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Graph Expo--On the Verge

December 1999
As the new millennium approaches, e-commerce, PDF workflows, thermal CTP, digital proofing, computerized business management, and digitally equipped, automated printing and finishing technologies played starring roles at GRAPH EXPO 99.


The rise of competitive e-commerce networks, PDF workflows, thermal computer-to-plate output devices, digital proofing systems, fully automated printing presses, new press control systems and quick-makeready finishing systems were on display by more than 600 exhibitors at GRAPH EXPO 99 in Chicago.

What were the show stoppers?

* E-commerce solutions—Internet-based, business-to-business solutions such as Noosh, Impresse, Collabria, 58k.com, PrintNation.com, Printable.com, PaperExchange.com and GraphicsResourceCenter.com, targeting the print procurement, supply purchasing and overall industry education needs of commercial printing, were aggressively vying for attention;

* Adobe's PDF—as is the norm of late—was the command topic for most prepress-related discussions and workflow demonstrations, ranging from Agfa's well-established Apogee workflow to Scitex's new Brisque Extreme to the PDF-based Prinergy offering from Creo/Heidelberg.

* The well-known powers of the pressroom and the bindery, likewise, stretched the gamut of their respective automation and digital machine control capabilities. Automation has hit the pressroom like never before, featuring closed-loop color control coupled with plate changers, washup devices and quick makereadies. GRAPH EXPO also served as a window to the on-press imaging and enhanced digitization targeting the pressroom for DRUPA 2000, with new technologies from Akiyama (working closely with plate manufacturer Presstek), Heidelberg, Scitex/KBA, Xeikon, Screen and others;

* Outside the realm of technology, strategic alliances were announced, ranging from new marketing agreements between Markzware and Vio Worldwide and between Komori America and Colter & Peterson;

* According to a new survey, two years from now, the percentage of printers offering digital printing will nearly double. The percentage offering Internet services will more than double, and the percentage offering facilities management will nearly triple. Yet core printing-

related functions will still account for more than 80 percent of these printers' revenues. Those were key findings of the 1999 NAPL State of the Industry survey reported at the show by Andrew Paparozzi, the association's director of printing economic research.

Obviously, GRAPH EXPO did not lack in content; the event featured technology announcements, marketing alliances and joint development initiatives, as well as industry forecasts. In total, GRAPH EXPO 99 and CONVERTING EXPO 99 set a new record for exhibit size and number of exhibitors: 45,217 people took part in the show. With 622 exhibitors occupying more than 430,000 net square feet of booth space, it was the largest national prepress, printing and converting trade show presented in 1999.
 

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