Wide Format Ink Jet Diversification Opportunity Highlighted At Graph Expo
Friday, May 30, 2003
May 29, 2003 -- GRAPH EXPO and CONVERTING EXPO has long played a vital role in introducing profitable new opportunities to graphic communications industry professionals; 2003 will be no exception. The event takes place September 28 - October 1, 2003 at McCormick Place South, Chicago, IL, and will feature over 500 exhibitors occupying over 360,000 sq. feet of exhibit space. Wide format ink jet imaging, one of the largest and most rapidly growing new industry segments in the printing industry, will be highlighted at the upcoming event in a special pavilion designed to showcase every step in the production process from image capture to output, which can include everything from vehicle and building wraps to fine art reproductions. The pavilion was added to the show for the first time in 2002 in response to attendees' requests for new growth market segments. This year's pavilion will be more than double the size of the 2002 version, and include both roll-based and flat-bed printers, laminating and finishing equipment, and a host of RIPs, software and ink options for visitors to experience and compare. "The Wide Format Pavilion is part of Graphic Arts Show Company's (GASC) continuing mission to provide a key educational opportunity for graphic communications professionals seeking to capitalize on the abundant opportunities available in new markets," said Regis J. Delmontagne, president of GASC, the show's producer. "As the premier trade show producer for the printing, publishing, and converting industry, we have always focused on showcasing new technologies that will benefit show participants." Many commercial printers have used this technology exclusively for proofing. Color accuracy and print speeds have improved greatly even over machines made as little as 3 years ago. Now those same machines, those over 36" wide, can be used to provide a profit center and a revenue stream in addition to the traditional long-run ink on paper offering, opening up new markets, solidifying and diversifying business plans and reaching deeper into existing client's businesses to provide more revenue. According to Stewart Partridge, Managing Director of Web Consulting Inc., " Our research shows that ink jet has captured 14 - 17% of the U.S. wide format graphics market by volume, and much more by value. In China, for example, it is bigger than screen and offset combined, taking over 55% of the market." The route from proofing device to profit center is one that offset printers may find valuable and can be traveled more quickly than you might think. "The installed base of ink jet output and proofing devices domestically is destined to grow steadily, as it accompanies the adoption of CTP devices among offset printers . . . the more visionary companies who have adopted this technology find they make considerably higher margins from digital output than they do their traditional core business," he added.* Industry experts contend the way for commercial printers to remain profitable in the future is to offer their customers new services. For the commercial printer, wide format ink jet printing offers relatively modest equipment investment, quick set-up, a minimal learning curve, and large profit margins. Implementation can be quick and easy, particularly for printers already experienced with digital prepress systems. Thus, wide format ink jet printing could be an ideal diversification strategy, as well as a means of entering the digital printing business. To show printers exactly what investments are necessary, GASC is bringing together a variety of equipment, consumables and software solution providers in the Wide Format Pavilion. Roll-based and flat-bed equipment on display in the Pavilion provide the full gamut of output sizes printers can choose from to meet their customer's needs. Software, computer hardware for front-end systems, color management, image manipulation and enhancement, die-cutters, lamination and finishing equipment round out the new technology visitors can see at this high impact display. Exhibitors who have contracted for space so far include Durst Dice, Canon, AGFA, VUTEk, Cruse, and others. GASC has also added seminars to offer attendees the critical information they need to incorporate this versatile and profitable technology into their capability mix. "Wide Format Color," with Michael Riordan, RIT, "New Value-Added Business Opportunities," with Frank Romano, RIT, and "Wide Format Printing," with Will Holland and Eric Harsh, of Graphic Intelligence Agency. These sessions will afford visitors the opportunity to explore the various business aspects of wide format ink jet printing in all its forms, and investigate how the variety of equipment, substrates, and application combinations work together to produce a full range of finished products. Finishing techniques and equipment figure large in the wide format market, and visitors to the pavilion will see a variety of those as well.