Packaging printer takes on importers with gravure press

Packaging printer RollsPack is breaking from the pack and installing a customised gravure press to compete with overseas importers and satisfy quality-conscious clients.

Outside of huge international packaging companies like Amcor, Australian printers almost exclusively use flexo-printing, which is more cost effective on shorter runs but has lower print quality.

RollsPack managing director Phillip Rolls says while flexo is predominantly used in Europe and America, many clients in the Asia-Pacific demand the quality that only gravure machines can provide, and the industry needs to innovate to survive.

“We are responding to the sophisticated demands of a modern consumer in a highly competitive market where brands need to maximise their presence on the shelf,” he says.

“The gravure press will allow smaller printers like us with lower minimum runs to compete using packaging that communicates clearly with their customers.”

Rolls says a lot of packaging is imported from Asia because printers there use gravure presses but the work takes at least 10-12 weeks to arrive, while an Australian company could get it done in less than four weeks.

“Right now we can beat Asia on time but not on quality, so if we compete in that space we can capture more of the market,” he says.

He says RollsPack also wants to expand into Asia in the near future.

Rolls says the food and beverage sector makes up 65-70 percent of the Australian packaging industry and he hopes the press will allow these brands to stay competitive, with high-quality imagery, fast turnaround times and competitive rates while also providing greater impact and ‘shelf shout’ on retail shelves.

“The new press allows for higher run speeds, simplifies the operational process and reduces waste at the start and finish of a print run,” he says.

Rolls says the company is implementing ‘lean manufacturing’ principles to decrease overhead costs and make the press more cost-effective.

He is confident RollsPack can fill the long-run suited press, one of the biggest reasons flexo-printing is more popular in Australia, with a combination of existing clients, new business from quality-focused companies and trade work.

Rolls says the company may charge a premium on short-run jobs to keep the press operation cost-effective, and that the much lower setup time will help keep it efficient.

“We will not be deterred by the challenges facing the Australian manufacturing industry, packaging sells and we will be a leading performer for our clients by any benchmark,” he says.

“This is Australian small business doing it on its own with no government handouts.”

The gravure press has just been installed and will be launched late next month after it completes tests. It will complement the company’s two existing eight-colour flexo-printers. Rolls is not releasing the brand of press he is installing.

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