By Wayne Robinson | 5 January 2024

Tom Lusch, founding father of multi-award profitable Platypus Print Packaging, which he constructed from scratch to turn out to be the largest folding carton printer in Queensland, has handed away.

Modernisation programme: Tom Lusch, Platypus Print Packaging
Trade chief: Tom Lusch, Platypus Print Packaging

Lusch was a pioneer, an innovator, a powerful advocate for the trade, and beneficiant in his help of the native print neighborhood, very happy to assist friends, and rivals, when known as on.

He died peacefully at his residence, surrounded by his household, succumbing to the most cancers he had lived with in good grace and fortitude.

Certainly one of his sons, Platypus director Aaron Lusch, mentioned, “Dad’s success got here from his capability to progress and adapt. He was at all times trying to transfer forward, unafraid to attempt new issues, a few of which labored out, and a few did not. He pushed the envelope, staying forward of the curve.

“He was often called a little bit of a personality, however was modest about his achievements. He was at all times prepared to assist others within the trade, and was very properly regarded in consequence.”

Lusch based Platypus forty years in the past, as a letterpress print operation below his home, rapidly specialising in foil and embellishment, the identify emblematic of his want to maintain manufacturing in Australia. Right now the corporate has 130 employees, working from a ten,000sqm facility, and is the largest folding carton packaging print enterprise within the Sunshine State.

From its early, inauspicious, beginnings, he led the corporate to severe progress, to the purpose the place it grew to become one of many premier offset printers in SE Queensland, earlier than exhibiting his eager understanding of market growth, efficiently including packaging printing to the combination years earlier than most different industrial printers noticed the chance, with folding carton printing ultimately turning into nearly all of the work of the corporate.

Aaron Lusch mentioned, “Dad’s method was to say sure to all the pieces, even areas that didn’t know as a lot about as he would have preferred, then he would work it out as he went alongside, and develop the experience obligatory.”

Lusch was aiming for Platypus to turn out to be the nation’s greatest unbiased folding carton printer. His funding was in top-of-the-range tools from the likes of ManRoland and Koenig & Bauer for his presses, and Bobst for the ending tools. In 2021 Platypus grew to become the primary firm within the Asia Pacific area to improve to Kodak’s new cloud-based printing workflow platform, Prinergy On Demand, and it grew to become the primary Australian operator to put in the brand new Koenig & Bauer Rapida 106 X.

Lusch stepped again from day-to-day operations throughout Covid, with two of his six kids, Aaron and Tim, taking the reins, after having labored for the enterprise for 20 and 14 years respectively, each taking an fairness stake within the enterprise in 2021, and turning into administrators together with their father. The enterprise is at the moment present process an $8m funding programme.

Tom Lusch started his profession in print in 1972, taking a  commerce certificates in letterpress printing, with an apprenticeship at Spectator Publishing Co in Melbourne, gaining the certificates 4 years later. In 1979 he moved to Queensland, turning into an estimator at Inprint, and three years later began Platypus, principally foil stamping on a small hand platen, whereas protecting his job at Inprint.

Whereas working full-time all day, Platypus printed at night time and on weekends. In 1984 Platypus acquired a Heidelberg Platen, and set it up beneath the Lusch household residence in Geebung, then a short while later Lusch resigned from Inprint to work full time with Platypus.

Platypus went on to turn out to be Queensland’s most awarded printing firm, and printer of option to lots of Brisbane’s main promoting and design companies.

In 1999, in a strategic transfer, Platypus acquired McNiven’s Packaging and all of the equipment, Six years later Platypus put in a Roland 700 six-colour with coater press, which allowed the enterprise to develop its packaging division. On the time packaging accounted for round 10 per cent of the enterprise. The Roland was initially purchased to deal with work for only one brewery shopper, which went on to make up about 40 per cent of the enterprise, till the contract all of the sudden stopped, forcing Platypus to seek out much more shoppers. Right now folding carton print represents 98 per cent of the corporate’s income.

In 2015 Platypus relocated from seven factories to a single 10,000sqm web site in Geebung. 5 years later the corporate had turn out to be the largest folding carton producer in Queensland.

Funeral particulars will likely be launched shortly. Vale Tom Lusch.

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