Roland DG Corporation has opened its first manufacturing factory outside Japan. The new factory in the Kingdom of Thailand will serve as the worldwide export hub for the group.

Masahiro Tomioka, President of Roland DG Corporation, Japan, said, ‘As the economic expansion in developing countries including Asia is expected to grow further in the mid to long term, we decided to establish a production base in Thailand so as to plan and manufacture products which meet the demand of developing countries. It was Thailand’s good infrastructure and logistics, plus the availability of skilled labour, which made Thailand a very attractive destination for us. But more importantly, it was the presence of strong supporting industry network established through the efforts of the Thai government to attract companies to the region, and the investment incentives from The Thai Board of Investment (BOI) that made Thailand the location of choice for our global expansion.’

The purpose of establishing a factory in Thailand is also to increase the number of manufacture and procurement facilities available. While Thailand experienced disastrous flooding two years ago, the damage incurred from the earthquake and tsunami that same year in Japan disrupted the supply chain, and even affected the procurement of parts for products. Establishing manufacturing and procurement functions not only in Japan, but also overseas has merit from the viewpoint of cost and increasing price competitiveness, as well as holding merit on the point of risk reduction.

While there has been a recent slight easing in the strength of the yen, its sudden rise in value after the Lehman Shock required action; with procurement of parts in other currencies besides the Japanese yen being another purpose of this factory, allowing us to avoid foreign exchange risks. Furthermore, having become a group organization, our company is currently pushing ahead with its “Global One” reorganization in order to respond quickly and flexibly to meet increasingly complex global market and management environment changes. With this restructuring, the factory in Thailand will become a central base for operations in the region, and will be highly effective for responding quickly to the needs of developing countries and realizing prices demanded by the market. In the near future, it is expected that the factory will not only handle manufacturing and procurement functions, but also assume planning and design functions.

The construction of the Thai factory was started in January 2012 and became fully operational in October 2012. With the recent floods which plagued the region in and around Bangkok in mind, this new factory was designed with the floor of the factory at 190 centimeters above ground level, and 300 piles 26m long were driven to support the building from soft ground.

Akira Suzaki, President of Roland Digital Group (Thailand) Ltd., said, ‘By setting up a manufacturing factory in Thailand, Roland is now able to produce affordable products that meet the increasing demand for inkjet printers in the growing market including Asia. Today, almost all components to support production here are imported from Japan. The company is aiming to increase the local supply rate to 30% of the necessary components by the end of 2013, and more in the near future. Some of our Japanese suppliers are also planning to establish manufacturing facilities in Thailand. This will further increase our local production capability.’ 



Graphix Supply World has introduced a new range of quality and technologically advanced textile media for dye sublimation printing. The comprehensive range of media includes typical fabrics used for soft signs, flags and banners and also encompasses the rapid growth in demand from the home furnishing and interior décor markets.

The new range of digital fabrics, called ‘Leonardo’ and ‘Cha Cha’ are part of GSW’s extensive range of in-house ‘GSW High Performance Media’, developed by the experts and sold under the GSW name. Specifically selected to be 100% compatible with the wide range of digital print technology supplied by GSW, the media produces vivid quality prints. 

The ‘Cha Cha’ digital fabric for dye sublimation printing is available in 195g/sqm, with widths of 150cm – 300cm and is developed for printing compatibility with UV, Solvent and Latex ink. With unique water-tight and air-tight features, with no fraying, good flatness and crease free, the Cha Cha media is easy to use and perfect for a wide range of applications.

Cha Cha Applications:

Backlit Applications

Light Boxes

Display Frame Systems

Pop Up Display Systems



Sun Umbrellas

Bean Bags

The Leonardo digital fabric range is an ideal substrate for roll-up display systems, with no fraying, good flatness and dimensionally stable. Available in 280g/sqm and a roll width of 152cm, the Leonardo media brings prints to life and is compatible with UV, Solvent and Latex printing. 

Leonardo Applications:

Roll Up Display Systems

Display X-Kite Systems


Textile Wallpaper

Art Reproduction

Stretched Canvas



Vista System International has launched accessories to create custom designed wall signs. The new accessories take advantage of the extreme flexibility of Vista System’s MCFT (Modular Curved Frame Technology) products to create new designs.

An example of a new design which can be created include: a wall frame featuring decoratively cut aluminum inserts that protrude out of the frame and a decorative back plaque made of various materials, that attaches to the sign frame to create eye catching wall frame designs.   

MCFT offers the best of both worlds by offering the advantages of a modern modular system with the ability to provide a highly customizable solution that meets the unique requirements for each sign project.



Midcomp installed the HP Scitex FB7600 Industrial Flatbed Digital Printing Press at Screenline in Johannesburg between January 14th to 24th, 2013. This is the third FB7600 installed in Africa. 

The new HP Scitex FB7600 is cost effective on large or small projects and delivers exceptional quality and brilliant colour prints with quicker turn-around times. Variable data printing offers affordable, customised campaigns for focussed marketing. Environmentally conscious customers will benefit from GreenGuard approved inks. The press also gives clients flexibility for rush jobs and urgent proofs. A production run can now be interrupted, an urgent sample printed instantly and the proofing process shortened.

The versatile loading mechanism enables the use of a wide range of media. Together with in-line media sensors, a media thickness indicator and an automatic alignment procedure, the loading system helps minimise the impact of operator error.

Delivering high productivity on a range of flexible and rigid media, the FB7600 offers a variety of productivity enhancements, including in-line saturation control for backlit applications, hot folders and job queue, to help Print Service Providers expedite their workflow. The device can print up to 95 full sheets per hour (which equates to 500 square meters per hour on a full bed size) and has a new point-of-purchase (POP) print mode that produces 55 full sheets an hour with indoor quality. It also prints on a wide variety of media up to 25 mm thick.

‘We are proud of our relationship with Screenline, which has spanned over eight years since their acquisition of a NUR Fresco 3.2m roll to roll printer in 2005,’ said Rob Makinson, Managing Director of Midcomp. ‘This printer is still in production at Screenline and still fulfilling the purpose for which it was originally acquired. We are very fortunate to deal with customers who share our forward-thinking vision. Digital Printing is now an active option for analog printers. Screenline recognises that shorter runs are moving to a digital platform. The problem with most digital flatbed printers is that a realistic shorter run is 100 units or less whereas with the FB7600 and its cost per print in the screen print league, 1000 units is very do-able. The dynamics are changing rapidly and Screenline is now well-poised to take advantage of this changing landscape.’



Peter Metcalfe, Chairman of The Foundation for the Development of Africa, outlines the basics to follow when writing or listing telephone numbers.

For some time now (2006) the international code when dialling from one country to another has now been standardised as 00 – this to meet international standards. You may recall the international code was prefixed as + and to reach South Africa, you would have to dial 09 – Some countries are still using the + prefix and thus still accepted internationally.

I recently chaired the Africa City Leaders Conference and collected a number of business cards from delegates around the continent – when researching the way telephone numbers are written on business cards, I was faced with a zillion combinations – making it very difficult to select the right option. Surprisingly, some business-cards, circulated into the international market, fail to provide the full international codes required to connect.

Most of us who regularly deal throughout the African continent will identify with this issue. All too often, when we endeavour to call a number in a foreign country, and receive no response or receive an engaged signal, we blame the situation on the lack of infrastructure. I am not insinuating that there is no problem with telecommunication infrastructure – just highlighting the possibility of how the inclusion or exclusion of one digit could cause great frustration.

When listing a number we should follow certain basics. A telephone number in Mogale City, Krugersdorp, Johannesburg, South Africa should be listed as follows:

00 27 (0)11 954 6855 

00 = Indicates the International Dialling Code – or +.

27 = Designates the country – South Africa.

(0) = This digit is only required when dialling the number locally e.g. in South Africa – therefore listed in brackets.

11 = This is the code for a particular region or area in the Country – e.g. Johannesburg.

954 = This is the code that further defines the region or area – Mogale City.

6855 = The dedicated number.

A number in London, Great Britain would list their number as follows:

00 44 (0)207 427 2377

00 = Indicates the International Code – or +

44 = Designates the country – Britain

(0) = This digit is only required when dialing the number locally e.g. in Britain – therefore listed in brackets

207 = This is the code for particular region or area – London

427 = This is the code that further defines the region or area

2377 = The dedicated number.

A mobile number (South Africa) would thus be written or listed as follows:

00 27 (0) 84 333 7777



The European Sign Expo (ExCeL London, June 25-27) has acquired Screenmedia Expo 2013. The Screenmedia Expo 2013 will be integrated into the European Sign Expo.

A new, dedicated event for sign makers and buyers/specifiers of signage, European Sign Expo offers an environment in which to explore innovations in architectural and informational signage mediums, including channel lettering, signage systems, and illuminated displays, alongside digital out-of-home media and signage. 

The three-day event is co-located with FESPA 2013, (ExCeL London, 25-29 June 2013), giving visitors to either FESPA 2013 or European Sign Expo automatic access to the neighbouring event free of charge. Together, the two events create a one-stop showcase of visual communications technology, applications and best-practice. Digital out-of home (DOOH) is increasingly complementary to printed graphics, and the two are being widely integrated in markets across the world to provide comprehensive marketing campaigns. Forward-looking print service providers (PSPs) who see the importance of offering broader solutions to their marketing clients can now visit European Sign Expo to obtain important insights into the technologies, business models and content driving digital screenmedia adoption.

Christian Duyckaerts, Managing Director of Retail Communicators and FESPA Board Member said, ‘I am really pleased that FESPA is getting involved in the digital signage arena with the European Sign Expo event. At my company we see the opportunities to create new business and grow new markets within the retail sector using a blend of print, sign and LED technologies, along with digital out-of-home and social media solutions. The exhibition will be the perfect platform to source the latest information and innovations.’

Screenmedia Expo has committed exhibitors, including screenmedia practitioners, digital outdoor providers, interactive screenmedia providers, ATM and kiosk manufacturers, and mobile and social media providers and developers. Visitors to Screenmedia Expo are decision makers from global business and brands, leading agencies and blue chip technology companies, with responsibility for researching and buying digital ‘place-based’ technology and commissioning digital content. These important media specifiers will now benefit from free access to the co-located FESPA 2013, where they can see and learn about the latest developments in wide format printed graphics, and access case studies underlining print’s proven effectiveness within a multi-channel marketing mix. Special content programmes and inspirational exhibition features within FESPA will be available for this specific audience.

Mark Pigou, Managing Director, Screen Events Ltd said, ‘This is a natural move for Screenmedia Expo, which puts the event at the heart of a much broader visual communications community. The delivery of information and content, whether promotional or practical, is increasingly multi-channel, blending analogue and digital to meet the needs of content owners and engage their audiences. By showcasing digital screenmedia side by side with innovations in other areas of signage and printed graphics, both elsewhere in European Sign Expo and at FESPA, our exhibitors can bring their offerings to the attention of a more diverse and indeed global visitor audience.’

The established Screenmedia Expo team will remain responsible for sales and exhibitor liaison for Screenmedia Expo exhibitors, reporting to the board of European Sign Expo, which is a joint venture between FESPA and the European Sign Federation.  

Forthcoming FESPA events include:

FESPA Brasil 2013, 13-16 March 2013, São Paulo, Brazil

FESPA 2013, 25-29 June 2013, London, UK

FESPA Fabric 2013, 25-29 June 2013, London, UK

FESPA Mexico, 15-17 August 2013, Mexico City, Mexico

FESPA Eurasia 2013, 3-5 October 2013, Istanbul, Turkey

FESPA China 2013, 18-20 November 2013, Shanghai, China

FESPA Digital 2014, 20-23 May 2014, Munich, Germany



Falcon has announced that it will distribute PLEXIGLAS® products in South Africa, having signed a distributor deal with Evonik Industries.

PLEXIGLAS® is one of the world’s best-known brands of plastic and has become the very embodiment of acrylic (polymethyl methacrylate, or PMMA for short). This material stands out from other plastics due to its extremely long service life, its specific properties such as high resistance to UV light and weathering, high light transmission and unlimited coloring options. Added to this, PLEXIGLAS® shows the greatest surface hardness of all thermoplastics. It can be fabricated by means of all thermoforming methods, and therefore offers huge creative scope. Another major benefit is that PLEXIGLAS is 100% recyclable, which makes an essential contribution to saving resources.

Some of the company’s notable products include:

PLEXIGLAS® Hi-Gloss with embedded decors

These sheets with embedded decors provide new design options for furniture, store fixtures and exhibition booths. The thick high-gloss layer of PLEXIGLAS® on the front of the sheet provides an elegant deep-view effect. The reverse side is coated with a thin layer of PLEXIGLAS®.

With its embedded decors, PLEXIGLAS® Hi-Gloss lends a modern, elegant touch to displays, furniture, partitions and store fixture applications. The UV-stable, weather-resistant material can be used both indoors and outside. It is available in four different decors: Brushed Aluminium, Fine Carbon, Floral Silver and Floral Night.

PLEXIGLAS® Hi-Gloss with embedded decors can be flexibly fabricated with the greatest of ease, and can even be slightly thermoformed. Bonding is also possible.

PLEXIGLAS® LED for back-lit applications and colour changing

This is a highly specialised material for illuminated signs and lighting design. Its unusual feature is that it offers different colour effects during the day and at night. In the daytime, an advertising slogan looks just like a standard colored PLEXIGLAS® sheet, e.g. in a noble shade of black or blue. But when the lighting is switched on at night, the slogan is displayed in a bright white or almost any colour determined by the light source. This extraordinary advertising effect places signs in their best light and grabs attention.

Other amazing effects can also be obtained: concealed information can be revealed when the light source is turned on, or further visual effects can be created with differently coloured light sources. There are virtually no bounds to the creative options. Fascinating lighting effects can be produced especially with RGB-LEDs.

PLEXIGLAS® Textures with the Radiant effect

The new PLEXIGLAS® Textures in Radiant grade is guaranteed to grab attention. Its textured surface diffuses light in an interesting way. It also creates colours that change according to the viewing angle, which is known as the Radiant effect. Passersby see a colourful play of hues that is set off to particular advantage by the surface textures.

The special Radiant surface coating is available on three different textures: Honeycomb, Ribbed and Pyramid. The combination of texture and colour impressions makes PLEXIGLAS® Textures with the Radiant effect the centre of attention, and equip the material for all applications that are meant to catch the eye, such as store fixtures and exhibition booths.

PLEXIGLAS® Textures also offers a diversity of options for interior design in bars, clubs and lounges. Designers and creative professionals make use of the material’s mirror-like reflections and scintillating colours. Lighting elements made from this new material in ceilings and floors, or in lamps, are particularly striking.


The new coated PLEXIGLAS® Optical is resistant to scratching and chemicals and is suitable for picture glazing, furniture, exhibition booths and store fixtures as well as museum constructions. The coating on one side ensures that the surface quality remains intact even when exposed to heavy wear. The scratch-resistant coating can be produced in thicknesses of 1.5 to 16mm. The sheet is also UV-absorbing so it protects pictures and exhibits against yellowing.



The company will be showcasing what the HP L26500 and L28500 Latex printers can do at the Sign Africa Port Elizabeth RoadShow, taking place on 13 February at the Boardwalk Convention Centre,  and will highlight the range of media the machines can print on.

The 1.5m L26500 and 2.6m L28500 are perfect for those starting up their signage business. With print speeds of up to 23sqm per hour (HP L26500) or 70sqm per hour (HP L28500) and instantly dry and ready to use prints, the printers create greater productivity and turnaround time for your business. They offer a broad range of outdoor and indoor applications with a vast range of media to choose from.

The company’s new generation latex inks are the cheapest inks on the market. The inks give you richer colours and darker blacks – great for backlit film. Both printers also offer a new feature with double sided printing that is accurate and easy to use. HP’s Latex printers have the versatility and durability associated with solvent printers but without the toxic fumes and hazardous waste. They are also perfect for the environmentally-conscious business.



Sytech Supplies will showcase products from Seiko, Graphtec and its flatbed application table at the Sign Africa Port Elizabeth RoadShow, taking place on 13 February at the Boardwalk Convention Centre.

Graphtec CE5000-610

The CE5000 Series of cutting plotter offers performance comparable to high-end units at reasonable cost. In addition to outstanding basic performance, the CE5000 incorporates a range of features such as registration mark detection to ensure high-precision cutting of printed materials. This plotter helps increase work efficiency and productivity.

Seiko W-54S 

The Seiko ColorPainter W-Series printer uses high viscosity inks and an ultra modern piezo-inkjet head to deliver outstanding image quality with no colour density loss. The improved dot pattern enables razor sharp, crisp images at all print modes. Choose between high-production modes with unmatched print speeds, or high-resolution print modes with less grain with nozzle compensation and CP manager connectivity.


The company will showcase the first South African manufactured flatbed application table, the Ezee Applicator. The EZ2000’s size is 2000mm x 1220mm. 

All of your application projects can now easily be manned by one person. The fully pneumatically powered gantry controls make all lamination and application projects a breeze.

The fully illuminated work surface has a 10mm thick glass cover to ensure that you have the best in a quality work surface that doubles as a secondary work area for any other projects you may have in the pipeline.

 Innovative side gutters ensure that your media is easily accessible and cleverly out of the way during your application projects. Clever height adjustments will ensure that all your application projects are not hindered due to thickness. Substrates may be up to 100mm in thickness.



Midcomp will showcase the Anajet MP5 digital garment printer at the Sign Africa Port Elizabeth RoadShow, taking place on 13 February at the Boardwalk Convention Centre.

The mPower digital apparel printer is the fastest and most durable direct-to-garment printer in its class. Purpose-built for high-volume production, the mPower uses ANAJET’s highly acclaimed ‘Closed-Loop Ink Delivery System’, which is air-tight and reduces banding, meaningless evaporation and wasted ink. The mPower’s industrial strength print head can withstand the most rigorous of ink and a new, innovative ink recirculation system, combined with automated maintenance routines keeps the mPower ready virtually around the clock. It is ideal for singles, short runs, or hundreds of prints per day. It prints a 31cm x 25cm (12′ x 10′) graphic in 16 seconds. You can also print digital quality graphics on black and dark garments in 40 seconds or less (one pass for a white base, the second pass for colour.)

Midcomp will also give demonstrations on Summa vinyl cutters, the Kala bunny laminator, colour management and RIP software from Caldera, Onyx and GMG Colour Server as well as the latest in variable display. 

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