This week, David Currie of Currie Group received a collection of Israeli stamps, celebrating the HP Indigo, from Printer Magazines Group.
It is not every day that a major printing industry brand, much less modern printing technology, is featured on a postage stamp, but both were honoured in 2016, when Israel issued two stamps celebrating Israeli achievements in printing.
HP Indigo and Scitex Vision (the latter having been acquired by HP in 2005) were both born out of Israeli digital innovation in the 1980s, contributing greatly to increasing the efficiency of printing, one of the world’s top five industries.
Thanks to this pioneering work, Israel has become a global force in printing technology and continues to be a fertile base for a number of start-up companies that continue to promote and adapt technology to the needs of the 21st century.
The stamps honour the technologies of both Indigo and Scitex, and in Melbourne today, Australia Printer honoured Currie Group chairman and HP Indigo distributor in Australia and New Zealand, David Currie, with the presentation of a sheet of the stamps issued to commemorate the Indigo technology.
Using an image of a pomegranate, symbolic of Israel, the 8.30 shequel stamp illustrates the Indigo digital printing process by which every image can be different in both colour and shape. It also features a diagram of the inside of an Indigo press whilst the tab at the foot of the stamp sheet shows the Indigo 10000 press.
Ever since Johannes Gutenberg invented the first printing press 600 years ago, printing remained a manual process with most commercial printing methods utilised over the years being labor-intensive processes.
Print production required lengthy set-up processes including the creation of printing plates and the fine-tuning of the presses. These processes made printing expensive and wasteful, especially when producing short runs.
The paradigm shift came in 1993, when Indigo, an Israeli company, launched the world’s first high-quality digital press, the E-Print 1000 that revolutionised the printing industry.
Founded by inventor and entrepreneur, Benny Landa, the company’s printing technology was based on ElectroInk, a dry toner that reacts to electric charges.
In 2001, Currie Group became the distributor of Indigo in Australia and in 2002, Indigo became part of HP. Indigo continues to develop and manufacture digital presses and ink in Israel.
Since it’s acquisition by HP, sales volume has increased more than tenfold and there are more than 6000 Indigo presses in use in 120 countries worldwide.
A second stamp in the set issued by Israel honours the Scitex brand and its technology.
Prepress underwent a dramatic change in 1979 when Scitex, founded by late Israeli entrepreneur, Efi Arazi, unveiled the Response 300 system at GEC in Milan. This was a significant breakthrough that integrated digital computing into the process for the first time.
In 1995, another Israeli entrepreneur, Dan Gelbart, founder of Canadian company, Creo, introduced the imagesetter which was able to directly expose a printing plate without the use of film.
In 2000, Scitex’s Graphic Arts Division merged with Creo and in 2005 Kodak acquired the combined company. This part of the business has generated billions of dollars in sales over the years and has become an important part of Kodak’s strategy.
Currie Group celebrates its 70 year anniversary in 2019.