Archive for September, 2014

  • Market Watch Q3 2014 – acquisitions, mergers & major equipment sales

    Richard Rasmussen, director of Ascent Partners, brings you up to date with the events that have shaped the industry in the past quarter. He reviews all the major news including MBO’s, closures, along with the sales and installations of capital equipment in the region.

    Is there no stopping the Trade Service juggernaut?

    There was no shortage of movement on the trade service front:

    1. Vista Print launches new trade service, Trade Advantage
    2. CMYK Hub establishes NextDayFourColour in the USA, purchases Media Options (NSW), installs a HP Indigo 10000 (Vic) and installs a Ryobi 8 colour perfector and Perfecta guillotine (WA).
    3. Sydney Trade Print starts up in NSW, following its failed bid to purchase Media Options.
    4. LEP duplicate its QLD operation by starting up a manufacturing site in VIC.
    5. Avon Graphics (Vic) installs two Mimaki’s (wide format and roll fed printer) and an Océ Procut, again to service the trade.
    6. Mediapoint Trade (Vic) install a Swiss Q Print wide format printer
    7. OCA Group (Vic) announces it intends to become a massive trade supplier in the ex-Geon building where previously acquired Print Bound will also reside. It purchased a brand new Heidelberg XL – 6 UV press for installation before Xmas.


    Offset makes a comeback

    1. Heidelberg announces press sales in its high performance XL range – Print Bound / BPO Intelligence (XL-6 plus UV), Abaris (VIC), an XL 106-6 with double coater, Van Dyke Press (NSW) a XL 106-7 with Cutstar, Lighthouse Press (NSW), an XL 75-5 press and a mystery NZ buyer purchased an XL 75 press.
    2. Picton Press (WA) also announced its June installation of a KBA 106-10 colour.


    Sales and Acquisitions:

    1. Major print manager, Ergo bought by Konica Minolta
    2. Richard Cambridge Printing bought by Bart N Print (Bendigo. VIC)
    3. McTaggarts purchased by The Sticker Company (Hervey Bay, QLD)
    4. The Lab (New York) bought by Wellcom
    5. PNPS Packaging and Print Finishing, previously in liquidation, purchased by Packaging Processors (NSW)
    6. Another finishing services provider, TLC Print Finishing (NSW) who was about to close was purchased by Perfectly Bound.
    7. Opus Group sells its debt to HK Based 1010 Printing Group, giving it effective ownership

    On the Supplier side:

    1. Layar purchased by Blippar (Global)
    2. Direct Smile purchased by EFI (Global)
    3. Total Supply purchased by Spicers (NZ)
    4. Adkote purchased by Starleaton
    5. Anitech purchased by Neopost



    1. Focus Printing (NSW) had its auction
    2. Digital Post (owned by Computureshare, Salmat and Zumbox)
    3. TPS Venture (NSW) – liquidation
    4. Gopher Graphics (NSW) – Liquidation
    5. Worldwide Adelaide (SA) – Liquidation
    6. Expression Printing Group (NSW) – creditor’s liquidation
    7. Shoalhaven Commercial Printers (NSW) – Voluntary administration

    Mergers / MBO’s

    1. Big Colour Imaging and Flash Graphics (NSW) – Merger


    1. Tharsten – Management Buy Out (MBO)
    2. Mark Andy – MBO

    Major Equipment – Sales and Installations


    1. Fuji Xerox – Versant 2100 Digital Printer (new model)– sold to Minuteman Fairfield, Budget Mailing Services, Snap Dandenong, Kwik Kopy Penrith, Vivid Print, Cessnock Print Place, Dinkums the Copy Centre, Same Day Printing, Snap Rowville, Indie Print
    2. Konica Minolta Biz Hub C1085 Digital Printer (new model)– sold to MMP and Xtreem
    3. Konica Minolta C8000 digital press – two sold to Reflex Printing (SA)
    4. HP – Mezographic (VIC), installed a Scitex FB 10000 and Latex 3000 large format printers, Sign Enterprise (WA), installed a Latex 360 wide format printer
    5. Rapid – An XL 220 label press sold to Evolution Labels (NSW)
    6. EFI – a H1625 LED printer sold to Owen Signs (NSW)
    7. Vutek – a roll-to-roll LED printer sold to Hi – Vis
    8. Canon imagePRESS 700 to Gold Leaf Framing (NSW)
    9. Positive Camtec – a swissQprint to Mediapoint Trade


    1. Print Junction (SA) installed a Horizon CRF 362
    2. Megacolour (NSW) installed a Polar N137 Plus Guillotine and Stahl TH 82 folder
    3. The Paper Shop (Vic) installed a Morgana Digifold Pro folder
    4. Digital Logic (Vic) – Pitney Bowes D1950 folder inserter
    5. Hannanpak (NSW) installed a Bobst 106 Mastercut die cutter


    1. Kwik Kopy Bondi Junction installed a 3-D printer
    2. Bundall Printing (QLD) installed an Agfa Avalon N4 Thermal CtP

    Business For Sale / Businesses Wanted

    Due to recent sales successes we have only two printers available for sale, down from eight at the start of the year. So there is good demand for print businesses, especially client lists, in all states.

    Contact, Richard Rasmussen at Ascent Partners, for a confidential discussion about the market’s needs.


    Market Watch

    The above information was sourced from our free monthly Market Watch report. Please subscribe via our website,

    Ascent Partners is the PIAA’s preferred Australian supplier of business sales, appraisal and valuation services.





  • Issue 653 – 1 October

    It’s not just us in the printing industry. Even Federal Parliamentarians recognise that Australia Post is losing the plot when it comes to social responsibility. Jacking up prices whenever it suits without ever looking at improving its own processes is the behaviour of an arrogant monopoly. Let’s keep up the pressure.

    You’re one of over 7000 industry professionals in Australia and New Zealand reading graphic arts news here at Print21. We really appreciate your feedback.

    Patrick Howard
    Publishing Editor

  • 1st Canon 700 in NSW to Gold Leaf Framing

    Theo Stamatopoulos may not be your typical printer but he believes Canon quality will help transform his business.

    Adding value to print is recognised as an essential pathway to higher profits and margins. But for the founding director of Gold Leaf Framing it is the very basis of his successful framing and printing business.

    Starting out 20 years ago as a picture framer in the southern Sydney suburb of Como, he moved into printing at the behest of his customers. As a self-taught Photoshop expert in the 1990s his skills at fixing up family portraits brought requests from them to reproduce the originals … and frame them!

    “It was always a bespoke service, they wanted me to solve problems. I never did any marketing, it just grew by word of mouth” said Stamatopoulos.

    The picture framing business expanded in scope and in size when he moved into wide format reproductions with an Epson 10000 CF. At one stage he was running three big Epson inkjets non-stop from his Como factory pumping out hundreds of colour murals for Rail Corp NSW. Again word of mouth brought him large corporate clients who sought out his ‘no problems’ style of service.

    Then he moved into production printing with an Océ CS 650, working with local artists on reproductions of their paintings. “I was more interested in getting the right colour than in how fast it could print,” he recalls.

    Turning out framed pictures, photos and certificates ensured there was very little commodity printing coming out of Gold Leaf Framing  (the name comes from an old French picture framing tradition of quality). Value adding is second nature to the business model. In recent times he has opened a facility in Sydney’s CBD where he handles an increasing amount of high-end corporate work as well as a growing ‘for trade’ business servicing a number of Sutherland Shire printing companies. Stamatopoulos is now pursuing a growth strategy, looking to build the business with the latest technology.

    As a long-term Océ/Canon customer he was first cab off the rank for the new Canon imagePRESS 700 in NSW.  Again he was most concerned with the quality of the colour and the ability to reproduce scanned-in photos and paintings.

    “I want the very best quality reproduction. I don’t want any of my customers to ever be embarrassed by what I’ve done. It’s a level of service that builds goodwill,” he said.

    Every equipment vendor wants the initial install of new technology to be a showcase site it can point to as an example for others. Theo Stamatopoulos doesn’t fit easily into that frame work but his success is even more telling. It is indicative of the success of small- to mid-sized printing businesses that are thriving in particular niche markets.

    The Canon install team with Theo Stamatopoulos (2nd from right) Paul Byatt, technical lead, with technicians Michael Lipowicz and Louie Loo

    The purchase of the imagePRESS 700 shows just how far digital technology has taken over the work-a-day business of printing where business owners, without offset skills, use it to add value to a particular offering and not compete on commodity-style print.

    The Canon imagePRESS 700 was installed at Gold Leaf Framing yesterday (Monday 30 September) in the shopfront premises with the old machine removed and the new one in place and running test sheets within five hours. Calibrating the machine for the default Canon substrate with a Fiery RIP tweaked to give even finer levels of colour balance in the days to come, the Canon team under Paul Byatt, technical lead, with technicians Michael Lipowicz and Louie Loo had it under control with the minimum of fuss.

    Canon has great hopes for the imagePRESS 700, which it launched in July. With at least one already in Victoria and now in NSW it appears the roll out is well and truly underway.



  • Commercial Notice – FOR SALE – Used Screen B1 CTP, Sydney, 30 September 2014

    Used Screen B1 CTP – $15,000

    PT-R 8100 (2004) with autoloader & bridge to processor
    Perfect working order – decommissioned by Screen
    On pallets ready to go. 8 x B1 plates/hr
    Located at N. Ryde, NSW
    Installation available at cost.



    Contact Andrew McCourt



  • Kevin Slavin, CEO IPMG, on the transformation of print ­– Print21 magazine September

    In the continuing narrative of the Hannan-owned IPMG, there’s a new chapter under way, under a new CEO. It’s just over one year since Kevin Slaven took on the top role at Australia’s second largest printing group after PMP.

    The multi-million dollar enterprise is a multi-site, east coast printer in the middle of a transformation to become a marketing communications business. In an exclusive interview, Patrick Howard talks with the man driving that change.

    “We’re at a growth phase and looking to expand the services that we offer." Kevin Slaven.

    Kevin Slaven’s progress towards his current position as CEO of IPMG is informed with a sense of symmetry. Before joining the company as Chief Financial Officer in 2000, the chartered accountant served his time in industries that are fundamental to the contemporary printing industry – IT and timber. This gave him a thorough understanding of the dynamics of information technology, as well as grounding in the politics of pulp and paper; essential qualifications for an effective print company leader.

    Certainly the forthright Slaven lays no claim to being a printer, happy to leave that part of the operation to industry notable, Craig Dunsford as CEO – Print. Yet he is more than engaged with directing the company, being especially focused on the market forces that are shaping the industry.

    Over the next three to five years he predicts IPMG’s revenue from printing will be matched by the company’s digital marketing business, as this becomes an increasingly important part of the Group’s service offering. Although print tonnage through the company’s massive heatset web printing plants in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane has stabilised and even shown a slight increase in the financial year just completed, the transformation of the media world into a multi-channel matrix means print is no longer the pre-eminent communication medium of yore.

    Under the aegis of Michael Hannan as chairman of the board, Lindsay Hannan as executive director and with his predecessor, Stephen Anstice, also on the board as non-executive director, Slaven has no shortage of printing industry knowledge and experience to draw on, but I get the sense that he is most focused on what newcomers such as James Hannan, Digital COO and scion of Michael, are doing.

    IPMG Digital is a growing series of businesses that consists of an award-winning   digital creative agency called Holler; a data hosting enterprise, Blue Central and Traction, a digital communication business, amongst others. SBM is the evolved Sinnott Bros; a seminal prepress house that morphed some years ago into being a marketing and advertising industry production studio. All together the digital businesses currently contribute around 20 percent of the group’s revenue but Slaven is convinced the future of printing lies in being able to augment all marketing services for clients.

    Catalogues open digital doors

    “The important thing for us is to grow our business in areas that offer a broader breadth of offerings, which is why we invest heavily in digital marketing services business and customer engagement,” says Slaven. “There is a growing awareness within our customer base that we do have the additional services that can add to their marketing profile. That’s an educational process for our customers and one of the things I’ve been concentrating on for the past 12 months and will continue to do so as time goes by.”

    Most of the customer engagement comes from IPMG’s huge catalogue printing business. It is among the top three such printers in the country – the other two being PMP and Franklin Web. It is an area where Slaven sees continuing growth.

    But the catalogue business has its own challenges for printers trying to expand their offerings. As Slaven tells it, the difficulty of customers accepting the printing industry as creative partners has a lot to do with different buying departments. Creative services are sourced very differently from purchasing print. Only in retail catalogues have the two come together.

    “When we first put our toe in the water around the digital side we spent a lot of time trying to sell both print and digital services to customers. But, the reality was that the buying departments within the customers were separate, totally different. Now while the marketing departments of our retail catalogue clients understand the importance of printed catalogue, they also see there’s opportunity from a digital point of view to enhance the value.

    “We’re at a growth phase and looking to expand the services that we offer. Whether that be print-dominated or digital-dominated we don’t care, as long as it’s supporting the service offerings to our customers.”

    Print is here to stay

    The orientation of IPMG may be shifting but it is still very much grounded in print. The commissioning of a huge state of the art printing plant at Warwick Farm in Sydney’s west and the multi-million dollar investment in a new manroland Lithoman 96-page press, saw a major shift of resources and focus from the Alexandria site where the Hannan printing plant had laid the foundations of the company’s prosperity for decades. Slaven is careful to make the point that while printing is becoming a more embellished part of a multi-channel marketing mix, it still holds its own as an effective medium.

    “None of this should be perceived as anything negative on the side of print, because we believe print is here to stay. It’s a fantastic medium in its own right. We view our responsibility to assist our clients to enhance the print product through additional services.

    “Whilst structural change is inevitable [in printing] my general feeling is that things have leveled off fairly well. Print volumes did fall for a few years until around 2012 but since then certain sectors have grown, others fallen off. Some of that is a bit of market share we’ve picked up, but generally it’s a reflection that the market has stabilised. I’m optimistic about the future of print.”

    However, he is realistic about the continuing decay of print margins and doesn’t expect any change there for some time, if ever. Print may be part of his customers’ supply chain but they too have their own cost pressures. There is no room to hike prices or increase margins in the competitive world of heatset web. This is perhaps the single biggest factor influencing investment decisions. It’s not that the company cannot afford to acquire the latest but as a former CFO, Slaven is keen to emphasise that it’s about the returns, not the technology.

    “The biggest thing in our industry is that capital investment is so heavy. In order to invest in new technology that’s coming out, we have to be assured of getting a return for it. It’s a fine tuned balance between offering value to our customers through new technology and enhancements and the acceptance that we need to get an adequate return.”

    He rebuts any suggestion that IPMG has a strategy of not investing in sheetfed presses because, with a lower barrier to entry in the sector, the competition is fierce and the margins are practically non-existent. What he will admit to is having no intention of increasing capacity in sheetfed in the near future.

    “Sheetfed is clearly more competitive than web because the capital investment is so much lower. I think that the market has settled down quite a bit because there have been some casualties over the past few years, Geon being the most recent high profile one. Some sensibility has come back into that market. Having said that, it’s still highly competitive. While we do run our own fleet of sheetfed presses, we’re not intending to increase capacity. You’re not going to spend the investment unless you can get a return on it.”

    Where digital works

    The significance of the ‘digisphere’ to the future of IPMG is well entrenched in the corporate culture, but there is a good deal of caution when it comes to where digital printing fits in. For a company with such a huge stake in the market it has a relatively low level of digital print capacity. SBM was one of the earliest adopters of HP Indigo and it still produces high-end marketing material. Offset Alpine also runs digital.

    Slaven has no plans to increase the amount of digital printing in the near future, despite keeping a continuing technology watch on developments overseas, saying: “Digital printing is a hard one at the moment. We haven’t overly invested [in digital] at this stage on the basis that we have enough capacity in the business. We have such a breadth of presses in our fleet. Certain jobs suit the 96-page Lithoman out at Warwick Farm; others suit the nimble M600 with coater that we’ve got at Offset Alpine. We can service any end of the market.”

    He is conscious of the lower barrier to entry not only to sheetfed printing but even more so to digital. This he equates to greater competition and a sector where IPMG cannot leverage its natural advantages. “There’s a big difference between buying a Lithoman 96-pager and buying a digital press.”

    IPMG and Blue Star

    The industry was transfixed in recent months by the announcement that IPMG and Blue Star would merge to form the largest printing company in the region. (Currently IPMG is second in tonnage to PMP.) According to Slaven it didn’t happen because the costs were likely to prove too high and the benefits too little. But he is careful to emphasise that it all ended amicably. Even though both companies now know the other’s strengths and weaknesses, Slaven maintains that part of the original impetus to merge was the lack of competition between the two.

    “We’re not really fierce competitors. We only compete in a fairly narrow band, mostly around Offset Alpine and Webstar. That was one of the original appeals.”

    Now the focus is back on growing the business. Slaven points out that IPMG is, with perhaps one exception, one of the few large printing companies that is debt free and owns its own real estate. He bristles at the suggestion that it has become a cumbersome giant unable to match it with competitors.

    “The simple fact is we can print and deliver anywhere. One of our competitors said recently that the big players can’t be as nimble as him. I don’t accept that, we’re as nimble as any printer in the country. The idea of IPMG as a big cumbersome printer is just not the case. That’s why we have plants up and down the eastern seaboard, so we can be very nimble and respond to our customers’ needs. And don’t forget, customers’ needs change.”

    He believes there is plenty of scope for further consolidation in the industry, even among the small group of large web players. The economics are there, the difficulty as he sees it is getting the process to work.

    He identifies legacy EBAs (enterprise bargaining agreements) as a symptom of the rigidity that is holding back the industry. In fact, he blames them as one of the factors that stopped the Blue Star merger and still hinder the industry’s ability to compete with overseas suppliers. “From an industry point of view, there is definitely opportunity for whole plants to close and merge. That’s a capacity issue. Within IPMG, time will tell whether that will happen or not.

    “We cannot compete [with overseas suppliers] on print where there are long delivery times, our wage rates are just too high. There are still a lot of legacy EBA issues associated with our industry, which have passed down generation to generation. They make it difficult for us to compete. And, they make it a lot more difficult to perform the industry rationalisation and consolidation that I think the industry in this country needs.”

    A company in transition

    IPMG is a company in transformation, along with the industry it leads. It is now a very different company from where it began. “We used to have a printing business and a publishing business. We then went to a printing business and a digital marketing business. The strategy now is to effectively morph these businesses into one. We still have all our core print competencies and we’re investing in technologies but we want to enhance the experience for our customers to get to their customers.”

    There are some fundamentals that will not change in the foreseeable future, even as it transforms. Slaven firmly believes in the competitive advantage of maintaining printing plants in both Brisbane and Melbourne in addition to the Sydney powerhouse. That is one consolidation that is off the table. As to the IPMG strategy of keeping separate and distinctive brands within the same group – Hannanprint, Offset Alpine, Inprint etc – he recognises that it may be something that needs to change.

    “It was a deliberative strategy for many decades and proved to be appropriate and worked well. As time goes by it’s probably got less and less relevance. From an efficiency point of view it makes more sense to combine a lot more internal services so we can meet our customers’ needs.

    “We’ve invested heavily in an MIS across all of our printing sites; [Technique from EFI]. That roll out is in its final stage and it means we gain all the efficiencies of one print company while still having the advantage of different brands out in the market. It’s part of meeting our customers’ needs. We’ll have to see what happens.”

  • ACCC should control Australia Post prices

    ‘A major victory on behalf of the printing industry and public,’ is how Bill Healey, CEO Printing Industries, describes the findings of a Parliamentary inquiry into the operations of Australia Post.

    Reinstating independent oversight of the monopoly’s pricing practices is the primary recommendation of the Federal Government’s Environment and Communications Legislation Committee report released this week. It also wants the Minister of Communications to undertake a thorough examination of cost allocation within Australia Post to identify where the monies are made and where they are spent.

    "“Our efforts over this lengthy period have been fully vindicated," Bill Healey.

    Healey said that while the poor support of licensed post offices (LPOs) was the initial catalyst, the inquiry opened a Pandora’s Box of issues for Australia Post that included its pricing structures.

    “The Committee’s number one recommendation was: . . . that Australia Post be required to submit notifications of changes to the price of business mail services to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.

    “This is major victory for our industry, for the future of printed communications and for the community at large.

    “Many of our members have invested heavily in technology and equipment for pre-sorting, saving Australia Post significant amounts of money on the basis of receiving lower pricing for bulk mail than for ordinary mail, only to have those margins eroded,” said Healey.

    “Its Trojan Horse approach to industry consultation on this issue has been exposed for the sham it was. It’s now time for them to be pulled back into line and to be subject to ACCC scrutiny.”

    He was scathing on how some of Post’s own research on mail volumes and consumer preferences contradict its own assessments on the decline of mail. It has used these assessments to justify its pricing strategies.

    “It is time that Post worked with industry stakeholders and the community to develop a clear strategic direction for the future of mail services rather than misleading the Australian public on the continuing effectiveness and demand for traditional mail.

    “Our efforts over this lengthy period have been fully vindicated. This is a very significant day for us and for the ongoing sustainability of our industry members involved in the printing and mailing of bulk mail items,” said Healey.

  • Issue 652 – 24 September

    Australia Post enjoys a privileged monopoly position in society and business. It’s remit and responsibilities go far beyond the simple profit and loss of the bottom line. Similarly it has a unique relationship with the printing industry. Increasingly it appears that in pursuit of some nebulous ideological free market position it is neglecting its primary responsibilities to enhance communications, especially printed communications.

    You are one of almost 8000 industry professionals reading this end of the week wrap up of news and events in Australia and New Zealand’s printing industries.

    Patrick Howard
    Publishing editor.


  • Web woes shrink KBA jobs in the Rhineland

    Prolonged losses finally take their toll on the German press manufacturer, which will cut its web workforce by 207 to address a ‘significantly shrunken global market.’

    Addressing the reality that the market for high-end web offset presses is never going to recover to pre-crisis levels, KBA is cutting the number of jobs at its subsidiaries Albert-Frankenthal and KBA-FT Engineering to 164. Both firms are located in Frankenthal, Germany, and are highly dependent on the web offset market segment.

    KBA is also the second largest sheetfed offset press manufacturer after Heidelberg. It is grappling with a stagnant market and continuing losses – AUD$112 million in 2013. It is also downsizing its manufacturing workforce.

    Currently there are 222 employees  on the web manufacturing payroll at Albert-Frankenthal and 149 at KBA-FT Engineering, 28 of which will leave due to natural turnover. Accordingly, the current agreement effects some 180 staff. They are to be made redundant by 31 October 2014 and will have the opportunity to qualify for a new position for one year at a transitional company from 1 January 2015.

    Severance pay for the employees leaving is based on the collective wage agreement signed in 2011 and in the future social compensation plans agreed for the plant in Würzburg will be valid. A new amendment to wage agreements and framework agreements will regulate the assignment of orders in future between the Group and the two companies in Frankenthal.

    In a press release the company said, the Koenig & Bauer management board regrets the loss of jobs and refers to the intensive efforts to generate additional orders by the Group and other sectors for the Frankenthal facility. However, as this volume was not sufficient and extensive capacity adjustments were also necessary at other KBA plants there was no other option but to sustainably improve the completely inadequate capacity utilisation in order for the business to operate cost efficiently. The business model developed by the management board together with the managing directors on site for both subsidiaries with a total of 164 staff will make the continuation of the KBA site in Frankenthal far more promising than ongoing underemployment with high losses.

    KBA is the ‘other’ large German web press manufacturer after manroland, which went through its own difficulties a three years ago. Following a company collapse its web business was restructured under a new owner, Possehl, with a slimmed down workforce and a more sustainable business model. It has successfully completed a major relocation and refurbishment of Fairfax web presses in both NSW and Victoria in June this year.

    The other major web press manufacturer, Goss, Internaational, has its HQ in the USA, but is owned by the giant Shanghai Electric Corporation of China with manufacturing plants in US, Asia and Europe.


  • New Truepress inkjet from Screen in 2015

    Peter Scott, Screen Australia (pictured) has announced an all-new digital web inkjet press that changes the quality expectations of printers worldwide. Named the Truepress Jet 520HD, it is the ‘HD’ for High Definition, which indicates its unique position in the high volume digital web market.

    While a member of the Truepress Jet 520 family, of which over 700 have been manufactured since its launch in 2006, the 520HD’s similarities end there. The printheads are new and can deliver 1200 x 1200dpi with variable droplets. The inks are new high-density formulations to achieve superb wide-gamut colour definition – often a problem running high speed inkjet web presses. The paper transport and drying system are new, enabling papers from 40gsm to 250gsm to be handled.

    "I am delighted that the focus is on quality over sheer speed," Peter Scott.

    The Truepress Jet520HD workflow is new, based on Screen’s Equios software. The new version of Equios will be launched concurrently with the printer and has features to optimize the machine’s performance, such as In-RIP Smart Imposition, ICC Profile Editor and Spot Colour Editor. Using the latest Adobe core, Equios will be able to process all levels of variable data at the full engine speed. The company’s unique screening algorithms add to the quality achievable.

    Screen Australia Managing Director Peter Scott says: “Naturally we have known internally about the development of the 520HD for some time and have seen samples of the print quality achievable. I can only say that they are several levels higher than current high volume inkjet production; quite superb in fact.

    “I am delighted that the focus is on quality over sheer speed, although at up to 120 meters per minute, the 520HD is no slouch. Maximum 1200 x 1200dpi quality is achieved at 50 meters per minute. This is classic, traditional Screen R&D innovation, a game-changer that our team will be proud to demonstrate to any printer in Australia and New Zealand.”

    Scott adds: “The substrate flexibility will be more than welcome in the market as this has long been a limiting factor in high volume inkjet. Many offset stocks can be printed including heavier 250gsm board. We are releasing the 520DH as a wide-gamut cmyk machine, but there are modular stations built into the press that can accept additional print heads in the future.

    “The list of time and money-saving options goes on, for example, each print head is controlled independently so that, if you are only printing with one colour, all of the other printheads remain capped. However, there is no time delay when switching from a single-colour to multi-colour job.”

    Security and mission-critical print such as pharmaceutical instructions have not been overlooked. The Truepress Jet520HD will be launched with an optional inspection unit based on Screen’s highly regarded JetInspection. JetInspection is a system that checks the whole page and compares the printed result to the RIP data to give a unique level of security. JetInspection has been redesigned for use with the new press, including complete integration with the machine’s GUI.

    Screen Truepress_Jet520HD

    1st Install in November

    The first European installation of the Truepress Jet520HD will be in Holland at direct mail printer Nic.Oud ( in November 2014 and the second in Switzerland at direct mail printer Baumer (

    Nic.Oud provides direct mail for companies in The Netherlands, such as Makro and Sanoma, and its ‘game-changing’ Truepress Jet520HD press will play a key role in driving future growth.  The press will transform the company’s personalised, on-demand print services.

    Maurice Gelissen, CFO, Nic.Oud says: “Quality is extremely important to our customers and, until now, inkjet quality has just not been at the level we wanted for the direct mail products we produce for our leading brand customers. We have spent a lot of time evaluating a lot of presses and conducting blind tests and the Screen Truepress Jet 520HD is absolutely the best. A significant feature is its ability to print onto a broad range of paper and board weights.

    “So, not only does this press open up a new era in ultra-quality, hyper-personalised, direct mail production, but gives us the power to produce a variety of other materials such as cards, paper wraps, books and magazines. The new press has huge potential and gives us a significant opportunity to offer highly creative print services to our customers to make their communications much more dynamic and effective.”





  • Print21 September – the B2B trade only phenomenon

    Publisher’s Letter from Patrick Howard:  B2B – The model of a modern printing business.

    There are at least two defining forces shaping the commercial printing industry. One is the amazing proliferation of digital printing outlets buoyed by the decreasing costs of capital equipment. The other is the move towards production hubs for everything from offset and digital printing to wide format inkjet.

    To my understanding there are no reliable figures for the number of print-for-pay and in-plant printing enterprises in Australia and New Zealand. There are many thousands when you consider the number of convenience stores, internet cafes, office supply outlets and photo shops where you can now buy digital print services. That is not to consider the large number of ‘proper’ printing businesses throughout the shopping malls and suburban tracks that run off colour prints for their local businesses, along with wide format posters and merchandising banners.

    Then there are the in-plants, bouncing back from near oblivion in the 1990s as companies rediscover the cost savings and convenience of having their own printing plant on site. Not to mention the huge ‘at home’ printing phenomenon for everything from study texts, to family trees and photos.

    Digital technology is democratising printing as never before. It is swamping the established business models. According to one industry seer, the market for digital print equipment in Australia alone, not counting wide format, is between $120 and $150 million per year. With serious digital engines starting off in the low thousands of dollars the sector is piling on the capacity and suppliers are gearing up for an even bigger year as they bring more models to market, dicing the price points ever finer.

    Not suitable for digital

    But not all print is suitable for digital. The vast majority, well over 80 per cent of print volume, is printed offset. There is even a mini-surge of investment in large offset presses this year, mostly for the packaging industry but quite a lot going in to commercial printers. Estimates of investment in large offset are up to $40 million this year.

    Hugely more productive than presses of even half a decade ago, every new press is typically replacing up to three older machines, while adding to capacity. When you add the disruptive influence of the internet and the increasing ease of ordering print over the web, it is easy to see how this combination has fuelled the boom in ‘for trade’ and ‘trade only’ production. The printing industry is segmenting into a hugely productive, highly capitalised, manufacturing sector on the one hand and a service industry with minimal printing capacity concentrating on meeting the marketing communication needs of business on the other.

    To illustrate the capability of ‘trade only’ printing, the September issue of Print21 was printed by CMYKhub in Melbourne, one of the earliest and certainly the largest network operating in Australia. Trent Nankervis, along with his father Garry and workflow guru, Clive Denholm, epitomise the strengths of the new production paradigm; solid technology investment in digital and offset presses in locations across the country to deliver a level of service to the trade unimaginable only a few years ago. This goes hand in hand with an almost obsessive fervor to guarantee customers of CMYKhub’s ‘trade only’ status (see page 16).

    CMYKhub may be the earliest and the first but it is not the last. LEP Color Printing from Maroochydore in Queensland is expanding its ‘trade only’ production with the opening of a Melbourne plant to shorten delivery times. Even Vistaprint, the US-based web-to-print giant that pioneered direct-to-customer sales in ultra short runs is now turning its attention to the printing trade. Its Melbourne factory is offering ‘for trade’ – notably not ‘trade only’ – printing as well as a wide range of merchandising products.

    Also in Melbourne, which is becoming the ‘trade printing’ capital of Australia, long-established print finisher, Avon Graphics and relatively new arrival, Mediapoint, are positioning themselves as ‘trade only’ wide format services.

    With so much activity and so much competition to supply fast and low cost printing, the average local printer will find it very difficult to justify capital investment in anything other than digital ‘lite’ engines. Besides, in the new printing industry most of his/her time will be better spent meeting with customers and finding out what they require, than in working on a press in the back room. That is so old fashioned.

    In producing the current issue issue, Trent Nankervis, CMYKhub, was eager to show off the capability of his latest digital production engine, the HP Indigo 10000 from Currie Group; as well as the print quality of his Komori Lithrone UV eight-colour at the Heidelberg West factory in Victoria.

    If you have received your copy, you will have noted the ‘presentation folder’ cover, a format only digitally possible on a B2-size sheet. With this kind of printing capability commercial printers have a wider range of products than ever before at their fingertips.

  • Should offset printers diversify into wide format?

    Fujifilm puts the case for printers expanding their horizons into different product segments in the first of a series of sponsored Graphic Arts Blogs  

    The concept of an all-encompassing Print Service Provider (PSP) has been around for several years but few have embraced the one-stop-shop concept successfully. Segmentation of printing processes is culturally ingrained from the days of duplicators, small offset, big offset, web, flexography, gravure, screen process, photo-chemical and if you want to go back far enough; letterpress.

    With the advent of digital print, came the democratisation of process outputs. Digital unifies and breaks down barriers to entry into markets previously considered taboo – a large sheetfed offset printer would once never have considered becoming a screen process printer as well, unless by acquisition of a going concern business.

    With most workflows all-digital today, it has never been easier for an offset printer to re-format design files to an output device, other than the computer-to-plate setter. But should they want to?

    Of the multiple possible printed outputs that a PSP can offer, perhaps digital wide-format printing makes the most sense – after investment in a digital sheetfed printer. Digital sheetfed takes care of the customers asking for short-runs of existing offset offerings, printed on-demand and maybe with variable data.

    Most customers would not be aware of which process was used to produce the job; one day they ask for 10,000 copies and the next day they want only 100 and it just happens somewhere inside that darkly mysterious place called a print shop.

     Read more…

  • Canon Australia sails into Harbour IT

    Canon Australia has acquired a majority stake in managed services and cloud solutions provider, Harbour IT. The acquisition, the biggest by Canon in the Oceania region, enables both businesses to share cloud-based and managed IT solutions across their respective customer bases.

    The move will also strengthen Canon’s technology and end-to-end managed services customer proposition.

    Canon is recognised for its customer-focused solutions and market leading technology and services, while Harbour IT is an established IT services provider, known for its superior cloud platform and innovative offerings for managing complex IT environments. The decision to acquire a stake in Harbour IT will ensure Canon continues to grow its business by delivering value-based solutions to the market, enabling customers to achieve more, beyond technology alone.

    Taz Nakamasu, Managing Director, Canon Australia comments, “Canon has had significant success in the managed services market over a number of years. Our customers include some of Australia’s most iconic brands. Bringing Harbour IT into the Canon fold means we can offer a greater portfolio of managed services to both customer bases.”

    Over the last two years Canon reviewed potential IT and BPO businesses in a bid to further build its capabilities as a business services provider. After a series of extensive diligence and verification processes, Harbour IT was identified as the logical partner for Canon. The synergies between the two companies extend beyond the product offerings and will leverage the strong cultural and brand alignment of both businesses.

    Craig Manson, Director, Canon Business Services adds, “Partnering with Harbour IT will strengthen Canon’s offering as a business critical services provider. Harbour IT, with its focus on cloud computing, IT solutions and managed services, as well as geographical reach across five locations in the region does exactly that. Canon’s leadership and knowledge, along with Harbour IT’s specialist skills and experience in managed IT services will deliver strong synergies, helping to meet and exceed the needs of customers across both companies now and into the future.”

    Harbour IT will remain a stand-alone business and brand, with the same management team and structure. Harbour IT will retain its independence and management autonomy to continue to deliver to customers, while benefitting from Canon’s investment, brand, leadership and product suite.

    Craig Bishop, Managing Director, Harbour IT adds, “We’re extremely excited to be joining the Canon family and feel this is a natural fit and logical next step in our continued growth as a managed IT services and cloud provider in the Australian market. We believe the opportunity to bring together complementary product offerings of both businesses will significantly broaden our existing portfolios, making this a fantastic move for our customers and our people.”

    Craig Bishop, managing director, Harbour IT, Taz Nakamasu, managing director, Canon Australia and Craig Manson, director, Canon Business Services

    Craig Manson will assume overall leadership for the relationship with Harbour IT, while Josh Watts – General Manager will also be appointed to manage the day-to-day relationship, creating synergy between the two businesses.

    Harbour IT will become part of the Canon Group on October 1st 2014. The Sydney-based company has 180 employees based in five locations across the region, with an expected revenue for FY15 of $35 million. Canon Australia was established in Australia in 1978 and is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the US$35 billion Canon Inc. group. Headquartered in Macquarie Park, Sydney, Canon Australia currently employs 890 people and has offices in most mainland capital cities.

  • Two-speed PrintPost – same service costs more

    Nine days for magazines to travel from Melbourne to Sydney – is this the future of Australia Post’s two-tier system for publication post?

    How many days does it take for a magazine to be delivered under the new PrintPost regular delivery service? Well, for the September issue of Print21 it can take more than seven working days to travel between the two capital cities.

    Since the monopoly mail carrier introduced a two-tiered delivery for publications in June it has given new meaning to the term ‘snail mail.’ Print21 magazine was lodged in Melbourne on Wednesday, 17 September under the ‘regular’ service. Many Sydney subscribers didn’t receive their copy until Thursday 24 September, a full six working days later. Many are still waiting.

    Similarly for subscribers in Western Australia and Queensland where it has taken more than seven working days for the magazine to be delivered.

    These subscribers are victims of an undeclared postage hike from Australia Post that sees publishers bilked for a so-called Priority Service that merely continues the previous PrintPost system. Otherwise, for publishers that continue the pay the original pricing, it’s welcome to super snail mail.

    PrintPost is an Australia Post service to the publishing and marketing, and thereby the printing and mailing industries, for a lower cost delivery. It specifically helps large mail users.

    The ‘new’ Priority service now costs 7% more than the previous Print Post system. It claims to deliver within and between metropolitan areas of capital cities within four days. This is the same service level of the old Print Post.

    The additional Regular service, at the previous price point plus 2%, adds two additional business days on top of the Priority timetable. However, for at least Print21, it adds a lot more than two days going from Melbourne to Sydney.

    Print Post has proved a veritable cash cow for Australia Post with five price increases over four years. In 2012 it rose by 3.1%, in 2012 it went up 3% and by 2.7% in 2013 – an overall increase of around 9%. Not content with that this year it introduced the two-tier service, slugging publishers with an effective 7% increase in order to continue getting the same service.

    The fear is that the so-called regular service will over time be so degraded that no one will be able to depend on it and all Print Post mail will be forced to use the higher cost Priority service. This comes at a time when print communication is under increasing threat from digital modes.

    A response from Australia Post explains it thus…  We introduced an additional speed of service called Print Post Regular and what is now the existing service was renamed to Print Post Priority. Priority has next business day delivery for the same metro-metro, and Regular is delivered one to two days longer than Priority.

    Despite its monopoly position Australia Post has no requirement to justify any price rises for products other ‘ordinary letters’ since ACCC oversight was removed in 2011. In a submission to the Competition Policy Review, Printing Industries was highly critical of Australia Post’s conduct and attitude to the printing, publishing and mailing industries.

    Prior to the removal of the referral requirement to the ACCC, Australia Post consulted with key stakeholders in the consideration of proposed price increases. Printing Industries found that this consultation was constructive and often led to changes in the position of Australia Post on a particular matter. However, consultation on price increases has been minimal since the 2011 decision.

    The behaviour of AP since 2011 indicates the absence of ACCC scrutiny has not promoted efficient pricing and protected consumers in relation to other reserved mail services. It remains unclear what the ACCC can do to address this.

     Printing Industries believes AP is deliberately misrepresenting the demise in demand for mail services and products and in so doing is denying many Australians access to their preferred means of communication.

     Print21 would like to apologise to any subscribers still waiting delivery of the September issue. We would appreciate if you can let us know when it eventually lands in your mailbox. Meanwhile you can read it here in digital form … but it’s better as a printed magazine.




  • Ricoh joins the digital race with new Pro C7100x

    Hot on the heels of its three rivals Ricoh is out of the barrier with the launch of a new 90ppm engine with a 5th station for white or clear toner.

    The launch means all the major suppliers have brought new technology to the market this year, although deliveries of the new Ricoh machine won’t happen until early next year. Fuji Xerox, Canon and Konica Minolta have already launched their ‘digital lite’ engines ranging  from 70 – 100 ppm in what is a very tight and competitive supply market.

    "The ProC700x is very good value," Raj Chandiok.

    According to Raj Chandiok, national sales manager – production print, the Pro C7100x is being positioned as a radical break from the past. “The ability to apply spot or flood clear gloss and white, and to quickly switch between the two, is unprecedented at this price point. We believe this will be a game changer for Ricoh customers,” he said.

    “As graphic arts businesses seek to remain competitive, profitable and add value to their customers, it is essential that they have the right tools in place to deliver innovative applications and introduce new service lines.  By adding RICOH Pro C7100x series digital presses to their workflows, they can boost returns on investment, expand digital print services, and promise exceptional image quality to customers with fast turnaround times.”

    In a press release Ricoh summarised the Pro C7100x features:

    • Highly productive with print speeds up to 80ppm for the RICOH Pro C7100x and 90ppm for the RICOH Pro C7110x
    •  Precise sheet-to-sheet and front-to-back registration achieved with mechanical registration
    • Equipped with a self-contained liquid cooling system that keeps the developer at a constant temperature and minimizes disruptions in extended production runs
    • Utilises Ricoh’s new vacuum feed LCT with Banner Printing option
    • Compatible with EFI print server
    • Optimal image quality up to 1200 x 4800 dpi with Ricoh’s enhanced Vertical Cavity Surface Emitting Laser (VCSEL) technology
    • Versatile with a fifth colour station providing clear and white toner
    • An AC-transfer system and elastic fusing belt technology. Enhanced output on a variety of heavily textured media such as vellum and linen
    • High media support up to 360gsm
    • Backed by Ricoh’s TCRU program (Trained Customer Replaceable Units), which enables customers to replace more than a dozen parts for increased uptime


  • Book printing again in the firing line of competition

     The remaining parallel import restrictions on books are under threat as the Competition Policy Review weighs up how technology and buying over the internet make it easy to circumvent restrictions.

    Book printers are facing another round of questions as to the viability of Australia’s parallel import regulations (PIRs) as Ian Harper delivers a draft report that encourages doing away with most restrictions to competition. Submissions to the Competition Policy Review from the Australian National Retailers Association highlight how the advances in technology, especially the rise of Amazon and such international book warehouses as Fishpond, make it difficult for local bookstores to compete. It argues the increased use of technology and shifting book purchase practises mean that international competitors easily circumvent the parallel import restriction.

    In its submission to the Review, Printing Industries argues that the 2012 Book Industry Strategy Group dealt with this problem. That Group produced a report on how digital technologies are changing the way books, both printed and digital, are produced and delivered. It recommended a reduction of the PIRs from 30/90 days to 14/14 days. (Previously Australian territorial rights holder had to release a book in Australia within 30 days of its publication elsewhere in the world, and ensure resupply within 90 days.)

    This voluntary arrangement has been in place for just over 12 months and Printing Industries believes it should be given additional time before any consideration is given to amending the current parallel importing provisions in the Copyright Law.

    It said the implementation of this code and a range of other recommendations have led to significant investment in new printing equipment based on the assumption that the existing regulatory arrangements will be maintained for a reasonable period.

    According to the ANRA e-books are largely imported from overseas distributors such as Amazon and not covered by the restriction. Online stores that can directly ship books from overseas to customers, can circumvent the restrictions because the sale occurs overseas and not in Australian, even though the customer is located here.

    The draft report noted there is some support in submissions for moving to the New Zealand position where all restrictions on parallel import caused by statute have been abolished. Parallel importation restrictions, where publishers have a window to print locally before facing international competition, are described as ‘effectively an anachronism of a pre-digital age.’


  • What I did on my Spring break – in Hawaii

    Old surfers never die, they just get waterlogged and sink slowly into the waves. But not JDA’s Chris Gander, he’s over in Hawaii teaching the locals how it’s done.

    Chris Gander, of JDA Melbourne, is surfing a wave of success in Hawaii and what’s morehe’s showing the youngsters how it’s done!

    While running a busy recruitment office in Melbourne, Chris still finds time to indulge his passion as a surfing instructor – seen here hard at work in his other office – just off the coast of Hawaii.

    Chris was stopped by a local reporter, and when interviewed, said, “Not many people realize just how stressful surfing instruction actually is. I was pleased to get back to print recruitment, in Melbourne, just to relax!”

  • Election battle hots up at Printing Industries

    Unfamiliar territory for peak industry body as members from Tasmania, Victoria, Queensland and NSW all vie to sit on the national board.

    The contested seats are drawing a line between what President David Leach describes as a progressive and a conservative faction, or ‘between those who want to continue the changes already underway and those who want things to stay the way they were.” With nominations now closed the stage is set for what is looming as one of the most significant elections for the Association in years.

    David Leach, President and Look Print CEO.

    Unlike previous elections where members sometimes had to be cajoled to take up the responsibility of sitting on the governing board, this time around there are more candidates than positions available. Candidates putting themselves forward in opposition to the incumbent are contesting two state seats, one each in Queensland and Tasmania. In Queensland Susan Heaney, (Heaneys Performers In Print), former Printing Industries president and current deputy president, is facing a challenge from Tom Eckersley (Print Approach), while Tasmanian incumbent, Bob Yates, (Huon Valley News) is fighting off competition from Craig Pearce (Flying Colours).

    In addition, there are three candidates for the two national positions; Roy Aldrich (Eastern Studios) Victoria, Kiernan May (Accross Business,) ACT and Chris Segert (Permanent Press) NSW have all put their names forward for election by nationwide vote.

    The nominations follow an unsuccessful attempt to modify the constitution to make it impossible for a member to stay on the board indefinitely. The motion, although passed by the national committee, was declared unconstitutional on legal advice.

    The national board has assumed greater importance in recent years following the dissolution of state bodies in favour of a single representative committee.

    There is one member elected from each state  – SA and NT are one and ACT is now part of NSW – with two national positions elected by general suffrage. There are no challenges to incumbents Graham Jamieson (Picton Press) Western Australia, Peter Lane (Lane Print Group) South Australia, Stephen Edwards (Snap Group) NSW or Ross Black (BJ Ball) Victoria.

    Sweeping changes to the make-up and membership of Printing Industries have undoubtedly ruffled some feathers. Management changes, especially within Victoria have also caused some alienation, even as the Association has tapped into increased Federal Government funding to the tune of $11 million for its Future Print initiative.

    Bill Healy, CEO, would not comment on the election saying it is a matter for the members to decide. David Leach, as president, is under no such constraint and is openly backing Susan Heaney, Chris Segaert, Kiernan May and Craig Pearce in the contested seats.

    “These are people who can make a difference. I’m proud that the board will represent the majority of members rather than special interests. Craig Pearce of Flying Colours operates a small-to-medium size company, the same as most of our members. He has already demonstrated dedication to the industry.  Susan, Chris and Kiernan are all part of the changes that have already occurred. It would be a shame to lose that experience.”

    Ballots are being posted to the members across Australia for return by 8 October.