Walking Graph Expo 2014: So many booths, so little time!

GraphExpoRoughly translated, Chinese philosopher Lao-tzu once said: “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” Though I normally follow his advice only when my in-laws come over, it would be a good strategy for anyone visiting Graph Expo. There’s so much to see and do, yet so little time. So plan ahead.
What’s new this year at Graph Expo, Sept. 28 to Oct. 1 at Chicago’s McCormick Place? Well, just ask yourself what’s new in the entire printing industry! The “drupa of North America” has always been about how you can improve yourself and your business, offer more to your customers, gain new clients and above all, boost your bottom line. Again this year, the hard working folks at show organizer GASC have put together a wonderful event. For a complete look at all the events, special pavilions, presentations and other activities, just visit www.graphexpo.com.

Canadian technology
Some Canadian companies will have a huge presence at the show without actually occupying any specific booth. Markham, Ontario’s Insource will be there to support many of its manufacturers including Kirk Rudy, W+D North America, CDR Graphics, RISO, FlexSystems, Spiel Associates and Therm-O-Type. Mississauga, Ontario’s Sydney Stone will be hosting demos at manufacturers’ booths including Morgana, Vivid, Duplo, Challenge, Formax and MultiLoft. A host of other Canadian companies and other technology leaders who have a huge presence here, are also making the trek to the famed Windy City. To whet your appetite, here are our own “must see’ems” as you walk the show. My first suggestion: get a comfortable pair of walking (or running) shoes.

4over    Booth 3837
“Super Trade Printer” 4over is introducing Custom Boxes – ideal for merchandisers in niche markets who want total design freedom and a finished product that stands out. Custom paperboard box printing is available on the brightest white stocks at competitive prices with several short-run options. 4over has also expanded its large format mix with new products such as 10mm Coroplast, mesh banners, floor graphics, see-through window vinyl and more.

ATS-Tanner Canada    Booth 3808
ATS-Tanner Banding Systems will exhibit at the Wexler & Felins booth. Showcased will be the LBM-MS-V-RF-P fully automated label banding solution (after a high speed cutter), the FSB-A fully automated banding system for products that need counting, stacking and banding, and the TRS-W Transit line for banding of stacked products (after any commercial stacker). The company’s unique banding solutions integrate smoothly with the latest developments in stackers, auto cutters and folders. Integrated information processing (barcode reading/tracking, address processing, production codes, etc.) during finishing now enables fully automated packaging printing.

Avanti    Booth 651
Avanti won a 2014 Must See’em in the Management Systems category for its Slingshot Advanced JDF Framework. The technology creates a seamless information and data-transfer link between your MIS software, prepress, production and bindery equipment. In short, it provides an environment where all the software and equipment in your shop can speak the same language. It connects your “islands of automation” and sends automated job instructions to a machine using JDF. That machine can then send information back to Avanti using JDF and/or the Job Messaging Format (JMF). Implementations of this nature would typically take months and be quite costly.

B&R Moll    Booth 3218
Just last month B&R Moll released the Moll Compact, a folder/gluer with one of the smallest footprints in the industry. Friction-fed, it’s ideal for small format folding and finishing work, including straight-line boxes, pillow packs, coffee cup sleeves and more. Equipped with a tipper fold plate and plow-fold capability to handle multiple-fold formats, it also features a two-line, hot-melt gluing system and a standard Dial-A-Stack unit with a batch counter. When the time comes to upgrade, it can be converted to a full-size Vantage 720 system with the addition of a Versa-Fold unit. It can handle stocks from 140 g/m2 to 500 g/m2 and sizes from 50 x 102 mm up to 838 x 508 mm. Maximum linear speed is 130 m/min.

Canon USA    Booth 613
Its new Océ Arizona 6100 won a Must See’em Award in the Wide Format Pressroom category. This was followed by six new imagePrograf models, and most recently, the Océ PlotWave 500 large format printing system. The 6100 is an entirely new platform designed for sign and display printers who produce about 325,000 sq. ft. of printed rigid media yearly. Comprised of the 6-colour Océ Arizona 6160 XTS and 7-colour Océ Arizona 6170 XTS, the series features an extra-large 8’x10’ vacuum table. Its flatbed architecture supports odd-shaped, heavy, smooth or pre-cut rigid media; production of high value, multi-layer applications; double-sided prints; large prints tiled over multiple boards; and edge-to-edge printing.

C.P. Bourg    Booth 3631
Plenty of industry “firsts” here. The Bourg BB3202 EVA/PUR-C Binder is the only perfect binder designed to operate inline, near-line or offline with digital printers and produce books without operator intervention. The binder is fed sheet by sheet. Once the book block is completed it can be immediately glued. And because the barcode system is integrated, it offers a new level of workflow efficiency. The OEM will also be showing its continued advancements with JDF workflow/integrated PLUS, including the Dual Mode Bourg Sheet Feeder with BME Finisher (in Xerox Booth 1213). Bourg will also announce the first-of-its-kind Tandem Bourg Sheet Feeder that eliminates lost production due to loading, while driving the attached finisher to achieve greater throughput speeds. You’ll also find the company’s popular finishers in several other partners’ booths attached to marking engines and finishers.

Crawford Technologies    Booth 344
The Toronto company will be showing its workflow, document management and document accessibility solutions for high-volume documents. The company has helped over 1,800 organizations around the world reduce costs, simplify processes, and streamline mission-critical transactional communications. Join David Day and Jonathan McGrew on Oct. 1. They’ll present a real-world example of workflow, document management, document accessibility and archiving/ECM as they showcase a large printer.

DocketManager    Booth 246
DocketManager is a complete print management system and has been built from the ground up by printers, for printers. The Canadian company will show how to manage your entire shop from one system with tools needed to maximize efficiency, while staying competitive. Entirely browser-based, the technology ensures that you’re always connected to every aspect of your shop, accessing the system anytime from anyplace on any device. Ask its reps about system enhancements made over past year and its exclusive promotion to attendees.

Duplo USA    Booth 2613
Duplo USA will be exhibiting its latest digital colour finishing, including new additions to its slitter/cutter/creaser lines, such as the versatile DC-646 and entry-level DC-616 PRO models. With the ability to slit/cut/crease in a single pass, the DC-646 features optional rotary tool and cross-perforating modules – both with strike perforating capabilities. Also on the floor will be the popular UD-300 Die Cutter with its new separator and conveyor unit. It produces custom-shaped applications at 6,000 cph, and only the finished pieces are delivered onto the conveyor for faster productivity. Visitors to the booth will also see booklet making systems, perfect binders and UV coaters.

EFI    Booth 1902
Once again, EFI earned an amazing number of Must See’em Awards this year. Showcased will be these winning technologies. They include EFI CRM for Monarch, EFI IQuote, EFI Fiery proServer for Cretaprint Version 1.4, EFI Fiery Color Profiler Suite v4.6: Express Profiler, the EFI H1625 LED Printer, EFI VUTEk GS2000LX Pro with UltraDrop Technology, EFI VUTEk HS100 Pro UV inkjet press Material Edge Guide (MEG) system, EFI Monarch Mailing Module, EFI SmartLinc and EFI Digital Embossing.

Fastsigns International    Booth 4245
The company’s expansion plans for 2015 include signing 45 franchise agreements and opening 40 new centres throughout the United States and Canada. Overall, Fastsigns wants to add new centres in Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, the Greater Toronto area and Saskatchewan. Interested?

Fujifilm    Booths 4444 and 3213
Fujifilm will reveal the latest addition to its popular Acuity platform. The Acuity F is a high-performance, dedicated flatbed UV printer built with “best in-class” technology. It produces exceptional print quality at speeds of over 1,600 sq. ft. per hour, has a bed size of 8.2 ft. x 9.8 ft. and is available as a 6-channel or 7-channel model. It maintains all the advantages of the efficient and hugely successful Acuity platform, including near-photographic image quality, versatility and ease of use. But it also has been designed specifically for high-volume sign and display printers who use a lot of rigid media.

Gateway Bookbinding Systems    Booth 658
Winnipeg-based Gateway is the world’s largest manufacturer of plastic spiral binding. Its product, Plastikoil, has been characterized as “the most attractive and functional mechanical binding system on the market.” Plastikoil plastic spiral binding is flexible and lightweight, CPSIA compliant, lead-free and phthalate-free. Pages will never pull apart and the coil will not bend or distort during shipping. Plastikoil-bound books lay flat when opened, can fold to 360 degrees, and are available in 45 different colours in coil diameters from 1/4” to 2”.

GBC & Seal Brands    Booth 838
Be sure to check out the new 44-inch thermal GBC Spire III 44T. This laminator features all-steel construction, a 2” mounting gap, and speeds up to 6.1 m/min (20 ft/min). Also on display will be the automated AP-2 Punch with quick and easy changeovers, and the “best-in-class” Magnapunch 2.0 that “makes punching any document error-free.” Seal is exhibiting the 65 Pro MD laminator equipped with roll-to-roll capability. The booth will also feature media and films from GBC and Seal.

Global Vision    Booth 343
The Montreal-based company supplies automated proofreading technologies to leading print and prepress companies worldwide. Global Vision recently introduced ArtProof, the world’s first 64-bit artwork inspection software. It inspects artwork with precision, quickly detecting missing or added text, graphics, incorrect fonts, text sizes and colour deviations. It reduces approval cycles by catching errors early, shortens time to market, avoids costly errors due to file revisions, and checks supplier proofs. It also auto-locates repeats, and can be used for multi-page booklet inspection as well as die-line management.

Goss International    Booth 1257
Goss will highlight the unique advantages of its web offset technology for commercial, newspaper and packaging applications, with particular emphasis on its Goss Sunday technology for commercial applications, the Goss Sunday Vpak press for short-run packaging, and the Goss Magnum Compact press for short-run to medium-run book, newspaper and semi-commercial. It will show visitors how its technologies can expand margins, revitalize production capabilities and create more flexible run-lengths. The OEM has maintained a consistent leadership position in the U.S. commercial web market with its Sunday press models, that now more frequently feature hybrid inkjet configurations for high-quality publications, catalogues, retail inserts, direct mail and non-stop job and edition changes using Goss Automatic Transfer technology.

Graphic Whizard    Booth 3822
Burlington, Ontario-based Graphic Whizard is known globally for its creasing and numbering machines and other print-finishing technologies. Check out its PT SCC, a modular finishing solution for slitting, cutting and creasing. It can produce professional quality, full-bleed applications such as business cards, greeting cards, invitations, brochures, pamphlets, catalogues, posters, book and CD covers, photographs and more. Also see machines in its UV Coating series. Models range from the 3’x3’ XDC Micro to larger, automatic flood coaters with receding stackers, multiple offerings from their two creasing lines, as well models for numbering, perfect binding, folding, feeding and more.

HP    Booth 1913
The OEM will showcase its vast range of digital technologies. Be sure to investigate its two Must See’em winners, the HP Indigo 30000 and 7800. The 30000 is the first Indigo designed specially for the folding cartons market and packaging converters. Its 29” format provides “breakthrough productivity”, fits seamlessly into existing workflows, and its inline priming unit supports off-the-shelf paperboard. The sheetfed 7800 digital provides new capabilities, including printing directly on synthetic substrates and plastic cards, and new colour-management with an inline spectrophotometer that measures printed colour output. HP is dead-on when it adds that the Indigo 7800 “simplifies colour management, improves productivity and expands application range.”

Kodak    Booth 831
Kodak will display “the industry’s broadest portfolio of graphics, prepress and digital solutions.” Products being displayed include the Kodak Prosper S-Series highest-quality hybrid solution with security ink sample applications; Sonora plates being processed on CTP with Single Cassette Unit; the NexPress Digital Production Color Press; the Prosper 6000 Press (the fastest inkjet press); and Prinergy 6.1, Kodak’s new release of its Prinery workflow automation software. Presentations by Jim Hamilton of Infotrends (on Kodak NexPress Platform innovations) and Dr. Joe Webb of WhatTheyThink.com are well worth attending.

Konica Minolta Business Solutions USA    Booth 1231
Konica Minolta will debut its new print production solutions including the bizhub Press C1100, C1085 and dual-engine 2250P, among others. With an “industry-leading output speed” of 100 ppm in colour, the bizhub Press C1100 colour press “raises the bar in digital productivity, saves space on the production floor, and saves time and labour costs with simple operation and powerful inline finishing.” It’s ideal for on-demand booklet printing. The monochrome bizhub Press 2250P combines fast output speeds, high-volume reliability and digital advantages such as real-time control and variable data capabilities. Options include saddle stitching, perfect binding, ring binding and more.

LumaPix/FullScale    Booth 134
Of special interest to printers is the Montreal-based company’s user-driven product personalization for creating physical and digital products. Examples include photobooks, personalized sales collateral, photo mugs and pure-digital products such as screensavers. FullScale, a Montreal-based software publisher, offers technology that supports the creation, publishing, personalization and sale of these products that include the FotoFusion content creation tool used to create templates that untrained end-users can access online. The Storefront allows end-users to upload their own images and text to create unique items. The system enables publishers to monetize brands with custom, photo-centric products.

Magnum Magnetics    Booth 1179
Magnum Magnetics will feature printable, flexible magnetic media for a wide variety of presses and applications. It will also be introducing DigiMaxx, the first super-wide printable magnet made in the USA, offering “better lead times in North America, unbeatable quality and helpful U.S.-based customer service.” Magnum completed its first run of flexible magnetic sheeting in May of 1992 and now operates two manufacturing facilities in Ohio producing a wide variety of flexible permanent magnet products including sheeting, strip and extrusions.

Manroland Web Systems    Booth 1248
The OEM will focus on digital folding and finishing products and innovations in offset, including FoldLine and FormerLine. FoldLine offers options for variable broadsheet and tabloid sections and page numbers for personalized editions. Its folder and finisher digitally recreate conventional offset products with quick job changeovers “unrivalled by competitive products.” The available web width enables up to eight pages as well as asymmetric production with partial-width webs. FormerLine offers variable book signatures and page numbers as well as glued book-block finishing. Both offer outstanding productivity, variable cut-sheet separation, dynamic change of pagination and cutoff length on-the-fly – plus setup times as low as three minutes with a full-format change. Also featured will be manroland’s renowned Colorman, Rotoman and Lithoman presses.

Metafix    Booth 127
Montreal-based Metafix helps printers monitor and control processes “previously thought unmanageable.” Its breakthrough Metafix Fountain Solution Control System (FSC) gives pressroom operators the same level of measurement and control they expect from other aspects of their printing processes. FSC actively monitors and manages the fountain solution and provides real-time alerts to potentially harmful changes during a press run. Another notable technology – the Metafix CTPpH Control System – collects, monitors and neutralizes CTP waste.

Muller Martini North America    Booth 853
Muller’s theme for this year’s show is “Muller. The Right Choice.” This message will be supported by a variety of product presentations and customer testimonials that underscore why Muller Martini’s scalable technology is “driving the finishing solutions of today and the future.” One such innovation – barcode-enabled touchless workflow – will be the cornerstone of a seminar titled Digital Finishing and Your Future, which will be held on Monday and Tuesday from 10:30 a.m. to noon. Representatives from all Muller Martini North America divisions, including digital manufacturing, saddle stitching, softcover and hardcover binding, and newspaper/mailroom, will be available to answer your questions.

MultiCam    Booth 2458
Featured are the MultiCam Digital Express and Graph-X Cutter. The former combines high-speed digital registration with powerful routing and knife cutting capabilities in a fast, wide format sheet fed cutting platform. The Digital Express can also be ordered with an optional conveyor system for rolled materials or jobs longer than the table. The Graph-X Cutter is a flexible high-speed CNC knife cutter and finishing system. It combines digital registration with powerful routing and knife-cutting capabilities in a wide format, sheetfeed platform. It has a maximum cutting speed of 1000 ipm and a rapid traverse of 2100 ipm. An integrated phenolic vacuum table is standard, and the optional MultiVision digital registration system auto-corrects image skew and drift.

Presstek    Booth 3613
Highlighted will be a certified, pre-owned Presstek DI digital offset press featuring fast turnaround, high resolution waterless printing at a low cost per page. New this year is GemPlate, Presstek’s eco-friendly open platform thermal CTP plate featuring a pH neutral, biodegradable cleaning solution. Also new and worth the visit is Presstek’s JT-BL, its eco-friendly CTP plate designed for Epson inkjet printers used for low-cost plate production.

Reprographic Technology Int.    Booth 4043
This cutting-edge Kitchener, Ontario-based company’s Vortex 4200 wide format printer is definitely a must-see. It allows printers to print in new ways, enter new markets and boost their bottom line. Powered by Memjet technology, it “practically prints time” – outputting at 1,600 dpi at up to one foot per second. How about fifty 4ft x 5ft colour posters in 30 minutes? That fast enough for you? No plates, minimal setup and five printheads ensure faster single-pass printing when compared to traditional inkjet. Ideal for variable on-demand projects, RTI first showcased the 4200 in February of last year in Bedfordshire, UK and it’s been turning heads ever since.

Ricoh Americas    Booth 1931
Demos of its print solutions include its newest digital cutsheet and inkjet continuous-feed systems and software. Technology from Ricoh partners PTI and Avanti will also be featured. You’ll see solutions that “provide reduced costs, increased business opportunities and revenues.” These include Ricoh’s Color Management Services; updates to Ricoh’s Must See’Em award-winning Critical Communications Solution Suite; The Ricoh Pro c5110s series (high-speed compact colour laser printers); and the Ricoh Pro 8120S that introduces colour production technology into a monochrome print system, to name a few.

Ryobi MHI/GSNA/CRON    Booth 4404
See the Ryobi MHI 925 LED-UV Offset Press in action featuring INSTA.color and INSTA.cure technologies. It easily handles 8-up A4-size printing. The 920 Series features a maximum speed of 16,200 sph and varnish coating. Also featured will be the Cron CTP Model UVP36 with “best in class image quality” and special effects printing including holographic, cast & cure, chem-boss and cold foil. The OEM’s exclusive distributor from Ontario to the Atlantic provinces is KBR Graphics (Montreal & Toronto), and in Western Canada, Canadian Printing Equipment (Winnipeg).

Spiel Associates    Booth 4036
Spiel specializes in mechanical binding, having invented the world’s first and only patented, inline automatic plastic coil former and binder. The company will be showcasing the Sterling Coilmaster, a low-cost automatic plastic coil binder, and debuting two new double-loop wire binders: The Sterling Looper (a semi-automatic, table-top wire binder, capable of binding up to 500 books per hour), and The Sterling Wiremaster Pro (an economical, fully automatic wire binder that can bind up to 3,000 books per hour). Spiel also offers the Sterling Punchmaster high-speed automatic punch, the Sterling Digipunch automatic touchscreen punch and the fully automatic Sterling Digibinder Plus perfect binder.

Standard Finishing Systems    Booth 1923
Standard will launch several solutions at Graph Expo, including a broad range of postpress, paper handling and inspection solutions, as well as a complete lineup of perfect binding, folding, saddle stitching, die-cutting and continuous-feed print technology. Several products will be introduced including the Standard Horizon RD-4055 Die Cutter (a 2014 Must See’ems Award winner), the RD-3346 Die Cutter, the CRA-36 Creaser, the AF-406F Folder, and the TBC-200L Top and Bottom Cutter. Demonstrations will emphasize real-world production efficiency and performance through intelligent automation.

Tembec Kallima Paper    Booth 1370
Kallima, Tembec’s signature brand of fully bleached, premium coated cover paperboard products, will feature the new 2014 edition of the Kallima Coated Cover Swatchbook that showcases its C1S, C1S Plus, and C2S FSC-certified grades “in all of their beautifully printed glory.” The exhibit will be of particular interest to those specializing in commercial printing, publishing, prestige packaging, high-impact graphic corrugated containers, point-of-purchase displays and litho-laminated packaging.

The Nustream Group    Booths 3658
The Montreal/Toronto-based company focuses on the Canadian graphic arts industry with complete solutions for print-on-demand, CTP and proofing, along with all printing supplies. It helps small to mid-sized printers identify the solutions that best fit their business environment. And its repertoire or products and services is quite extensive.

Two Sides North America    Booth 1069
Two Sides’ mission is to challenge claims that electronic communications are more environmentally friendly than print and paper. The CPIA partnered with Two Sides recently to provide expertise and resources on why print and paper is an attractive, practical and sustainable medium. This collaboration is the start of many developments needed to tell the environmental story of print and paper in Canada. Stop by and see what both organizations are doing to help printers.

Ultimate Technographics    Booth 541
The Montreal company will demo its new imposition and finishing JDF automation solutions, including Must See’Ems winner Ultimate Bindery V.3. Ultimate Bindery is designed to solve bottlenecks in finishing for short runs and variable. It offers features for sheet-level integrity when using the C.P.Bourg SheetFeeder for hybrid jobs with Xerox FinishingPlus or EFI Fiery. It’s also fully integrated within the HP SmartStream PrintServer enabling the definition of a finishing plan at the DFE. For the first time in the industry, it introduces direct connectivity integrating the Horizon JDF controller to automated Standard Horizon perfect binders with the 3-knife cutter and saddle stitchers. Ultimate will also show its Impostrip OnDemand Automation and Scalable v8 with new book-stacking options, advanced connectivity with web2print, and MIS such as Avanti demonstrating “the fastest and most automated imposition today.”

Xante    Booth 431
Be sure you check out the OEM’s newest print system, the Ilumina Heavyweight Champion Digital, featuring ultra-thick printing capabilities (up to 24 pt.). Users can print heavy-stock brochures, vinyl, synthetic paper, cards, magnetic media or textured stocks on sheet sizes from 3” x 5” up to 13” x 52”. This allows printers to expand services to include product packaging, POP displays, file folders, table tents, book covers, presentation folders, oversized banners and much more. The system also features a unique colour combination process that utilizes LED printheads, HD microfine toner, and Single Pass Colour technology. This process “yields superior images and more saturated colours.”

Xerox    Booth 1213
The Xerox Versant 2100 Digital Colour Printer will make its North American debut. The 100-ppm device “combines speed, image quality and automation features to create colourful personalized communications, collateral, brochures, photo publishing and specialty products.” It automates colour control, creates image-to-media alignment profiles and delivers brand-managed colour in less time with less waste with an inline, integrated full-width array. It also maintains tight registration from page to page with Production Accurate Registration technology. Its improved image quality produces smooth sweeps and gradients, sharp images, graphics and text with new Ultra HD Resolution, which Xerox calls “an industry first.” Applications are rendered at 1200 x 1200 dpi at up to 10 bits. The Versant supports an array of substrates including linen, polyester, vinyl magnet and specialty stocks.

Print Community Forum 2014 alert!
Speaking of industry shows, let me tell you about our first-ever regional tradeshow for small and medium-sized printers. Graphic Arts Magazine’s premiere Print Community Forum event is November 13 & 14 at Le Jardin Conference & Event Centre in Woodbridge, Ontario. You can reach prospects in your immediate area without making a huge investment, you won’t get lost amongst hundreds of other exhibitors (booth space is limited), and you’ll hear topics regarding sales, new technologies, equipment and success stories. Discover how to add value to your printing, reduce costs, improve productivity and boost profits. Watch for more information as speakers and exhibitors are added. For tickets call Jenna Lyons at 905-473-9111 or e-mail info@printcommunity.com. For booth space inquiries, call Joe Mulcahy at 1-877-513-3999 or e-mailjoe@graphicartsmag.com. The Print Community Forum 2014 is endorsed by the CPIA.

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Tony Curcio is the editor of Graphic Arts Magazine.