PRINT 17: The Room Where it Happened
This year’s PRINT 17 drew a diverse crowd of attendees, some of whom are expanding both their traditional print applications, while others are looking to expand into new areas.
“Customers are coming in with a lot of interest in traditional printing and proofing,” said Tim Check, Product Manager, Professional Imaging, Epson (Booth 831), “and they’re venturing out into new things, whether it’s signage or our textile products, looking for different ways to keep growing their business and reach new markets and customers.”
“A lot of people are looking at wide format to add to their business as ways to grow,” said Brian Phipps, President, Mutoh America (Booth 4241). “We’ve had a lot of interest in dye-sublimation, which is interesting because dye-sub is not usually a big sales opportunity at this show. We’re finding people interested in getting into it.”
Exhibitors who have products that serve both commercial and wide-format markets are seeing interest in all those areas. For Fujifilm (Booth 2013), the highlight of the booth was the J Press 720, the company’s production inkjet platform. “There has been tremendous traffic around the J Press,” said Todd Zimmerman, Division President, Fujifilm North America, Graphic Systems Division. “We’re very pleased with the number of people and the attendance. It’s been a great event for us.” Even better, Fujifilm sold the floor model J Press to Batavia, Ill.'s Integrated Graphics Inc.
Saleswise, this was a good show for HP (Booth 613). Not only did Preferred Direct Marketing Services, Norfolk, Va., buy a PageWide T240 HD Web Press, but Lightning Source named HP PageWide its preferred inkjet press provider through 2024, placing an order for 24 new HP PageWide T240 HD color and mono digital presses. The seven-year, multimillion- dollar deal is the largest ever for HP’s Graphics Business. HP PageWide will serve Lightning Source’s publishers’ demands for a faster, higher-quality, and more efficient printing solution.
On the Indigo side of the business, Blanks Printing & Digital Solutions, a Dallas-based commercial printer, purchased an HP Indigo 12000 Digital Press to expand its digital offerings. A 75-year-old family-run business, Blanks specializes in the management of complex print programs providing services for printing marketing collateral, retail sign kits, direct mail, Web-to- print, and packaging.
“PRINT 17 is a fantastic place to meet people and have good conversations with customers, prospective customers, and colleagues,” said Yale Goldis, Worldwide Manager, Product Marketing Management, HP.
“PRINT 17 has been a great opportunity for us to meet with clients and prospects from around the world and showcase our latest digital and physical solutions designed to enhance print and mail operations, deliver higher-value communications, and create opportunities for growth,” said Grant Miller, Chief Operating Officer, Pitney Bowes Document Messaging Technologies (Booth 848). “This show provides Pitney Bowes a valuable audience of clients and prospects to engage in a dialogue on the latest industry trends and challenges and share best practices that make communications more relevant, more personalized, and more impactful.” At the show, Renkim, a leader in the financial and mission-critical documents industry for credit, collection, healthcare, automotive, and insurance companies, purchased two AcceleJet printing and finishing systems to streamline its print-to-mail workflow.
The new GL840 Perfector from Komori America Corporation (Booth 2607) includes some of the most advanced features available on an offset press, such as A-APC plate-changing for simultaneous changing of plates on all eight units in less than 90 seconds, and a PQA-S dual camera system for sheet inspection of both sides of the sheet, offering the ultimate quality in one pass print on demand offset printing. Komcan Inc., the Canadian dealer for sales, parts, and service for Komori, announced the sale of a new GL840 Perfector with Tower Coater, H-UV and UV curing capabilities, and extended delivery to Toronto’s Astley Gilbert, a provider of high-quality sheetfed, digital, visual display, and online services.
Komori’s Impremia IS29, a first-of-its-kind 29" inkjet sheetfed UV printing system, was purchased by Wisconsin-based Reindl Printing to support the company’s growing digital department. Reindl Printing chose the IS29 for its unique ability to fill the gap between mainstream offset and digital by offering highly relevant, personalized color output at a reasonable cost.
It would be hard to miss Konica Minolta (Booth 2031), which has the largest footprint on the show floor. “What we’re getting out of this show is not only selling the equipment on the floor, but molding our value proposition to the exact needs of the customer,” said Gavin Jordan-Smith, VP and General Manager, Industrial Print and Graphic Communications, Konica Minolta. “They’re seeing us in a different light. I often hear ‘I didn’t know Konica Minolta was doing this.’ Our market is no longer in the SMB space; now we’re going into high-end commercial printers, packaging, and label work.” More importantly, Jordan-Smith added, “we’re closing business at the show which we’ve never pushed before. We always thought about it as lead gen.” A lot of those business closings are for MGI digital embellishment systems.
“We’ve announced three sales so far, one of which was our biggest machine,” said Kevin Abergel, VP of Sales and Marketing, MGI. That would be the MGI JETvarnish 3D Evolution, acquired by Burnaby, British Columbia’s Horseshoe Press. Kester Imaging purchased a JETvarnish 3DW. “We are having a really good turnout,” said Abergel.
The week kicked off with Screen (Booth 2613) celebrating its 50th anniversary. “It is a momentous occasion for Screen to be able to celebrate our 50th Anniversary here at PRINT 17 with our customers, vendor partners, and many other friends throughout the print industry, its professional associations, and the print trade media,” said Yoji Otsuka, President, Screen Americas. “We are also excited to present our newest technologies in high-speed production inkjet, digital UV label systems, and our other game-changing innovations with the progressive printers who attend this important exposition. The reception to our products, our exhibit, our people and our growth is a big reason why we are celebrating 50 years of success.”
Dale Allen, Manager, Production Portfolio, WW Product Marketing, Xerox Corporation (Booth 1302) said, “We’ve had a lot of excited customers, our booth has had heavy traffic, and we’re very pleased.” Xerox also seems to be pushing all the right buttons. At the show, Affordable Buttons, one of the largest button manufacturing companies in the U.S., purchased a Xerox iGen 5 Press with White Dry Ink, making it the first U.S. company to purchase Xerox’s new White Dry Ink. Westkey Graphics, one of western Canada’s largest privately-owned print providers, has also purchased White Dry Ink for the fifth station of its Xerox iGen 5 Press, making Westkey the first print provider in North America to have all five ink options for the iGen 5’s fifth station.
This year, Canon (Booth 1213) launched its new Océ Colorado 1640, using its new UVgel ink technology. “This was a significant year of innovation for both Canon and the industry at large,” said Mal Baboyian, Executive Vice President, Large Format Solutions/Production Print Solutions, Canon U.S.A. “Canon leverages PRINT 17 for major announcements, with emphasis this year in production inkjet, large format, and digital toner. PRINT 17 further emphasizes that while the industry continues to change, the participants will rise to the challenge to meet the evolving needs of our industry.”
“We’ve encouraged customers to visit our booth to ‘Take a Look at Ricoh,’ our tagline, and they certainly have,” said John Fulena, Vice President, Commercial and Industrial Printing Group, Ricoh USA (Booth 2022). “We’ve sold a RICOH Pro VC60000 to Direct Technologies, Inc. and several RICOH Pro C9100s to HKM. We’re pleased to have such a large footprint to demonstrate our commitment to our customers.”
“PRINT 17 has been outstanding,” said Eric Frank, Senior VP Marketing and Product Development, KBA North America (Booth 213). “We have met new customers and engaged with existing customers, and traffic has been solid throughout the show. I see customers from all sectors, commercial as well as folding carton. KBA is happy to be supporting PRINT 17.”
“We find people coming to the show to buy,” said Laurie Freitas, Senior Marketing Manager, Standard Finishing (Booth 1231). “We’ve been running presentations in the booth and the crowds for all of them are good. We’re drawing people every time we start running the machines.”
“It’s been surprising to see people focusing on issues like workforce recruitment, technology transition, and leadership in changing times,” said David J. Steinhardt, President and CEO, Idealliance (Booth 2067). “There’s been more discussion around that, and it’s gratifying. Content is more focused on the main issues facing the print communications market. I compliment NPES on everything they did.”
Richard Romano contributes news and feature stories, as well as market research and technology reports to various industry publications. He is the author or co-author of more than a half dozen books, including "This Point Forward: The New Start the Marketplace Demands;" "The Home Office That Works! Make Working at Home a Success — A Guide for Entrepreneurs and Telecommuters;" "Does a Plumber Need a Web Site?;" and "Disrupting the Future." He is currently at work, with Dr. Joe Webb, on a new book called "The Third Wave," which will be published at PRINT 17. Many moons ago, Romano was the co-editor of The GATF Encyclopedia of Graphic Communications.