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Interview with Servio Notermans and Paul Whitehead of Océ Australia

With Océ emerging as a major player in the wide format technology supply industry, Wide Format Online used PacPrint as an opportunity to interview both Servio Notermans, Managing Director of Océ Australia and Paul Whitehead, the Océ Market Manager, Display Graphics.

Océ appear set to make significant growth in market share in the wide format sector with their Océ ColorWave 600 printer. Its technology, known as Océ CrystalPoint, provides fast, inexpensive and eco friendly output, using marble-like TonerPearls to replace liquid ink. Océ say they have invested close to $A260 million to develop this unique technology.

Coupled with the company’s highly successful Océ Arizona range of flatbed printers – recognised by FLAAR as the most successful flatbed in history - and the new Océ ProCut wide format automatic cutting system complementing its portfolio, the future looks very bright for this European company.

Managing Director of Océ-Australia Limited, Servio Notermans, is a seasoned professional and cut his teeth on building companies in Brazil and Latin America.

 servio_and_paul.gif

 Servio Notermans (Left) and Paul Whitehead

When interviewed by Australian-based CEO Forum magazine recently, he stated that focus is one of the key attributes of any company and its leader. The challenge however is to bring that focus to the overall team so that all players share the same vision. Most would agree with the philosophy but many less experienced leaders would struggle to implement it across a national team.

(One of the other attributes of this professional is the fact that he learnt to play the saxophone in only three months and gave a sterling performance at the company’s party at PacPrint!)

Océ is better known for its high speed digital production printing presses where it is an industry leader with both monochrome printers and colour machines. They have done exceptionally well in providing this technology to print service providers (PSP) as well as the graphic arts trade, educational institutions and the wide corporate world.

They have also built an enviable reputation in the world of technical document printing for the architecture and construction industries with their wide format printing solutions, where they have dominated the market for decades.

The dominant Océ Arizona flatbed, which can be equipped with a roll media option, was the next step on the ladder and this was followed a year ago with the introduction of the ground breaking, eco friendly CrystalPoint technology.. The system converts the Océ TonerPearls into a gel which is then inkjetted onto the substrate producing water resistant, eco friendly, high quality images with extremely accurate dot placement.

The printer is able to utilise low cost recycled paper and Océ claim the ColorWave 600, as the first model to utilise this technology, can print at least twice as fast as conventional inkjet systems. Prints dry instantly so they can be handled immediately. An AO sheet can be printed in approximately 60 seconds.

The first market for the technology was the architectural and plan printing sectors but the PSP industry soon recognised the potential to upgrade their quality of wide format printing while saving money at the same time. Now Océ are in the best position to straddle both sectors with this product..

We asked when we can expect the Océ CrystalPoint technology to be used in a broader range of printers, Paul Whitehead said, “The ColorWave is our first product using the Océ CrystalPoint technology. While we know new models are being developed, we don't have a definitive time for their launch. It could even be a couple of years down the track.

“We’ve done very well with installations across our region through the benefits of this high production and eco friendly technology.”

Servio added, “If you take into account the global crisis which has hit Australia hard, especially in the architecture, engineering and construction segments, the first three months of this year were very quiet. April, though, has been very good, May was very good, and June is looking good, so apparently the ColorWave has hit the right spot in addressing the need for new technology which addresses speed, flexibility and quality.”

We asked if Océ expected to receive any benefit from the Federal Government’s Emission Trading Scheme and Paul Whitehead responded by saying, “Yes, there's no ozone, low energy, no emissions, and the other environmental advantage is that it can print onto plain recyclable media.”

“The worldwide installation base is in the several hundreds and Australia is doing its part. The printer has only been widely available for sale for a few months and we have already achieved our annual target. I can say we’re selling at least ten units per month and, at this current rate, would expect to more than double our annual target.

“With the massive investment that Océ have already made in the technology and the early success of the ColorWave machine, it would logically follow that other ColorWave models, probably addressing lower and higher volumes, will surely follow. It is just a question of when. In addition the Océ CrystalPoint technology may also be utilised in other products.” added Paul.

The latest product from Océ is the ProCut digital flatbed cutting table and software system.

The cutting table is OEM’d from Zünd in Switzerland but Océ say that the asset which sets this cutting table apart from the others on the market is the Océ developed software.

In essence the Océ ProCut is an automated finishing system that can be used to optimise complex trimming tasks for rigid substrates such as hard and soft foam board, plastic material, acrylic and styrene, and flexible media including paper, film, vinyl and fabric.

It is designed to work with the Océ Arizona flatbed printer/s and jointly represents a streamlined workflow solution for busy printers. However the ProCut system works with any flatbed printer.

We asked Paul how big he saw the local market for this kind of workflow solution in Australia and New Zealand.

“The market is expanding”, he said. “I guess anyone with flatbed technology would find a nice fit with the Océ ProCut solution. We have a large install base of Océ Arizona machines and there are new sites within the packaging market and more people going from a traditional print base to digital. We see that market really expanding. It’s a great opportunity for Océ.

“The big differentiator with the ProCut system is that it is designed with production and flexibility in mind. It’s all about speeding up the workflow and cost reduction. The system comprises four simple steps, the cut data preparation; intelligent nesting; rip and print and automated cutting. Simplicity is the key.”

We asked Servio what else they supply to the wide format industry. No surprises when he raised the subject of media. “We sell flexible media for our printers and we have strategic partners for the rigid substrates. We have a huge range of both media and other consumables.”

We asked if Océ had managed to sell the huge Océ Arizona 350 XT that was being demonstrated on the PacPrint stand.

The reply from Servio was very positive, “Yes, that machine has been sold as well as the Océ ProCut system we are demonstrating.

“We have also sold several Océ ColorWave 600s and much more, so we are very happy with PacPrint.”

“Océ is doing well throughout the world, isn’t it?” we asked. Having witnessed the slow start a few years back to the company’s ventures into wide format for the PSP market, and comparing it to the current situation, wide format now seems to be a blossoming division.

“Well we took over the Swiss-American company, Gretag, as well as Onyx Graphics and, for both acquisitions, we needed to get our act together. The learning curve has been short and steep, but now with our own people understanding what we took over, together with our software development partners,  we can rightly say that we've got our act together, and we're going for the goal of market leadership in the display graphics sector,” said Servio.

“So it’s good to see that the market has picked up on our technology and we're delivering on our customers’ needs which is always very important. We've learned from our customers, we've learned from the technology, we've learned from the steep learning curve and trial and error and in a sense I think what we see today is the recognition of the commitment Océ has made in the display graphics market to become a respectable player in this field.”

“So what can we expect to see from Océ in the coming years”, we asked.

“Well as I said, in digital display graphics side, we want to consolidate and to become a major player in this field and to continue to grow our sales, distribution force, not only in Australia and New Zealand but also worldwide, so we'll see more of that.

“We will continue to add to our inkjet portfolio of products and the Océ CrystalPoint technology. You will see more of that in the coming months and years. So in general, I see not just one but many lights at the end of the tunnel.”

Océ Australia
www.oce.com.au

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