Archive for February, 2014

  • Visual Impact Brisbane 2014


    Visual Impact is the place to see the latest in the sign, printing, graphics, display and engraving industries.

    Over 50 suppliers, including sponsors Roland DG, Graphic Art Mart and Sign Sheet Distributors will showcase their latest products.


    It’s an eclectic but exciting mix of sectors and technologies and it’s the longest running of the Visual Impact shows.

    It is the forerunner of the Sydney show in September. 9-11 September.

  • Where to find the right type

    The proliferation of digital devices, particularly mobile phones, poses ever greater challenges for corporates and designers wanting to present a consistent typographical ‘look and feel’ across all media. One solution is to look for web optimised fonts from a proven specialist in typography. Juergen Krufczyk has the details.

    Ever since mobile devices took over from desktop PCs, technology has made a quantum leap forward in terms of how we see the written word. Significant higher screen resolutions on our phones, tablets and e-book readers are pleasing to the eye, especially when it comes to text and typography. Gone are the desktop publishing days of the 80s and 90s when bitmap fonts or different font formats such as TrueType and PostScript challenged consistent layouts and typography across computer platforms and even print.

    Typecast – Juergen Krufczyk

    The difference between print and web typography is mostly related to media. In the printing world we take care of various grades of paper and printing methods. On the web the challenges are multiple screen types, such as LCD, OLED or E-Ink, and factors such as pixel density (the amount of pixels displayed within a physical section of screen) and different rendering such as greyscale and sub-pixels. Also fairly new to the web are OpenType features which offer a greater choice than standard character sets, with additions such as fractions or small caps. Ligatures (joined up characters) and glyphs further enable a more versatile typesetting.

    The web has become a platform of mass participation in written culture. And we all want to see our written text in the best quality. The challenge becomes tricky when 100 per cent font conformity is essential on different computers, monitors, browsers, smart phones, websites, email, social media, as well as print. One key task for professionals such as marketing and corporate identity managers is to ensure exact font integrity eg a corporate typeface across all media having exactly the same appearance.

    The most important new feature in web typography in recent years has been the arrival of web fonts. The key advantage of these is that a font can now be displayed as ‘indexable’ text on a computer or smart device. In the past this was only possible with so-called system fonts i.e. a group of typefaces licensed by the owner of the operating system such as Microsoft or Apple. As an example, Facebook uses either Lucida Grande or Tahoma depending on which system font it finds on any given computer.

    ‘Indexable’ text is not only much easier to use when creating websites but it also has the significant advantage that every word is recognisable by search engines such as Google. In the past, text was entombed in an image and excessive meta-tagging (assigning key words to an image within the HTML code of the page it sits on) was required.

    A reliable source

    Companies, corporations and governments benefit greatly from the use of high quality web fonts – but how do you find them? One source for a large selection of optimised web fonts is the company Monotype. In recent years Monotype has acquired several type foundries including Linotype, Agfa Type Studio, Bitstream, Chinatype and ITC. They represent approximately 80 per cent of all professionally designed and trademarked typefaces in the world.

    Of course anyone can find many fonts free of charge on the net. However, to achieve brand consistent typography across all platforms still requires a perfect combination of optimised fonts and technology. Companies also need to consider the legal aspect when using typefaces with registered trademarks and design. A significant number of Australian companies, publishers and government bodies already license their corporate fonts from well-established font foundries. The advantage is peace-of-mind in respect of design excellence, technical support and meeting legal requirements.

    Being able to stand out in written communication, and in advertising on mobile devices in particular, is ever more important. According to market research from IDC, worldwide sales of tablets and smartphones outstripped desktop sales by 2:1 in 2013. Smartphone sales are expected to more than double from 1 billion in 2012 to more than 2 billion by 2015, and tablets to triple from 1.1 billion to about 3 billion.

    In such rapidly changing market environments, companies are well-advised to review and improve the uniformity of their corporate design and typeface on all digital devices. If you would like more information on corporate typefaces and web fonts please contact .

  • EFI aims for further growth as local market revives

    New hires reflect increasingly buoyant customer response, making Frank Melozzi’s Australian trip a breeze. Coming off the back of a stunning global result, EFI’s Australian business is gearing up for more business in the Australian market. After posting a record US$728 million revenue in 2013, the digital technology provider is hiring new personnel in Melbourne.

    It reflects what Frank Melozzi, senior vice president, worldwide sales & marketing, refers to as the “light at the end of the tunnel. The business climate here is pretty good. It’s trending the right way so we need some more people on the ground to service our customers,” he said.

    He maintains that because EFI is “nicely diversified” away from relying on the iconic Fiery RIP, the company has significant opportunities for growth. He singles out the ceramic tile market world as a case in point. There are approximately 12,000 ceramic enterprises around the globe and practically no one in this sector has workflow or a digital front end. EFI has developed a complete portfolio targeting these ceramic producers.

    This comes, as an increasing number of commercial printers are engaging with the company across multiple technologies i.e. workflow, Fiery RIPs and Vutek inkjet. “Traditional  printers I talk with these days know they need to be aware of their costs and how to optimise their production.  But they have the digital and colour knowhow that others don’t.

    “We’re now seeing an extension of the move from offset to digital in the increasing integration of wide-format inkjet into printers,” he said.

    Although at first glance the portfolio of EFI products may seem fairly eclectic they are quite aligned to the future graphics market. With a commanding market leading position in MIS systems – 70% in the USA and at least the same among the top ten Australian printing companies – EFI is able to leverage its central position to extend the conversation.

    Anthony Parnemann, ANZ manager, backs up the view that the Australian market is looking better. With both Spicers and DES as agents for EFI’s Vutek reporting solid business, the digital sector of the industry seems set for a strong year.


  • BJ Ball inks local Memjet deal

    BJ Ball has just signed a deal partnering the paper merchant’s Icon digital range with Memjet Office’s C6000 series in Australia. The deal nominates BJ Ball preferred provider for the Memjet office range, with an eye on a long-term partnership tipped to extend to Memjet’s production equipment in future.

    The move continues BJ Ball’s firm policy of diversification to better situate the business in the changed printing-communications space. According to Rob Brussolo, Icon Digital Media division manager, BJ Ball, the partnership recognises the increased significance of inkjet production in the industry.

    “Icon Digital Media is abreast of market trends and we support Memjet’s role in leading the transition from traditional, toner-based printing solutions to page-wide ink-based device,” said Brussolo.

    Speaking with Print21, Tony Bertrand, marketing and business development manager, BJ Ball, says that the partnership will also deliver significant cost savings to printers, and allow users to bring the highest quality, edge-to-edge printing in-house and on-demand. While initially focused on the office market, Bertrand is clear that when it comes to Memjet and transformative inkjet BJ Ball is in it for the haul.

    “Our intention is to have a long-term relationship with Memjet. This is definitely step one of a long-term partnership, and now we’re just looking at the next steps and working out what they are going to be.

    “The inkjet market is going to grow and grow. It’s the space that everyone’s moving into, so we have been proactive with testing our Icon stocks thoroughly with the Memjet range. It makes sense, it works, it’s a great partnership with a great technology company,” said Bertrand.

    The C6000 range target businesses seeking productive and affordable in-house colour printing, utilising Memjet continuous inkjet waterfall technology. The devices are distributed locally by a number of resellers, including Neopost Australia.

    Kim Beswick, president, Memjet Office, fully backs the partnership saying, “The Australian market is the home of Memjet technology and we are delighted to increase our presence here with the support of Icon Digital Media. We’re excited to be working with Australian resellers to expand colour office solutions by providing them with differentiated and profitable solutions for their customer accounts.”


  • Local profit sees PaperlinX stick to its guns

    PaperlinX management remains committed to its ambitious turnaround strategy, with its Australian and New Zealand division leading the charge with solid profits in its 2013 interim report. The determined paper merchant delivers year-on-year improvement in almost all areas and predicts positive performance in its second half, however, a lower than expected up-take of its hybrid share exchange offer could threaten to slow its return to profitability.

    The tortuous PaperlinX SPS hybrids saga will draw to a close at 7:00 pm this Friday, February 28th, the final cut-off for hybrid security holders to take up the company’s offer to exchange the SPS units for 250 ordinary PaperlinX shares. With less than a week left on the clock, however, PaperlinX reports only 4.57% uptake on the offer leaving over 95% of the contentious hybrids still up in the air.

    Andrew Price, PaperlinX CEO

    PaperlinX continues to emphasise the benefits of the offer to hybrid holders. A spokesperson confirmed to Print21 that while the uptake hasn’t been what the business had hoped, the February 28th cut-off will indeed be final and represents the last opportunity for unit holders to accept the current market premium. According to board chairman, Robert Kay, the simplification of PaperlinX’s capital structure continues to be an important step on the business’s road to recovery.

    “It may be difficult for hybrid holders to realise their units ‘on-market’ in light of the limited liquidity for those securities. However if the offer does not receive full take up, the company will continue to implement its operational turnaround strategy, but it will just take longer to achieve,” said Kay.

    In its half-year report, the company announced total revenue of $1.48 billion, a 2% increase on the corresponding 2012 interim results. Australia, New Zealand and Asia collectively turned over $221.4 million and contributed the strongest regional profit for the company at $8.8 million before interest and tax, up from $7.6 million. Wayne Johnston, PaperlinX deputy chief financial officer, told Print21 that the local market contributed a good chunk to the regional profit.

    “We are very happy with how Australia has tracked. Asia has had some tough trading conditions but, again, is still profitable. Looking forward, we’ll just focus on running the business and continue to implement the turnaround strategy as planned,” said Johnston.

    PaperlinX CEO, Andrew Price, agrees that the results demonstrate that the turnaround strategy is delivering improvements to the business, highlighting out the strong Australian performance as a positive indicator for the business.

    Despite a lift in revenue and regional profits the business reported an overall loss of $28.4 million, a resounding improvement on last year’s $58.6 million interim loss. Net debt rose 28% to $177 million due to trading losses, but the company still predicts a profitable second half overall.

  • Australia Post’s ‘Trojan Horse’ has bolted, says PIAA

    Printing Industries has come out swinging as the ACCC rubber-stamps Australia Post’s 17% price rise on mail, from 60 cents to 70 cents, raising concerns for CEO Bill Healey. Healey warns the potential consequences for the printing industry, labeling the move a “Trojan Horse” to sneak through further hikes on bulk mail rates which Australia Post does not have to refer to the ACCC.

    Printing Industries has called for the restoration of Australia Post’s obligation to refer price increases for bulk mail services to the ACCC for approval. The Association believes the law does not provide the ACCC sufficient time to get stakeholder feedback on an increase which it has labelled a “Trojan Horse”. Healey says he is concerned that the real objective is to jack up prices for the much larger (70% volume) bulk mail category.

    Bill Healey, Printing Industries CEO

    Healey says, “Bulk mail has always been a lucrative area for Australia Post because all of the preparation and pre-sorting work that Australia Post has to do for ordinary mail items was carried out by bulk mail handling operators employing modern and efficient processes at no cost to Australia Post. In return for these efficiencies bulk mail was charged at rates lower than ordinary mail.

    “In 2011 the then Labor Government determined that prices surveillance only focus on ordinary letters, not on bulk mail. At the time we warned that removal of ACCC surveillance would allow Australia Post to increase bulk mail prices without taking into account the value of efficiencies provided by the bulk mail operators. In the same year, a review suggested the rate for ordinary letters would ‘effectively operate as a ceiling’ and other letter services would ‘generally be priced below the equivalent ordinary letter price’.”

    Healey indicates that Australia Post is now signalling its intention to raise bulk mail rates in April by up to 7% – a decision it does not have to refer to the ACCC – and one that will have far greater consequences for the large bulk mail sector and on the use of printed communications.

    “Australia Post has failed over a number of years to implement any tangible improvements to mail productivity, cost reduction; efficiencies and customer focus because it has operated without competition. The removal of ACCC surveillance has allowed it to increase price without discounting to take account of the value of the bulk mail sector efficiencies it benefits from. As a result the margin between the basic letter fee and other reserved services such as bulk mail has been significantly eroded,” said Healey.

    According to Healey, restoration of the ACCC scrutiny is therefore essential to promote efficient pricing and consumer protection.

    Australia Post was unavailable for comment at the time of publishing.

  • Blazing new trails – Print21 Magazine feature

    At a time when tried and tested business models are crumbling under the impact of rapid change, it is not an easy task to find a way forward. Original thinking is not a common currency, much less the determination and will power to follow your own vision. Jack Malki is confronting the reality of a mature narrow web industry in Australia and New Zealand and trying to find a better means of doing business. He talks to Patrick Howard about where his discoveries are leading.

    Number 19, Rosebery Avenue, turns out to be a building site. I stand outside, shielding my ears from jackhammer noise to phone Jack Malki about our appointment. It’s the right address; I’m just a couple of weeks too early, explains Malki when he emerges from the building next door. The builders and the council and all the usual obstacles to construction have pushed back the completion date to the point where his company, Jet Technologies, is operating out of temporary premises.

    It’s not a big deal. The new offices are part of larger premises owned by the family. Soon Jack is showing me into a bare concrete-walled space on the first floor of No 19 where there are lines of desks with monitors and over 30 people working away. Albert Malki, Jack’s father and founder of the company, occupies the key spot near the windows. The completed move into the new offices is still weeks away.

    “We don’t sell anything that can’t make money for our customers. It’s as simple as that,” – Jack Malki, Jet Technologies.

    Jack Malki is a serious, focused and ambitious entrepreneur. As we settle into our interview, he tells me his destiny as a director of the family-owned business was never in doubt.

    “Other people may have different choices to make, but I was always going to work in the family business,” says the finance and marketing graduate. He joined the business in 1999 as it was beginning to transit from being an old-style trading company to more of a technology supplier. There is no doubt of his influence in shaping the contemporary business.

    Given the size of the enterprise it comes as no surprise to learn that printing and finishing is only one of three divisions in Jet Technologies; the others are packaging and what they call industrial solutions. It began with Jack’s father facilitating technology imports, including Cerutti gravure presses, from Italy in the 1980s. Those pre-internet days were a golden age for importers who were able to translate and facilitate the requirements of Australian industry. It is a very different world now where so much is available online at the click of a button. The challenge, as Jack Malki sees it, is to adapt the business to address the changed conditions.

    Operating in a global economy

    The shape of the new economy can clearly be seen in the dynamics of Jet Technologies’ flexible die service. Narrow web printing has always been a particular area of expertise for the company. It has a comprehensive selection of products for label converters, including screen meshes from Stork, laminating films and UV printing inks from leading European manufacturers. It is also the agent for water-washable Asahi flexo plates from Japan.

    Jet Technologies’ flexible dies come from Kocher + Beck, the German multi-national. Customers are able to able to get quotes and upload artwork for all types of flexible dies through the Jet-live portal. This web-based system has been operating over the past year and is indicative of the IT focus of the company. According to Malki, it has proven to be a remarkable success.

    “Rotary tool products are all custom-made and for every new job you pretty much need a customised die. The number of quotes we and our customers have to do is significant. It’s a complicated process, taking, say, ten minutes per quote with hundreds of quotes per week. We couldn’t just keep on employing more and more people [to do that]. We had to find a way to automate.

    “Every month for the last year or so it’s grown significantly. It’s a big growth area for us and we’re looking to expand it [Jet-live] in the next three or four months to cover a lot more of our products,” he explains.

    The Jet-live system is smart enough to pick up obvious inconsistencies in measurement and specifications. When the completed artwork is approved, the files are sent through to the UK where work on manufacturing starts in the middle of the night. DHL picks up the finished die by lunchtime and it is flown out the same day. So, for instance, if the order is placed on Friday, the die is delivered by Monday morning.

    “It really is incredible. There are something like 30 steps to that manufacturing process plus quality control and they are able to do hundreds of dies every week, all despatched within hours. If it’s a public holiday or they’re too busy, which is rare, it’s shipped from Germany or America. For their part DHL also does remarkably well,” says Malki.

    Only if it makes money

    There is a gratifying sense of pragmatism about Malki and Jet Technologies. The product portfolio consists of leading, if somewhat eclectic, brands across the company’s specialised areas of expertise. There is a notable absence of what might be termed ‘trophy brands’, big names that while impressive for reputation are either products that are already well-served in the local market, or that do not meet the Malki criteria.

    “As a business owner I always think about my clients. We don’t sell anything that can’t make money for our customers. It’s as simple as that. We’re in their shoes,” he says.

    Despite Jet Technologies’ deep and long-term engagement with narrow web production, you will not find a conventional flexo web press in the portfolio. To Malki’s way of thinking, there are more than enough press suppliers in Australia for the conventional narrow web market. Similarly, the company has steered away from representing finishing and converting equipment for labels and flexible packaging. What it does do is deliver a host of valuable consumables such as the Asahi plates and letterpress photopolymer plates, tapes, UV inks and screens.

    One of the company’s more notable successes came in the offset sector with its installation of numerous KBA Genius 52 UV presses. These waterless UV offset presses represent a significant engagement with the offset sector, almost an anomaly in the overall portfolio. However, the customers are reportedly extremely happy with their operation. Malki has expectations of more orders to come.

    Screen partners

    Perhaps Jet Technologies’ most high-profile relationship is with Screen where it has a long-term, five-year partnership, especially in packaging CTP. At this year’s PacPrint show in Melbourne, it placed two PlateRite FX870II CTP engines with label printers; one to Dragon Printing in NSW and the other to Signature Labels in Adelaide. (This latter is a letterpress printer, a fine example, according to Malki, of how CTP can increase productivity and quality for printers who are sticking with letterpress equipment that doesn’t owe them any money.)

    “It’s been a significant step for us. They [Screen] have been a meticulously perfect company. They make the product and service it. Our expertise is in knowing how to market it, who to market it to and for what applications. We’ve placed the majority of Screen CTPs for packaging since we’ve been working with them,” he claims.

    A characteristic of the CTP market is the durability of the equipment and, especially in Screen’s case, of its reliability. This results in the supply of consumables such as plates driving the ongoing relationship, although Malki is quick to disclaim any suggestion that one size fits all.

    “We brought in the Screen CTP unit we sold at PacPrint for our training and demo centre at the old offices. There will be a much bigger training and demo centre in the new offices, where we can bring clients to make plates for them. Then typically we go back to the press, analyse the results for such things as dot gain. It’s not quite as simple as saying here’s the machine. There’s a lot of work.”

    This partnership is about to be deepened with Malki’s interest in bringing the Screen Truepress Jet L350UV to market not only in Australia and New Zealand but also to the company’s burgeoning enterprise in Jakarta.

    “We had numerous options when we started looking for a digital press. At Labelexpo there were 50 plus manufacturers. They are predominantly using the same inkjet technology. The vast majority are using the Xaar heads. Then there’s Kyocera.

    “We had a number of Xaar options but we didn’t take them up because we didn’t feel they were up to the quality and productivity we expect. We waited quite a long time, working closely with Dainippon Screen prior to the launch. Finally when it was released we liked what we saw. We fought hard to get it to PacPrint for a pre-launch, and we’ve had some outstanding feedback and results. I don’t want to jinx myself but I think we’ll have the first sale in November, and possibly the second too.”

    The advent of the Truepress L350UV will also see Jet Technologies offering its customers inline finishing for narrow web. This is an area it has steered clear of so far, recognising that, again, there are a number of well-established suppliers for finishing equipment already active in the market.

    Regional vision

    There is a restless ambition in Jack Malki that is not to be satisfied with simply maintaining Jet Technologies at its current scale. The printing and packaging markets in Australia and New Zealand will provide incremental growth over the coming years, but nothing on the scale of the emerging economies. Indonesia is a case in point. According to World Bank figures, our nearest northerly neighbour has an annual GDP growth of 6.2 per cent (Australia has 3.4 per cent), with medium and large-scale manufacturing firms growing at 5.6 per cent. Combine this with a population of 247 million and it is not difficult to sense the opportunity for technology supply firms.

    Malki opened the Jet Technologies office in Jakarta in May. This came about as a result of a long research project facilitated by his years of travelling in Asia dealing with suppliers. After eliminating markets such as Japan, Korea and China, it came down to Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia and the Philippines.

    “Thailand is a big market but I think we’re too late. Vietnam is too early and it’s still a Communist country. Philippines? The language is perfect but I didn’t feel comfortable. Indonesia? I like Indonesian people. English is spoken quite a lot. The legal system is not perfect but it’s based on the Dutch system. In terms of distance it’s closer than anywhere else. From Perth it’s really close. We’re training technical staff up there now but in the meantime we’re flying in a lot of skills and we’re grouping that with Perth.”

    Malki is under no illusions about the size of the task he has undertaken but he sees it as an investment challenge, not only in terms of penetrating a new market but also in training customers as well as his own staff. Jet Technologies technicians are flying from Australia to work with customers and potential customers, organising full-day training on everything from prepress to press operation and post press.

    “Imagine a market in narrow web that has tripled in three or four years. With that sort of growth it’s impossible for the skills to keep up. Where a customer might have two presses, he now has six or seven. The guy operating the press started on the forklift. He has two weeks of training. In fact the first guy has probably only been doing it for two years himself. The guys making plates have even less experience,” explains Malki.

    Jet Technologies is seeking to become not only the trusted supplier of choice but also a technology partner. Already Malki is considering the early day results a great success. There is no doubt the upside is enormous. With a burgeoning middle class demanding deodorants, shampoos, cosmetics and packaged food, with Unilever, L’Oreal, Proctor and Gamble operating huge manufacturing plants there, the demand for labels and flexible packaging is rising dramatically. The irony that many of these goods used to be manufactured in Australia is not lost on Malki.

    “I’m of the view that the damage done to industry in Australia in the past three to six years is significant. The impact on our client base was substantial. Our business model over the years has been to adapt by adding product groups when we see changes coming along. We felt we could no longer do that,” he says.

    “We’re a company that has grown every year. And if you want to grow at 15 per cent and your customer base is not growing, you either acquire more products and customers or you look elsewhere geographically.”

    For Jet Technologies, the Indonesian office is only the beginning. Malki, pére et fils, are internationalists. Once Indonesia is firmly established, the goal is to have three or four offices throughout South East Asia. The expectation already is that Indonesia will be a larger business than the local Australian and New Zealand enterprises.

    “I’d like to see more people in Australia having a crack overseas. We’re not special. There are lots of people like us. Even some of our customers in sheetfed are interested. I say to them, have a look! It’s not for everyone but we’ve driven a couple of them around, introduced them. I know there’s a few thinking about it,” he says.

    It’s not hard to see Jet Technologies as a role model for Australian business. It is a market focused and adaptable enterprise, as prepared to take on the challenges posed by business conditions as much as those thrown up by technology. Jack Malki’s vision and ambition are tempered with grounded pragmatism. It is surely something of a template and a road map of the future of printing and packaging in the region.

  • Resolution cranks up Australia’s first Truepress Jet 1632UV

    Resolution Imaging celebrates the arrival of its brand new six-colour flatbed UV, touching down over the Australia Day weekend. With less than a month under the belt, it marks the first Screen Truepress Jet 1632UV to land in the country and it is already earning its stripes for the Melbourne-based business.

    The Resolution team were impressed by the 1632UV’s speed and performance, born from a collaboration between Screen and its wholly owned group company Inca, based out of Cambridge, UK. Initially set up by director Darren Watkins in 1996, Resolution Imaging has been actively involved in digital UV printing for more than ten years and running UV presses on-site for the last six. Watkins tells Print21 that the new Truepress is a real racehorse, maxing out at 94 square metres an hour, saying the team are already noticing a big difference.

    “Our work was going that way. We were looking at a lot of double-sided boards, with quick turnarounds on demand, and the Truepress Jet 1632UV just ticked all the boxes. I’ve worked with Screen before, and we were impressed with the engineering on the Incas. It ups our capacity and gives us high quality,” said Watkins.

    New year’s resolution – Darren Watkins (director, Resolution) and Keith Atherton (Screen)

    According to Watkins he was looking for a high performing table printer to develop its new markets, and the Truepress Jet 1632UV delivered an unbeatable package. He goes on to say that while they have already cranked the new press up to its top speed, Resolution is keeping it solidly in its middle band for the time being.

    Watkins adds that, “On the finishing side we’ve got a Kongsberg XL 24, and we just put in an XP 24 last week actually. Now we’re printing that much faster, we had to ramp up the cutting. We’re seeing a difference already. The work comes straight off the Screen and onto the XP, we’re looking a finished product almost instantly.”

    A close-knit team of around a dozen, Resolution Imaging offers everything from creative design to printing, die-cutting, laminating and finishing. The main substrates used by Resolution are XBoard, ReBoard and Corflute, also running foamboards like Kapa, Gator and ForeX. According to Keith Atherton, southern region sales manager, Screen, it is an ideal showcase for Australia’s first Truepress Jet 1632UV.

    “Productivity is vitally important as they can receive orders for hundreds of advertising displays at short notice and must turn them around quickly. We could not wish for a better first site to show that Screen and its group subsidiary Inca can really make a difference when it comes to high-productivity, photographic quality flatbed UV,” said Atherton.

    Peter Scott, managing director, Screen, said, “The flatbed UV market in Australia is very competitive, with all manufacturers represented in a country of relatively small population, separated by great distances. It is therefore a real pleasure to have success with the 1632UV to add to a 2500UV installed in Perth, Western Australia. We now look forward to more enquiries on the new W3200UV released in November, for which we anticipate great success due to its advanced features.”

  • Issue 615 – 26 February 2014

    A strong week for the local industry, from Aussie entrepreneurs taking the reins of international sign and display franchise Signwave, to the Australian market leading the charge with healthy profits for PaperlinX’s interim reports. Meanwhile, Printing Industries strikes back as Australia’s Post’s price hike gets rubber-stamped. And the Print21 Archive takes a step back in time to 2007. It was a simpler time…


    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

  • Vale Noel Crichton AM 1927 – 2014

    The Australian printing industry has lost one of its most prominent and influential characters with the passing late last week of Noel Crichton.
    Noel Alexander Crichton died on Friday 21 February aged 87.

    Mr Crichton, a Life Member of the Printing Industries Association of Australia, (Printing Industries ) was an active industry participant and was the current Chairman of the National Printing Industry Training Council (NPITC).

    He was a significant contributor to the development of the Future Print, project underscoring his commitment and passion to ensure that the printing industry has the necessary skill sets to support the significant transformation it is going through.

    According to Bill Healey, Printing Industries CEO,  Noel Crichton was one of the first people to make contact with him and offer support when he became CEO in 2011.

    “Noel had an unbridled passion for the printing industry and always made himself available to offer advice on all issues,”  said Healey. “He was particularly passionate about attracting young people into the industry and about having an improved training model to do this with. He had a level of knowledge of the industry few could match and a futuristic vision that will continue to be fulfilled for many years to come.”

    Noel Crichton’s involvement with the industry began in 1946 when, as a printing cadet with Simmons Limited printing, he joined the NSW Young Master Printers’ Association. He was elected to the Committee of Management in 1948, became vice-president in 1950, after the organisation was renamed Junior Printing Executives Society, and became its President in 1952.

    In 1960 he was elected to the Executive Committee of the Printing and Allied Trades Employers’ Association of NSW (PATEA). He became Vice-President in 1961 and served as its President 1965-67.

    He was elected to the Federal Executive Council of the Printing and Allied Trades Employers’ Federation of Australia (PATEFA) in 1960 and became its Vice-President in 1969.

    After a decision by the autonomous state associations of the time to come together as a Federation (1970), Mr Crichton was elected President of the transitional council and held that position until the end of 1971 when the new National Council for PATEFA was elected. While President, changes were made to the Constitution of the Federation to prescribe the organisation as a National Federation of Employers as distinct from a Federation of State Associations.

    Mr Crichton served on all of the Federation’s Stranding Committees and became National Honorary Secretary in 1982, a position he held until 1997 when he retired after more than 37 years of service with the Federation. (The Federation changed its name to Printing Industries Association of Australia – Printing Industries in 1995).

    His involvement in training began with his Young Master Printers Association (later JPE) where he counselled Vocational Guidance officers and took part in Sydney metropolitan and country school career days. In the 1970s he became active with the Printing Industry Training Council. He became NSW Chairman in 1978 and National Council (NPITC) Chairman in 1982 – a role he has held up until the present time.

    In 1994 Mr Crichton was admitted as a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in recognition of services rendered to the printing industry and particularly to training within the industry.

    “Noel’s contributions to our industry have been enormous, his vision unparalleled and his legacy, particularly in the area of training, will continue to be fulfilled well into the future,” said Bill Healey.

    Mr Crichton’s funeral will be held at 3pm on Friday 28 February at the Ann Wilson Chapel in Mona Vale.

  • Remember this? Pacific Print Group gets new name – GEON – Feb, 2007

    Print21 is the longest running online news service for the Australian and New Zealand printing and graphic arts industry. Take a trip back in time and check out a selection of history highlights from our unrivaled news archive. This month seven years ago Geon was at the peak of its power, pulling in more businesses under its banner, and revenues hitting $200 million.

    Originally published 15 February 2007

    Trading as GEON, the company will continue to allow its 12 subsidiaries, on both sides of the Tasman, to retain their individual names and management. GEON subsidiaries include: Agency Printing; Albion Graphics; AP Mail; Bays Press; BFG; Business Print Group; Brebner Print; Graphic Print Works; Graphic World; Impact Printing; Kiwi Labels and Printco. If the likely takeover of Promentum goes ahead in April it will add another batch of names to the GEON coat of arms.

    “As a brand, GEON is strategic, visionary and progressive in scope and will enable us to move forward with a unique offering focusing on providing customers with quality, service and security of brand in what is a highly fractured print and mail management industry,” said Gordon Towell, group chief executive.

    Employing more than 800 staff, the company recently won a $127 million battle for Promentum. Currently GEON generates an annual revenue of AUD$200 million.

    Towell said that he hoped the name change would strengthen the company even further. “The GEON Group will now aim to reshape the print and mail industry by combining the passion, skills and specialist resources of our employees, thereby providing a single integrated end-to-end solution in print production and delivery,” he said. “GEON will also provide the security of a full service offering within the one organization, reducing the potential dangers of multiple external suppliers and guarding client’s brands.”

    For those wondering where the name came from and what it actually means Wikipedia has an answer. Geons were chosen as a leitmotif for the company, to reflect its one-stop shop capability for providing print and mail services and material.

    Click here to read the original post.

  • Blueprint for the future – one month to go…

    Four weeks and counting, and Ipex 2014 has won back support from the printing industry after a shaky spell last year. Set to go off at the ExCeL centre in London, from March 24-29, Ipex 2014 is ramping up to provide print and marcomm professionals alike with the tools, knowledge and inspiration to turn today’s challenges into tomorrow’s opportunities.

    Trevor Crawford, Ipex 2014 event director, rallies the crowd, saying, “With only a month to go, everything we have worked towards is falling into place. By consulting the print industry, we have created an event that is inspiring, thought-provoking and relevant to the needs and requirements of print and media enterprises over the long term. Ipex is much, much more than an exhibition, and we can’t wait to demonstrate that in March when we open the doors at its new home at the ExCeL London.”

    A central focus for the event will be managing the widespread changes felt throughout the printing industry, developing new and diverse strategies for businesses to grow and remain profitable in an evolving landscape. According to Peter Hall, managing director of event organiser Informa, it is critical for the industry to adapt its event to reflect these changes to deliver maximum benefits for exhibitors and visitors alike, including the all-important ROI.

    “We have worked collaboratively with the international print industry and the markets that serve it to understand what Ipex needs to deliver. The result is an informative and engaging event that addresses every level and component of a print company through hundreds of international exhibitors showcasing their latest products and technologies, a comprehensive content programme, compelling features and the allure of London at the state-of-the-art ExCeL centre.

    “Ipex will be the first international print-centric event that doesn’t just look at the technologies to create quality print and the strategies and practices to harness its power, but one that reflects, analyses and provides proven solutions to help printers be a success in the modern marketing communications world. We have laid the groundwork to deliver a muti-faceted event that will support the industry now and in the coming years,” said Hall.

    New technologies and product launches
    Ipex visitors will discover the latest global technologies and solutions to produce quality print applications. These technologies cover the entire print production workflow, from concept right through to the finished product, with suppliers from the UK and countries from across the globe, notably from Belgium, China, France, Germany, India, Japan, The Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland and the USA. In addition to a raft of upcoming and innovative suppliers exhibiting for the first time, there will be a host of new technologies launched, with more scheduled to be announced in the lead up to Ipex and at the event itself.

    For pre-press, there will be new market software solutions for colour management, variable data printing, web-to-print, integrated communication solutions and design. On the print production side, there are digital printing product launches for inkjet, inkjet label, inkless photo and 5-colour LED A3 printing, as well as new document mailing solutions and converting and feeding technologies. New systems will also be showcased for the full range of finishing techniques, including laminating, foiling, folding, booklet-making, binding, cutting and more, in addition to new solutions for machine maintenance and consumables, with a wide range of new inks and substrates being showcased.

    Global Community Spirit
    Ipex will appeal to all communities within the print and media landscape. Dismantling the silos between printers, marketers, brand agencies, specifiers and publishers, visitors will be able to engage with the technologies, solutions, issues, opportunities and personnel that make the communication industries tick. Ipex will also host a plethora of events within the ExCeL, including B51/ISO Standard Global Gathering, an EFI User Group, and the PODi (Digital Printing Initiative) European Forum, further establishing Ipex as the heart of the print community.

    Content programme and features
    Ipex has been refined to be the definitive information source for the print industry in 2014 via the event’s comprehensive and relevant content programme, demonstrating to visitors how best to utilise and market print in the modern multi-media mix. Whether it’s understanding the trends that are shaping the industry, discovering new technologies and applications, developing robust business practices or honing operational skills and techniques, visitors from all corners of the print industry will find a practical takeaway, new idea, skill, solution or mind-set that will boost the performance of their company – for free.

    The World Print Summit, a senior-level strategic thought leadership programme, will deliver a world-class line-up of speakers from the print, business, marketing and creative industries. An invaluable opportunity for business owners and managers, this forum will give them exclusive access to previously unheard content that will deliver the leading insights into the evolving role and power of print. Sessions will cover ‘How To Future-Proof Print in a Digital Age’, ‘Print: Doomed or on the Verge of a Digital Renaissance’, ‘Sustainability – So What? An Audience with Publishers and Printers’, ‘A Culture Shift Within The Print Industry’ and ‘The Evolving Role of Print for Consumer Marketing – Changing Attitudes to Print’. Speakers include Barry Hibbert (Polestar Group), Benny Landa (Landa Corp), Professor Emeritus Frank Romano (RIT), Rory Sutherland (OgilvyOne London and Ogilvy & Mather UK), Clive Humby (Starcount and developer of Tesco Clubcard), Patrick Martell (St. Ives Group and Ipex 2014 President), Richard Watson (acclaimed futurologist and author of Future Files), Kathy Woodward (BPIF) and Chris Jones (Novalia).

    This programme is complemented by the Future Innovations zone, which looks at the printed products and technologies that are set for rapid expansion over the next few years across three sections – covering 3D printing, printed electronics and photobook products. This will include a daily live demonstration of how to produce photo products from concept to end product.

    The Masterclasses – organised by Print Future’s Neil Falconer – will focus on business growth and production efficiency for SME printers. Aimed at the owner of a print business and his sales and production teams, these practical sessions will tackle real life, day-to-day issues and look at how best to solve them to streamline production and support business growth. There is an eclectic assortment of engaging topics within the Masterclasses, including the ‘Evolution of a commercial printer’, ‘Five cost saving tips for better margins’, ‘New age of Print – strategic marketing, creative and great design’, ‘Changing sales and marketing habits to sell more print’, ‘Attracting and retaining the right staff to grow a print business’, ‘Where printers go wrong with colour management’ and a host more.

    Meanwhile visitors will be drawn to Inspiration Avenue, three galleries along the ExCeL’s Boulevard, celebrating powerful print opportunities, impact statements and case studies that demonstrate the crucial role of print and its versatility across a number of major themes, including retail, interactive, automotive, sports, education, design and creative, and electronics. The Eco Zone – sponsored by Komori – will incorporate a gallery that will illustrate the eco-credentials of a number of Ipex exhibitors.

    For print service providers looking for the tools and know-how to evolve into a full marketing service provider, Cross Media Production’s three theatres (running from 25th to 27th March) – covering brand management, 121 digital, data and direct marketing, and publishing – will focus on how to effectively implement communication strategies across multiple platforms. The Cross Media Production seminar programme features presentations, case studies and panel discussions on such topics as ‘Expanding Marketing Services to Deliver Cross-Channel Campaigns’, ‘Developing Transformation Strategies from Print to Cross Media’, ‘Increasing ROI Using Customer Insight Programs & Web2Media Platforms’ and ‘Managing Operational & Structural Change in Organisations’.

    Ipex has also put an emphasis on the importance of injecting young blood into the industry. Designed specifically for students from secondary schools, colleges and universities, an exciting Youth in Print programme will run on the last day (Saturday 29th March) – in and around the World Print Summit – that features presentations on the power of print from past students of the industry, a tour of Ipex, practical workshops and career advice for students.

    At the Wide Format Zone, visitors will see a range of devices and ancillary services being showcased by Epson, Screen, D&K, Grafityp and M Partners, among others.

  • Policy push to make trade training the A-Team

    An industry round-table has met in Melbourne to hash out new strategies to put trade vocational education and training (VET) front and centre. Assistant Education Minister Sussan Ley led the meeting in a campaign to raise the status of trades training and ensure that students pursuing manufacturing careers don’t feel like they’re on the ‘B team’.

    The push follows announcements late last year that the Abbott government would slash funding for trades training centres in schools, a $400 million spending cut. 40 industry employer and education groups gathered on Thursday to discuss disparity between employer demands and the take-up of VET subjects in schools.

    Speaking with the Financial Review, Ley said, “As a core principle, the VET in schools courses offered should be determined by workforce demand and skills needs. This is critical to ensure that more young people take up a trade career to ensure the future growth of the Australian economy.”

    Sussan Ley

    Representatives from Printing Industries were not in attendance at the Melbourne meeting, however, PIAA CEO Bill Healey recently weighed in on areas impacting the printing industry at a similar event in Canberra discussing vocational education issues.

    Healey told Print21, “We’re very supportive of it and with FuturePrint we already have a strategy to pursue in our sector and the funding to back it up. We’ve already flagged that there would be great value to us building a program linking print, communications and graphic design.”

    A joint initiative between PIAA and the Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union (AMWU), FuturePrint is already gaining considerable traction with over 60 businesses on board and more than a dozen apprentices on site and training. According to Healey a key issue for the wider discussion is not fast-tracking qualifications, but a focus on delivering meaningful outcomes to give students options for further development.

    “We look forward to working with Sussan to implement the changes she’s proposing. We’re in the fortunate position that we already have the FuturePrint program up and running, with funding in there to explore and implement options. We feel that the printing industry is an exciting and modern field for the next generation to discover, and there are many interesting opportunities for employment,” said Healey.

  • Aussie printers buy up local Signwave rights

    Two local print owners have gone all in and bought up the Australian master franchise rights to international graphics group Signwave. Dean Rowland and Leo Baker get into the driver’s seat, determined grow the business’s local footprint and provide better support for franchisees.

    Corporate management consultant Linda Sultmann rounds out the new homegrown Signwave team, after working closely with the group over the last 18 months. A sizable long-term investment, together the trio of entrepreneurs plan to grow the Signwave network nationally and strengthen local leadership within the business.

    The new wave – Dean Rowland, Leo Baker and Linda Sultmann

    Signwave operates internationally as Fastsigns, headquartered in the US, and until recently communications had to go back through the States. According to Rowland, who bought into the group nearly 15 years ago, it was time for a new challenge and he saw an opportunity to invest in the industry.

    “We actually approached them. Leo and I were looking for the next challenge and we thought we could offer a lot more to the group. Linda got on board just a bit after that. She was consulting for us, and she had formed great relationships with all the franchisees. We think it’s a great match of skill sets,” says Rowland.

    Rowland explains to Print21 that the move will give the Australian franchisees more freedom to develop their business to the local market, and give them access to better support systems. The new Signwave team have to expand by co-branding with printers looking to grow their offering into signage.

    “There are great margins in signage and the market is growing. But so much of the time we’re getting asked by customers can we provide the other print aspects, business cards and booklets. Where we can we’re happy to get involved, but for an existing print shop to tap into that work is a no-brainer. We’ve found there’s really quite an easy crossover for the two,” says Rowland.

    The second third of the new team, Leo Baker, has been with Signwave for over a decade, and has be a franchise owner since 2001. He is a committee member with the Australian Sign and Graphics Association (ASGA) and, like Rowland, he is eager to take an active hand in expanding the business over the coming year.

    “We love the industry and know the industry and believe the current economic climate is favourable for driving significant network growth in Australia. It’s also an opportune time for the right people as franchisees to stake a claim in the returns of the signage industry,” says Baker.

    Linda Sultmann highlights the diverse skill sets called upon to drive Signwave’s business forward, inviting commercial printers and corporates alike to consider making the move to signage.

    “After detailed analysis, we have determined there is considerable demand in the signage market to facilitate additional market share. Among our current franchisees, even those that have in the past not been proactive in business development, we have had considerable success in building a solid revenue base. We are excited by the prospect of helping them grow further and become  more profitable,” said Sultmann.

    Signwave has more than 535 centres worldwide, with 18 running in Australia, operating mostly in NSW and VIC. The local team are keen to fill out into the other states and push up franchise numbers moving forward.

  • Optimus primed for KBA team-up

    Management information system (MIS) provider Optimus Group has joined forces with KBA for a global partnership set to kick off from the beginning of March. The offset press manufacturer has signed a non-exclusive deal to sell Optimus systems with its hardware, covering its dash, cloud and cloud mobile solutions throughout Europe, North America and Asia-Pacific.

    The move will integrate Optimus’s latest MIS developments for systemic automation, fast product and campaign-based quotations, gaining industry traction for its flexibility and ease of use. No longer simply an estimating engine, the newest Optimus MIS are also used to drive sales and grow businesses, with many already installed at a number of KBA sites worldwide. According to Nicola Bisset, group managing director, Optimus, the partnership will serve to strengthen brand image and reputation for both companies.

    The right time to opt-in - Nicola Bisset (Optimus) and Ralf Sammeck (KBA)

    “We are really looking forward to the cooperation with such a renowned and future-oriented company. KBA possesses a broad, global customer base – also in countries in which we are not present to date. Our partnership is a fantastic opportunity to reach further potential customers for our MIS solutions. KBA is similar to Optimus in the way it places the customer’s needs in the foreground, and is well known for its excellent service,” said Bisset.

    Con James, Australian business manager for Optimus, confirms that the deal will take effect in the local market, adding that he is looking forward to working closely with the KBA team moving forward.

    “It’s a strong deal. Optimus and KBA have already been working together closely in South East Asia and Singapore. It will mean more business and expansion,” said James.

    Ralf Sammeck, vice president, KBA sheet fed, said, “We have already worked with other partners in this field in the past, and our customers can continue to rely on our openness and flexibility if they wish to integrate existing or new KBA Rapidas into their preferred MIS solutions. But when we recently decided to offer MIS solutions as part of a closed-loop workflow with our presses, Optimus was our first choice.”

  • Manroland bosses joust for #1 spot in industry poll

    Manroland Sheetfed CEO Rafael Penuela narrowly beat out Manroland Web System’s Eckhard Hoerner-Marass in an online industry poll, declaring Penuela the #1 print CEO of the year. The Manroland CEOs were pitted against the heads of KBA and Heidelberg in the online survey conducted by Austrian design and print publication, 4c, to determine just who had ‘shaped the industry most’ in 2013.

    Obviously a grueling and heated competition, Penuela and Hoerner-Marass were neck and neck for a long stretch, with Penuela finally taking home with the win with 40.8% of the vote. Hoerner-Marass landed silver with a respectable 35.7%, while Klaus Bolza-Schuenemann (KBA) and Gerold Linzbach (Heidelberg) brought up the rear with 15.3% and 8.1% respectively. For a complete breakdown of the results, visit 4c although it is all in German.

    He da man… roland Sheetfed CEO – Rafael Penuela

    Penuela has championed the business through its tough recovery from insolvency in 2011, with Manroland Sheetfed ultimately declaring a modest profit for the year ended December 31, 2013. Since it was picked up by British industrialist Tony Langley, the Offenbach-based business racked up more than 100 press sales, with a turnover of €314 million. The next generation of presses are due to be field trialled in 2015, with a new ROLAND 700 expected to debut at drupa 2016.

  • Clash of the titans at 31st National Print Awards

    The call has gone out for printers to get ringside for the 31st National Print Awards, this year striking a decidedly pugilistic tone. The event Printing Industries have dubbed the final bout in the Print Championship of Australia promises ‘a no-holds barred battle’ looks set to go off in a white heat of toner and testosterone at the Westin in Sydney, Friday May 23.

    The 2014 NPAs will spread across 33 printing ‘rounds’, with finalists culled from more than 1700 state contenders from the 2013 season of PICAs, as well as an evening of entertainment. John Wanless, chairman of promoters, declares that the judges will be some of the toughest in the industry and promises the show will pack a quite a punch.

    “Those lining up in Sydney – whether they be the quick and nimble digital competitors, the quality offset performers with their stamina and endurance, of the true web and wide format heavyweights – have already been putting in the hard yards, day after day, week after week, honing their performance as they strive for excellence. In May, it will all pay off when the Champions take home the prize,” said Wanless.

    Despite kicking off with a considerable amount of gusto, the 2014 Awards could well be the last NPA event under its current format. Running of the event was transferred wholly to the PIAA after the organising company, limited by guarantee, was wound up. With entrants numbers declining, the PIAA commissioned a review of the Awards system to ensure the event’s ongoing relevance, carried out late last year by former IPMG head Stephen Anstice.

    Anstice has since delivered his report to the board, which is now considering how to implement the findings. If there is indeed a re-jig on the cards, it is set to come into effect for the 2015 NPAs.

    To get in on the action of this year’s knock-out ‘night-of-nights’, download a booking form from or contact the promoters directly at