GRAPH EXPO 2006: Sheetfed/Web Offset Presses — Heyday(s) For Heavy Iron

Celebrating the purchase by Oracle Packaging of the eight-color Speedmaster XL 105 press running in Heidelberg’s booth are: (top row, from the left) Jim Hummer, Oracle director of operations; Jeff Gibbs, Oracle COO; Keith Brown, Oracle pressroom manager; Hank Bird, Oracle chief quality officer; and Chris Payne, Oracle director of marketing. (Bottom row, from the left): Jim Dunn, president of Heidelberg USA; Tom O’Brien, Oracle director of sales; Scott Dickman, Oracle owner and CEO; Bob Boyer Sr., Heidelberg USA senior VP of sales; and Marcel Kiessling, president of Heidelberg Americas.

THERE MAY have been fewer large sheetfed presses or standalone web press units on the show floor at last month’s Graph Expo and Converting Expo exhibition—especially in comparison to the PRINT show held last year—but don’t infer that this resulted in disappointing sales activity and lead generation for conventional offset press exhibitors. Quite the contrary.

Even with less heavy iron dotting the landscape at Chicago’s McCormick Place South Hall, the general consensus among press manufacturers indicated it was the most productive Graph Expo event they’ve experienced since the late ’90s.

Visitor traffic was brisk and serious buying activity persisted. Chalk it up to printers’ realization that they need to automate their pressrooms and differentiate themselves through custom press configurations, perfecting, increased color units, UV/hybrid capabilities, double coaters and the like.

Perhaps it’s also due to a sustained U.S. economy of late and the positive business conditions felt by a majority of printers, many of which had been waiting on the sidelines these past years. The rush to buy didn’t happen overnight; several press manufacturers hosting press events in Chicago reported double-digit sales increases during the past year.

Sustained Sales Gains

Komori America kicked off Graph Expo with a press conference the evening before the opening day. Komori America President and COO Stephan Carter indicated sales were up 12 percent, marking the third consecutive year of double-digit growth. He was followed by a Q&A discussion featuring Komori customers Chuck Chalifoux, president of ColorDynamics in Allen, TX; and Zarik Megerdichian, president of 4 Over Inc., a short-run trade printer headquartered in Glendale, CA, that’s grown to $42 million in sales in just five years.

Komori and Fujifilm also announced a partnership targeted toward small- to medium-size printers. The turnkey solution includes Komori’s entry-level, 29˝ Spica 29P convertible perfector, Fuji’s four-up Dart thermal platesetter and pressroom consumables, as well as CIP3 integration. Also revealed are plans to fully integrate EFI’s Auto-Count 1000 shop floor data collection technology into the Komori Management System (KMS).

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