Graph Expo 2010: Digital Printing & Workflow – Joining the Jet Set Crowd

The front portion of McCormick Place South, once the domain of traditional heavy-iron vendors, at Graph Expo 2010 was taken over by digital solution providers such as Xerox, Xanté, HP, Océ, Kodak and Epson, among others, as the signs above their booths attest.

Change often seems to happen overnight, even when it was years in the making. Digital technology has literally and figuratively been coming to the fore at Graph Expo for the past few shows. Yet walking through the entrance this year, the dominance of digital solution vendors was striking.

Attendees who paused to get their bearings and cast their eyes along the front aisle of the show floor saw a lineup of exhibitors that included Xanté, Xerox, HP, EFI, Presstek, xpedx and Pitney Bowes. Absent were the likes of Heidelberg, Komori and Mitsubishi Litho Presses, while KBA North America and manroland had booths toward the back. McCormick Place South buzzed with activity, but nary a warning chime, ding or song from an offset press reached the ear.

Drupa 2008 has claim to the label, but calling this the Inkjet Graph Expo was even more apt because the technology accounted for much of the printing equipment running on the show floor. That’s, of course, factoring in the large number of wide- and superwide/grand-format inkjet printers on display.

Kodak representatives gleefully pointed out that it had the largest printing press on the show floor, with the first U.S. showing of the Kodak Prosper 5000XL inkjet web press. The company’s top announcement at the show was that Prosper is “now here” (meaning orders are being taken), bringing 650 fpm printing on a maximum 251⁄2˝ wide roll at up to 175 lpi, and using pigment inks to support coated and uncoated stocks.

Three-headed Beast

InfoPrint Solutions and Screen (USA) leveraged each other’s booth space in order to display all three models now in the inkjet web press line they sell. New this year are the Truepress Jet520ZZ/InfoPrint 5000 VP, with a top speed of 722 fpm and maximum 720×720 dpi resolution, and a color version of the entry-level Truepress Jet520EX/InfoPrint 5000 MP, which prints at up to 210 fpm and 360×360 dpi. Both models are set to be available in mid-2011.

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