Graph Expo 2012: The drupa of North America!

What it may lack in sheer physical size compared to drupa, Graph Expo 2012 makes up for in comprehensive new content, cutting-edge features and stunning technology.

If you’re lucky enough to visit Graph Expo, October 7-10 in Chicago, you may find your neck getting a bit sore. That’s because its organizer, the Graphic Arts Show Company (GASC), has gone to great lengths in attracting new “head-turning” pavilions, sections, information-packed seminars, and of course, hundreds of exhibitors anxious to show off their latest products, services and technologies. While the current economy is a challenge to printers across North America, it hasn’t dampened the enthusiasm or creativity of our best friends to the south. American and Canadian ingenuity is alive and well this year at Graph Expo. This show has more new features, more new events and more business-building seminars than ever before. It accurately reflects the ever-changing graphic communications industry today.

InPlant Place

The first-ever InPlant Place (Booth 3461) will provide in-plant professionals from education, corporate and government-printing operations with their own dedicated, multi-functional section offering in-plant-specific education and networking. With some 45,000 in-plant printing operations in the United States alone, the show will offer 12 major new strategies for building profits in this growing market segment. According to Ralph Nappi, GASC President, “We believed the time was right to create a robust education track at Graph Expo to specifically address the needs of in-plant and corporate print centres. Because these operations often cross segments – such as transactional print, packaging, mailing and fulfillment, and wide format, and our show brings them all together – we have a unique opportunity to provide a variety of opportunities to give them everything they need to be successful in the future at this year’s event.”

PODi Cross-Media Application Gallery and The Printerverse

Also new for 2012 is the PODi Cross-Media Application Gallery (Booth 1269) that will offer “Best-of-Results” case studies based on whitepapers of successful print-integrated cross-media applications. You’ll walk away with guidelines on how to use these award-winning campaigns for your own clients. Another new feature, “The Printerverse” (Booth 4500) is a multi-media hotspot where you can experience and test some groundbreaking communications tools. This interactive networking/education area will let you engage in live, real-time applications, networking activities and face-to-face Q&A sessions with industry experts. Play a few rounds of Guitar Hero, experience Intelligent Print Recognition (iPR) and Augmented Reality first-hand, watch a Pecha Kucha, celebrate the launch of National Girls Who Print Day, or be part of history as Print Media Centr creates the World’s First Interactive Message Board.

CPP Zone and Global Channel Partners Summit

The CPP Zone, another new feature, will showcase the growth of package printing technologies and products. This year also marks the debut of the Global Channel Partners Summit (Booth 4461). The free summit was created in recognition of changing customer demands, new technologies, the impact of e-commerce and the uncertain global economy, all of which have helped forever change today’s industry. Beyond providing current industry trends and information for all channel partners, the Summit will serve as a networking hub for channel partners to meet with peers from around the world. It will also be where dealers will convene with manufacturers and customers to explore new business opportunities.

Education, direction, best practices and how to adapt

There are countless opportunities to discover actionable strategies to take back to your office an implement immediately. These include Graph Expo seminars – inexpensive á-la-carte and bundles of sessions – as well as G7 Show Floor Sessions. Free features include Industry Sessions, Marketing Theatre Presentations, Printerverse Presentations, Global Channel Partner Presentations and Exhibitor Presentations – plus, the conference and programs of the 48 other co-located events. These innovative new features join familiar Graph Expo favourites: the expanded Marketing Pavilion, Mailing & Fulfillment Center; GREENspace; News Print; Future Print (a must-visit); Prepress/Software: Workflow & Design; Press/Finishing/PackPrint/Photo Imaging; G7 Idealliance workshops; and Education Main Street.

Forty-eight co-located events and “how-to” strategies

One of the best features at this year’s show is its 48 co-located events. This means that 48 firms will be holding their conferences, user groups, meetings and more in and around Graph Expo 2012. This facilitates teamwork, learning and new networking opportunities. This show will also deliver more free “how to” strategies and information that printers can implement immediately. However, you’d better pre-plan your visit (there is an online scheduler to help you). Four days may sound like a lot, but there’s so much more to see in 2012. And don’t forget to visit Graph Expo’s “Must See ‘Ems.” You will not be disappointed.

More information and registration: www.graphexpo.com. Or, you can see what’s hot right now by visiting the vibrant new, easy-to-navigate GASC Channel (www.gasc.org) where you’ll enjoy video-based content, interesting blogs, social media interaction opportunities and brief but valuable presentations.

Our Graph Expo “must visits”

We’d love to include ALL exhibitors, but that would take every page of this magazine and more. So here are our “must-visit” selections.

Agfa Graphics North America Booth 627

Agfa Graphics North America and Pitman, an Agfa Company, will showcase their broad portfolio of integrated graphic communications solutions and advanced technologies. The booth features The Six Strings Classic Blues Lounge as a testament to inkjet applications. The Lounge is the centerpiece of the booth and features real-life indoor and outdoor applications such as exterior wall graphics, street signs, benches and tables. Window graphics adorn the entrance and the Lounge is designed with backlit signage, vintage signs and lighting, floor graphics, textured wallpaper, mirrored signage, musical instruments and much more – all produced on inkjet. In addition, the entry-level :Anapurna M2540 FB and the 48-head :Jeti 3020 Titan FTR will be demonstrated, along with many prepress and pressroom solutions that improve production efficiencies and quality. From state-of-the-art workflow to CtP equipment to the largest portfolio of thermal and violet digital plates, Agfa and Pitman plan to “wow the crowds.” www.agfagraphics.com/usa/en/maings/.

ATS-Tanner Booth 207

The industry-leading banding machine manufacturer will be showcasing its automatic US-2000 FAB-A inline stacking and banding-off folder, which is the perfect unit to have behind your folding machines and saddle stitchers as it can count, stack and band up to 40,000 printed products per hour. Demonstrations will show how to create perfect stacks of printed material using the US-2000 TRS-L. This machine is equipped with an extra-long conveyor belt for long products, has a flexible format range and gently bundles all types of printed paper. Visitors will see how easy it is to imprint a band with the US-2000 MDM-P. If you’re not looking for a fully automatic system, smaller machines like the US-2000 ADU and the ATS-MS 420S are ideal. Banded products are easier to handle. Corrugated boxes can be expensive, shrink film is also costlier and wastes energy, and both can become redundant. The company’s machines, both ultra-sonic and heat-seal, operate so fast that they involve little or no labour costs, are easy to operate and occupy very little floor space in a printer’s shop. The company offers everything from machines for simple bundling tasks to integrated, fully automated solutions that blend seamlessly into the most complex of workflows. www.ats-tanner.ca or m.reist@ats-tanner.ca.

Fujifilm Booth 414

Fujifilm will showcase the latest in Fujifilm Inkjet technology under the banner “expect INNOVATION.” The main focus will be Fujifilm as a leader in inkjet technology with the J Press 720, the new Inca Onset S40i and the Acuity LED 1600. The J Press 720, a 2012 InterTech Technology Award winner, is the world’s first half-size sheetfed inkjet press. Competitors are months, and in most cases years away, from installing their units in a customer environment, says Fujifilm. The company worldwide already has nine J Press 720 installations with two in North America (one in Canada and the other in Michigan). www.jpress720.com. The new Inca Onset S40i, like the Onset S40, meets the high-volume, fast-turnaround production needs of printers. Key new features are reduced bed masking, an innovative UV sensor system and sophisticated substrate height detector. www.onsetchallenge.com. Both the J Press 720 and Onset S40i will be running live every day of the show. Other products featured include: the Acuity HS; Acuity LED 1600; a wide-format media display featuring the latest substrates; Xerox Color 1000 Press with Clear Ink; a Commercial Print wall featuring Fujifilm plates, platesetters, chemistry and manufacturing capabilities; Fujifilm newspaper solutions in the News Pavilion (a separate booth shared with PuzzleFlow); XMF Workflow; XMF ColorPath; ColorGATE; Metrix Automated Job Planning and Rampage Systems. www.fujifilm.ca and tkarg@fujifilm.com.

Goss International Booth 845

Goss will showcase its commercial, newspaper and packaging printing with new solutions for greater productivity. North American printers have given Goss a 100% market position for new commercial web presses in the region over the two years since Graph Expo 2010. “This testifies to our ability to innovate and support the right products for commercial demands in this market, and we feel proud to be presenting new solutions once again in Chicago,” said Graham Trevett, V.P. of Sales for Goss. “These include anything from hybrid configurations utilizing digital heads for direct-mail production, to flexible packaging printing, as well as more conventional commercial and publication printing.” Recent Goss installations of gapless technology Sunday presses, as well as Goss M-600 and M-500 presses, include the first Sunday presses with DigiRail digital inking as well as the wider Sunday 3000 press (up to 75″). Goss will also present unique options for newspaper and packaging printing, print finishing and after-market support. In addition, the exhibit will reflect the expanded range of Ferag, Akiyama, Purlux and Yawa products and various converting equipment from Shanghai Electric. Also featured will be Goss Sunday Vpak presses which have increased the focus on web offset as an attractive alternative to flexo, gravure and sheetfed offset for many packaging applications. Based on the groundbreaking Sunday gapless press concept, Goss Sunday Vpak presses feature quick-change blankets and printing cylinder sleeves that make ‘infinitely’ variable repeat lengths easy and affordable. Finally, the Goss Lifetime Support team will present parts, service and enhancement programs designed to extend the lifespan of presses and finishing systems. www.gossinternational.com/.

Heidelberg Booth 1214

Heidelberg, the world’s largest supplier of print media solutions and services to the graphic communications industry, will focus on HEI Flexibility – an intelligent combination of offset, digital and web-to-print offerings designed to produce top-quality print products in the most profitable way possible, regardless of run length or variable content. Heidelberg’s booth will represent the ultimate in hybrid, colour-managed production: offset and digital united and facilitated by Heidelberg’s Prinect workflow for maximum productivity and cost efficiency. Heidelberg chose the HEI Flexibility theme to represent every demo piece it will produce at the show and has created a simulated retail promotion. Produced entirely on Heidelberg equipment running in the booth, the promotion will be notable not only for the quality and precision of the work, but also for the way the pieces fit together in an integrated campaign. As the only print technology vendor that can take a file from web-to-print input and move it seamlessly through all subsequent stages of production, gathering and updating cost data at every stage, Heidelberg will encourage printers to look beyond individual machine specifications to grasp the bigger picture and bottom-line benefits of end-to-end production integration. Alongside its iconic Speedmaster SM 52 Anicolor press, Heidelberg will present both short-run, cut-sheet and wide-format digital production equipment, including both the Linoprint ProTMC901, and the EFI Rastek H652 UV flatbed inkjet printer. The Speedmaster SM 52 Anicolor, Rastek H652, the Linoprint C901 will be linked in a live, color-managed workflow as they print a variety of materials for the simulated promotion, showcasing Heidelberg’s unmatched cross-platform expertise in integrated production and simultaneous color-matching (via Prinect Color Toolbox) of lithographic, electro-photographic, and digital inkjet output. Visitors will learn how getting superior results from all three processes can be a major competitive advantage. www.heidelberg.com.

HP Booth 1227

HP will showcase how print service providers can use HP Indigo digital presses, HP Inkjet Web presses and a renowned portfolio of HP technologies to transform the publishing market. The booth is already on Graph Expo’s 2012 prestigious “Must See ‘Em” list that includes the HP Indigo 10000 Digital Press and HP Indigo WS6600 Digital Press. HP Graphic Arts offers one of the most trusted and diverse portfolios of digital printing solutions, combining superior quality with timesaving operation and proven reliability. The overall HP Graphic Arts portfolio strives to simplify the technology experience for consumers and businesses with a portfolio that spans printing, personal computing, software, services and IT infrastructure. www.hp.com/go/graphicarts.

Manroland Web Systems Inc. Booth 2210

The company will demonstrate its “Core” technologies in web printing, including record-breaking speed, unparalleled automation and efficiency. Along with the “Core Enhancements” featured by manroland web systems’ digital press and post-press solutions, and the “Core Competence” of its services, consumables, and controls, manroland web systems has one of the most comprehensive and innovative product portfolios in print. Solutions showcased will include Rotoman DirectDrive web systems – the answer to the 16-page market, with its ability to perform numerous print jobs in a DirectDrive. Each printing couple is equipped with two motors and can move and adjust the cylinders to ensure that the web passes through untouched. This makes bypassed printing units and the use of blind plates a thing of the past, resulting in shorter make-ready times and less waste. The 32-page Lithoman offers the same advanced automation and closed-loop tools with additional production flexibility. It’s the smart solution for traditional 16-page printers or double-web publications printers looking to reduce costs and increase throughput while shortening make-readies and print times. The Colorman e:line has future-oriented design and revolutionary technology. Virtually every system on the press is customizable to current needs and offers options for gradual modular upgrades and retrofits over time. It is the first newspaper press that grows with the needs of the pressroom. With the launch of the new partnership between Tensor and manroland web systems Inc. in North America, manroland will also be showcasing products from Tensor International. www.manroland.com.

Presstek Booth 3417

Presstek will show how you can increase the range of jobs you produce, improve quality and turnaround time and reduce overall costs. Live demonstrations include: digital offset printing on a Presstek 52DI; the new Presstek 75DI innovative thermal imaging system and automated functionality; and Presstek’s new Virtuoso Print Quality System—its inline colour management and sheet inspection system for the 75DI. www.presstek.com.

Standard Finishing Systems Booth 1244

Standard Horizon will showcase an impressive 5,000-square feet of powerful, highly automated feeding, finishing and mail inserting equipment including: the BQ-270V Single-clamp Perfect Binder and BQ-470 Four-clamp Perfect Binders; HT-30C Three-Side Trimmer and HT-80 Three-knife Trimmer; BQ-160 PUR Perfect Binder CRB-160 Creaser; StitchLiner 5500 with two VAC-1000 Towers HOF-30 Sheet Feeder and the StitchLiner 6000 Digital; HSF-30 Sheet Feeder; AFC-566FG fully-automated Folder; APC-M61IISB Paper Cutter; VIVA Inspection Systems; SD700 Digital Duplicator; KAS 465HS Mail Inserter with 4 Stations and a host of other equipment. New products on display include: the HT-1000V Three-knife Trimmer; SPF-200L Landscape Bookletmaker HOF-400 High Speed Sheet Feeder and SmartStacker; and the CRF-362 Creaser Folder. www.kbrgraphics.com/manufacturer/5/standardhorizon/category/55/finishing.

Xanté Corporation Booth: 2449

Xanté provides affordable, state-of-the-art digital imaging, printing and prepress solutions for commercial offset, flexo, in-plant, and specialty printers worldwide. Products include: The ILUMINA Digital Color Press series; PlateMaker (chemical-free) Poly CTP / CTF Systems; VM Violet-metal / SpeedSetter Poly (4-color) CTP Systems and more. This year, Xanté will feature two new products at Graph Expo. The iQueue 7 Ultimate is the new multi-user workflow designed for professional digital printing systems. It’s never been easier to manage customer files, match critical spot colours, select screening, apply imposition, estimate job cost and much more, says Xanté. The Excelagraphix 4200 high-speed wide-format inkjet printing system features the Memjet Waterfall Printhead Technology that delivers print speeds up to 12″ per second. It prints on a wide variety of media (including stocks up to 3/8″ thick) and sheet sizes up to 42″ x 50′. www.xante.com.

Xerox corporation Booth 1200

Building from its patented solid-ink technology, Xerox will feature its CiPress 500, a full-colour, digital, web-fed solution that can run at two speeds – 500 or 325 feet per minute (2180 or 1417 pages per minute, respectively) with a 20.5″ web width. This productivity drives high-value transpromo, direct marketing and publishing applications. Driving the inkjet system are 3″ modular piezo mechanical drop-on-demand printheads designed and built by Xerox with more than 49,000 nozzles jetting nearly two billion ink drops per second. The non-toxic inks manufactured by Xerox are a polymeric resin and dye that are liquefied and then jetted directly onto paper. The key benefit is the elimination of water so that vibrant, consistent colour can be printed on economical offset paper that lays flat for post-processing with no ink bleed-through. The waterless ink technology, combined with self-monitoring and auto-correcting closed-loop production controls, results in a workhorse device reliable enough to print tens of millions of pages every month. Pairing the Xerox CiPress 500 with Xerox’s FreeFlow Print Server enables variable-data capability that supports native IPDS, PDF, PostScript and Xerox VIPP to produce colourful and personalized marketing communications that are affordable and accessible. Also featured will be the Xerox D125 Copier/Printer, Xerox FreeFlow Fleet Navigator, Xerox iGen 150 Press and Xerox IntegratedPLUS Finishing Solution for Booklets. www.xerox.com.

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Tony Curcio is the editor of Graphic Arts Magazine.