Archive for May, 2015

  • Issue 710 – May 29 2015

    It’s tyre kicking day for fund managers touring the recently-rebranded, multi-million dollar ive Group operation, ahead of what could be the largest stock market float in the Australian printing industry. The printing industry is mainly an owner/operator, small-to-medium size  business industry. There are only a limited number of large companies, even fewer publicly listed ones. If the ive float goes ahead it will be a vote of confidence by the financial sector in printing. You are one of almost 7000 graphics industry professionals reading Print21 across Australia and New Zealand.

    Patrick Howard
    Publishing Editor

  • Switch to mobile claims News Corp’s mX

    News Corp is ditching its free daily newspaper mX, blaming the changing reading habits of commuters. The final edition of the paper, which is handed out at train stations and other commuter locations in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, will appear on Friday, June 12.

    “News confirms the closure of mX in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane,” said a News Corp Australia spokesman. “The decision is a reflection of the changing reading habits of commuters who now turn to their mobile phones and tablets on their way to and from work. The last issue will be June 12 and we will redeploy as many affected staff as we can.”

    News Corp CEO Julian Clarke announced the decision earlier today in an email to staff. “It is always disappointing to see a publication close but after thorough view of MX’s commercial prospects it is clear this is the right decision,” he said. “MX has since its inception in Melbourne in 2001 served a young commuter audience well with its fresh and innovative style. Nevertheless that audience’s swift shift to mobile information and entertainment has made this decision inevitable.”

    The axing comes just weeks after a redesign of the paper – including a new logo and layout as well as a revamped app – resulted in a number of staff redundancies. It’s not yet clear how many more jobs are affected by today’s announcement.

    In Sydney, mX circulation had dropped 21 per cent since March 2012 and in Melbourne it was down 18 percent.


  • HP tops global wide format rankings

    Some of the glow from the recent record-breaking FESPA event has been tempered by a new survey showing that wide format printer shipments were slightly down over the past year.

    According to new data from the US-based International Data Corporation (IDC), global large format printer shipments fell by about 1% year on year in the first quarter of 2015.

    “Some decline in shipments was expected, however, because the speed of wide format printers is increasing, providing the capacity needed to replace older technologies with fewer new units,” said Phuong Hang, Program Director of IDC’s Worldwide Large Format Printer Tracker.

    “The first quarter got the year off to a strong start with key wide format printing technologies like Latex, UV, and Eco-solvent inkjet showing nice growth overall. Latex really stood out in the quarter with shipments up over 55% compared to the first quarter of last year,” said Phuong Hang, Program Director of IDC’s Worldwide Large Format Printer Tracker.

    The IDC produced a ‘top five’ list of the industry’s major global vendors.

    “HP is the top supplier of wide format digital printing systems worldwide. The combination of strength in the CAD/technical market, its dominance in the burgeoning Latex category, and a competitive position in the UV market give HP the top position overall.

    “Canon maintained its strong number 2 position among wide format printer manufacturers with market share of 21% when Canon and Canon-Oce shipments are combined.

    “Epson maintained its position as the number 3 worldwide supplier to the wide format digital printer market. Epson is seeing nice growth in the dye-sublimation and technical printers, and has re-launched its eco-solvent inkjet printer units this spring.

    ‘Roland is the fourth-rated supplier of wide format printers worldwide based on its strength in the eco-solvent market and growing presence in UV and dye-sublimation.

    “Mimaki has grown to become the fifth largest supplier of wide format printing systems worldwide, surpassing Ricoh, which saw a decline in its wide format toner-based printer shipments,” said Hang.

    A recent survey conducted by FESPA found that more than half of 1200 respondents indicated they had plans to buy digital wide format printing equipment.


  • Spandex breaks through the wall

    And the wall came tumbling down.

    The expansion strategy of trade supplier Spandex continues with the Queensland branch adding 350sqm to its warehousing capacity by knocking down a wall between its existing facility and the space it has leased next door.

    “We’re delighted with the extra space and our customers will soon experience the benefits.” said Eugene Quigley, Queensland Branch Manager.  “Now the wall has come down we’ll install fire doors and more racking and then we’ll be ready to roll with 50% more space than previously. This is in response to higher demand for same-day and next-day deliveries.  It’s all about better service for our customers. We pride ourselves in carrying local inventory and since our move into rigid substrates from 3A Composites, more space was needed for boxes 3.2 x 1.6m wide.”

    Earlier this month, Spandex continued is global expansion with the acquisition of Proga Plastics, a well-established Dutch/Benelux supplier of rigid sheet, rod and tube materials for graphics producers. The move adds further rigid media products to Spandex’s portfolio of materials as well as custom cutting capabilities.

    Spandex serves over 30,000 customers in more than 15 countries and is one of the world’s leading trade suppliers to the sign making and display industries. The company specialises in the sales, distribution and support of digital printing, cutting, routing, and laminating systems.

    Spandex Queensland is located at Yatala, about halfway between Brisbane and Southport on the Gold Coast and adjacent to the M1 freeway that connects with regional Queensland markets.

  • Epson’s deal with the (Red) Devils

    Global technology leader Epson has renewed its sponsorship deal with sporting icon Manchester United until the end of the 2017/18 season.

    Man U. stars Robin van Persie, Radamel Falcao and Tyler Blackett

    “We are very excited to renew our global sponsorship agreement with Manchester United,” said Ian Cameron, GM, Brand Communications, at Epson. “The partnership to date has provided us with numerous benefits in key markets such as the office and emerging economies, and the renewal reiterates both organizations’ strong and ongoing commitment to excellence and to helping our customers to achieve their dreams.”

    Epson, one of the leading manufacturers of printers, projectors and scanners, supplies Manchester United – known as the Red Devils – with its equipment throughout the Club’s Old Trafford stadium.

    “Manchester United is very proud of its partnership with Epson,” said Richard Arnold, Manchester United’s Group MD. “The company has shown the innovation and determination to take this name further, breaking into new and emerging markets. We are happy to have played our part in this expansion, introducing its fantastic products to our global fanbase.  This is the second time Epson has extended its relationship with the club – demonstrating the value that partnering with Manchester United brings to both the club and to the partner.”

    Epson’s innovative 3D projector commercial, featuring Manchester United players, has been seen by over 10 million people worldwide.

  • Investors take a closer look at ive

    Geoff Selig, ive Group executive chairman

    Prospective investors have taken a site tour of ive Group’s operations ahead of the company’s planned listing on the ASX on July 1.  The deal is shaping up as the largest stock market play in the industry.

    The private equity-backed ive Group, formerly known as Blue Star Group, is hoping to raise at least $120m from the initial public offering. Fund managers viewed the group’s operations on Friday ahead of a management roadshow early in June and a book build scheduled for June 11.

    The reborn Blue Star plans to debut as a public company on July 1 with a market value of $200m. Bell Potter Securities and Evans and Partners are assisting on the deal, which has been the subject of widespread industry rumour for some time.

    Current owners Wolseley Private Equity and the Selig family will retain about 45 percent once the business is listed – subject to escrow considerations.

    Sydney-based Blue Star launched an aggressive acquisition strategy over the past year before rebranding in April as ive Group, which includes three operating divisions – Blue Star Group, iveo and Kalido.

    The newly minted print and marketing company has shut down all public comment ahead of the planned float. Geoff Selig, ive Group executive chairman, has been unavailable for comment.  A spokesperson said Selig “might be available to comment…in a couple of weeks.”  Blue Star Group CEO Matt Aitken confirmed that there would be “no official comment at this time.”

  • JetConverter for label sector

     Screen GP has launched an advanced multi-purpose label converting line to partner with its Truepress Jet L350UV digital label press.

    The JetConverter L350 is a modular device that can include slitting, die-cutting, matrix stripping, corona treatment, varnish, up to two flexo units, laminate, tinting, cold foil and up to twelve auto-slitting knives. Labels rewound on the JetConverter L350 are finished and ready to ship to customers.

    “We are delighted to offer world-leading label converting technology as the perfect partner for our Truepress Jet,” said Peter Scott, Screen GP Australia Managing Director.  “Because of the unique nature of every label printer’s requirements, JetConverters will be built to order and upgrades can be built in either in the factory or in the field.”

    Screen’s JetConverter L350 matches the Truepress Jet L350UV’s 350mm maximum web width and will take widths down to 200mm. Offline it runs at 64 metres per minute for increased finishing output. When the inline connection is available from June 2015, speed is matched to the press at 50 metres per minute.

    Screen displayed a large backlit image of the JetConverter at the recent PrintEx exhibition, behind the working demonstration of the Truepress Jet L350UV.

    The Screen JetConverter L350 is available through Jet Technologies, who are also distributors of the Screen Truepress Jet L350UV digital label press.

    JetConverter L350





  • Issue 709 – May 27 2015

    Isn’t it always the way? The publishing editor is dragged away for a rare but brief holiday break and the proverbial hits the fan with what looks like the largest stock market play in the history of the industry. Stay tuned.


    You are one of almost 7000 graphics industry professionals reading Print21 across Australia and New Zealand.


    Graham Osborne


  • Blue Star to seek public listing

    Geoff Selig, ive Group executive chairman

    The private equity-backed ive Group, formerly known as Blue Star,  is attempting to list on the stock exchange in what’s shaping up as the largest stock market play in the industry.

    Under the Selig family and Wolseley Private Equity, the reborn Blue Star plans to debut as a public company on July 1 with a market value of $200m.

    Prospective investors will be given a site tour of ive Group’s operations this week ahead of the management roadshow early in June and a book build scheduled for June 11.  The company is hoping to raise at least $120m.

    Bell Potter Securities and Evans and Partners are assisting on the deal. Current owners Wolseley Private Equity and the Selig family will retain about 45 percent once the business is listed – subject to escrow considerations.

    Sydney-based Blue Star launched an aggressive acquisition strategy over the past year before rebranding in April as ive Group, which includes three operating divisions – Blue Star Group, iveo and Kalido.

    Geoff Selig, ive Group executive chairman, has been unavailable for comment.  Blue Star Group CEO Matt Aitken said there would be “no official comment at this time.”






  • Versant 2100 Press a hit with customers

    The high-speed Versant 2100 Press from Fuji Xerox helped to transform operations at Brisbane-based The Print Group.

    “There’s an enormous time-saving, people love the quality and the Versant has definitely opened up new markets for us,” Robert Churchley, Print Group chairman, told Print21.

    Robert Churchley, The Print Group

    “Customers love the quicker turnaround and really notice the improved color consistency and the finishing options, which are fantastic.  It was a big decision to purchase the Versant 2100 in October 2014 but sometimes you just have to jump in and six months later we’re very happy with the result.  We’ve getting through the work quicker, much faster than previously, and it’s not as labor intensive so it’s taken off a lot of pressure.  I would definitely recommend it to others.”

    Fuji Xerox Australia says the Versant 2100 Press and Versant 80 Press have notched up 218 installations since launch in 2014.  Earlier this year, the Versant range won the 2015 Technology Prize awarded by the Japanese Society of Printing Science and Technology for its technology that transports lightweight paper through the toner transfer area in its colour-on-demand publishing systems.

    “The Versant series promotes more results for better business performance,” said Jay Dayley, Solutions Marketing Manager, Hardware, Fuji Xerox Australia. “Buyers are able to expand their opportunities and realise potential with this device. The reliability and increased automation behind Versant presses allows businesses to focus more on management of the organisation rather than manufacturing. With the Versant presses, customer satisfaction is easier to achieve with higher quality requirements and increased speed to meet the urgent nature of jobs.”


  • Innovation from OMET


    The new label press iFLEX

    Currie Group has unveiled a new high-quality label press and an innovative sleeve press for flexible packaging – both from leading Italian manufacturer OMET.

    The new label press iFLEX is dedicated to label printing and aimed at simplifying the printer’s work and increasing press efficiency.

    “iFLEX fills a technology gap on today’s market as it is the ideal complement of the equipment of medium to large label converters that produce large volumes of simple labels with just-in-time deliveries,” said Marco Calcagni, OMET’s sales and marketing director. “At the same time it represents, for smaller label converters with less investment capacity, the fundamental technological resource to print any job, no matter the volume, with a very high ROI.”

    iFLEX introduces the shortest web path (1.3 meters) in the field of narrow web machines, which makes it a compact press ensuring material savings in the start-up phase.

    Calcagni said OMET’s new Varyflex V2 Offset is the most innovative mid-web variable-size sleeve press for flexible packaging printing. It’s equipped with state-of-the-art V2 mid-web offset print units using lightweight sleeves for easy job changeover.

    The V2 Offset unit features an innovative inking group with four inking rollers on the plate, optional mixed or separate dampening and an user-friendly color management system, ensuring maximum stability during production.

    “The introduction of the Revolver cart to fasten the sleeves changeover is another revolutionary idea,” said Calcagni. “When the Revolver cart is moved in proximity of the machine, the sleeves slide in and out the press with no effort and no need of hoists. Packaging printers who choose Varyflex V2 Offset could not but appreciate the press high print quality, efficiency in long runs printing at high speeds and, above all, the simplicity and rapidity of job changeover for the printing of short runs with heavy rotation.”

    OMET’s new Varyflex V2 Offset



  • Amcor sends 30 Melbourne jobs to Zurich

    Packaging giant Amcor will send 30 jobs from its Melbourne office to Zurich but has denied reports that the move is part of a plan to shift its corporate headquarters out of Australia.

    “It comes down to what’s the definition of headquarters?” said John V. Murray, Amcor’s executive general manager, corporate affairs.  “A number of corporate functions have already been relocated overseas and it’s a process that has been ongoing for several years. We have 29 thousand people and 180 plants in 45 different countries.  The future is like a virtual head office.”

    Australia accounts for only 5% of Amcor’s business and it makes sense to relocate some functions closer to customers, said Murray.

    “It’s not like we have a massive presence here.  We have 50 people on half a floor in a little building in suburban Hawthorn.  30 of those roles will now be moved offshore.  Some people will choose to relocate and for those who don’t want to relocate, their jobs will be filled by others offshore.  So there may be a small number of redundancies.”

    A report last week said Amcor would permanently move its corporate headquarters to Zurich, Switzerland to take advantage of a corporate tax rate of 17.92%.

    But the company’s head office is staying put, according to Murray.  “Amcor will remain a publicly listed company on the Australian Stock Exchange and it will remain an Australian tax resident.  The majority of corporate functions remain outside Australia, while some corporate functions will remain in Australia.  We will be retaining an office here in Melbourne, where the chairman resides.”

  • Adshel boosts marketing team

    APN News and Media’s outdoor advertising specialist Adshel has appointed the first of four new marketing managers as it steps up a major push into the booming outdoor digital market.

    Adshel has internally promoted Charlotte Valente as its head of marketing, responsible for leading the strategic direction of all marketing activities including brand, product and research, as well as client strategy and communication. The company also promoted Sarah Hughes as product marketing manager, from a previous role as product marketing executive.

    Adshel said it plans to appoint two more managers in trade marketing and strategy in the coming weeks.

    In an investor day statement last week, APN chief executive Michael Miller revealed plans to sharpen the company’s focus on the fast-growing outdoor advertising market, which is being driven by the digitalisation of old formats.

    “The launch of Adshel’s street furniture digital network will broaden consumer reach and revenues across Australia and New Zealand,” Miller said.  “We were chuffed when the Commercial Economic Advisory Service of Australia (CEASA), the bench mark for the advertising industry, released industry figures for 2014 showing that outdoor was the only traditional media channel to grow, going up from 4.8% to 5.2%. This is great news for the industry, coming off our 10% revenue growth last year. It’s especially great news because we believe our share is under-represented in the Australian market.

    Adshel will also phase out paper and glue at 35 of its most prominent roadside locations across Auckland’s CBD and surrounding suburbs as part of a of a plan to install 150 digital panels in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch in the next 12 months.


  • The future is wide format: FESPA

    A heavy demand for wide format printing equipment is a key trend identified in a new survey by the Federation of European Screen Printers Association (FESPA).

    To coincide with FESPA’s record-breaking five-day international wide format event that just wrapped up in Cologne, the association released results of its Print Census – described as ‘the most far-reaching global industry survey ever conducted by the organization.’

    Over 1200 respondents worldwide completed the survey, with 50% of respondents from the Americas, 42% from Europe and 8% from the Asia Pacific region. They represented screen and digital printers (34%); commercial, quick printers and reprographic shops (15%); sign makers (13%); graphic designers (7%); advertising agencies (5%); and others.

    More than half of all respondents indicated plans to buy digital wide format printing equipment, with a mean spending plan of close to 100,000 Euro. Purchasing plans were dominated by UV printers (27%), textile printers (21%), solvent printers (17%), eco-solvent printers (16%) and latex printers (14%). Investment was driven by the desire to enhance print quality (43%), increase capacity (37%), improve output speed (34%) and reduce unit costs (33%).

    The survey revealed six trends driving the global wide format and speciality print community:

    1. Optimism – confidence swells on back of revenue growth.

    2. Customer demands – print is a service industry.

    3. A changing product mix – from mass production to mass customization.

    4. Digital technology is the change enabler.

    5. Textile print growth in graphics, garment, decor and industrial markets.

    6. The future of Sign & Display printing is integrated with digital media.

    “The FESPA Print Census paints a clear picture of an energised community in which business leaders have a clear and positive vision of the future and are reaping the commercial rewards,” said FESPA CEO Neil Felton.  “Despite a mixed macro-economic picture globally, printers across continents are responding to clients’ changing needs, diversifying their product offering, making calculated technology investments with a focus on efficiency and mass customisation, and embracing the changing role of print in the communications mix.”

    The largest-ever FESPA event just ended in Cologne, with Sydney printer Next Printing taking home a silver medal in the paper & board point of purchase category.

  • NZ Herald packs its bags in style

    The New Zealand Herald has won a total of 24 Canon Media Awards just weeks after NZME (formerly APN New Zealand) announced that the paper’s newsroom would be shifted and merged with stablemate The Radio Network.

    The Herald won the top industry prize, Newspaper of the Year, and won Best Website in the awards event at Sky City Convention Centre in Auckland. Columnist of the Year went to Herald journalist Michele Hewitson and Herald Investigations Editor Jared Savage was named Reporter of the Year.  The Herald’s Viva was named Best Newspaper Inserted Magazine.

    “We’re absolutely thrilled,” said Herald editor, Shayne Currie.  “This year’s awards – as well as our 60-plus finalists – epitomise the depth and breadth of the Herald’s journalism today.”

    NZME CEO Jane Hastings said she was “delighted” with the results. “I would also like to take this opportunity to thank all our teams, whether recognised at the awards or not, for their ongoing dedication and motivation to deliver the very best NZME Publishing has to offer.”

    Later this year, NZME will merge its Auckland operations and shift the Herald, The Radio Network and daily deal website GrabOne into a new building.

    The move, to begin November 1, will bring together journalists from the Herald and radio station Newstalk ZB into one newsroom – similar to a move undertaken earlier this year in Perth by Channel Seven and The West Australian.

    The aim of the move was to bring about “a new corporate culture,” according to Sarah Judkins, NZME director of group transformation. “It’s hard to create a new culture moving one business into another but with a brand new location it will be much more natural – like creating one new business rather than bringing three businesses together,” she said.

    While details of the newsroom merger are still to be determined, the Herald and Newstalk staff would “keep their own character” but would likely collaborate on breaking news, said Judkins.

    “Journalists who work in radio have a lot in common with those in publishing,” she said. “Radio and entertainment brands like TimeOut will also be able to collaborate.” However, there would still be a focus on maintaining the individuality of the brands “within a broader corporate umbrella.”

    The building, currently being fitted out by property developer Manson TCLM, is described as a modern work environment with showers and other amenities to encourage staff to cycle, and spaces where staff can congregate to foster collaboration.

    A complete list of winners can be found here.

    An artist’s impression of the new Auckland NZME. headquarters


  • printpack + sign in Singapore

    Singapore’s only printing, packaging & signage show takes place in late July at the Marina Bay Sands, with thousands of trade buyers expected to attend.

    The printpack + sign exhibition is an international trade fair for services, equipment and technologies for printing and packaging, and is regarded as one of the most prestigious fairs of its kind in Southeast Asia.  Many companies are planning to present the latest product designs and trends for the industry.

    Organisers say new data suggests that by 2017, the Asian Pacific print industry will be the largest in the world by region, with total revenues projected to grow from 29% in 2012 to 40.5% of the global market.

    The printpack + sign event runs over 3 days from Wednesday, 29 July to Friday, 31 July 2015.

    *Admission is restricted to trade, corporate and office buyers only. General public and minors below the age of 16, whether accompanied or not, will not be permitted entry.

  • More than cutting: new Esko finishing tools

    Esko, the manufacturer of cutting tables for packaging, signage & displays, has unveiled a new range of specialty tools to allow customers to finish a wide variety of applications in sign, display and packaging materials.

    Some of the newest tools include a psaligraphy (paper cutting) knife tool, a perforation wheel and a braille tool.  All three tools are available for usage on the Kongsberg XN, Kongsberg V and Kongsberg XL series of digital finishing systems.

    Esko makes more than a hundred high-quality cutting blades, router bits and accessories and says the wide variety of tools is what truly enables customers to expand their businesses with the most creative use of materials and applications.

    Esko Kongsberg has an experienced R&D team constantly developing new tools.

    The new Psaligraphy (or paper cutting) knife tool cuts out the finest details in paper and folding carton, at a level not seen before. This is a perfect tool for adding creativity and value to greeting cards, promotional items or folding carton samples.

    The 60 mm Perforation wheel enables users to create tear and crease-assist perforations in corrugated board up to 4 mm thick at a much higher speed than before. This tool is ideal for producing POP-materials and all kinds of packaging. Prior to this wheel becoming available, it took about 40 seconds to do 1 meter of a 3×3 perforation pattern (3 mm cut and 3 mm space). The new wheel only needs 2 seconds to do that.

    The Braille tool, loaded with clear acrylic ‘Braille spheres’ that are inserted into small holes. These holes are milled with a special spindle to create raised dots that are readable with fingertips. The Braille tool will work on most rigid materials more than one mm thick and is used to produce signage requiring directions or inscriptions in braille.

    Esko’s online store for more at