Education and inspiration were hallmarks of this year’s event and local heavyweights pulled out all the stops to give visitors a comprehensive mix of top-class technologies and pertinent industry advice.
Commercial printers are already realising the benefits of integrating digital processes into their repertoires and many visitors were on the lookout for latest technology developments and innovations that offer imaginative and cost-effective short-run, variable data and personalised print propositions.
Kemtek struts its stuff
It has been a busy 2012 for Kemtek Print Solutions and, judging by visitor numbers to its stand, there’s no sign of a slow-down.
The constant hum of print and finishing technologies, including the all-new HP Indigo 5600 digital press and the latest Durst, Duplo, Screen, Agfa and Aristo machines, attracted a host of inquisitive visitors.
Taking pride of place was the HP Indigo 5600, launched earlier this year at drupa. Built on the same principles as the proven 5500 platform, it boasts several upgraded features.
‘The Indigo 5600 is ideal for printers with a diverse job mix and delivers unmatched quality, versatility and high productivity,’ declares Ran Landau, HP’s regional business manager Middle East, Mediterranean & Africa. ‘One feature is EPM (Enhanced Productivity Mode) that allows printing of 90 full-colour A4 pages/min and 272 monochrome pages/min. It’s also the only Indigo that features CMY ink technology, helping to increase production efficiency by up to 33%, improve profitability and ultimately reduce waste and costs,’ he adds.
Compatible with more than 2 500 certified substrates, the 5600 prints on uncoated and coated papers as well as synthetics, metallic materials and cartonboard. With HP Indigo’s One Shot Colour technology, all colour separations are accumulated on the blanket and transferred to the substrate in a single pass, ensuring perfect print registration.
Other exciting features are an optional White Ink Kit for white-on-black high-value invitations, greeting cards and photo albums and a special HP Indigo ElectroInk Red, visible only under UV light, that’s ideal for security applications such as identity cards, concert tickets and retail tags.
‘The 5600 offers the latest in high-value digital offset printing with fast turnarounds and short-run printing on a wide range of media up to 450µm thickness, which makes it suitable for packaging converters looking for something different,’ adds Ran. ‘It’s extremely versatile, making it ideal for short runs, promotions and product prototypes.’
The HP Indigo 5600 on show was destined for Fairstep, an investment that’s set to help this Cape Town-based company to offer extended services, including printing on a wide range of media such as PVC, plastics and paperboard.
‘The beauty of the HP Indigo is that you can print smaller quantities without sacrificing quality,’ commented Brian Fairbanks, Fairstep’s MD. ‘Our expectations for the new press are high and, following our previous experience with HP, I’m convinced that our business will benefit highly from the installation.’
The 5600 is the company’s third Indigo press, having replaced an Indigo TurboStream with its current Indigo 3050 in 2006. Although the latter is still running, it’s now being replaced by this latest press.
‘We have a long-standing relationship with HP, and have been satisfied with our previous HP presses. The 3050 enabled us to achieve our current position, but we’ve decided to upgrade our technology because we want to be at the cutting-edge and offer our customers the best possible services and solutions,’ Brian added.
Another highlight of Kemtek’s exhibit was a new Durst Rho P10-200 wide-format UV printer, recently purchased by Fishwicks Printers in Durban.
The first of its kind in South Africa, it’s a versatile 2m-wide UV large-format press that produces top-quality images for close-up viewing such as advertising and corporate promotional material, as well as POP material, packaging and backlit luxury goods.
Premium quality images are produced using a special Durst Quadro Array 10 printhead technology.
‘Just like other Durst flatbed and roll-to-roll printers, the Rho P10 series prints on the widest range of rigid and roll media,’ explains Gavin van Rensburg, CEO of Kemtek Print Solutions. ‘It’s deemed by Durst to be the highest quality and fastest device in its class and was a real show stopper.’
Konica prints for charity
‘Our mission this year was not simply to distribute “pretty pictures” but to demonstrate our quality equipment while providing a service for a worthy cause,’ explains Leon Minnie product manager at Konica Minolta South Africa.
As CHOC (the Childhood Cancer Foundation South Africa) needed marketing collateral, Konica Minolta South Africa decided to use its award-winning bizhub PRESS technology to print and deliver 1 920 A3 brochures (double-sided 200g/m2 gloss), 11 520 DL flyers (double-sided 170g/m2 gloss), 1 840 A3 posters (170g/m2 gloss), 18 000 business cards (300g/m2 matt) and 4 500 A4 letterheads (80g/m2 bond).
The printed merchandise underwent the entire process – from submission, workflow, calibration and colour management to printing on multiple devices, and even off-line/ near-line finishing – with great success.
‘We showed that digital printing can be successfully creased, folded and trimmed without cracking, providing printers with a high-quality finished product,’ continues Leon.
Imposition software was used to create templates for the business cards, DL flyers and letterheads that were then set up on a Morgana DigiFold Pro creaser and folder from Ipex Machinery and a Morgana CardXtra Plus business card cutter. Ipex also used a programmable guillotine machine to trim the letterheads, posters and brochures.
Each colour machine was calibrated and FOGRA certified to maintain colour consistency during the three-day event and to verify colour fluctuations. ‘Konica Minolta’s generous contribution was well timed, as we had run out of brochures and didn’t have the budget to print more,’ comments Desré Murray, CHOC business development manager. ‘We’re very grateful for this donation and the high-quality prints will serve us well into the future.’
Midcomp’s leading-edge print and finishing systems
The Midcomp stand, built to resemble a large production facility, was awash with colour and abuzz with activity.
Incorporating all aspects of flatbed and roll-to-roll large format printing, digital cutting, software solutions and substrates, the stand proved a real winner with the thousands of visitors who crossed its threshold.
‘We received hundreds of enquiries and indeed made many sales during the show,’ remarks Rob Makinson, co-founder and MD of Midcomp. ‘The expo served as the perfect platform to prove our expertise and showcase our leading technologies. Ultimately, we can source the perfect printing and digital cutting tools, as well as the right design software and substrates to enable customers to set themselves apart from competitors,’ he maintains. ‘With 21 years’ experience, our strengths are not just the brands we represent, but also our expertise, technical knowledge and 24-hour back-up and support. We’re the only supplier in the industry with service engineers on call around the clock.’
Featured machines and systems included an HP Scitex FB500 flatbed printer, a heavy duty Zünd G3 profile cutter, Océ’s entry-level Arizona 318 GL UV printer, an HP DesignJet L26500 1 550mm-wide latex printer, and a DesignJet L28500 with HP 792 Latex DesignJet inks, developed to produce rich, glossy blacks.
Also being put through its paces was an HP Scitex LX850 3,2m-wide industrial printer, set up with HP LX610 Latex Scitex Inks to produce rich blacks and high-gloss images.
Top marks for Nashua
Renewed focus in the production printing market has resulted in Nashua’s making a considerable impression at Africa Print. Having won Best Exhibition stand (large category) in Durban and Cape Town, it was a runner up at the Sandton event.
‘Nashua’s impressive performance is indicative of our commitment to excellence in the production printing market,’ comments marketing director, David Hallas. ‘I’m very proud of our recognition. It demonstrates that we’re a strong contender and, most importantly, it provides further credence that we have the necessary solutions and expertise to provide top-of-the-range products and specialised software that add consistent value to our customers’ printing solutions.’
Much success has been realised in the production printing market during 2012, with Nashua’s penetration of a host of markets – including government, education, insurance, printroom environments, copy shops, financial and corporate.
‘Our performance this year has truly exceeded all expectations, and we’ve certainly made the desired impact,’ adds David. ‘We intend to utilise this favourable reception to deliver further value to the production printing market by offering customised end-to-end solutions that save costs, minimise downtime, and optimise value.’
Antalis shows off EFI’s LED technology
Taking centre stage on the Antalis stand was the pioneering roll-to-roll EFI Vutek LED-based UV printer that’s designed to lower total cost of ownership and improve image quality and adhesion.
‘Compared to standard wide-format printers, the Vutek GS3250LX contains no VOCs, produces less waste and uses less energy. It also has the ability to print on recycled and ultra-thin substrates such as cling-film without warping or head strikes,’ remarks James Mellor, EFI sales development manager MEA, who was on hand to demonstrate the machine’s impressive capabilities.
It delivers high-definition graphics at 1 000dpi and advanced three-layer white ink printing in six variations (overprint, underprint, spot, underspot, fill and overspot). Waste reduction is achieved with consistent colour output and simple on/off operation.
‘It’s a greener print solution that’s reliable, quick and cost-efficient,’ adds James. ‘With the new Fiery XF 4.5 RIP, top colour performance and instant audit information can be achieved on every print job. The GS3250LX is a top-class model, capable of eight-colour plus white UV high-definition printing, and ideal for short-run packaging print and labels. Converters can also run multiple jobs at once with its new multi-queue functionality.’
Also on show was the entry-level EFI Rastek H652 UV wide-format hybrid printer, EFI’s best-in-class for photographic image quality with spot colour, under and overprinting and white ink printing. ‘With numerous machines already installed in the local market the Rastek is first choice for quick print, graphic arts, production and print shops where image quality and speed are critical,’ James maintains. ‘The H652 handles a wide range of flexible and rigid media quickly and easily with a versatile vacuum belt media transport system. Those already operating this model, or any of our standard printers, can upgrade to the faster energy-saving LED models without purchasing an entirely new system.’
Ipex finishes in style
Business was brisk on the Ipex Machinery stand where an array of digital finishing systems from Morgana and Tachoplus was a big attraction for visitors.
Paul Williams, UK-based product manager for Morgana Finishing Systems, was on hand to share his expertise on creasing, folding and binding machinery.
Following its official launch at drupa and now making its African début was the next-generation Morgana Documaster MFC with multiple feed stations for crack-free creasing of cover, centre or complete book pages.
The system features Morgana’s new Dynatilt creasing system with automatic sheet registration for accurate crease positioning and high-definition touchscreen control unit for easy book size, page count and crease position programming. There’s also an alpha numeric memory for unlimited job storage and easy name recall.
‘Simple and quick, the DocuMaster MFC is ideal for the latest “on demand” culture where run lengths are shorter and turnaround times are faster,’ comments Paul. ‘We’ve received several promising enquiries during the show and it looks set to become a clear favourite with commercial printers.’
Morgana’s popular Card XtraPlus machine, designed to meet the needs of digital printers who require a highly accurate, low-cost, easy-to-use multifunctional finishing device, also garnered much attention. ‘We’re very pleased with response from visitors,’ comments Sean Kelly of Ipex Machinery. ‘Our finishing systems are well-known in the local market and Ipex is a trusted supplier and service provider.’
Roland sparks the imagination
Making a big impression was Roland with a host of digital printers and cutters, and the all-new SolJet Pro 4 XJ-640 designed for exceptional image quality at high print speeds.
Roland’s experts put a full spectrum of machines through their paces, including the entry-level VersaStudio BN20 inkjet printer/cutter and the latest four-colour VersaArt RE-640 large-format inkjet printer for unattended long-run printing.
‘Our aim is to address the needs of the small business entrepreneur and demonstrate what can be achieved on our machines, and to inspire new ideas for business growth,’ remarks marketing manager, Bianca Cordier. ‘I think we’ve achieved our goals, and more, with a vibrant theme that sparked the imagination.’
Roland is a long-time partner in the annual Roland/Avery Dennison Speed Wrap Challenge, where entrants compete against the clock to wrap a vehicle door in printed graphic vinyl material. Always a crowd puller, this year’s event attracted constant activity and ample interest in Roland’s printing prowess.
‘We sold a number of machines at the show and received promising enquires from as far afield as Zambia, Zimbabwe and Mozambique,’ adds Bianca. ‘Overall, I’m very happy with the results.’
Paperless selling with Cloud Mobile
‘This year’s Africa Print was a great success for Optimus,’ declared group MD, Nicola Bisset, on one of her regular visits from the UK. ‘We’ve attended every Johannesburg show and never been disappointed. It’s an important platform for us to showcase our latest technologies to our African customers and to develop new business relationships.’
There has been a marked increase in demand for Optimus Management Information Systems (MIS) in South Africa, particularly since last year’s launch of Optimus Dash. This year, visitors were eager to learn more about Cloud Mobile, an addition to the system that allows sales representatives to take and place orders using a mobile device.
‘Cloud Mobile will appeal to the new breed of
buyer who wants instant quotes and fast order turnaround,’ adds Optimus South Africa MD, Colin Garde. ‘The entire package can be tailor-made to
suit individual needs, including access to stock
items, job status and order history, all at the push
of a button.’
Perfect printing and finishing from GSW
This year, Graphix Supply World (GSW) established a presence in both expo halls (Africa Print and Sign Africa) to demonstrate its all-encompassing expertise in the print, signage, textile, packaging and graphics-related industries.
Exhibiting a number of Mimaki’s latest products, together with new Arlon media, display systems, finishing solutions and textile printers, GSW recorded the highest number of deals signed at one show in the company’s history.
‘We attribute these good sales to the affordability of our quality products and our one-stop-shop supply solution to the print and signage industries,’ commented MD, Robert Franco.
Drawing many visitors to the stand was revolutionary technology from Mimaki, including the never-before-seen Mimaki JV400-160 SUV printer with UV solvent ink technology, available in 1,3m and 1,6m models. The ink combines the flexibility of solvent ink with the durability of UV-cured ink and the JV400 delivers a smooth, glossy print result that’s resilient, vibrant and flexible.
Another notable breakthrough was the launch of the Mimaki JV400-LX Latex printer that has taken the industry by storm, having collected an EDPA award at drupa for the ‘Best Environmental Printing Solution’ for 2012.
‘The groundbreaking JV400-130/160LX offers top-quality with low production costs, high efficiency and enormous profit potential,’ adds Robert.
Visitors were also attracted to Mimaki’s cost-saving BS3 ink solutions, developed to help lower print costs and increase profit.
Another crowd puller at the GSW stand was a Kongsberg XP die-less cutting and creasing table, operating with Esko Artwork’s award-winning i-cut Suite pre-production software, designed especially for handling a combination of corrugated board and other rigid or roll materials used in POP products and displays.
Also available in this series is the XP Auto, which comes loaded with functions to boost productivity and guarantee reliable operation. It permits fully digital workflow for POP displays and packaging and is said to offer wider design parameters compared to conventional die-cutting.
‘Africa Print proved highly beneficial for several of our customers who had technology upgrades in mind. Seeing the Kongsberg and Esko i-cut Suite in production mode provided the assurances they were looking for,’ Robert remarked. ‘Several orders were placed for Kongsberg and Mimaki technologies during the show.’