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Graph Expo Integration

November 2003
More than 38,000 people attended this year's expo. Here's a glimpse of what they saw.

By Bob Neubauer

Integration was the big theme of this year's Graph Expo and Converting Expo.

Individual manufacturers like Heidelberg and MAN Roland showcased computer-integrated manufacturing (CIM) technologies connecting prepress, press and finishing. And vendor partnerships, both small and multi-faceted, foreshadowed future integration between multiple vendors' systems.

Notably, at a large press conference touting the Networked Graphic Production initiative, 27 companies proclaimed their commitment to defining, developing, testing and delivering JDF-based integration between their systems. They plan to define a standardized set of interfaces to create plug-and-play solutions that let job and production data flow seamlessly across the entire production process. Amos Michelson, CEO of Creo, which initiated the two-year-old partnership, predicted that in a year we might see system integration from the idea stage straight through to delivery.

This wasn't the only reference to future results at this year's show. Though plenty of new products were on display, some vendors simply hinted of great products to come at next year's Drupa trade show, in Germany.

Despite this, more than 38,000 industry professionals came to Chicago to visit the 580 companies exhibiting their wares. According to show organizers, this year's event marked "the long awaited rebound in sales, profits and investment in the graphic communications industry." And indeed a number of pieces of equipment on display were proudly marked with "Sold" signs.

Here's a look at some of the products In-Plant Graphics saw at Graph Expo.

Once again with the largest exhibit, Heidelberg had a lot to show. With its central focus on CIM, Heidelberg's JDF-enabled Prinect workflow product portfolio was a hot topic, as were its plans to integrate Printcafe's print management software with Heidelberg presses through open JDF connections. Added to Prinect were the Prinect Profile Toolbox, a new color management software, and MetaDimension 4.0, the newest version of its RIP and workflow solution.

At the show, Heidelberg launched a new 20˝ press, the Printmaster PM 52, designed for smaller operations that want to move into color printing. Available in one- to five-color models, the Printmaster PM 52 uses the same feeder as the Speedmaster 52. Its maximum speed is 13,000 sph, with a maximum print format of 14.56x20.47˝. All control and monitoring functions are operated from the PressControl panel. It uses the EasyPlate plate clamping system.

Heidelberg also unveiled the Speedmaster SM 52-D with die-cutting, allowing in-line finishing to be done in one pass. Another new product, the Dymatrix 105 CS, also allows high-speed die-cutting, producing 9,000 finished sheets an hour.
 

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