Exhibitors Promise a Super Drupa
DUSSELDORF, GERMANY—As an international group of journalists gathered at the fairgrounds for a preview, the countdown to Drupa 2004 clicked past the 100 days threshold.
Scheduled once every four years, the 13th installment of this world market for print media, publishing and converting is slated to run May 6-19, 2004.
Playing off the Olympic motto ("faster, higher, farther"), the slogan for Drupa 2004 could be "prettier, faster, more reliable," suggests Albrecht Bolza-Schünemann, president of the event and CEO of Koenig & Bauer AG. "Print products are becoming prettier. Print services will have to be delivered ever faster in the future. Quality and speed require reliable production processes," he explains.
All 17 of the available exhibition halls have been fully booked by some 1,800 exhibitors and are expected to host around 370,000 visitors, according to Werner Dornscheidt, chairman of the board, president and CEO of Messe Düsseldorf GmbH. Those numbers are down from the record-breaking Drupa 2000, but are up compared to all other years.
A new feature at the event will be the "drupa innovation parc." It will offer special presentations on four topics: JDF, dynamic document generation, software innovations and digital photography.
Exhibitor presentations during the recent Drupa Media Week briefing ranged from tantalizing hints to detailed announcements about products expected to be showcased at a select group of stands. Some companies were surprisingly forthcoming.
Bernhard Schreier, CEO of Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG, even made note of this break with tradition in his lead-off speech. "In contrast to past trade shows, it's noticeable that this time companies have at least in part abandoned the restraint and silence they once maintained up to the first show day," he says.
The future of Heidelberg's digital and web offset press assets were naturally on everyone's mind but, according to Schreier, there is no news to report. "With regard to the current situation, I can only say that the plans we announced in November are progressing well, but have not yet been implemented. What we said then still applies—namely that we will make the appropriate decisions by the end of our fiscal year in March 2004," he notes.
Heidelberg previously had announced its intention to introduce a new generation of the Speedmaster 102 sheetfed press and to have all of its systems JDF-enabled at Drupa 2004.
The big story from dotrix N.V. was still the recently announced agreement between Agfa-Gevaert and Barco for the former to acquire all of the assets and staff of the Belgian-based ink-jet press manufacturer. The company currently focuses on industrial applications, including folding cartons, displays/signs and decorative sectors. However, Etienne Van Damme, manager of business development at Agfa Gevaert, stated that, "We didn't buy them for what they are today."
At Drupa, dotrix says it will demonstrate enhanced configurations of the.factory (the dot factory), its single-pass, color ink-jet press that uses UV ink and drop-on-demand, piezo heads to print up to a 25.6˝ web at 78.7 feet per minute (9,763 square feet per hour). The system sells for about $1 million.
Enhancements shown reportedly will include a new UV curing unit, software upgrades (including PANTONE Matching System capabilities) and support for an extended portfolio of substrates. Another first on the stand will be a print engine coupled with a jumbo unwinder and sheet cutter.
Fuji Photo Film was one of the companies that offered fairly detailed information about the product introductions it expects to make at the show. The emphasis will be on computer-to-plate (CTP) system technology, along with a new color management strategy in response to the growth in digital camera use.
The details were a little sketchy regarding a planned processless CTP plate announcement, but it reportedly will be a multi-layer, photopolymer technology that addresses the limitations of current products in the areas of sensitivity, run length and performance on-press. An all-new dedicated B2-format violet platesetter will have its debut, along with single-cassette versions of the B1-format Luxel V-9600 and Vx-9600 automatic violet platesetters. In addition, Fujifilm plans to release a new FM screening solution and JDF-enabled Celebra Extreme workflow.
Kodak Polychrome Graphics' biggest news was its pending acquisition of the graphic arts division of RealTimeImage and its RealTimeProof online proofing technology. That announcement dovetailed with KPG's plans to introduce the Matchprint Virtual Press Side proofing system at Drupa. This second-generation system provides SWOP-certified, monitor-based proofing in a mobile installation that can connect to other Matchprint Virtual Proof users via a suite of Web applications.
KPG also plans to launch its first "no process" plate, called Thermal Direct. Targeted for small- to medium-sized printers, the thermal (800-850nm) plate is said to generate no debris during imaging or on-press and is rated for 75,000 impressions. In addition, the company will introduce an entry-level CTP system based on the Screen PT-4100 platesetter and a ROOM workflow.
Finally, the KPG Color Fidelity System encompasses a set of three modules—Capture, View/Edit/Proof and Output—that users can implement based on their workflow requirements.
Dainippon Screen is embracing JDF in expanding the Trueflownet production environment. Its latest releases will include version 3.0 of the core Trueflow workflow, Ritecontrol print manager, Riteonline Web-based print ordering, Riteportal for online PDF creation, Ritetransfer for submitting files to the system and Riteapprove, a remote proofing service.
More to Come
Other introductions planned for the show include the PlateRite Micra 30mW violet platesetter with a 20.3x22.8˝ format; the high-speed, 16-page PlateRite Ultima 16000 thermal platesetter based on GLV (grating light valve) technology; and a higher productivity Plate-Rite Ultima 32000Z 32-page, thermal platesetter featuring dual GLV heads. The company also is rolling out a second-generation FM screening solution called Randot X.
On another front, Screen will demonstrate the TruePress 344 digital offset press, slated to be available in the fall. Details can be found in the "Color Copier & Digital Press" story in this issue.
Encad Inc. previewed its new Novajet 1000i large-format printer, which was due to be formally introduced at the PMA show. The printer is designed to provide greater productivity, outputting up to 150 square feet per hour with a maximum 1,200 dpi resolution. The unit's print heads are said to have three times as many nozzles and are compatible with pigment and dye inks. Speed also is enhanced by use of a dual-component (heat and air), rapid-evaporation drying system. The printer is available in 60˝ and 42˝ models.
After outlining the current state of the industry and reviewing its activities to date, representatives from the PrintCity alliance reported that the group plans to erect a "Common Production Centre" that will cover 40 percent of Hall 6 at Drupa. It will feature live production of more than 40 print jobs via integrated workflows incorporating networking and MIS, color management, prepress, printing and finishing solutions from its 56 member companies.
PrintCity will continue its leadership role in JDF integration by presenting an end-to-end implementation that uses the full range of JDF capabilities to realize job tracking and statistical analysis on live production equipment. The stated goal is to show tangible benefits of JDF—error reduction from not having to rekey information, time savings from increased automation and greater transparency through live job tracking.
The bulk of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries' (MHI) Drupa stand will not feature digital solutions per se, but it does plan to include a dedicated "Digital Zone" to showcase its workflow solutions. One of the highlights will be its MAX-net product that implements JDF to provide MIS and prepress interface capabilities.
The "Future Technology Zone" will feature a demonstration of MHI's Reusable Plate System (RPS), which uses a spray-on polymer coating and removable sleeves that are prepared in an off-line operation. (Again, see the "Color Copier & Digital Press" story in this issue for more information on this technology.) Also on display in this area will be the Diamond 16 Max-V variable-cutoff web press that supports cutoff sizes from 546mm to 625mm.
QuadTech Inc. sees the future in what it terms the "lights out" pressroom automation concept. One component is Data Central software specifically designed for commercial web offset and newspaper printers. It reportedly reduces makeready time, waste and errors by automating setup through the implementation of JDF and integration with the company's ICON platform of press controls. Data Central also provides browser-based job reporting functions.
The new ICON-based CCS (Color Control System) will be shown for the first time at Drupa. It uses video-based technology to automatically locate and monitor micro-color bars to provide real-time information for use in adjusting ink keys. The system is said to reduce makeready and eliminate subjective judgment of color during press runs.
Prototype Ink-Jet System
Teaming up with Sun Chemical, Inca Digital Printers plans to show a prototype ink-jet system for single-pass, full-color printing of sheetfed corrugated materials. The system is slated to be commercially available in 2005. Packaging is often talked about as a diversification opportunity for commercial printers, and this product may offer a unique way to break into the market.
Also new on the company's stand will be the Spyder 150 color ink-jet printer for producing point-of-sale materials at up to 50 square meters per hour using UV inks. The flatbed, piezo machine offers a 40x60˝ print area and three resolution modes, from 400 to 1,000 dpi. It joins a product lineup that currently includes the larger Eagle and Columbia models.
Artwork Systems is looking to affirm its position as "The Independents" at Drupa 2004. It will feature Certified PDF technology in its ArtPro prepress and Nexus 8.0 packaging workflow solutions, which offer PDF support without flattening, a new technology for trapping and a PDF 1.4 native RIP. Innovations targeted for introduction at the show include support for imposition Runlist technology and native PDF version 1.5, as well as greater JDF integration.
In light of its recent challenges, Baldwin Technology spent a fair amount of time reviewing the current state of the organization and the letter of intent executed for its acquisition by technotrans. That agreement was subsequently terminated.
The company plans to highlight economical and environmentally responsible technology on its Drupa stand. Central to this message will be the introduction of the P3 series of PREPAC cleaning cartridges for commercial web and sheetfed printing. Designed to work with new and installed IMPACT cleaning systems, the cartridges have been re-engineered to address the use of lower grade papers and a higher content of calcium carbonate.
Also on display will be the Tower Clean System for newspaper and coldset web presses, Digital Double-Doser fluid management system for alcohol-free printing and S-18 WebCatcher web press protection system.
Since Canon Inc. has established different organizations to address specific regions, Canon Europe is taking the lead at Drupa and focusing its attention on the local market. Having had its U.S. debut at Graph Expo 03, the CLC 4000/5100 color digital printing product family will be showcased in Düsseldorf (and in the "Color Copier & Digital Press" story in this issue).
X-Rite Inc. reports it plans to launch seven new color management solutions in the weeks leading up to the international trade fair. These tools will address the create, prepare and execute stages of the printing process, says CEO Michael Ferrara.
In the graphic design arena, for example, the company intends to introduce a low cost, upgradeable and truly portable spectrophotometer solution to facilitate color management at the start of the workflow. Stemming from its acquisition of Monaco Software, X-Rite is also launching a new colorimeter, called Monaco-OPTIX, for use in generating ICC profiles for CRT and flat panel color displays.
For the prepress area and on-demand printers, it will introduce a new X-Y AutoScan spectrophotometer that enables users to measure ICC color management test targets in less than 3 minutes. X-Rite claims it will introduce an "industry first" for the pressroom in the form of a one-step, self-contained system for evaluating color quality and generating (ICC) color profiles.
Taking its cue from the market, the former Electronics for Imaging revealed that its stand in Düsseldorf will carry the shorter, now official "EFI" name. This branding will be carried across the organization's holdings, supplanting the Printcafe, T/R Systems and Best company names.
Servers Keeping Name
The Fiery product name will be retained for the company's line of print servers. Slated to be showcased at Drupa are the Fiery S300 and S500, for mid-range and high-volume applications, respectively. Also on display will be the Fiery QX9000 server, which currently is the company's fastest system and is designed to drive the Kodak Versamark (formerly Scitex Digital) color ink-jet press product line.
Even though it is abandoning the Printcafe name, EFI plans to continue supporting and developing all of the product lines that had been brought together under that umbrella organization, says CEO Guy Gecht. However, it is initially focusing on localizing the Hagen and PrintSmith MIS solutions for the European market, he adds.
While hinting at more announcements to come, Xerox Corp. literally—via satellite—tied its Media Week briefing into the New York City launching party for its DocuTech 100 and 120 black-and-white copier/printer products. These "mid-production" machines were covered in the February edition of Printing Impressions (Digital Digest, page 34).
The company's primary message regarding Drupa 2004 was that its stand will be within the main fairground—Hall 13, specifically—and not in a temporarily converted warehouse some distance away, as was the case for Drupa 2000. The DocuColor iGen3 digital color press will, of course, be highlighted along with the new DocuTechs. Also sharing the spotlight will be the Xerox FreeFlow workflow collection of software and services.
Additional Drupa press briefings are in the offing, so stay tuned for more peeks into the shipping crates bound for Düsseldorf.
NEW YORK CITY—Advanstar Communications will host the second annual "Books for Schools" program during the ON DEMAND Conference & Expo, March 8-10, 2004, at the Jacob Javits Convention Center. The production line will produce a selection of classic titles, in real time, to demonstrate the power of print-on-demand technologies. Components will be provided by Delphax Technologies, Muller Martini, Stralfors, Shuttleworth, KTI (Keene Technology, Inc.), Boise Paper and Xeikon. More than 6,000 books are expected to be presented to the New York City Department of Education Office of Strategic Partnerships. (www.ondemandbooksforschools.com)
MINNEAPOLIS—KBA North America is now offering the ORIS Works workflow system, from CGS Publishing Technologies, as a digital front end for the 74 Karat digital offset press. Optional components include ORIS PDF Tuner, for late-stage editing and correction of PostScript or PDF jobs, and ORIS Color Tuner, for ink-jet proofing. (www.cgsusa.com/www.karatpress.com)
HANOVER PARK, IL—Enovation Graphic Systems, working in conjunction with Fujifilm Electronic Imaging in the United Kingdom, has donated copies of Fujifilm's ColourKit Profiler Suite v 4.0 software to the California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo and Pittsburgh-based Graphic Arts Technical Foundation. The color profiling package is a suite of applications that enables users to make, edit and process color profiles. (www.colorprofiling.com)
KENNESAW, GA—Esko-Graphics announced that Fujifilm Brillia LP-NV photopolymer plates, distributed by Enovation Graphic Systems, are now certified for use with its Plate-Driver platesetters. The certification is valid for 30mW violet laser versions of the PlateDriver 4, 8 and 8 HS models. (www.eskographics.com/www.enovationgraphics.com)
- Albrecht Bolza-Sch