Trade Trends- August 2009

Want more business: stick it to them
Seems the folks at J Saunders & Sons had a sticky problem recently. Their business card division turnover was a wee bit slow so next thing we know, the front pages of two major metropolitan newspapers come replete with stick-on labels affixed to their front pages reminding us that if we mean business, our cards had better be printed by Saunders.


Not enough Saunders orders for sticky labels
Need proof of the depths of the current global crisis? Go no further than FINAT, whose congress this year confirmed European pressure-sensitive materials demand in the last quarter of 2008 dropped across the whole of Europe by seven per cent.


FINAT general secretary Jules Lejeune predicted a similar drop over the first quarter of 2010. Nary a word about Asia, let alone Australia, but Lejeune promises more future overviews of events to the east of her Netherlands headquarters.


Arnie gazes into his crystal ball
California’s former on-screen bruiser-turned-Governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, recently opined that textbooks are outdated and it’s time we get serious about electronic alternatives.


“Our kids get their information from the internet, downloaded onto their iPods, and in Twitter feeds to their cell phones. Basically, kids are feeling as comfortable with their electronic devices as I was with my pencils and crayons. So why are California’s school students still forced to lug around antiquated, heavy, expensive textbooks?” he asked.


However, easing the strain on students’ backs was not the Governor’s main reason for putting out a call for electronic textbooks. There’s a little matter of a budget gap in his State estimated at a mere $28 billion. No wonder he doesn’t want to buy all those expensive printed books…

Gordon clunks into digital age

Still pondering politicians’ views on the printing industry, ponder a moment on the besieged UK PM, bulky Mr Brown, who was accused recently by a member opposite of “clunking into the digital age with another blunder”, having managed to rack up over 50 big ones to produce a parliamentary report which cost the benighted British taxpayer nearly 20 bucks a copy.


The irony of this sad tale is that the report, hopefully entitled Digital Britain, set out the government’s “strategic vision for ensuring the UK is at the leading edge of the global digital economy”. Oh dear…

Cutting edge comments
Delamination in sheetfed offset is apparently often caused when paper has to be cut to the right size and one or multiple cuts are necessary. When the stack to be cut is inserted into the guillotine cutter, the bottom sheet can get stuck on an incorrectly-positioned cutter bar. This can lead to a separation of layers and rolled-up strips during further processing. So when the sheets have to be inserted into the press, the front or back can be damaged from contact between cut edges.


This is a problem which appears to occur particularly with thick layers because the layers get partially separated on the edges and roll up on the damaged spot from pushing the layer onto the stack. Sound familiar?


Presumption on my part drives me to suggest that there are ways and means to prevent this from happening. And while it may be akin to teaching a maternal grandparent how to extract the innards of an egg, my source indicates that one of the first priorities here is for the bottom sheet on the guillotine cutter always to be thrown out, which will significantly reduce the risk of rolled-up strips of paper being run through the printing press.


Enough already with all this doom and gloom
The second quarter of this year has certainly put the kibosh on downturn talk at KBA, with “substantial” sheetfed press orders taking the baton from continuing reductions in big newspaper and commercial web press business. Looking back at last year’s substantial losses, upbeat CEO Helge Hansen is hopeful of achieving what he calls “our ambitious goal of posting a balanced result (for the year)”. We’ll all be watching, Mr Hansen.


Ink management can mean money in the bank
Talk of global economic downturn is not without its challenges, and as often happens, not without some remarkable success stories. One of these (and there are certainly many others around the traps) comes from a gentleman named Dave Newcomb, pressroom manager at Dallas-based Buchanan Visual Communications, who saw an opportunity to replace a financially draining in-plant situation with an equally financially positive result from his in-house ink mixing operation.


Since installing an ink formulation dispenser early last year, the innovative Newcomb worked off his stored ink supply and transferred the savings to the profit side of the ledger, having till then built up ten full shelves of ink carrying about $50,000 in inventory. To make things profitable and make what was needed at any given time, the inventory was eventually reduced.

Using the dispenser and the Accell Ink management system to monitor and control his ink usage, Newcomb estimates ink costs have been reduced by 25 to 30 per cent, with the greater savings on PMS colours, which account for the majority of Buchanan’s work.

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