NT print house wears manufacturer label with pride​

Darwin-based Colemans Printing is embarking on an ambitious project to bring cutting-edge packaging and labelling manufacture to Northern Australia. The project seeks to establish new capabilities in the Territory and serve the needs of local businesses that currently look interstate or overseas for their labelling requirements.

As part of the project, Colemans has been awarded a $492,000 co-investment from the Northern Territory Advanced Manufacturing Ecosystem Fund (AMEF), administered by the Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre (AMGC) which is part of a five-year, $8.75 million partnership between the Northern Territory (NT) Government and AMGC.

The project is expected to deliver $2.4 million in additional revenue within five years and create at least three new skilled roles at Coleman’s Darwin base. The company will acquire a HP digital label press with custom finishing capabilities. This will bring proven, unmatched technology to the Territory. Furthermore, the project includes collaborative research with Charles Darwin University into the possible use of Artificial Intelligence (AI), integration of e-commerce tools, and training that will see 12 of Colemans’ existing staff upskilled during the eight-month project.

Managing Director of Colemans Printing, Tony Coleman said: A project like this will be transformative for the Top End. It will give businesses located across the region access to the latest labels and packaging technology, while shortening lead times and expediting high-quality solutions across Northern Australia”.

The project will position Colemans strongly to support industry-driven needs, such as the transition to National Packaging Sustainability Targets which demands that 100 per cent of packaging must be reusable, recyclable, or compostable by 2025. In addition, it will it introduce packaging and labelling techniques that can cater to the demands of Northern Australian conditions; and provide traceability, artificial intelligence and augmented reality.

Northern Territory and Northern Australian businesses currently rely on basic stickers sourced locally or bulk labels imported from interstate or overseas. The situation presents a sizeable opportunity for Colemans to support important sectors such as health, shipping, oil, gas, and mining, beverages and food, agriculture, and horticulture, and to provide agile solutions with a superior understanding of local conditions over significantly shorter supply chains.

NT Chief Minister Natasha Fyles said: “Investing in new industries means we continue to diversify and become a resilient economy. To date, the AMEF program is on track to create up to 100 new manufacturing jobs and generate up to $37.5 million into the Territory’s economy over the next five years.

“By investing in Colemans’ capability, NT businesses are less susceptible to supply chain delays while retaining more businesses in the Territory, in turn growing local jobs and prosperity.”

NT Minister for Advanced Manufacturing, the Hon. Nicole Manison said: “Growing the Territory’s advanced manufacturing industry is a key part of our strategy to grow the Territory economy to $40 billion by 2030 and create more jobs.

“The AMEF has been designed to lift the capability of the NT manufacturing ecosystem in which printing and packaging plays a significant role. Providing the Territory with this new printing technology means that we can have more reliability within our supply chain.”

According to market research, Australia’s printing industry was worth $6.5 billion in 2020, with non-publication printed materials (representing 13.9 per cent of the total) the only segment to grow in the previous five years.

AMGC’s Northern Territory Director, Charmaine Phillips said: “The printing industry is preparing to be reshaped by innovations including greater use of AI and augmented reality, together with intelligent and active packaging.

“This provides a much-needed local solution for the Territory, positioning Colemans to exploit the benefits of these shifts for themselves and their customers.”

Managing Director of AMGC, Dr Jens Goennemann said: “As with the other projects we are supporting through the AMEF, this Colemans-led effort introduces important new capabilities to the NT, making not just one but a collection of companies more competitive.

“It is a compelling example why manufacturing capability is a rising tide that lifts many boats.”

The project and further phases of R&D led by Colemans are expected to seize opportunities driven by the growth and transformation of the packaging and labelling technology and will provide solutions with increasing relevance across the NT and Northern Australia.

Colemans with its collaboration partners of Currie Group and Charles Darwin University is the seventh NT group of businesses to receive co-investment through the AMEF, which was launched in 2021. The AMEF has spurred manufacturing activity expecting to create up to 100 new jobs and generate up to $37 million for the Territory’s economy in its first three years.