The east may have lost this year’s Canadian football prize, but there was one big winner on Grey Cup Weekend – the printing industry!
While exact attendance figures were not available at press time, it appears that Saturday, Nov. 22 was by far the best day of the recently concluded Print World Show held Nov. 22 – 24 at Toronto’s Direct Energy Centre.
Showcasing the world of shorter-run printing, the majority of exhibitors were pleased with the large, continuous crowds from mid-morning Saturday until the end of the day. Sunday’s crowds were steady but tapered off later in the day, likely due to the 6pm start of the Grey Cup. Monday’s crowds saw more students and designers attend the show.
But, the important aspect of the 3-day event, says show manager, Sandy Donald, was the quality, not the quantity, of those who attended – i.e. the key buyers, decision-makers and industry movers and shakers.
“We’re extremely pleased that all the major press manufacturers were there,” he says. “We also had more overseas exhibitors than in the past.”
Chinese press manufacturer Hans Gronhi, for example, exhibited for the first time in North America. As well, this year’s Design City was the largest it’s ever been, with many exhibitors requiring larger areas to showcase their products and services.
Show officials limited the size of offset presses on exhibit to 29” (4-up to 6-up sheet size) and smaller over the total 125,000 sq. ft. of floor space.
Two new attractions this year were UPEX, a worldwide marketplace for pre-owned printing equipment and the International Pavilion, a special marketplace showcasing manufacturers and suppliers from around the world.
The Print Software Theatre was once again one of the show’s major returning attractions. Another special attraction, the Professional Seminar and Workshop Series, offered rare insight into topics such as how to produce colour-accurate work, how to sell design, selling to the new print buyer, assessing a printing company’s net worth and how to profit from selling printing on the internet.
HP Canada, for instance, showcased a number of recently launched key technologies. Making their Canadian debut at the show were the HP Designjet L65500, the first of a new category of large-format signage printers to feature HP latex inks and the HP Scitex FB950 printer, which provides high quality point-of-purchase/point-of-sale trade and event signage on virtually any rigid or flexible media. The L65500 outputs up to 104” at up to 1,200 dpi. HP latex inks on original HP media will last up to three years non-laminated and up to five years laminated.
Danny Ionescu, V.P., Graphic Arts, HP Canada, also shared the company’s go-to-market strategy for HP’s large-format signage and POP product portfolio. HP has established a Colour Elite Reseller Channel focused on the print service provider. These Canadian authorized resellers, including Access Imaging, Mondrian-Hall and Unisource, will provide pre-sales and post-sales support and colour management solutions to their customers as well as in-and-out-of-service work.
“Our focus as a company is on progressive, profitable printing,” says Ionescu. “Through this strategy, HP will work with our channel partners and our mutual customers to help them grow their profitability by delivering the technology, services and support they’re looking for.”
Tony Karg, senior director of business development & marketing (graphic systems) for Fujifilm was also pleased with the show.
“Given the challenging economic climate, we were pleased with the level of interest and attendance at the show. We found that Fujifilm’s message of being the key technology supplier of offset, digital and display graphic printing solutions, while leading by example in environmental sustainability, resonated well with show visitors,” he says.
“We had good crowds for Saturday and Monday, with only a few hours of good traffic on Sunday. Print World is a worthwhile investment for Fujifilm to highlight its commitment to our customers and to the Canadian market. In our opinion, we have to reach out to them and demonstrate how Fujifilm technologies add value, reduce their costs and help grow their business volume,” he adds. “That means exhibiting at trade shows in Canada, and backing our solutions with our local sales and Canada’s largest technical services organization.”
KBA Canada was the first booth to catch your eye as you passed through the show’s main entrance – but it was two of the company’s breakthrough presses that kept turning heads. “We were very pleased with the show,” says Lawrence Robinson, V.P. of sales for KBA Canada. “Most important, we received a tremendous amount of interest in our Genius as well as our Rapida presses. In fact, over 30 visitors specifically expressed a keen interest in the technology behind our Genius 52UV,” he adds.
The Genius 52UV has a maximum production speed of 8,000 sph, but what visitors were primarily interested in was the quality and cost efficiency when printing sensitive substrates such as film or hard plastic. Basically, the press incorporates some unique features that allow printers to capture new markets by establishing a reputation for creating imaginative products from all kinds of non-absorbent materials.
“Print World 2008 provided us with a great opportunity to present our vast portfolio of equipment and consumable products, especially to the small-format printer,” says Brian Ellis, director of marketing for Heidelberg Canada. “While the participation was not as robust as other years, I firmly believe that this was a reflection of the current economic climate. However, many optimistic customers still took the time to meet with us and invest in our prepress, press, post-press and Saphira consumable products,” he adds.
Millenium Printing’s, Neeraj Gupta felt the show was an excellent opportunity to re-establish ties with former customers as well as to meet existing and new clients. “A lot of people have heard our name but have not met us in person,” he says. “We stressed the fact that our company has always been dedicated to working as a team with our clients and that their needs come first.”
At its booth, Millenium was giving away a very innovative promotional calendar. Every single page had a different finish (UV, raised printing, die cut, embossed, etc.) and doubled as an ideal promotional catalogue for its printer clients because it had no identifying Millenium logo.
Watch out for print finishing equipment supplier Sydney R. Stone & Co. Ltd. to add a new, youthful energy, enthusiasm and increased level of technical expertise to its sales and service repertoire. New owners Dylan Westgate and Michael Steele felt that they got some good, quality leads from the show. “There was a large cross-section of visitors and plenty of interest, especially in our creasing equipment,” says Westgate. “We know the equipment inside-out, plan to see to more industry people and definitely increase the quality of our after-sales service.”
Tom Reilly, V.P. of marketing for Gandinnovations, echoes the comments of many exhibitors at the show. “It wasn’t so much the number of people who visited our booth, but the quality,” he says. “Our booth attracted some serious buyers, so the show overall was very productive from our point of view.”
Reilly cited the Jeti 3324 AquaJet (a 3-metre, water-based, dispersed-dye digital) and the 3348 Jetspeed (a UV roll-to-roll digital), as two machines that turned a lot of heads at its booth. Increasingly, print shops are looking for more output capabilities such as imaging onto metal, wood and glass, in addition to the more traditional vinyl, canvas and other flexible synthetic materials, the company notes.
Bowe Bell Howell Canada (BBH), selling solutions to the print/mail market in Canada for over 50 years, showcased products from its traditional line such as its Phillipsburg Mark II inserter, as well as solutions from its partners Buskro Inkjet Systems, and Duplo Print Finishing products. BBH is also sales and service providers for Buskro and the full line of Duplo products.
“We had a very good show overall with some on-the-spot sales and strong interest in all our products on display,” says Wayne Quesnelle, Canadian sales director for BBH. “I believe we can offer a lot to printers in the digital print market and also, of course, for those printers considering mailing as a value-added revenue generator for their business. With decades of experience in variable print, based on our history in transactional mail, we can help bring quality and integrity into variable print with tools such as JETVision Print Inspection,” he adds.
Quesnelle also mentioned that with print finishing equipment becoming more sophisticated (imbedded software, variable print handling capability, etc.), BBH’s cross-Canada network of factory-trained technicians brings an extra level of support uncommon in the industry. “ We see a continued convergence of our traditional mailing and printing markets into graphic communications companies that manage the full spectrum of customer communications. We were encouraged by the solid interest at Print World, and we think 2009 is going to be an exciting year for those companies we help to embrace change.”