Durst acquires majority stake in Vanguard Digital Printing

Durst’s acquisition of US printer manufacturer

Christoph Gamper, CEO, and co-owner of the Durst Group Photo Durst
Christoph Gamper, CEO, and co-owner of the Durst Group Photo Durst

Brixen, Italy, 10/01/2020 – Durst, manufacturer of advanced digital printing and production technologies, is strengthening its position in the US Graphics Industry with the acquisition of a majority stake in Vanguard Digital Printing Systems, headquartered in Lawrenceville, Georgia in the southeastern United States.

Vanguard Digital is a leading manufacturer of printing systems for the signage, decoration, corporate, industrial, and packaging sectors. With the acquisition, Durst adds new printer classes to its large-format portfolio. At the same time, Vanguard now has a global distribution and service network and technical resources to continue developing robust solutions.

Tim Saur, president of Durst North America Photo Durst
Tim Saur, president of Durst North America Photo Durst

“Vanguard Digital Printing Systems is a rapidly growing and very successful company in a customer segment in which we are currently not active,” said Tim Saur, president of Durst North America. “Through the combination of high-quality products, a strong management team and absolute customer orientation, both companies are a perfect match.”

Dave Cich, CEO of the new Vanguard Durst Digital Printing Systems Photo Durst
Dave Cich, CEO of the new Vanguard Durst Digital Printing Systems Photo Durst

As part of the agreement, the new company will operate as Vanguard Durst Digital Printing Systems with effect from 1 October 2020. David Cich remains CEO while Jim Peterson continues to serve as vice president of Sales. “It is with great humbleness and excitement that Vanguard Digital will now be a part of the world-class industry-leading Durst Group,” said David Cich, CEO of Vanguard Digital Printing Systems. “Becoming part of the Durst Group Family provides Vanguard Digital the opportunity to expand its portfolio of innovative market-leading UV Printers to the entire world.”

“Vanguard’s printing systems have rightly achieved rapid growth and high customer acceptance in the North American market,” said Christoph Gamper, CEO, and co-owner of the Durst Group. “Despite the global pandemic, we are positioning ourselves for the long term and are determined to invest in the large-format graphics market. In addition, with our technical expertise, Vanguard will continue to ensure that its products and services are industry-leading and a wider customer base will understand what it is like to be part of the Durst family.”

Our view – consolidation, geographic, and segment expansion

Durst is present in India through its company known as Durst India that sells inkjet output devices to ceramic tile, wide-format signage, label, and digital textile printers through its local sales partner Ceradecor. Its website says that Durst is continuing its global development with a joint venture in India venture with Ceradecor. The new enterprise, VetroCER, is based in Greater Noida in the New Delhi national capital region and was set up in collaboration with Ceradecor to manufacture ceramic and glass inks. As of 2015, Durst had installed more than 40 Durst Gamma Ceramic Printers in the country.

Durst’s photographic and typographic tradition

As an old printer and prepress color specialist, I recall Durst from the days when its enlargers were used for color separation with filters on panchromatic film and to enlarge and halftone color separations utilizing a contact screen. Those were complicated days, and it was partly because the Durst enlarger was so expensive in India in the 1970s that we pioneered the use of contact screens within the output drum of the second hand Hell C296 color scanner we had.

Happily, Durst is one of the European companies that has survived the computerization of print. (We thought it was a German company, and there is a strong Munich connection but it’s a company of the South Tyrol founded in what was known as Bressanone, now Brixen, and found its financial backers, the Oberrauch family in Bolzano.)

As an early and agile adopter of laser, inkjet, and technology, in general, it is thriving and growing. It is a company that has always paid attention to product design and has its own typeface. Design became an even more important factor in equipment creation as Otto ‘Otl’ Aicher, founder of the Hochschule für Gestaltung in Ulm, handled Durst’s corporate design, creating a new typeface, coding colors, and the grayscale. At the same time, he created a new typeface, which he called Rotis, and made it the Durst typeface.

In 2024, we are looking at full recovery and growth-led investment in Indian printing

Indian Printer and Publisher founded in 1979 is the oldest B2B trade publication in the multi-platform and multi-channel IPPGroup. It created the category of privately owned B2B print magazines in the country. And by its diversification in packaging, (Packaging South Asia), food processing and packaging (IndiFoodBev) and health and medical supply chain and packaging (HealthTekPak), and its community activities in training, research, and conferences (Ipp Services, Training and Research) the organization continues to create platforms that demonstrate the need for quality information, data, technology insights and events.

India is a large and tough terrain and while its book publishing and commercial printing industry have recovered and are increasingly embracing digital print, the Indian newspaper industry continues to recover its credibility and circulation. The signage industry is also recovering and new technologies and audiences such as digital 3D additive printing, digital textiles, and industrial printing are coming onto our pages. Diversification is a fact of life for our readers and like them, we will also have to adapt with agility to keep up with their business and technical information needs.

India is one of the fastest growing economies in nominal and real terms – in a region poised for the highest change in year to year expenditure in printing equipment and consumables. Our 2024 media kit is ready, and it is the right time to take stock – to emphasize your visibility and relevance to your customers and turn potential markets into conversations.

– Naresh Khanna

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