When it comes to graphics, asserts John Torrey, “xpedx is probably the strongest brand in the U.S.” Torrey, vice president of the company’s Printing Technologies division, threw down that challenge yesterday during a media briefing at the new xpedx Technology Center in Loveland, OH. The opening of the 11,000-sq.ft. demo and training facility is the latest step in an ongoing campaign by xpedx to give its $6 billion presence in the U.S. graphics market a competitive profile in keeping with that imposing market share. xpedx intends to strut its stuff in the same way at Print 09 with its largest-ever array of press equipment—a notable contrast to the scaled-back exhibits that other vendors are planning. The Loveland technology center, in the xpedx wing of parent company International Paper’s corporate campus near Cincinnati, combines two former demo facilities and will be the focal point of customer relations for xpedx from now on. The center houses offset presses from Ryobi as well as digital printing, prepress, postpress, and workflow systems from manufacturers represented by xpedx. This $5 million assortment of technology, all of it set up for live operation, is expected to draw 250 customer visits per year. Training and consultation also will be offered. Yesterday’s tour was arranged for editors from American Printer, Graphic Arts Monthly, In-Plant Graphics, Printing Impressions, Quick Printing, and WhatTheyThink. Torrey and others briefed the journalists on what customers can expect to find at the center, which is said by xpedx to be the only one presenting offset and digital printing solutions from multiple vendors. Donn Coggswell shows an eight-up sheet from the Ryobi 920 press at the new xpedx Technology Center. The stars of the production area are litho presses and auxiliary systems from Ryobi, a Japanese line distributed exclusively by xpedx in the U.S. The center’s largest press, for the time being, is a five-color, coater-equipped Ryobi 920, an A1 (36" x 25") machine being positioned as a lower-cost solution for eight-up printing than full-size (40") equipment. In the opposite bay is a six-color Ryobi 756, a 23" x 29" press equipped with a UV-activated, inline casting and foiling unit for special effects. The small-format offering is an A3 plus (14" x 20") Ryobi 525 GX in five colors plus coating. Eventually, the center will house the biggest printing machine that Ryobi manufactures: the 42" 1050, an industrial press that will be shown in its North American debut at Print 09 (Sept. 11-16). The 12,000-sq.ft. exhibit at McCormick Place also will feature a 750-series press and many of the other products that can be seen in action at the technology center. These include a platesetter and workflow from Kodak; Epson wide-format inkjet printers; and an expanded selection of postpress equipment from Morgana, C.P. Bourg, and Secap. Also on yesterday's agenda were introductions of newly hired or appointed members of the xpedx sales and marketing team. These included Donn Coggswell, formerly of Mitsubishi Lithographic Presses U.S.A., now in charge of large-format press sales; and Heidelberg veteran Bill Van Buskirk, responsible for the prepress, small-press, and postpress businesses. To come: video interviews with Torrey and with an xpedx customer who was on hand for the media briefing.