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manroland claims top spot in web offset market

Wednesday, 20 May 2015
By Patrick Howard

Steve Dunwell is confident the local market is on side even as the worldwide demand for big iron presses continues to slide.

You have to go back quite a few years to find the last time anything other than a manroland web press, commercial or newspaper, was sold into the Australian market. In the interim the German-based company has become the default brand for the largest printing companies in the region, such as Hannaprint, PMP and Franklin Web.

Steve Dunwell

Few manufacturers have ever enjoyed such market sector dominance before.  Even as the overall level of activity declines, with only a limited number of prospects for large presses still on the go, Dunwell, managing director of manroland Australia, is determined not to take his position for granted. Every year since the creation of the stand-alone local company he has increased the number of service engineers to 24 in order to make sure there are no gaps in the offering.

The local dynamic reflects the global situation with the company claiming leadership in the web offset printing sector. Since it emerged from administration four years ago under a new parent company, German conglomerate Possehl, manroland web systems has seen a decline in its order intake from E246.9 in 2013 to Euro 221.8 this year. This is consistent with an overall fall in the number of newspaper and commercial web offset presses being sold into the world market.


At the same time it has increased its market leadership from 21% in 2012 to a comfortable 36% in 2014. According to independent research figures, last year its closest rivals were the Chinese-owned Goss with 21%, followed by the Japan-based Komori at 10% with the other German press manufacturer KBA suffering a disastrous year with only 3%. (To be fair, KBA had 18% share in 2012 and 17% share in 2013.) The rest of the market is completed by brands such as Mitsubishi, the Indian-based Manugraph and TKS, another Japanese company et al.

It is this market dominance that Dunwell is keen to emphasize to the local industry. He wants to assure his customers that of all the brands out there , manroland is the most secure.

Despite the slowdown in Australian and NZ orders he has transformed the local business into a graphic arts merchant that not only maintains a substantial service engineer complement, but also supplies spare parts and consumables, plates, chemicals and blankets. As the local representative of Manroland Sheetfed, the Tony Langley-owned, offset press manufacturer, manroland Australia enjoyed its best ever results last year.

“You’d always like to do more but that is the market reality,” said Dunwell. “We’ve just finished relocating presses for Fairfax from Tullamarine [Victoria] and Chullora [NSW] with the last one in Wellington [NZ] up and running this month. There are a few prospects on the go but they’re under wraps at present.”

Far from believing the sector is in terminal decline, Dunwell is confident there will be a fresh round of investment as printers become more aware of the productivity gains with the latest generation of Lithoman presses. The statistics are for an average taken over ten presses that throughput is four times what it was before although with only half the number of operators.

He tells of taking customers to sites in Europe where when starting up a Lithoman  the 40th copy was good to go with the press then ramping immediately up to its maximum speed of 45, 000 per hour.

“These presses spend ninety six per cent of their production time printing at top speed. We guarantee it,” he said.







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