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Event Spotlight

Graph Expo 2015 Preview

With the industry’s exhibition season well underway, Rob Fletcher looks forward to this year’s edition of Graph Expo and finds out what visitors can expect to see at the Chicago-based event

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Chicago will provide the backdrop for this year’s Graph Expo

Born in the USA

There is no doubt that the global print industry is currently enjoying one of its most successful periods for many years. While print-service-providers (PSPs) are investing in new equipment to cater for an increase in demand for services, the many manufacturers within our industry continue to roll out new technology in order to help such companies keep up with the fast-moving market.

Although PSPs can visit manufacturers for on-site demonstrations of new kit, industry events and exhibitions remain the most popular way of checking out the latest technology on offer. While events such as Drupa and The Print Show will help keep things ticking over in the European and UK market respectively, this year’s Graph Expo, which takes place from September 13th to 16th in Chicago, is also likely to prove a key event.

Despite being based in the US, PSPs from around the world are invited to attend in order to find out what is on offer from some of the largest manufacturers in the global print market. With this in mind, what can visitors look forward to and why should UK companies consider making the trip to the ‘windy city’?

Covering market segments

Debbie Vieder, director of communications at Graph Expo, is part of the team that has organised this year’s event in a way that will enable visitors to access the information they require in an easy fashion. Opening up about her hopes for the show, Vieder says organisers are expecting heavy interest from not just those in the Americas, but also companies based further afield.


Graph Expo attracts visitors not just from the Americas, but also from other printing markets around the world



Vieder comments: “Every year, Graph Expo welcomes throngs of show visitors who represent each of the twelve key industry market segments. They come from across the Americas and beyond to see and explore live demonstrations of the very the latest technologies—equipment, workflow systems, substrates, products, services and more—because every year there’s something new.”

They come from across the Americas and beyond to see and explore live demonstrations of the very the latest technologies


Vieder goes on to explain that in addition to the main event, visitors this year will have access to other shows that will be running alongside Graph Expo.

She explains: “New for 2015, Chicago’s McCormick Place will host an unprecedented expo combination with Graph Expo running from September 13th until 16th in the south hall, with the co-located CPP Expo show, and Process Expo running from September 15th to 18th in the north and east halls.

“With trending industry issues and innovations related to food packaging design, applications, migration, and expiration, the concurrent exhibitions will offer printers, package printers, packagers, processors, and converters the chance to intermingle and explore the global scope of these vital facets of the graphic communications and packaging/processing industries. During the two-day overlap, attendees at either event will have all-access admission to the exhibit halls for all events.”

Also new to this year’s main Graph Expo event will be three exhibitor-partnered live demonstrations, which will allow visitors to discover new workflows and the advantages such systems can offer. These demos will focus on mailing and crossmedia applications, packaging and label applications, in addition to wide-format inkjet applications.
Meanwhile, Graph Expo will host the first ever Industrial Printing Pavilion. Sponsored by the Society for the Plastics Industry, visitors will have access to valuable information regarding package printing, commercial print, and industrial manufacturing. Technologies due to be demonstrated include 3D printing and printed electronics.


Visitors will have access to a number of specialist zones that will provide them with vital information and advice related to certain sectors of the wider print market



Another new feature will be the Applications Island which, sponsored by the International Sign Association, will showcase new print applications and some of the latest wide-format print kit, software, substrates, inks, finishing equipment, and supplies available to the market.

Vieder adds: “There are scores of reasons why they will all make McCormick Place their ‘can’t miss’ destination this fall. From the enhanced industry networking fuelled by 50-plus co-located events, to the depth, scope and variety of learning opportunities, plus the invaluable face-to-face interaction with industry experts—Graph Expo exhibitors—and peers, it is here that they will learn about the latest trends, innovative new solutions, and gain the advice and direction they need to move forward.”

Strong platform

One of the most recognisable names at this year’s event will be EFI, which plans to show off a range of its equipment in an effort to capitalise on the wide-ranging interest that the show attracts. Marc Verbiest, international public relations manager, says the event has developed into a ‘strong’ platform upon which EFI can promote its solutions and services to the US market.

Verbiest explains: “Because Graph Expo is a key event for graphics’ professionals throughout the USA and beyond, it has become an increasingly important exhibition for EFI as a platform for all of its products.

“Being able to consolidate its position within the printing industry as a whole, while introducing new technologies to digital and analogue production specialists, has led the company’s focus at the event to encompass its entire portfolio and not only those printers and related software products that are traditional technologies within the graphic arts’ segment.


  EFI plans to showcase a range of technology from its portfolio at Graph Expo. Pictured: the EFI H1625 LED
 


“For us, the exhibition represents an opportunity to present all our technologies, and gives the company a platform where it can demonstrate the natural cross-over from one digital production process to the next. Growing numbers of offset litho and other analogue print specialists join those in the small-format digital world, and all seeking innovative solutions that help them to grow their businesses.”

With this in mind, Verbiest draws attention to EFI’s plans for the show and what sort of technology it will be demonstrating in Chicago.

He expands: “EFI will be presenting a range of existing and new products from its portfolio. This includes our Productivity Suite for printers and packaging specialists, which enables users to merge their individual software elements into an integrated end-to-end workflow that incorporates certification and synchronisation.


EFI will target a range of visitors at the show with its wide-ranging selection of products. Pictured: the EFI VUTEk GS3250LX Pro



“Complementing this are the latest versions of the Fiery XF proServer and Fiery DFE platform which not only drive the company’s own printers and incorporate JDF certification but also provide the core processing technology in partner production engines for seamless integration with MIS/ERP, web-to-print and workflow solutions.

“Also on show will be advanced wide- and superwide-format ink-jet printers that show a strong representation of the capabilities offered from the company’s highly successful product portfolio that includes its growing series of LED printers.

“In addition, EFI’s latest UltraDrop technology features seven picolitre droplet sizes that allow users greater control, along with the benefits of greyscale imaging and multi-drop addressability. This results in higher quality, with smooth gradients, strong solid colours and absolute clarity with even the smallest text sizes.”

Targeting sales

Amongst the many other companies that will be exhibiting at Graph Expo this year is Morgana, a name that will be familiar to many PSPs in the UK. Ray Hillhouse, vice-president offline business, says the North American market is a key area for the firm and that it hopes to attract further interest in its kit during the event.

Hillhouse comments: “The North American market is very important to Morgana’s export business: it is our single largest market outside the UK for products we manufacture here in Milton Keynes. Additionally, it has been a hugely successful market since we launched our most recent booklet making range there in 2013.

“Our main goal is sales. We have always had very good order intake at this event: it seems the visitors always turn up ready to buy new kit.

“We are really enthusiastic about this event this year: we've got so much to say to the US market that this becomes a key event on the Morgana calendar. And of course with it moving to Florida in 2016, we are really hoping for a big turnout from customers in the Midwest.”

In terms of Morgana’s plans for Graph Expo 2015, Hillhouse says the company will use the event to launch a number of products, including its new System AF350/AF500 bookletmaker. The system comprises of the BM350 or BM500 bookletmaker product, capable of producing booklets of up to 200 pages, and the AF high-capacity dual-bin feeder.


Morgana will use this year’s show to launch its new System AF350/AF500 bookletmaker



Hillhouse adds: “The high capacity of the AF602 air assisted feeder gives long, uninterrupted production runs. Covers that have been printed on another device, even if they have been coated or laminated, can be placed into one of the bins and merged with the pre-collated sets as part of the run. A unique air assisted feeding unit gives reliable, consistent feeding of today’s digitally printed media.”

Hillhouse also notes that Morgana will use the event to not only showcase other kit to the North American market, but also to update its dealers in the US on the latest technology available.

O Factoid: Graph Expo 2015 will take place at Chicago’s McCormick Place, the largest convention centre in the whole of North America. O

 
He adds: “We use the event to get our US dealers together to go through the latest product launches, keeping them fully informed and up-to-date. We will show the full range of creasers, folders, booklet making systems and PUR binders, so really the full Morgana line-up: it will be a busy event for sure.”

With many of the industry’s biggest names on the bill, this year’s Graph Expo looks set to attract interest from all corners of the printing world. Although primarily targeted at the Americas, such is the quality of the technology on show, that those based in other markets around the world may also make the trip in order to take advantage of what is on offer from market specialists.

And with more than one event to look forward to, those in attendance may identify new markets into which they can expand in order to boost their overall service offering.

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