Archive for October, 2018

  • Print21 – Issue 1057 MIDWEEK SPECIAL

    A level playing field is essential for the operation of a good market. Printers often complain of price undercutting. It’s a fact of life, but only fair if we all play by the same rules.

     

    The latest issue of Print21 should be on your desks now, it’s a great read jam-packed full of features focusing on the people who are developing print, enjoy.

     

    Welcome to the latest issue of Print21 online, the premier news and information portal for the Australi and New Zealand print industries.

     

    Wayne Robinson
    – Editor

  • 1st swissQprint Nyala 3S goes into CMP

    Celebrating the first swissQprint in Australia in 2012, Adriano Gut (left) and Phil Trumble (right) with Lynette Vella and Geoff Tower of Digital Graphix at the CMP open house yesterday.

    Full service Sydney printer steps up for its 5th flatbed machine, with another to come from the Swiss company after seeing it operate at FESPA.

    The normally private Clarke Murphy Print opened its signage division facility to allow Phil Trumble’s Pozitive, the local swissQprint agent, to host an open house where it could showcase the latest Nyala 3S to a select group of customers. The fastest flatbed ever to come from the highly regarded manufacturer was put through its paces by Adriano Gut, product manager, who made the trip from Switzerland.

    The Nyala 3S (the S stands for speed) is a single pass CMYK production unit with a top speed of 370 M2 in billboard mode on the 3.2 x 2 meter flatbed. The highly engineered machine has tandem print mode and an endless vacuum that eliminates masking on the table. According to Gut, who is well known to the local industry from his time with Pozitive, it’s very energy efficient – one hour’s operation uses the same power it takes to boil two kettles of water.

    Already up and running at CMP over long shifts, six days a week, the Nyala 3S produced a number of jobs in different speed modes during the demonstration, including four different sheet jobs, front and rear with zero down time. Trumble made the point that although jobs are often printed on large sheets, most are cut down to poster size. The endless vacuum makes sheetfed printing just as productive as roll to roll.

    swissQprint regards the new generation Nyala as a radically changed model even though it looks the same as those that came before. It has LED curing and a completely new wiring system for its electronics.

    “The Nyala 3S prints in a completely new way for us. We always focused on delivering the very highest quality and we had to convince management that a fast billboard mode was what the market also wanted,” said Gut. “It’s still high quality but it’s productive and very reliable at the highest speed.”

    He made the point that it’s ten years since the first hand-assembled swissQprint machine came from the factory. It took the company two and a half years to reach 100 installations. By the end of this year he expects 1,100 installs.

    Pozitive is the exclusive swissQprint agent in Australia for the six years since Geoff Tower and Lynette Vella, Digital Graphix, bought the first Impala here. It’s still running strongly at the Castle Hill plant. Both were at the open house yesterday at CMP and a beaming Tower reckons that first Impala, “made our business.”

     

  • Chameleon offering ‘dirt cheap’ business cards

    ‘Dirt cheap’ business cards: Chris Kreiger, Chameleon Group Australia.

    Controversial Queensland print group Chameleon is raising the ire of local printers with its latest offering, for ‘dirt cheap’ business cards.

    Chameleon’s latest deal is $77 for 1000 double sided business cards on satin stock with gloss cello on the front. It is also offering a further 13 per cent on its already discounted rates for DL and A5 flyers.

    Back in May Krico, which was the parent company of Chameleon and half a dozen other Qld print outfits, went into liquidation with debts of $4m. However a new company Chameleon Group Australia was quickly running, owned by office admin worker Emma Van Der Pluym, who is the long term girlfriend of Chris Krieger, the son of the owner of Krico, Kevin Kreiger.

    Chris Kreiger, who is banned for being a company director until 2019 for running failed insurance fraud, told Print21 at the time that Chameleon was all good, he said, “We haven’t phoenixed anything and everything we have done has been above board. I used to be a shareholder in the other one but she’s the sole owner of CGA. It was just easier to put it in her name and more beneficial to structure it this way. We have to make sure it stays afloat. 

    “It’s a basic business restructuring where we’re aiming to get stronger in digital. We’ve shut down our manufacturing facility in Bundaberg but we still have a warehouse there. We’ve consolidated our print business in Hervey Bay and are continuing our manufacturing in Maryborough. We haven’t changed our machinery or capability but some jobs have been lost along the way, about ten or so, but we’ll probably be rehiring again.”

    Kreiger received a 12 month suspended jail sentence for the attempted fraud when he tried to claim a printer that in reality did not exist was damaged in a fire. The insurance company subsequently refused to pay any damages from the fire.

  • Holmesglen installs Horizon guillotine

    New Horizon at Holmesglen: students learning to programme and cut on Horizon APC-610

    Victoria’s leading print training centre Holmesglen Institute has installed a new 60cm Horizon guillotine, supplied by Currie Group.

    The new Horizon APC-610 Hydraulic Paper Cutter sits in the main print room of the TAFE, which also houses digital print systems and wide format printers.

    Paul Ross, program manager – printing, says, “We have had a long-standing relationship with Currie Group, they have been wonderful supporters of print education in Victoria.

    “Horizon equipment is very well regarded throughout the industry, and is highly popular in the field, there are lots of print companies with Horizon. When it came to our choice of a guillotine to train the students in finishing Horizon was our first choice.

    “The Horizon APC-610 enables our students to gain a complete understanding of modern day cutting, it works with digital files, offers a host of pre-programmed cutting options or enables operators to create their own cutting programmes.”

    Vince Pignataro of Currie Group says, “We have had a long-term relationship with Holmesglen Institute, and were happy to demonstrate the features of the Horizon APC-610. The guillotine will enable the students to get a good grasp of finishing products produced within the printing college. Students are able to store different cut combinations and recall the same job at a later stage, or recreate another cutting combination. This makes it ideal for training in the modern world of print.

  • Canon launches new printers, inks, media

    Indoor outdoor: At the new imagePrograph TM series launch are (l-r) Gavin Gomes, director, Canon Business Services; Norifumi Kitajima, group executive for large format inkjet products; Akira (Dave) Yoshida, managing director, Canon; and Simon Russell, general manager – marketing, Canon

    Canon used its Sun Studios complex for the official launch of its eight strong new imagePrograph TM series of wide format printers, designed for poster printing, CAD and the AEC markets.

    Alongside these models, Canon is releasing four types of waterproof poster media with adhesive backing, that it says achieves excellent weather resistance, enabling users to create outdoor signage for a variety of scenarios.

    Using the new printers and the new media means there is no need to laminate prints for outdoor work.

    Simon Russell, general manager – marketing at Canon says, “There is a new pigment ink developed by Canon which delivers a vibrancy that is new to this level of the market, and the five inks give really black blacks. The prints are light resistant, water resistant, so can be used for both indoor and outdoor applications.

    “The Lucia TD five-colour pigment ink is also capable of reproducing fine lines and clear text required for printing CAD drawings, even when using plain paper that lacks ink-absorbing layers.”

    The new TM series have many of the same features introduced in high-end TX printers – new core technologies, fully pigment 5-color Lucia TD ink, a print head with six integrated 1.07-inch wide tips, and the L-COA Pro image processor.

    TM printers are also quieter by up to 60 per cent in comparison to the imagePrograf iPF series and compact, with fully front-accessible operations and flush wall installation, making them easier to set up where space is limited.

    Speaking to Print21 at the launch event Norifumi Kitajima, group executive for large format inkjet products – essentially the man behind the development – said, “There is a large demand in Australia for high quality, fast printers that can deliver vibrant images and fine detail. The imagePrograph TM series addresses these requirements.”

    The new imagePrograph TM range is available in 24” and 36” versions.

  • Corporates put under 12 month paper bill notice

    Win: Minsters tell billers they have 12 months to get their houses in order, total ban on bill fees may follow

    Industry campaign group Keep Me Posted is celebrating a solid result with Consumer Affairs Ministers telling telcos, banks and utilities that they have 12 months to get the paper billing organised, or the government will intervene, and may totally ban charging for bills.

    Today’s Consumer Affairs Forum saw Ministers consider the Decision Regulation Impact Statement on paper billing fees, and agreed to encourage businesses not to charge vulnerable or disadvantaged consumers to receive paper bills.

    Businesses will be given a strict twelve-month period to increase their subscription to their existing exemption programs.

    Ministers are sending a strong message to businesses stating if the increase in exemption program subscription is not met, they will consider a total ban on paper billing fees.

    “While it is disappointing it wasn’t an outright ban, we respect the Consumer Affairs Forum decision and welcome the supportive sentiment. We hope that this result sends a clear message to businesses to apply common sense and do the right thing for all Australian consumers,” said Kellie Northwood, executive director, Keep Me Posted.

    “This is clear acknowledgement from State and Federal politicians that our industry has a valued role to play amongst Australian society,” concluded Northwood.

    Keep Me Posted will continue to provide the most vulnerable Australians assistance through their campaign initiatives and will continue to monitor the issues over the next twelve months.

  • Jet set to Entice with new range

    Enticing: new from Jet Technologies to boost shelf appeal

    Jet Technologies is launching its new Entice range of soft touch films for consumer product labels, that it says have the power to add additional value and a sense of luxury.

    The new labels have deen developed for an increasingly competitive market, where brands need to be able to capture the attention of consumers within thirteen seconds when purchasing a brand in-store. A product’s label is integral in grabbing a consumer’s attention and influencing a judgement that it stands out from the rest. To meet this demand, Jet Technologies has released a range of labelling products to give products a more premium look and feel.

    “Australian consumers want products that demand our attention,” said Jack Malki, director, Jet Technologies. “And consumers are becoming increasingly influenced to purchase products that evoke an emotional response in them through sensory touch.”

    The Soft Touch films are now available pre-laminated as label material, with the Entice range conveying the sensations of luxury and exclusivity. With these materials ready for print, Jet says the applications are endless, examples include boutique beverage labels, gin labels, whiskey labels and wine labels (water resistant substrate with excellent in ice-bucket performance). Other suitable products might include higher value beauty products and cosmetics, perfumes, as well as boutique commercial printing for weddings, invitations and foiling.

    Soft Touch Overlaminate adds soft touch to any substrate, for all types of printing, while the Entice Pressure Sensitive range is available in matte black, gold, and silver label stock with a premium soft touch finish for label printing.

    Jet Technologies is extending that same look and feel with its films so a brand can achieve the same provocative experience from their marketing brochure, right through to their folded carton, and now on to the label.

    “By opening up availability and capabilities in boutique range labels we are able to meet the labelling and packaging needs of brands whose products are being positioned at the top end of the market,” said Malki.

    “Our Entice range will also tick all the boxes for brands looking to benefit from the extrinsic aspect of their products,” he added. “After all, a customer’s first impression of a brand comes from the label and packaging, and companies should not underestimate the impact of the sensory experience and enhancing the most provocative of graphic arts.”

  • Konica Minolta finalist in 2018 Human Rights Awards

    Fighting for human rights: David Cooke, Konica Minolta.

    Konica Minolta has been selected as a finalist for the Business Award category of the 2018 Human Rights Awards, run by the Australian Human Rights Commission.

    The Human Rights Awards recognise the contribution of individuals and organisations in promoting and protecting human rights and freedoms. This year, there was a record number of nominations for the Awards.

    Dr David Cooke, managing director, Konica Minolta Australia said, “We are delighted that Konica Minolta’s culture and deep commitment to human rights has been recognised by the Australian Human Rights Commission. For us, people are at the centre of everything we do, from our employees to our customers to our community.”

    Konica Minolta has been actively involved in supporting human rights, from championing gender equality, diversity and inclusion in its workforce, to adopting an approach to procurement which aligns with key human rights goals such as indigenous reconciliation. It has made significant efforts to not only ensure it has practices in place to ensure the ethical management of its own supply chain, but has also provided resources, raised awareness and worked with the government for changes to be made to address the issues of modern slavery in Australia and internationally.

    “As well as our ongoing community partnership programs, we are dedicated, through our efforts and influence, to improve the quality of life for people affected by modern slavery or unfair work practices throughout the supply chain. Increasingly, we are finding customers and employees are moved to work with companies that have purpose, and diversity, and are committed to doing the right thing. It has been wonderful to see the company growing in strength over the years, as a result,” said Dr Cooke.

    In April 2017, Konica Minolta launched its three-year corporate social responsibility strategic plan, Corporate Social Responsibility: Pathways to Sustainability & Shared Value 2020, which identifies five shared value pathways that will guide its work until 2020 and is aligned with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. These pathways have built the foundation for Konica Minolta’s strong commitment to respecting and protecting human rights, include fostering transformative community partnerships, embedding respect for human rights, embracing diversity and inclusion, supporting a culture of safety, wellbeing and health and demonstrating environmental leadership.

    Cooke has also been invited to speak at the 2018 UN Forum on Business and Human rights in Geneva in November.

    The winner of the Business Award will be announced at the Human Rights Awards ceremony on Friday 14 December.

  • Ricoh bringing customer engagement to life

    The Aussie were the largest group to go through the Ricoh Customer Experience Centre at Rayong, Thailand.

    Ricoh’s regional customer experience centre (CEC) is just a part of its massive Rayong production plant, which spans 120,000sqm and employs almost 4000 workers, in lush surrounds an hour from the famous beach resort city of Pattaya.

    The air-conditioned interior is a welcome relief from the sticky heat of the rainy season outside, for me and for the rest of the 40 Australian guests and staff who have come to tour the facility – the largest group to have visited the CEC since it opened in 2016.

    The Australian visit is part of an event dubbed Alive with Colour, where Ricoh has flown both existing and potential clients out to Thailand to show them the CEC and the kit on display inside.

    According to Simon Lane, national manager for commercial and industrial print at Ricoh Australia, Alive with Colour demonstrates Ricoh’s commitment to its customers. “What is important to us is having profitable, productive, and happy customers,” he says. “This event is for our customers to understand us and what we do, but it is also about helping us understand them and what they want.”

    For Ricoh, the CEC is an opportunity to connect with customers and show off its broad range of hardware and software options. “We have a lot of strings to our bow,” says Lane. “We are able to demonstrate technologies from cut-sheet commercial right through to high-speed inkjet and wide-format, plus a range of workflow tools.
    “We didn’t show all the solutions we have available, either. We have many more solutions for sale,” he added. “To be a trusted partner, we need to meet more than one need for our customers.”

    At the CEC the Australian party is taken through the show floor in groups, moving between each station to get a first-hand look at the solutions on display. For my group, the first cab off the rank is cutsheet commercial, including the toner-based Pro C9200 series digital press.

    “The C9200 is a workhorse. It is designed to be highly productive and to provide profitable outcomes for customers,” says Lane. “It can manage a broad range of substrates, it has significant processing speed, and it has built-in capabilities to ensure consistent high-quality registration.”

    As we approach the wide-format section, the Pro T7210 flatbed is printing on a 35mm wooden door. It is an unusual entry in the flatbed space in that it is designed not for signage, but for décor, explains Paul Thompson, business development manager for direct to garment and visual display solutions at Ricoh. He says, “We are able to target that market due to a couple of factors: the ink we manufacture for it is high-adhesion, with the ability to be applied to a wide range of substrates. The machine also has inline priming capabilities, which opens up products such as glass, aluminium and steel without the need for pre-treatment.

    “It can print a wide range of applications on a wide range of materials at high speed, 100 square metres per hour, using substrates up to 110 millimetres thick,” he says.

    The Pro T7210 is not a niche product however; customers have told Ricoh that the machine works well as a signage printer that can also produce décor. “We have been running tests with materials such as corflute, and had some fantastic results,” says Thompson.

    Also on display in the wide-format section are prototypes of Ricoh’s upcoming entry into the roll-to-roll space; the Pro L5160 latex printer, slated for release early next year. As with its other devices, Ricoh is manufacturing the complete package, including inks, print heads and the machine itself. “We are managing the whole process,” saysThompson.

    The L5160 runs at a low temperature, opening it up to heat-sensitive stock. “There is also built-in maintenance,” adds Thompson. “It has self-cleaning tools that increase the uptime, minimises the impact on staff, and enables more product out per hour.”

    Following a look at the continuous-feed VC60000 high-speed inkjet machine, which prints at up to 150 metres per minute and takes up an entire corner of the room, we are introduced to the toner-based C7200x series cut-sheet graphic arts press.

    This is one of the star attractions of the CEC – it printed the stunning invitations we received to the event – and has many of the same capabilities as the C9200, according to Lane, with a few additions for the graphic arts sector. “The C7200x has the benefit of offering interchangeable white and clear toner,” he says. “We have been able to demonstrate that you can produce high-quality differentiated work in a single pass using white and four-colour on particular substrates.”

    The C7200x also offers options such as neon pink and neon yellow to expand the colour gamut, and invisible red, which shows up clear but turns red under ultraviolet lighting – ideal for security applications, says Lane. “It is aimed at areas such as ticketing for events, and it adds another string to the bow for our customers.”
    After lunch, we are taken through the Ricoh factory itself. This site manufactures a range of devices, and the scale of the place is jaw-dropping. Our guides show us through what feels like miles of floor space filled with bustling workers, some of whom offer a friendly smile and a wai – the traditional Thai greeting involving placing your hands together and bowing – as we pass.

    The factory hums along like clockwork, and I often overhear others in the tour group wondering aloud at the scale of the task required to keep everyone organised. It is one of the more impressive sites I have seen in 
my two years at Print21.
 Alive with Colour is not just about Ricoh showing off its kit to customers. The event has also been designed for the customers to give the supplier feedback, and an entire day is set aside at the Holiday Inn Pattaya before the flight home for guests to meet individually with Ricoh staff in face-to-face sessions. “Our aim is to be the premier provider of production printing solutions in Australia, and we understand that many of our guests are not familiar with the Ricoh heritage,” says Lane. “As a result, we welcome their feedback on how Ricoh can better support their ambitions, and their insights as to where we can further improve our technology and support offerings.”

    Lane is delighted with the amount of input Ricoh has been offered, especially considering the time guests have had to take out of their busy schedules to attend. “We had customers who willingly threw themselves into this, and who took themselves away from their businesses for a few days. That’s a big investment of time for people who run small to medium enterprises,” he said. “You can’t ask for anything more, because time is the most valuable resource people have.

    Feedback was positive, according to Lane, with customers praising the willingness of Ricoh staff to listen to their concerns. “The thing we heard is that people who work in the printing industry want to be listened to, and they are looking for partners who will work with them to be successful,” he says. 21

  • Starleaton promotes Zünd S3 cutter

    A Zünd S3 Digital Cutter.

    Starleaton is featuring its Zünd S3 flatbed cutter as part of its growing array of signage equipment ithat includes Epson, OKI ColorPainter and Flexa.

    The super-fast S3 line of cutters are modular and can be changed, expanded, upgraded any time. Modular tooling allows for processing a wide variety of materials up to a maximum thickness of 25mm. Various levels of automated material-handling turn the S3 into an all-round production system.

    With its focus on innovation, Zünd has for decades been a driving force in the graphics industry. The “simple” vinyl cutter/plotter of the past has evolved into a multifunctional digital cutting system capable of accurately matching cut to print while automatically processing a multitude of flexible and rigid substrates.

    Starleaton is an Australian-owned and operated importer, converter and distributor of materials, hardware, software and know-how for the Signage, Display, Exhibition, Photography, Graphic Arts and Packaging industries.

  • Whirlwind converts Lindsay Yates to digital hub

    Creating digital hub: Andrew Cester, Whirlwind.

    The Lindsay Yates business is to be developed into a digital hub by owners Whirlwind Print. The Lindsay Yates name will be retired, with the hub trading as Whirlwind Print, and it will operate from a new as yet undisclosed site.

    The new hub will house the company’s existing B2 HP Indigo 10000 – supplied by Currie Group – and a suite of other digital equipment, with company set to invest further in digital, in binding and in specialist kit.

    Andrew Cester, managing director of Whirlwind says, “The move reflects our commitment to the future needs of our NSW customers by enabling us to offer them the latest in print production technology.

    “This integration has been well planned. To ease disruption our customers will continue to work with their current key account manager and customer experience representatives.”

    The current Artarmon site will close, with most of the Lindsay Yates offset work to be switched to Whirlwind in Melbourne, although some specialist work still to be produced in Sydney.

    Lindsay Yates has a six-colour B1 Heidelberg. Whirlwind has an MGI JetVarnish digital embellising system in Melbourne, with a pair of B1 Komori multi-unit perfecting presses providing the offset power.

    Whirlwind bought the Lindsay Yates Group a year ago from owners Paul Richardson and David Shoppe. The company had made its reputation serving the high end creative space. It was established in 1977 by Ian Yates, who sold to Richardson and Shoppe in 2004.

    Richardson left last month after 21 years with the company, to become general manager of Reactiv, a design print and logistics outfit in Rydalmere.

    Whirlwind is one of the country’s leading trade printers. The company has developed its own online web-to-print for its resellers to use.

  • Print21 newsletter issue 1056 – WEEKEND SPECIAL

    The march of digital printing is unstoppable, highlighted this week with Whirlwind converting the Lindsay Yates plant into a digital hub, and a US printer buying 20 HP digital flexo presses, for the not inconsiderable sum of $100m. And congratulations to Imagination Graphics and all the state winners in the Konica Minolta digital print awards, the work on display was terrific.

     

    Welcome to the latest issue of the Print21 newsletter, the premier news and information source for print businesses in Australia and New Zealand.

     

    Wayne Robinson
    Editor

  • Landa launches Nanography into China

    Getting the deal done: Michael Mogridge, GM Asia Pacific & Japan, Landa Digital Printing, Rich Wu, CTO ZRP Group, Yishai Amir, CEO Landa Digital Printing and Song Deng, Sales Manager, Greater China, Landa Digital Printing

    ZRP Printing Group, Zhongshan, is the seventh printer around the world to be confirmed for installation of a Nanographic digital press. The Chinese printer joins a growing list with four presses already installed; in Israel, Germany, Switzerland and the USA, along with announcements of the first UK and French customers.

    Local Australian and NZ printers who’ve signed letters of intent will have to wait until at least after drupa in 2020 before there’ll be one in our neck of the woods.

    To support the first Chinese installation Landa Corporation has opened an office in Guangzhou to service what it hopes will be one of its largest markets for the new inkjet technology.

    According to Michael Mogridge, Asia Pacific regional director, the move signifies the next stage in the ramp up of the company’s production. “It’s starting to pick up well. We’re taking it carefully, making sure it’s all deliverable. The print quality is fine; now we’re focusing on the dependability, like with any new technology,” he said.

    Landa is no different to other press manufacturers in focusing on the Chinese market. Mogridge confirmed the importance of the Chinese market to the company, especially for packaging. “Twenty years ago practically no Chinese women used cosmetics. Now over two hundred million do and there are two hundred more who want to.”

    He identifies a growing requirement for ‘green’ printing, especially for water-based ink, as a key driver in favour of Landa Nanography presses. There is increasing pressure on printing companies to clean up their processes if they want to remain in urban areas close to their customers.

    ZRP is a major packaging print provider with four plants throughout China.

     

  • Cactus prints Australia’s biggest wrap

    Biggest in Australia: Cactus printed the 2000sqm wrap at Sydney Airport on its Fujifilm Uvistar

    Cactus Imaging has printed what is believed to be the biggest building wrap in Australia at present, with a 2000sqm job at Sydney Airport, for new specialist large format media outfit Wide Open Platform.

    The job was printed at Cactus on its Fujifilm Uvistar grand format UV inkjet printer, and is the first wrap to be printed to new fire retardant standards on the mesh. Cactus general manager Keith Ferrell says the new fire standard will become the norm.

    It took Cactus several months of r+d with various coatings to ensure ink adhesion on the new mesh, to ensure itw as strong enough.

    Cactus is owned buy oOh! Media, but works as an independent print house with oOh! as one of its clients. It was founded by Warwick Spicer and Keith Ferrell in 1992. They sold to Opus Group a decade ago, with oOh! buying it two years ago for $6.1m. Spicer has since retired but his son Nigel is general manager.

  • Wayne Finkelde – the pragmatism of printing

    Determined: Wayne Finkelde

    Printing is a tough game, a hard fought competitive space with little room for dreamers. It is a manufacturing and service industry under pressure of consolidation as printers battle for a share of a decreasing pie.

    No-one understands the fierce dynamics of the printing hierarchy better than Wayne Finkelde, CEO of AAB Holdings, owner of several leading print business. He knows there is only so much room at the top, and he is determined to be in the winner’s circle.

    Read Patrick Howard’s absorbing interview with Wayne Finkelde in the laest issue of Print21, which has just hit your desks, or click here to read online.

  • Imagination wins Konica Minolta Awards

    Winners: Emmanuel Buhagiar (right) Imagination Graphics, NSW; with (l-r) Karen Simpson, Tennyson, Qld; and Revolution, Vic, owners Leon Wilson and John Schreenan

    Emmanuel Buhagiar’s Imagination Graphics took out the top spot in the Konica Minolta National Specialised Print Awards 2018, at a ceremony held last night at the glittering harbourside Park Hyatt hotel.

    The Marrickville-based print business won the National Award for its Hamptons pop-up book. Buhagiar said, “It was a complex job, with a client who wanted to push the boundaries. The client threw everything at us, we had just three weeks to produce it. I pay tribute to my print team, their skill and commitment to producing the best work.”

    “I also pay tribute to Konica Minolta, we have been with them for the past ten years and I can say the business has grown I part thanks to the Konica Minolta print equipment we have been able to use during those years. The quality we achieve with our latest Konica Minolta AccurioPress, that has won this award, against some outstanding work from the other entries, is testimony to the advanced technology.”

    Winners (l-r): Gary and Emilia Pace, WhoYou Creative, SA (left); and Crystal Cheun and Dickson Cheung from Tako Print Solutions, WA

    The Award was judged in the company of the other state award winners, all of whom bar Elect Printing from ACT were at the Awards last night. They included Whoyou Creative from SA, Tennyson Print from Qld, Tako Print from WA, and from Victoria it was Revolution Print, which won the state award with a job printed on its KM-1 inkjet B2 sheetfed press, which it installed a year ago, along with an MGI digital embellishing system.

    Judges were Kenneth Beck fom Carbon8, Anthony Parneman from EFI, Kellie Northwood from Real Media Collective and Darryl John from Konica Minolta.

    Introducing the awards Sue Threlfo, general manager, Production and Industrial Print, Konica Minolta said, “The National Specialised Print Awards are a celebration of our customers, and a way for us to recognise how their creativity combines with the Konica Minolta engines to produce such amazing work for their customers. We have never seen such quality before, it reflects on the creativity and skill of the printers involved.”

    Quality: Emmanuel Buhagiar, with Dr David Cooke and Sue Threlfo

    This year saw a record number of entries, 246, entering into five categories; digital flat sheet, digital print bound books, digital brochures, digital labels and digital embellishment.

    At the event Konica Minolta Australia managing director Dr David Cooke revealed that the company is itself in the running for an award, as one of five finalists in the Human Rights Commission Australian Human Rights Award.

  • Graphics Grab Bag – goings on around the printing traps this week

    The publishing date of a magazine is always an occasion of heightened expectation, especially for the people who appear in its pages either as subjects or as advertisers. The arrival of the printed copy is an affirmation of print’s undeniable physical presence, real world solidity in a universe of ephemeral tweets and twitters.

    The latest issue of Print21 is a cracker, even if I do say so myself. Packed full of good information, personality and news of the industry on both sides of the Tasman Sea, its arrival is a worthwhile occasion to brew a cuppa, close the office door and take a few minutes to enjoy being part of the huge world of printing.

    Which is why it’s so frustrating when Australia Post, the sole monopoly provider fails to perform its part. Print Post is the publication service for magazines. Like everything else now there are two levels of service, Standard and Priority. Unfortunately it seems as though Australia Post takes the Standard service as an excuse to leave pallets of magazines sitting on the warehouse floor for as long as they feel like.

    And that’s my whinge for the week.

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    Speaking of postal services, I see the US Post wants to raise its mailing services product prices by approximately 2.5 percent from January next year. The new prices will include a five-cent increase in the price of a first-class mail stamp from 50 cents to 55 cents. That’s about half what it costs us to post a letter in Australia.

    Blowing its on trumpet US Post adds, that … The Postal Service has some of the lowest letter mail postage rates in the industrialized world and also continues to offer a great value in shipping. Unlike some other shippers, the Postal Service does not add surcharges for fuel, residential delivery, or regular Saturday or holiday season delivery. It receives no tax dollars for operating expenses and relies on the sale of postage, products, and services to fund its operations.

    Christine Holgate, CEO of Australia Post.

    The Postal Service made $1.4 billion profit and $522 million in ‘controllable income’ in the first quarter last year. The difference is that one figure includes workers pension scheme and the other doesn’t. The $1.4 billion number was in the primary earnings table provided by the USPS to the Postal Regulatory Commission, while the $522 million figure was included in the footnotes of the report. Either way, it proves there’s money to be made in postal services, even as ‘granny mail’ declines.

    Australia Post under its new CEO, Christine Holgate, this year posts a full-year after tax profit of $134 million, up 41 per cent. This is despite an 11 per cent decline in letters volume that was offset by parcel growth up 10 per cent.

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    The deal is going down at Xerox in the USA. Not only have the private investors repudiated the merger with Fujifilm they’ve now made good on their promise, or threat, to return 50 per cent of what they term ‘free cash flow’ to the shareholders. The company, which was on its knees only last year, has declared a quarterly cash dividend of $0.25 per share on Xerox common stock as well as a quarterly cash dividend of $20 per share on the outstanding Xerox Series B Convertible Perpetual Preferred Stock. Under CEO John Visentin, it clocked up a 5.8 per cent fall in revenue to US2.4 billion. Earnings per share took a hit too but luckily the ‘free cash flow’ went up by $157 m to $251 m. Mind you in a footnote the report says … * Prior year cash flow compares adjusted to exclude incremental pension contribution of $500M and to include deferred proceeds and beneficial interest from sales of receivables within working capital. So really, who knows?

    Finally Xerox is declaring financing debt at $3.4 billion, which includes leasing of equipment, as well as unfunded pension costs of $1.4 billion. So that’s all right then.

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    Meanwhile, I understand the rift between Xerox and Fujifilm is so deep – the two are heading to court in the US to sort out a case that’s likely to last for generations – that personnel are not allowed to communicate with their counterparts across the Pacific. It’s slowly edging towards all out war with both companies threatening to sell directly in to the others territory.

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    In North America, OKI Data has issued a warning that people are trying sell ‘clone printers’ into the market.  I hasten to add there are no reports of the same thing happening here.

    The company warns that the ‘clones’ are not covered by warranties, not eligible for OKI service and will not receive firmware or driver updates. It seems the motive is that the counterfeiters are altering the machines in order to use ‘white toner.’ OKI says these companies are not “partners” and have no business relationship with us.

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    Then there was the guy who turned 80 and the nursing home threw a party. Up walked a gorgeous woman and offered him some super sex as a birthday present.

    He thought for a moment.

    “I’ll take the soup,” he said.