Archive for November, 2014

  • Starleaton keeps Rapid customers printing

    The ongoing stoush between Australian label press manufacturer, Rapid, and Memjet, the US-owned corporation selling the micro-inkjet printheads, has resulted in local printers running perilously short of supplies.

    With Memjet refusing to supply ink to Rapid, Australian and New Zealand printers with the popular locally manufactured memjet-powered engines were directed to apply directly to the Canadian-based RTI Digital for supplies. Starleaton, one of the largest suppliers to the wide-format sector in Australia is the local agent for RTI, importing its Vortex range of memjet-powered label printers.

    In response to requests from a number of increasingly desperate local label printers, Starleaton has imported a substantial amount of compatible inkjet cartridges and has begun supplying the Rapid customers. According to Ben Eaton, general manager Starleaton, the supplies will continue to be delivered at or near the original price quoted by Rapid, even though it is well below the recommended Memjet benchmark.

    “I’m not across all that has gone on between Nick Mansell of Rapid and Memjet. It’s obviously a very complicated dispute. My concern now is to keep the customers supplied with ink and consumables so they can continue printing. Many of them were running very low and at least one printer had run out completely,” said Eaton.

    If the dispute between Rapid and Memjet is resolved in the future, Eaton says he is quite happy to hand back all the Rapid customers. There are between 45 and 50 Rapid–Memjet customers in Australia and New Zealand, with up to 280 worldwide.

    Nick Mansell confirms that negotiations between himself and the Americans have not progressed to resolution yet. He can give no clear reason for the bitter dispute and the subsequent boycott by Memjet of Rapid and its customers. Nick Mansell maintains strongly that his company, the first manufacturer in the world to launch a memjet-powered label press, is being very unfairly treated.

    (For an in-depth review of the situation read Andy McCourt here.)

    Industry observers speculate that Memjet’s attempts to charge more for its patented ink, with Rapid resisting the price rise, preferring to sell more machines to the production sector, may be at the bottom of the dispute.  With Memjet refusing to reveal why it has cut off the Australian manufacturer, and Mansell maintaining he does not know what the problem is, that must remain as speculation.

    The RTI ink cartridges imported by Starleaton are equipped with compatible chips for the Rapid machines, even though Mansell maintains this is restricted IP.

    The two local suppliers are in discussion to devise a solution to the supply problem that neither is responsible for creating. As Starleaton looks to engage further with the label sector, Eaton is keen to work with Mansell on ways to incorporate Rapid finishing equipment with the Vortex machines.

    Australian commonsense and cooperation is likely to be the best bet for resolving the issue for local customers.

     

     

     

  • Issue 666 – WEEKEND SPECIAL 28 November 2014

    It’s easy to make the argument that corporations are psychotic. Although regarded in the US as having the rights of individuals, less so here, they can have no empathy with people. The behaviour that results is mostly softened by good people working within the organisations, but sometimes it’s not. Take Memjet and its treatment of Rapid for instance.

    You are one of more than 7000 industry professionals across Australia and New Zealand reading Print21.

    Have a good weekend.

    Patrick Howard
    Publishing Editor

  • Digitalpress railroads out of Devonshire St

    The railway is going to run right outside Theo Pettaras’ door when the NSW Dept of Transport goes ahead with a new light rail system. There’ll be jack hammering and ripping up of concrete, dust and lots of vibrations in downtown Surry Hills. But Digitalpress won’t be there. The award-winning printer has a one-way ticket to new premises in Young St, Waterloo.

    “We’re bursting at the seams here and after ten years it’s time for another move and another press,” said Pettaras. “With a new press and new premises, I’m looking forward to the opportunity to reposition ourselves.”

    Always the print evangelist, Theo Pettaras.

    Widely recognised as one of the most innovative printers in the industry, Pettaras is upgrading to a Kodak NexPress 3900 when he makes the move in two weeks to the larger premises near trendy Dank Street. Undeterred by the logistics he reckons he’ll be up and running by the New Year with practically no downtime.

    “It’s the next phase in how we position ourselves in the marketplace. It’s not about being bigger, but being better. We’re taking the opportunity to look at what we’ve done well over the years and focus on developing that,” he said. “We’ll learn from our mistakes and improve. We’re not going to be a commodity printer.”

    Pettaras is excited about his new Nexpress 3900, bigger, faster and incorporating the latest software system. It will kick start a new phase where Digitalpress will be able to handle a lot more of its formerly offset work in-house. An economy mode with lower resolution allows the NexPress to compete with offset over longer print runs more cost effectively.

    “It can also print in RGB mode, which is amazing quality,” he said. “I reckon it’s 25 per cent better quality.”

    Always a pioneer in printing techniques and marketing Pettaras reveals that he closed down the Digitalpress automated web2print portal six weeks ago. Despite being a pioneer in the channel, the experience was that customers would use the site to obtain a quote but would not complete, preferring to get on the phone and quote the web price.

    “You can do $7 business cards if there is no involvement but you can’t operate at that price in a one-off order over the phone. We found that our customers still wanted B2C touch points when ordering print,” he said.

    As always Pettaras is deeply engaged with the design community, currently promoting an A3 poster design competition that makes a feature of  white ink capability and BJ Ball’s Colorplan paper. He hopes all the upheaval of the move will be well behind him by the time the winner is awarded at a function in Oxford street in February.

     

     

  • Printing at the border of tomorrow

    Thomson’s GraphiPress could easily be mistaken for an old-fashioned regional printing company. It has a family-owned heritage, the Heidelberg press out the back and a local client list; it even has its own finishing and laminating equipment in response to the distance from major centres where these processes can be outsourced. 

    But under Donald Thomson’s astute and determined stewardship, GraphiPress is no relic of a bygone age; rather it’s a model of how printing and printers are adapting to the new world.

    There are not many HP Indigo presses close to the Murray River border between Victoria and NSW. This is old school offset country with a little bit of digital ‘lite’ thrown in. The closest HP Indigo installation is at Wagga Wagga, where school photo book operator, MSP Photography, operates two machines, supplying albums nationwide.

    Now there is another in Albury, the border town on the Hume Highway where Donald Thomson runs his family printing company, GraphiPress. He’s just installed an HP Indigo 3550 from the Currie Group  in the space where his prepress equipment used to sit. He’s also sprung for a Fujifilm Acuity 1600 LED wide-format that sits alongside in what has become the new digital printing centre of the business.

    This type of technology investment is a big call for a regional printer but then Thomson knows that his country customers, the so-called  ‘cow cockies,’ are getting smarter in their own marketing, influenced by digital technology and demanding new and better ways of communicating with their customers.

    He relates how his bloodstock clients used to order 2000 catalogues for the stud sales twice a year, detailing the full complement of bull’s semen available that season. Now they are looking at shorter, more targeted runs, dedicated to certain breeds and targeted to buyers with an interest in those breeds. This is digital printing country and Thomson is keen to develop ways of adding more value for his customers.

    The same is happening with local wineries, which are enjoying a lot of success. As he tells it, they’re also family owned and run but the children have gone away to university and come back with business or marketing degrees. They’re fired up to improve the labels, keen to do direct marketing in short runs. Again, digital printing country but importantly it has to be HP Indigo quality when it comes to presenting the brand.

    Two sides of the digital border

    There are two parts to the GraphiPress business at Kiewa Street in Albury. Out the back there is a spacious, spotlessly clean offset printing factory with a Heidelberg 52 eight-colour as the power plant. Away from the urban pressures it’s possible for the printers to enjoy an airy, environment with lots of space. There are no health and safety problems here.

    This is the conventional printing business, the same as his father ‘Thommo’ operated for years; the same as many of his peers in Albury. But Thomson is acutely aware that it’s difficult to differentiate or add value to offset printing; price competition rules. There may no longer be the “gigantic battles” for the few headline jobs such as the local bank’s annual reports, but it’s a tough market in a town such as Albury.

    New technology at GraphiPress attracts HP Indigo operator Tristan Ivanku (front) to work with Donald Thomson.

    After 30 years in the business, 13 since he took it over from his father, he’s working on a time-line plan for the business, a strategy that takes into account the forces shaping the printing industry. It is no longer the industry his father operated in. He believes the concept of craft is lost for much of the work now, but takes pride in the industry knowledge still used within the business that won GraphiPress a Gold Pica for a six-colour brochure.

    Print smarter, not more

    It is as if he has two printing businesses; offset and digital, with different prospects and destinies. The rise of the internet hub printers, such as CMYKhub and LEP makes the prospect of buying another offset press even more remote. Such a huge investment would distort the company’s operations at a time when it is imperative to print smarter, not necessarily print more.

    With customers arriving at the front counter asking for a better way of doing business, the question asked now is no longer ‘how much print do you want? But rather ‘what are you trying to achieve?’

    GraphiPress is on its way to being a marketing partner with its customers, just like any go-ahead contemporary printing business in the metropolitan areas. Donald Thomson and his wife Leanne, are part of the transformation of the printing industry, proving you don’t need to be a big city printer to be at the cutting edge.

  • JDA Recruitment moves into Queensland

    It just got easier for printers to find industry professionals in Brisbane as well as people looking to work in printing to find a job.

    Industry veteran, Geoff Curtis, ex-McMillan Printing and Fergies, has hung out the JDA Recruitment shingle in the northern capital and has already placed a number of candidates in good jobs. He’s particularly focused on the burgeoning signage industry while keeping on top of movement in the commercial mainstream.

    According to JDA honcho, James Cryer, he brings a wealth of recruitment knowledge to the role, having hired and fired staff over the past 30 years. He recently returned from a management stint in New Guinea.

    Geoff Curtis

    “With his expertise across all functional roles, Geoff has a focus on recruitment positions such as general management, production, logistics, customer service, marketing, sales and finance,” said Cryer in welcoming the extension of the JDA franchise to Queensland.

    According to Curtis, while the labour market is tight in Brisbane there are still some sections with growth. “Most printers are fairly cautious at present. They see reports of businesses closing all the time. But we’re expanding our focus into the signage industry where there is plenty of activity,” he said.

    He maintains there has never been a really professional employment service for the printing industry in Queensland. He extends an invitation to all Brisbane printing companies to get in touch when they next need a qualified professional.

  • Gulati powers up 1st Heidelberg carbon neutral press

    Print Bound is now running its new Speedmaster XL106-6+LXLEUV at the old GEON site in Mt Waverly as it ramps up work to fill the 18,000 sheets per hour UV giant.

    According to Naresh Gulati, the go-ahead print entrepreneur who is investing heavily in his bid to be one of the major producers in Melbourne, the press gives his company a distinct advantage in being able to pass on green credentials to like-minded environmental customers. It came on line yesterday (25 November) and is sitting alongside his Heidelberg SM 102 6/6 perfector as well as a CD74 five-colour plus coater.

    By offsetting the CO2 used in the manufacture of the press to a reforestation project in the African country of Togo, Heidelberg claims it’s the only manufacturer that can certify the entire process as being carbon neutral. The total amount of carbon dioxide used in extracting raw materials, to manufacturing and testing the press as well as transporting it from Germany to Print Bound is taken into account in line with the provisions of the Kyoto Protocol.

    This is the first of the carbon neutral presses to be installed in Australia and Gulati forwards a list of the enviro-friendly technologies he believes will make a difference not only to the operation of the press but to environmentally conscious customers. He invites anyone in the industry to come along and check it out.

    • The press is equipped with Wallscreen and Power meters, so Print Bound will be able to show actual KW electrical consumption live and per job.
    • The machine has the new Heidelberg UV system, which is 33% more power efficient than the previous model and is also adaptable to ozone free and high reactive inks for energy curing reduction.
    • It is the first in Australia to use the new Heidelberg heat recovery system to recycle hot air back through the dryers instead of channelling it out of the pressroom, this means better efficiency, lower power consumption as you don’t need to generate the hot air again; big electricity savings for customer
    • The press uses the GATF and PIA awarded Inpress control. We see consistently waste sheet reductions of 100-200 sheets when using this device. This again reduced the CO2 footprint of the customer as well as reduces energy consumption and waste consumption.
    • It is equipped with Cleanstar for powder and dust particle removal. This can remove 80% of the powder from the delivery, giving better air quality in the pressroom not to mention down time reduction for cleaning.
    • The CombiStar Pro-Dampening supply and chillers for oscillating rollers allows IPA free printing, as well as Filterstar which means you don’t need to dump the fountain solution monthly instead ever 4-6months. This alcohol free system reduces waste collection/water recycling and VOC emission
    • The new main drive is 8% more energy efficient compared to older models.

      Arrival of a new era in greeen printing: Richard Timpson, MD Heidelberg ANZ with the Print Bound team; Kulbir Tumber, CIO, Mauro Mattarucco, Director, Ian Leckie, Manager QA, Naresh Gulati in full Movember Avatar and (front) Mark Tomasini Director – Environment and Retail

  • PMP prepares for heat-set takeovers & megers

    Region’s largest printer is back in the black as a result of concentrating on doing what it does best – printing and distributing retail catalogues.

    Declaring a return to profit and signalling the company will be debt-free by 2017, a remarkably rejuvenated PMP is not only preparing to give money back to its shareholders after next year in dividends and/or share buybacks but it’s building a war chest for the upcoming consolidation battles it expects to see take place in the high-end heat-set web market.

    'PMP made considerable progress on a number of fronts,' Matthew Bickford-Smith.

    In his presentation to the AGM, chairman Bickford-Smith, said the company was now in a far stronger financial position after two years of maximising cash flow and significantly reducing debt. Intimating there will be no major equipment purchases, he said there are only relatively minor opportunities for PMP to invest in its own businesses and besides, these are already budgeted for.

    However he did identify a sector shakeup as a major opportunity for which the company must be ready. The more significant opportunity, to participate in the rationalisation of the Australian heatset market has not yet presented itself. While there has been some potential consolidation within the heatset market, as yet nothing of any significance has been consummated. As we have said before, consolidation is necessary. We are sure some form of rationalisation will occur and we are ready to access each opportunity if and when they present themselves.

     (The un-consummated consolidation he is talking about is undoubtedly the lapsed merger earlier this year between IPMG and Blue Star, the second and third largest players in the sector.)

    'Cost base and financial risk substantially reduced,' Peter George.

    The quite buoyant presentation this year is in stark contrast to the seemingly endless years of loss and growing debt. It comes after the appointment of Peter George as chief executive and managing director. As the architect of the company’s transformation programme he identified clear strategy and disciplined execution [as] achieving the anticipated results. He claims the three phase transformation strategy had delivered cost savings that cushioned the impact of the revenue decline in the print business.

    Operating revenue in 2014 was down 7.8% to $899.2 million from $975.8 million the year before. With earnings (EDITDA) of $63.4 million he is forecasting a reduction next year to $56 million.

    He expects print prices to remain subdued given the influence of the industry’s over capacity even as magazine print volumes have rebounded slightly from last year’s decreased numbers in the first quarter. However, catalogue numbers are down this year and paginations are variable reflecting retail conditions.

    PMP’s distribution arm, Gordon & Gotch suffered a volume drop of 5.3% in 2014, mainly due to reduced magazine circulation. However unaddressed volumes were up 12% as major retail customer increased their use of catalogues.

    He identified the use of a more flexible workforce in print, with the company better managing peak times with casual workers.

    Printing margins are also under pressure in NZ even as PMP claims an increase in market share. The sheetfed operation is gaining traction offsetting heatset reductions. Heatset volumes continue to decline in the first quarter 2015. Community newspapers provided a bright spot with increased volumes.

     

  • How to win at the NPA – 4 tips from the top

    Luke Wooldridge, chairman of judges for the 32nd National Print Awards gives the good oil on what printers should look out for when submitting entries into next year’s competition.

    Newly consolidated categories and a shift back to direct entry means the judging panel will need to deal with about three times the number of entries they’ve seen in previous years. If you want to stand out in the crush there are a number tips to which you should pay attention.

    “We’ve put together a group of experienced people with wide-ranging expertise across all aspects of the industry, and we’ll be dividing them into two groups, each with a specialist focus, to deal with the various categories,” he explains, adding that the two panels will operate side by side, with members from each available to the other if additional expertise is required.

    “As most people know, the judging is done ‘blind’ – that is, with no details about the entry available to the judges – but occasionally a job is recognised by a judge, who will then excuse him or herself from evaluating that category. If that happens, or if extra expertise is required in a particular instance, each panel can call on the other for assistance. I’ll also be floating between the two panels to be an extra set of eyes, or provide additional, non-identifying information on entries if required.”

    Anyone who has been involved in judging State or National Print Awards over the past 30 years will tell you that there are often entries which miss out on selection for a medal due to easily-avoided errors – but this year, Wooldridge says, the aim is to ensure no worthy job misses out on medalling due to an oversight.

    “The first tip is not to leave your selection of entries until the last minute,” he advises. “Take time now to have a look through the jobs you’ve produced during the eligibility period, which commenced on 1 September 2013 and runs right through till entries close – and carefully select a couple of samples of each worthy job to enter in the National Print Awards.

    “Secondly, if at all possible, send two copies, as we will always check a second sample if we find a problem with the first that appears not to be the fault of the printer or print finisher, and take care with the way you present and package the job, as this can affect the condition and, hence, the competitiveness of your sample.

    “Third, always double check your entries before submitting them, as the tiniest flaw in printing or finishing in just one of the samples can be enough to disqualify an otherwise perfect job,” he says. “Get out your eye glass and use it – you can be sure the judges will!”

    Fourth, once samples have been selected, Wooldridge says the entry form should be carefully and accurately completed, with as much detail as possible on the production, any difficulties or challenges, details of all parties involved and notes of any embellishment, special effects or other enhancements required by the customer.

    Each entry will be assessed by at least two judges, who will check every printed surface in the job looking for perfect registration, a complete absence of hickeys or other faults, fault-free trapping and reverse areas, perfect page line-up and continuity, consistency of colour, absence of set-off, scuffing, scratches or other marks. In digital work, jobs will be checked for banding, gloss differentiation, guide marking, adhesion wicking and bleed, while solvent-based systems will be scrutinised for filling in, tailing, dot skipping and especially mottle.

    “Surprisingly, it’s often the most basic things that disqualify entries – for example, mis-registration is the most common fault in all categories and poor finishing often eliminates an otherwise perfect print job – yet it’s so easy to avoid these problems or pick them up in a sample.”

    This year’s judges have also been advised that they may consider other aspects such as the quality of image preparation, bleed and plate fit, the accuracy and quality of the finishing, the cleanliness and precision of embellishment and the degree of difficulty and skill require to produce the job.

    “At the end of the day, all of these elements together are the real evidence of good print management, skill and quality systems,” Wooldridge says. “Consistently producing excellent print work takes much more than good luck – and so does winning a Gold at the National Print Awards!”

    Entries to this year’s National Print Awards close on 12 December and winners will be announced at the National Print Awards Presentation Dinner in Sydney on Friday 15 May, 2015. Details on how to enter can be found at www.nationalprintawards.com.au or on one of the entry forms which are currently circulating in the industry.

     

     

  • What went wrong – Alan King on OnDemand

    Every printing business failure brings its own list of causalities. Suppliers are more often than not part of the equation. Alan King, Rilecart Binding Supplies, escaped with little damage from OnDemand. He shares some thoughts on the the problem.

    I think your article on 17th November lets Bruce off just a little too lightly when you refer to him as “giving it away”

    I was present at the creditors meeting where he put forward an impressive and I guess damning list of reasons for the failure of OnDemand, including poor advice and diligence on DPA, over capitalization to meet technical advances, thinly capitalized, poor costing system, margin pressures and low margin, difficult jobs, weak financial systems and bad advice and his obvious poor health.  In hindsight a pathway to failure.

    From a supplier’s point of view this, and other all too often business failures, point to the dilemma we all face ­– when do you take action to tighten credit, ask for cash, or simply stop supply? It’s clearly a balance between what we are told, which is often very optimistic and on occasions sadly, totally misleading, what the industry is telling us and our wish to support owners and employees who we have known for a long time. And of course, not giving up business to our competitors. Decisions which are not easy  – and there are few of us that get it right all the time.

    So yet another creditors meeting with a grim faced audience and a ‘no funds available to pay creditors’ message from the chair. Surely the most common paragraph in any liquidator’s computer.

    I must wish Michael Wu well – OnDemand has great potential and the employees, who were/are owed over $1m in entitlements, deserve a break.

     

  • Issue 665 – 26 November 2014

    There’s good money to be made in printing – don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. It’s a cash generating business with the widest scope of customers. But times are tough, so only those who pay strict attention to the fundamentals will survive and thrive. I give you PMP, back making money after years in the wilderness.

    You’re one of over 7000 industry professionals reading Print21 across Australia and New Zealand.

    Patrick Howard
    Publishing editor

  • Mitch Mulligan backs up again for GAMAA

    Russell Cavanagh is confirmed in the Vice President role in the Graphic Arts Merchant’s Association of Australia at the group’s biennial retreat, held this year at Bowral, NSW.

    It’s back to the future for the popular managing director of Bottcher Australia who last held the role of GAMAA President in 2008. He takes the role for two years during which time the Association will oversee the PrintEx trade exhibition in Homebush next May.

    On accepting his appointment Mr. Mulligan said he was thrilled to once again be named President.  “I am honoured to be voted in as President and to continue to play an active role in the Association. As we head into PrintEx15 the GAMAA members will be working together with the PrintEx Board to ensure we present a relevant, exciting trade show for our industry”.

    “These are challenging, but exciting times and the enthusiasm, experience and dedication of the GAMAA members is testament to the value the Association provides not only for its member companies, but the industry at large,” said Mulligan.

    The members of the GAMAA Executive Board were also announced at the Retreat. The returning members are Ian Martin (Ferag), David Procter (Konica Minolta), Luke Wooldridge (Kodak) and Anthony Parnemann (EFI). Richard Timson (Heidelberg) joins the Executive for the first time. Both the President and Vice President are also on the Executive Board.

  • PrintEx

    Every four years Sydney gets its graphic art exhibition. This time around, due to the demolition of Darling Harbour, it’s taking place out at Homebush in the Sydney Showground.

    Co-sharing with Visual Impact, it will be the largest trade show for the industry for a couple of years, until PackPrint in Melbourne  in 2017. A good roll up of brands, suppliers, equipment, technology and visiting overseas experts will make it the place to be.

    The National Print Awards is on at the same time, so there’ll be extra reasons to come along.

    There will be  over 4,000 square metres of state-of-the-art equipment and technology on display, you won’t want to miss out. Save the dates in your diary now. It’s your show.

    Get access to industry leading education, unique networking opportunities and over 120 exhibitors showcasing state-of-the-art equipment and technology.

    Registration opens in early 2015

    Co-located with Visual Impact Expo. Please note that you will need to register for each expo individually to gain access to these events.  

  • Future Print gives focus to Openbook Howden

    New management team get greater clarity from signing on to Future Print Business Transformation Project. One year into running the company, Sarah Leo and Michael Richards are finding the right kind of motivation in their new roles

    In June 2103, the owners of Openbook Howden, Ashley Richards and Keith Kemp, stepped back from their involvement and appointed Michael and Sarah to take over the business, as part of a carefully planned business transition.

    With plenty of experience in the company, the two hit the ground running but found their involvement in the Future Print Business Transformation Project, which started nearly six months ago, has really helped them in setting goals and finding the right kind of motivation in their new roles.

    Sarah Leo and Michael Richards … top team at Openbook Howden

    Michael, who handles the operational aspects of the business, says the two were immediately impressed with what they heard at the initial Leadership Briefing meeting for the newly-launched project, and quickly recognised that it would provide them with low or no-cost access to the types of services that could be very valuable in helping them manage and grow their business.

    “We have always had ambitious plans for Openbook Howden and had plenty of ideas about what we might do, but actually refining those ideas, evaluating them, and then putting them into action in an operational sense, is always a challenge. Future Print has given us information, resources and assistance which is helping us do just that,” he says.

    Individual consultations with their Future Print Advisor Mark Ryan, who the pair credit with much of the value they have gained from the program, have been broad ranging and have included counselling on issues from how to increase efficiency and reduce costs, to marketing and sales strategies, human resources and strategic planning.

    “One of the things Mark has highlighted to us is the value of certain types of information which we really didn’t bother accessing or evaluating before,” Michael says. “Now, we know that there is information which we can use to grow our business and we are maximizing its benefit.

    “When you are implementing change on any level, it’s critical that you ensure everyone knows what is happening and that you are bringing your team along with you. The Business Transformation Project has given us some great strategies and practices to ensure that happens.”

    Sarah, who is in charge of marketing and business development, agrees.

    “We were very fortunate in that we had good infrastructure and resources, and already had a good idea of the direction we wanted to head in,” she explains, “but working with Mark has helped us refine our plans and ideas and then focus on the work we need to do to achieve those results.

    “It’s easy to get caught up in the day to day of running a business, so having a mentor there with you, coaching, encouraging and giving you a bit of a push when you need it is extremely valuable – it has helped us put the detail into our plans, provided a sounding board for ideas and given us the motivation to put plans into action without procrastinating.”

    Already, the company is working on some complementary offerings which it hopes will increase the value it offers to clients and, critically, broaden its revenue base, and as well as developing their own team of experienced professionals is also looking to bring in fresh talent to help expand these new areas.

    “Clients today expect much more from us – they expect advice, they expect us to be able to deliver a wider range of services. They don’t see us as ‘just a printer’, they are looking to us as more of an adviser and partner in their communications efforts.

    “The Future Print Business Transformation Project has not only given us greater clarity and focus, it has helped us develop our strategic plans, take positive action and effectively manage the changes necessary to push the boundaries of our business and set a strong course for the future.”

     

  • Sponsored News: Offset Plates—A System, Not Just a Piece of Metal. Fujifilm Blog

    As the number of establishments using offset plates reduces, plate volumes remain stable or show slight increases due to the proliferation of multi-unit presses, shorter print runs performed more frequently and vast improvements in the time it takes to change-over plates, or make ready as it is known.

    The SRA3 plate market is the one most affected by digital printing. Digital presses offering duplexed 2-up A4 printing on-demand without the use of offset plates, have almost replaced the old ‘small offset’ market. Most quick printing outlets today have waved goodbye to their AB Dicks, Iteks, TOKs and even GTOs in favour of digital cut sheet presses from manufacturers such as Fuji Xerox. Having said that, there is still a strong stalwart community of ‘52cm’ press users where the delights of digital are not needed. Heidelberg has even given its 52cm press range ‘Speedmaster’ functionality, plus anilox, and dropped GTO altogether.

    The B2, or 4-up, sheet size market is different and only recently have we seen digital versions in this format. The B2 sheet is the most widely used in the offset printing industry and, therefore, plate sales are still robust. B1 (8-up) and larger presses are of course still the exclusive domain of offset, perhaps until Drupa 2016 when we may possibly see commercialization of Landa Nanographic machines.

    So, the offset plate market has changed dramatically in the past 10 years. Like all sectors of the imaging industry, plates have had to keep up with technology demands. Computer to plate making, without the use of a film negative or positive, is one of the biggest change-agents. Environmental demands to reduce chemical and energy use is another. Platerooms, once an alchemist’s labyrinth of darkrooms, toxic fumes, chemicals, films and light sources are now so clean they can be in an office environment.

    These advancements have changed offset plates from simple pieces of imaged metal—the ‘final interface’ between ink and paper—to part of a sophisticated system designed to take page data, usually PDF, transform it into printable signatures and finally output onto digitally imaged plates that can be either thermal (IR) or violet in sensitivity—both extremes of the visible spectrum.

    The Plate System Explained

    Printers today do not frequently chop-and-change between plate suppliers due to this holistic system approach. The ‘system’ should include:

    A workflow that does justice to the final plate output and takes in functions such as trapping, imposition, dot gain, colour management, rendering, overprints, spot colours, coatings and the increasingly popular ‘ganged up’ printing where multiple jobs are printed on one sheet, minimizing paper waste.

    The CTP machine and Rip. The CTP device will be imaging either thermally activated or light-activated silver halide plates. The laser or LEDs need to be adjusted to perfectly match the plates being imaged.

    Proofing: whether hard copy proofs or measured on-screen ‘soft’ proofs are used, clients mostly want to approve the job before printing. Knowing plate characteristics will enable more accurate proofing.

    The plate processor or ‘processless’ sub-system. Even plates that use no or low chemistry to develop and fix the image use water. Minimising water usage and, in a low-chemistry situation, replenishers, not only reduces environmental impacts but can save sizeable amounts of money. Processless plates that come out of the CTP and are mounted straight onto the press, bypassing the processing stage, are increasingly popular, but they still require washing-out of the non-image area, something that is accomplished with a balanced fount solution and a few initial sheets. Again, the system approach will ensure efficient washout and on-press performance.

    All plates will of course work in various workflows, with different Rips and with different brands of compatible CTP. The difference with a ‘system’ approach is that there is always a support structure that takes responsibility for the whole process—to set plate production up correctly and to keep it at peak performance.

    Plate trials are perhaps the best way to assess whether a new system will deliver the required benefits. Three Australian Printers—Worldwide Printing, Terry Howe Printing and Ink On Paper—discovered this when they were experiencing problems with their processless plates. Their stories can be seen here.

    One comment from Terry Howe reads: “We changed over to Fujifilm Pro-T3 plates and have not looked back. Our production is back into full flight, and when we receive new consignments of plates, the batch-to-batch variance is minimal. Even the way the Pro-T3 plates are packaged is sturdier so they remain flat and easier to handle.”

    There are many such stories where printers have successfully accessed the systemized, analytical approach to using offset plates instead of just purchasing boxes of sensitized grained aluminium sheets.

    As with the human body and medicine, the ‘Holistic’ approach works best for plates, too.

     Read more Fujifilm Graphics Blogs here

  • Issue 664 – 19 November 2014

    Pushing back against the marketing industry’s sometimes blind fascination with all things digital at the expense of printing requires more than propaganda. The digisphere is here to stay and printing has to find ways of becoming an essential part of the conversation. The launch of Printid from Digital Logic makes excellent sense. And in the same week comes Allkotes with its App. How good is that?

    Tim Woods is the keeper of the knowledge concerning the pulp and paper industries, and therefore, by default, he knows how the printing industry is tracking.

    You’re one of over 7000 industry professionals reading Print21 across Australia and New Zealand.

    Patrick Howard
    Publishing editor

  • Printid App ties direct mail into the digisphere

    Integrating DM as part of a digital marketing campaign just got a whole lot easier as pioneering printer, Digital Logic, creates Printid, an App for the world.

    At last week’s Salesforce conference in Sydney’s Town Hall, Paul McGarity, managing director of Digital Logic Marketing Solutions and DM digital print pioneer, unveiled the Printid App to the marketing industry.

    As a part of the worldwide Salesforce Marketing Cloud, Printid captured the attention of over 250 print-buying marketing companies on the day, encouraging McGarity and justifying his faith in its considerable investment.

    Great marketing minds: Malcolm Auld with Paul McGarity at the Salesforce conference.

    Addressing a potential audience of many millions of marketers around the world, Printid is poised to become a critical part of the printing industry’s infrastructure. Although the strategy is to create an international franchise of licensed printers, Printid is already taking on a life of its own as Salesforce Marketing Cloud members test its functionality.

    Designed to integrate DM content from digital campaigns into one-on-one personalised direct mail campaigns, Printid leverages the McGarity vision of automatically run digital marketing campaigns with an essential printed component. It focuses on engaging the marketing industry, which is by far the largest instigator of printing while partnering with Salesforce, the multi-billion dollar operator of the world’s largest customer relationship management (CRM) platform. Engaging the many millions of users in the Salesforce Marketing Cloud, Printid seeks to maintain a seamless bridge between print and digital marketing campaigns.

    At a time when printing is in danger of being overshadowed by digital communication, McGarity and his partners are pushing back by making it easy to incorporate a print component in every customer’s ‘marketing journey.’ “Printid demonstrates to marketers the ability of direct mail to cut through and expand audiences even as emails are bounced back, or are not opened, or social media fails to engage,” said McGarity. “As part of the Salesforce Marketing Cloud the potential amount of print it can generate is immense.  Printid will  become a gateway for marketing campaigns all over the world.”

    Developed over two years by the team at Digital Logic, including well-known industry IT guru, Elliott Harper, and directed towards the Hub Exchange on Salesforce Marketing Cloud by Terry Messervy, director, Printid is an ambitious gambit to reinforce the place of print direct mail as an essential part of the email eco system.

    Messervy first presented the App at the Salesforce Marketing Cloud Connections conference in Indianapolis USA last month, then at the Salesforce Dreamforce event in San Francisco where 150,000 attendees passed through the event. Commenting on the enthusiastic reception of the App, he said,  “The market has been waiting for a solution that fully integrates the offline and online worlds, allowing them to complete the customer journey seamlessly in a campaign. Printid is that solution.”

    According to Lisa Stark, sales & marketing director at Digital Logic, now the Australian launch is complete, the company will be focusing on the global rollout of Printid, which will include an international print on demand network. “With such a high profile launch of a new technology, we have already been approached by serious investors. We are carefully considering our options. Salesforce has over 25 million users of their platform worldwide. We want to be careful who shares this massive opportunity with us,” she said.

    As the marketing ‘battle for the inbox’ intensifies nearly 10%  of all the 100 billion emails sent every day do not get delivered to the recipients’ inbox and of those that are delivered 70% are not read. Printid is the Australian response, identifying printing as the effective cut-through channel, one that is easily available to the marketers within the Cloud.

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    Picture 1 of 4

    Making the Printid dream a reality, Lisa Stark, Paul McGarity and Jo LeGear.

     

  • Paper falls flatten out but conditions are still tough – Tim Woods Pulp & Paper Edge

    After big declines in the consumption of  printing paper  in each of the previous two years, the market eased back towards stability in 2013-14, falling just 0.5%. Total consumption of printing papers (excluding newsprint) was 1.2 Mt, (million tonnes) down from its peak in 2007-08 of more than 1.5 Mt.

    Despite the apparent respite from long-term industry contraction, few in the printing industry would consider conditions are any better than a year ago. The latest data and intelligence, which is summarized here from IndustryEdge’s annual Pulp & Paper Strategic Review*, helps understand the state of the industry.

    Demand side pressures remain strong

    While the stability of the total consumption figure came as a surprise, other major consumption indicators followed trends and met expectations. For instance, domestically produced paper accounted for just 18.8% of total consumption, continuing a long-term trend.

    Additionally, as Figure 1 shows, consumption of the four major grades of printing papers has varied over the last decade.

    Fig. 1: Australian Apparent Consumption of Printing & Communication Papers by Grade: 2004 – 2014


    Source: ABS & IndustryEdge research and estimates

    Only coated mechanical (CM) papers, for catalogues, brochures and inserts experienced increased consumption over the last decade, having grown at 3.4% per annum over the last decade. The other grades are all in decline, as the table below shows.

    Fig. 2: Printing and Communication Paper Consumption by Main Grade: 2004 and 2014 (‘000t & %)

    Main Grade and End Use

    Consumption Volume (‘000t)

    % Change Per Annum

    2003-04 2013-14
    Coated Mechanical (CM) eg. catalogues

    267.1

    374.1

    3.4

    Uncoated Mechanical (UCM) eg. directories

    240.6

    199.2

    -1.9

    Coated Woodfree (CWF) eg. commercial printing

    400.3

    287.4

    -3.3

    Uncoated Woodfree (UCWF) eg. copy paper

    467.0

    348.4

    -2.9

    Source: ABS & IndustryEdge research and estimates

    Advertising remains the major driver

    Although there are other drivers for changes in consumption of printing papers, the major driver remains advertising expenditure. As Figure 3 shows, advertising in the main print media is now dominated by still growing digital communications.

    Fig. 3: Long Term Advertising Expenditure in the Main Media in Australia: 2003 – 2013 (AUDM)

    Source:

    Just a decade ago, advertising in printed media totaled $6.9 billion and accounted for almost 62% of total advertising expenditure. However, last financial year, total printed media advertising fell to $5.2 billion and accounted for only 35% of the total of all media advertising.

    Clearly expenditure on print advertising is in decline, but even so, opportunities remain. For example, total expenditure on catalogue and brochure advertising is estimated to be the same ($1.7 billion) in 2014, as it was in 2004.

    Local printers keep imports at bay

    By contrast, the value of imported printed material has been largely consistent over the last decade. As the index in Figure 4 shows, to the end of June 2014, Australia’s gross domestic product grew approximately 45%, while the value of imports of printed material grew just 3.8%.

     

    Fig. 4: Printed Material Imports vs GDP: 2004 – 2014 Index (Base: 2004 = 100)

    Source: ABS & Long Term Forecasts Australia, 2014 – 2029 & IndustryEdge estimates

    For the first six years of the decade, local printers appear to have invested heavily. As the data suggests, they been very successful in reducing the amount of Australian work printed offshore. Between 2005-06 and 2008-09, somewhat ominously, the value of work printed overseas rose again, paralleling the growth in the economy. In 2008-09 it grew faster than the economy.

    Overall, Australia’s printers have performed well, keeping imported material at bay, especially in the latter half of the decade.

    Part of the slide in the value of imported printed material is attributable to the strong exchange rate of the Australia dollar. The price of imported material fell in Australian dollar terms through to the last financial year when it depreciated in a healthy and not unexpected manner.

    The unfortunate reality, as IndustryEdge analysis in the latest edition of the Pulp & Paper Strategic Review demonstrates, is that position has been achieved by almost continuous cost competition. This has extended to paper prices, which have crashed across the board, especially since 2009. This is plain to see in Figure 5.

     

    Fig 5.: Australian Comparison of Real Paper Prices of the Main Printing & Communication Grades: MQ’04 – MQ’14: Index (Base: MQ’04 = 100)

    Source: RBA, ABS & IndustryEdge estimates and research

    In real terms, compared with Australia’s gross domestic product, import prices for all grades of printing and communication papers have never been lower than the last two years.

    Prices have fallen by between 44% (uncoated woodfrees) and 53% (light-weight coated mechanicals) over the past decade alone. The greatest decline in the real price has been for coated papers, even though they are the more expensive to manufacture and involve greater value adding.

    Demonstrating the pressures the entire sector has labored under in recent years, average paper prices increased only marginally in the last financial year, despite the almost 10% depreciation of the Australian dollar.

    New opportunities and revised business models

    Despite the circumstances facing print on paper, opportunities remain and in some cases are strong. Latest analysis suggests the top picks are:

    • Further development of catalogues and brochures
    • Directly targeted, personally mailed advertising items
    • High recycled content office papers and general printing
    • Increased direct supplies to end-users, where the supplier’s value proposition is strong enough
    • Capacity rationalisations that improve industry valuations and other forms of vertical integration

    A crisis for one business is an opportunity for the next. There are sufficient opportunities and for the businesses with the right data and information, the likelihood of success is higher.

    IndustryEdge is Australia’s only market research and trade analysis and consulting firm dedicated to the paper, paperboard, pulp and recovered paper sectors. Every month, through Pulp & Paper Edge, IndustryEdge provides subscribers with the pulse of markets, including latest pricing.

    *Each year, IndustryEdge produces the annual Pulp & Paper Strategic Review. The 2014 edition is available now and is the 23rd consecutive annual edition.

    Contact Tim Woods

    +61 3 5229 2470

    +61 419 352 869

    tim@industryedge.com.au