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

Friday, 19 October 2018
By Patrick Howard

 

Is it only me or do others have a difficulty with the evolved name of the largest web press manufacturer … manroland Goss? I’m sure there’s every good marketing reason to keep both brands in the name, but to me it’s missing something – such as a vision for the future. Such mergers are often actually takeovers with one partner unable to survive without the other. Goss has gone through so many owners, even enjoying a Chinese buyout from Shanghai Electric Corporation (SEC) at one time, that there is little left of the original company, apart from the installed base. Its current owners, American Industrial Partners (AIP), a US-based private equity company is unlikely to have an appetite for long-term web press manufacturing. It’s more than happy to pass the running of the business over to manroland.

So how long will the name continue?

In our market it’s been a long time since Goss sold a press, whereas manroland has enjoyed something of a winning streak. While there may not be too many more web presses to go – although I’m told News Corp has to make a decision soon on its ageing Melbourne operation – there is a solid market in retro fits to keep older presses up to the mark. It has bitten the bullet at its Yandina plant in Queensland, opting for a retrofit for additional formats and an e-retrofit of the controls of the existing UNISET and REGIOMAN presses.

And yes they will be manroland Goss retro fits.


An outrageous slur on the industry came from Zoe Samios, an online commentator for Mumbrella, who tried to blame the ‘declining print industry’ for the demise of Cosmopolitan magazine. How she can construct an argument that efficient, productive printing companies are somehow to blame for failed publishing strategies is beyond me. Someone should point out the robust health of the catalogue sector that’s growing every year.

Talk about shooting the messenger!

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Is there an association war brewing? This week Printing Industries under Andrew Macaulay CEO hosted a well attended Print2Parliament dinner for printers and federal politicians in Canberra. He told me he was very pleased with the resulting mix of ministers, backbenchers and working printers who travelled to the capital at their own expense.

Graeme Russell, CEO Media Super, the industry’s super fund, spoke at the PIAA’s Canberra event.

A day or two before, the new Real Media Collective, a collection of three industry associations – Australasian Catalogue Association, the paper group, APIA and Two Sides Australia – under industry identity, Kellie Northwood, CEO, also went to Canberra to lobby government, especially about Australia Post.

It’s a good thing to engender activity and get our industry noticed in the halls of power, but the pollies are likely to become confused if we don’t get our act together. I don’t imagine there’s much chance of a common approach, is there?

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And speaking of printing associations, perhaps we can learn from the Canadians. The Canadian Printing Industries Association (CPIA) is a new peak body. It brings together different industry stakeholders, including suppliers of graphic arts equipment. The idea is to provide a national voice and platform for the graphic arts industry, and to serve as a connection point for Canadian regional associations.

There are seven members of the CPIA within the new structure:

  • PrintForward Printing and Imaging Association,
  • Printing and Graphics Industries Association of Alberta (PGIA),
  • Saskatchewan Printing Industries Association (SPIA),
  • Manitoba Print Industries Association (MPIA),
  • Ontario Printing Industries Association (OPIA),
  • Quebec Association of the Printing Industry (AQII), and
  • Printing Equipment and Supply Dealers of Canada (PESDA).
  • In addition, the CPIA Board includes an at-large position representing the Atlantic Canada provinces.

Canada has population of 38 million, a bit more than us, but there are plenty of similarities. Here, instead of rallying together we seem to be hell bent of splitting the industry unity with a proliferation of associations, each with their own executive and agenda. Maybe we need a Canadian solution.

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Wednesday morning at Jet Technologies to see Jack Malki host the Innovation Series for the label sector. Excellent event and well attended, as were the other two in the series, one in Auckland and in Melbourne.

One of the presenters, Gary Seward, of Bristol-based Pulse Roll Label Products, had a word or two about the challenges faced by label printers meeting the labelling requirements of the EU, even before Brexit.

As an aside he gave an example of some of the regulations in place by Brussels for the common market. Makes Brexit seem almost like a sensible idea.

  1. Water cannot be sold as a mean to rehydrate
  2. It is illegal to eat pet horses.
  3. Bananas must have a bend of at least 1/10.
  4. Jam is only jam if it’s 60% sugar, any less and it’s fruit spread.
  5. Children under eight cannot blow up balloons.
  6. Eggs must be sold by the kilo and not by a dozen.

 

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