JUST AS Major League Baseball fans look forward to October for the culmination of a long season with the World Series, printers move into autumn with thoughts of the industry’s largest trade show in the Americas for 2006, Graph Expo & Converting Expo, fittingly held in Chicago, home of the reining world champion White Sox.

This year’s Graph Expo & Converting Expo, taking place October 15-18 at the McCormick Place South complex, should provide plenty of action for attendees. Exhibit space has topped 400,000 square feet, with nearly 600 exhibiting companies in attendance. It will be the largest Graph Expo show held since 2000. Printers of all sizes will be able to find the products and services that fit their needs at this event. (For a sampling of what will be shown, refer to the special New Product Reference Guide section beginning on page 58.)

“I expect this year’s Graph Expo to be the show at which digital printing comes of age,” predicts Dennis Mason, president of Mason Consulting in Western Springs, IL. “The digital press vendors will see more visitors with serious purchase intentions than ever before. While not a trend per se—simply because digital printing has been around for some time—the movement to digital is clearly gaining traction.”

The consultant anticipates more offset printers looking to add digital printing capabilities to their offerings while at the show. Mason is also tracking continued movement toward CIP4 workflows and the use of JDF and JMF—a trend that he feels will continue at Graph Expo 2006.

“Realtors talk about location, location, location,” adds consultant Clint Bolte, president of C. Clint Bolte & Associates in Chambersburg, PA. “Graph Expo will have as its underlying theme workflow, workflow, workflow.”

Among the anticipated attendees will be high-level executives from the largest printing companies in North America. Audience data from the previous Graph Expo & Converting Expo, compared to the ranking of top printers published annually by PRINTING IMPRESSIONS, indicates that of the 50 largest U.S. printing companies, 86 percent sent at least one representative to the show.

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