Archive for June, 2013

  • Australian Paper picks Metso for Maryvale maintenance

    Australia paper is joining forces with global pulp and paper production infrastructure manufacturer, Metso, to help oversee the maintenance of its vast Maryvale operation in Victoria.

    The company announced it had signed a partnership deal with the global industrial construction company earlier this month, with Metso set to provide ongoing maintenance services at the site, which is set to house the first de-inking recycled paper plant in Australia.

    In a statement, Jim Henneberry (pictured), Australian Paper CEO, said:

    “We are pleased to announce Metso will be our Alliance partner to work with Australian Paper to deliver world class maintenance. Metso is a world-class maintenance and OEM supplier to the pulp and paper industry globally. [It’s] significant worldwide expertise and professionalism will greatly benefit our operations at Maryvale.

    “Metso will assist Australian Paper with greater development for our maintenance staff and employees as well as improved planning and productivity resulting from the alliance implementation,” he said.

    The deal with Metso comes just over seven months after Australian Paper received the green light from its parent company, Japan-based Nippon Paper Group, to build the $90 million paper recycling plant at its site in the Latrobe Valley site – the home of Australia’s Reflex Office Paper.

    The company hopes that the new plant – claimed to become the only de-inking recycled paper plant in Australia – will be up and running by the second quarter of 2014.

    In February, Australian Paper arranged a ground-breaking ceremony at Maryvale. To symbolise the growing partnership between Australian Paper and parent company, Nippon Paper (NPI), an Australian Golden Wattle and a Japanese Cherry Blossom were planted side-by-side. NPI President, Yoshio Haga travelled from Japan especially to attend the event.

    “I am proud to confirm that construction is well underway,” said Henneberry in a message to the local industry. “This is an enormous task…and there’s no turning back now – the first batch of concrete has successfully been poured and work continues around-the-clock.

    “The plant will annually divert up to 80,000 tonnes of waste paper from landfill and provide consumers with a broader range of locally made premium recycled office, printing and packaging papers. It will more than triple Australian Paper’s current usage of recycled pulp.

    “We hope that all Australians will get behind this initiative and help us expand the Australian recycled paper market,” he said.

  • Canon combo powers up Perth’s Zipform

    The first print house in Australia to install on a Canon ColorStream 3700 digital press in conjunction with a LasermaxRoll high-speed finishing line is broadening its product range and winning new work as it passes the three-million impression mark with the new high-power combo.

    Perth’s Zipform, one of Western Australia’s largest digital print and mail operations, took on the ColorStream 3700 with the LasermaxRoll finishing system in March this year after deciding on the combo in September last year.

    According to Richard Vaughan (pictured), the company’s digital operations manager, with the ColorStream 3700 rated at 100 metres per minute the new digital press is already over ‘a few’ million impressions since installation, and the print house is finding that the set-up’s extra capacity is opening up new market opportunities.

    “We’ve already had over a few million impressions. Certainly, our capacity’s increased with this machine for sure,” says Vaughan. “It has broadened the range because the quality’s significantly better than what we had before, so we can now do some direct mail work we couldn’t do before.”

    For Vaughan, the ColorStream 3700’s print quality potential has seen Zipform set a new standard for its growing direct mail work, while also allowing the business to keep a close and accurate eye on the machine’s running costs.

    “You don’t have to reduce run speed to have a high-resolution of print,” he says. “From a front-end applications software point of view, the PRISMAproduction [server system] seemed to have an edge on its competitors, and offered more out of the box.

    “We also use something called True Proof software, which lets us know accurately how much ink is used per job. At the end of a job we have an accurate ink usage figure, which is very important when your looking at the business’s cost structure,” he says.

    Despite the print quality and capacity benefits the new combo has offered Zipform, Vaughan says that it was in fact the installation approach and support from Canon that helped the company settle on the ColorStream.

    “We had to remove the existing press and put the new press in the same place, as well as use the same power, not having the luxury of running in parallel,” he says. “Canon had very good project management in place and that was what enticed me to go with them.

    “We don’t have the luxury of a lot of space here, so it was a one in one out approach. Speaking with Canon, we had a bit more confidence in how it would be managed, with more of an IT focus than what the competitors were offering,” he says.

    Zipform’s location in Perth places it much further away from most of Australia’s servicing hubs – many of which populate the East coast, however, with the new equipment, Vaughan says that, not only is there a local servicing team, but the machine itself allows for more in-house maintenance than other products in the market.

    “I feel we’re very well supported here,” he says. “It is Canon and AGS, the local guys in Perth who support us here, and with this machine, there are more adjustments that the operator can make with the LasermaxRoll. We can change our own blades and belts. Being remote it’s important for us to stand on our own two feet as much as possible.”

  • New UV inkjet VUTEk press and inks for EFI

    EFI is heartily embracing the industry’s UV-curing trend, with the release this week of its new VUTEk HS100 Pro UV inkjet press along with a new range of thermoforming digital UV-curable inks for other VUTEk model series.

    EFI says the high-end VUTEk HS100 Pro model (pictured) not only offers fast production speeds, it also provides the competitive advantage of higher-quality imaging with EFI Pin & Cure – a unique technology that enables precise ink lay-down – and variable-dot grayscale imaging.

    With these benefits, EFI says printing companies gain the productivity of screen printing with image quality that approaches offset, a combination that opens the door to new business opportunities.

    “In this market, printing firms have had to choose between higher quality or higher productivity, but could not get both in a single machine. We have addressed those issues, taking print quality and productivity to a higher level and combining those benefits in the VUTEk HS100 Pro,” said Scott Schinlever, senior vice president and general manager of EFI’s Inkjet Solutions. “Printing firms no longer have to settle for just going faster; they can have the throughput and high-end imaging they need to make digital the preferred option in an analogue-dominated market for display signage and other applications.”

    Printing at speeds up to 100 boards per hour, or 70 boards per hour in P-O-P mode, the 3.2-meter VUTEk HS100 Pro accelerates the industry’s shift from prep-intensive, analogue screen print and large-format offset to efficient, versatile UV inkjet digital printing. Customers can also reduce turnaround times on their existing inkjet work.

    “This new press is exceptionally fast,” according to the world’s first VUTEk HS100 Pro user, Nick Olson, co-owner of PVS In-Store Graphics in the US. “For example, we had a three-day job for our VUTEk GS3200 printer that was printed in less than one day on the HS100 Pro.”

    EFI says VUTEk HS100 Pro users also benefit from the press’s versatility in substrates, thanks to a robust and accurate media handling system that handles both roll and rigid materials such as styrene, fluted poly propylene, card stock, foam core and corrugated board.

    The newest-version EFI Fiery digital front end gives VUTEk HS100 Pro users streamlined file preparation as well as reliable color management and preflighting. Fiery also allows a seamless connection to EFI’s broad suite of MIS and ERP software products for a complete workflow infrastructure that PSPs can use to manage all their jobs, from file submission to final shipping and invoicing.

    EFI is featuring the VUTEk HS100 Pro in its exhibit at the FESPA 2013 tradeshow this week in London. It will also be featured at EFI’s exhibit at several upcoming industry tradeshows, including the Shanghai International Ad & Sign Expo, PRINT 2013 and the SGIA Expo.

    The company is also extending its range of versatile options for the wide-format market with the introduction of its thermoforming digital UV-curable ink, enabling signmakers and printing companies to print direct onto thermoplastic sheet materials, which can then be formed into deep draw, high elongation parts with excellent retention of hue and opacity.

    Formulated for use in the EFI VUTEk GS2000 Pro-TF and the VUTEk GS3250 Pro-TF, EFI claims that pre-decorating with this new ink eliminates former labor-intensive, costly methods such as hand airbrushing used when working with shaped and irregular surfaces.

    The VUTEk GS-TF thermoforming ink’s elongation capabilities are enhanced by its high opacity on a broad selection of materials, including PETG, acrylics, polycarbonates, polystyrenes and PVC, plus derivatives and mixes.

    The company says this makes it ideal for applications including custom-formed signs, packaging, point-of-purchase displays, vending panels, automotive and recreational vehicles, consumer and promotional products, and many more. The extended colour gamut is complemented by its ability to withstand heat forming, cutting and routing without cracking, chipping or losing adhesion, with moisture resistance and a durable life resulting in long-lasting graphics.

    These new inks are designed to remove the limitations of working with thermoformed applications, opening new routes to productivity for businesses wanting to generate revenues and gain a competitive advantage from high impact signs and graphics.

    “EFI’s introduction of thermoformable UV-curable inks, and the machines in which to use them, offers printers new opportunities for bringing digital printing’s strengths to a broad range of innovative applications,” said Barney Cox, printing industry consultant. “This means that printers can offer customers high impact, short run, versioned and customized imagery that has an added dimension, appealing to the increased desire for personalized products.”

  • APN looks at offloading outdoor media

    APN News & Media may trade in its outdoor media stake in the local market in exchange for greater radio reach, with the company considering selling off its half-share in its outdoor advertising business in a bid to pay down debt.

    According to a report in The Australian Financial Review this week, the trans-Tasman media company is looking at a major restructure that could see it sell out of its Adshel and other outdoor advertising divisions in exchange for full control over its radio business.

    The move, which is one of several options being considered by APN’s new chief executive Michael Miller (pictured), is likely to see the company’s extensive print portfolio lose much of its large format production footprint.

    The company has been at pains to reduce its debt levels since February’s boardroom battle, which saw the sudden resignation of former CEO, Brett Chenoweth and former chairman, Peter Hunt along with five other directors.

    In late February, the company told investors it would continue with its debt reduction strategy by selling off assets. In a statement to shareholders, the company said:

    APN will reduce debt by a further $40-50 million in 2013. This will be delivered by organic earnings including the cost reduction program in publishing, as well as small asset and property sales.

    The company reduced its debt by $180m during 2012. This was achieved through asset sales, the formation of the APN Outdoor joint venture and a focus on cash management. Reducing APN’s debt levels is an ongoing objective.

    The announcement followed moves to reclaim cash with the proposed sell-off of its Christchurch, Oamaru and Wellington publishing businesses in NZ.

    In its financial year presentation to shareholders, the company said it would continue with its program in the NZ Media business, which included the proposed consolidation of printing operations to a single company owned plant.

    Earlier this year, the company posted a net loss of A$-456 million for the financial year ending 2012, a 13 per cent slump in revenue from the previous year.

    Although APN is considering offloading its outdoor media business – and large format printing capacity along with it – the company’s new chairman, Peter Cosgrove, is backing print.

    In April, he told investors that, despite poor results from its print media divisions, the company remained committed to its print media.

    In a statement, he said:

    “APN believes there is a strong future in regional newspapers to provide local news to local communities and our strategy will be clearly focused on meeting this need for our readers and advertisers.”

  • PIAA teams up with ADMA for print marketing course

    The Printing Industries Association of Australia (Printing Industries) is launching a pilot program in NSW provide providing printing companies with marketing services skills they can use for generating new income streams.

    The modular marketing course builds on an introductory program in 2012, which provided a basic marketing overview across a wide range of marketing services.

    Joe Kowalewski (pictured), Printing Industries national director, Communications and Marketing, said the initial program helped to identify the areas where detailed knowledge and skills were needed and had commercial viability. 

    “Working with the Association for Data-driven Marketing & Advertising (ADMA) [formerly the Australian Direct Marketing Association] we have created four modules to be run over two days that will provide the critical hands-on skills and understanding for printing company staff to deliver revenue generating marketing services,” he said. “The modules cover cut-through marketing focusing on marketing basics, quality, content and delivery; multi-channel marketing, the effectiveness of each channel and when to use them for the best results; using data in marketing, ensuring its accuracy and responsibilities under privacy laws and how and where to use social media.”

    The modules can be taken individually or as a complete package over two days.

    Garry Knespal, GASA general manager, said that PacPrint13 demonstrated the changing face of the printing industry and the need for companies to invest in new services to capitalise on the changing business needs of their clients.

    “Business communication options are expanding and will continue to evolve. That’s why it’s so important for printing companies in particular to be able to provide new options as part of their communication product and service mix that their clients are using and needing assistance with,” he said.

    The four modules will run over two days in half-day sessions on 14 and 21 August.

    They are:

    Module 1: Cut-through marketing – (Day 1)
Get a real sense of what it takes to create a marketing campaign. Learn the fundamental rules to creating a successful marketing campaign which work regardless of the campaign objectives or of the media used.

    Module 2: Data-driven marketing – (Day 1)
This session will look at four  key components of data-driven marketing:  Getting the right data; Identifying the data do you need to populate your database and drive effective marketing and where to get it from. Ensuring its accuracy and Privacy.

    Module 3: Deploying for success – (Day 2) 
Multi channels and how to use them effectively individually and as multi-channel campaigns.

    Module 4: Social Media – (Day 2)
This module will be adapted to suit attendees’ use of social media and intentions as part of the services they offer their clients. It will cover social media usage, consumer behaviour and trends, why it is different, social media goals and examples of how it is being used.

    Early Bird Prices for Printing Industries members booking before 5 July are $275 single module or $885 Full package. Non-member and post  5 July fees are $330 per module or $1050 Full package.

    Additional information and registration is available via this link or by calling (02) 8354 0602 or emailing: events@printnet.com.au

    The courses will be held at the Fuji Xerox Epicentre, Australian technology Park, Eveleigh, in Sydney.

  • Screen bolsters wide format standing with Truepress Jet W3200UV launch

    Dainippon Screen is bolstering its side format standing in the global market with the launch of its Truepress Jet W3200UV at the FESPA trade show in London this week.

    “The launch of the Truepress Jet W3200UV reinforces our commitment to the wide-format market,” said Brian Filler (pictured), president, Screen Europe. “The printer represents a step change for the industry and incorporates the latest UV inkjet imaging technologies to deliver the ultimate in performance and reliability.

    “Our customers want the assurance that they can produce consistent quality graphics, around the clock if need be, with a printer that delivers low total cost of ownership and the Truepress Jet W3200UV is the solution,” he said.

    The Truepress Jet W3200UV, which is commercially available from October this year, expands Screen’s range of wide-format UV printers, which also includes the Truepress JetW1632UV and the Truepress Jet2500 hybrid printer.

    The Truepress Jet W3200UV has been a joint development between Screen and its subsidiary company Inca Digital using core imaging and inkjet technologies refined by both companies over many years. The printer has been developed as a cost-effective solution for the market looking to upgrade from legacy high-quality, low speed printers to a new generation printer that delivers high-quality and high productivity.

    The new six-colour + white printer has been designed to meet the demands of the POS, signage and decor markets today with the ability to print onto a wide range of rigid and flexible media up to 3.2 x 1.6m in size and up to a maximum 50mm thickness.

    A new print carriage design allows the printer to achieve best-in-class print speeds of 84 sqm/hr (904 sqft/hr). Using Screen’s vibrant Truepress inks, including high-opacity white, light cyan and light magenta, the Truepress Jet W3200UV delivers high-definition, wide-colour gamut print quality with excellent resistance to the bending and cutting of media.

    Software options for the Truepress Jet W3200UV include the choice of Wasatch SoftRIP or ColorGATE Production Server 5, alongside Screen EQUIOS workflow automation and PDF Polisher file optimisation software to help improve all-round quality.

  • HP wide format combination at Chinese media event

    HP kicked off its World Tour media event in China this week, launching its Scitex FB10000 Industrial Press and Latex 3000 Printer. Nicholas Pond, Print21’s deputy publisher, is in Beijing as a guest of HP. He sat down with Gido van Praag, HP Asia Pacific Graphics Solutions Business vice president, to find out what it all means.

    The graphics and technology giant’s push into industrial printing was given high priority in the corporate strategy with both Meg Whitman, HP president and chief executive officer, and Bill Veghte, the company’s chief operating officer, making time to attend the event. The technology launches come ahead of this week’s FESPA in London where the machines will actually go on display. But the Chinese market is too big to ignore these days.

    Gido van Praag, HP’s vice president and general manager for Graphics Solutions Business, Printing and Personal Systems Group, Asia Pacific and Japan. 

    The Latex 3000 Printer is expected to be available in the Asia Pacific region by 15 August this year, while the Scitex FB10000 Industrial Press is expected to be available 1 November.

    The company also announced the rebranding of its Designjet and Scitex latex printers and supplies, with the new sub-brand for the product range being changed to HP Latex.

    For Gido van Praag (pictured), HP’s vice president and general manager for Graphics Solutions Business, in the region, the new releases and the Latex rebranding represent an economic advantage for printers trying to make their way in a rapidly-changing market landscape.

    “Industrial printing companies are facing ever shrinking timelines and tighter budgets for projects,” said van Praag. “Increasingly many find themselves taking on more short print runs as buyers look to generate greater marketing impact.

    “The new large-format printing technologies that we are announcing today [24 June] will give our customers a unique advantage to cost-effectively address these challenges and expand on their business with new levels of productivity, quality and application versatility,” he said.

    Meg Whitman (left), HP president and chief executive officer, and Bill Veghte (R), the company’s chief operating officer, attended the second day of the event.

    HP says that the new Scitex FB10000 Press, which features a six-colour HDR (High Dynamic Range) Printing System, delivers high quality and industrial productivity at the same time with dynamic dot size control. Using the HDR printing technology, the Scitex FB10000 combines 16 gray-level printing with the ability to produce 1,000 B1 sheets in less than two hours.

    According to HP, the new press will allow printing companies to meet peak demand with print capacity up to 625 m2/hour and direct-to-board printing. The HP Scitex HDR Printing Technology provides precision control over colour and tone for clarity of image detail. The company says that the HDR technology uses combinations of light and dark inks and three-drop volumes, achieving the quality required for high-impact graphics.

    Although the new Scitex has been given the 10000 name (as did the B2-sized Indigo 10000), van Praag says that there is no deliberate branding link between the two. In fact, he concedes that he doesn’t know why the branding overlap between the two 10000 machines occurred. “I don’t know why they did that, and I don’t really think it’s very clever,” he said.

    Meanwhile, HP said it was redefining the Latex printing category with the new Latex 3000 Printer, which has already seen the company receive early orders from Australia, New Zealand, China, Japan, Taiwan and Thailand for the new printer.

    HP’s Asia Pacific and Japan team onstage at the event in Beijing.

    HP Latex Printing Technologies were introduced in 2008 as a water-based alternative to solvent ink technologies. Since then, HP has shipped more than 15,000 Latex printers worldwide. HP said its Latex 3000 Printer launch will help drive this growth, allowing a broader range of sign and display customers to shift pages from traditional solvent and UV-curable technologies to HP Latex Printing Technologies.

    Van Praag said the Latex printers were targeted at large format, sign and display users, with Latex comprising roughly 10 per cent of HP’s print business – a figure that looks set to triple over the next three years if van Praag has his way.

    “We have a huge install base of sign and display equipment, as well as the install base of the Indigo,” he said.

    The new printer offers broader media versatility, including heat-sensitive substrates, with the HP Latex Optimizer, while its new ink solution ensures consistent image quality at high speeds as well as efficient curing at lower temperatures and with less energy than previous HP Latex solutions.

    Third-generation HP 881 Latex Inks also provide a scratch resistance comparable to hard-solvent inks on certain substrates,making them ideal for applications including retail displays, outdoor advertising, vehicle graphics and interior décor.

    The printer’s increased production capacity lets high-volume customers meet tight deadlines, producing 77 m2/hr for indoor applicationsand 120 m2/hr for outdoor applications.Standard carbon-fibre, dual-roll spindles also help reduce media loading times and the need for operator intervention.

    HP suggested that the two new digital printing platforms from would ‘further disrupt’ the economics of traditional printing, enable printing companies to improve profitability and take on higher value print applications.

     

  • Issue 582 – 26 June 2013

    This week, Geon’s administrators reveal that the print group went under owing more than AU$18 million to employees and over $74.4 million to unsecured creditors. HP serves up next-generation wide format combination, the Scitex FB10000 Industrial Press and the Latex 3000 Printer, in China. And, PMP cuts 120 jobs with the closure of  its Chullora directories site in Sydney.

     

    You’re one of almost 9,000 industry professionals in Australia and New Zealand who rely on Print21 to stay up to date. Follow us on Twitter  to get the news first. If you like this bulletin and you’re an industry professional in ANZ but don’t receive our bi-monthly magazine, here’s your chance to get a free subscription here. Remember, keep those news tips and stories coming in to us here at NEWS.

  • Give the click the flick – Andy McCourt’s ReVerb

    The click-charge has come a long way since its earliest days in the office copier market. Now it’s king of digital production printing. Andy McCourt reckons it’s time to give the click the flick and move to a more mature charging model for what has become a major print production sector.

    When the wonders of digital production printing arrived in the printing industry in the 1990 it came complete with a business model directly from ‘photocopier central casting’  – the charge-per-click impression model. But as digital printing becomes mainstream, it is time to abandon this taxation-like system and consider non-click models that allow printers to take back control of the pages.

    The best business model to accumulate large sums of money is the taxation system. With GST, for example, the more we buy and use, the more we pay to the state and federal coffers. In return, we receive benefits back: schools, roads, health services, a defence force and of course the machinery of government itself; those lovely Canberra and Wellington pollies and public servants that we cherish so dearly.

    The attraction of the taxation system did not escape the pioneers of photocopying. Making copy machines, selling them and supplying toner and developer would deliver only a manufacturer’s profit margins. But what if they could gain a small amount of revenue from every page that was copied? In return, the copier suppliers would provide maintenance service, parts and toner – maybe even paper at a push. All they needed to do was get the maths right.

    A case of doing too well

    The pioneer copier company – Xerox – did get the maths right and how. So successful were the Xerox copiers of the 1960s and 70s, particularly the iconic 914, that the US Federal Trade Commission took anti-trust action against the company, since it held almost 100 per cent of the market. Xerox was forced to license its entire patent portfolio so other firms could make copiers – and also charge click rates. The torrents of cash flooding into Xerox resulted in the establishment of the famed PARC research centre, where the PC, GUI, mouse, laser printer and PDL were developed, but never commercialised by Xerox as young tyros like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates seized on the computer revolution.

    So, the copier world became addicted to clicks – and why not? It was, literally, a license to print money – for the suppliers. When Canon introduced the CLC 1 in 1987, the licence extended to CMYK colour – with some villains taking ‘printing money’ too literally and forging banknotes on them. They were always caught, unaware of certain security features woven into the images, that enabled tracking back to source (warning: they are still there today).

    Click charges made fortunes for copier suppliers and paid for the BMWs beloved of highly-commissioned copier salespeople in the 80s. But then someone wrote a RIP that turned colour copiers into printers; page-per-minute speed accelerated and in 1993 Indigo and Xeikon set the copier world on a collision course with traditional printing with the introduction of the first true digital colour presses.

    As digital page volumes increase, the stampede to ‘control’ page output and secure click charges accelerates. Theoretically, the number of MIF (machines in the field) should bear a direct co-relation to the monthly click volumes charged, but faster digital presses have made this assumption suspect. The game now appears to be identifying the high volume printers who can guarantee a fixed number of impressions/clicks per month or year. We are talking several millions here.

    No ‘clicks’ with offset

    The notion of an offset press manufacturer charging a ‘click’ on every impression made on one of their machines is horrifying to any self-respecting printer. However, back-door ‘click-model’ offset press sales have been made here in Australia and New Zealand – with disastrous results.

    Where a press supplier offers a TCO (total cost of operation) deal to a printer that includes finance, plates, prepress, blankets, ink, service maintenance and buy-back/trade-in prices based on annual metered usage after 3, 4, 5 and up to 7 years; this is a click charge by another name. It was a method favoured by Geon and the ‘old’ Blue Star Group, and we all know where that ended up.

    Being given a heatset web press on a payment holiday did Diamond Press no favours in 2000 – they won most of the Olympic printing contracts but went under owing millions in April 2001. There were others. Events such as these should make one think about the long-established and proven way to start or expand a business: begin with a great idea and business plan, investment, working capital, proficiency and hard work. If you make it too easy for anyone to enter a business sector with little or no capital commitment, no concept of real costs and suicidal pricing, there is only one likely outcome.

    The click-only trap

    A recent development in click marketing is for high volume digital presses installed on a ‘click-only’ basis. With no capital outlay and the press remaining the property of a supplier, the printer is in effect a ‘facility manager’ on behalf of the supplier, who reaps a fixed per-page ‘click tax’ based on a guaranteed minimum number of impressions.

    A printer under such an arrangement becomes little more than a labour-and site-provider for the supplier, who benefits from ‘gifted’ clicks that can be serviced directly should things go wrong because most digital suppliers have print management divisions. The ‘free machine, pay click’ model also disadvantages other printers who have financed their equipment, perhaps securing it against personal assets.

    Perhaps, now that digital presses are faster, more robust and utilised on more than one shift, it is time to sell them on an equipment + service + consumables + parts basis and leave the cost calculations up to the printer, just like the offset world. Operating leases can still be used to make monthly payments on a rental basis and keep Capex off of balance sheets, should that be desirable.

    As click-charges go down, it becomes more attractive for suppliers to pitch for major volume accounts through their print and facilities management divisions. This presents an ethical, as well as commercial, dilemma to the industry – just when is it acceptable for your machinery supplier to also compete against you as a print service supplier?

    One complaint on the supply-side is that ink or toner coverage in practice, exceeds that which is the norm when click rates are set. In mono transactional statement days, a high-volume digital press could be assured of no more than 15 or 20 percent coverage. Enter CMYK++ and solid colour backgrounds and it can rocket up to over 100, 200 or 300 percent – no problem if you are on a fixed click-rate regardless of coverage but take a look at the fine print of your contract and you may find ‘excess toner use’ clauses in there!

    Maybe we should ‘flick the click’ altogether for production printing, keeping it only for light volume and office-type printing which is where it all began with copiers. Efficient suppliers should still be able to make their profit goals by pricing service contracts, parts and consumables appropriately. The fear of inferior third-party inks and toners finding their way into big brand equipment is easily addressed in the warranty and service contract terms.

    However, to do this, digital printers need to know their true costs and very few do. In the next ReVerb, I hope to have ready a downloadable spreadsheet that should help anyone considering a new digital press to calculate their true cost-per-impression and make informed decisions on whether a click or no-click model is better for their business.

    Digital printing is generally a more profitable business than offset but it’s just a question of who gets the lion’s share of the profits.

  • PIAA launches business succession plan survey

    The age of industry business and the succession plans of their owners is the subject of a snapshot survey from the Printing Industries Association of Australia (Printing Industries).

    The new survey forms part of the Association’s succession planning and industry exit strategy options currently being developed.

    Printing Industries National Manager for Policy and Government Affairs, Hagop Tchamkertenian (pictured), said the 90 second survey was part of research on industry business demographics, in particular the age of businesses and the extent of related succession planning.

    “We are seeking data on the degree of family ownerships, their business sectors and the age at which owners believe they may want to pass their business on,” he said.

    “It is also important to know whether or not they currently have a succession plan in place.”

    The survey is open until Friday 5 July 2013 and can be accessed via this link.

  • Ron Patterson resurfaces as M&M Binders marketing manager

    Ron Patterson, former Printing Industries Association of Australia (Printing Industries) Victorian state manager, is teaming up with the Todisco family after being appointed as the new sales and marketing manager for M&M Binders in Melbourne.

    The appointment comes just over half a year after Patterson departed Printing Industries and as M&M Binders launches a new website, scheduled to go live this week.

    For Patterson (pictured), the new appointment represents an opportunity to share the industry’s ‘best kept secret’ and to promote the benefits of the binder’s new website.

    “M&M Binders has always been known as the finishing house which could handle the jobs no-one else can do, and that’s certainly still the case,” says Patterson. “But, the past few years the place has been so busy it’s been ‘heads down’, with little time left for self-promotion.

    “The website will just provide a touch-point so that people can browse the wide range of products and services we offer. I know the industry pretty well, and even I was surprised to come down here and see just how expansive the production facilities are,” he says.

    Lenny Todisco, owner and managing director of M&M Binders, says: “Some people seem to have forgotten that M&M Binders is still around, which means we may be missing out on work and some in the industry may be missing out on what we can offer.

    “That’s why, when we knew Ron was available, we decided to give him a call. Ron is a well-respected industry professional with a strong background in sales and marketing, so we believe he’s the perfect person to remind the industry that we are still here – and still producing some of the most challenging binding and finishing work in the country. We’re delighted to have him on board,” he says.

    According to Todisco, the company has the technology, the capacity and the desire to get alongside its clients and help them deliver to the most challenging requirements or deadlines.

    “And we’re not going to hide our light under a bushel anymore,” he says. “We’d welcome people to visit the website and remind themselves of what we do and to pick up the phone and talk to Ron, who will be an invaluable resource to help printers, publishers, finishing houses and other clients to find a solution that suits their specifications, timeframes and budgets.”

    The new website can be found at:  www.mmbinders.com.au

  • Chili Publish sees better in 3D with new release

    Chili Publish is helping designers to better visualise jobs in 3D, with the company’s new online document editing system Chili Publisher version 3.5 coming loaded with enhanced 3D Folding functionality.

    With new features, improved functionality and the latest 3D visualisation options, Chili Publisher 3.5 is set to offer print service providers a new level of editing functionally in a fully customisable, browser-based application.

    ‘We’re always talking with our customers about the challenges they’re facing on the front line, and their feedback is our drive to continuously innovate,” said Bram Verniest, CMO of Chili Publish. “The latest version 3.5 of Chili Publisher really sets the standard in online document editing, making it faster, easier and more effective than ever. Users can expect big things as they implement it, making day-to-day tasks much easier and helping them raise productivity of their operation to the maximum.”

    Within the new release, Chili Publisher brings the 3D Folding functionality that was first introduced in Chili Publisher 3.0 to a next level, allowing users to fully visualise content in 3D so they can make better-informed design decisions.

    “We are especially excited about the 3D enhancements in Chili Publisher 3.5 as they make it even easier to visualise the final document layout and how folding will affect it. This prevents expensive errors that are often not discovered until the project reaches the bindery,” said Verniest.

    The 3D Folding Advanced in Chili Publisher 3.5 includes composed materials – combine multiple documents and/or assets in one single 3D model; Animation – in addition to animating a document (folding panels), users can now move the camera around the object for a true 3D visualisation.

    These animations can also use ease-in and ease-out functionality, resulting in a more attractive view; Separated preview integration: the 3D preview, previously an option in the workspace, can now be loaded separately into a web application.

    Chili Publisher 3.5, which is distributed locally through Workflowz, also offers PDF/VT compliance, an international ISO standard that defines the use of PDF as an exchange format optimised for variable and transactional printing. By supporting international standards, Chili Publisher ensures that users have the best possible experience using the editor in a workflow.

    In addition, version 3.5 comes with new IDML export functionality. It allows users to export Chili Publisher documents to InDesign Markup Language (IDML), a format that improves the compatibility of files with a wider range of Adobe InDesign versions.

    IDML is an XML-based format, introduced in Adobe InDesign CS4 for representing InDesign content.
Another new feature involves an improved Chili InDesign Converter, a tool used to convert existing Adobe InDesign documents to Chili Publisher, and vice versa.

    With the new version 3.5 of the plug-in, users now have the option to import a document from Chili Publisher into InDesign without images or fonts – for example, if those resources already reside on a user’s computer, or when the assets are located in a centralised Digital Asset Management (DAM) system. This improvement eliminates the need to move large files over the web, resulting in significant time-savings and smoother workflow.

    Another enhancement relates to scaling. In many print applications, text is scaled to fit the frame or media size. Chili Publisher 3.5 supports horizontal and vertical scaling of a text box, next to skewing of a frame. Furthermore, in response to user feedback, Chili Publisher 3.5 now lets users preview the actual appearance of fonts within a document. Preventing users to look for fonts one by one, this allows to easier decide which font to use.

    The new version is immediately available worldwide. Existing Chili Publisher users will receive an update upon request as part of their maintenance contracts.

  • Fuji Xerox

    The Fuji Xerox Color C75/J75 has made a massive impact in the Australian digital printing industry with almost 200 printers sold since its release in February 2013.The Fuji Xerox C75/J75Color presses were designed based on the feedback of small to medium sized digital businesses across Australia. According to Mark Williams, product marketing manager at Fuji Xerox Australia, on average the presses have increased its customers’ monthly print volumes by 66 per cent when compared to the previous model 700 Digital Color Press.
    The printers feature an automatic inline spectrophotometer system called the ACQS, which according to Fuji Xerox delivers quick and simple monitoring and calibration. The adjustment control system called Simple Imaging Quality Adjustment (SIQA) monitors the input/output density or colour variation and quickly corrects any discrepancy. “They are fast becoming the most popular digital presses on the market, and the features continue to enable new applications. The automation system improvements with ACQS and SIQA controls continue to ensure businesses remain focused on producing more work, with less time spent in print make-ready and maintenance,” said Williams.

    Brisbane-based offset operation the Kuhn Group was outsourcing all of its digital work. “We sent out a test file to the Color J75 Press and its print was the closest result to our Komori press. We have now moved to a new facility and built a room to house our digital machine.

    “We felt that the Color J75 Press was the most cost-effective machine for the type of work we’re doing. It now handles the work we used to send out, gives us control over it, and lets us build the digital side of our business,” said Walter Kuhn, director of the Kuhn Group said.

    Sydney-based Kwik Kopy Circular Quay was one of the first to take hold of a Colour J75 Press when it was installed at the end of March.

    “It has been a good, consistent performer. Its hallmarks have been its reliability and consistency,” said Nicholas Tuit, owner, Kwik Kopy Circular Quay.

  • PIAA New Business Opportunities webinar – 28 June

    The extent to which Australian printers are changing their business offerings to respond to evolving market conditions will be the subject of an exclusive Printing Industries webinar on Friday 28 June.

    This free webinar will focus on the results from the Printing Industries’ New Business Opportunities survey conducted during April/May this year.

    It will provide details about the range of new services printing businesses are investing in and offering to their clients as they modify their business models to remain commercially relevant in the emerging and evolving digital economy.

    In addition short and medium term forecasts on a number of key industry variables will also be exclusively disclosed.

    Printing Industries’ National Manager for Policy and Government Affairs, Hagop Tchamkertenian (pictured), will present the webinar based on his analysis of the survey responses and of local market conditions.

    “Attitudes towards creating more service focussed business models and the use of new technologies were an integral part of the survey and yielded some interesting results,” he said.

    The webinar will run from 1-2pm and pre-registration is essential. This can be done by clicking here.

  • Japanese giants seal offset manufacturing deal

    A new offset press manufacturing alliance between Ryobi Limited and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Printing & Packaging Machinery is set to see the two Japanese companies bolster their standing in the global offset industry.

    The completion of the deal, which comes six months after the initial proposal of the alliance, is hoped to enable the two companies to maintain a prominent position in the global offset sheetfed press manufacturing market amid weakening global demand.

    The merger is well-timed – Bernard Cheong, managing director of local Ryobi offset supplier, Cyber.

    In a joint statement, published on 20 June, the two manufacturers, said:

    Recently…the market situation has deteriorated owing to shrinking demand, especially in the developed countries, due to the global economic crisis. This downturn has led both companies to promote internal structural reforms in order to sustain their market competitiveness and financial soundness.

    The commercial printing industry presently anticipates demand for printing machinery to strengthen in the emerging economies. Simultaneously, demand for higher specification products is expected to grow further within the mature economies.

    In creating their new joint venture, the two companies say they seek to prevail against intensifying global competition and build a stronger presence in the global market.

    They also aim for the new entity to develop into a leading global company in the printing press industry by meeting customer expectations and providing innovative, high-quality products and outstanding services to the market.

    The agreement finalizes plans to establish a joint venture integrating the two companies’ respective sheet-fed offset printing machinery businesses in a bid to achieve ‘synergy effects’, including product line-up  enhancement, expansion of product development capabilities, production cost reductions, and improvement in sales and service networks.

    The companies say that the commercial printing industry anticipates demand for printing machinery to strengthen in the emerging economies, and the new combined entity will be well positioned to develop into a leading global company in the printing press industry.

    Bernard Cheong (pictured), managing director of local Ryobi offset supplier, Cyber, said the initial alliance announcement earlier this year from the two companies comes at a good time, with Ryobi’s sales in South East Asia looking strong.

    “The global economy has undergone many correction cycles over the last 2 years after the Global Financial crisis. Obviously, the printing industry has not been spared,” said Cheong in January. “We are fortunate that Ryobi’s business in China and South East Asia has been brisk. The joint press release to mark the intentions of the merger of Ryobi and Mitsubishi is well timed.”

    The joint venture will see a new entity, ‘RM Limited’ set up on 31 July as preparatory company, with the company name to be changed to ‘Ryobi Graphic Technology Ltd. and joint operations to commence on 1 January 2014.

  • Kodak secures $895m for creditor payback

    Kodak is readying to pay back its creditors when it emerges from Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the US following a deal with its financial backers that sees it receive debt financing of US$895 million with which to repay its outstanding debts to secured creditors.

    The company, which entered Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the US in January 2012, announced on 20 June that it had reached a debt financing deal to be arranged by J.P. Morgan, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, and Barclays to arrange new post-emergence credit facilities of up to $895 million.

    In a statement, Kodak said:

    This comprehensive financing package will enable Kodak, at emergence, to repay its secured creditors under the current senior and junior Debtor-in-Possession loan facilities, finance its exit from Chapter 11, and meet the company’s post-emergence working capital and liquidity needs.

    The proposed term loan financing is expected to provide the company with more favorable terms compared to the existing rollover exit financing commitment.”

    Antonio M. Perez (pictured), Kodak’s chairman and chief executive officer, said: “the new financing, combined with other recent significant milestones in our restructuring – including the rights offering, Amended Plan of Reorganization, and Eastman Business Park settlement – will position Kodak for a bright long-term future.”

    The financing agreements are subject to conditions, including, among others, approval by the Bankruptcy Court, completion of definitive financing documentation, and a successful syndication in the loan markets.

    On 18 June, the graphic arts company said its key creditors agreed to backstop a $406 million rights offering for common stock in the company upon its emergence from Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

    Kodak said it expected to use the proceeds of the rights offering to fund distributions under its revised ‘Plan of Reorganization’, including the repayment of its second lien creditors, who will no longer receive equity in the Plan.

    Kodak said the proposed rights offering permits it to offer its creditors up to 34,000,000 shares of common stock for the per share purchase price of $11.94, equivalent to approximately 85 per cent of the equity of Kodak upon emergence.

    “Attracting this additional funding is a strong vote of confidence in both Kodak’s Plan of Reorganization and in the actions we have taken during our restructuring to create a solid future for our company,” said Perez. “This agreement, which serves as a critical component of the capital structure for the emerging Kodak, positions us to comprehensively settle our obligations with our various key creditor constituencies.”

    In May, Kodak said it expected to emerge from Chapter 11 Bankruptcy by September this year, after reporting a consolidated profit of (US)$283 million for the first quarter of 2013, a figure, which stood in stark contrast to the $-366 million loss it recorded for the same period last year.

    When Kodak does eventually emerge from bankruptcy, it will be a very different beast from the globally-recognised multinational leviathan it was prior to its filing for bankruptcy last year.

    Not only is the company now a much smaller operation than before, it will be primarily focused on its commercial print technology, severing most of its ties with the product range that made it famous, including film, cameras and other personal imaging technology.

  • PIAA hosts New Business Opportunities webinar

    The Printing Industries Association of Australia (Printing Industries) is hosting the next webinar in its free industry webinar series on 28 June, with the ‘New Business Opportunities’ webinar set to tackle some of the changes the local printing landscape is undergoing.

    This free webinar will focus on the results from the Printing Industries’ New Business Opportunities survey conducted during April/May this year.

    It will provide details about the range of new services printing businesses are investing in and offering to their clients as they modify their business models to remain commercially relevant in the emerging and evolving digital economy.

    In addition, short and medium-term forecasts on a number of key industry variables will also be exclusively disclosed.

    Printing Industries’ national manager for Policy and Government Affairs, Hagop Tchamkertenian (pictured), will present the webinar based on his analysis of the survey responses and of local market conditions.

    “Attitudes towards creating more service focussed business models and the use of new technologies were an integral part of the survey and yielded some interesting results,” he said.

    The webinar will run from 1-2pm and pre-registration is essential. This can be done by clicking here.

    Click here for information and other upcoming events featured in the Print21 Calendar.