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Graph Expo 'A Candy Store' for In-plants

November 2004
In-plant managers got a chance to see the technologies they've been reading about at the recent Graph Expo show.

For the many in-plant managers in attendance, the recent Graph Expo and Converting Expo 2004 show in Chicago was a graphic arts fantasy land.

"I felt like a kid in a candy store," observes Mike Renn, of Mellon Corporate Publishing, in Philadelphia. "I went to take a look at the latest direct-to-plate systems and software management packages and came away with numerous options."

Attendance this year was pretty healthy, he adds: "I had to wedge myself between bodies to check out the latest gear."

Other managers agreed.

"I thought it was well attended," says John Sarantakos, administrator of University of Oklahoma Printing Services. He went to the show looking for a saddle binder and a platesetting system. He saw much more.

"Most of the large players had big areas with plenty of space to mill around," he recalls. "Heidelberg had the most equipment. Komori had an 81˝ sheetfed that was impressive. Of course the iGen3 and NexPress were interesting."

Some came with more interest in those devices than others.

"I had appointments to look at digital color equipment including the iGen3 and NexPress," says Lee Sperl, of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota. "I believe an upgrade to our Xerox 2045 is in the near future. Also of interest was print management software. I spent several hours in those booths."

"I was intrigued by the digital presses and online JDF software packages that would streamline print request processing and take a lot of the stress out of on-demand services," says Mellon's Renn. "I'd like to get a CTP system to upgrade my prepress area, or further simplify the process and go to one of the DI presses. I have more than enough information from the show to help me decide what's best for my operation."

Exhibitors reported good traffic at the show and several, including Sakurai, Hamada and Spiel Associates, told IPG they had sold some of the equipment they had on display.

"All of the venders I talked with were very pleased with not only the amount of people but the interest in equipment," confirms Don Davis, associate director of Louisiana State University Graphic Services, who says he ran into many in-plant managers from universities and corporations at the show.

Davis says JDF was a big focus at Graph Expo.

"Most of the major players are integrating their machines for JDF," he reports, including press and bindery equipment. As for his reason for attending the show: "I was looking at folders, as we need to replace 20x26˝ and a 26x40˝ folders in the next couple of months, so I was looking at MBO and Heidelberg Stahl."


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