Trying to find an offset press at PRINT 13 was was like trying to find a pad of paper in an Apple store: possible, but unlikely.
With traditional offset exhibitors like Heidelberg giving the Chicago trade show a pass, the digital print vendors were the new kings. Xerox, Canon, Konica Minolta and Fujifilm led the pack in booth size, and each of them had new inkjet production presses to proclaim.
In-plant managers were all over the show floor this year, and inkjet was one of the main things they were looking at.
“We were at the show to monitor the progress of inkjet and review the current options for high-quality digital color,” revealed Debbie Pavletich, Graphic Services manager for Briggs & Stratton Corp., who met with dozens of vendors in her quest to keep up with technology trends.
“It was very impressive to see how high-speed inkjet continues to develop, now with more releases on the cut-sheet side,” remarked Jimmy Vainstein, printing facility manager at The World Bank, which installed an HP inkjet press in March.
“I spent most of my time on the show floor taking in the advances in the inkjet technologies. It seemed inkjet was everywhere I turned,” observed Mike Lincoln, who oversees the State of Colorado’s in-plant. “With Colorado on the verge of our inkjet [press] acquisition, this was a huge opportunity to compare equipment side by side.”
Managers had several new inkjet devices to examine at the Chicago show:
- Konica Minolta Business Solutions and Komori showcased the KM-1/IS29 UV inkjet press, which combines Konica Minolta’s UV inkjet technology with Komori’s paper-handling expertise to print cut-sheet pages up to 29˝ at 3,300 sheets per hour (sph) simplex, and 1,650 sph duplex.
- More than half of Xerox’s booth was dedicated to production inkjet technology, such as Impika iPrint Compact, a single-engine, duplexing production inkjet system, and the Xerox CiPress 500 Single Engine Duplex (SED) Production Inkjet System, which uses waterless solid inks.
- Canon offered attendees a virtual reality look at its new “Niagara” sheetfed color inkjet press, still in development. It will provide B3 sheetfed printing on standard coated and uncoated offset media at up to 3,800 duplexed sph and up to 8,500 duplexed letter sph, with volumes of up to 10 million letter size images per month.
- Fujifilm North America’s Graphic Systems Division debuted the J Press 540W single-pass duplex inkjet web press, printing up to 417 feet/minute using FM-based screening.