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GRAPH EXPO Confounds The Critics

December 1998
CHICAGO—What were the odds that GRAPH EXPO 98 would be a Show of Shows—when the international spectacles that are IPEX 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?

How about $108 million to one?

If you're talking GRAPH EXPO and CONVERTING EXPO, that's not bad—that's the figure Heidelberg registered during GRAPH EXPO's four-day stay at McCormick Place here. Heidelberg's sales success was not singular.

Scores of the show's more than 550 exhibitors reported GRAPH EXPO was a money maker.

MAN Roland, for example, reported a total dollar volume of orders in the $70 million range. For Komori America, the show was a blowout—its best show ever in North or South America, Komori officials say.

WAM!NET officials termed the show "spectacular." Kodak Polychrome Graphics executives reported "incredible" traffic throughout the show and Sony Electronics representatives spoke of a "tremendous response" by show-goers. Muller Martini exceeded its sales expectations by 50 percent the first day of the show.

Here are some highlights of what the 44,000 attendees saw:

PrimeSource's booth was sporting an elaborate booth designed to look like a construction site, all surrounding an array of prepress and printing devices, including a Xeikon variable-data printing demonstration.

Prograph—entering into a strategic business alliance with Programmed Solutions—launched nine new products, unbundling a number of production planning tools. Programmed Solutions will market and sell Prograph Production Systems' products, known by the brand name Elysium Systems, focusing on general commercial printers with sales of less than $30 million.

WAM!NET backed up the impressive WAM!VAN—a purple semi that rivals the Titanic in grandeur—decked out with millions of dollars worth of digital prepress goodies, all under a big purple roof.

The technology 'pods' at one of five Scitex locations at the show represented each specific area of prepress, from scanning to digital color proofing. Scitex also had a strong presence at booths featuring technologies including the Karat digital press and the British Telecom venture, Vio.

Scitex's Lotem 800V thermal platesetter and a new version of the Brisque digital front end (DFE) for enhanced computer-to-plate workflow were on display.

Heidelberg—of course—caught attention, as usual, with the largest booth at the show. A map was absolutely necessary to negotiate the 25,000-square-foot exhibit, which contained all aspects of Heidelberg Prepress, Heidelberg USA and Heidelberg Web Press and an array of Heidelberg saddle stitching and perfect binding systems, including cutters and folders of the Polar and Stahl persuasion.

Agfa Div., Bayer Corp., drew attention to its latest Galileo effort, a thermal version. Agfa also debuted the AgfaScan T5000, a CCD flatbed scanner, and the launch of SelectSet Avantra 44XT, a large-format imagesetter.

BARCO Graphics introduced its next generation of full-format digital prepress proofing solutions, IMPRESS 2000. BARCO also introduced FastRIP/Creo, a direct link for its FastLane front ends to the complete range of Creo platesetters.

Creo promoted the Trendsetter Spectrum and Proofsetter Spectrum, designed to produce contract proofs using Imation Matchprint materials. Creo also touted its CEPS-to-Press complete plate production solution for Scitex users.

DuPont Color Proofing showed Thermal Dylux, an imposition proofing solution capable of being imaged on an 830nm platesetter. Thermal Dylux was shown running on a Creo Trendsetter.

Fujifilm launched Valiano, a total digital workflow solution, designed to take advantage of ROOM and Adobe PostScript 3 by supporting a full range of digital file formats.

Imation launched Matchprint Laser Proof, the company's digital halftone proofing system.

Polaroid, exhibiting in nine booths at the show, demonstrated PolaProof 2400, which includes an Agfa Apogee interface, as well as the new Polaroid DryJet II 2820 color proofing system, with a Windows NT RIP.

Screen USA profiled its lastest move in Taiga, TaigaSPACE version 4.3, which is able to take PostScript input and perform all prepress set-up and calculations for output to proof, film, plate or paper. Also at Screen, the FlatRite 1050 flatbed platesetter was demonstrated.

Next year, GRAPH EXPO and CONVERTING EXPO will be held on Oct. 17 to 20—moving to the South Hall of Chicago's McCormick Place.

BY Marie Ranoia Alonso
 

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