Bits and Pieces: The ‘Hottest’ Booth at PRINT

A ground view of the small fire at McCormick Place during PRINT 13.

Konica Minolta Business Solutions has been shouting from the mountaintops about how hot its new KM-1/IS29 UV color inkjet press—a collaborative effort with Komori—has become, and apparently they weren’t kidding.

The press, which won’t be commercially available until late 2014, has aims of setting the world on fire and decided to start by igniting the lighting standard above the Konica Minolta booth on Sept. 11 during PRINT 13. After a buzz and a burst, smoke billowed to the rafters as show attendees and exhibitors cast their eyes skyward and whipped out their smart phones to grab a few pictures.

Actually, the press almost certainly had nothing to do with the fire, but the flames certainly drew some added attention to the booth.

“It made a sound like a transformer blowing,” said Allen Hammer, regional sales manager for Rollem USA, one of Konica Minolta’s neighbors at the show. “I was talking to someone who was facing (that way) and his eyes got really wide. I turned around and it looked like a fireworks display. The flames reached maybe two, three feet high. It sparked for about 15 minutes.”

Scott Koehlinger, a member of the Konica Minolta Business Solutions (KMBS) staff, saw the flash and said it flickered for about 20 seconds before producing a flame. He saw debris fall from the standard after the fire began, and noted that the gathering smoke was quickly ventilated out of the building.

The Chicago fire department arrived and used a “cherry picker” aerial work platform to reach the lighting standard and douse the flames. Another picker was brought in as fire and McCormick Place officials surveyed the damage. Fortunately, there were no injuries and no one had to be evacuated.

In addition to a row of lighting in the KMBS booth, at least one other bank of lights was knocked off line for an undetermined duration.

The incident is still under investigation, according to GASC President Ralph Nappi, who was extremely pleased with the manner in which it was handled by McCormick Place and the fire detail that responded.

It definitely contributed some added, albeit mild, excitement as the show was winding down.

NICE SIGN: A trip to Chicago for PRINT/Graph Expo would be incomplete without visiting Andre and Gina Palko at the Technifold booth. It seems that a lot of printers also gravitated toward Technifold, and it wasn’t just because the Palkos are highly engaging (which they are) or endlessly entertaining (ditto).

No, the dynamic duo can thank their double-sided wall display, created and furnished by Evo Exhibits of Chicago, for creating such a stir at the booth. Evo turned Technifold’s Bindery Super Hero campaign into an 8×18-ft. billboard of sorts. The piece was breaktaking, with LED lighting that adorned the perimeter and gave it a backlit appearance. The colors absolutely popped.

“The first person to stop by our booth commented on the exhibit,” Andre Palko noted. “All of the printers wanted to know how it was done.”

Unfortunately, the printers also couldn’t keep their hands off of the exhibit, and poor Gina Palko was tempted to rap the next knuckle that came in contact with it. All in all, however, the Palkos had to be happy with the attention it garnered.

KEEP QUIET, YOU!: While bouncing around the show floor, feeling a bit giddy, I took note of a humidification machine at one booth releasing periodic bursts into the air. Seeing a female working the booth, I turned to her and offered the astute observation that the humidification system must be wreaking havoc on her hair.

Naturally, taking a minute to check out the rather large sign that read “Smart Fog non-wetting commercial and industrial humidification solutions” would have spared me from seeming both foolish and sexist. But the booth worker took the opportunity to point out the value of the Smart Fog system…even if she was wasting the information on some bozo who thought he was making a pithy observation.

At least I wasn’t bothering the Draabe mascot again. PI

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