Ovato’s $20m investment unveiled at Warwick Farm supersite opening

Media, marketing, print and distribution giant Ovato can now say its national manufacturing footprint is complete with its sprawling 7.5 hectare Sydney print and distribution supersite officially open and accommodating seven web presses, including the newest investment, a $20 million 80 page manroland Lithoman.

The 35,000 square metre supersite at Warwick Farm is the combined home for Ovato’s print and distribution operations in NSW with the nearby Moorebank facility officially closing two weeks ago with some printing equipment relocated and older pieces retired.

The $20m manroland Lithoman 80 page press in action

The new 80 page manroland, which became operational three weeks ago, is now bedded in nicely on the production floor and complements Ovato’s other webfed fleet including a 16 page M600 Goss, a 64 page A4 Lithoman, a stacked 96 page Lithoman with capacity to produce 45,000 sheets per hour, a 48 page Lithoman, a 64 page Lithoman and a 16 page A4 Komori.

These web presses plus two sheetfed presses – a six colour Heidelberg XL and a KBA 106 – furthers Ovato’s depth of capability that allows for the efficient and flexible production of print work across a variety of jobs and when all operating at once means the Warwick Farm site alone can produce a staggering 18 million pages per hour which Ovato chief executive officer Kevin Slaven says is unparalled in the high-speed print sector.

The web presses are also kitted out with twin Rima collating lines which mean there are no bottlenecks as the the catalogues fly off the press at breakneck speed on their way to the bindery. The highly automated site is also equipped with three Ferag lines of high speed saddle stitching plus two Muller Martini saddle stitchers. Perfect binding is handled alongside the cut sheet presses with Kolbus and Corona lines.

Two robotic arms also ensure swift automation runs through the site.

Automation is a top priority

The 24-hour site, an employer of 450 people, is also housed with an Australia Post dock meaning no time is wasted in ensuring the printed product lands in letterboxes. Plans are also now in hand to build an additional 4,000 square metre warehouse to give the site much needed storage space.

National manufacturing footprint complete

With the eight-month project of merging the two sites together now complete, Slaven proudly declared the national manufacturing footprint for the business is where it needs to be.

“We are where we need to be from a manufacturing footprint point of view and from an efficiency point of view and this gives us the key ability of a national footprint with one manufacturing site in each state,” Slaven told Sprinter.

“We’ve now got a plant in each major state. One in Queensland, the supersite here in NSW, the site in Clayton in Melbourne, our book printing facility in Salisbury in Adelaide and Bibra Lake in Perth.”

Ovato executive general manager – northern region, Craig Dunsford, leads a group around the supersite

The official opening, which was also attended by Ovato chairman and substantial shareholder Michael Hannan, rounds out a three-year period of intense transition marked by the merger of printing giants IPMG and PMP with the result being the rebranded Ovato, which brings together under one umbrella a number of companies including book publisher

Griffin Press and retail distribution arm Gordon and Gotch.

It also comes three months after Ovato reported a $4.4m full year loss for 2019 largely driven by a slump in community newspaper volumes. The merger of the two Sydney sites is expected to generate $24m annual savings which will no doubt be pleasing for the bottom line.

The process of moving two factories into one and installing the new manroland which arrived in 53 containers and required the back wall of the factory to be taken down to transport it inside the building didn’t come without its challenges, especially at this time of year.

“That has been our biggest challenge. Had we had a choice in terms of timeline we wouldn’t have been commissioning the new press in the busy season but because of the manufacturing timelines from manroland for the new press that’s just the way it worked out,” Slaven said.

“It just added another layer of challenge to the exercise but the team has done an amazing job keeping the customers happy during the period which is our busiest time of the year as well as pulling together all the relocation of the presses and the installation of the new press.”

NSW Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasurer Scott Farlow also attended the official opening and commended Ovato on its continued investment in the sector,

adding the printing sector in the state generates $2.5b annually to NSW’s total output and employs 43,000 people, with 5,149 of those in western Sydney.

Where to from here

Slaven said the $20m investment in the new manroland proved Ovato’s optimism going forward.

“The $20 million investment in new equipment for this facility is a testament to our optimism for the future of the printing sector in Australia,” Slaven said.

“Our enhanced manufacturing footprint enables us to produce up to 18 million pages per hour from the one site; an unparalleled volume in the high-speed print sector.

“This investment in our manufacturing capabilities positively impacts on our efficiency and flexibility at scale. It also complements our ongoing investment in data analytics to provide our print and distribution customers bespoke offerings ensuring a greater return on investment for their marketing spend.”

Taking advantage of data which can prove return on investment for clients is a key plank in Ovato’s strategy going forward.

“We have been working with retail customers making sure they are getting a much bigger bang for their marketing dollar. Marketers are now talking about the return they are getting on the digital advertising that they are doing,” Slaven said.

“It is one thing measuring with eye balls and click throughs but we, with our partnerships with Quantium and other data providers, can prove a return at the cash register and that’s what we have been what we are really focusing on because what happens at the cash register is really all that matters at the end of the day.”

Warwick Farm SuperSite Statistics:

  • Size of site – 7.5 Hectares
  • 35,000 square metres under roof
  • Quality, Safety and Environmental certification
  • 24/7 operation
  • 450 employees across 4 shifts
  • Onsite maintenance and site support
  • $5 million of spare parts onsite
  • 10,000 printing plates each month = 135,000sq metres of aluminium annually – 100% recycled
  • 23,500 tonnes of paper stored on site
  • Average 8,000 tonnes of paper consumed per month.
  • All paper from certified sources (PEFC and FSC)
  • All wastepaper, wrappers and cores recycled
  • 2m litres of rainwater storage on site
  • Web presses ranging from 16pp up to 96pp quarto and A4 cut offs, 4 and 6 colour capabilities

Warwick Farm SuperSite Services Available:

  • Sheet fed printing
  • Heat set printing
  • Mailing services
  • Catalogue distribution
  • Perfect binding
  • Saddle stitching
  • Folding and dye casting
  • Sheet fed presses 6 colour + multiple coating and special effects capabilities.
  • High speed drum stitchers
  • High speed perfect binders


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2 thoughts on “Ovato’s $20m investment unveiled at Warwick Farm supersite opening

  1. Congratulations to Michael, Craig & the team, a huge effort. Can’t wait to see it on a tour with LIA in near future, especially the dye casting process.

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