PRINT 09: Fast Presses, Slow Show

Ricoh had a portion of its booth devoted to in-plants, featuring its Pro C900 digital color printer.

Heidelberg’s press conference drew a big crowd.

Directly across the aisle from Heidelberg, Xerox demonstrated its fastest monochrome printer yet, the 1300 Continuous Feed Printer.

Baum’s Mark Pellman shows off his company’s new small-format BaumPrint 18 offset press.

Kodak showed no printing equipment, but drew visitors with its “Pipeline of Innovation” and its frequent panel interviews.

MGI Digital Graphic Technology’s Meteor DP60 Pro digital press drew quite a crowd. The company said two in-plants recently purchased its digital press.

By Monday morning the crowds had arrived. Here, visitors examine Océ’s new VarioPrint 6320 Ultra perfecting system.

The new Presstek 52DI-AC featured an integrated aqueous coater.

The InfoPrint Pro 1357EX.

For the first time in the United States xpedx showed a high-speed version of the Ryobi 750 series, the 756G, which runs at speeds to 16,000 sph and incorporates a new feeder.

Despite its low turnout, PRINT 09 had a lot to offer. Here's a look at the offset and digital printing equipment on display in Chicago.

TO BE FAIR, the sorry state of the economy made it almost impossible for PRINT 09 to be a rousing success. Show floor traffic was so slow on the opening day (Friday), it was speculated that someone forgot to flip the sign in the front window at McCormick Place from “closed” to “open for business.” And one had to question the logic of conducting a long, weekend-wraparound show on the first week of pro football season, when no one (it was presumed) would be coming to Chicago, let alone spending.

The truth of the final analysis pertaining to PRINT 09—as any adept fence walker will tell you—is somewhere in between. And, as any statistician will try to explain, if you have one foot in a bucket of ice and the other in a raging fire…on average, you should be comfortable. Ah, the middle ground can be a dangerous piece of real estate to choose.

Truth of the matter is, some of the 680 exhibitors’ booths were hopping on Monday and Tuesday (one exhibitor even reported success on Friday). One vendor told of selling two machines off the floor, and not caring what happened the rest of the show. Yet there were other smaller booths in both the North and South halls that were colder than Soldier Field in December. Overall, more than 18,000 print professionals from 94 countries attended the show.

So was PRINT 09 a success, even giving it a partial pass for being in the wrong economy at the wrong time? In fairness to the promoter, Graphic Arts Show Co. (GASC), the show must go on, even in the worst of circumstances. GASC certainly did its part in offering incentives for vendors to bring heavy equipment and in trying to attract visitors through a personalized marketing campaign targeted at specific market segments. Outside of dumping the Friday opener, there was probably not much that could have been done to make the event substantially better.

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