A visit from Mark Hyde, sales manager for AB Graphic International, to lead the ABG By Appointment events at Currie Group’s Melbourne headquarters last week, delivered more than expert insights to the sessions. It is also continuing an ongoing investment in team building, which has seen the two companies maintain an enviable partnership over more than 20 years.

For more than two decades, AB Graphics International (ABG) and Currie Group have been close partners in the supply of digital finishing solutions to the ANZ label and packaging market.

Over that time, reciprocal visits have kept their respective teams closely aligned. In just the last couple of months, two teams of Currie Group service personnel, and the company’s Director – Labels & Packaging, Mark Daws, have headed to the UK for training and updates.

From left: Wayne Quayle, Currie Group; Mark Hyde, ABG; Mark Daws and Jon Murray, Currie Group

Last week, Mark Hyde, returned the favour, making his 38th visit downunder to bring top-tier expertise to industry businesses through the ABG By Appointment event held in Currie Group’s Melbourne Demonstration Centre, and to meet with the local sales, service, management and administration teams.

He says, “ABG was one of the very first manufacturers of digital packaging and label finishing systems, and our partnership with Currie Group began when digital finishing was really in its infancy.

“Over the years, as we have continued to innovate and push the technologies forward, it has been fantastic to see Currie Group also expand to become a leader in the region, with an ideal mix of equipment and solutions for the sector and, importantly, an unmatched service and technical support operation which means businesses can invest with confidence.”

End-to-end supplier

Currie Group takes considerable pride in being an end-to-end supplier, with a wide range of solutions through their partnerships with international OEMs, many of which line up perfectly with ABG’s own collaborative relationships.

The ABG Digicon Series 3

It is also aligned with ABG on many other topics, including its commitment to service, with a strong team of factory-trained technicians backed by their counterparts at ABG in the UK, and supported by a finely-tuned ‘rolling stock’ arrangement which keeps stock and spare parts on hand for fast order fulfilment, despite the inevitably long shipping times between the UK and ANZ.

This synergy was clear at the fully-subscribed By Appointment sessions, which Currie Group has now run successfully on a number of its product ranges.

Mark Daws explains, “By Appointment is an approach which we created to give customers opportunities you simply can’t provide at a traditional Open House event – namely, individual sessions which are tailored to suit the particular requirements of the client.

The ABG Digilite 3

“Perhaps they are a print service provider who is looking at moving into labels and packaging, or an established label house adding digital options or looking at ways to enhance their business with automation – a personalised appointment allows us to better provide the information and insights they need.”

Hyde is impressed with the approach and adds, “Like us, Currie Group is focused on solutions rather than sales, and the open, consultative approach fostered by these personal, one-on-one sessions is really useful. It works beautifully.”

Digital finishing systems

Visitors to the sessions experienced complete end-to-end label production and converting workflow in action, featuring the very latest ABG Digicon Series 3 and ABG DigiLite 3 digital finishing systems, and an ABG SRI3 slitter rewinder inspection system, coupled with an HP Indigo 6K Digital Press and CERM workflow. As well as Hyde and Daws, guests also had access to HP and CERM experts.

The ABG SRI3 slitter rewinder inspection system

Daws calls it the complete package. He says, “The workflow on show is designed to demonstrate the benefits of ABG’s modular, flexible and highly-automated solutions, which push the boundaries of digital embellishment and finishing to add maximum value, while also improving productivity and profitability with advanced automation and operational efficiencies.”

Hyde agrees: “We’ve invested heavily in automation in recent years as guests will see, and this, together with quality and genuine innovation, are the real focus for us going forward.”

ABG at drupa 2024

The themes of innovation, quality, automation, and profitability will also be a focus for ABG at drupa, where the company will welcome guests to its own booth and have a heavy presence on the HP stand. While Hyde will not be drawn on exact details of the display, he says ANZ customers will find most of it familiar.

Labels printed on the ABG Digicon Series 3

He says, “We are constantly evolving our technologies, of course, but we are not in the business of holding back innovations from our customers to get mileage at a show, so anyone who attended the By Appointment event last week will have found that they were already very familiar with most of the innovations and advances that will feature in Düsseldorf.

“We will, however, be making some exciting announcements on our future direction and global strategy – so we are very much looking forward to that.”

For now the focus is local, focused, and friendly. Hyde adds, “We have channel partnerships all around the world, of course, but few are as strong as the one we enjoy with Currie Group throughout Australia and New Zealand. In fact, they are our top distributor globally, and our most advanced partner, anywhere in the world.

“Our companies have really developed side-by-side, and it’s been great to visit so often over the years and to see the relationship grow from strength to strength. I am very much looking forward to meeting more businesses during this visit, and to coming back again, many times in the future.”

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