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Featured:     European Coverage     Production Inkjet Analysis

Opening Day at GOA

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Press release from the issuing company

By Noel Ward, Managing Editor, Trade Show Coverage February 7, 2006 -- It was a nice walk through South Beach on Friday morning. The sun was peeking through clouds and the air was muggy with the threat of rain. People were rollerblading and jogging, walking tiny dogs in little sweaters and throwing balls for big ones. Others sipped Starbucks lattes while perusing the Miami Herald and USA Today. Black Hondas and sleek silver Mercedes crouched at the curb, and manic Vespas whined along Collins Ave dodging sleepy cabbies and laid back riders on fat-tired cruiser bicycles. Over at the convention center, the Xplor crowd was filling seats in sessions and a milling throng was waiting for the doors to open at Graphics of the Americas. And that's the way it was Friday morning. The show floor was filled with 500 purveyors of everything from foil stamping equipment to coil bindery systems to offset presses to high-speed digital printing systems. The clatter of folding and binding machines competed with the clack of offset presses, the chatter of people speaking several different languages and the humming click of digital print engines. It was immediately busy, with people entering from both the east and west sides of the big hall. They spread out rapidly and in half an hour the place was pulsing with multi-lingual humanity. The Digital Shift It was only four years ago that GOA was primarily an offset print show. There would be a few digital print vendors with a modest black-and-white printer and a modest color unit on hand in a small booth. There would be numerous wide format inkjet printers spewing outsized images and lots of booths selling the parts and blankets and rollers that made up the world of print. The shift to digital became apparent three years ago and any lingering doubts about the importance of toner and inkjet should have been laid to rest at GOA 2006. Kodak and Xerox both enjoyed very busy booths throughout the show, but they were jam-packed on Friday morning. Doing my usual badge-reading and eavesdropping I found most attendees to be from Latin countries and ready to invest in digital color. "This is not just happening in Latin America," said Randy Swope who handles marketing and production systems strategy in developing markets for Xerox. "It can be a roller-coaster ride for a number of reasons but the growth is clearly there." Swope notes that while some applications are still behind their North American equivalents that's not the case in banking and telecomm. "They are every bit as state of the art as you find in the States," he notes, "and the clients are often more willing to try new approaches. Xerox is adapting some of the same strategies in its developing markets that it has in the U.S. Printers throughout Latin America are using Spanish-language versions of Profit Accelerator for market development and many have cross-border relations in the region via the company's Premiere Partners program. In addition, Xerox is not limiting the market growth with older equipment. The latest equipment and software is available in many countries and where it is not, delivery of a job on a specific device can be handled through Premiere Partners. Swope says that economic and political factors have something of a limiting effect on digital printing in Latin America and that print providers there--just as in North America-- need to think outside the box to create new applications. Still, the smaller populations and the need to segment markets drive the need for short-run printing and versioning, readying the market for the solutions that digital brings. But it's not just digital While there is a distinct digital buzz to GOA, toner and inkjet aren't taking over the market just yet. Three established offset press manufacturers had equipment on hand and another key player had a busy show even without a press on site. Hamada and Shinohara, both long-time supporters of Graphics of the Americas had compact and efficient four-color presses both using CTP technology and producing some stunning images of people, landscapes, motorcycles and an exquisite classic '56 Cadillac Eldorado. These presses are compact enough to fit into smaller shops and have the computer controls that get ink up quickly and accurately for minimal waste and short make ready. The Shinohara 52 Multicolor comes in low-pile and high-pile versions, both of which can run at 15,000 sheets per hour with a sheet size of 14.5 x 20.5 inches. A little smaller and slower is the Hamada B452 which can run a similar size sheet at 10,000 impressions per hour. The Hamada unit featured an Esko DPX system platemaker that produces plates cut to the size required for a given job at 1200 and 2450 dpi. According to Hamada, the automatic plate setter on the 452 can hang each plate in about 50 seconds, further speeding make ready. I'm always impressed by how CTP and modern offset presses continue to make short-run printing a competitive issue against other offset machines and the best digital boxes. Another 15,000 sph example of that is Ryobi, also a staunch supporter of GOA. One of their powerful 750 B-2 size four-color presses dominated the stand of Spinola Printer's Supply, long a fixture at GOA. The 750 press, winner of a Red Dot design award can achieve a total make ready time of under 10 minutes thanks to a semi-automatic plate changer, excellent inking and registration controls and other features. And the perfecting models can be automatically and remotely switched from straight printing to perfecting. Dana Mueller, CEO of Designer Graphics in Tyler, Texas, says his 6-color press can be at color in 50 sheets and be in register shortly after the press is running. The other major offset player in Miami was MAN. While the big German press maker didn’t have any iron on display it had a sales team that kept very busy talking about the tremendous value of their reconditioned presses. Fans of German cars might liken it to buying a certified pre-owned Mercedes or BMW. Used presses have always been a good way to fill needs and expand capabilities. Buying a reconditioned press that has gone back through the factory that made it can be a smart move for many printers looking for quality, reliability, productivity, and durability MAN's machines are known for, but at a lower price, and that number is always an important one for any business. Coming Next: Some words from Kodak, Nipson, why a Mexican print shop says they were "born digital" and more.

 

 

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