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GRAPH EXPO '03 Proves Profitable

November 2003
CHICAGO—The long awaited rebound in sales, profit and investment in the graphic communications industry appears to be underway based on the performance of industry vendors at this year's GRAPH EXPO and CONVERTING EXPO.

The show, the largest of its kind in the Americas, took place in Chicago from September 28 through October 1. More than 38,000 industry professionals took part in the event, and 580 companies exhibited their latest products and services in 375,000 square feet of display space.

"This show has been spectacular," reported Mark Hunt, vice president of marketing at Standard Finishing Systems. "We've been wandering in the desert for several years, and now this is no mirage; we've found water. We've been rocking and rolling all day in our booth. We've had occasions throughout the day when we didn't have enough people or enough equipment to do all the demos we needed to do. It's been like being in the heat of battle."

Similar impressions, along with reports of completed transactions, both large and small, came from all over the show floor.

MAN Roland tallied up significant press and equipment sales at the show, gathering orders across its product lines, including one for the new Roland 900 XXL extra wide sheetfed press that premiered at the show. "We're very happy with GRAPH EXPO 2003," says Yves Rogivue, CEO of MAN Roland. "Our exhibit was jammed and we've met with many, many printers who are really serious about new investments."

Strine Printing in York, PA, reportedly purchased the world's first 900 XXL system to be equipped with an in-line coater. The press was also the first Roland 900 XXL to be sold in North America. Strine plans to use the press for point-of-sale, packaging and commercial applications. It currently runs two six-color, 56˝ Roland 900s, and plans to network them with the new press via the PECOM press operating and automation system.

Komori announced at the show that it had signed a $50 million deal with Houston-based Consolidated Graphics.

"We are pleased with the activity at GRAPH EXPO and are optimistic about the state of the printing market," stated Komori America President and COO Stephan Carter. "We had a full house at all the demonstrations of our Lithrone 28P and at the demonstrations we conducted in our showroom in Rolling Meadows. From our perspective, GRAPH EXPO was the launching pad for a strong finish to this year," said Carter. "With our current product offering and the products we'll be introducing in the next several months, we believe we're in a position to see some significant sales activity. We've got some real momentum going, and look forward to sustaining this high level of activity," the exec concludes.

Kazem Samandari, vice president/global marketing and product management at Scitex Digital Printing, also reported that "we've closed sales in our booth, which we ordinarily don't expect to do. We've been very busy and had a lot of interest. The show has been a great success for us."

In addition to its exhibits, GRAPH EXPO and CONVERTING EXPO offered a program of more than 60 educational seminars, which drew almost 1,500 registrants. A variety of free general sessions, brunch presentations, free vendor presentations and mini-seminars staged on the show floor also drew steady crowds throughout the show.

GASC staged a special new Mailing & Fulfillment Center, complete with a seminar theater that drew capacity attendance for a number of sessions throughout the show, and a pavilion devoted to new binding technology, co-sponsored by the Binding Industries of America, along with its Wide Format exhibit area.

"As a multi-dimensional industry rallying point, GRAPH EXPO and CONVERTING EXPO has always been number one," noted Regis J. Delmontagne, president of the show's managing company, the Graphic Arts Show Co. (GASC). "With the added excitement of a distinct economic resurgence, this year's show clearly became the most successful and encouraging event in several years."


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