Last updateSat, 04 Jul 2020 6pm

Centrum Printing in Sydney: Successful entry into large format with the Rapida 162a

At PacPrint in summer 2013 in Melbourne Percey Vij (5th left) and Dave Lewis (3rd left) of KBA Australasia sealed the deal for the delivery of a Rapida 162aSpecialising in POS and packaging markets

Not every printer moves into new premises 3.5 times the size of its old one, buys a new giant size offset press, enters new markets and offers a trade service, but this is the story of Centrum Printing in Sydney, Australia.

Back in the day when Percy Vij was at university he developed an interest in print, bought his own small press and ran a business outside of college hours in his native India.

That seems like a long time ago especially as this dynamic entrepreneur has just opened his new 3,800m² premises in Chipping Norton, on the outskirts of Sydney, into which he has installed a new six-colour KBA Rapida 162a plus coater. This allows Centrum access to the packaging and point-of-sale markets. Vij intends that the new press be available to the whole industry. He says, "We are here to support printers. This press offers printers the opportunity to sell at this sheet size, to sell POS and to sell packaging print. My aim is to work with the whole industry in collaboration, so that the whole industry can grow. Printers will be able to expand their portfolios without having to invest themselves."

However, Centrum isn't morphing into a trade-only printer, with the new press it is aiming to take a direct line to the packaging and POS markets. Percey Vij: "Printers need to be in a niche, develop their expertise, knowledge and relationships to serve that niche. Plus they need to have the appropriate means of production. For a long time now I have known that packaging and POS is where I wanted to take Centrum. Part of my dream has been to win back work that has been going overseas for the good of the industry and the Australian economy."

Packaging in small and medium print runs

The large-format Rapida has now been integrated into the printing house's workflow. "We are now operating at maximum efficiency and maximum productivity. The quality will be better than anything our customers can buy overseas, and we are here to talk to face-to-face, which is a hundred times better than speaking on the phone to a printer overseas", Vij explains. "The new press is already going down well, even before Centrum moved to its new site", says general manager Sandra Mascaro. "Four printing clients, which each spend about AUS $1.5m (approx. €1m) per year on packaging, agreed to transfer their packaging jobs to Centrum. More clients are expected to follow and we plan to double our turnover in 18 months", she adds.

The KBA Rapida 162a has a top speed of 13,000 sheets per hour and a maximum sheet size of 1,200 x 1,620mm (47.2 x 63.7in). It is the first KBA press that Vij has bought. He says, "The Rapida 162a best suited Centrum's requirements. Its print quality is superb, the engineering is of the highest quality and the service support is on our doorstep. One of the press's best features is its ability to print on a range of substrates. Centrum opted for a Rapida 162a as we believe it is the optimum size. We can now print life size human cut-outs which are important for the POS business. The press is well suited to printing packaging."

Other investments have included a Fujifilm VLF platesetter and a new large-format guillotine. One of Centrum's existing medium-format presses was relocated to the new Chipping Norton site. Operation has become more streamlined following the move, the company's structure has developed further and a continuous data management system was installed.

Employee training and PSO certification

Vij and Mascaro make a point of caring for their staff, partly out of concern and partly because it makes financial sense. A good example is the training program that was introduced in 2010, and which has seen most employees receive competitive manufacturing, frontline management and business administration training. According to Vij a trained worker is not only more productive, but also feels more valued. On top of this Centrum Printing passed an audit of its offset colour standard and gained the ISO Printer of Australia and New Zealand certification (ISO 12647-2). Sandra Mascaro: "The new certification is a positive move forward and will help improve business performance and product quality." It adds to the company's Quality ISO9001, Environmental ISO14001 and FSC/PEFC certification.



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