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Graphics Blog

Learning About Printing By the Book

Most people outside of the printing and graphic arts industry learn about our industry from books. The incredible range and scope of all other things printed, from wallpaper to solar panels, is hidden behind the veil of text and images on paper, bound into a series of page sections and covered in either soft or hard materials.

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Topics: Print

Newspapers: Will They Survive?

They’ve made and broken governments, built and destroyed reputations, informed, entertained, advised and debated for over 200 years. They’ve even lined the bottom of parrot cages and wrapped up fish and chips. When they’re done, they can be recycled several times into more newsprint, egg cartons or packaging. We’re talking about newspapers, and how they are faring in a fast-changing digital world of communications.

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Topics: Digital

LED-UV Drying and Curing: a Future Cure-All?

Curing inks and coatings using ultraviolet light energy has been deployed in the printing, signage and packaging industries for some time now and offer identifiable advantages in production. Inks can cure on the press and printed sheets can be ready for finishing immediately, instead of waiting for evaporative drying or partial infrared drying. UV curing of adhesives is even used in medicine—you may have had a tooth cap cured by using a UV light probe.

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Topics: Acuity, UV inkjet

Packaging and Labels Printing Shows No Sign of Slowing

As general commercial printing, newspapers and magazines suffer declines—at least in the developed Western markets—packaging and labels is emerging as a beacon of growth and revenue.

In its report Packaging Printing Markets, respected research organization Markets and Markets predicts that the global market for packaging printing is projected to grow at a CAGR of 6.26% from 2015 to 2020, to reach USD $587.19 billion by 2020. Within this sector, digitally printed packaging, although currently only a small 1.9% of total packaging, will experience a CAGR of 16.2% globally, according to another report by Smitherspira.

The growth in digitally printed packaging is largely in the label sector but the recent drupa 2016 expo introduced many new technologies for digital flexible packaging, folding cartons and corrugated board. Fujifilm and its partners were at the forefront of these innovations, primarily with inkjet printheads, UV and rapid coagulation inks and presses, not all of which are yet available in the Australian market.

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Topics: label and package printing

Fujifilm at drupa 2016


Fujifilm’s influence was felt at several levels—particularly concerning inkjet—during the international graphic technology trade fair known as the “Olympics” for print and allied media—drupa2016 in Düsseldorf, Germany, in June.

The reach of inkjet was apparent all over drupa, but scratch the surface and it will probably reveal the involvement of Fujifilm Inkjet Technology. The largest aqueous ink production facility in the world is Fujifilm’s facility in New Castle, Del., where aqueous, pigmented and dye inks are manufactured. Research and development is conducted in Scotland, and also in Japan. One notable result is the RAPIC (Rapid Coagulation, without dot bleed) ink primer used in the Heidelberg PrimeFire digital inkjet press, co-developed with Fujifilm. RAPIC coating enables inks where water to be used as the dispersant but, as the inks coagulate quickly on the primed substrate, normal coated offset stocks can be printed. Sharpness, colour vibrancy and detail are superior to other methods.

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Topics: inkjet printing, drupa 2016

Demand Grows for Dye-Sublimation Digital Printing

One of the most visually appealing methods of digital printing is known as dye-sublimation. As the name implies, coloured dyes are printed onto a carrier paper and then sublimated into a textile material using heat and pressure. Sublimation in chemistry means changing from a solid to a gaseous state—exactly what happens in dye-sublimation printing.

Correctly done, dye-sublimation is an attractive, vibrant and durable method of textile, garment and product decoration that cannot be matched by any other digital process. Direct-to-garment methods exist and may well improve in the future. But for premium results, dye-sublimation is still the favoured process because it is tried and proven.

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Topics: Digital Print

Will all signs be digital?

The term “digital signage” can be confusing. To a screen or offset printer, it may mean large signs and displays produced using digital printing technologies such as inkjet, toner or liquid toner. The process is digital but the end result is still on paper, plastic film, translucent material for back-lighting, rigid sheets or even textiles.

However, the term digital signage increasingly is recognized as referring to signs that are completely electronic, where the display medium is on-screen LCD or LED and the advertised content is controlled by cloud-based software that can publish a new message to multiple locations within seconds. And content can be varied and localized; for example, bulky items such as whitegoods might cost a few dollars more in remote rural areas due to freight costs.

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Topics: Digital Signage, Digital

Fujifilm on Show to the World at Drupa 2016

Previous blogs have referred to the upcoming graphic arts trade expo, drupa 2016, to be held in Düsseldorf, Germany May 31 to June 10—yes, 11 days of show, seminars, sharing and socialising!

Why does drupa occupy such a prominent position in the minds of the printing, packaging, publishing and overall graphic arts industry? Other major international printing shows—Japan’s IGAS, the USA’s PRINT, China’s All In Print and ChinaPrint, the UK’s IPEX, Australia’s PacPrint plus numerous other regional events—also have high profiles but none come close to a drupa (from “druck und papier” in German, or print and paper in English), in capturing the essence, scale and future of print-related technologies.

Perhaps it is because of Germany’s strong print heritage going back to the invention of modern moveable-type printing by Gutenberg in the 15th century? Or maybe the United States’ Marshall Plan, the post-World War II economic stimulus program that pumped billions of dollars into peacetime German industries to aid recovery. For printing, this resulted in the first drupa trade fair in 1951, mostly showcasing German-made engineering. Since then, 16 drupas (every three to five years) have been staged with the show becoming increasingly internationalised as the whole town of Düsseldorf comes alive as “Print City.”

Or, perhaps it’s simply because it’s a great show, impeccably structured and organised, with everyone who is anyone in print technology exhibiting there over 19 huge halls at the Messe Düsseldorf complex and more than 300,000 people from the worldwide industry attending?

At this drupa, Fujifilm will host the largest exhibit area in the company’s history, embracing the show’s own theme of “Touch the Future” and delivering on its own promise of “Value from Innovation.”

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Topics: drupa 2016

Reduce Chemical and Water Use with Superior Prepress Product

It used to be said that “50% of a printing job’s cost is in prepress, 50% paper and ink and what is left over is for the printer.”

The irony of this would not be lost on any modern offset printer, struggling against rising material costs, environmental compliance, labour costs and stiff international competition from low-cost producers.

Where prepress was once a bought-in trade service—with film separations and chemical proof delivered to printers for burning plates—today is a very much different industrial picture. Purely prepress trade shops are almost extinct, as CtP, proofing and file preparation was brought in-house and digital workflows united prepress with press operations.

It may not be 50% today, but prepress is still a major part of any offset printing job’s cost; all the more as print-run lengths shorten and frequency increases.

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Topics: offset printing

Social Media and the Graphic Arts

Social media is perhaps the biggest thing happening in media today, but of what use is it to graphic arts and printing businesses?

The world has been swept up and carried away with the power of social media in a short space of time. Stories of Tweets, pictures, videos, stories “going viral” abound and even mainstream media has regularly been scooped by someone Tweeting an event as it happens. It is the domain of youth and yet Pontiffs, Presidents and Potentates use it. It has also given voice to the previously dispossessed; the silent majority.

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Topics: social media, printing and graphics systems

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