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Making a lasting impression

Valuable sales, quality leads, outstanding networking – these were key takeaways from Africa Print 2013, reports Karen Stretch.

Exhibitors and visitors were unanimous: it was time well spent at this year’s Africa Print expo, sponsored by Xerox.

Local and international industry heavyweights pulled out all the stops to present a comprehensive mix of top-class technologies and pertinent industry advice. Response was an overwhelming rise in equipment sales and quality leads. Another indication of Africa Print’s success was a boost in international numbers, with visitors from Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Mozambique, Tanzania, Uganda and Nigeria.

‘Our established conference, addressed by international industry experts, and our new hands-on training zone ensured there was something for everyone,’ comments co-organiser Dyelan Copeland. ‘And the growing support from across the continent gives us confidence that Africa Print is satisfying a very real business need.’

‘Best Mega Stand’

‘This was our seventh consecutive show and our objective was clear – to demonstrate our strength as a comprehensive supplier to the printing and visual communication markets,’ says Antalis marketing manager, Caroline Coughlan. ‘The challenge was incorporating the “new” Antalis while showcasing our extensive product range and capabilities. We’re delighted with results and proud that we confirmed our position as an industry leader.’

As this year’s proud winners of the ‘Best Mega Stand’, Antalis and its international principals showcased the Vutek GS3250LX wide-format printer with ‘cool-cure’ technology, the Esko Kongsberg XN24 cutting table, Kodak’s Gold Dry Ink and various visual communication products.

Also on show was an extensive range of paper and board, plus various digital printing papers. Arjowiggins fine papers were used for a novel coffee cup promotion on the stand – inviting visitors to ‘Start the day with Antalis’ and a delicious cuppa!

Live demonstrations held throughout each day on the Vutek and Kongsberg equipment generated much interest. The show had barely opened before the Kongsberg was snapped up by Cape Town-based African Mediums!

On day two, Antalis offered a topical and interesting breakaway session, presented by Phil Walsh, Kodak’s digital printing solutions business manager, who discussed new production techniques for global printers. The session provided in-depth information on the Kodak NexPress virtual wall plus digital printing solutions such as the Prosper Press 1000, Digimaster HD, NexPress and Prosper S Series. The NexPress is capable of printing on 99% of commercial paper stock, eliminating the need for specialised digital papers.

‘We were thrilled with visitor response, and thank our customers and friends for being part of the experience,’ comments marketing and purchasing director, David James. ‘We would also like to acknowledge the Antalis team and our principals, A Berger, Arjowiggins Creative Papers, Avery Dennison, EFI, Esko, Kodak, X-Rite, Xanita and Yupo,’ he adds.

Kodak adds sparkle to print

NexPress Gold Dry Ink is the most recent addition to Kodak’s comprehensive digital ink range, developed especially for its NexPress digital production colour presses.

‘Launched in 2012, Kodak NexPress Gold Dry Ink provides printers with an opportunity to drive profitable growth with jobs that demand higher margins and value-added appeal,’ comments Pratik Sardesai, Kodak’s marketing manager – MEA, who joined the Antalis team at Africa Print to present the new Gold Solution range to the southern African market. ‘The Gold Solution suite enhances any application printed on a NexPress machine, including direct mail, catalogues, posters, business cards, certificates, dust jackets and book covers, labels and virtually any other type of corporate, marketing or sales communication. All a printer needs to do is load Gold Dry Ink into the fifth imaging unit of the press, add the gold replenishing station and in five minutes it’s ready to start printing,’ adds Pratik. ‘The effect can be used as a fifth colour or as an over tint with vector art, text and borders to simulate a variety of metallic effects or to enhance four-colour raster images.

‘Laminating or UV coating produces super-sparkly results that are eye-catching and unique. What’s more, Gold Dry Ink uses no volatile organic compounds so printers can produce prints that drive more profit per page and are still safe for our environment.’

Pratik’s confident that NexPress has a bright future in the fast-evolving southern African market. ‘There has been enormous growth in digital printing in the region in the last couple of years, where commercial and graphic arts printers are pushing the boundaries in terms of design and special effects,’ he comments. ‘In collaboration with Antalis, we’ll continue to promote the Kodak NexPress via a programme of regional road shows, attended by Kodak specialists who can offer hands-on assistance to printers looking for top-grade digital print enhancements.’

Roland ignites imagination

Once again, Roland made a lasting impression with its digital printers and cutters.

‘The annual Africa Print/Sign Africa expo has consistently improved its value proposition, encouraged diversity and fostered innovation, creating a vibrant, exciting and challenging environment for the industry,’ remarks Bob Glenister, CEO of Telpro Management, Roland distributor in South Africa. ‘We see the show as an ideal platform to create an environment where – in line with Roland’s vision – we inspire others with our creative solutions and ignite imagination.’

A highlight was the Roland XF-640 high-speed printer, aka the ‘Beast’. The 64-inch system, sporting a vibrant red cowl, incorporates two mirrored printheads with a dual CMYK inkset, Roland’s wide-gamut Eco-Sol Max 2 inks (440cm3 ink cartridges). It also sports newly-designed take-up and pinch rollers for long, unattended production runs and a new tri-heater system – a pre-heater, print heater and dryer. Top resolution is 1 440 dpi.

Other features include Roland Intelligent Pass Control for precise dot placement, a new three-part wiper system for reducing build-up around the edges of the printheads, VersaWorks 4.9 RIP software (including built-in Pantone spot libraries and a predictive ink calculator), and front-loading ink cartridge slots. Applications range from indoor and outdoor banners, vehicle and fleet wraps, to window graphics, posters, POP, tradeshow graphics and backlit displays.

As always, the Roland/Avery Dennison Speed Wrap 2013 Challenge, with MC Alex Jay, was popular. Participants raced against the clock to complete a vehicle door wrap. Top prize was R6 500.

Optimus continues Cloud Mobile success

‘Once again, Africa Print was a great success for Optimus,’ declares group MD, Nicola Bisset. ‘In terms of visitor numbers and quality of enquiries, this year was by far the best yet. It’s an important platform for us to showcase our latest technologies to our African customers and develop new business relationships.’

Visitors were eager to learn more about Cloud Mobile, an interface to Optimus dash MIS (Management Information System) that allows sales representatives to prepare instant quotes and take and place product orders using a mobile device.

‘Cloud Mobile appeals 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.’

Ipex Machinery reports record sales

‘We were extremely happy with the outcome of Africa Print,’ declares a delighted Bruce Allen, MD of Ipex Machinery.

‘In tandem with our international partners from Morgana, we sold a dozen systems and received many top-quality leads. As a regional exhibition, Africa Print provides a platform for local customers who don’t generally attend international shows such as a drupa or Ipex,’ he adds.

‘Our excellent product range, our dedicated sales team and our principals all contributed to a successful event and we were pleased to meet customers from South Africa and many neighbouring countries.’

Diverse printing and finishing systems from GSW

Graphix Supply World (GSW) demonstrated advanced labelling and finishing systems, including a high-speed precision cutting demonstration on the all-new Kongsberg iXP24 table.

Also presented was a Primera CX1200e digital label printer that delivers short-run, full-colour labels; an FX1200e digital finishing system that provides the ability to laminate, die-cut, slit, rewind and remove waste matrix in a single process; plus the small footprint Kompac UV EZ Koat coater, a roll-to-roll UV and aqueous coater capable of applying coating on demand to digital labels or cut sheets up to 370mm wide.

Other highlights included an informative presentation by Mimaki’s Mark Horsten on ‘Africa and the Future: Thinking Ecologically in Wide-Format’, plus printing demonstrations on the evolutionary Mimaki JV400-160 SUV printer. Available in 1,3m and 1,6m widths, this latest-generation printer uses ink technology that combines the flexibility of solvent ink with the durability of UV-cured ink, delivering a smooth, glossy print that’s durable, vibrant and flexible. It can also withstand scuffing and abrasion without any over lamination.

In a quest to supply entry-level printers, GSW introduced The MagicTouch. Dubbed the ‘Swiss Army Knife’, this compact machine prints on various substrates including leather, textiles, ceramics and metal. ‘With something for everyone, from “mom-and-pop” shops to multinational print houses needing fast production solutions, GSW has it all,’ sums up MD, Robert Franco.

Bordeaux makes its mark

In conjunction with GSW, Bordeaux Digital Printink presented a specially-developed Latex-based ink series called EDEN LX; dye sublimation inks; eco solvent, UV and UV LED inks; UV and water-based coatings; and innovative inkjet technologies.

‘Bordeaux is a major supplier of comprehensive, cost-effective pre- and post-treatment systems in North and South Africa,’ explains Matthew Reijnders, director of sales and business development. ‘Visitors enjoyed demonstrations on UV and UV LED ink primers to improve ink adhesion on challenging surfaces such as plastics and glass, and our liquid laminates for fleet, sign and banner printing, which protect graphics from weather extremes such as acid rain. Response was overwhelmingly positive and I have every confidence that GSW will continue to grow the brand in this region.’

Colour management made easy with CGS and ORIS

CGS South Africa made great inroads with three new price packages on the ORIS Press Matcher//Web, aimed at small to medium print enterprises.

Mark Minter was pleased with results: ‘Overall, we had a better show than last year, with the new ORIS package being very well received.’

In tandem with the Press Matcher//Web, Mark and the team showcased ORIS Lynx, a specially developed cloud-based interactive colour management application system that ensures consistent, high-quality colour output for multiple devices, plus ORIS Flexpack// Web, a flexible packaging proofing and mock-up production system designed to provide a cost-effective alternative to slow and expensive legacy systems.

‘With ORIS Lynx, all you need is a web browser and a measurement device, it’s that easy,’ remarks Mark. ‘It’s extremely easy to use, offering outstanding grey balance and improved print quality. Furthermore, there’s no added cost for computer hardware, software or maintenance fees,’ he says.

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