Centrum: Beyond commercial print

With an industry-wide decline in commercial print volumes, the companies which have been smart enough to adapt and look to new markets have thrived, taking a larger slice of the pie which is now shared between the fewer companies remaining.
Centrum Printing invested in its large format KBA Rapida 145 in 2016, its second huge buy in less than three years following its purchase of a Rapida 162A. At a time where most commercial printers were moving away from large offset press investments, and towards digital supplementary or complementary presses, Centrum upgraded.
Its Rapida 145 offers six-colour, conventional and UV printing with coating, and can run at 15,000sph. Both presses have been ISO certified in colour management.
Now 70 per cent of its business comes from the packaging, and point of sale segments of print, both of which are set to grow.
Looking back Sandra Mascaro, general manager, Centrum, explains, “Most of the industry might have thought we were crazy, however we needed to create a point of difference to remain viable in a competitive market.
The investment has definitely paid off for the company, which now works with trade clients, resellers, international print management companies, due to its ability to offer both the large format sheet sizes, or as low as 500mm x 600mm, allowing them to compete with commercial printers.
Now the company is looking beyond its presses- to robotic automation, tying it in with its large inhouse finishing capabilities; laminating, die cutting, mounting and glueing.
Mascaro says, “There are companies we do only printed sheets for, others where we do industrial design, prototypes, finishing, die cutting, mounting and glueing, then we pack and deliver. We also have inhouse folding and stitching facilities to accommodate our commercial clients for all magazine and brochure requirements as well.  We really do offer a total solution
“A customer will give us a brief of their campaign requirements and then we will prototype that with our in-house industrial design team, which we introduced in January this year, as a need to complement our packaging and point of sale print.
“We also have the largest laminator in the country, which allows us to provide a range of unique and innovative finishes to client campaigns
The company’s robotic arm, set to arrive in September, will be used for gluing. Mascaro explains, “That will be able to apply pattern gluing and double sided tape. For all the big displays that we do instead of our staff hand gluing everything, the robotic arm can be programmed to carry out the repetitive tasks speeding up production times.
Completing large format point of sale print jobs means that Centrum now offers kitting and packing for clients. Moving beyond printing on substrates, the company produces a full kit of retail campaigns which is ready to be delivered into stores with assembly instructions. 
Centrum is by no means standing still, or resting on its recent successes and expansions, Mascaro explains, “We are always looking at what we can do next to offer value and  provide innovative solutions to our clients”
“Our presses are built for different work, sometimes up to 15 different jobs in a day, as opposed to a week-long print run. 
“We will print from 70gsm right up to 450gsm, print on plastic, polyprop. So if clients want something different, we can offer that. We can print up to 1.2mm, which is fairly thick, and then do all the basic commercial work as well.”
Despite being based in Sydney, the company does a lot of work nationally, particularly in Melbourne. 
Mascaro explains, “We have proved that we turnaround work fairly quickly. We can print something in the morning, get it wrapped strapped and out the door, and it is dispatched overnight, getting to Melbourne the next day. 
“Our press quality means we are second to none in the industry. We have a great team of passionate people who are driven and committed to Centrum’s growth and success.
For Centrum, innovation is a mindset, and one which has seen it successfully transition to a post-commercial print world. 
In Mascaro’s words, “It is about evolving. In this industry you have to, you cannot sit still or be complacent. We are always looking at how we can keep progressing, keep moving forward, and what more can we give our clients. As an industry, we need to work together and utilise the capacity and technology available to help grow our businesses. As the saying goes by Ryunosuke Satoro: Individually, we are one drop. Together, we are an ocean.”  

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