xingraphics and discussed some of the thermal CTP plate products that the company produce. These include the forthcoming Fit eco plate which is billed as the first ‘true processless’ plate for thermal CTP devices.

    Over the course of two days, manroland specialist, Tony Kenny outlined a number of new developments in the sheetfed market. These included manroland’s Futureproof concept whereby any sheetfed press is guaranteed to be ‘upgradeable’ for a period of five years, meaning that owners can continue to add new systems and additional automation to a press after its initial installation, thereby safeguarding their investment.

    Service is the “heart and soul” of the new manroland, according to Steve Dunwell, so it was appropriate that father and son duo, Graham and Dennis Wickham, were on hand to present the local service initiatives in the web and sheetfed sectors. These include extending the online purchase of non-emergency parts to the sheetfed sector, expanding the 24-hour TeleSupportCenter global support network to include sheetfed presses, and adding training to the range of services offered by manroland in 2011.

    Day 1 concluded with a business session at which printers were urged to engage in some ‘blue ocean’ thinking, followed by dinner and an impressive performance by a most energetic African dance troupe.

    Day 2 sessions were scheduled to include presentations on sheetfed technology fighting back against digital print, the Printcom range of pressroom consumables, and advice on how to improve pressroom performance from Marco Faulhaber, manroland executive vice-president for printservices.

    Adrian Fleming from Kodak was also due to outline the technology surrounding the integration of Kodak inkjet technology into newspaper presses for which manroland is the local agent.


  • Big year of awards for Platypus Graphics

    Tom Lusch’s Platypus Graphics continues its winning streak, taking the lion’s share of awards at this year’s Queensland PICAs.

    The Brisbane company took out nine golds at last week’s PICAs, ending what has been a major year awards-wise. At this year’s National Print Awards, Platypus Graphics took home four awards, including the PaperlinX prize, making it the big winner on the night.

    Lusch was less than effusive when Print21 asked how the victory felt: "Good," he replied. Pressed further, he commented: "Last year we won more than anyone else and this year we’ve done the same nationally … we’re on a roll and that’s about all I can tell you." The awards speak for themselves, it seems.

    Printing Industries general manager for Queensland, Neal McLary, said that the triumph was not out of the ordinary for a company with a reputation for winning awards. “Platypus did exceptionally well as usual,” he said.

    Pictured below: Simon Carmody of Spot Productions receives the award from Garry Gray at Fuji Xerox.

    McLary was particularly pleased to see Spot Productions win the judges’ award. “It was a great way to end the night,” he said. “We have a lot of companies who regularly win, so it was nice for someone to come out of left field.”

    According to McLary, over 300 people attended to event at the Sofitel in Brisbane, a number which is down slightly but, be says, reflects the current state of the industry. Entries, however, were up by 25 per cent on last year.

    For Simon Pugh, manager of QLM Label Makers, winning one gold, along with three for Label Print Systems, which he also owns, was a highlight. “It’s very important because it focuses our production guys on the importance of quality and shows our clients that we have the highest standard,” he told Print21.

    Pictured: Rory McElwee (Label Print Systems), Sven Saric (Label Print Systems), Simon Pugh (QLM Label Makers), Anissa Foster (Ossie Labels).

    For the full list of gold winners, click here.

  • Candidate of the week: General/Development Manager with genuine hands on experience, Perth

    I am a print industry professional, qualified to degree level and a Permanent Resident looking to relocate to Perth as soon as possible with my Australian wife.

    A confident and dynamic manager with a proven track record of developing both new and existing business with the ability to secure significant ‘early wins’. Capable of providing strategic and tactical development planning skills driving profitability from accounts.

    A multi disciplined, pro-active manager who looks to develop and empower staff in achieving individual objectives and Company targets. I am a team player with excellent communication and interpersonal skills who is eager to develop these skills further.

    Apprenticed to the trade from age 16 my career has encompassed a number of roles including Print Buyer (CIPS qualified), Business Development and Account Manager in UK and Eire and most recently General Manager working for the Europe’s leading decorative print finisher with responsibility for a site generating over £1.5m pa and employing 26 staff.

    Need someone to develop and build your business? I could be just the person you are looking for.

    Please feel free to contact me at

    * Full resume available upon request

  • Cornerstone Business Sales and Valuations

    Printing Businesses for Sale
    Are you looking for an acquisition? If so, we have two new printing business listings on our books for you to choose from. Here is a summary of what is on offer:

    Internet Label and Sticker Printing Business
    This Internet based business specialises in the sale of promotional stickers. It focuses on sales and distribution and does not do any of its own production. All production is outsourced.

    The business is well known by its customers as being the low cost provider of high quality products.

    Being Internet based with sales to clients throughout Australia, this business is not location dependent. Also, with all production outsourced, not much space is required to operate.

    All orders are paid for by customers in advance. This gives the business excellent cash flow. The cash flow position is further enhanced by the fact that the business does not need to carry any inventory (other than prepaid orders awaiting despatch to customers).

    The business has an extensive database of customer names and contact details. With over 3000 names in it, this could be a powerful tool if used by the purchaser to sell other promotional products.

    This operation could be a perfect ‘add-in’ acquisition for a promotional products or printing business.

    This business is being offered for sale at $195,000.

    Niche Printing Business for Sale
    This well established printing business has been operating on Sydney’s North shore for over two decades. Over this time period, it has developed a database of loyal repeat customers.

    The business occupies a niche in the printing market. Occupying a niche has allowed it to become the ‘go to’ organisation for its particular product.

    A professionally developed website has recently been introduced. This is generating a steady stream of orders and helping to further grow the customer base.

    This is a well run and systemised printing business. Product is produced using reliable offset presses and finishing equipment. Also, experienced staff are in place.

    For the 2010 financial year, the business achieved sales of $472,000. This enterprise would make an ideal purchase for either an individual wishing to operate their own printing business, or another printing business keen to add to its sales base.

    This business is being offered for sale at $115,000.

    Please contact me on 0425 329 765 if either of these two businesses is of interest. Also, If you are thinking of selling your business, why not call for a friendly, confidential discussion. We are committed to confidentiality and discretion.

    David Ferraz (David is a licensed business agent at Cornerstone Business Sales and Valuations. He specialises in the sale of printing businesses)

  • Letters, feedback, get it off your chest: 1 December 2010

    The year is almost over, so why not do something you haven’t done yet and write us a letter.

    Re: Secret Japanese takeover bid for mag paper market
    While it may be true that Japanese paper companies are “dumping” product, it doesn’t necessarily follow that this activity paints the grim future Robert Eastment sees for the printing industry.

    If there were no other sources of supply, Robert’s conclusion would hold some validity. As it is, there is a surfeit of supply for just about all kinds of paper, and new supply continues coming on stream (take a look at China). At the same time the demand has shrunk (and may still be shrinking) in those parts of the world that are struggling to regain ground lost during the GFC. The result is as simple as it is predictable; prices fall.

    The irony here is that it all mirrors the commercial print market – too much supply and declining demand, to which the suppliers only response is to drop prices. If there’s an easing of prices for paper, let’s hope printers are smart enough to keep as much of it as they can instead of stampeding into yet another new round of price-based competition.

    On past form that’s a forlorn hope …

    Mark Reid


    Japanese suppliers are suffering very slow domestic demand, a few big players have recently announced further production cut from already being reduced.

    They have to sell more to overseas just to run the machine, and especially a few of big players are selling a lot with making no money. It is obvious if you look at their financials.  

    Yumiko Kato

  • ***Advertisement: Ascent Partners 1 December 2010***

    For sale: WorldWide Printing Franchise – South Caulfield, VIC. 

    WorldWide Printing Franchise – South Caulfield, VIC. 
    Heavily discounted to $37,500 plus stock at valuation (minimal stock) plus the franchisor’s training and marketing launch fees. This long standing business has consistent turnover of around $400,000 per annum. New franchises, starting from scratch, with no sales, are being marketed for over $200,000, so this one represents outstanding value
    WorldWide, the franchisor, have recently been taken over, and are keen to support the franchisees in developing great businesses.
    Additionally this business has many extras included in the price, that you would not normally find with a WorldWide store including a Wohlenberg 92 cm guillotine, small press and room to move. All assets to be passed on unencumbered and included in the price. The only exception is a Konica Biz Hub 6500 colour machine, the the rental of which would be transferred to the purchaser. 
    The purchaser will need to be approved by the franchisor. 
    We expect this business to move quickly, with the possibility of a New Year start. Ideal for a salesperson wanting to start out, with the guidance of a leading franchise, or for a graphic designer, looking to put their print through the WorldWide model.
    Call Richard Rasmussen on 0402 021 101 for more details.   

  • Melbourne printer calls on Fuji Xerox Color 1000 press

    Installation of Fuji Xerox Color 1000 press provides Documents on Call with capacity to keep up with growing print demand.

    The Melbourne-based printer had reached full production capacity utilising its Xerox DocuColor 8000 and 8002 digital presses and was ready to invest further. According to managing director, Kevin Mack, a significant factor in the decision was the Color 1000 press’s ability    to produce spot and flood clear coatings inline using Fuji Xerox’s Clear Dry Ink.

     “We heard on the grapevine about the Fuji Xerox Color 1000 Press, and really, it was a foregone conclusion that we’d want one. The clincher, though, was speaking to a Xerox Corporation engineer at IPEX 2010, when he explained what engineering and technology had been included in the Color 1000 Press to be the best in market, superior in quality,” Mack said.

    “In this game, it’s all about differentiation. I’d seen an attempt at spot clear coating by another vendor in the past … but as soon as I saw the Fuji Xerox Color 1000 press’s clear coating I knew that it was what we needed to differentiate ourselves from competitors.”

    Pictured: Kevin Mack, (left) Documents On Call with Scott Allen, Fuji Xerox Australia and the new press.

    Mack is pleased by the results the Clear Dry Ink has brought to the work produced by Documents on Call, along with the textured stocks “As soon as you can print on textured stocks you eliminate a lot of competitors simply because few can do it,” he said. “The Color 1000 press gives us that capability.”

    Joining them on the journey was Fuji Xerox colour specialist, Anthony Jackson. The installation took only a few days, with the company losing ten minutes when they replaced the 8002 and installed the 1000 press.

    “We could see that the Color 1000 press would help the business grow to the next level and also give it a real difference from other printers in Melbourne,” Jackson said. “Kevin was very receptive to the abilities of the Color 1000 and could see its potential immediately.”

  • All the winners: Queensland PICAs 2010

    Here they all are: the big winners at this year’s Queensland PICA awards. Are you one of them?

    Judges’ Choice Award

    Winner: Spot Productions

    Environmental Management Award

    Winner: Heaneys Performers in Print

    Pictured: Manager, Susan Heaney, with daughter, Rebecca Dannock, who has assisted the company with its environmental practices.

    Heaney was recently appointed national president of Printing Industries. This is the first time that a woman has taken on the role.



    Apprentice of the Year

    Winner: Aaron Fifield, completed apprenticeship at Printworks. Currently employed at D & D Colour Printing.

    Pictured: Craig Sherrin, director, Southbank Institute of Technology; winner Aaron Fifield and Printing Industries general manager, Neal McLary.

    Gold winners below:
    Category: First-time entries
    Winner: Spot Productions
    Category: Flexographic printing
    Winner: Insignia
    Category: Packaging – cardboard substrate
    Winners: ABC Printing
    Platypus Graphics
    Category: Web Offset Printing
    Winner: PMP Print
    Category: Labels – sheet fed
    No winner
    Category: Labels – roll fed
    Winner: QLM Labelmakers
    Category: Card Construction & Mobiles, Commerical Posters and Show Cards
    Winner: Cornerstone Press
    Category: Calendars
    No winner
    Category: Innovation
    Winner: Label Print Systems
    Category: Embellishment
    Winner: Platypus Graphics
    Category: Digital Printing – non inkjet
    Winners: IPG Print
    Bayfield Printing
    Category: Digital Printing – inkjet
    Winner: Label Print Systems
    Category: Lithographic Printing – 1 Colour
    Winner: Platypus Graphics
    Category: Lithographic Printing – 2 or 3 Colour
    Winner: Fine Print
    Category: Stationery incl. business cards
    Winner: Cornerstone Press
    Category: Envelopes – pre-manufactured or flat sheet
    Winner: Decoder
    Category: Postcards and greeting cards
    Winner: D & D Colour Printing
    Category: Impact mail, sensory mail & direct mail
    Winner: ABC Printing
    Category: Presentation folders
    Winners: Platypus Graphics (x2)
    Heaneys Performers in Print
    Category: Annual Reports & Prospectus
    Winner: Spot Productions
    Category: Saddle stitched booklets – self cover
    No winner
    No category: Saddle stitched booklets – plus cover
    Winners: Craft Inprint
    Cornerstone Press
    Platypus Graphics
    Category: Booklets perfect, burst bound
    Winners: Printpoint Australia (x2)
    Craft Inprint
    Category: Books – perfect or burst bound
    Winners: Printpoint Australia (x2)
    Category: Books – case bound
    Winner: Platypus Graphics
    Category: Books – Digitally printed
    Winner: Bayfield Printing
    Category: Self Promotion
    Winner: Cornerstone Press
    Category: Regional Category
    Winner: Greenridge Press
    Category: Entry by Apprentice
    Winner: Platypus Graphics
    Category: Specialty Printing
    Winners: Colour Crew
    D & D Colour Printing
    Category: Entries – 10 or less employees
    Winner: Label Print Systems
    Category: Judges’ Choice
    Winner: Spot Productions
    Judges’ Special Commendation
    Winners: Printpoint Australia
    Platypus Graphics

  • Sign students score software from Roland DG and SAi

    Wollongong TAFE receives $20,000 worth of sign-making software from Roland DG and SA International.

    The newly released Flexi 10 software will be used by TAFE students in units such as layout and design, vinyl signage production, and digital signage production in conjunction with their art Roland VS-640 printer/cutter provided by Roland DG earlier this year.

    According to Michael Doherty of Wollongong TAFE, the donation will provide students with the tools they need to succeed in the industry. "The new software will enable our Sign section department deliver the latest highest quality training and lessons in line with the new CPC (18774) Competencies units in the new Signage Course delivered this year," said Doherty.

    Pictured: L to R: Marc Margetts (Roland DG), Michael Doherty & Jeremy Knight (Wollongong TAFE), and Russell Cooper (Roland DG).

    "This Software will be used not only by the first, second and third year students in the sign department, but will also be used in the TVET Schools programs which involves year 11 and 12 students that run in the same department through the south coast school programs."

    Marc Margetts, Roland DG managing director believes that the donation will help in attracting more young people to the trade. “With a shortage of skilled sign writers in the industry, we feel it is vital to support the grassroots level and make sure they are operating with the latest innovative technology," he said. "Wollongong TAFE are passionate about the sign industry and have a great system in place. We look forward to working with them in the future."


  • New name and press for Panda Visuals

    Open house at Auckland-based Panda Visuals shows first HP Scitex FB7500 for New Zealand.

    The event also saw a name change for the company, from Panda Graphic Imaging, to Panda Visuals. According to Rajan Naicker, one of the company’s three directors along with Bruce Lees and Chris Brooke, the name change reflects the markets Panda Visuals is now doing business with.

    “We’ve been in business since 1988. We started as a wholesale screen printing company, but today our client base comprises mainly advertising agencies and corporate customers,” he said. “The change of name to Panda Visuals enables us to refresh the image of the company to reflect our positioning as a solutions-based business that is able to meet customers’ visual communication requirements across a range of applications.”
    Pictured: L-R  Bruce Caldwell (HP),  Rajan Naicker, Martin Carballo (HP), with Panda Visuals directors, Bruce Lees and Chris Brooke.

    As part of the company’s repositioning Panda Visuals has invested in a suite of HP Scitex printers – the HP Scitex FB7500, HP Scitex LX800 and HP Scitex FB500 – that will enable it to meet market demands for shorter turnaround times, high quality and competitive pricing. The company also operates a 3.2-metre dye sublimation HP Scitex XL1500 DS, the only one in New Zealand, as well as a number of HP Designjet printers.

    “The reality is that traditional screen printing methods just aren’t fast enough in today’s marketplace. Turnaround times have contracted and it is no longer viable to produce jobs the old-fashioned way,” said director, Chris Brooke. “We’ve been working with an HP digital platform for some time with our banner and poster work and customers expect to be able to get the same fast delivery and high quality for their signage jobs as they do with the other work we produce for them.”

    Complementing the HP Scitex FB7500 is the smaller HP Scitex FB500. Together these machines will allow Panda Visuals to cost effectively produce both small and large format signage jobs. 

  • Epson Stylus Pro GS6000 drives Autografika forward

    Purchasing an Epson Stylus Pro GS6000 for body vehicle wraps has kept Canberra-based business, Autografika in the fast line of printing.

    For Autografika founder, general manager and designer Craig McConchie, the company’s ability to create the best possible full body vehicle wraps, signage and visual enhancements meant bringing in a large format printer that delivered on nothing short of print excellence.

    “The main challenge,” McConchie says, “is more than achieving the standard requirements of colour and detail. It’s ensuring they can be achieved on a final print that can used on a vehicle and withstand year after year of direct sunlight, dust, rain and pollution. The prints must be durable.

    “On top of that, we were looking for a printer that had sufficient print width to allow us to create vehicle wraps, even for large vans, that wouldn’t need to stuck edge-to-edge. I suppose what we were really looking for was a printer that actually went well beyond the standard signwriting printer requirements.”

    Having worked in graphic design and signage for several years, McConchie knew precisely what was needed of a printer, and weeks of research and discussion led him ultimately to the Epson Stylus GS6000. “I’d looked at a number of possibilities,” he says, “but the GS6000 was the only one that met all the requirements of durability, quality, colour and, with a 1615 millimetre print width, size.”

    Versatility for business growth
    With the Stylus Pro GS6000, McConchie has established a print environment that enables Autografika to take full advantage of the rapid and broad growth in demand for high quality large format printing. Even though the printer’s primary application is for vehicle signage, McConchie has already taken on design and print work well beyond that initial application.

    “Custom design and printing for vehicles is definitely a growth area,” McConchie says, “but the business reality is that in order to grow the business further, we rely on the versatility of the GS6000 to provide a comprehensive range of services.”

    Quality that makes a difference
    It’s worth noting that with that particular print job, even though the labels were printed in high speed production mode, the need for high levels of detail were of paramount importance. On every label, barcodes had to be printed accurately and text as small as 1.5mm needed to legible.

    “Everything printed perfectly,” McConchie states. “Every component, regardless of size of detail was reproduced with total accuracy; and that meant we met the customer’s requirements and established ourselves as a print provider that can be called on for all future print jobs.”

    For Autografika, it’s when it comes to prints for vehicles that the print quality of
    the Stylus Pro GS6000 really shines though. “Every vehicle wrap and detailing job we undertake is done from the ground-up,” McConchie explains. “After all, the main focus of our business is on design, so when we start a new job we’re putting our full attention into creating custom graphics that are going to make the vehicle totally unique. And that generally means a design that is detailed well beyond what most people might expect.

    “With the GS6000 and its 1440 dots per inch resolution, we concentrate on creating high detail work and know full well that it will be reproduced faultlessly by the printer.

    “What we have is the ideal printer that, as far as we’re concerned, has been designed specifically for Autografika.”