Crowds Return to Graph ExpoOctober 6, 2010 By Bob Neubauer
A year after the disappointing attendance levels of PRINT 09, Graph Expo 2010 seemed like a real trade show again. The aisles were full of people, who massed around new products, and kept vendors busy with demos. (Watch three show videos on this site. Return to home page and click the Video tab at the top.)
With the big offset vendors like Heidelberg and Komori taking a break from the show this year, offset presses were hard to find. (This editor counted only three companies with presses: Presstek, Baum (with its small BaumPrint 18) and, tucked away in a back corner, a company called Gronhi Graphics International, showing the Chinese-built GH524 four-color press.
Though certainly unintended, the absence of the big offset vendors sent a message to attendees about offset's place in the industry—a message amplified by the increased presence of digital print vendors like Xerox, HP, Kodak and Ricoh, all of whom had prominent booth locations.
What's more, offset's diminished presence coincided with the first U.S. showing of several large inkjet presses from Kodak, Fuji and Screen U.S.A., making this show worthy of the title "The Inkjet Graph Expo." (HP's much touted T350 Color Inkjet Web Press appeared only on video.)
Numerous in-plants were spotted walking the aisles of Graph Expo. Dozens of them packed a conference room for a lunchtime session on the show's third day, to hear vendors and fellow in-plant managers talk about how they can incorporate integrated marketing into their operations.
Though equipment was certainly the main focus at Graph Expo, several vendors stressed new programs designed to help customers build business with their equipment. Others tried to move the focus to new applications customers can provide using their equipment.
Here's a quick look at some of the more impressive new equipment seen by IPG at Graph Expo:
• The Kodak Prosper 5000XL inkjet press, a production web press with a print width of up to 24.5˝ at speeds up to 650 fpm.