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Graph Expo--A Show of Shows

December 1998
GRAPH EXPO 98 and CONVERTING EXPO 98 was a hot ticket—sales were robust, booth traffic was brisk, technology advancements fierce and cooperative announcements healthy.


BY MARIE RANOIA ALONSO


Question pondered: Could GRAPH EXPO 98 be a "Show of Shows," when the international spectacles that were IPEX 98 and PRINT 97 captured the printing industry's collective practically within the same 12-month span, with IPEX in September and PRINT 97 the previous September?

Does $108 million answer that?

That's the figure Heidelberg reported it registered during the show's four-day tour of Chicago's McCormick Place recently. Heidelberg's success was not singular. Scores of the show's more than 550 exhibitors reported GRAPH EXPO and CONVERTING EXPO was a money maker.

MAN Roland, for example, announced a total dollar volume of orders in the $70 million range. For Komori America, the recently concluded show was a blowout—its best show ever in North or South America, according to Komori officials. WAM!NET officials termed the exhibition spectacular. Kodak Polychrome Graphics executives reported incredible traffic throughout the event and Sony Electronics representatives spoke of a "tremendous response" by show-goers. Muller Martini revealed that it exceeded its sales expectations by 50 percent the first day of the show.

"We had incredible traffic every day," says Howard Lippin, manager of marketing communications, U.S. and Canada, for Kodak Polychrome Graphics. "The quality of visitors was excellent. It was a great show, no question about it."

Harry McMillan, executive vice president at Komori America, praised the educated prospects who flocked to the Komori exhibit.

"We had record sales the first two days, and came out of the show with a blowout," McMillan states. "We saw team buying, as well as people coming in groups with a program of what they were going to see."

What did they see?

The more than 44,000 show stompers were witness to an impressive array of sophisticated prepress software and hardware options, as well as the latest and greatest performers in digital and traditional printing press markets, and a score of workhorse finishing devices.

And then there were the exhibits. Getting more creative with each major show, booth themes were nothing short of remarkable.

PrimeSource, sporting an elaborate booth designed to look like a construction site, was itself constructed with meticulous detail, down to the wooden planks, yellow construction barriers, hard hats, flannel shirts and work boots—all surrounding an array of prepress and printing devices, including a Xeikon variable-data printing demonstration.
 

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