Archive for April, 2014

  • Daring to be different – Print21 Magazine feature

    When you first meet Phil Taylor you soon realise he’s no ordinary thinker. From Franklin Web’s extensive ‘print precinct’ in the west of Melbourne, this second-generation printer drives the business that sets the benchmarks for innovation and success in the hyper-competitive world of catalogue print production. Deeply schooled in all the practicalities of operating probably the largest single printing plant in the country, Taylor is continuing to invest at the frontiers of technology to maintain his company’s pre-eminence. Last month he took time to show Patrick Howard around.

    The sheer size of Franklin Web makes a first and lasting impression. Since Len Taylor, Phil’s father, built his original plant here in the 1950s, the company has expanded to encompass seven separate buildings covering some 100,000 square metres of factory space across 40 acres. The scale and ambition of the project testify to a unique vision that has come to define catalogue production in Australia.

    Six plants house different iterations of web presses while the seventh, directly across the road from the company’s multi-million dollar headquarters in Fourth Avenue, houses a massive bindery. Franklin’s powerful and eclectic press fleet details the company’s technological evolution. They range from 16, 32, 64 and 72 page presses to the latest investments, two 80-page manroland Lithoman, the most productive presses of their kind in the world. In fact, when I looked up at the digital display on the newest press it was running at 368,000 copies an hour.

    The spread of press brands – Toshiba, Komori and manroland – and the variety of sizes, cut-offs and options they represent, bespeak one of Phil Taylor’s defining characteristics: his willingness to be different, to be a game changer rather than follow the crowd.

    Taylor’s enthusiasm for technological innovation and risk taking started during his apprenticeship as a lithographic printer and platemaker, and grew as he moved towards his role as CEO of Franklin. Over the years, he has charted his own course, expanded the potential of his business and, in doing so, helped shape the catalogue printing market in Australia.

    Nearly 200 people work at the Franklin Web plant in Sunshine which produces an enormous amount of print every year including more than 250 million catalogues a month.

    This print comes in ‘peaks and troughs’ as a result of the seasonality of the catalogue business. “Celebrations drive marketing and marketing drives catalogues,” says Taylor. Christmas, Easter, Fathers and Mothers Days are big periods for Franklin Web.

    We get into Taylor’s electric buggy – forget walking, the distances are just too massive on a tour of the web offset facilities– and he takes me to the huge bindery. Housing a fleet of Müller Martini stitchers, Stahl folders and Polar guillotines, it is geared to process more than 20 million pieces during peak months. We cross the road again to the sheetfed operation to see Franklin’s only sheetfed press, a Komori Lithrone S40 five-colour. Taylor is full of praise for the productive Lithrone which, he says, was purchased when buying one of the Komori webs. Its usefulness is clear as we survey the range of covers, inserts and other marketing collateral produced over the previous week.

    Building better catalogues

    Franklin Web’s position in the catalogue printing market owes as much to the company’s innovative development of the medium as it does to masterly technological operation.

    Phil Taylor is a passionate supporter of the efficacy of catalogues as a marketing and prospecting tool. He tells of clients claiming a lift in sales of up to 40 per cent following
    the release of a catalogue, and another large retailer who attributes as much as a third of its entire sales to its catalogue campaigns.

    For a catalogue to be successful, however, Taylor knows it has to cut through the clutter in the mailbox. It has to be different. Apart from the high-volume critical mass retailers, most catalogue advertisers are focused very much on local area marketing. Early on, Franklin Web began to overprint store names to give the catalogues a local perspective and to take local area marketing a step further for large buying groups.

    With Franklin’s cat builder system, retailers can create highly-customised catalogue versions for each of their local area markets, from small outlets in country towns, to larger stores in regional centres and mega stores in the metropolitan area. Not only do they have the ability to overprint local information, they can customise the content, product range and even pricing to ‘build’ versions which are relevant to each local market.

    For Franklin, this might mean creating anywhere between a handful to almost a hundred different catalogue versions for any one campaign. At the end of the day, Taylor says, it’s about using technology to help catalogues engage with consumers and ultimately drive sales. And that, after all, is the point.

    The Franklin DNA

    There is a widely held belief that customers have little or no interest in the technology behind the printed product and do not care about the brand of a machine, or whether it is offset or digital. This goes against the philosophy held by Phil Taylor, passed on to him by his father Len.

    A committed technologist, Taylor believes in emphasising the technology behind the brand; he thinks it matters not only to the staff of Franklin Web, which it certainly does, but to the customers too. “The more our clients understand about our technology and what it can do, the better it is, because they can use that knowledge to enhance the effectiveness of their campaigns.

    “Whether it’s building in local area marketing information, adding a perforated form, infusing their catalogue with micro-encapsulated fragrances – maybe flowers for gardeners or whitebait for anglers – adding impact with any one of a remarkable array of shape cuts we can deliver straight off the end of the press, or adding a completely new dimension with our interactive Blippar app (see box story), our technology can help give them the edge in the market. That’s our role; to help them maximise that advantage.”

    All these innovations in print communications are part of Franklin Web’s unique technological approach and, perhaps more importantly, part of Taylor’s – and the company’s – DNA.

    Technology fan

    Clearly, Taylor is a fan of technology and is quick and unafraid to invest. He believes in keeping ahead of the game, ensuring Franklin Web is the pacesetter not only in technology, whether press power or automation, but in meeting the market’s expectations for interactive printing.

    The power of his press arsenal gives him the ability to produce more catalogue formats, with fail safe delivery guarantees, than any other single production location anywhere in Australia. He has strong opinions on different brands and technologies – when we meet he is particularly enthusiastic about his latest acquisition, the company’s second manroland Lithoman, with the latest in high-end productive automation (see over page).

    Everywhere within the vast, ultramodern facility are telltale signs of a creative technologist at work, from the fluid bag system for ink delivery from Flint, which he specified, to the complex Gammerler automated bundling and palletising systems at the end of the presses.

    As innovative and pioneering as he is, Taylor admits to being deeply conservative when it comes to business. A commitment to remaining debt free – born when he accompanied his father to a bruising meeting with the bank as a teenager – may have meant holding back on investment at times, but he points out it has also given him the freedom to take advantage of the company’s independence.

    At the end of our time together, as he is showing me down the stairs of Franklin’s gleaming hi-tech offices, I ask him what continues to drive him. “My Dad was very fond of quoting a couple of Benjamin Franklin’s sayings,” he reflects. “The first is ‘well done is better than well said’, and the second is ‘energy and persistence conquer all things’. We still try and follow those today.”

    I respond with a sincere compliment on how the whole company is just so impressive. As we pause near the bottom of the staircase he says, “I reckon Dad would be really proud of Franklin today”.

  • Accent puts emphasis on SGP certification

    Queensland’s Accent Press boosts profit and grows its margins as it secures Sustainable Green Print (SGP) status. The Molendinar-based printing company is latest business to complete the Printing Industries certification progamme, and now boasts significant cost savings making it more competitive.

    Accent Press recently underwent the full Level 2 certification, prompted by increased customer inquiries. According to Niel Thurlow, managing director, the SGP audit made the company more agile and efficient, with a direct positive impact on that all-important bottom line.

    Neil Thurlow (Accent Press, managing director) receives SGP certification from Mel Ireland (PIAA member services manager Qld)

    “We have gained cost reductions by reducing both our paper and consumables waste which in turn means that we are able to offer more cost effective products to our clients and also increase our margins, which makes us a more efficient and profitable business. With our SGP certification we are now able to proudly tell us customers that we are doing our bit towards a sustainable planet and we have the Printing Industries SGP certification to back our claim,” he said.

    Thurlow explains that end-user demand was a key motivator. He says that he progressively found some customers less inclined to print with a company not actively engaging with a formal environmental policy. According to Thurlow, the SGP audit proved to be simpler than expected, as many aspects covered were already implemented by the business.

    “We decided to formalise what we were doing and take our business to the next level,” says Thurlow.

    “For example we were already recycling paper and plates and reducing chemical waste to an absolute minimum. All that we needed to do was introduce systems so we could quantify the amount of materials for recycling and those directed to landfill. We made some minor adjustments to our processes and after implementing these we were able to successfully obtain the Sustainable Green Print Level 2 audit certification.”

    Details about the Sustainable Green Print program are available from any Printing Industries office on 1800 227 425 or by visiting

  • David Fuller calls in the undertakers

    It’s official! Focus Press is now in liquidation. Corporate liquidators, Worrells Solvency and Forensic Accountants, are winding up the company and preparing to dispose of the remaining assets, including the Matraville, South Strathfield and Illawarra sites. The fate of the Canberra site is still unknown.

    Mark Shergill, BPA, tells Print21 that he has bought select assets and the company name, and denies media reports that he will take on the $12 million, government-backed Greenfield site in Illawarra. Shergill runs his business Print Warehouse from a neighbouring site in South Strathfield, where he says he will base the ongoing operations.

    The outlook for ex-Focus employees is bleak, with David Fuller telling them last week their best bet was to seek entitlements from the government General Employee Entitlements and Redundancy Scheme (GEERS). The liquidation at least now opens up that possibility for the former workers.

    Questions to administrators went unanswered, and David Fuller remains in media black-out. Site auctions are expected over the next few weeks.

  • MGI Meteor to make an impact at Agfa showroom

    Agfa Graphics is running fast to pump up its digital offering, as it prepares its Scoresby showroom for the first MGI Meteor to strike this June. The Belgian-based plate supplier recently picked up local agency for the MGI from Ferrostaal ANZ, firming up its strategy to target printers transitioning to digital as run-lengths continue to drop.

    Agfa will throw open its doors to give printers a chance to see the MGI Meteor DP 8700 XL digital press in action, for a full roster of tours and demonstrations in the next couple of weeks. The move marks a significant step for the plate supplier into an already busy marketplace, and according to Mark Brindley (pictured), managing director, Agfa Graphics Oceania, it is fully committed to growing its digital business with MGI.

    “It’s hugely important for Agfa, and we’ve behind it from day one. We’ve been in the wide-format space for some time, but now we can truly partner with our customers as and when they make that leap to digital,” Brindley tells Print21.

    “The need to diversify to meet a changing market and maintain profitability is well established. In this respect, the addition of the MGI range of digital products to the Agfa stable in this region is very much in line with our commitment to partnering with our clients as they make the transitions necessary to meet a dynamic market.”

    The MGI Meteor DP 8700 XL can handle a broad range of substrates from paper and card, to synthetic papers and vinyls, self-adhesive labels, PET, PVC and polycarbonates. It is also able to product large-format print up to 1011 mm long. Brindley backs the flagship Meteor press as the ideal machine for offset printers looking to transition to digital, praising its versatility and cost efficiency.

    He adds that, “With the potential to help businesses open up entirely new revenue streams with high margin products in growth markets, it’s exactly the press a range of businesses can use – all at an investment level which makes it potentially one of the most profitable machines on the market. And, most importantly, it comes with the full service and support of the Agfa network.”

    Agfa has a history with MGI, already partnering with the french technology provider in a number of European countries. To support its Australian commitment to its digital push, two local Agfa engineers have already made the trek to France to get trained up on MGI’s full range of digital varnishing and finishing equipment.

  • 3D printing … is it really printing?

    Printers are drawn to the new 3D accretive manufacturing process not least because it is usually referred to as ‘printing’ but how does it apply to the graphic arts industry and what is in it for printers.

    Using off-the-shelf 3D printers businesses and individuals are making an incredible array of products, everything from records to housing materials using the process. Printers ranging from small desktop ‘inkjet’ to high-end technologies capable of outputting metal and specially newly developed materials. The limitations of 3D printing are being expanded at a rapid rate and printers are searching for information as to the industry’s place in this new revolution.

    The expiration of restrictive patents in the key selective laser sintering (SLS) technology is heralding a new phase in the popularisation of the technology. It is expected to force down the price of 3D printing technology while expanding the number of manufacturers in the sector.

    A major 3D conference in Townsville next weekend will focus on new products and processes. The latest information will be included in an upcoming 3D seminar. 3D Print pioneers Melissa Fuller (pictured) and Grace Turtle of Three Farm are at the forefront of the development of 3D printing and are ready to share their experience with the printing industry at a 3D printing seminar in Sydney next month.

    “3D printing ­– what’s in it for me’ is essential information for anyone wondering whether and how to get into the rapidly growing technology.

    Keynote presenter Melissa Fuller, of 3D Printing company Three Farm, will be fresh from attending the 3D Printing Expo in Townsville. In mid May, she jets off to the USA on a three-month research and study tour into 3D Printing. After her return in August, workshops will be held in Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth.

    Topics to be covered include:

    • Types of 3D printers and their applications
    • Materials that can be 3D printed
    • Business opportunities and case studies
    • Consumer-vs-Industrial 3D
    • Live 3D printing demonstrations
    • Converting 2D designs into 3D objects
    • Separating the hype from the reality of 3D
    • 3D products relevant to the printing industry
    • Online 3D printing services
    • Adobe’s move into 3D

    The inaugural 3D Printing seminar will be held in Sydney from 6pm to 9pm on Tuesday May 13th, at Level One of the Chatswood Club, 11 Help Street, Chatswood.

    With plenty of underground parking plus excellent public transport access from all directions, The Chatswood Club (pictured) is a three-minute walk from Chatswood train station and bus interchange.

    The three-hour seminar includes all refreshments and finger food; a take-home information pack and is limited to 80 attendees. The cost is $145 or $99 + GST for full-time students.

    An online Event Brite booking site makes ticketing easy.

  • APP ups the stakes in Indonesia’s green pulp war

    The battle for green cred in the Indonesian pulp and paper industry heats up, with APP declaring its goal to restore and support the conservation of one million hectares of Sumatran rainforest. Even eco-lobby groups Greenpeace and World Wildlife Fund (WWF) have lowered the picket signs and taken notice, as the pulp and paper mill substantially strengthens the Forest Conservation Policy (FCP) it launched in 2013.

    A year on from APP’s (Asia Pulp and Paper) landmark disavowal of non-plantation fibre in its production chain, the new announcement sees the mill take bold strides in its bid to regain brand favour and footing in Australia. APP is currently is consultation with WWF and other groups to develop detailed, time-bound plans for identified priority landscapes. According to Aida Greenbury, managing director of sustainability, APP, the ultimate aim of the plan is to work closely with local communities and NGOs to achieve total landscape sustainability.

    “After over a years of implementing our FCP, it has become clear that the key to success of any efforts to half deforestation in Indonesia is a landscape level approach to forest restoration and conservation,” said Greenbury.

    “We believe that by assessing entire landscapes and creating clear tailor-made objectives and strategies, the maximum possible level of conservation will be achieved, not just for natural forest in our concessions, but for areas around them as well.”

    The first step for APP is in the 30 Hills landscape, Bukit Tigapuluh in Jambi, Sumatra, where it will work to provide wildlife corridors and additional buffer areas. The region is a vital habitat for tiger, elephant and orangutan populations. APP is also developing an independently administered trust fund devoted to the future of these conservation measures, which will receive start-up funding by APP.

    According to Rod Taylor, director, World Wildlife Fund global forest programme, the initiative is ambitious but encouraging. WWF remains typically cautious in its endorsement, waiting for details to be firmed up over the coming months with local authorities, communities and stakeholders.

    “World Wildlife Fund and other NGOs have identified the lack of attention to APP’s deforestation legacy as a major shortcoming in the original Forest Conservation Policy. We are encouraged by this announcement and look forward to working with APP and other stakeholders to figure out the details of where and how forests will be restored and conserved under this initiative,” says Taylor.

    With its new million hectare goal, APP once more takes the lead on rival Indonesian mill, APRIL (Asia Pacific Resources International Ltd.), which remains committed its more modest 2019 deadline to exclude non-plantation fibre. APRIL also recently pledged to support new conservation areas equal in size to its plantations, around 450,000 hectares. APRIL’s own efforts have also drawn cautious support from eco-lobby groups, although most urge for tighter deadlines and stronger measures.

  • Currie roadshow hits the west coast in style

    The mighty mobile Currie showroom rolls into glorious Perth as it winds down its cross-country technology tour. At the end of its final leg, Currie once more pops the expander and kicks off a busy three days of hands-on demonstrations, showcasing the very latest in printing and finishing technology to the people of Perth.

    Following successful stop-offs in Albury, Bendigo and Adelaide, the team have braved the dusty tracts of the Nullarbor and the iconic Currie truck is packing an extra special assortment of goodies. As a last-minute bonus, the Perth leg will offer printers the first local showing of the brand new Horizon TBC-200L top and bottom cut unit, installed on the SPF-200 line on the truck.

    For the final stint the ground crew will be joined once again by managing director Bernie Robinson, and CEO David Currie himself will be on deck to make sure the tour wraps up in style. All are welcome to jump on board to check out the latest kit, from an HP Indigo 3550, Horizon creaser/folder CRF-362, Horizon folder AFC-564A, Horizon perfect binder BQ-280PUR, Horizon table-top folder PF-40, CRON thermal CTP, Foliant laminator Mercury 400SF, Nagano business card cutter CT620 and the newly extended Horizon finishing line, VAC-1000A / SPF-200A / FC-200A / TBC-200L.

    The truck will be drawn up for the next three days at the Currie Group Office, 13 Sangiorgio Court, Osborne Park.

    For your last chance to get on board the bus, click here to register.

  • Issue 625 – 29 April 2014

    Paper dumping hits the headlines once again, as Norske Skog takes aim at French and Korean newsprint imports. Former Focus Press workers are palmed off to claim government entitlements. And Agfa powers up its digital showroom with an MGI Meteor to hit the ground in June. Follow us on on the Print21 website or on Twitter and Facebook to keep on top of all the latest industry and technology developments.


    Nicholas Pond
    Online Editor

  • Norske Skog dumps on cut-price newsprint

    Cut-price paper hits the headlines again, as Norske Skog cries foul on cheap French and Korean newsprint drying up the local market. The low-balled imports are killing competition and threatening jobs, claims Norske Skog alleging dumping margins of 6.6% and 12.85% respectively

    Barely a month after it binned its Chinese copy paper case the Anti-Dumping Commission is back on deck. Norske Skog lodged its application on March 24, pinning an 3.85% price point drop on the allegedly undervalued imports. The ADC reviewed the application and found reasonable grounds to kick off a full-scale investigation into the matter.

    The application names UPM in France and Jeonju in South Korea as the culprits that have increased their penetration of the market despite an overall decline in demand for newsprint. Newsprint imports from France and Korea accounted for approximately five per cent of the Australian market in 2010/11 but this jumped by a dramatic 70 per cent to 13 per cent last year.

    Norske Skog is the only Australian producer of newsprint from its Albury and Tasmania mills. It sells to all the major newspaper chains including News Limited, Fairfax and APN. The company claims that the unrealistically low prices charged by the overseas mill impacts its long-term contract negotiations as well as causing it to lose profit margins.

    It claims that the dumped prices have been the prime reason for profits falling by 20 per cent following the renegotiation of key contracts.

    In its application to Customs it states: Australian industry manufacturing newsprint has experienced material injury in 2013/14 as a direct consequence of responding to import prices of dumped and injurious imports from France and Korea. The dumping margins for imports from France in 2013 were approximately 6.6 per cent [and] from Korea at 12.85 per cent. Dumping margins in early 2014 are significantly higher for imports from both sources.

     Norske Skog claims that anti-dumping measures are necessary to minimize the impact of dumped prices in further contract re- negotiations. A failure to take action will likely result in an escalation of dumped imports. This will cause further price depression, price suppression and reductions in its profits.

    It calculates the dumping margins for the French newsprint during 2013 at $40 per metric tonne (6.66 per cent of export prices); from Korea (based upon imports into W.A. and Queensland) at  $83 per metric tonne (12.85% of export prices).  However in early 2014, the weighted average dumping margins were calculated at 41.83 per cent for France and 32.07 per cent for Korea.

    Norske Skog is asking for a quick determination as soon as the 60-day investigation is completed.

    As the case heats up, Australian Forest Products Association (AFPA) has come out in support of Norkse Skog, as CEO Ross Hampton calls for further reforms to anti-dumping measures.

    “The implications of this alleged dumping directly affects the livelihood of Australian families living in regional areas in Tasmania and the Albury/Wodonga area,” he says.

    “The AFPA is already on the public record having noted that improving import data transparency is critically important during the investigation of anti-dumping and subsidy cases. The Act, if fully implemented, will help preserve Australian jobs and manufacturing capability that are threatened by dumping activity.”

    According to Tim Woods, managing director of IndustryEdge, publisher of industry bible Pulp & Paper Edge, the newsprint market has been marred in recent years by the rise of cheap imports.

    Compared with the recently dismissed Chinese copy paper dumping case, Woods says, “This case is equally significant and likely to be just as rancorous within the Australian industry.”

  • Fuller tips workers onto Government handouts

    Former Focus workers were terminated last Tuesday and told by owner, David Fuller, to seek payment of their entitlements from the government, despite the company not having been sent into administration.

    Distressed workers claim they were told their best bet is to seek GEERS for their unpaid wages, annual leave and long service leave. Yet the company continues to trade, preventing them from approaching the Commonwealth. This has become a familiar tactic by employers with workers having to find another job, thereby losing any entitlement from GEERS.

    Mark Shergill, previous buyer of distressed Melbourne printer, BPA, is supposedly taking on the Focus business, but will not be operating from the brand new Illawarra plant that was the beneficiary of a $6.5 million government grant.

    The plant has been plagued by problems since the KBA press went belly up before Christmas. Reports of inexperienced workers and a lack of proper training cloud the full story.

    A replacement cylinder for the press was brought out from Germany but the damage proved to be excessive. There are rumours of another KBA on the water.

    The Matraville and South Strathfield plants are closed and will be sold up to pay debts. It is unlikely there will be enough to cover workers entitlements.

    Fuller has gone to ground, refusing all phone calls. He is reportedly keen to keep the newly opened Hume security printer in ACT, but will likely have to call in the administrators for the rest.




  • HP Latex range comes 360 with Sydney launch

    HP tackles the rise in lower-volume work with its Latex 300 series and new Designjet Z-series production printers. The latest entries in HP’s large-format arsenal are unveiled in Sydney today, with a 50% boost in efficiency in the Z-series and 64-inch Latex 360 nearly tripling print times and cutting turnarounds in half.

    HP cans its popular Latex 260 model, picking up on greater market segmentation with its new third-generation Latex 300 series. Launched to the local market, the new portfolio targets printers expanding their signage offering with lower-volume demand, replacing the Latex 260 with three incremental new models. According to Jeremy Brew, application specialist sign and display, HP, the new offering caters to the larger numbers of small-to-medium printers and signage shops transitioning from solvent inks.

    “The Latex 360 effectively replaces Latex 260, with the new Latex optimiser more than doubling its speeds. But before the 260 used to service the whole market, from small sign shops and printers up to the medium run printers. The addition of the Latex 310 and the 330 in the 300 series really meets the customers where they are,” says Brew.

    The new series offers a complete portfolio for the low-volume market, starting with the entry-level 54-inch Latex 310. Next up the chain is the 64-inch Latex 330, tackling heavier rolls up to 42 kg and printing up to 50 square-metres per hour. The Latex 360 is also 64-inch but increases application versatility with an ink collector for porous textiles. Speed is also maxed with the Latex 360, running up to 91 square-metres per hour.

    According to Jeff de Kleijn, director and general manager, sign and display, HP Asia Pacific and Japan, this new range meets the needs of modern print businesses seeking to grow their offering.

    “Small to medium printing companies face the challenge of simultaneously addressing more applications to reach more customers while reducing costs and fitting in smaller spaces. Backed by proven HP Latex technology, the new HP Latex 300 printer series addresses these needs with durable quality and easy operation, helping customers break application boundaries and establish a competitive advantage,” said Kleijn.

    US-based displays specialists, All Star Signs have transitioned over from solvents with the HP Latex 360, and owner George Beitner is impressed with the impact the technology has made on his business efficiencies.

    “Since installing the HP Latex 360 printer, not only are we able to print three times faster than with our solvent device, we also decreased project turnaround time from one to two days to 24 hours. This difference alone has dramatically impacted how we do business,” said Beitner.

    Alongside the 300 range, HP’s Designjet Z-series pumps up print speeds by as much as 50% with the new Z6600 production printer and Z6800 photo production printer. The Z-series is also designed to deliver high-value indoor applications. The Designjet Z6600 boasts significantly improved consumable efficiency, using up to 30% less ink.

  • Spicers turns up the volume about Splendorgel

    Spicers gets stuck into spruiking its Splendorgel range with a symphony of musical metaphors. Splendorgel must just inspire that little bit of extra marketing oomph as this striking new rock ‘n’ roll promotion follows up previous distinctive and successful campaigns.

    Self-proclaimed paper groupies, the Spicers team has packed together a ‘greatest hits’ anthology to plug the latest entries to the Splendorgel back-catalogue. On vocals there’s the crooner, singing the praises of the uncoated stock’s smoothness, while the hard rocker throws up the horns for Splendorgel’s new 470 gsm option. As well as the heavier stock, Splendorgel copy paper is also now available in A4 and A3 100 gsm. It is digitally enhanced, HP Indigo certified and dry toner compatible.

    A one-man band bangs the drum for Splendorgel’s versatility, ideal for stationary, catalogues, annual reports and matching envelopes. And then there’s the sweet little songstress in tow to remind everyone that Splendorgel is “in tune” with nature, being FSC mix certified, pH neutral and produced with ECF pulp. The fun new campaign was conducted by Harry Pagoulatos, Spicers, marketing and business development manager.

    “Splendorgel just lends itself to being represented by music. It’s smooth, like a soul singer. It’s bright and dynamic, like a pop singer. It’s a versatile, all-purpose paper, like a one-man band. It really is the ultimate crowd-pleaser and it made sense to market it as such,” said Pagoulatos.


  • 2014 Australian Packaging Design Awards

    The Packaging Council of Australia (PCA) is on the hunt to recognise and celebrate companies who are imaginative, innovative and creative in producing packaging of a high standard. The PCA calls on all brand owners, designers, retailers, manufacturers and raw material suppliers to enter their packaging creations. Participating in the Awards has assisted companies launch new products into the market, improve their corporate positioning, increase their business profile and build media and brand awareness on a national and international scale.

    Entrants have six product categories to select for entry, with the same Judging Criteria applied across all categories.

    –          Food
    –          Beverage
    –          Health & Beauty
    –          Household & Office
    –          Industrial & Supply Chain
    –          Seasonal & Promotional

    Packs must have entered the marketplace between January 1, 2013 and Friday, 22 August 2014.

    Entrants also vie for four Outstanding Achievement Awards that cover the areas of Accessibility, Design, Innovation and Sustainability. For the first time this year, a new is launching – Consumer Experience and Emerging Technologies Award.

    Entry rates
    Early Bird April Special rate: $165 per entry
    Normal rate $220 per entry incl. GST

    Key dates
    Wednesday, 30 April – Closing date for Early Bird Special Registration Rate
    Friday, 22 August – Registration Closing Date
    Friday, 5 September – Final day for packaging samples and Evaluation Documents to be submitted

    For more information or to register for your place, click here and follow the links.

  • ANZAC pride swells commemorative print run

    Anzac Day spirit is stronger than ever as we prepare to come together this Friday, and print once more takes pride of place in paying tribute to our fallen heroes. CanPrint wins the honour of producing the annual Anzac Day memorial poster for the Department of Veteran Affairs (DVA), with a boosted run length of 83,400 for the 2014 commemorations.

    The ACT-based division of OPUS Group tackled the project on the ten-colour Heidelberg XL105P it picked up in late 2012. CanPrint has handled work on the Anzac Day memorial poster for the past three years, with site operations manager Angus Murphy noting that the unit order has steadily grown each year.

    2014 ANZAC memorial poster – Bullecourt Digger (fore) with members of the Australian Defence Force serving in Afghanistan (back)

    “Of course it’s really great to be involved with the Anzac Day poster. There’s some increase in quantity too, which is very positive. We worked heavily with DVA in the lead-up. They had a couple of different artworks they were considering, and we worked with them to do sample prints, and some tests with folding, scoring and folding. We really put the extra effort in to make sure it was spot on,” Murphy tells Print21.

    “It’s us recognising the DVA has got a very wide audience that is still very much in touch with print.”

    This year’s commemorative poster marks the past while also looking closer to home. It honours the men and women of the Australian Defence Force (ADF) completing their service in Afghanistan, continuing the Anzac spirit and legacy in modern times.

    It comprises two images. Foreground is the memorial of the Bullecourt Digger, which stands in the Australian Memorial Park in France. The monument commemorates the 10,000 soldiers of the Australian Imperial Force killed or wounded on the Hindenburg Line of the Western Front in April and May 1917.

    The background image depicts members of the ADF taking part in an Anzac Day commemoration in Tarin Kot, Afghanistan. Accompanying the two evocative images are four words recognising the importance of commemoration – honouring, remembering, thanking and renewing.

    As well as the memorial poster, which it completed in February, CanPrint has also taken on work on a special commemorative Gallipoli book for DVA. According to Murphy, this second-edition of the exclusive 168-page memento had a limited run of just 2000 and was a four-colour job, also on the XL105P. The commemorative tome is rounded off, however, with a luxuriant Stardream cover with metallics, varnish, folded flaps and a flush trim, making it a keepsake to treasure.

    Copies of the 2014 ANZAC memorial poster are available on request from the Commemorations Officer in each state and territory. Telephone 133 254 or 1800 555 254 for regional callers.

  • Kia Silverbrook dumps name as business gets thrashed

    The Silverbrook name vanishes from the annals of the industry as famed Australian inventor makes a last-ditch switch when research company collapses. Silverbrook Research, birthplace of the revolutionary Memjet technology, made a name-change to the innocuous Worldwide Specialty Property Services on the same day that administrators were appointed to finally lay the troubled business to rest.

    Kia Silverbrook (pictured), his partner Janette Lee and their associated companies have been in and out of the courts for the past year over claims of $millions owing in unpaid salary and redundancy entitlements. Technology and research companies Precision Mechatronics and Geneasys, run by Lee, have both been moved into court-order liquidation. Cases against Silverbrook companies Priority Matters and Superlattice Solar are also due in court next month, over further allegations of unpaid salary.

    With so much blood in the water it was only a matter of time, and on April 16 the company formerly known as Silverbrook Research finally hit the wall as Parker Insolvency was appointed liquidator. On the same day, April 16, ASIC records show the company ditched the Silverbrook name for the curious Worldwide Specialty Property Services Pty Ltd.

    Gregory Parker, of Parker Insolvency, told Print21 that they were currently working through the matter. He declined to comment on the relationship between the collapse of Precision Mechatronics and Geneasys and the liquidation of Silverbrook Research, except to say he was aware that Silverbrook Research was one of the main entities in the group.

    Kia Silverbrook and Janette Lee were unavailable for comment at the time of publication.

    Precision Mechatronics was recently wound up with $1.9 million owing in statutory demands from 46 listed creditors. Also wound up by court order, Geneasys had two listed creditors, with $91,129 in statutory demands. The wind-ups were sought in order for workers to claim government assistance from the Fair Entitlements Guarantee (FEG) scheme. After months of legal stoush, though, desperate employees are still no closer to seeing their money.

    Despite the court win, an ex-Precision employee owed nearly $90,000 tells Print21 that he wonders if he will see anything at all before the one-year anniversary of his retrenchment rolls around. In the wake of the long drawn out battle, he admits that the recent turn of events is a “very sad end to an enterprise that held much promise but over-reached.”

    Precision Mechatronics liquidators, BRI Ferrier, say they are closing in on the documentation regarding entitlements, which is likely to be submitted to FEG within the next few weeks.

    Documents recently filed by the Fair Work Ombudsman also allege that solar research company Superlattice Solar underpaid one employee $55,969, while patent processing business Priority Matters underpaid 15 employees by $452,997. It also alleged a further $362,973 owing to five Geneasys employees.

  • Charting the future – Guy Gecht and EFI

    When Guy Gecht became CEO of EFI (Electronics for Imaging) in 2000 it was a very different company to what it is today. Then it was a single-product enterprise, based around the success of the Fiery RIP. Today it is a multi-million dollar technology enterprise embedded across a wide range of graphic arts sectors, and Gecht has a clear corporate goal over the next couple of years, to make EFI into a billon dollar company. He shared his thoughts with Patrick Howard at Ipex in London.

    It is a phenomenal success in a challenged industry, posting record revenues (last year US$728 million), growing at 12 per cent per annum and closing in on a promise made by Gecht to his shareholders of surpassing the US$1 billion revenue mark in 2016. Over the past 14 years EFI has grown through a combination of organic growth and an energetic acquisition strategy aimed at furthering the strategic vision of being the enabling technology company for the printing industry.

    When I met with Guy Gecht on the EFI exhibition stand at Ipex, more than a decade since we first crossed paths in a pub at the Rocks in Sydney, he was as passionate and, yes, as fiery as ever about growing the business. He reflected that it was better now than when he first took over.

    Billion dollar man – EFI CEO, Guy Gecht

    “I feel like I’ve managed two different companies. When I took over, EFI was one company, then we transformed it and now it’s a completely different company. It’s much more interesting now because at the beginning it was about cost cutting. Then it was about making a bet, first on MIS, then on inkjet. Now that it’s all working together, it’s more fun,” he said.

    Built on family businesses

    There is a surprising moral imperative underlying Gecht’s approach, a sense of mission beyond the normal CEO pre-occupations with shareholder value and profits. While recognising that a major part of his role is to keep his shareholders happy –and with EFI’s NASDAQ shares hovering around US$45, up from US$25 a year ago, they certainly ought to be – he identifies a deeper satisfaction in dealing with the family-oriented businesses of the printing industry.

    “We are dedicated to printing, we are passionate about the industry. I love the idea that this industry is built from family-owned businesses. We just announced a sale to Pinsker in Germany, a printer whose managing director is Conny Pinsker, an energetic woman who is the fifth generation to head the company, which is 100 years old. This is a great example of the companies you find in this industry.

    “That means that when you do business it’s for the longer term, on both sides. If you sell hard disks; you sell it to the IT guy. Two years from now he’ll be working for another company and someone else will do the job. And someone else will do what we do. It’s not long term. It’s deal by deal. But in our industry it’s a long-term partnership. You know it’s going to be the same family and you know its going to be the same core people at EFI and we’ve got to build it and make it a win-win for both sides and not just a one off deal.

    “What really drives me when I come to work is not the shareholders. It’s about the fact that we have a role in this world and that role is to make the millions of people that work in the family-owned [printing] businesses much more successful, despite all the pressure they are under.”

    Focus on the customers

    The blueprint for development at EFI has a fairly simple basis, according to Gecht. The company is known for investing in R&D, ploughing up to 28 per cent of its revenue into research. It develops priorities by listening to customers and coming up with solutions for their problems. Gecht points to the recent development of LED UV curing on the VUTEk as an example.

    Patrick Howard (Print21) and Guy Gecht (EFI)

    “There is no fun developing anything if there is no need for it. We tend to focus on ways to improve our customers’ business, make them more productive, more competitive. The secret to our success is how well we connect to the market, how well we listen to what customers tell us they need.

    “We listen to the customers, then we see what’s available in the technology and we look for things that are needed three, four, ten years away. We looked at LED curing on the VUTEk. We’re the only company that can do it in production. It’s been a great success, it’s green. Nobody told us to do LED curing. But our customers told us, ‘We need to lower the cost of running, and we need to consume less’. Our scientists came up with LED curing, the next generation after UV. That was listening to customers about where they see their business and coming up with something to help them.

    “We want to expand what we do for our existing customers, find new applications to allow people to grow despite the pressure on print.”

    The revolution is here

    This expansion is likely to involve acquiring other companies and not just depending on EFI’s own R&D. Gecht is not shy about predicting that the 2016 target is only part of the journey. Although last year was an unusually quiet one for the company in terms of buying businesses, he predicts that this year will see some more acquisitions.

    “I believe that if you find a company that has a group of people that are passionate like us about the industry, who are innovative, appreciate good technology and have the same values, then adding them to EFI is a good idea. Our customers benefit and their customers benefit.

    “It’s really difficult to be a small company in our industry. EFI has the scale and ability to make products even better. Last year we only had a couple of small acquisitions, so the entire group grew organically, but we like to do both.”

    That EFI is growing so strongly in an industry where traditional technology suppliers are struggling for survival says much about its focus. Gecht is sanguine about the challenges facing printing, especially document printing as so much information moves to the web. But he believes in the digital renaissance of printing and takes comfort in a broad definition of printing, pointing out the banners at Ipex, the carpet tiles, the whole industrial world of print.

    “The revolution is out there. Digital is the renaissance of printing. You can see that in businesses that are successful. The idea is to make your business more productive. Data-driven MIS is not just a fantasy. In the US the majority of the printing industry has MIS and most of them are using ours.”

    After 14 years at the top, Gecht shows no signs of slowing down or passing on the baton. If anything he is relishing his role more than ever. He is confident of having qualified people to take over the reins if he should want to go, but by my reckoning we will see Guy Gecht driving change in the printing industry for many years to come.

  • Issue 624 – 23 April 2014

    Print takes pride of place in the ANZAC spirit, with run lengths on the rise. Troubled Silverbrook Research hits the wall and loses its name all on the same day. And EFI’s Guy Gecht opens up to Print21 about his billion-dollar dream. Follow us on on the Print21 website or on Twitter and Facebook to keep on top of all the latest developments in these and other breaking stories.


    Nicholas Pond
    Online Editor