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August 2001

If there appears to be one technology that is going to steal the show at the eight-day PRINT 01 trade show held at Chicago's McCormick Place, September 6-13, it is going to be the digital imaging (DI) press.

"No matter what you think about the DI press, pros or cons, you no longer can ignore the impact of DI technology. We've identified at least a dozen manufacturers that will exhibit a DI press, reports Bill Lamparter of PrintCom Consulting Group.

The buzz surrounding color digital presses began last year at DRUPA and not much has changed since the German show. However, many of the DI presses that were unveiled at DRUPA are now closer to market. "The direct-to-press or fixed printing direct imaging concept has been finding growing acceptance among commercial printers. Recent announcements indicate that at PRINT 01, almost every commercial press manufacturer will have a DI press available within a reasonable delivery time frame," notes Lamparter.

With so many manufacturers ready to deliver digital presses, Charlie Corr, group director of CAP Ventures, says that PRINT 01 offers printers a unique opportunity to evaluate the DI phenomena.

"Many of those manufacturers that made announcements at DRUPA are closer to market, so it is a chance for printers to understand what is the value propositions of DI and why printers should invest in digital imaging technology," he remarks.

Other Attention Grabbers
While digital presses, in general, will garner the most headlines at PRINT 01, of particular interest to attendees will be the long-awaited NexPress, a joint venture between Eastman Kodak and Heidelberg, as well as Xerox's FutureColor. PRINT 01 will mark the first time that both presses will be running side-by-side at a trade show, according to Corr. "You'll see both of them running real applications and people will be able to kick the tires."

Although the digital imaging presses seem to be the belle of the PRINT 01 ball, there are still many important technologies at the exhibition to see and understand.

But don't expect many new technology innovations in the web offset press arena, advises Richard Holliday of 3P Consultants. "I'd be surprised if there is any great new technology in the web field. What I am really anticipating is the makeready devices that the manufacturers will be offering to help improve productivity."

Holliday says that manufacturers will be continuing to push the adoption of closed-loop color control. He also expects to see efficient and flexible plate and folder changing devices to be highlighted.



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