THE PR MACHINES AT SOME OF THE BIG VENDORS must still be recovering from the holidays because only a few of the 350 firms exhibiting at Graphics of the Americas have been quick to provide detail what they’ll have at the show. Maybe they’re running on what’s known in the Caribbean as Island Time. But no matter. As I noted in the first episode of the GOA Chronicles, there’s a broad mix of exhibitors at this show, reflecting the real needs of Latin America’s vibrant printing industry. Let’s take a look at some of the movers and shakers.

Presses for Every Need
Just everywhere else, big presses handle the industrial strength printing in Latin America, and if MAN-Roland (Booth 741) has anything to do with it, some of those presses are going to be plateless before very long. The market leader in web press and newspaper printing will be showing off DICOweb, its digital, offset-quality press that runs without plates. This technology has been shown at a number of shows over the past couple of years and is an impressive machine to examine and see in operation. A complete DICOweb press is comprised of several units, one of which will be joined at the show to a ROLAND 500 unit and shown in conjunction with MAN’s PECOM operating system.

"Both DICOweb and PECOM are examples of how MAN Roland is bringing the advantages of Computer Integrated Manufacturing to the graphic arts," notes Christian Cerfontaine, Director of Marketing for MAN Roland Inc. "CIM makes printing more attractive to marketers and communicators because it addresses two of their main concerns — time and money. That means Graphics of the Americas participants who embrace CIM now are going to be the big winners in the months and years ahead."

Also on the press side is Presstek (Booth 1402), which like Paul White and me, is making the trek from a cold New Hampshire winter to the Miami sun. Presstek will show both its chemistry-free CTP and DI press and plate technology. Presstek will use its Dimension CTP system, Anthem thermal plates and a Ryobi 3404DI press to demonstrate the full range and value of its technology.

There probably aren’t a whole lot of print shops that haven’t had a press from A.B. Dick (Booth #1991) churning out jobs at one time or another. GOA attendees will get a first-hand look at the unique 4995A-ICS 4-color press in conjunction with a DPM2508 direct-to-plate device and Epson 7000 proofer. The 4995A-ICS will be the first time Florida visitors will see this new press, which was unveiled at Graph Expo last October. A.B.Dick is a market leader in small-format digital platemakers, and the DPM2508 is the fifth generation of award-winning technology.

Océ Printing Systems USA will be in Booth 1319 with its fast, full-featured, solvent-based Arizona wide format printers and Onyx RIP. The Arizona line spans an array of sign printing applications with a particular focus on efficiency. High speed and volume prints are the forte of the Arizona 500 with an IR system to speed drying. Short-term signage needs are handled on the Arizona 90, which can be upgraded to the popular Arizona 180. And when great images are needed but speed and volume are less critical, the Arizona 30-S can fill the bill. All can be driven by the Onyx 5.6 RIP, available in three levels based on volume requirements.

Also offering inkjet solutions is Scitex Digital Printing in booth 189. The focal point at GOA will be the company’s new Dijit Passport 4300 and Dijit Liberty 7122 printing systems that drew a steady stream of attendees at Graph Expo last fall. These new printers extend the benefits of image quality, speed, and low per image costs to printers with high resolution and non-aqueous substrate needs.

It used to be that finishing was something of a dumbed-down process. Jobs came off a press, got trimmed, folded, stapled, or bound and came out wrapped, boxed, palletized or whatever, ready for shipping. The machines that did the work were sophisticated mechanical devices but possessed no intelligence whatsoever. And there was little, if any, connection between the press or print engine and the finishing equipment. Not anymore. The actions of many finishing machines are orchestrated by computers and software, and are increasingly connected electronically--if not mechanically--to presses and printers. What the new systems add in complexity they make up for in speed, throughput, efficiency and reduced operating costs. The finishing companies will be at GOA in force, vying for printer’s attentions with an increasingly sophisticated array of equipment.

The burgeoning on-demand publishing movement is putting the need for economical, flexible binding options on the table in many small and moderate-sized shops. Whether you’re binding a manual, directory or an aspiring novelist’s first self-published work, you’ll be able to make a custom hard cover book in just a few minutes on the FastBind H530 binder in ExactBind’s booth (#1774).

Muller Martini (Booth #787) has long been a player in the finishing business and is noted for powerful, elegant solutions for inline and offline finishing. The company regularly partners with leading print engine vendors such as Océ Printing Systems to develop finishing solutions that move in a tight tango with some of the fastest digital presses on the planet. For more details, see Paul White’s coverage of what Muller Martini will be showing at GOTA. If state-of-the-art finishing is what you need Muller Martini should be the first stop.
Standard Finishing will be in the booth #771 with its local deale, Graphics IV, and the new BQ-270 automated perfect binder. The machine premiered at Graph Expo '02 and is just now commercially available. Challenge Machinery (Booth 1401) will have cutters and folder with new safety features and ever greater accuracy

Equipment with a Second Wind
In any market, there’s more to selling printing-related equipment than schmoozing a prospect and taking the order. The sophistication of much modern equipment makes understanding customer needs essential. This fact is not lost on Bob Weber, Inc. (Booth 241) which sells refurbished prepress equipment. Bob Weber himself will be on hand for equipment consultation to help ensure buyers get the products they need. This approach adds value to the lower costs associated with refurbished equipment, and helps customers get the technology that is right for their businesses. Other used equipment comes from Konik, (#721) the largest supplier of used Heidelberg printing presses in Latin America.

Capping it Off
Smaller printers, sign shops, and other graphics-oriented businesses with high traffic volumes might want to check out Design-a-Cap (Booth 1990). A new agent program taps shops into a source for selling embroidered caps and shirts, along with screen-printing on t-shirts, bags, caps and more. This is a "printing" market that’s often ignored by U.S. printers so it will be interesting to see how this program fits into printing businesses in Latin America.

But Wait, There’s More…
In every category there is more to see and check out. There are wide-format scanners from Context, workflow and print management solutions from Founder Electronics, PrintCafé and PrintSmith. A package press from Goss. Security holograms from Hologram Industries, and papers and substrates from Stora Enso, On Demand Digital Paper, Lamitech and LabelBlank. And more.

So much to see, so little time.
And there are still a couple of big players who are keeping mum about just what they’ll have on hand in Miami. So we’ll all just have to wait and see. And as soon as we know, we’ll tell you about it.