Even with news headlines relentlessly highlighting the poor state of our economy, graphic communications professionals owe it to themselves to attend GRAPH EXPO with an open mind.

“Printers that gain an advantage in the marketplace know that investing in new technologies and equipment is not a spur-of-the-moment decision, but rather should be part of a long-term growth strategy,” says Jim Dunn, president of Heidelberg USA. “Despite the challenging economic times we are all experiencing, I would encourage printers to continue supporting important industry events like GRAPH EXPO, which is a key forum for fostering collaboration and innovation in the graphic arts industry.”

That innovation will be on display all across GRAPH EXPO, and the show provides a convenient venue in which to see and evaluate the latest equipment and technology developments in the industry. The largest graphic communications exhibition of 2008 in the Western Hemisphere, GRAPH EXPO will also serve as a launching pad this year for several new offset presses that are making their U.S. debuts at the show.

Key among them is Heidelberg’s new Speedmaster XL 105 press with perfector, XL 105-P. Built on the Speedmaster XL 105 platform, the XL 105-P features end-to-end preset abilities coupled with a three-drum perfecting system. The result: a press that prints and perfects at speeds up to 15,000 sheets per hour. Of the press’ many highlights is the advanced technology on the delivery, which allows a sheet wet with ink to be transported at these high speeds while avoiding any contact with the press.

Komori will unveil for the first time in the U.S. its Lithrone LSX40 offset sheetfed press. The press boasts a maximum running speed of 18,000 sheets per hour. Together with its fully automated plate changing and new KHS-AI “intelligent” print start system, the press reportedly has reduced job changeover times by more than 35 percent.

Also new to the North American market is the Diamond V3000LX sheetfed offset press from Mitsubishi Lithographic Presses (MLP U.S.A. Inc.). Visitors to the MLP booth will see live demonstrations of a six-color model with aqueous coater and extended delivery. The press will also feature SimulChanger, MLP’s fully automated system for simultaneous plate changes, and its new color adjustment interface, Diamond Color Navigator, which features automatic controls for registration, ink fountain roller rotation speed, water fountain roller rotation speed and ink doctor on/off function.

Many other new offset presses and press configurations, from vendors such as KBA, Presstek and more, await visitors to GRAPH EXPO. And, many of the press vendors will be running equipment live on the show floor. Komori, for example, will not only be showing its new Lithrone LSX40 offset sheetfed press, but also its Spica 29P and LSX29 presses. “We’ll have the most presses running on the show floor, running four live daily demonstrations on each press,” says Susan Baines, director of marketing for Komori America.