WITH THE massive Drupa exhibition in Germany just seven months away, Graph Expo 2007 held in Chicago last month won’t go down in graphic arts history as a watershed event from a jaw-dropping new product standpoint. But that didn’t stop more than 20,000 upbeat attendees from filling the aisles at what was the largest Graph Expo event since 2000, and the second largest ever.
Despite the Drupa effect, from a traditional offset printing standpoint there were a few new presses introduced, several automation and makeready advancements on display and, of course, a sprinkling of press sale announcements. An emphasis on environmental sustainability and improved service offerings for existing customers also garnered attention.
For example, Heidelberg—Graph Expo’s largest exhibitor with a 31,300-square-foot booth—reinforced its “Hei Tech” theme by capturing a “Must See ’ems” award for its new Web-based remote service called eCall. It automatically generates an alarm to the Prinect CP2000 Center console of a Heidelberg press when there is an impending service issue. With the touch of a button, the press operator then has the option to send the pertinent data directly to the Heidelberg systemservice organization, where a preliminary diagnosis is performed. A technician will then call the customer with a detailed analysis, saving printers the time they would normally spend calling to explain their problem.
With eCall and remote diagnostics, reportedly 70 percent of calls related to electrical press problems can be solved without an onsite visit. The service will be available in pilot markets beginning next January.
Telling a Short Story
Among the five sheetfed presses running in its booth, Heidelberg showcased a four-color Speedmaster SM 52-4+LX with the Anicolor zoneless short inking unit with dampening system. The environmentally friendly technology typically reduces paper waste down to 20 or less sheets and slashes makeready times for short-run printing. A representative from the first U.S. Anicolor user, North Mankato, MN-based Taylor Corp., was on hand in the booth and during a customer panel to discuss the printer’s success with its first four Anicolor SM 52 presses in operation, and why several more are on order.