Opus invests in two webfed inkjets to bring work onshore

Opus Group is making a multi-million dollar investment in a pair of colour inkjet printers for its Australian operations in an effort to bring back short run work it had shifted offshore.

The diversified print group will install an Impika Evolution 20inch colour inkjet system at Sydney subsidiary Ligare, and a Fuji Xerox 1400 20 inch at CanPrint, by the end of June.

Opus chief executive Cliff Brigstocke says the investment was driven by increasing customer demand for digital short run.

“It is part of our strategy to bring back work onshore that is currently produced offshore due to run length,” he says.

“We believe there is demand from onshore for customers wanting short-run colour print. Opus’ new colour inkjet printing and finishing systems will make it more economic for us to produce short to medium runs here.”

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Brigstocke says the new machines will print colour short-run books, especially reprints. Both systems will be capable of producing finished product, they will incorporate an inline Hunkeler finishing system, coupled with the ability to produce book blocks, or cut sheets that feed inline to MBO folders.

Ligare will also install a standalone book factory capable of printing and binding finished, perfect bound books down to a book of one.

“Publishing customers are moving away from traditional warehousing to focus on lowering the total cost of ownership by utilising shorter runs, quicker turnaround times, online replenishment ordering and digital inkjet technology,” he says.

“Installing colour inkjet technology in Sydney and Canberra means we can now extend this offer to onshore colour print work and support our industry’s desire to reduce wastage and manufacture to demand.

“There is also a move away from monotexts to colour to enhance products, in line with electronic offerings.”

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Brigstocke says this does not signal a move away from offset for Opus, rather an effort to offer a combination of offset and digital to provide for any combination that customers require.

“We continue to roll out the Opus network facilities in Singapore, New Zealand and our four facilities in Australia to provide flexibility in production methods and enable the best commercial outcome for clients and ourselves,” he says.

He says the company’s three year plan has a continued focus on digital content management and expansion of its proprietary digital assistance management system IPalm.

Opus is making this significant investment just months after writing down its Australian publishing assets, incurring a more than $34m goodwill impairment charge that put it $35.3m into the red in its 2014 half year results, and making CanPrint boss Sam Holden redundant in February to streamline its management structure.

Holden has since started a consultancy business in Canberra assisting three clients requiring preparation for and engagement with Commonwealth departments and agencies, according to his LinkedIn profile.

[Related: The ups and downs of Opus]

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