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Graph Expo 2010: Binding & Finishing - Pushing Postpress Progress

October 2010 By Erik Cagle
Senior Editor
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Want an honest, open, unbiased and unfettered report on the quantity and quality of visitors who haunted the binding and finishing booths during Graph Expo earlier this month? Fact of the matter is, no such beast exists.

Not that we're trying to spin a bad situation with a happy face, nor are we panning the show out of some allegiance towards transparency. The fact of the matter is, we really don't know the truth, and anyone who says they do is full of themselves. To quote Dustin Hoffman's character Bernie LaPlante from the movie Hero: "People are always talking to ya about truth. Everybody always knows what the truth is, like it was toilet paper or something, and they got a supply in the closet."

In deference to Mr. LaPlante, here are some observations that have two sides to them, and may or may not represent the truth. And the vendors quoted here at random paint a picture. What that picture be the judge.

• The show seemed much more robust than Print 09, which either reflects badly on last year's event or positively on Graph Expo 2010. It says here that the former is more likely, given that there was hardly any offset press iron on display this year.

• The aisles seemed more crowded this time around. Of course, a back portion of McCormick Place South was walled/curtained off because of the roughly 30 percent reduction in floor space sold.

• Booth visitors demonstrated that they were intent on making firm purchasing decisions, an indication that the pent-up buying demand dam is starting to crack as printers and trade finishers whip out their checkbooks. Similarly, no one was willing to make any commitments, because of their inability to obtain credit from industry lenders.

Vendor Feedback

Confused by the mixed messages? Good, then you truly know the truth about Graph Expo 2010. Now let's see what the equipment folk had to say.

Coming off a very solid third quarter, Duplo USA was counting on Graph Expo to be a catalyst for success coming into the home stretch of 2010, reports Si Nguyen, marketing director. "We came into the show with very high expectations," he says. "I've seen studies that say the bindery is high on peoples' buying lists, and that loan applications are on the rise. I think we'll see things turn around for everyone."

Nguyen was particularly excited about Duplo's DC-745 slitter/cutter/creaser, which will likely be integrated into Xerox's color production presses. The model boasts faster processing speeds, quick and easy setup and changeovers, along with new cross- and micro-perforation options.

MBM Corp. is boasting an aggressive campaign that will see the first quarter 2011 release of several complementary products geared for the digital market, such as hydraulic cutters, air-feed folders and creasers. Mike Venitelli, MBM senior vice president of sales and marketing, noted that the company's new 1500S air suction tabletop folder, released late this past summer, was receiving plenty of attention at Graph Expo.

"Attendance has been good for us; I definitely have no problem with it," he notes. "It's still a difficult economy, though. We've been told that the recession is over, but it still hasn't trickled down to printers yet."

With some of the incentives extended to vendors by the Graphic Arts Show Co. (GASC), Spiel Associates decided to roll out an oldie but a goodie—the Sterling S59 gatherer/collator. The S59 can collate up to 6,000 sets/hr., and handles NCR paper, greeting cards, index stock and stitched books, among others.

David Spiel, president of the Long Island-based firm, said expectations were limited, but noted that activity is picking up on the East Coast and in the Midwest.

Muller Martini showcased a pair of newer products, the Orbit three-knife trimmer and the Primera 160 saddlestitcher, which debuted at Ipex in the United Kingdom earlier this year. The Orbit boasts speeds up to 7,200 cycles/hr., while the Primera 160 is available in two versions: the C160 with partial automation and flexible expansion, and the highly automated E160 with flexible expansion.

Werner Naegli, president of Muller Martini USA, happily pointed out that through the second day of the show, the company was in negotiations to sell several pieces of equipment. "People are coming in with a firm intent to buy," he reveals. "I'm very encouraged compared to last year. It's really positive news for us."

Guarded Optimism

Still, it's hard to begrudge vendors for being apprehensive. Hank Brandtjen, president of Brandtjen & Kluge, said that an extremely slow summer prevented him from setting his expectations too high. "Sunday was good and Monday was even better," he notes, of the show's first two days. "And, the setup was easier; the new rules made a difference."

On display for Brandtjen & Kluge was the Kluge MailFold automatic folding and gluing system. Included in the line: a MultiFeeder friction fed tipping unit, along with inkjet controller, labeling and tabbing units from Buskro.

Mark Hunt, director of marketing for Standard Finishing Systems, was excited about the array of new products that had his booth buzzing with activity. Much of the attention focused on the Standard Horizon CABS 6000 perfect binding system, which includes the MG-600 gatherer, SB-17 17-clamp perfect binder and HT-110 three-knife trimmer.

According to Hunt, Standard put much of its emphasis on VIP appointments that were scheduled in advance. The company was looking to top the amount of bookings that it had done for Print 09, which Hunt viewed as a success for his company. "Many printers are seeing their cash flow freed up, and their access to capital improved," he says. "The industry is definitely seeing some pent-up demand."

Colter & Peterson rolled out its redesigned 54˝ Saber paper cutter with automatic knife adjustment and 15˝ color touchscreen. The show turned into a welcome relief for company president Bruce Peterson, who described Print 09 as "paralysis."

"I'm pleased, pleasantly," Peterson remarks. "The volume of viable leads is up from the Print show. I just have a sense that more people are willing to spend money now."

Finishing Roundup

Elsewhere on the show floor:

• Technifold USA returned with another issue of its Bindery Success Today magazine, which doubles as a product catalog created by president/publisher Andre Palko and his talented crew of creatives. The pages contain information on products such as the EZ-Fit Tri-Creaser, the Tri-Creaser Fast Fit and the Micro Perforator.

• MBO America showcased the palamides delta 703 delivery system, including a special offer through year's end at a price of $90,000 with the trade-in of a palamides BA700. Similarly, the delta 703 can be bundled with the T800 Perfection folder for $250,000, a deal that also ends Dec. 31.

• The Neopost IS/IM6000 mailing system made its Graph Expo debut. The system includes the Neopost/Hasler iMeter postage meter and an Internet-connected smart device that offers numerous functions.

• Among the products on display from GBC was its line of Arctic anti-graffiti films. The pressure-sensitive film can be cleaned with soap and water in five minutes. Locally, the film is used by the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) for its outdoor signage.

• Pitney Bowes showcased its Print + Messenger color inkjet system, which provides for full-color envelope printing capabilities on high-speed inserting systems.

• Vijuk Equipment touted the upcoming release of its MV-11 outsert system, which is slated to drop in January. The newly-designed machine will feature a third knife and capacity of 16 fold plates. It creates evenly sealed outserts with up to 170 panels.

• Bobst Group touted its Ambition A1 folder-gluer line. The Ambition promises fast setups with no waste, along with wireless remote controls.

• The 2D automated finisher was promoted at the Rollem Corp. booth. The 2D is an entry-level, bi‑directional slitting, scoring, trimming and perfing system. PI



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