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GRAPH EXPO 2010 : Something for Everyone

August 2010 By Erik Cagle
Senior Editor

As for now, the exhibitor rolls are—at press time—pretty much in line with Nappi's expectations for GRAPH EXPO 2010, which takes place Oct. 3-6. "We're 30 percent off of 2008, the last GRAPH EXPO. But, in fairness, 2008 was one of the largest we've ever had," he points out. "All of the major exhibitors are in except for the two, and a majority are reducing their (booth) sizes. To me, the size of the show is less important than the attendance, because you can't blame anybody for downsizing in this market."

Sensing the economic hangover from 2009, Nappi championed the decision to bring back GASC's exhibitor machinery handling incentive to encourage vendors to bring more equipment. The incentive covers the unloading of machinery from inbound carriers at the show site and delivery to the booth; one-time spotting at the time of unloading; and freight movement from booth to dock and loading of machinery onto outbound carriers at the close of the show.

On the attendee side, Nappi has reason to be optimistic. The economy has already bottomed out and activity is beginning to increase again, he notes. Additionally, he felt that Ipex in England enjoyed a good deal of buzz over its first four days in May, and little (if any) of it was fueled by U.S. attendees.

New to this year's GRAPH EXPO is the newspaper pavilion, dubbed News Print. "We'd been told for a couple of years that the newspaper production people were looking for a home," Nappi notes. The pavilion will feature live demonstrations of the newest industry equipment, and attendees will learn new applications, Web-based approaches to their business, profit-boosting solutions, and cost-effective workflow systems specific to newspaper publishing and printing.

The GREENspace pavilion has also been beefed up for 2010, according to Nappi. Attendees can, among other things, receive free one-on-one consultations with sustainability experts and check out the "Green Theater" for multiple, educational presentations. A GREENspace Directory will provide information on exhibitors that offer sustainability-focused products and services.

Other show highlights include:

• PackPrint, the package printing show within GRAPH EXPO, provides access to seminars, workflow demonstrations, networking opportunities and, of course, technology providers within the package printing and converting realms. Package printing equipment and supplies ranked as the third-highest area of interest in a poll of PRINT 09 attendees, trailing only digital printing and binding and finishing.

• The Mailing & Fulfillment Center features products and information on the electronic and physical processing of mailstream-bound initiatives. It will include a seminar track proctored by the Mailing & Fulfillment Service Association (MFSA). The Mailing & Fulfillment Center embarks on its seventh year at Graph Expo/PRINT and is continuing to grow, with 34 percent of those polled at PRINT 09 indicating they are expanding into this area.

• Future Print will focus on emerging technologies like RFID and printed electronics. Live demonstrations, free training and tutorials, educational opportunities and networking possibilities will be offered.

• Education Main Street will provide access to representatives from educational organizations who will detail their curriculum offerings, scholarships and students who are seeking internships.

Naturally, these special exhibits are in addition to the usual array of prepress, press and finishing equipment and accessories displayed by many of the industry's leading manufacturers. Of particular interest for some attendees will be the burgeoning areas of wide-format printing and digital printing.

Setting the table for GRAPH EXPO 2010 is the traditional pre-game event known as Executive Outlook. This year's program will examine how printers can succeed in the face of a continuing down economy, evolving customer requirements and the obstacles/opportunities presented by electronic alternatives.

One of the aspects of GRAPH EXPO 2010 that Nappi finds most compelling is the trend of print-related organizations co-locating their annual meetings or holding special sessions during the show. Among the reported 19 party goers: quick printers; International Newspaper Group (ING); mailing equipment dealers; digital press user groups; Goss, KBA and manroland web offset user groups; XPLOR Document University; the IDEAlliance/IPA G7 summit; and more.

"We've had a number of organizations say that GRAPH EXPO is the place to be and that they want to hold their event here," Nappi says. In all, 450 exhibitors will be on hand, augmented by the more than 50 seminars focusing on 11 print-related markets.

Craig Lauder, who heads up the Reed College (Portland, OR) Printing Services in-plant, will be making the trek to Chicago for the first time. He has high expectations for Graph Expo.

One of the priorities on Lauder's shopping list is finding a binding solution to replace the channel bind that Reed College's in-plant has relied upon the past 20 or so years for student theses. He's also doing some preliminary investigating for a high-volume digital press as an upgrade to their Canon C1.

"They want to bring more of the short-run color work in-house that we're currently sending out to a broker," he says. "About eight years ago we had offset presses. They decided to outsource all of that stuff, and now they're thinking of bringing it back in. Sound familiar?"

From a $10 million commercial printer to an in-plant with two employees, GRAPH EXPO serves a purpose to its attendees, regardless of the state of the economy. PI


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