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Visual Impact Wrap Up

Wednesday, 19 September 2018
By Jake Nelson

Breaking free at Visual Impact: Russell Cavenagh, Mutoh

The big wide format show has just concluded, Print21 is as always first out with the show reports, and following on from our initial news on Friday here is Part II of the wrap.

Agfa showcases duo

Agfa showcased two wide-format inkjet printers on its stand: the Annapurna 1650i hybrid machine, and the flatbed FB2540. Michael Culver, inkjet manager for Oceania, was optimistic about each machine’s prospects. “Our market requires two types of solutions: true flatbed, and hybrid. Both have been getting plenty of interest, and we’re hoping to close a few sales from this show,” he said.

Plenty of interest: Michael Culver, Agfa.

Alfex Laser focus

At Alfex Laser’s stand, there was plenty of interest in a variety of laser cutters and engravers. Jordan Buhagiar, laser division manager, said one key advantage of the technology is its flexibility. “The biggest thing is that a lot of pieces of equipment out there are designed for just one application,” he said. “Lasers can be used for literally a million different applications across different substrates and industries.”

Flexibility: Jordan (left) and Christian Buhagiar, Alfex Laser.

AVS kit to help you grow

Australian Visual Solutions showed off a range of wide-format printing and finishing hardware, including a new Colex conveyor system from the USA. According to Daniel Yeoman, hardware manager, AVS customers came to the stand looking for equipment to grow their businesses. “They’re not necessarily here to open their cheque books – they want to do research on where to take the business next and what’s going to help them get there,” he said. “Engagement with our customers is key.”

Engagement: Daniel Yeoman, AVS.

 

Currie Group truck rolls in

Not everyone at the show was focused on wide format, in fact the biggest stand on the floor was from Currie Group, which had brought in its mobile showroom truck showing the latest HP Indigo 7900 Digital Press, linked to a Horizon booklet maker.

In front of the truck Currie Group was showing some of the nifty Horizon finishing solutions, with the Japanese manufactured kit continuing to offer printer innovative cost effective solutions, inlcuding the Horizon CRF-362 Creaser Folder with pre-programmed and self programmed finishing options, and no cracking on digital printing thanks to its compression folding technology. Currie Group was also showing its innovative Horizon rotary die cutting unit, aimed at printers who want to be getting into the packaging market, the 3000sph system enabling printers to perfom die-cutting in house. The Horizon SmartSlitter SMSL-100, which essentially does everything in one pass including both ways perforating, folding, slitting and scoring. was also attracting much interest.

Biggest stand, multiple finishing solutions and HP Indigo 7900: Currie Group

 

Going local with Euro Poles

Peter Wagener, MD of Perth flag and banner printer Euro Poles, teamed up with a Fremantle-based brewery for a free beer tasting. He said his stand was a testament to Australian manufacturing. “There are alternatives to having to go to China for your print,” he said. “You can get it done locally in Australia, and with much better quality than you’d get out of Asia.”

Going local: Peter Wagener, Euro Poles.

Fuji Xerox beyond speeds and feeds

At the Fuji Xerox stand, staff showed off a pair of roll-to-roll printers, one from Fujifilm and the other from Epson – but both were mostly covered up. According to Paul Budgen, national portfolio manager for wide format and 3D at Fuji Xerox, this was part of a “clean sheet” approach to engaging with customers. “Too often we fall into the trap of just talking ‘speeds and feeds’ with customers, whereas there’s a number of different elements that, if we include those into the mix, make our customers a lot more money,” he said. These include Fuji Xerox financing options, and application and technical support, said Budgen. “We also have business analysts to help customers sort out whether this is their forever machine or just one step in a process where they’ll upgrade at some point.”

Clean sheet: Paul Budgen, Fuji Xerox.

Graphic Art Mart scoring goals with 3D

Dominating the Graphic Art Mart stand was a huge statue of a rugby player, 3D printed on Massivit equipment. “We’ve just signed an exclusive dealership arrangement with Massivit, so we have our 1.8-metre rugby player here to show off the capabilities of their 3D printers,” said Jessica Tailby, product marketing manager. “He’s generated a lot of interest for us.”

Exclusive: Jessica Tailby, Graphic Art Mart.

Hexis wrap battle

The boxing ring at Hexis’ stand gave all comers the opportunity to duke it out in a wrapping contest, with each round giving contestants ten minutes to show off their wrap skills for the ultimate prize: a trip to Hexis’ plant in France. It was a big drawcard for the stand, said Clicia Carrijo, national sales manager. “A lot of people have been very interested,” she said. “They’ve wanted to come into our stand, get our swatches and talk about our products.”

Drawcard: Clicia Carrijo, Stickittome.

HP rigid makes debut

The buzz at HP’s stand was all about the launch of two Latex R-series printers for rigid signage. The 1.6-metre R1000 made its first appearance on Australian shores, accompanied by its big brother, the 2.5-metre R2000. “It’s a huge jump for the industry to be able to transition from UV ink for rigid printing to our water-based latex ink for the first time,” said Jeremy Brew, large-format application specialist at HP.

The R2000 has been installed since April at Easy Signs in Ingleburn, Sydney, but Visual Impact was the R-series machines’ first public outing. “The first time I saw this R1000 was when we uncrated it the other day,” said Brew. “It’s straight out of the crate, set up on Sunday, we’ve been printing all day and the reception has been great.”

Debut: Jeremy Brew, HP.

Kissel + Wolf sells kit to CMC Gold

Kissel + Wolf supplies equipment for digital, offset and screen printing across three brands. At its stand, Martin Stacher, managing director, proudly showed off a Mutoh ValueJet 626UF flatbed UV printer, sold to CMC Gold in Victoria. “We actually sold this a couple of days before Visual Impact, but we wanted to show it here because we’re excited we did,” he said.

Sold: Martin Stacher, Kissel + Wolf.

Mimaki ID Cut slashes labour time

Mimaki’s stand featured a range of roll-to-roll and flatbed products for sign and display, as well as flatbed UV for promotional products. According to Brad Creighton, national marketing manager, the focus of the stand was on one main feature, shared across its signage equipment. “It’s called ID Cut. We create an identification code that can be used to cut on a lot of different platforms,” he said.

ID Cut is built into a broad spectrum of Mimaki products, including the UCJV series of UV-LED printer/cutters. “It enables immediate printing, immediate post-production benefits – there’s no waiting for drying, outgassing or curing,” said Creighton. “You can apply the graphic immediately, laminate immediately, and cut into it immediately.”

ID Cut also enables batch cutting, says Creighton. “We can send lots of prints with cut data down to the printer,” he said. “That data is stored, you can take the product out and laminate it if you want, then put it back in. It will register those ID codes and autonomously grab the data from our software. That takes a lot of labour out of the converter’s hands.”

ID Cut: Iman Monem and Brad Creighton, Mimaki.

Multicam rugged Australian engineering

Newcastle-based Multicam manufactures cutting and routing equipment on-shore. Stephen Heusz, manager, said buying Australian-made kit has advantages beyond supporting local industry. “We don’t work through distributors or agents – we sell, service and support the machines ourselves,” he said. “You can, if you want to, talk to the guy who actually built the machine.”

Australian engineered: Stephen Heusz, Multicam.

Mutoh providing value for money

Mutoh drew in customers with the debut of its new ValueJet 1638UR roll-to-roll UV inkjet printer, which prints at 23 square metres per hour and is priced at around $30,000. “We’ve already got a lot of interest in it because it’s an aggressively-priced machine,” said Russell Cavenagh, general manager of Mutoh. “It comes ready to roll. We’ve sold the first couple already, and they haven’t even arrived in the country, so we’re excited about that.”

The stand featured high-quality backlit displays printed on the 1638UR, which Cavenagh said impressed more than just the customers. “Even the guys who put the signs up for us asked us what it was printed on. When the signage guys are getting excited, that’s always a good omen,” he said.

Another star attraction was the ValueJet 626UF flatbed UV printer, which recently won Product of the Year in its category at the SGIA awards in Las Vegas. “We launched this in April of this year, and we’ve been consistently selling all our stock. I’ve been doubling my stock coming into the country every month, and it’s all selling out,” Cavenagh said.

OKI colours won’t run

OKI Data Australia exhibited two of its roll-to-roll ColorPainter devices: the popular M64s and the H103.4. “This is the second occasion that we’re showcasing our products, and we’re having a lot of our end user customers visiting our stand today,” said Jeremy De Silva, product marketing manager.

According to Renato Locano, wide-format technical support specialist, ink density and durability are two key advantages for OKI printers. “Even for car wrapping, when the media is stretched out, you don’t see any white dots or white markings. That just goes to show how good the inks are,” he said.

Durability: (l-r) Jim Walsh, Jeremy De Silva, and Renato Locano, OKI.

Pozitive breaking finishing bottleneck

Pozitive’s stand highlighted a variety of print finishing solutions, including flatbed cutting tables from Summa. According to Phil Trumble, managing director, more printers need to consider investing in automated finishing equipment. “There’s lots of people out there who have multiple fast printers, but they’re not always considering the next step after the printing is done. Often you have staff spending hours trimming and cutting posters,” he said.

Automated cutting tables like the Summa can boost a business’s production, says Trumble. “When you no longer have staff standing around for hours doing menial trimming and cutting tasks, and they’re instead off doing more useful things, then your productivity is a lot higher and your costs come down,” he said.

Productivity: Phil Trumble, Pozitive.

Spicers flying off the shelves

Spicers distributes a range of hardware solutions for sign and display, including Roland and Mimaki printers, and finishing equipment from Neolt and Rollsroller. These were on show at its stand at the front of the Visual Impact floor, alongside films from 3M.

According to Glen Makary, national sales manager for sign and display, customers were champing at the bit for both the hardware and consumables throughout the show. “We have a lot of leads on all the platforms we have here, and we’re not expecting to take any of it back to our factory. All of it should be sold,” he said.

Popular: Glen Makary, Spicers.

Starleaton flying fabric flag

Starleaton’s stand featured a heavy focus on textiles, including printing on Epson and EFI machines, cutting with Zund, calendaring, and stitching. According to Ben Eaton, CEO, textiles are enjoying massive growth. “More and more people are opting for environmentally-friendly solutions, and logistically, in countries like Australia, it’s also much easier to ship textile signage around due to its low weight,” he said.

A Zund cutting table and an Impulsa sewing machine were two of the biggest draws to the stand, said Eaton, due to customers’ enthusiasm for automated solutions. “Automation, or semi-automation, is where everybody seems to be wanting to invest,” he said. “There’s no fat in businesses in terms of extra personnel, so they want reliable machines that will be running all the time and let them redeploy the staff to more productive areas of the business.

“It’s not about replacing bodies, it’s about getting them to use their time more efficiently.”

Efficiency: Ben Eaton, Starleaton.

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