Archive for August, 2017

  • SA label printer adds Nilpeter flexo press

    Competing in the ‘short-run, highly embellished space’ – Miguel Alemao, CEO of Cork Supply Australia & Studio Labels.

    Award-winning Adelaide wine label printer Studio Labels has expanded its short-run production capabilities with an advanced Nilpeter FA-4* flexographic press.

    In addition to increased capacity, the FA-4* adds inline flatbed foiling and embossing with the FP-4 and QC-Die value-adding units – a big factor for Miguel Alemao, CEO of Cork Supply Australia & Studio Labels.

    “Flatbed systems are commonplace nowadays, but more frequent on offset presses or offline finishing lines,” says Alemao. “You don’t see many fitted on new, top of the range flexo presses – I dare to say none in Australia. Combining a state-of-the-art flexo press with an FP-system will allow us to compete in the short run, highly embellished space typically associated with digital printing.”

    Alemao was delighted with the support he received from Nilpeter. “The whole commercial process was excellent – they did a terrific job, ticking all the right boxes. We expect and hope for that to continue.”

    Erik Blankenstein, sales director at Nilpeter Asia Pacific, welcomed the partnership. “We are, of course, very pleased. Studio Labels is a reference in the Australian wine label market, and their investment in the FA-4* is a testament to the quality and performance of this press. We are delighted with the partnership thus far, and I have great faith that our Australian Customer Care team will continue to build on this going forward.”

    Founded in 2004, Studio Labels is one of Australia’s leading wine label printers and at the forefront of global flexographic printing technology. In 2011, the company won the best label award at the 2011 World Label Awards.

  • Preserving the past…for the future*

    ASOOF members mingle with the Museum’s volunteers.

    Earlier this week, a dozen dubious-looking characters assembled outside what looked like a replica of one of Glenn Murcat’s award-winning corrugated-iron sheds, out in the back-blocks of Penrith. 

    No, this was not some shady group of undesirables meeting for nefarious purposes. This was the illustrious Australian Society of Old Friends (ASOOF) meeting, which was being held at the famous Penrith Museum of Printing.

    Newly-rejoicing over its recent $70K’s worth of refurbishment, kindly donated by industry supporters, the Museum – proudly run by a dedicated band of volunteers, was keen to thrown open its doors on this beautiful, sunny spring day.

    And what a display! Without doubt, this is the finest collection of working letterpress printing presses in the country and probably the Southern Hemisphere.

    With no thanks to governments – who can find a lazy billion to relocate the Powerhouse – the Museum has struggled on, with little or no government assistance but with lots of TLC from a tight-knit group of loyal supporters and the half-dozen gentlemen who, like retired train-drivers, just can’t stay away from their lifelong love affair with their chosen trade.

    What these men have done is nothing less than remarkable. Working sometimes with only the aid of an oily rag – literally to lubricate the presses! – these men have breathed life back into great hunks of iron which otherwise would have disappeared forever from our collective consciousness. That would have been a tragedy, given the very foundations of our industry were built upon the letterpress process.

    The idea of the Museum came about when a local, Allan Connell, former employee of ‘’The Nepean News’’ looked through the window of the closed-down building and saw the old Wharfedale press from the 1880s (see video) and an old Linotype machine from the same era. By chance – as sometimes happens – he tracked down what must have been a very rare breed, indeed – a Linotype mechanic, in the form of the late Neville James, who performed mouth-to-mouth resuscitation and literally restored them back to life.

    Since then, the Museum has grown in size and stature and today it ranks as the absolute jewel-in-the-crown, in terms of being Australia’s premier ”home” of working letterpress machines.

    We should never forget that print was virtually the only medium of mass communication and these giant Iron Horses pumped out everything from brochures to books and of course – newspapers. In fact, many country towns had not just their own printery, but a newspaper! And the local buildings probably shook to their very foundations as Wharfedales and Meihles around the country pumped out the local newspaper, which you had a whole week to read before the next edition ”hot off the press” came out.

    The Museum will be officially re-opening soon, and holds training courses for anyone who’s interested and hopes to raise badly-needed revenue from these programs.

    I’m sure there are printing companies in Sydney, and elsewhere, who may wish to become partners or sponsors in some way – the Museum would certainly welcome all the support – and publicity, they can get. Perhaps even the PIAA could lend some support, especially in navigating their way around obtaining government grants?

    But more than that, I believe the Penrith Museum of Printing is a slender but vital link to our past: a reminder of our once craft-based origins. In our modern, anodyne age of press-buttons, we like to pay lip service to that word, “craft.” Why not create some award or other recognition dedicated to letterpress printing? Just a thought.

    On behalf of the Australian Society of Old Friends, I salute the efforts of these volunteers for reviving and promoting the almost lost art of letterpress printing.

    Special thanks to Stephanus Peters of Pegras, and to Scott Telfer, president of ASOOF, for helping to organise the event.

    [James Cryer is secretary of the Australian Society of Old Friends (ASOOF)]

    * The motto of the Penrith Museum of Printing.


  • Entries open for Konica Minolta Print Awards

    Konica Minolta has opened entries for its second annual National Specialised Print Awards that recognise customers who achieve excellence in print with the help of a Konica Minolta digital press system. 

    This year’s winner will receive return flights and accommodation to GRAPH EXPO 18 in Chicago. 

    “We received an extraordinary selection of entries in the 2016 inaugural year and we are looking forward to seeing how entrants push the boundaries with a Konica Minolta digital press this year,” said Anthony Lewis, GM, Specialised Print, Konica Minolta.

    Entries will be judged by a panel of experts in November 2017. All customers with a Konica Minolta digital press are invited to submit their best work in the four categories:        

    Digital Flat sheet Colour Output 
    Digital Finished Output    
    Digital Print with Embellishment 
    Digital Print on Label Media. 

    State finalists will be flown to Sydney to attend the Konica Minolta National Specialised Print Awards event where the overall winner will be announced and will receive return flights, accommodation and entry to GRAPH EXPO 18 in Chicago, USA. 

    Entries close at 5pm on Friday, October 6. For more information, judges’ tips, or to enter, visit:



  • Issue 940 – Aug 30, 2017

    Salmat’s welcome return to profit after spending three years in the wilderness is a testament to its effective business transformation plan as well as the enduring value of direct mail.


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


    Graham Osborne

    Online editor

  • Thriving IVE boosts profit and buys SEMA

    IVE Group hiked its pre-tax earnings by 23 percent to $55 million in FY17 and has launched a $55.6 million capital raising to fund the acquisition of data & communications business SEMA and the purchase of another 80-page LFWO press at its Franklin Web site in Sydney.

    ‘A very strong year’: Geoff Selig, chairman IVE Group.

    “From our perspective, it’s a very strong result for the full year,” chairman Geoff Selig told investors in an international conference call results briefing.

    IVE’s revenue was up by 30.1 percent to $496.9 million, with earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) up 23 percent on the previous year to $55.2 million. FY18 EBITDA is forecast to rise to $70-$75 million.

    Selig said an increase in revenue of $114.8 million reflected the impact of the group’s Franklin WEB and AIW Printing acquisitions, as well as increased revenue from new customer wins.

    Since acquiring Franklin and AIW, IVE has secured $70 million in annual contracted revenue, with significant new contracts from Coles, Pacific Magazines, and the extension and expansion of the NARTA contract.

    IVE announced a capital raising of $55.6 million at $2.05 per share to fund its acquisition of the SEMA business and to buy a second 80-page large format web offset (LFWO) press at its new Franklin WEB plant at Huntingwood in western Sydney.

    “We’ve launched a $55.6 million capital raise and there’s three components, the first being $19.6 million to fund the acquisition of the SEMA business, which is a business that operates in the data-driven, personalized communications space and has been around for 35 years,” Selig told investors. 

    “They’re a business that has annualized revenues of $40.1 million and they operate out of Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne, so part of the plan will be to integrate their operation in Sydney and in Melbourne with our existing Blue Star Direct businesses. We will leave their Brisbane operations as a standalone business but will rebrand that as Blue Star Direct.”

    Selig said the deal would take IVE’s annualized revenues in the data-driven communications market to more than $100 million a year.

    “This acquisition expands on the broader diversification strategy for IVE and positions our Blue Star Direct business as the market leader in the customer data management space,” said IVE’s chief operating officer, Matt Aitken. “SEMA bring to the table credibility in the essential communications space and have a range of additional capabilities and technologies that enable us to enter new sectors in the market.”

    SEMA’s managing director John Stewart said: “The synergies between our businesses are compelling. Both have a customer first culture, many decades of proven history and a pedigree of high performance, diversity, innovation and quality. I very much look forward to continuing to build on our successes as we combine and strengthen our offer to the market.”

    Selig said the purchase of a second LFWO press for the new Franklin WEB (NSW) site would finalise the rebalancing of LFWO capacity from Victoria to NSW to better service national retailers and publishers. This rebalancing of capacity has been instrumental in IVE securing new contracted revenues, he said.

    “The second component of the raise is $22 million for the second 80-page web offset press and ancillary equipment – by ancillary equipment we mean post-press automated finishing equipment – at Franklin Web NSW. This is in addition to the first 80-page press that is being installed as we speak in our Franklin Web facility here in Sydney.”

    The second 80-page press is scheduled to be commissioned at Huntingwood in August 2018.

    $11.2 million from the capital raising will be used to fund more strategic acquisitions. “We have a very strong pipeline of acquisition opportunities,” said Selig. “I don’t think the company in the coming 12 or 18 months will be as acquisitive as we have been in previous years but there’s still some good opportunities around and we would like to take advantage of those if they work for the business.”

    IVE has four divisions – Kalido, Blue Star Group, Pareto Group and IVEO – and employs 1,500 people across operations in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Singapore, Hong Kong, China and New Zealand.

  • PMP looks ahead after successful IPMG merger

    PMP posted a net loss of $126 million in FY17, dragged down by $105 million in costs related to its merger with IPMG, but CEO Peter George says Australia’s largest printer is now well positioned for the next two years.

    Sales revenue jumped 28.9 percent from 2016 to $1.05 billion, mostly due to higher sales at distribution unit Gordon & Gotch and the Print Australia business.

    EBITDA was down 37 percent to $32.2 million, with a net loss for the year of $1.9 million – before ‘significant items.’ However, after adding a total of $142.6 million in significant items – including $105 million related to the IPMG merger – the net loss for the year was a whopping $126.4 million. The company posted a slender profit of $200,000 in FY16.

    “Fiscal 2017 was both challenging and rewarding, marked by print industry consolidation and the completion of the merger with IPMG,” said George. “I am pleased to report that our transformation program has run smoothly and on schedule.

    “We end the year with the press fleet rationalization complete, a new optimized national manufacturing footprint and $40m of annualized cost savings actioned within four months of the merger. Further reductions in indirect costs, including procurement are already well underway to deliver net $55m of synergies by fiscal 2019.”

    George said PMP was now on track to deliver earnings before tax of $70m-$75m in FY18 and $90m-$100m in FY19, with the company also set to be debt free in fiscal 2019.

    In its ASX announcement, PMP said: The Australian web heat-set printing industry has consolidated from five to two players – a more efficient industry structure. With the merger, PMP has enhanced its scale and capability, enabling better capacity management and improved fleet utilization.

     PMP expects challenging print industry market conditions to continue into FY18, with major print contracts still subject to strong price competition and some volatility while the market adjusts to the new industry structure. Tough retail conditions are expected to continue.

     George remains optimistic: “It is very pleasing to see the successful transition to the new national print manufacturing footprint while at the same time achieving the expected annualised savings quickly and efficiently.

    “Following the merger with IPMG, PMP has the strongest tier 1 customer base in the industry. The merger has enabled us to upgrade our press fleet without capital expenditure. PMP now has the widest range of web presses in the industry which gives our customers greater flexibility for scheduling.

    “We expect to continue to strengthen our position in the key print and distribution markets and the company’s disciplined focus on generating free cashflow will remain front and centre for the foreseeable future.”


  • Salmat is back in black

    ASX-listed marketing services company Salmat has recorded its first net profit since 2014 after launching a business transformation program to focus on key strengths that include digital and traditional direct mailing.

    FY17 revenue was down 3.4 percent to $435.3 million but earnings before tax jumped 16.3 percent to $22.8 million and net profit after tax was $4.3 million – compared to a loss of $6 million the previous year. It’s the company’s first full year profit since FY14.

    ‘A significant milestone’: Rebecca Lowde, CEO Salmat

    “The return to full year profit is a significant milestone for Salmat,” said CEO Rebecca Lowde, the former CFO who took over the top job following the departure of former chief Craig Dower in May 2017.

    “While revenue was down this year, we have been able to do more with that revenue, growing both earnings and net profit,” Lowde said. “We are also generating more cash from operations. These full year results are a testament to the work we’ve done to transform Salmat’s business operations. Salmat is now more agile, disciplined and collaborative than we were a few years ago.

    “We are locking down plans to ensure Salmat has a sustainable future by strengthening our core businesses, laying innovation over these core strengths to maintain market leadership and pursuing new growth opportunities for the benefit of our staff, clients, partners and our shareholders.”

    During FY17, the group largely completed its Business Transformation program that launched early in 2015 with an aim to simplify every aspect of the business and focus on key strengths.

    By combing the physical and digital assets, Salmat is uniquely positioned to enable its clients to distribute more engaging content,” the company told the ASX.

    The Media + Digital division, which includes communications across digital and traditional channels, recorded a 12 percent drop in revenue to $224.3 million, after a fall in catalogue volumes.

    The product and services rationalization undertaken during the business transformation mainly affected this segment, with a $9.6 million impact this year. Reduced volumes across the retail client base and pricing pressure in the catalogue market also impacted revenue.

    The Contact division – which includes onshore and offshore contact centres and managed services – posted a $15.4 million increase in revenue to $210.3 million.





  • Textiles in focus at Starleaton open house

    (l-r) Zeff Lowe, BDM Epson; Ian Cleary, Industrial Sales Manager Starleaton; and Sean Kelly. Resolve Image Solutions, at the open house in Melbourne.

    Wide format printers wanting to boost their presence in soft signage and industrial textiles have the opportunity to see production first-hand this week at Starleaton’s Textile Open House at Mount Waverley, Melbourne.

    Star of the open house is the EFI FabriVU 340 (pictured below), a custom-built textile printer that prints up to 3400mm wide on fabrics from 28gsm to 140gsm, and also on sublimation paper for heat transfer. Throughput speed is up to 500 sqm/hr, with 250 sqm/hr being best for high-resolution results and 165 sqm/hr for close-inspection POP production. The printheads can deliver up to 2400 dpi with variable droplet sizes from 4 to 18pl.

    Also being demonstrated live will be Epson’s SureColor F2000 Direct-to-Garment printer (see below) and the SureColor F series of dye sublimation printers in 44” and 64” widths. Rounding out the hardware is the latest Sublimax heat calendaring technology from Italy’s Flexa.

    “With the FabriVU 340 it’s easy to switch between direct-to-textile and dye sublimation transfer paper,” says Starleaton CEO Ben Eaton. “Some printers like dye-sub because the image can be assessed and altered before the more expensive textile is printed. Others like the intensity and durability of sublimated images. Either way, the FabriVU 340 performs flawlessly on our broad range of textiles from HEYTex, G&O Friedrich and Neschen.  Epson’s F2000 is perfect for tee-shirts, caps, bags and promotional merchandise while the F-series yield stunning sublimated colour on fabrics up to 64” wide.”

    Today’s Starleaton Open House in Waverley.

    The Open House will show why textile printing is ideal for advertising banners, textile billboards, posters, textile walls, backgrounds for trade shows, showrooms, theaters, offices, garments and the growing demand for a variety of interior decoration applications.

    “Interested parties can just call in but for one-on-one demonstrations, it is best to let us know you are coming so a time slot can be allocated,” says Eaton.

    When: Wednesday 30th August to Friday 1st September

    Times: 9am – 5pm daily

    Where: Starleaton, Unit 5, 163-179 Forster Road, Mount Waverley, VIC 3149

    Contact: 1300 880 605

    (l-r) Steven Lane, SolarX with Simon Crane, SDM Inkjet, EFI, at the open house.

    The EFI FabriVU 340

    Epson’s F2000 DTG


  • Printing museum re-opens after make-over

    (l-r) The museum’s Peter Butterworth, George Gearside, Ralph Bennett and John Berry with the 1880s Wharfedale cylinder press, still operational.

    This is no static display of ancient machinery but a working, composing, printing replication of how a 1930s or 40s printshop would have operated.

    Regular courses have re-started following the make-over and the museum is open to all comers every Saturday from 9am to 3pm. The oldest piece of equipment is an 1867 UK-made Albion lever press, loaned by PMP’s Michael Hannan, that still prints today.

    Other gems include an 1880s Wharfedale stop cylinder letterpress, made beside the banks of the River Wharfe in Yorkshire, UK. Such was their popularity and durability, one was still in commercial use printing posters until 2007. The one at Penrith was used to print The Nepean Times newspaper. Two original Linotypes and an Intertype provide the typesetting, still clattering away after 100 years or more.

    The volunteer men who keep the machinery in working order are lucky to work in the ultimate ‘man-shed’ in the shadow of Penrith Panthers football stadium.

    The ‘Old Friends’ society tour was followed by a lunch and camaraderie, with Print21 proud to donate a small book from my own collection – the official 1955 catalogue of Australia’s first printing trade show held at Wynyard Concourse, Sydney. Member James Cryer was thrilled to discover a 2-page advertisement for his father and grandfather’s company inside! (see pic below)

    Congratulations to all involved in the Museum of Printing, Penrith – it’s well worth a visit on a Saturday morning, or enroll in one of the re-started courses.

    The energy-saving 1867 Albion lever press.

    James Cryer discovers his past in the 1955 catalogue of the Australasian Printing Exhibition.

    Guest speaker Dr Stephanus Peters with his favourite Heidelberg T-Platen

    The world-changing Linotype typesetting machine

    “Read all about it” – newsboy at the entrance of the Museum of Printing.

  • IVE and PMP big winners at ACA awards

    Industry leaders PMP and IVE Group’s Franklin Web took home major awards at the 26th annual Australasian Catalogue Association (ACA) awards event held at the Melbourne Exhibition Centre.

    With a record attendance of 734 guests, the room was filled with retailers, creatives, agencies, printers and distributors.

    “The ACA awards night showcases the best our industry has to offer and, together in one room, we all recognise we are really working in one industry,” said ACA CEO Kellie Northwood. “These awards are part of our plan to remain committed to working with our partners, retailers and agencies, to continue delivering powerful, agile and responsive print marketing campaigns that form a solid foundation to the overall campaigns being executed.”

    Franklin Web (an IVE business) printed Boating, Camping and Fishing’s ‘Camp Couture’ – The Winter Fashion Collection catalogue that took home the Judge’s Choice award and the Catalogue Retailer of the Year – over 3.5m award.

    PMP Limited printed both David Jones’ AW17 Brand Book Two – winner of the Catalogue Retailer of the Year – up to 1.5m – and Myer’s Remember When catalogue – winner of the ‘up to 3.5m’ category.

    Other printers who took home awards included:

    Printgraphics for the Nali catalogue ‘New Australian Design Catalogue’ in the Home category for ‘Furniture, Bedding and Manchester’;

    Finsbury Green for Officeworks’ ‘Little ones now have a bigger and better range to learn with’ in the B2C category ‘Office Supplies’;

    and Rawson Print Co for Defence Housing Australia’s ‘Arkadia’ in the B2C category ‘Real Estate and Property’.

    “These awards are a testament to the strength and adaptability of the print industry, said Phil Taylor, CEO Franklin WEB. “We love the ACA Awards and enjoy being part this event filled with our customers and industry colleagues.”

    ACA deputy chairman and CEO, Digital and Distribution, PMP Limited, Kevin Slaven, said: “New approaches are being implemented such as embracing digital technologies to work alongside print. Brands are turning towards personalising their content, introducing customised pagination and targeted circulation to build membership, retain loyalty and increase the Path to Purchase journey among consumers. This is a new era of campaigning and we are all learning the important role print will play in the mix.”

    Major Australasian Catalogue Awards Winners and Finalists:

     Agency of the Year (Sponsored by Fairfax Media)
 Winner TBWA Sydney & Maud / PMP Limited
 Finalists Clemenger BBDO, AJF Partnership, and Plump + Spry

    Best Young Designer (Sponsored by Sierra Delta and PMP Limited)
 Winners Zoran Serovski and Kathrina Mabilangan of Chemist Warehouse / Franklin WEB (an IVE business) Finalists Kate Cochrane of Kmart, Emma Borlase of Target, and Jasmine Holm of TBWA Sydney & Maud

    Best Young Talent (sponsored by Stora Enso) Winner Leah Mammoliti of Redhanded / PMP Limited
 Finalists Natalie McAdam of Kmart, Genevieve Blackman of Dan Murphy’s and Hannah Toole of Target

    Judge’s Choice (sponsored by PMP Limited)
 Winner BCF – Boating, Camping and Fishing – ‘Camp Couture’ produced by Clemenger BBDO / Franklin WEB (an IVE business) 
FinalistsKathmandu – ‘The Summit’ produced by Kathmandu In-House Team / Franklin WEB (an IVE business)
The Kitchens – ‘The Kitchens Autumn 2017’ produced by Plump + Spry / PMP Limited
Kidstuff – ‘Play Summer/Autumn 2017’ produced by Born and Raised / Misc.

    Catalogue Retailer of the Year – up to 1.5m (sponsored by Norske Skog)
 Winner David Jones – ‘AW17 Brand Book Two’ produced by TBWA Sydney & Maud / PMP Limited
 FinalistsMyer – ‘Remember When’ produced by Clemenger BBDO / PMP Limited
BCF – Boating, Camping and Fishing – ‘Camp Couture’ produced by Clemenger BBDO and BCF In-House Team / Franklin WEB (an IVE business)
Kathmandu – ‘The Summit’ produced by Kathmandu In-House Team / Franklin WEB (an IVE business)

    Catalogue Retailer of the Year – up to 3.5m (sponsored by Norske Skog)
 Winner Myer – ‘Remember When’ produced by Clemenger BBDO / PMP Limited FinalistsOfficeworks – ‘Inspire Their Imagination’ produced by AJF Partnership / PMP Limited Harvey Norman – ‘It’s All For Mum’ produced by GP Advertising / PMP Limited Domayne – ‘The Outdoor Collection’ produced by GP Advertising / PMP Limited

    Catalogue Retailer of the Year – over 3.5m (sponsored by Norske Skog)
 Winner BCF – Boating, Camping and Fishing – ‘Camp Couture’ produced by Clemenger BBDO / Franklin WEB (an IVE business) 
FinalistsKathmandu – ‘The Summit’ produced by Kathmandu In-House Team / Franklin WEB (an IVE business)
The Kitchens – ‘The Kitchens Autumn 2017’ produced by Plump + Spry / PMP Limited
Kidstuff ‘Play Summer/Autumn 2017’ produced by Born and Raised / Misc.

    For a full listing of Winners and Finalists go to




  • Print DNA’s Chloe Rudd wins SA Graduate

    (l-r) Mary Jo Fisher (Printing Industries), Gordon Wilson (SA LIA President), Chloe Rudd (Print DNA , SA LIA Graduate of 2017), Paul Swanbury (Fuji Xerox)

    The national LIA 2017 Graduate of the Year awards announced Print DNA’s Chloe Rudd as the winner for South Australia.

    Sponsored nationally by Heidelberg for more than 40 years, the SA ceremony was hosted by Fuji Xerox and Printing Industries, where regional SA made up two thirds of the candidates, including Print DNA’s Rudd.

    SA LIA state president Gordon Wilson said it was difficult for the judges to decide a winner due to the exceptionally high standard of this year’s nominees.

    “It took us an unprecedented two or so hours to reach our final decision,” said Wilson. “Our industry should be incredibly proud of the calibre of apprentices we are attracting and producing.”

    Print DNA’s Ian Andrews said it had been a pleasure to have Rudd as part of the team and hope to find more apprentices like her. “She has always been willing to do whatever is needed to meet the client’s needs and our expectations.”

    Fellow judge and Printing Industries’ director of government relations Mary Jo Fisher said other states’ finalists should look out for SA at the upcoming biennial national competitions.

    “With SA’s finalists being 2016’s Jason Turai and 2017’s Chloe Rudd, other states had better be good. Watch out – South Australia is here, front and centre!” she said.

    Turai and Rudd will compete for the Visual Connections-LIA National Scholarship Prize worth $15,000, as well as an all-expenses-paid trip to Drupa or IPEX as part of the LIA-Printing Industries Future Leaders Award, in Brisbane at the end of the year.

  • Konica Minolta launches industrial print in NZ

    Konica Minolta AccurioJet KM-1 B2 Inkjet Press

    Konica Minolta Australia is launching its industrial print technology into the New Zealand market following its success in the specialist area in Australia.

    Industrial Print national manager David Cascarino believes a different set of skills and expertise is required for industrial print, and Konica Minolta Australia has sourced this expertise to help bring this offer to the market. “Because of the investment Konica Minolta Australia has already made in this space, it makes sense that we expand this offering into New Zealand.”

    “Our focus is on helping our customers grow by opening up new opportunities and revenue streams to help them service their customers in different and better ways. Offering industrial print products to commercial printers in New Zealand will afford them the same opportunities.”

    Cascarino said Konica Minolta’s PacPrint display earlier in the year in Melbourne attracted strong interest from New Zealand commercial printers and also drove the company to “make this leap” into the market.

    KM Australia sales director David Procter said, “Building on the success of industrial print in Australia will help our New Zealand customers adopt this new technology with confidence, and take advantage of these exceptionally innovative and differentiating products.”

    Key products in the industrial print offering include:

    – The AccurioJet KM-1 B2 Inkjet Press. The AccurioJet KM-1, a sheet-fed UV inkjet press, delivers all the quality and versatility of offset printing with the convenience and flexibility of digital printing on any type of stock. New applications made possible by the KM-1 include packaging, personalised packaging, niche marketing with specialty stocks, and more.

    – MGI JetVarnish EVO & iFoil. The MGI JETvarnish 3D EVO has been specially designed to offer digital and offset printers a highly-accurate UV spot coating system with iFoil embellishment. This adds value to the printed sheet and offers a highly sought-after sensorial raised print that is only available with the MGI 3D JETvarnish system.

    – C71cf label press. The bizhub PRESS C71cf is ideal for label printers who are looking to shift volumes from conventional presses to digital so they can deal with shorter print-run lengths, requests for faster delivery times, personalisation and versioning, and producing on-demand runs.

    – MGI Meteor Unlimited Colours. The METEOR Unlimited Colours is the first all-in-one digital inline toner printing and hot-foiling solution that can create unlimited metallic colours. This effect can be achieved by blending the CMYK toner and taking advantage of the reflective qualities of foil.

    For more information visit

  • Not So Fantastic Plastic

    Part of Coca-Cola’s recent announcement to be more environmentally friendly includes a campaign “to encourage people to recycle and dissuade littering”, said Nick Brown, head of sustainability at Coca-Cola European Partners. The company produces over 100 billion plastic bottles per year and is making a massive contribution to the plastic littering plaguing the planet, so this campaign is good news. But much more needs to be done: over 70% of soft drinks, including water and fruit juices, are supplied in PET bottles by the big drinks brands.

    Doing more is up to all of us, especially in graphics supply chains. According to the UK’s Guardian newspaper, “annual consumption of plastic bottles will be more than half a trillion by 2021”. This is probably very good for label printers, but it’s not necessarily good for the environment. Way too many of these bottles, currently produced at a rate of 20,000 per second, still end up as litter or in landfill.

    Apart from the pollution and landfill problems there is the added concern that new and finite resources are required to make new PET containers. This is both expensive and of limited commercial and environmental sustainability. A better option is to use recycled plastic instead of making virgin plastic bottles, because those made from recycled materials require 75% less energy to produce than those made from scratch. Less energy means less cost to produce PET bottles, so the reluctance to use 100% recycled plastic to make them has to have other causes. There is likely a resistance to adopting new processes which have unquantifiable returns, and recycled plastic is not as cosmetically attractive as virgin plastic. There is also the problem that supply chains for recycled PET (rPET) are not consistent across geographies or even regions, so there is no clear global model.

    An option that may help improve matters for packaging designers to design PET containers to make them more suitable for recycling. Components and materials that will compromise processes should obviously be avoided. This can be difficult to do because packaging design is part of the product and important to making it attractive to buyers. But it is possible to take into account other design limitations. It should for instance be easy to remove labels and closures so that these components can be separated from the PET. Designers can also consider the appearance of rPET when creating new product designs, for instance using the cloudiness of the material within the design. It’s not discolouration, it’s a design feature!

    It will take some time before we see the big brands taking this as seriously as they should, not just for plastic bottles but for all types of packaging. In the meantime, we all have a choice: reduce, reuse and recycle wherever possible.

    – 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


    The EFI VUTEk LX3 Pro printer.

    EFI’s white paper on LED ‘cool curing’, such as in the VUTEk LX3 Pro hybrid flatbed/roll printer, shows how the process can increase performance and lower total cost of ownership for wide-format production.

    The cooler cure temperature of LED lamps allows printers to print on media that is thinner and heat-sensitive, such as thin films, specialty papers and corrugated, for example, that might otherwise be damaged or destroyed during other curing processes. The use of specialty and added-value media opens doors to unique, premium-margin applications.

    It is also possible to print faster using LED ink than with aqueous and solvent inks, for example, which is particularly important for high-production applications. Since LED lamps are instant on/off and require less maintenance, your utilization, productivity and uptime is maximised.

    Advancements in EFI hybrid flatbed/roll fed platform innovation and print head manufacturer technology have shifted the way we can think about and express the relation between quality modes and productivity, especially in terms of how they meet your customer’s demands—all while ensuring you achieve your profitability plans.

    Andy Yarrow, EFI.

    “Where EFI excels is in total cost of ownership, and that means productivity and efficiency. When buying equipment, people should look at not just the purchase of the engine, but what the long-term running costs of that engine will be and how productive it will be when it comes to running jobs. You get your money back much faster if you’ve got a cost-efficient, productive printer with a low cost per metre,” said Andy Yarrow, sales director at EFI Asia-Pacific.

    The EFI VUTEk LX3 Pro is designed for high production throughput, higher volumes, and shorter lead times while maintaining image quality, and has the versatility to support the widest range of media and applications. It’s designed for POP productivity and packed with innovation only available from EFI.

    Visit the EFI VUTEk LX3 Website

    Request a demonstration

  • Issue 939 – Aug 25, 2017

    There’s good money to made in printing, no doubt about it. PMP’s projected results following the merger with IPMG are a fine example of how printing companies can become cash cows when run by canny operators who know the industry. Printers who focus on the work and pay down debt are in the box seat for the next stage of the industry’s evolution.

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

    Patrick Howard
    Publishing Editor

  • Towards a blue chip printing company

    On the approach of the merger between PMP and IPMG, Peter George brought this diagram of the intersection of costs and revenue to every shift at every plant in the printing company to explain why it was not only a good move but essential for survival.

    The idea that an Australian printing company could be recognised as a top-level investment stock on the ASX seems to fly in the face of industry sentiment and investor opinion. Peter George is determined to change that perception with a plan for 2019.

    The soft-spoken managing director of PMP Limited, the region’s largest printing company, is determined to transform his billion dollar plus company into a debt-free profitable powerhouse over the next two years and change the financial markets’ perception of printing.

    Ahead of the release on Monday of the first annual report since the merger between the Hannan-owned IPMG and the publicly listed PMP, he explained to Patrick Howard, Print21, his goal to reinforce the sound future of the company. Forecasting a solid result in line with targets, he sees the enlarged company as representative of a new, energised era for printing.

    “Whilst this industry tends to beat itself up a bit, the problem was not so much what we do, as more about how many people were doing it and at what price. When I arrived at PMP [George became managing director in 2012] it was very easy to see there were too many presses chasing a diminishing pool of work, chasing the price down to unsustainable levels to get it. PMP, as the biggest, fell the hardest.

    “It was time we began to value ourselves and our craft,” he said.

    Since then he’s brought the company back from the brink of chaos and a mountain of debt. “We’ve had a fairly ruthless and relentless six years of getting the place in order. Of getting ourselves in a position where we could negotiate this consolidation, which has always been part of my strategy,” he said.

    He was more than ready to seize the opportunity when it came. Following what he describes as “a price war as vicious as anything I’ve ever seen,” he met with Michael Hannan, owner of IPMG, over coffee in Double Bay two years ago and between the two print professionals the genesis of the transformation was born.

    At the time the heatset web sector was cannibalising itself as printers slashed prices to below cost in order to retain volumes as overall demand fell. In the frenzy of price cutting for catalogue and magazine heatset web print prices fell from 2012 by around $500 per tonne. While the overall market remained at some 400,000 tonne per year, there was very little profit for the producers. The situation was obviously untenable and the industry was constantly under the shadow of vulture funds at home and abroad looking to pick off the weakest.

    The merger between PMP and IPMG proved to be the catalyst for a reduction in the number of printers in the sector from five to two. The largest tectonic shift in the printing industry has now allowed for the potential of market discipline and the creation of stable profitable companies. (For those who came in late… IPMG merged into PMP while AIW and Franklin Web merged into Ive Group.)

    Of the two publicly listed entities, PMP at $1.2 billion is almost twice the size of the other and enjoys a similar gap when it comes to press capacity. With $430 million in heatset sales it claims 55% – 60% market share, producing print out of its four sites; Warwick Farm, NSW; Clayton, Victoria; Geebung in Queensland; and Bibra Lake in Western Australia.

    PMP owes its much larger footprint and revenue not only to the amalgamation of the two biggest printing companies, but also to the diversification of its businesses that includes Gordon and Gotch, which at $430 million is the monopoly magazine distributor on both sides of the Tasman. It also has a $40 million plus digital division, an $80 million letterbox distribution business as well as, at $430 million, a very profitable New Zealand printing business.

    According to George, in the four months since the creation of the ‘new’ company, most of the heavy lifting has been done. Swallowing one-off merger costs of around $75 million he is predicting $55 million in yearly savings. Three print sites were closed and 350 full time jobs were lost. Older presses were retired leaving the current fleet with average age of 11 years and configurations that range from 16 pages up to the sole 96-page web press in Australia.

    It wasn’t all smooth sailing. The loss of a couple of headland contracts, namely Coles Catalogue and Pacific Magazines, was expected (Coles didn’t want to be with the same printer as Woolworths, while Pacific was uncomfortable being in the same position as Bauer). On the other hand over $130 million in long-term contracts have been re-signed to reinforce the business’s #one market position.

    In terms of integrating the two companies George maintains it’s gone as well as could be expected. At a shareholder level the Hannan family are the largest single holder with more than 30%; at board level he has Michael Hannan and Steven Anstice from IPMG, while in operations the digital division is under Kevin Slaven with Adrian O’Connor taking on the role of print honcho.

    Both companies are heavily unionised with members of the AMWU, which George credits with being a cooperative partner in the process.

    The re-engineered company is a long way from when George first took over the reins. “When I arrived, PMP was riddled with debt. Riddled with operating problems, with customer relations problems. The share market didn’t like us, the banks didn’t like us, and even the trade press didn’t like us. We were totally friendless on the brink of some fairly painful futures,” he recalls grimly.

    George is now focused on the endgame, which in this case kicks in around 2019. By then he expects PMP to be generating the same $1.2 billion revenue, but with an increased margin (EBITA) of around $100 million. That will translate into a solid 20% return on capital and remarkably for a company of that scale, there will be no debt. In his eyes that makes it into a blue-chip investment property.

    In an industry that constantly battles the perception of being a rust bucket and part of yesterday’s technology, it is a remarkable achievement. It’s something all printers should take some pride in.

    Read the full interview with Peter George in the next issue of Print21 magazine.

  • Fuji Xerox wins giant same-sex vote print job

    The federal government has awarded the multi-million-dollar printing contract for the Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey to Fuji Xerox Document Management.

    Almost 16 million survey forms will be sent out to all Australians on the electoral roll who are eligible to vote. The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) says the package will include a reply-paid envelope and instructions on how to complete the survey.

    The ABS has yet to confirm details of the paperless option – available for people who are overseas, in hospital, homeless or living in remote areas – but the print job could involve four separate articles – an addressed envelope, the voting form, a set of instructions and the reply-paid envelope. Potentially, that could mean more than 50 or 60 million separate items, making it one of the largest-ever jobs in the industry.

    The government estimated the voluntary postal plebiscite on same-sex marriage would cost taxpayers $122 million, while consultants PwC put the full cost at $525 million – $160 million for the ballot itself.

    The ABS revealed its choice of printer in a statement to Print21.

    The ABS has engaged Fuji Xerox Document Management for the provision of Mail House services. They are an existing contractor with the ABS and have the capacity and capability, as a single provider, to complete this project.

     The printing process will be undertaken as high-speed digital inkjet printing.  

     The ABS is working closely with Australia Post to ensure that the survey forms are distributed to all eligible Australians and returned to the ABS in a timely manner.

     Paper used in the survey was sourced from Australia and was produced with the endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) and Australian Forestry Standard (AFS) certification. It was sourced from certified managed forests.

    Australian Paper, the only Australian manufacturer of office, printing and packaging papers, has confirmed its understanding that Australian made paper and envelopes will be used in the plebiscite.

     The print contract is a huge vote of confidence in Fuji Xerox as it emerges from a $450 million accounting scandal at its Australasian subsidiaries. However, Fuji Xerox Document Management Solutions, which always strives to maintain a low profile, especially when competing for printing work in the marketplace, has declined to comment.

    Nick Debenham, CEO of Fuji Xerox DMS, contacted by phone, said: “I have no comment to make on that subject. So, thank you very much…” before hanging up.

    Late yesterday, the company released a brief statement via email:

    As our business with customers is conducted on a confidential basis we do not comment on these types of inquiries and therefore will not be commenting on your inquiry regarding the upcoming Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey.

    “There will be nearly 16 million survey forms but they won’t all be able to be sent on the one day,” Acting Special Minister of State Mathias Cormann told The Conversation’s Michelle Grattan in a podcast earlier this week.

    “So, it will be staggered. But it will be staggered very quickly,” said Cormann. “The ABS has advised me that they will be prioritising those areas where it might take a little bit longer to get the mail to and from. They will get all of it out as fast as they can.”

    ABS Deputy statistician Jonathan Palmer said there were a number of options under consideration to ensure everyone who wanted to vote could do so. “It could be an online form, it could be a touch-tone telephone solution, it could be an SMS text message but we are still working out the best option for a paperless return.”

    Australia Post has agreed to block offensive sex-same marriage campaign material after the postal workers’ union warned of a ‘heightened risk’ to the welfare of its members.

    The national carrier said it would refuse to deliver any article which contains text or images which (in our reasonable opinion) do not meet current community standard and expectations, or may cause offence to a reasonable person, or contains material which is defamatory or offensive.

    More information about the vote is available from ABS Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey

    Key Dates

    Thursday, 24 August 2017 – Electoral Roll closes for new enrolments or changes to enrolments (midnight local time).

    Tuesday, 12 September 2017 – Commencement of mailing of forms and collection period.

    Wednesday, 18 October 2017 – Requests for replacement material closes (6pm local time).

    Friday, 27 October 2017 – The date all eligible Australians will be strongly encouraged to return their form by.

    Tuesday, 7 November (6pm EST) – No responses received after this date will be processed. 

    Wednesday, 15 November 2017 – Statistics released.