Archive for January, 2012

  • Integration costs put Colorpak into the red

    The packaging giant’s $9 million assimilation costs of Carter Holt Harvey’s ANZ folding carton operations, has overshadowed its good underlying profit.

    Colorpak had a record half-year with profits up 25 per cent to $4.7m. It had a 139.4% sales revenue jump over the previous period to $104m. However, the $6.98m cost of internal consolidation and integration made the half yearly result a $2.23m loss.
    Nine months on from acquiring the distressed assets of CHH’s folding carton division, the manufacturing operations have been completely pulled from the Reservoir site. Colorpak split the packaging operations across its existing Melbourne sites, Braeside and Mt Waverley, and sold off the sheeting assets to BJ Ball.
    The company expect the integration activities to continue for another six months.
    According to an ASX report the CHH acquisition has increased the company’s exposure to seasonality with the first half of the year performing stronger than the previous period.

  • Candidate of the week: Indigenous Employment Opportunities – Printing, Queensland

    Looking for any Indigenous employment opportunities within the Ipswich area.

    I have several talented clients that are looking for a career in printing or graphic design.

    Can you please advise if there are any current or upcoming opportunities.

    email.  rebecca.hay@maxemployment.com.au

  • Candidate of the week: Graphic Designer, Murwillumbah

    I’m a graphic designer from Brisbane, now living in Murwillumbah with over 11 years industry experience including three years working in a printery.

    I currently work remotely with a printery in Melbourne, taking care of their graphic design and pre-press services. That way, they can offer a graphic design service without having to employ an in-house designer.

    I’m looking for other printeries to work with in this way. If you think you might be interested, just shoot me a reply with a convenient time for me to call you to discuss further.

    email.  greg@upsidecreative.com.au

  • Phil Chambers goes hands on with CSG

    The well-known industry identity has stepped back into an active industry role as the new CSG group general manager of Print Services Australia.

    Chambers will replace David Ward who has elected to retire five months earlier than planned. It has been nearly six years since Chambers retired as Fuji Xerox’s managing director. He had held the position for eight years.

    Another top seat shift sees Denis Mackenzie stepping down as CSG managing director. His successor Julie-Ann Kerin has been the group general manager of CGS’s Technology Solutions division for the past four years.

    Mackenzie plans to re-join the business in July in a part time executive role. He will focus on corporate and business development and will be invited to rejoin the Board at that time. “After almost 11 years as managing director of CSG I have decided to step down. I continue to believe that CSG is a fantastic business with strong prospects and I plan to remain a significant shareholder,” says Mackenzie.

    The listed information and communication technology company (ICT) has had a tough year dealing with a potential takeover that eventually fell flat. (According to reports the recalcitrant suitor was NEC.)

    CSG sells and services Canon equipment in Australia and Konica Minolta in New Zealand, among other activities. To date it has concentrated on the office environment but there is plenty of scope for it to move into production print.

    Kerin’s appointment heralds a new phase for CSG to focus on sustained growth, according to CSG Chairman Josef Czyzewski. “Her long history in the industry, coupled with her understanding of the CSG business, strong management skills and good customer relationships, will be of great value in ensuring a smooth transition to new leadership.

    “Julie-Ann’s strong national and international business and IT experience will be a critical element in CSG’s focus of delivering value for shareholders,” he says.

    Czyzewski says it was Mackenzie’s vision that enabled CSG to become a major IT and print services provider with a strong ANZ presence.

  • Industry energy survey ends soon

    The Printing Industries national survey to help identify industry power consumption closes in a week’s time on Wednesday 8 February. The survey forms part of the Association’s strategy to reduce energy costs for its members.

    Printing Industries CEO Bill Healey (pictured) said that the response to-date had been excellent. It demonstrates a strong recognition of the need to minimise energy costs and support for Printing Industries work to help achieve this goal.

    “I also want to make the point that the survey is open to printing companies everywhere of every size, particularly in regional and country areas," he says. "“The greater the participation pool is, the better and more accurate our data will be.”

    The survey is an important part of the Association’s strategy to establish a member’s Buying Group to reduce their operating costs in key areas of business expense.

    “There isn’t a single company in our industry that would not benefit from being able to lower their energy costs, so we have made the achievement of this goal the number one priority for our Member Buying Group,” Healey adds.

    To access the survey click here. The survey closes on Wednesday 8 February 2012.

  • Green print for Top End icon

    Colemans Printing expands its market lead in the Northern Territory as the first to achieve Sustainable Green Print certification level two.

    Environmental accreditation has been on the Darwin-based printer’s wish list for years, said Coleman’s printing manager, Tony Coleman. “We have always been moving in this direction but it wasn’t until we hired a HR staffer 12 months ago to help us along that we started to get traction.

    “We have been pushing hard in the past six months to get here and hopefully we will go all the way to ISO. That’s our ultimate goal,” says Coleman. “This will go a long way in showing our commitment to the environment. We just want to be ahead of the game.”

    Pictured: Coleman’s Printing’s production manager Andrew Hodges (l) and Jared Cardno, senior printer.

    The third-generation printer hopes his two new Indigo 5500s will improve the company’s sustainability position with less waste.

    “I think these certifications are becoming the expectation. Even though we are the only printer to be SGP2 certified up here, there are a lot of multinational companies who won’t do business with printers without proof of sustainable environmental practices,” he adds.

    Peter Mansfield, Printing Industries general manager for SA/NT, sees the certification of Colemans Printing as a great achievement. “It may be the first printer to receive formal environmental accreditation of any sort in the area.

    “I hope that a SGP2 certified Colemans will trigger other printers in the area to pursue environmental accreditation. Certified printers can improve their performance and save a lot of money through efficiencies,” he says.

    Colemans Printing is one of just 30 printers in Australia to have achieved Printing Industries’ environmental accreditation, SGP level 2.

  • Vanguard moves to the front in Perth

    Lamb Print and Vanguard Press have amalgamated, after together serving the Perth print market for more than 100 years. In a move that introduces a new era of print in Perth, Lamb Print was sold to Vanguard Press as at January 1, 2012.

    The sale was structured as an asset sale, however both staff and management have been retained.

    The consolidation makes a lot of sense to Chad Van Heemst, director for Vanguard Press, in regards to the people and the equipment being retained. He believes the new entity enhances the best of both businesses.
    Steve Larcombe, the owner of Lamb Print, retains his role as general manager and will play an integral part in rebranding and building the business into the future.

    “The pooling of resources will bring together a wealth of experience in intellectual capital and form a state of the art production site,” said Van Heemst. “We now have the right scale and equipment to compete in today’s market with enormous flexibility to deliver jobs. The injection of state of the art finishing equipment from Lamb Print, complements our recent acquisition of two Heidelberg printing presses – a 5-colour with aqueous coater and an 8-colour perfector press that is currently being installed. It is going to be an impressive production site when all installations are complete, which is expected to be mid-February”

    Van Heemst said there is an amicable merging of Lamb Print management into the Vanguard operations. Both parties share a similar vision but bring to the table different skill sets. “We have bolstered our workforce with around 20 people, bringing our combined staff total to around 50 employees,” he says.

    The Lamb Print site on Perth’s Robertson St will be gone within the next few weeks, once the entire operation has shifted over to Vanguard’s site in Northbridge, WA.

  • Colemans Printing gets first two HP Indigos in Darwin

    The high-profile Northern Territory printer makes print history as it installs two HP Indigo 5500s. The first ever HP Indigo’s in the Top End, the presses are up and running since Christmas.

    According to Tony Coleman, managing director, Darwin is not immune to the industry trend towards short run work. Traditionally a Heidelberg house, the largest printer in the Northern Territory has turned its focus to digital to capitalize on quick turnaround jobs.

    After much research and visiting print shops around Australia, Coleman says it was a trip to Dscoop in Singapore that finally clinched the deal. “Seeing the passion for HP machines at the conference was the major selling point for us,” he says.

    Pictured: Magdaline Coleman (Digital Communications Specialist) with Tony Coleman (Managing Director) are pioneering high-end digital colour in Darwin.

    According to the third-generation printer, a noticeable lack of high quality digital technology in Darwin was one of the main reasons for choosing the HP Indigo 5500s. Due to the company’s remote location the decision to invest in two machines came down to the need for contingency and reliability.

    “Darwin has always been behind in this area and if we wanted any real quality we had to go down south. When I saw an opportunity to get involved in digital print, I thought that if we don’t jump now we’re going be left behind big time.

    “I like to think that we will also get a HP Indigo 5500 in our Alice Springs branch in a couple of years. But for the moment we want to sit back and see how these machines go,” he says.

    Installed under Colemans’ digital division, Quick Print, the new digital presses open new opportunities, adding more speed to its turnover of short run work and variable data for direct marketing. Independent of the Darwin shop yet under the same roof, the digital arm is constantly busy with demand for short run print.

    “Variable data will now become a bigger focus for our digital division. I think council work is just the starting point for us. As the world of variable data gets more technical, the quicker we jump on it and sell it to clients the better.

    Steering operations of the iconic 60-year-old print company, Coleman initially did not place much market value on the Indigo 5500s substrate capabilities. However, after seeing what the Indigos are capable of, he is confident the Darwin market will find plenty of use for the innovative print solutions.

    If everything goes smoothly in Darwin, Coleman says he will be making his way to drupa in May. After his last trip to the industry trade show in 2008 he engaged in major investments with Heidelberg equipment.

    With the installation of the first HP Indigos in Darwin, the press brand has a presence in every state and territory. Phillip Rennell, marketing and sales director, Currie Group, – the HP Indigo agent in the region – says the new equipment provides the town and surrounding area with the ability to create its own quality digital work.

    “Many of the customers up there will now be able to access short runs at offset quality, something that they’ve not been able to do before. Colemans are already offset printing leaders in their market, and with the 5500s, they now have the opportunity to become the digital leaders as well,” he says.

    In addition to providing extensive training to Colemans’ printers on the new equipment, the Currie Group has also set up remote support for the Darwin print house.

    “Print Care enables the press operator to push a button, alerting our call centre about a problem. We can log onto the press remotely to see what is going on, and work with the operators to solve most of the problems irrespective of distance,” adds Rennell.

  • Ricoh is again a global power player in sustainability

    The digital press manufacturer has retained its top 100 standing among the most sustainable businesses in the world for the eighth consecutive year.

    Ricoh ranked 72 in the 2012 Global 100 list announced during the annual World Economic Forum held in Davos, Switzerland. World Environment Center president, Dr Terry F. Yosie, remarked that the eight-time winner’s long-term approach to sustainability is embedded in how it conducts its business.

    “Global recognition is well-deserved for Ricoh, with the company going beyond legal obligations by proactively looking for ways to reduce its impact on the environment and promote biodiversity through innovative business services,” he says.

    Some of the Global 100 KPI’s Ricoh was judged on include water and energy productivity, transparency, CEO-to-average worker pay, taxes paid, innovation capacity, and sustainability pay link.

    Ricoh UK’s head of corporate responsibility, James Deacon, feels that claiming a Global 100 spot once again is a strong public recognition of its sustainability commitment. “In 2005 we set tough targets to reduce our environmental impact and we’re well on the way to reducing our CO2 emissions by 87.5 per cent by 2050.

    “At the same time, we’re committed to helping our clients to reduce their environmental impacts through our sustainability consultancy service which reduces the costs of managing document processes at the same time as minimising associated environmental impacts,” says Deacon.

    Ricoh is the sole graphic arts manufacturer listed in the 2012 Global 100. It sits among six Australian companies. Sims Metal Management takes out the local win ranking 11th followed by Westpac at 14th and Corporate Express Australia at 47.

  • An independent frame of mind – Print21 magazine feature

    Before the recent increased focus on specialisation and the fashion of businesses to concentrate on a few core elements, printing companies were diverse and complex operations. A printer was prepared to accept any type of job, even if it meant subbing it out to a specialist firm. But, even then there are still some printers that like to and are capable of doing it all themselves. Patrick Howard went to Frontline to meet Wayne Godsell, a printer seemingly prepared to tackle just about anything.

    It’s like walking into an Ali Baba cave of printing technology. The Artarmon premises of Frontline Printing are not extensive but they are crammed with technology and printing processes. It is all here—as the sign over the door tells; digital sheet printing, wide format, digital roll labels, flexo, hot foil stamping thermal; and inkjet. And that is merely the technology; the output is even more eclectic.

    Wayne Godsell is a printer with a breadth of skills that is becoming increasingly rare in the industry. He is deeply versed in the ways of printing, a printer to his very soul, but in an industry that often places too much emphasis on trade qualifications, it comes a no surprise to learn that he didn’t start out that way. An accountant by training, he got into printing almost by chance back in 1984, specialising in variable data while digital was barely on the horizon.

    Over the years he built up a successful if unconventional business, taking on just about every challenge in printing. Along the way he acquired an impressive in-depth knowledge of the arcane procedures of most printing processes. He is now the printer other printers send work to when the job is difficult and complex, especially when it involves variable data printing (VDP).

    Pictured: Wayne Godsell next to his son Paris on the frontline of print.

    Walking around the production floor, among the wide array of equipment, it quickly becomes apparent that Frontline is prepared to turn its skills to every thing from personalised DM pieces, to hot foiling, labelling, card and price ticket manufacturing, barcoding and wide-format label printing.

    Ably assisted by his son, Paris, there is practically nothing that fazes Godsell. He is able to print on just about any substrate from plastics to metalized wide-format substrates. In fact the only thing you won’t find at Frontline is an offset press.

    “I’ve always steered well clear of offset. It’s a declining market with too many competitors. There will be a lot less offset in the future. I’m more comfortable with digital,” he said.

    Take his word for it

    In an age of increasing specialisation, when the business mantra is about finding a niche and sticking to it, it is refreshing to meet Wayne Godsell. It is as though his business has grown by learning how to do everything that others were not prepared to put the effort into. In the process he has avoided any hint of the dreaded commoditisation of printing. Everything coming out of Frontline is value-added; everything carries a premium.

    He appears to be fearless about adopting new or unfamiliar technology, of being first on the block with the new press. Far from being captive to any one brand, he is always prepared to buy the most suitable technology for the job. He proudly points out his label presses on the ground floor as examples of innovation. Among them is the first Rotamag Series 1 label press developed by Peter Jessop of Rotary Engineering.

    An icon of Australian engineering design, Godsell swears by its reliability and performance over the years. He laughs that Jessop did such a good job in over engineering the machine that it will never need to be replaced.
    “He asks me when I’m upgrading and I tell him, why would I? Your press never breaks down,” he said.

    R&D is hardwired into Frontline’s DNA. Paris Godsell is currently putting in long hours on a new Roland VersaUV LED large format inkjet. He is testing the machine’s ability to print on various metallic substrates, getting the colour right and setting it up to not only print posters but also to produce decals and labels. It is very much … like father, like son.

    Specialist is a­s specialist does

    As a result of his independent views, Godsell’s endorsement of a technology is worth real value. Nothing is brought into the shop without a thorough comparative testing with similar products.

    Latest investment decision led Frontline to install a Konica Minolta BizHub C8000, a further endorsement of the brand, in that it already has a C6500, a C65HC and a 1051 PRO.

    “What I like about Konica Minolta is that they always give their machines a very conservative rating. When I looked at the market the Konica Minolta had the best colour by far. The print quality is so high there was no question about it. It’s also a very versatile machine, we put through up to 450 gsm without a problem,” he said.

    His background in VDP tests not only the imaging capability to its limits but also the software. There is no variable job too sophisticated for Frontline.

    Further along in the shop there is thermal label making for people such as Woolworths. Some of these are massive jobs in numbers but well within Frontline’s capacity. Nothing is outsourced and the company is thriving.

    So next time whenever the industry conversation turns to the supposed benefits of specialisation, remember Wayne Godsell. Being a specialist does not mean you can only specialise in one thing.

  • ***Ascent Partners: A2 Commercial Printer – Melbourne***

    Melbourne printer with a $2 million plus turnover selling this year, with automated A2 five-colour press, metal CtP, finishing. At circa $600,000, this business is priced to sell in first quarter of CY 12.

    Genuine reason for sale. Premises can be leased, or business moved. Good mix and quality of client – Ring Richard Rasmussen – Ascent Partners on 0402 021 101

  • GASAA Continuity Planning in Print session series

    A free national series of emergency contingency and continuity planning workshops for printing business owners and managers will be kicking off in early February, with the first session to be held in Adelaide.

    The ‘Continuity Planning in Print’ sessions are a joint venture between GASAA and Printing Industries, and will feature over 45 industry panellists sharing their advice and knowledge on continuity and contingency planning for all printing businesses.

    Funded by the government’s Department of Industry, Innovation, Science, Research and Tertiary Education, the session series was developed in response to the impact natural disasters such as the Queensland floods and the Victorian fires have had on printing businesses in affected areas.

    While prompted by natural disasters, however, the series will also answer business owners’ questions about everyday continuity planning such as sickness, machinery failure, and supplier relations, among others.

    GASAA executive officer, Garry Knespal (pictured), says that the workshop series will be useful for metropolitan and rural business owners alike, with each session adapted to address the primary business continuity issues in its specific geographical location.

    “This is not just about printers being caught up in a flood,” says Knespal. “It’s about simple things that can happen, such as staff leaving unexpectedly. We’ll be addressing other developments that can happen, like machinery issues, or supplier issues – there are lots of examples of how the unexpected can happen.”

    Not only has GASAA teamed up with Printing Industries representatives across the country for the series, but also with the Business Continuity Institute – a network of consultants who help big industry develop business continuity planning strategies.

    “From an IT disaster to a healthcare epidemic, they have offered to have a consultant at as many venues as we could arrange,” says Knespal, of the institute’s involvement in the sessions.

    The sessions will be held in a Q & A format, and will be run in 13 locations across Australia. The sessions will be free to attend, and will run from 5.30pm to 8pm on their respective evenings.

    To register, click here.

    Session dates:

    February

    February 8: Adelaide
    February 9: Perth
    February 13: Gold Coast
    February 14: Brisbane
    February 20: Morwell
    February 21: Melbourne
    February 22: Bendigo
    February 23: Hobart

    March

    March 6: Canberra
    March 7: Bathurst
    March 8: Sydney
    March 13: Newcastle
    March 20: Sydney

  • Joint venture helps printers plan for crisis

    A free national series of emergency contingency and continuity planning workshops for printing business owners and managers will be kicking off in early February, with the first session to be held in Adelaide.

    The ‘Continuity Planning in Print’ sessions are a joint venture between GASAA and Printing Industries, and will feature over 45 industry panellists sharing their advice and knowledge on continuity and contingency planning for all printing businesses.

    Funded by the government’s Department of Industry, Innovation, Science, Research and Tertiary Education, the session series was developed in response to the impact natural disasters such as the Queensland floods and the Victorian fires have had on printing businesses in affected areas.

    While prompted by natural disasters, however, the series will also answer business owners’ questions about everyday continuity planning such as sickness, machinery failure, and supplier relations, among others.

    GASAA executive officer, Garry Knespal (pictured), says that the workshop series will be useful for metropolitan and rural business owners alike, with each session adapted to address the primary business continuity issues in its specific geographical location.

    “This is not just about printers being caught up in a flood,” says Knespal. “It’s about simple things that can happen, such as staff leaving unexpectedly. We’ll be addressing other developments that can happen, like machinery issues, or supplier issues – there are lots of examples of how the unexpected can happen.”

    Not only has GASAA teamed up with Printing Industries representatives across the country for the series, but also with the Business Continuity Institute – a network of consultants who help big industry develop business continuity planning strategies.

    “From an IT disaster to a healthcare epidemic, they have offered to have a consultant at as many venues as we could arrange,” says Knespal, of the institute’s involvement in the sessions.

    The sessions will be held in a Q & A format, and will be run in 13 locations across Australia. The sessions will be free to attend, and will run from 5.30pm to 8pm on their respective evenings.

    To register, click here.

    Session dates:

    February

    February 8: Adelaide
    February 9: Perth
    February 13: Gold Coast
    February 14: Brisbane
    February 20: Morwell
    February 21: Melbourne
    February 22: Bendigo
    February 23: Hobart

    March

    March 6: Canberra
    March 7: Bathurst
    March 8: Sydney
    March 13: Newcastle
    March 20: Sydney

  • Pettaras is new GASAA president

    Filling the shoes of former GASAA president David Leach is a task Digitalpress’ Theo Pettaras is keen to tackle. As the elected 2012 president he aims to promote the organisation as a relevant resource of information for the industry.

    Stepping up from a long-term executive committee member, Pettaras intends to continue Leach’s legacy and raise the association’s industry profile. “These indeed will be big shoes to fill.

    “President David Leach guided so many lasting GASAA initiatives during his two-year term and maintained strong and open relations with the other associations in our industry,” he says.

    Honoured with his new post atop the Graphic Arts Services Association of Australia, Pettaras (pictured) says he looks forward to sharing his wealth of industry knowledge and the benefits that GASAA membership can offer.

    The founder of Digitalpress is currently in the U.S. as a keynote speaker for PODi (Print on Demand Initiative), talking about direct marketing and personalisation within digital print.

  • IPMG farewells Craft

    One of Australia’s largest print providers, IPMG, has announced it will close its sheet fed printing business, Craft, citing the industry’s aggressive sheet fed competition and narrowing margins as the core reason for the closure.

    Only two months after erasing all mention of Craft from what had been the Craft Inprint website, IPMG will shut down its Craft sheet fed business, with the company due to close the doors for good at its Alexandria site by the end of March this year.

    The Craft shutdown is part of a continued rationalisation of what was previously the Craft Inprint business, and will be accompanied by 46 redundancies, of which IPMG says it will endeavour to find employment opportunities elsewhere within the its printing subsidiaries.

    IPMG CEO, Stephen Anstice (pictured), says that the current competitive pricing trend in the sheet fed sector of the industry has driven profit margins so low that it is no longer cost effective for the company to continue the operation of Craft.

    “The pricing is not conducive to anyone having a long-term business,” says Anstice. “The prices will have to go up.”

    “They’re cutting below being able to have a viable long-term business,” Anstice says of other local sheet fed businesses. “They’re not making enough money to reinvest in their own companies.”

    Anstice believes that IPMG’s other subsidiary printing businesses including sheet fed services – Offset Alpine and Inprint – are large and diversified enough to combat the low margins in the sheet fed sector. “Offset Alpine has a mix of resources, it’s able to hold its overheads as a much larger business,” he says.

    IPMG says the closure will help strengthen its three print brands, Hannanprint, Offset Alpine and Inprint.

  • DES reassures industry on supply of premium papers

    DES has been quick to assure its Australasian customers that there will be little or no local impact from Hahnemühle’s purchase of Zanders from Finnish paper giant M-real.

    Hahnemühle Fine Papers has acquired the Zanders premium paper business and related assets as well as well as nearly 100 mill staff in Germany. The digital fine art paper range is used for letterhead, brochures, books, calendars and envelopes.

    Ian Clare, managing director for DES, believes the new combined operation has the potential to be one of Europe’s leading premium paper manufacturers. The new owners will acquire all Zanders’ trademarks and production facilities.

    It all fits together for the local supplier. In Australia and New Zealand, DES’s Image Products business has handled distribution of the Hahnemühle digital fine art paper range for the past six years.

    Clare says he has seen a recent surge in promotional portfolio presentations and digital photograph albums for which the Hahnemühle FineArt range offers photographers a wide range of possibilities.

    “We expect little change on the local scene as a result of the European buyout,” says Clare. “It is however highly likely that it could add considerably to our future product offerings in the Australasian markets,” he adds.

  • Benny’s Back! – drupa Snooper World Exclusive!

    Andy McCourt kicks a stunner in his 2nd drupa Snooper column with news on Benny Landa. The Indigo founder will launch new nanographic digital printing technologies at drupa – exactly 100 days away from today.

    Benny Landa – the recognised father of modern digital colour printing – will be one of drupa’s larger exhibitors and, at 1,400m2, the largest first-time exhibitor ever, when he unveils the fruits of years of secretive R&D at the huge Düsseldorf trade fair opening on May 3rd. Landa Corporation, encompassing Landa Labs Ltd, Landa Ventures Ltd and the Landa Fund, is entirely privately financed by Mr Landa. My prediction is that it will be the talk of the show so mark your dance card for Hall 9 where Landa Corp will no doubt be causing traffic management problems, as did Indigo at Ipex 1993.

    So what have Mr Landa and his clever colleagues (reportedly 70+ PhD boffins plus former HP and Kodak staffers) in Israel come up with this time? Let’s start with the ‘official’ media statement, understandably brief for a company wishing to protect its secrets until the last minute:

    Following the acquisition of Indigo by HP ten years ago, Indigo founder Benny Landa
    (pictured – courtesy of Calcalist magazine, Israel) established Landa (Corp), which has been developing next-generation digital printing technology. Called “Digital Nanographic Printing”, this unique printing process, which employs Landa’s proprietary nano-pigment inks (Landa NanoInks), imparts exceptional qualities to the digitally printed output and will enable game changing press performance. Landa Digital Nanographic Printing Presses target mainstream commercial, packaging and publishing markets. Landa’s line up of digital printing presses will be unveiled at drupa 2012.

    So it appears we will see a range of new digital presses employing new inks – but what is ‘nanographic printing?’ Is it printing pictures of your grandmother, or micro-images on pinheads? No, it refers to the way in which the ink or liquid toner is constructed.

    What is nano?
    The nanometre-scale measures in units of one billionth of a metre, whereas the micron or μ scale measures in units of one-millionth of a metre. To put this into perspective, the average human hair is around 24 microns thick. Toner particles used in many dry toner-based digital presses are between 3 and 12 microns across, depending on whether they are mechanically milled or chemically ‘grown’ such as with Xerox’s recent EA (emulsion aggregation) toners. Landa NanoInks, according to a source close to Landa, are ‘unique and proprietary technology.’ It seems Landa’s scientists have found a way of creating pigment particles between one and forty nm in size. The patents have only just been applied for through patent attorneys, IP Harrison of London.

    The nanoscale is well known in colour management as being the unit of measurement of light-waves; the visible spectrum typically being between 390 and 750 nm wavelengths. Where particles are concerned, true nanotechnology is said to begin with the ability to create and control particles below 100nm in diameter. That’s about 0.1 μ (microns) – very small indeed and with the promise of controlling particles at the molecular and even atomic level. Nanotechnology is not just about making finer particles, but being able to control the attributes of those particles, which are smooth, round or ovoid, rather than jaggy and irregular like milled pigments.

    Imagine one kilogram of basketballs next to one kilogram of ping-pong balls. The total surface area of approximately four hundred ping-pong balls will be far greater than less than two basketballs (official NBA weight is 624g). This over-simplified example is a clue to one of the benefits of nanopigments – you have more surface area work with and it can even be nano-coated to control diffraction and reflection. And, when carried in a fluid, you will use less ink.

    Landa NanoInk makes use of these ultra-fine nanoscale pigments to create digital inks with the stated ‘exceptional qualities.’ What these qualities are will not be revealed until closer to drupa but if they follow typical benefits of nanoscale pigments, they may be:
    • Much broader colour gamut
    • Less ink used for the same visual effect
    • Ability to incorporate electronic capabilities into the printed page – ‘conductive paper.’
    • Very high security potential for brand packaging and banknote printing, since the ink itself can be ‘personalised.’
    • Imparting of special effects normally requiring offline specialized finishing, e.g. fluorescing, metallising, MICR, raised printing etc.
    • Keying into almost any substrate.

    Ink needs presses and Landa Corp will be unveiling a complete line up of them on its drupa exhibit area. Not much is known about them at this stage except they will be digital and use Landa NanoInk. The implication, by no means certain, drawn from an Israeli business magazine Calcalist, is that the presses could be inkjet since applications are ‘from billboards to packaging.’ It’s a brave man who would launch totally new presses into today’s market environment, but courage mixed with determination, has never been absent from Landa’s adventures in the graphic arts.

    Landa beyond printing
    There are other applications for Nano-scale technologies and Landa Corporation is embracing these with a vision well beyond the graphic arts. Indeed, the discovery of NanoInk was a by-product of other research. One of these is thermal energy cells to generate cheap electricity. It will be several years before a commercial product is available but it will employ nanoscale technology in a ‘gas sandwich’ where the ‘bread slices’ are coated with differentiated nano-materials. Benny Landa’s venture capital arm, Landa Ventures, already has an interest in XjetSolar – a company producing inkjet-printing equipment to make solar panels. Interestingly, the President of XjetSolar is Hanan Gothait who invented the Scitex TurboJet printer and Objet 3D inkjet prototyper. GenCell is another Landa-backed firm involved in fuel-cell research.

    Landa Ventures has also invested in HighCon Systems – the digital die cutting and creasing inventor launching its Euclid solution at drupa (Hall 4/B28), and HumanEyes the 3D lenticular market leader. Landa sums up its VC arm thus: “We invest in and are involved with the companies, contributing additional technology and added value.”

    One example of this that can only be described as hair-raisingly brilliant is ColoRight. This company, founded by hair salon expert Michael Mercier and backed by Landa, uses spectro-photometry to measure a person’s hair colour, presumably ‘profile’ it and then mix the exact shade of hair colour (or cosmetic) that the client desires. This method appears to be straight out of the CIE L*a*b* and ICC colour management world. The attached publicity photo even shows what appears to be an ‘EyeOne’ type spectrophotometer measuring hair shade!

    The fourth estate of Benny Landa’s new corporation is the Landa Fund. This philanthropic sector is ‘dedicated to closing socio-economic gaps in society, enabling youth of ‘privileged minds but under-privileged means’ to achieve higher education.’ Focused on escalating Israel’s brain-power, the Landa Fund has helped thousands of young citizens – of both Jewish and Arab descent – to gain university degrees. Landa’s passion for Israeli-developed, owned and exported high technology is renowned.

    Notwithstanding this broad portfolio of interests, Landa is keen to stress that its Digital Printing Division is ‘of the highest importance and in the long term, a funding source for re-investment.’ This is exemplified by the construction of a 200-seat amphitheatre on his drupa stand – shades of Ipex ’93! Again, according to Calcalist, Mr Landa has pumped an average of USD$40 million of his private wealth per year into his nanographic project.

    Benny Landa was axiomatic in changing the printing and publishing business forever, starting around two decades ago. Can he and his team do it again, only bigger? You’ll have to be at drupa 2012 to find out. Hall 9/A74 – book your seats early!

    Drupa is the world’s largest trade fair dedicated to the printing and allied graphic media industries. Held every 4 years, it opens on May 3rd at the Messe Düsseldorf, Germany and closes on May 16th. The Printing Industries Association of Australia, in conjunction with Eastern Suburbs Travel, is organizing tours including a pre-drupa ANZAC-themed tour of Gallipoli and beyond. For details please contact Marty, Vicki or Sonia on 02 9388 0666 or estcolovelly@optusnet.com.au