Archive for March, 2017

  • Issue 895 – March 31, 2017

    So it begins – 100 jobs are going from Hannanprint as PMP closes the former IPMG plant in Noble Park, Victoria. Redundancies are inevitable in any merger, and PMP says it’s shifting as many as possible to its facility in Clayton, but you can’t help but wonder just how many more will be on the chopping block as the two offset giants merge like colliding galaxies. Watch this space.

    Welcome to your latest issue of Print21, the premier news and information service to the printing industry across Australia and New Zealand.

    Jake Nelson

  • 100 jobs to go in IPMG closure

    PMP says it will move staff from Hannanprint at Noble Park to its facility in Clayton, Victoria.

    PMP will today close the Hannanprint facility in Noble Park, Victoria, as part of its merger with IPMG – a move which will result in 100 redundancies.

    Peter George, CEO, PMP

    In a statement to the ASX, PMP announced the shuttering of the former IPMG plant and the loss of 100 associated positions, saying it will work to redeploy some affected staff to its facility in Clayton. “We have made all attempts to ensure that those leaving the business are doing so with the best possible level of support and assistance available to them, and we have made agreements with the individuals transferring across to the Clayton facility to ensure there are no adverse effects of this change in employment,” said Peter George, CEO PMP.

    George said PMP was ‘working constructively’ with the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union, who have provided input into the process, and that the rationalisation is part of its commitment to finding business synergies. “PMP has shown in the past its determination and capability to successfully integrate businesses and major contracts within our ongoing business, and this has had positive outcomes for our customers and our shareholders.

    “We are pleased with the progress made since the merger including the transformation of our NSW and Queensland operations, which are under discussion internally and with the AMWU and our employees,” he said, adding that further details of the outcomes of these transformations will be released in April and May.

    The merger between PMP and IPMG was completed on March 1 after a lengthy review process by the ACCC. The AMWU estimated that a total of 300 jobs would be lost due to closures of facilities in Victoria, NSW and Queensland.

  • Process-free plates power Kodak growth

    Delivering a positive Kodak story: Anthony Harvey and John O'Grady, who came through Sydney this week.

    Sonora technology now accounts for 20% of Kodak plate sales in developed markets driving overall growth for the recovering giant.

    It’s been a long time between good news reports from Kodak, the iconic photo and graphic arts company, but according to John O’Grady, vice president, the business has turned the corner and is growing again. The affable Irishman came through Sydney this week to visit major customers as the local web market begins the process of amalgamating plants and closing down press lines.

    His visit coincided with the release in Australia and New Zealand of Kodak’s new Sonora UV process free plate – the latest addition to the company’s process-free technology portfolio.

    He brought a positive message about Kodak’s situation, and especially on the growth of its plate business, thanks to its Sonora process free plate technology. Since it’s release five years ago over 50 million metre2 of Sonora process free plates have gone into the market. Last year saw Kodak grow its plate business worldwide by one percent in an overall shrinking market.

    “We had a good year in the developed markets, less so in the emerging ones, due to a number of different reasons. Apart from our success with Sonora we placed more CTP machines last year than the year before and I expect we’ll do even better this year,” he said.

    It’s a nice change to hear Kodak been spoken of in such positive terms. It helps reinforce the message that the $1.5 billion company, while a lot smaller than the $8 billion+ corporation of yore, is still a powerful player in the graphic arts industry. O’Grady maintains that the company releases new product every quarter – 20 new products launched at last drupa, that it continues to invest heavily in R&D and is expanding in areas such as material technology where its IP tradition gives leverage.

    “Kodak still has the spirit of innovation in material science and imaging. We acquired five companies in such areas as digital capture and touch screen displays to develop new products,” he said.

    Apart from the Sonora processless–free plates, which are now in 3200 printing companies around the world, Kodak has a growing engagement with flexo imaging, opening a new plate factory this year in the USA. There are also new developments in inkjet with the UltraStream engaging with numerous OEM customers. This is the successor to the Prosper inkjet, which is being sold, with an “imminent announcement” expected, according to O’Grady. He maintains the Prosper technology requires more capital investment to take it to the next level. Kodak made a strategic decision not to allocate its finite resources there.

    A new NexPress digital press with improved writing heads and a more flexible array of printing stations is also on the cards for a launch later this year. There are currently around nine NexPress machines in the local market.

    Constant development work on the Prinergy workflow maintains its status as de-facto industry standard production software. The introduction of a cloud back-up system with Prinergy 9 will remove the necessity for printers to invest in their own hardware.

    All in all, the message O’Grady delivers is of a business that has paid its dues and its debts and one that intends to be in the graphic arts and printing industries for a long time. He makes the point that a lot of the money Kodak got for its sale of IP and patents went to rehabilitate film factory sites it had closed throughout the world. “We are an ethical company that takes its responsibilities seriously,” he said.

    Locally, Anthony Harvey, ANZ country leader, is overseeing a growing company with 46 staff in Australia and New Zealand, which includes a service team of 15 engineers plus plate and workflow specialists. He nominates such high-profile printing customers as Coaster Kings, Limehouse and Impress Printers, which have all put in Kodak Achieve Platesetters.

    “These companies wanted to improve the productivity, quality and speed of their prepress operations. The prepress operation for printers is a critical area that can have a significant impact on the entire printing process. Accurate, high-quality artwork together with error-free timely production is a must-have to satisfy customers,” said Harvey.

    “When you combine these benefits with Kodak’s Sonora process free plates you can deliver great results for customers and real bottom line returns for your business and the environment.”



  • Let the sunshine in: Perth printers

    Scott Print, Aberdeen St, Perth

    Printers using solar panels to cut thousands of dollars off their power bills say WA energy companies are preventing them from feeding their excess solar capacity back into the grid. 

    “It’s certainly a frustrating situation,” says John Scott, joint general manager of leading WA offset and digital printer, Scott Print.

    “We run about 12 and a half hours every day, Monday to Saturday, and we use over a million kilowatts a year so it’s an annual power bill of about $250,000. Our 70KW solar system, about 50 solar panels, cuts about ten per cent off our bill so that’s a fair saving.

    “The problem is that when we’re not running, for example, on a Sunday, we’re not able to feed our excess capacity back into the grid. We are with Alinta Energy who do not allow it, and I believe Western Power generally don’t like solar either. So the excess just goes into the ground.

    “It’s a bureaucratic barrier that adds to the list of barriers facing manufacturing businesses in WA and Australia. These are the kinds of things that contribute to pushing Australian manufacturing offshore,” says Scott.

    “Funnily enough, excess domestic solar power does go back into the grid in WA and the consumer gets paid for that and can actually profit from it.” Regulation limits the size of household solar systems to five kilowatts of power and anything over that capacity rules out a feed-back deal.

    The company’s investment in solar has paid off, says Scott. “We were very lucky to be one of the last to get 40 per cent funded by the Clean Energy Grant, which no longer exists. The investment payback period was about three or four years.”

    Scott is looking into whether a battery storage system could solve the problem of excess capacity but says battery power remains expensive. “We’ve asked a local company selling batteries that can store 260-300 KW to carry out a feasibility study for us to how it would stack up commercially.”

    Worldwide Printing Solutions, Cannington, Perth

    Several other WA printers are facing a similar situation. Crystal Printing, trading as Worldwide Printing Solutions, runs a 99-kilowatt solar system made up of about 270 solar panels located on the grounds and the roof of its factory at Cannington in Perth’s south.

    Managing director Arnold Whiteside says solar has significantly reduced the company’s power bill but his energy company, Western Power, “doesn’t seem to want or need” the excess capacity that could be produced on weekends when the factory is shut down.

    “Our system produces about 27 per cent of our total usage, so our annual power bill is now about $150,000 a year. But to feed the excess solar back into the grid would require us to completely re-engineer our system and there’s no financial incentive for us to do that. Western Power offered us just $900 for all of the excess solar power we could generate in a year. If they wanted it, they would offer us more than that.”

    The PIAA raised the issue of solar power in WA in recent meetings with federal politicians in Canberra.

    “The fact that WA members who have invested heavily in solar are not allowed to feed excess capacity back into the grid is a silly, counter-intuitive situation,” says Mary Jo Fisher, the PIAA’s director of government relations. “We are not pushing any single source of energy but we are seeking government policy to sustain reliable energy at a stable price.”



  • Paper price rises overdue: IndustryEdge

    Printers have long argued they cannot afford paper price increases but after a tough 2016, paper price rises are overdue, according to the latest issue of industry bible IndustryEdge.

    Leading paper merchant Spicers has announced price increases from early April, blaming rising international mill prices. Other local merchants are either considering similar moves or have already begun increasing their prices.

    IndustryEdge’s monthly Pulp & Paper Edge Market Intelligence Report says the price of paper has gone backwards over the past ten years.

    If the price increases take full effect (increases will be up to 8% for Coated Woodfree grades according to some reports), they will merely allow the importers to recover lost ground. Compared to average input cost increases for all manufacturers and all manufacturing items in Australia over the last decade, the price of paper has gone backwards.

    Since MQ’06, average import prices have declined in real terms between 17.4% in the case of Uncoated Woodfree papers (including copy paper) and 43.2% for Light-Weight Coated paper, which includes catalogue and magazine grades.

    Most recently, in DQ’16, Australia’s average producer prices (what producers had to pay for their inputs) rose by a sharp 8.4%, compared with DQ’15. Many are familiar with these increases, including international freight rates, local road tolls and rising ink and chemical supply prices. Over the same period, all of the main grades of printing and communication papers experienced price declines in money or actual prices, and therefore also in real terms.

    IndustryEdge says paper price rises should be welcomed by those seeking to extract improved value across the supply chain.

    Printers have long argued they cannot afford paper price increases. However, there is a longer history of printers under-cutting one another on price alone, fermenting the continuous suspicion among paper suppliers that they have, over a long period of time, largely funded the printer’s ‘price war’. The objective data indicates that to a very large extent, paper suppliers have carried the load.

    While recent developments are viewed positively, industry participants continue to point to the rationalisation of the commercial printers as a ‘yet to crystalise’ opportunity for systematic price rises to be embedded into this fickle market. Most expect the rationalisation to take at least a year.

    Others looking for price increases have indicated that they are observing supply tightening as a result of capacity reductions in Asia and Europe. Importantly, strengthening demand and higher prices in China are also placing upwards pressure on paper prices, as is the solid and consistent recent growth in pulp prices.


  • Third delay in NZME/Fairfax NZ decision

    Corporate regulator the New Zealand Commerce Commission (NZCC) again has pushed back the date for its ruling on the proposed merger of leading news publishers Fairfax NZ and NZME.

    In a new submission, the publishers have described the commission’s competition concerns about the proposed deal as ‘backward-looking,” “illogical and incomplete.”

    The NZCC says it will need more time to properly consider the “lengthy submission from NZME and Fairfax providing further analysis and expert evidence in support of its merger authorisation application.” The decision date has been pushed back another three weeks from April 11 to May 2.

    In its submission – published on the Commission’s website – that addresses a NZCC statement last month, the media companies suggest the regulator is out-of-touch with current economic realities, including “the significant and accelerating decline in print production.”

    Fairfax and NZME are clear that there are a number of public benefits arising from the merger, in addition to the synergies themselves, including that:
    (a) NZME2 can [redacted], invested in maintaining the traditions of creating engaging and responsible journalism, to be delivered via whatever platform and through whichever mechanism (print, text, video or radio) that people want to access it.

    NZME and Fairfax see this as a unique opportunity for New Zealand – New Zealand may be one of the few countries in the world able to [redacted], provided NZME2 is afforded the runway that the merger will allow. The alternative will [redacted] further entrench Google and Facebook as the only digital advertising providers of any scale/audience/data reach in New Zealand.

    A backward-looking and, in their view, false, [redacted] focus on “external plurality” of news organisations shareholders, which does not also include proper assessment of all these other public benefits (which were not mentioned in the Draft Determination) will be (and will be seen to be by any international observers) as illogical and incomplete.

    In its submission, the publishers released startling figures that outlined the fall of newspaper readership in New Zealand over the past year.


    The commission’s earlier draft determination in November suggested the regulator would reject the merger because of the impact on diversity of media coverage.



  • Eaves to lead ‘green chemical’ unit

    The Bayer mill in Tasmania

    Australian biotech company Circa Group has appointed Dr. Jeff Eaves as GM to run subsidiary Circa Sustainable Chemicals UK – a $6.6 million biosolvent joint venture at Norske Skog’s Bayer paper mill site in Tasmania.

    “Jeff will be focused on promoting our biosolvent Cyrene, a non-toxic solvent produced in Tasmania from renewable, non-food biomass,” says Tony Duncan, CEO and co-founder, Circa Group.

    Cyrene can be used as an ‘green chemical’ alternative to solvents derived from petroleum in a range of pharmaceutical and agricultural products.

    Eaves will be joining Circa Group [5 June] from the University of York, where he was industrial liaison manager, leading a £2.5 million European-funded contract to deliver 60 science-based projects to SMEs.

    Previously CEO of tech start-up Chamelic Ltd., Eaves has worked in a variety of commercial, technical and academic roles, including for IP Group PLC, KPMG and ICI Performance Chemicals.

    “With Jeff’s strong technical and commercial background, we are confident he will help us open up new markets,” says Duncan.

    Established in 2006, Circa converts waste biomass into bio-based chemicals.  Its products include biosolvents, flavours and biopolymers.

    In 2015, Circa entered into a joint venture with Norwegian pulp and paper company Norske Skog to produce Cyrene at its plant in Tasmania.  Cyrene is created through the conversion of platform chemical Levoglucosenone, which is also manufactured by Circa.



  • New process-free plates from Kodak

    Kodak's Sonora UV Process Free Plate

    Kodak’s new Sonora UV Process Free Plate – the latest addition to the company’s process-free technology portfolio – is now available in Australia and New Zealand.

    Sonora UV Plates are capable of delivering longer run lengths for UV print applications than any other process free plate – up to 30,000 impressions. This allows printers to take advantage of both the environmental and economic benefits of process free plates and the expanded set of opportunities associated with UV technology, including flexibility, high print quality, and faster drying times.

    'There's no alternative': Torsten Gröger, cre art Die Werbeproduktion

    “As far as we’re concerned, there’s no alternative to Kodak’s process free plates when it comes to UV printing,” says happy customer Torsten Gröger, production director at cre art Die Werbeproduktion in Fulda, Germany. “We simply don’t have room for a plate processor and these plates have the general advantage of less effort and lower costs for plate making as well as more stability.

    “Thanks to the Kodak Sonora UV Process Free Plate and the extensive capabilities of our press, which is equipped with numerous UV and print enhancement extras, we can produce complex and demanding jobs on any substrate. The level of creativity and quality is very high, and this kind of job would have been technically impossible a few years ago.”

    Richard Rindo, GM Worldwide Offset Print and VP Print Systems Division, Kodak, says the company is committed to investing in R&D that advances the capabilities of print service providers and equips them to offer a wider range of applications.

    “Over 3,000 customers around the world are yielding significant cost and environmental benefits from Somora and with Kodak manufacturing facilities now located in the USA, Europe, Japan and China, printers across the globe benefit from faster supply, support and customer service.”

    More information is available at the Kodak Blog.



  • Issue 894 – March 29, 2017

    The marketing and advertising industries has woken up to the fact that internet advertising is not all that effective. If half of every advertising dollar was wasted when print was king, then a lot more than half spent online now shows no return at all. This realisation is driving a rethinking of the marketing mix. It’s now up to the printing industry to take advantage of the opportunity. What’s required is a determined effort to value print-based marketing as an effective channel. With over 80% of all printing taken up by marketing materials, it will pay everyone to participate.

    Welcome to your latest issue of Print21, the premier news and information service to the printing industry across Australia and New Zealand.

    Patrick Howard
    Publishing editor.


  • Platinum to add OfficeMax to Staples

    Platinum Equity looks set to acquire OfficeMax, which would give the US-based equity firm two of the three major chains in Australia’s $10 billion-a-year office supplies market.

    Platinum has been granted ‘exclusivity status’ over its major rival in the auction process for OfficeMax – Office Depot’s Australian and New Zealand business – according to a report in The Australian Financial Review.

    OfficeMax, the country’s No.3 player, has been up for sale through adviser Goldman Sachs with Platinum understood to have seen off private equity firm Adamantem Capital during the process.

    Platinum will need to secure the approval of both Australian and Kiwi competition regulators. This won’t be easy, with the Australian government – perhaps the biggest user of stationary [sic] in the country, understood to be one of the customers least impressed with the potential loss of competition in the market.

    OfficeMax’s specialist print management division OfficeMax Print Solutions offers a range of services from pre-production and design, through to procurement, marketing and distribution.

    Two weeks ago, Platinum agreed to buy the Australian division of office products company Staples – the second largest business in the local office supplies market. Staples also offers a range of print and marketing services.

    California-based global investment firm Platinum, which specializes in mergers and acquisitions, has more than $US11 billion of assets under management.  The company owns a 70 per cent stake in Telstra’s White Pages and Yellow Pages business Sensis.

    Meanwhile, Wesfarmers, the owner of Officeworks, is said to be still considering an IPO for the third and largest of Australia’s three major office supply chains.



  • EFI is the new Starleaton driver in ANZ

    "New coporate identity for Starleaton at PacPrint." Ben Eaton

    Ben Eaton doubles down on backing the technology giant in the local market in wide format and MIS following his successful DES takeover.

    The dynamic young CEO is committed to Starleaton’s strategy of providing a complete signage service with an array of high-profile equipment brands headed by EFI that includes Epson, ZUND, OKI (Seiko ColorPainter), SEAL, Flexa and Roland. Following a January visit to EFI’s Connect conference in Las Vegas, Eaton is convinced the company has the depth and breath of technology to meet the market demands.

    “I was very impressed by EFI in Vegas.  Everywhere you turned there was another Aussie member of the EFI team. I didn’t realise EFI had such a big range of products. It’s not only wide format equipment but there’s all the MIS too,” said Eaton.

    The decision to prioritise EFI wide format over other brands represents an investment strategy that will make Starleaton a major player across different market sectors. Apart from the company’s traditional focus on boards and substrates, films and laminates, he is expanding the focus on colour management with such products as X-rite and Eizo monitors as well as EFI management information software.

    “We have a national footprint with eight locations in Australia as well as a growing presence in New Zealand. It’s important that our customers know we’re able to support them with the best service. With over 13 engineers on call we’re truly in a position to deliver more value to the sign and commercial sectors,” he said.

    Eaton says he’s looking forward to presenting the new corporate identity at PacPrint where the Starleaton stand will be one of the largest at the show. Centrepiece of the stand will be the massive, 3.2-meter wide, EFI Vutek HS125 Pro. The super high speed UltraFX Technology UV flatbed printer is targeted for high volume graphic producers. Its exhibition is a clear signpost for the future of the new Starleaton.


  • Bidding opens in Colony liquidation sale

    Lot #4: Sakurai 5 colour printing press

    Auction house O’Maras has opened bidding on printing machinery and equipment from collapsed Brisbane business Colony Printing, which went into liquidation earlier this month.

    Pre-bidding on 89 separate lots will continue for the next week until a live webcast auction begins on Tuesday, 4 April at 10.30am. Onsite inspection at Colony’s Darnick Street, Underwood premises will be available from 8am on the Tuesday morning.

    Items up for sale include a Sakura 5 colour printing press and a manroland 4 colour offset press, as well as guillotines, binding machines, folders, collators, a saddle stitcher, utility vehicles and a forklift.

    Print veteran Peter Hutchinson established Colony Printing in 1979 before a combination of health problems and a tough market saw the company close its doors a couple of weeks ago.

    In an update on Tuesday morning, a spokesperson for liquidators McLeod Partners told Print21:

    The company’s director has advised that the reasons for the company’s failure is attributed to poor cash flow, increasing competition in the industry, advance in technologies requiring the update of plant and equipment and unsustainable pricing from competitors. I am not able to confirm who are the major creditors at this juncture as I am still in the process of receiving Proofs of Debt from the creditors.

    Lot #5: MAN ROLAND 4 colour offset printing press

    Lot #21: 1976 HEIDELBERG cylinder printing press,

    More details from



  • AveryPro labels deliver design edge

    (l-r) Peter Hogan and Anthony Hogan with printed AveryPro labels from the Indigo 5600

    Many businesses try to take on the marketing friendly label of family business, but few can match the credentials of the Hogan family’s business, Hogan Print.

    Founded in 1964 by typesetter Ray Hogan and his sons David and Geoffrey, the company is now in the capable hands of the third generation of Hogans, with all four of Ray’s grandsons involved in the business.

    Peter Hogan controls finance and management, Anthony takes care of prepress operations, while Tim’s expertise in printing and Mark’s experience in post press and finishing mean that every facet of the company’s operations is indelibly stamped with the long-established Hogan penchant for craftsmanship and service.

    Originally an offset company, Hogan Print, based at Artarmon on Sydney’s north shore, has diversified into every facet of print production, including design and prepress, both offset and digital print production and a broad range of finishing processes for completing just about any printed product request.

    “We originally printed only offset on our Heidelberg presses, but about six years ago we bought an Indigo digital press to enter the digital market,” said Peter Hogan. “We upgraded our original Indigo about eight months ago for an Indigo 5600.”

    Digital print now accounts for about one-third of the company’s print output. For many clients, the decision to go digital or offset is left to the Hogans and is based on the most effective method for producing the required job. Factors in those decisions include deadlines, run lengths and unique parameters for each job. Print quality is almost never a consideration because the difference between the two processes is negligible, said Peter, although the company will accommodate requests from clients.

    A regular Hogan print client, a providore which specialises in boutique and bespoke produce lines, recently requested a series of labels for its new lines of coffee. The labels had to “jump off the shelf”, said the client, to attract customers to the client’s specialised coffee products. The packaging was to be black, and the labels had to be vibrant and attractive, using a premium quality material to illustrate the coffee products’ unique qualities.

    Hogan Print chose to use AveryPro’s new Antique White Laid (Idp) Permanent label stock for this job, based on several reasons, said Peter Hogan. AveryPro’s Antique White Laid Permanent stock is a 90gsm narrow-ribbed laid paper with a subtle, slightly off-white colour. It is a high-quality label paper made from white high density kraft paper with excellent lay flat properties, and has been designed for bottle, jar and tin labels. It boasts high wet strength and resistance to alkali, and is also mould proof.

    “We’d recently received an AveryPro sample pack, and we were confident that the Antique White Laid product was a great choice for this particular job. We knew immediately it would be useful when we first saw it. It has a very upmarket look and feel to it, with its slight ribbing texture and off-white or ‘antique’ colour. It provided a perfect kind of quality feel and ambience, which is what the customer was looking for,” said Peter.

    “The label design also relied on the substrate to ‘lift’ it so it really stood out. The Avery label did a great job of that.”

    The Indigo 5600 press

    Hogan Print ran the label print job through its Indigo 5600 press, which performed faultlessly with the substrate. “It printed perfectly the first time,” said Peter. “There were no problems whatsoever. The Antique White Laid Permanent stock is approved for printing on Indigo digital presses, so it was a seamless process.”

    For this specialised print run, Hogan Print used HP’s IndiChrome seven-colour process on the Indigo 5600, in which a greater range of true Pantone colours can be achieved. “The artwork was designed in vibrant PMS colours, and the use of the IndiChrome print method enabled us to accurately reproduce these colours,” said Peter.

    The customer was delighted with the finished label and its impact on the products’ packaging. Its quality and ability to give the design “punch” delivered a striking product that would stand out on shop shelves.

    The result, Peter added, is nothing less than outstanding for the client. It also gave Hogan Print another opportunity to explore its digital press’s unique capabilities, too much approval from the whole Hogan Print team. “This label stock, and its ability to print so easily and deliver a high quality final product, means we have new opportunities to talk to some of our customers about their print products. I’m sure this will be very popular.”

    The AveryPro range of label products offers label stocks that have been designed and manufactured specifically for printing on digital presses.

    Avery Products, a division of CCL Industries, is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of self-adhesive printable labels and labelling software.

    For more information visit





  • Private equity firm circles Fairfax Media

    US private equity giant TPG Capital is reported to have acquired 35 million shares in Fairfax Media in recent days, as it considers a bid for one of the oldest and largest media companies in Australia and New Zealand.

    More than 18.5 million Fairfax shares changed hands on Monday, and another 17.13 million on Tuesday.

    TPG and Fairfax both declined to comment on whether the private equity fund had bought up to 4.9 per cent of the company, according to a report in Fairfax’s The Australian Financial Review.

    As revealed by The Australian Financial Review’s Street Talk column, TPG is lining up financing and co-investors to table a bid as early as this week for Fairfax, publisher of the Financial Review.

    Domain – the country’s number two online property portal, which is run by Antony Catalano – is the key to any TPG deal, and accounts for most if not all of Fairfax’s $2.5 billion market capitalisation.

    Shares in Fairfax Media have risen since the company recently said it planned to spin off Domain into a separate listing.

    No foreign buyer can own more than 5 per cent of an Australian media company without approval from the Foreign Investment Review Board.




  • ‘Mixed feelings’: Wim Maes exits Xeikon

    (l-r) Wim Maes, Flint Group CEO Antoine Fady, and Benoit Chatelard

    Xeikon, a division of Flint Group, has named Benoit Chatelard as president & CEO of Flint’s Digital Solutions business, replacing former Xeikon CEO Wim Maes, who is leaving the company.

    “I am leaving Xeikon and Flint Group with mixed feelings,” Maes says. “I have thoroughly enjoyed my time with the company and feel good about the progress we made. I especially want to thank our wonderful Xeikon customers, partners and employees for eight very interesting and rewarding years. I feel proud to have been able to contribute to the Xeikon story, and I have full confidence Benoit will continue this great story with even more achievements in the future.”

    Chatelard has a long history in the digital production printing market and most recently was vice president, production printing for Ricoh Europe.

    “I want to thank Wim Maes for his years of service to Xeikon and for the great work he did in getting the Flint Group Digital Printing Solutions division off the ground following our acquisition of Xeikon,” says Antoine Fady, CEO of Flint Group.

    “His contributions have been invaluable in our ability to continue growth at Xeikon. Under his leadership, Xeikon fully developed its labels and packaging domain, expanded market coverage, and thanks to customer-driven innovation, leaves the company in a strong position with a robust product portfolio. As Wim leaves our organization, we are thrilled to have an executive of the quality and with the experience of Benoit to carry the business forward.”

    Chatelard says he’s looking forward to taking on his new role. “It is an exciting time in the industry, both for Xeikon and its customers. Under Wim’s leadership, the company was set on a solid path to the future, and I will be taking up the reins to continue his work, building even greater levels of customer intimacy, working to understand and address emerging customer needs in an ever-changing marketplace.”

    Meanwhile, Xeikon also announced the addition of Panther technology, a UV inkjet platform that complements its dry toner digital label press portfolio. The first UV inkjet press based on this technology, the Xeikon PX3000, will be unveiled at the upcoming Xeikon Café Packaging Innovations 2017 event, set for 28 to 31 March in Belgium.



  • Xeikon expands into inkjet

    The Xeikon PX3000

    Xeikon has made a strategic move with the addition of Panther technology, a UV inkjet platform that complements its dry toner digital label press portfolio.

    The first UV inkjet press based on this technology, the Xeikon PX3000, will be unveiled at the upcoming Xeikon Café Packaging Innovations 2017 event, set for 28 to 31 March in Belgium.

    Xeikon created the market for dry toner printed labels, which is still growing significantly based on the value dry-toner technology offers converters and their customers. It delivers high quality and food safe label products in the short to mid-volume runs that are increasingly in demand.

    Through its deep experience in digital label production, and by listening to the needs of its customers, Xeikon identified an opportunity to widen its role in the diverse market for self-adhesive label applications where dry toner is not the most optimal solution, but UV inkjet printing can bring more value.

    A few examples include digitally printed labels, previously produced on UV flexo or screen-print, where a glossy appearance and tactile look and feel is desired, or a high durability requirement for respectively the health & beauty and industrial end-use. There are plenty of end-use applications in the self-adhesive label market, each with their own requirement.

    The development of Xeikon’s production inkjet technology expands its product portfolio (Xeikon 3000 Series and Xeikon CX3, aka Cheetah) and application reach. Xeikon Panther technology uses PantherCure UV inks and builds on Xeikon’s significant printing expertise. Furthermore, Xeikon customers can take advantage of the familiar Xeikon X-800 workflow connected to the new Xeikon PX3000.

    “UV inkjet and dry toner are complementary offerings that extend the range of applications which are better produced digitally,” says Filip Weymans, VP of marketing for Xeikon. “Together, they offer a robust solution portfolio that responds to the demanding brand owner today and the requirements put forward to the label converter.”



  • The case for deinkability – Brunner

    We’ve recently been working a lot on ISO 21331, the international standard for assessing the potential deinkability of print. This document is one of several standards under development within ISO to improve the environmental impact and accountability of graphics technology and print.

    Laurel Brunner

    The idea behind ISO 21331 is really very simple. This short document is a tool to encourage media professionals to use resources efficiently and to plan their media investments taking environmental sustainability into account. Media professionals can use ISO 21331 to help them decide which print media production method would be best for a particularly project, in terms of overall environmental impact.

    They might for instance choose digital printing for very short run work such as photobooks, or for a few customised banners. And if the project is a long run glossy magazine, print buyers might opt for web offset or gravure using an ISO standard to inform their decision. There are endless examples of how ISO 21331 might be implemented alongside other project planning tools. Overall this should lead to more sustainable communications and improved data for quantifying print’s environmental impact.

    ISO 21331 is just one part of a much larger environmental impact conversation necessary to help media professionals with investment choices. But it is also important for developers of printing systems, including new imaging and marking techniques, inks and substrates. The range of use cases for ISO 21331 is also growing beyond its original concept. ISO 21331 was conceived as an aid to print buyers, so that they could make informed decisions about their media investments. But environmental impact and a medium’s recyclability potential are factors that increasingly concern marketing professional, particularly for high profile brands who need to demonstrate conformance with their own Corporate Social Responsibility policies.

    We recently came across another interesting use case. An NGO in the US is providing documents and support to encourage printers and packaging engineers towards sustainable design. GreenBlue’s mission is “to foster the creation of a resilient system of commerce based on the principles of sustainable materials management” and print guidance is obviously part of that. ISO 21331 is a tool for assessing the likely performance of processes and materials.

    All around the world people are starting to think more carefully about how they invest in media. They are considering recyclability, energy footprints, transportation and waste. Sustainable design is an important part of the puzzle, and it is something everyone can keep in mind. ISO 21331 is a small part of the same puzzle, intended to provide media professionals with a helpful tool for planning investment. It is also useful for printers considering investment in new production capacity and for manufacturers working on new materials and printing systems.

    – Laurel Brunner

    The Verdigris project is an industry initiative intended to raise awareness of print’s positive environmental impact. It provides a weekly commentary to help printing companies keep up to date with environmental standards, and how environmentally friendly business management can help improve their bottom lines. 

    Verdigris is supported by the following companies: Agfa GraphicsEFIEpson, FespaHPKodakKornit, RicohSpindrift, Splash PRUnity Publishing and Xeikon.