Twelve of the more than 600 vendors expected to exhibit at Print 09 in Chicago (Sept. 11-16) took part in Media Days, an editorial briefing sponsored by the Graphic Arts Show Company (GASC) on June 16 and 17. The first installment of this article covered presentations by Kodak, Presstek, Ricoh, EFI, MGI, and DiMS! The remainder are summarized here in order of presentation.

Xerox (booths 1100, 1117) will have a big footprint at Print 09: a 28,000-sq.ft. exhibit featuring a full complement of equipment, workflow solutions, business development tools, and technical support. Xerox also will offer showgoers what it calls “free consulting services”: 30-minute meetings with industry experts on a variety of subjects.

Tracy Yelencsics, vice president of production marketing, previewed two devices that make big statements about Xerox’s ambitions in digital production printing: the Concept Color 220 press and an integrated, inline digital packaging system built around the iGen3. Both were showcased at drupa last year, and both will be on view in Chicago.

The Concept Color 220, billed by Xerox as the world’s fastest cut-sheet color printer, consists of two electrophotographic iGen4 engines that print both sides of the sheet simultaneously at their combined speed of 220 ppm. If one engine stops, a programming feature keeps the other one going at full speed. (Yelencsics discusses the Concept Color 220 in this interview with WhatTheyThink’s Cary Sherburne.)

The packaging line is designed to produce custom cartons with variable data in one pass through interconnected printing and finishing equipment. It comprises an iGen3 digital press, an Epic aqueous and UV varnishing unit, a 22.8" x 15.7" KAMA diecutter, and a stacker-conveyer unit from Stora Enso. Yelencsics said that the line can produce fully printed and die-stamped carton forms, ready for folding and gluing, at speeds up to 6,600 sheets per hour.

A handsome souvenir of Media Days is the glittering selection guide printed and wire-bound by Henkel (booth 5255) to show off what will be its star attraction at Print 09: MiraFoil®, a UV-curable, offset-printable foil coating available in 1,176 Pantone-like colors. Henkel, a consumer-products company that also makes industrial adhesives and coatings, has mixed aluminum platelets and colorants in a liquid varnish that creates metallic effects without the need for metallic inks, foil stamping, or offline lamination. Henkel’s Dennis Drummond said that MiraFoil can be printed anywhere on paper, board, or plastic sheets for “foil on demand” applications in flexible and folding-carton packaging, direct mail, tags and labels, and POP. Mirafoil also is overprintable and 100% recyclable, Drummond added.

Riso (booth 1263) won’t be the only exhibitor displaying inkjet equipment at Print 09, but no other company will stand as a better example of how rapidly the range of inkjet production options is expanding. Long known for digital duplicators—a product line it still offers—Riso now seeks to fill the gap between color multifunction printers (MFPs) and high-end production systems with economical inkjet devices made specifically for jobs with relatively low ink coverage and good-enough color quality requirements.

To exploit the opportunity it sees in this category of work, Riso will go to Print 09 with its just-launched the ComColor line: five piezo drop-on-demand (DOD) inkjet printers spanning a range of needs from office workgroups to mid-volume production environments—20,000 to 500,000 copies per month. They are priced from $24,995 to $45,995, operate from 90 ppm to 150 ppm (A4 duplex), and, depending on model, print sheets up to 133/8" x 215/8". They emit droplets of oil-based pigment inks from 24 inkjet heads fed by a pressurized ink circulation system that maintains constant temperature to prevent clogging.

David Murphy, Riso’s vice president of marketing, said that the ComColor inkjets can print in color for about two and a half cents per page at 20% coverage. They can be accessorized with scanners, special-purpose feeders and trays, and inline finishers. Murphy cited their compact design, simplicity of operation, and energy efficiency as added attractions.

Lake Image Systems (booth 8336) develops solutions for document inspection and verification—systems that combine cameras, software, and other technologies to scrutinize printed pieces for database matching (as in direct mail applications); for creating audit trails; or for detecting errors and flaws. The systems can be installed not only on printing equipment but on collators, inserters, stitchers, and other postpress machinery.

At Print 09, Lake will demonstrate how its inspection and verification systems protect the integrity of packaging, labels, direct mail, secure documents and plastic cards, and electoral ballots. In its trade-show debut will be IntegraVision PQ, which uses a high-resolution scanning camera to capture complete images of every piece printed at press speeds up to 1,000 fpm. By comparing these pictures with a pre-stored “ideal image,” IntegraVision PQ can detect defects as small as 0.04 mm. Other functions include proof checking in various languages and, through database programming, matching elements with different characteristics—for example, non-identical alphanumeric strings.

Kevin P. Kern, vice president of marketing for Konica Minolta Business Solutions U.S.A. (booth 6118), made an observation that surely is on the mind of every other Print 09 exhibitor: namely, that one of the biggest issues printing companies currently are facing is the difficulty of obtaining credit. Printers who do have access to capital, though, will be presented with a variety of options for investing in digital printing at the Konica Minolta stand.

There, they can take in the debut of the bizhub Pro 1200/1051 series, a heavy-duty line of black-and-white production printers built to produce up to 3 million copies per month at speeds as high as 120 ppm. The bizhub Pro C65hc (color), the bizhub Pro 2500P/2000P/1600P series (b/w), and the bizhub Pro 950 (b/w) also will be seen, and Kern said that a next-generation bizhub Pro color engine “probably” would be on the floor as well.

Konica Minolta also plans to introduce four new pieces of production software at the show: Printgroove 1.4, an enhanced workflow manager that supports the company’s newest printers; Printgroove Ready, a prepress makeready tool; Konica Minolta Canvas, for graphically designing charts and workflow diagrams; and Reflection for Printgroove, a shop monitor that can track and display job status in real time.

Most of the Media Days time slot for manroland (booth 1129) was given to a print market overview by CEO Vince Lapinski, who also reviewed the technologies that MAN Roland will discuss—but won’t necessarily display—at Print 09. One of the company’s broad goals, he said, is to achieve one-touch, fully automated printing in all of its product offerings—a technology initiative that manroland calls “autoprint.” The concept currently is being applied to manroland’s newspaper web presses, the better to enhance their production efficiency in a market segment that is experiencing, Lapinski said, “unprecedented” losses.

From manroland’s perspective as a manufacturer of sheetfed and web equipment for commercial, publication, and packaging applications, the losses aren’t confined to the newspaper market. Paul Foszcz, marketing manager, observed that in these recessionary times, “far fewer printers will be investing in equipment” and that most will concentrate on optimizing the capabilities they already have.

At Print 09, manroland will try to help printers do this by offering them an array of advisory services that it bundles under the name “Printvalue.” The booth also will feature an exhibit called the “Value Added Printing Tunnel” to drive the value message home.

As for actual equipment, however, manroland may refrain from bringing any to McCormick Place, just as it did at Graph Expo last year. Noting that tours to the company’s demo center in nearby Westmont, IL, would be offered throughout the show, Foszcz said that no decision had been made about whether the booth would have presses.