Archive for January, 2014

  • HP hits eco targets in new de-inking trials

    HP pumps up its eco cred, as recent trials conclusively demonstrate Indigo prints are fully recyclable and can be placed in normal recycling collection. HP backs up its environmental targets with fully recyclable packaging for ink cartridges and an expansion of its take-back program for consumables.

    Over the last few years, HP has worked with a range of industry and academic de-inking experts to assemble lab-scale, pilot-scale and mill-scale de-inking data to verify whether Indigo prints could be de-inked under typical graphic art paper de-inking mill configuration. Removal of ink from paper fibres, or de-inking, is a key stage of the paper recycling process and a critical step in reducing the HP Indigo carbon footprint

    Voith Paper Fiber Systems Technology, Ravensburg

    Roy Eitan, director and general manager, HP Indigo and inkjet digital press solutions, HP Asia Pacific and Japan, said, “The results of the pilot-scale trials show that printed paper from HP Indigo digital presses is compatible with typical graphic arts de-inking mills even at levels higher than what likely would be encountered.”

    Two pilot-scale trials were conducted in June 2013 at the Voith Paper Fiber Systems Technology in Ravensburg, Germany, running a 5% and 10% HP Indigo feed. Voith Paper, a de-inking equipment supplier, carried out the trial with the Paper Technology Department of PMV Darmstadt, a leading German technical institute. The trials conclusively found that even with 10% Indigo feed, the pulp produced met requirements for standard and high-quality graphic arts recycled paper grades.

    These results complement two previous full-scale mill de-inking trials undertaken in November 2011 and October 2012, at the Arjowiggins Graphic 3-loop Greenfield de-inking mill, in France. In these trials, 5% HP Indigo liquid electrophotographic prints were added to the mill. In both cases, high-quality de-inked pulp was produced without affecting mill process efficiencies or operating parametres.

    In addition to the de-inking breakthrough, HP has introduced new packaging for ink cartridges for the Indigo 6000 and 7000 series. A new cushioning tray made of 100% recycled pulp has been added, which can now be disposed of along with cartridge’s cardboard box.

     

  • CMYKhub picks up Snap Queensland hub deal

    Snap Franchising has named national trade specialist CMYKhub as official manufacturing partner in Queensland. CMYKhub stepped up following the closure of Snap’s Queensland hub in December last year, with the appointment announced at the opening of a brand new dedicated digital site supported by Snap Gold Partner of eight years, Konica Minolta.

    Kicking off in February, the new partnership will plug CMYKhub’s state-of-the-art production capabilities into the 22 stores in Snap’s Queensland network, offering franchisees the tools and confidence to deliver an expanded product range to customers at competitive prices. Group franchisees were invited for a personal tour of CMYKhub’s Geebung digital facility, kitted out with a Konica Minolta C8000 colour press, and a bizhub 1200 black and white, before being introduced to the new partnership by representatives from the three companies.

    Three amigos – Stephen Edwards (Snap), Clive Denholm (CMYKhub) and David Procter (Konica Minolta)

    According to Stephen Edwards, Snap CEO, the partnership marks an important step for Snap’s ongoing transformation into a sales and marketing business, tackling issues of over-capitalisation and under-utilsation in the group. Speaking with Print21 Edwards explained he hoped the move would open up the industry to new blood who may not necessarily have a heavy manufacturing background by further diversifying the brand into digital channels.

    “I see many printers thinking that they’re just manufacturers. We want to be client-facing people, it’s a big difference. Manufacturing requires a lot of money, it’s heavily investment laden, which can be a big  barrier to entry. We are growing the Snap brand and we want our people to be the local experts, to deal with local people in the community. That shouldn’t mean they have to have a heavy manufacturing background to be successful,” said Edwards.

    Far from pointing to a decline in manufacturing, Edwards believes the move is an important step towards keeping print volumes in the Australian market. He says the only way forward is to collaborate closely with specialists, and to funnel volumes into the best places.

    “CMYKhub’s sole focus is on manufacturing and trade, so they are able to invest to an level that just wasn’t possible for the franchisees. We were probably one of their biggsest clients before we even started this. We spent millions with CMYKhub long before this, and many of the franchisees are already used to dealing with them,” he said.

    Clive Denholm, founder and owner of CMYKhub, welcomed the franchisees to the site, saying, “CMYKhub is delighted to be a key partner with a company of this calibre, and we see huge potential for Snap franchisees and their clients in the new and enhanced services that it will deliver them. It also reinforces our belief that heavy capital investment in a hub model reduces risk for print centre owners and allows them to have a greater range of products.”

    The new manufacturing site is kitted out by digital print solutions provider Konica Minolta with the latest equipment and David Procter, general manager of production printing, was on hand for the grand opening.

    Speaking with Print21 Procter said, “We’ve installed equipment in the new CMYKhub digital facility, and that’s where the massive volumes will be running through. And then we’re also working gradually with the stores as well. Just before Christmas we installed digital presses into six stores, and we will continue to work closely with them over the next year or two to bring them more into line with Snap has set up with CMYKhub.

    “We’re here to bring confidence in technology. Konica Minolta has had a historical relationship with Snap, and since Steve has taken over the group that relationship has become even stronger. In Queensland especially I’d say the partnership became a lot closer after the floods. Basically all their equipment was water-damaged beyond repair, and we were able to provide them equipment we had actually just taken out of the Perth hub we had been upgrading. We shipped it over at no charge to Snap and installed it so they had a chance to get back on their feet.”

  • Heidelberg hits top gear at digital-offset crossroads

    Heidelberg’s XL 75 Anicolor ‘digital offset’ press has emerged as the cost leader for 29″ short-run work, beating out all four-up e-ink competitors in the field. The surprising results were drawn from the Printing Industries of America cost calculator tool, PrintAS, which determines the precise cost crossover point for different job configurations.

    Users input relevant job information into the PrintAS calculator, including paper, ink and click charges, fixed maintenance costs, financing, makeready and plates, for the system to spit out an optimal solution. Results have named Heidelberg’s Anicolor inking technology as the cost leader for short and very short runs in the 29″ format for commercial, label and package printing. According to Joerg Daehnhardt, director of product management, Heidelberg, the results are a sound endorsement of the Anicolor digital offset technology, cementing Heidelberg as the cost leader from as low as 250 sheets.

    Anicolor in the crosshairs

    “Confirming the crossover point to Anicolor offset at just 250 sheets is huge news for the industry – and a far cry from other vendor-supplied calculations that claim a crossover at several thousand sheets. That’s why we call it ‘Digital Offset 2.0’. Get ready ready to be surprised as you do your own calculations,” said Daehnhardt.

    Initially launched at Ipex in 2006 in the 35 cm x 50 cm format, the XL 75 Anicolor branched out to 50 cm x 70 cm in its world premiere at drupa 2012. For a full breakdown of the test’s input data, check out Heidelberg’s figures here.

    This data can be plugged into the PrintAS calculator to demonstrate just how the XL 75 takes the lead in the digital/offset stakes.

  • Colour Doctor gets serious about new ISO update

    The Doctor is in – David Crowther

    Printers now have new standards to meet when it comes to colour, after the latest revision to the ISO 12647-2 hit presses late last year. David Crowther, the self-styled ‘Colour Doctor’, is on hand at Colour Graphic Services to help printers bring their systems up to scratch, win business and get serious about colour.

    The latest benchmark digs deeper into print substrates and provides the sharpest standard for colour quality in the market, almost ten years since the certification’s last major overhaul. According to Crowther, as the industry takes up the new standard it will become essential for serious sheetfed and web offset printers to become compliant with the new updates.

    Crowther goes on to add that, “Although it’s an offset standard, this has broad implications across our whole industry and can also work in digital press workflows, including wide-format.”

    The International Standards Organisation released this most recent update – ISO 12647-2:2013 (Third Edition) – on 15th December last year. Since the standard was established in 1996, there have only been two prior revisions, in 2004, with an amendment in 2007. The new ISO has been updated to better reflect current paper types in the market, with eight print substrates clearly defined.

    Crowther continues: “Importantly, optical brightening agents (OBAs) added to proofing and offset printing paper have long been an issue when it comes to accurate measurement and D50 or D65 viewing. OBAs tend to fluoresce. ISO 12647-2:2013 draws on the lighting standard ISO 3664:2009 and ISO 13655:2009 for spectral measurement, taking into account OBAs much more than the previous standards. This in turn will affect ICC profiles and characterisation data. The result will be a much more reliable proof-to-print match with OBA-enhanced papers and even some inks that exhibit fluorescence.

    “It’s very technical, but put simply, OBAs are added by paper manufacturers to achieve ‘whiter-than-white’ backgrounds and brighter colours – just like some washing powders! Because they reflect a lot of UV, they fluoresce and can fool spectral measurement devices which is why we sometime use UV-cut filters. However, there has never been a universally accepted standard reference for UV cut (and polarisation) filtration on spectrophotometers.”

    Colour Graphic Services was set up by Crowther in 2011 to supply tools for colour management including X-Rite measuring instruments and software, JUST Normlicht standardised lighting systems, Pantone products and Eizo colour-accurate monitors. Crowther also holds CHROMAtrain courses for small groups, teaching colour management techniques.

  • Perth printer goes for gold in Queensland

    CJ King bids farewell to the West Coast after 23 years as a Perth printing institution, moving its total operation across the country to sunshine and surf on the Gold Coast. The grand exodus sees the offset and digital specialists streamline services for its loyal customer-base and grow the business into new markets from its new east coast mega factory.

    Market economics in WA, along with persistent pressure from mining, have long slammed manufacturing industries in the west, and print is no exception. With increasingly more work creeping in from the eastern states and New Zealand, it was only a matter of time before the numbers led the way for CJ King. The shutters dropped in WA for the last time on 20th December.

    West coast to Gold Coast – the perfector has landed

    Speaking with Print21 Chris King, founder and director of CJ King, said, “There wasn’t too much fanfare in the end, but there were tears in our eyes. A whole lot of blood, sweat and tears went into making the last 22 years a success over there. But in the end we feel it’s the right thing to do.”

    CJ King’s new Queensland facility at Biggera Waters has been running as a secondary site for the business since 2007. Prior to the big move it housed the dedicated digital operation, built around a four-colour HP Indigo 7000 and a six-colour Indigo 5500. Once everything is locked in place the current kit will be joined by the mighty eight-colour Heidelberg A2 long perfector from Perth, as well as a diverse range of finishing gear.

    To stake its claim as a national presence, the Queensland branch was originally set up to handle an influx in jobs headed for the east coast and New Zealand, now well over 65% of business for CJ King. Centralising the operation in the Biggera Waters site comes under King’s overall strategy to expand into new markets, but he remains focused on servicing its WA customers.

    “In 20 years we’ve built up a very loyal customer-base, and so with manufacturing moving to Queensland, we will prioritise WA jobs to ensure we still deliver on deadline. And any additional delivery stuff, we absorb that,” he says.

    The herculean haul took more than seven semi-trailers, with the eight-colour Heidelberg perfector alone taking up three trucks. The new state-of-the-art site clocks in at 1200 square metres, with a growth option for 500 more, with the business geared towards an increasingly multi-disciplined team of operators.

    Running top-of-the-line hardware is one thing, but for King the biggest investment for this new phase of the business is in its people. Already five new service people have joined the team, with customer relations occupying centre-stage as a point of differentiation for the business moving forward.

    “Even as it stands we’ve only touched about 1% of Queensland. We’re only just getting our feet on the ground. That’s the exciting thing; we sort of get to start fresh in a new market. And it’s a competitive one, but then we’re running the biggest and fastest press, and the biggest digital set-up on the Gold Coast. That’s a good place to start,” says King.

  • Issue 611 – 29 January 2014

    Plenty of movement in the field this week. Perth icon CJ King trades up the west coast for the Gold Coast in a landmark cross-country move. Meanwhile national trade specialist CMYKhub heads north with the opening of its new Darwin site. And internationally EFI comes on board for Benny Landa’s long-awaited nano press.

     

    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 and Facebook 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. 

     

    Thank you,

    Nicholas Pond – Print21 online editor

  • CMYKhub heads north with new Darwin hub

    Trade-only specialists CMYKhub have touched down in Darwin, with the official opening of its dedicated NT manufacturing plant set for February. The new Darwin site, the fifth in CMYKhub’s rapidly expanding national network of hubs, will sharpen the business’s logistics reach and help spearhead its new Web2Print platform.

    The move continues the company’s focus on heavy investment in infrastructure and technology, tackling the persistent issues of interstate delivery logistics and growing customer-base in the north. With doors opening in February, local printers are invited to drop by and get hands-on with the hub, where the team will demonstrate its free Web2Print sites and online print management systems.

    Our man in the north – Andrew Hodges, CMYKhub Darwin manager

    Headed up by new manager Andrew Hodges, the Darwin site will run a fully equipped offset/digital floor, operating a Heidelberg Anicolor, HP Inidgo and selection of finishing equipment. According to Hodges, the move is vital for the business in the wake of rising W2P sales and nationwide deadline demand for high quality product at competitive prices.

    Speaking with Print21 Trent Nankervis, CMYKhub director said, “That’s always been the idea behind the hub model.  It’s about speed and delivery, being closer to our customers. Our customers work nationally, and sell nationally, so with us having the hubs it just puts us front and centre. CMYKhub decided if we’re going to a national player there’s just no other model than a national manufacturing base.”

    Since founder Clive Denholm threw open the shutters on the first CMYKhub site in 2006, the business has dramatically expanded its manufacturing footprint. From that first Victorian plant out in Heidelberg West, CMYKhub has steadily grown into a nationwide network that now stretches from coast to coast. NSW and WA facilities both opened in 2010, with Queensland following suit in 2011.

    “No matter where you are, you can take an order from a customer, and you’re completely confident you can deliver that you can deliver that job for them anywhere. Ready for delivery tomorrow, in Perth, say. And now Darwin!”

  • IPEX 2014

    The International Printing Machinery and Allied Trades Exhibition (IPEX) is one of the largest trade shows in the printing and graphic arts industry held every four years.

    IPEX 2014 will take place at the London Excel from March 24 to March 29.

    IPEX 2014 will have free seminars, the latest product launches and will provide visitors will a mixture of ideas, solutions and insights in promoting the power of print and its integration in the marketing mix.

    Some of the world’s top decision makers will converge on London to drive their businesses forward and to cement new and old supplier relationships.

    Some of the newest initiatives at IPEX 2014 includes:

    The World Print Summit which gives centre stage to industry figureheads and business leaders debating the big issues in print, business and marketing. Visitors will have the chance to interact with some of the biggest names and rising stars in the industry in order to define the future of print and the effectiveness of print on the global stage.

    The new Masterclasses will feature case study content and technical workshops in Digital Print, Digital Packaging, Wide Format and Sustainability.

    There will be an Inspiration Avenue running through the Central Boulevard which will showcase marketing campaigns with print at its heart and the diversification of print.

    Future Innovations from 3D Printing to Printed Electronics, Photo Products to Digital Packaging demonstrations will run live on site throughout the show.

    The IPEX Make Ready Challenge hopes to push machine minders to the extreme in the battle to become IPEX Make Ready World Champions.

     

  • Komori HUV powers growth for Scott Print

    Heavy metal is on the move again, as not one but two Komori giants go into renowned WA printers, Scott Print. The bold move sees Komori land its largest sale in Australian history, as the family-owned Scott Print continues its trend of investing in new technology and reviving industry confidence.

    One of the biggest hardware sales in recent years, Scott Print will pick up an eight-colour Komori Lithrone GL840-P HUV perfector and a six-colour LS-629 HUV with coater. Handled locally by Ferrostaal, the buys continue to lead the way for Komori HUV in the Australian market, following a spate of recent installs, including Rawson Graphics, Whirlwind Print and an eight-colour Lithrone G840-P into the Melbourne CMYKhub facility.

    Komori Lithrone G40-P HUV

    According to Rayne Simpson, Ferrostaal ANZ general manager, the new Komori presses will be firm assets for the Scott Print team, as they look to grow the business.

    “These feature laden presses are the highest spec Komori GL Series machines, and provide printers with synchronous plate changing system which change all eight plates in less than 45 seconds,” said Simpson.

    The installs mark the first featuring Komori’s innovative HUV technology to go into the WA market. The company is dedicated to bringing the technology to all parts of the industry, featuring heavily in its sponsorship of the Ipex 2014 Eco Zone, and now accounting for close to 75% of Komori’s sales, says Simpson. HUV produces less ozone and heat than conventional processes and is practically odourless.

    Based in Perth, Scott Print is run by Tim Scott and his cousin John, who took over the family business from their fathers Dudley and Michael last year.
  • Printcentre doubles down with Sydney’s first Inca Onset S40i

    The Printcentre throws up the shutters on its new Sydney site unveiling the city’s first Inca Onset S40i through Fujifilm, and the second for the flatbed and wide-format print specialist in just ten months. With its power-base now doubled, the Printcentre boasts a combined capacity of 31,000 square metres a day positioning the business for rapid growth in 2014.

    The business officially opened its newest plant in Sydney late last year, picked specifically to house the S40i. Located in Rosebery, the site was selected to service the Printcentre’s key customer-base of major brand advertisers and agencies. According to Printcentre directors Darren Soppi and John Doyle, the S40i has been quickly become a core component to the business, following the company’s move from a traditional screen printing background. That history, however, leaves the team with certain expectations in terms of quality and productivity that had to be met.

    “When the Onset S40i arrived in the market we felt it was the only flatbed UV machine that could match screen printing in these two areas,” said Soppi.

    Proud Printcentre directors – John Doyle and Darren Soppi

    The Rosebery site is officially up and running, with a few tweaks to come, but the new 3.14 x 1.6 metre flatbed machine is well and truly bedded in living up to expectations and delivering a great print job. Soppi admits that the Printcentre considered alternatives when planning for the Sydney expansion, but ultimately couldn’t go past a second S40i for its overall performance, as well as first class support and technical back up from the team at Fujifilm.

    Speaking with Print21 Sean Elvin, Printcentre Sydney’s general manager of sales and operations, is full of praise for the S40i.

    “It’s an absolute workhorse. It hammers the work out and does a great print job. We’ve handle a lot of corflute signage, street furniture in synthetics and whole lot of diverse work. It’s just fantastic,” said Elvin.

    In addition to the S40i, the Printcentre is kitted out for banner and billboard fabrication, including welding, mounting and laminating, producing high visibility POS, outdoor advertising and a range of rigid material applications. It also run a several roll-to-roll solvent and UV digital machines, up to five metres wide, as well as high speed flatbed forme cutting tables to finish output in-house, at both sites.

    According to Soppi, “Because we have both the Sydney and Port Melbourne Onset S40i presses ICC profiled, we can produce identical colour in both states. We’ve doubled our flatbed UV capacity, halved the travel time for national deliveries, and can produce an identical print job at both plants.”

    The Printcentre’s growth plans are to consolidate fast turn-around service to its existing client base while reviewing options for expansion and possible acquisitions around the country.

  • Konica Minolta nabs 4th straight BLI best-in-show

    Konica Minolta has won the coveted Buyer Laboratory (BLI) A3 MFP Line of the Year crown for the fourth straight year, a first in the BLI’s 50 year history. To claim its official ‘best-in-show’, the digital print provider had its entire range subjected to two months of grueling laboratory evaluation by the BLI team, coming in top of the pack in all categories.

    Regarded the world’s leading independent analysts on document imaging devices and solutions for decades, the BLI cast its authoritative eye over Konica Minolta’s full gamut of A3 colour and monochrome bizhub range. The judges racked up more than 1.5 million impressions in all, and scored high for consistently reliable imaging at top-tier speeds with standout quality. Steven Caldwell, national marketing manager, Konica Minolta Australia, accepted the record-breaking fourth consecutive win with all due praise to the people involved.

    “We have won this prestigious title every year since 2011 thanks to our hardware’s reliable excellence and the dedication of whole team,” said Caldwell.

    bizhub C454e – Winner! Seriously top drawer.

    Under the intense scrutiny of the BLI team, the overall reliability of the range was a key factor in its win and one of the most important qualities assessed by buyer in the market. According toe BLI’s testing, at real-world usage volumes, it would collectively take five Konica Minolta devices before users would experience even a single misfeed a month. The brand’s user-replaceable colour drums to maximise up-time also boosted the line’s performance.

    George Mikolay, BLI’s senior product editor for A3 MFPs, said, “What it boils down to with Konica Minolta is consistency. Whereas competing lines may stand out in certain speed bands, or in either colour or black, Konica Minolta’s engines stand out across the board – in reliability, ease of use and image quality – in virtually all speed bands in both colour and black. No other vendor brings the same quality or performance across its product line to the same degree.”

    The colour line was also found to clock in scan speeds among the fastest in their respective groups, as well as delivering bright, saturated colour, natural flesh tones and smooth overall output.

  • Flint takes a shine to new low-migration UV metallic range

    Flint Group opens up its specialty portfolio to include new UV metallic silver and introduces three metallic pastes for narrow web. Already performing well in Europe, the new low-migration product range will be rolled out early in the year, starting in North America this March.

    These latest additions to the UV low-migration range, round out the complete Flint Group Narrow Web offering, which includes cold foiling and laminating adhesives as well as several other UV flexo coatings. Flint’s new UV silver is a first generation low-migration single component UV flexo ink, tested to migration levels below 10 ppb when correctly applied on suitable packaging structures. This was verified based on the standard migration test method using food simulants 95% ethanol.

    Flint Group Narrow Web also introduces three new metallic pastes to market, suitable for low migration ink systems, its Rich Gold, Pale Gold and Silver. These are specialised for use in two-component ink systems, which allows printers to pick up necessary components allowing them to mix gold and silver shades locally in both Lithocure ANCORA (UV offset) and Flexocure ANCORA (UV flexo) systems.

  • EFI the latest piece of the Landa Nano puzzle

    Another piece falls into place for Benny Landa’s Nanographic revolution, with EFI’s Fiery technology officially signed up to power the high-speed press’s digital front end. A 1000-strong crowd of EFI users at the Las Vegas Connect event were treated to the announcement earlier today, personally delivered by Guy Gecht, EFI CEO, and Benny Landa himself.

    Nearly two years since the grand unveiling at drupa 2012, and the great wagon train behind the Landa nanographic press trundles ever closer to market. Originally slated to land late 2013, now pushed back by a year, the first B1 Landa S10 beta install is set of Q4 this year. A sticking point has remained matching hardware and technology to the digital press’s unprecedented speed, workflow and colour management demands.

    Guy Gecht, EFI CEO, and Benny Landa

    According to Benny Landa, CEO and chairman of Landa Corporation, “Reaching this remarkable and exciting goal requires partnering with the best-in-class providers. That is the reason we chose Fiery technology and EFI as our development partner – to deliver the highest quality ultra-high-speed front-end platform to match the quality and performance of our Nanographic Printing press.”

    The breakthrough nanographic process promises cost-effectiveness printing short-to-medium job lengths up to five times faster than existing digital technology, creating technical challenges for running job data. The Landa digital front end will stream jobs at full-speed for four- to eight-colour printing, and enable press operators to perform last-minute job changes on the press, proofing and print rush jobs on the fly.

    Guy Gecht, EFI CEO, told the gathered crowd he was excited about the opportunity the partnership represented to work alongside Landa, a man he calls an industry legend.

    “Landa Nanographic Printing presses have potential to accelerate the migration of mainstream commercial printing and packaging to digital printing. The Landa DFE provides a proven, ultra-high speed and well-integrated front-end platform that Landa customers will require,” said Gecht.

    The Landa digital front end will support all job dynamics including static, variable data printing and EPID (Every Page Is Different) printing. It will also collect production feedback from the presses and support closed-loop colour control and inspection.

  • Anitech “on track” after CEO Pratt walks away

    Barely a year into his role as CEO Stephen Pratt walks away from the Anitech top job. The sudden departure throws the reins to Pratt’s management team and acting CEO Henrik Thorup, who vouches it is ‘business as usual’ for Anitech. Pratt’s brief but turbulent stint saw job cuts and branch closures across the country, in a complete company operations overhaul. A successor has yet to be named.

    According to Thorup, CEO of HGL, the publicly listed company holding 50% ownership of Anitech, Pratt’s resignation was amicable but came as a surprise, saying he was looking to pursue challenges in another industry.

    Henrik Thorup (CEO, HGL) takes up the Anitech reins from retired Stephen Pratt

    “I worked very closely with Stephen during his time as CEO, and he did great job putting the transformation plan together. We worked one-on-one for a while laying out the road-map for reconfiguring the business model. The plan is on track, and we’re at the stage now where we’re investing in the sales team, service and technicians, and final stages of upgrading our IT infrastructure,” said Thorup.

    Thorup confirms there will be no change in strategy or management and that he is pleased with Anitech’s service business, noting that the overall transformation project has impacted sales, with slight growth in consumables. He highlights the company’s unique product portfolio and newly centralised administrative and logistics platform as key investments in a changing market, where profitability margins are under pressure.

    The board has not begun the search for a permanent replacement for Pratt, with Thorup taking a hands-on role until a new appointment is made.

    Pratt made deep cuts to Anitech’s regional structure in a massive overhaul of the company’s national operation. In the space of a few months Anitech shut down five branch offices across Queensland, Victoria and South Australia, leaving two distribution centres in Sydney and Western Australia. Pratt sliced the company into two business regions, outsourcing warehousing and logistics, and shedding workers across the industry.

    According to Pratt, implementation of his strategy has lead to $1.8 million in cost savings for the business, offset by a reported $2.5 million invested into restructuring and infrastructure upgrades. In a recent report HGL declared a 63% year-on-year fall in earnings before interest and tax to just $1.1 million, a poor result it laid firmly at the feet of Anitech and point-of-sales specialist SPOS.

    In a statement Peter Miller, HGL chairman, said, “Excluding discontinued product sales these two business units accounted for almost the entire decline in group sales.”

    Thorup confirmed that while the business has made a loss in the last two financial years, it is projected to secure a small profit FY14 before a return to full profitability for FY15.

  • Stephen Edwards snaps up a spot on PIAA 2014 board

    Industry identity and Snap CEO, Stephen Edwards, is the newest face to join the Printing Industries board for 2014. A much-coveted spot opened up on the board following the retirement of long-serving member Paul Richardson, from Lindsay Yates Group, and with experience and credentials to spare Edwards was a firm fit for the role.

    Edwards has been CEO of Snap since 2011 and served as a GASA Committe member prior to the association’s amalgamation with Printing Industries last year. A strong proponent of diversification for printers, Edwards was recently on deck for the announcement of Snap’s 2014 sporting sponsorships, opening up about the importance of growing the industry as marketing and communications services providers.

    Billy Healey, Printing Industries’ CEO, welcomed Edwards to the board, saying his experience with transition plans and change management initiatives would be of immense benefit to the PIAA and to the industry at large. Edwards appointment follows the announcement of David Leach, change-agent and CEO of Look Print, as PIAA president, loudly advocating a new vision of the industry, and time of change and innovation.

    Healey went on to thank outgoing Paul Richardson for his commitment to the board and to the assoication.

    “Paul has been a tremendous advocate for the industry and strong supporter of our association. We look forward to continuing our relationship with Paul while he focuses on his business activities and thank him for his commitment, input and industry insight during the past two years,” he said.

    The 2014 Printing Industries’ Board members are:

    Mr David Leach (Look Print, NSW) [national] President
    david.leach@printnet.com.au

    Ms Susan Heaney (Heaneys Performers In Print, QLD) Deputy President
    susan.heaney@printnet.com.au

    Mr Peter Lane (Lane Print Group, SA) Honorary Secretary
    peter.lane@printnet.com.au

    Mr Chris Segaert (Permanent Press, NSW) [national] Honorary Treasurer
    chris.segaert@printnet.com.au

    Mr Ross Black (BJ Ball, Vic) Board Member
    ross.black@printnet.com.au

    Mr Stephen Edwards (Snap Group, NSW) Board Member
    stephen.edwards@printnet.com.au

    Mr Graham Jamieson (Picton Press, WA) Board Member
    graham.jamieson@printnet.com.au

    Mr Kieran May (Across Business, ACT) Board Member
    kieran.may@printnet.com.au

    Mr Robert Yeates (Huon Valley News, TAS) Board Member
    robert.yates@printnet.com.au

    All a-board! – (l-r) Graham Jamieson, David Leach, Kieran May, Susan Heaney, Peter Lane OAM, Chris Segaert, Robert Yeates, Stephen Edwards and Ross Black
  • Financing new kit – Where’s the money? – Andy McCourt’s ReVerb

    There probably has never been a better time for the Australian and New Zealand printing, packaging and allied industries to re-equip. There probably has never been a greater imperative to do so either. Interest rates are low, print runs are getting shorter but more frequent, digital technology is getting better and better, demand is again rising in many sectors and, to quote Mr Abbott’s election edict: “Australia is open for business.”

    Someone should remind the banks about all of the above. From recent projects I have worked on to gain finance for well-researched, properly costed and profitably business-planned technology investment, it seems the banks and other lenders have placed anything to do with printing on the ‘naughty step’ and are reluctant to finance new equipment.

    I’m not a bank-basher and anyone who was not in a coma during 2012-13 will acknowledge that the sizeable failures in our industry during this time would cause a red light to be flashing somewhere at lending central; screaming ‘caution, red alert!’ whenever an application for financing a piece of printing kit floated across the desk. However, have the banks fully appreciated the post-GFC recovery; the speed at which print has rebounded and the juicy opportunities that conversion to digital offers? Are their analysts even probing the latest industry trends at SME level and advising of opportunities to lend?

    Like ‘sins of the fathers,’ it seems printers who survived or even prospered after the GFC and private-equity led madness, are being punished for the mistakes of others. What makes it even more frustrating is that most of the finance sought is for sub-$2 million capex – often sub $1 million – in digital technology and not $3, 4, 5 or 6 million for a lumbering great hunk of heavy metal. No offence to the major press makers but it’s horses-for-courses; the big iron sales will be fewer in number than smaller, nifty digital units as markets fragment further.

    Recent projects I have worked on involve presenting business cases for financing much-needed digital printing equipment, at the higher end of digital. Without names or pack-drill; it’s tougher than tough. It’s almost like the hoary old chestnut: “to get a loan from a bank, you need to prove that you don’t need one.” Perhaps glamming-up the pitch like a chestnutty old ‘hoar’ would get better results?

    Consider this: you have a successful print business and have consistently delivered profits for 15 years. Almost all of your equipment is analogue but you have still managed to do the short runs by efficient plate making, short make-readies, automation and great staff. But runs have gotten even shorter and now, customers want variable content:- you need a digital press and not a toy one.

    You trot off to the same bank that happily financed the analogue kit and always received payment on time but, instead of just asking for a look at the books and a bit of security, they now require a detailed justification, business plan and all manner of minimizing risk and still the answer is ‘no.’

    No matter that the sector you are targeting is experiencing double-digit CAGRs and all renowned research organizations back this up. No matter that you identify the opportunities with convincing data – ‘it’s printing innit?’ – and that’s super risky, and well on the nose.

    This myopic view by sectors of the finance community needs to be challenged, overturned and debunked. The CEO of the Australian Bankers Association, Steven Münchenberg, has written (quoting a senior banking executive) that banking is: “the oil that keeps the economy ticking over.” While not denying the overall excellence of our banking system compared to the disasters of Europe and America; it seems the oil filter might be a tad blocked and in need of a change. Perhaps it’s a timing issue; a stall of the engine as the economic accelerator is depressed once again – but the oil of equipment finance is not sluicing around the gears of the digital printing industry right now.

    No sooner than Kevin Rudd’s tears had dried after last September’s election defeat, the Coalition announced the FSI – Financial System Inquiry. In response, the ABA’s CEO Mr Münchenberg, commented: “We must ensure that we have a banking system that continues to meet the needs of household and business customers, shareholders, employees and the broader community. Meeting the needs of customers, including families and small businesses, must be central.”

    Fair enough, good words but are the needs of small business as applied to print and graphics businesses ‘central?’ The misconception that ‘print is on the way out’ when in Australia alone it is a $6.5 billion industry with around 45,000 direct employees and over 100,000 indirect; is palpable. Print is just as embedded in the IT revolution as is the iPhone.

    In the recently announced Priorities in Print funding via the PIAA, access to finance is identified as a cornerstone issue. This is welcome news but may take a while to filter through.

    In the meantime, banks and lenders would do well to closely examine the excellent opportunities for financing the right kind of digital capital equipment, to worthy businesses, that exist right now, are well researched and can be convincingly articulated – if only you would open the doors a notch.

  • Issue 610 – 22 January 2014

    With only a couple of weeks under the belt, already there’s some fresh air in the industry. New sponsorships getting the good word out there, and new presidents fighting the good fight. And on top of all that, there are even brand new Australian-made machines out there too. We’re onto something here, keep it coming!

     

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    Thank you,

    Nicholas Pond – Print21 online editor