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Jan 24, 2014 12:00 AM
DID YOU SEE THIS?
Prize-winning PRINT 13 technologies reflect the industry’s shifting fortunes—as well as its willingness to adapt and change
BY KATHERINE O’BRIEN
PRINT 13 was a good event—but more like a Graph Expo than a PRINT show. That was a comment I heard from two veteran exhibitors during the show, which took place Sept. 8–12 in Chicago. The show attracted a respectable 24,695 participants (including exhibitors and attendees); 16,728 were actual verified attendee/buyers.
I generally found show floor traffic decent. Anecdotal evidence revealed respectable international participation, with a good showing from Latin America. When I reflected that the show used to sprawl across McCormick Place’s North and South halls and occasionally up a ramp into the Lakeside Center, one of my journalist friends gently chided me, “You’re thinking of PRINT 97. That was 16 years ago!”
A quick scan of the 49 winners in the 2013 MUST SEE ’EMS (MSE) product and technology recognition program reveals that these are changing times for PRINT 13 and the industry it serves. Heidelberg and Kodak—perennial champions in previous competitions—are both absent. With the exception of Goss (honored for its Magnum Compact press), offset developments have largely given way to digital, wide-format and packaging technologies. Software also took center stage at PRINT 13, with new players in the sales and order entry, MIS and variable/transactional categories. Here are some MSE highlights.
PACKAGING IS PROMINENT
CPP EXPO, the Converting and Package Printing Expo, was co-located with PRINT 13. The packaging and label contingent was well represented among the MUST SEE ’EM winners by Mark Andy’s flexo press, Allen Datagraph Systems’ label finishing system and MASTERWORK USA’s foil stamper/die cutter.
Fujifilm North America Corp., a familiar name in the offset world, launched “Graphium,” a modular digital UV inkjet press with high-opacity digital white ink for producing labels, packaging and specialty print. Color specialist CGS is also extending its reach—it is distributing Creative Edge Software’s 3D packaging and labeling visualization tool, IC3D Suite.
DIGITAL PRESSES DELIVERED
The Konica Minolta/Komori inkjet collaboration commanded the spotlight. The KM-1/IS29 Inkjet Printer combines Konica Minolta’s high-resolution inkjet print head, UV ink and printing process with Komori’s high-speed paper transport technology. While the press could be seen in Chicago, neither partner offered updates during their respective press conferences.
PRINT 13 also marked Impika’s debut under the Xerox banner. The MUST SEE ’EM judges singled out the Xerox/Impika iPrint Compact, which prints two-up duplex from a single engine and targets transactional, transpromo and direct-mail markets.
How can the prepress department speed up job processing, reduce errors and automate repetitive tasks? Connect 11 from Enfocus is a three-in-one offering, with PDF creation, quality control and file-delivery tools. There are two options for this Instant PDF successor: Connect YOU for designers and Connect ALL for service providers. Recosoft’s PDF2ID Enterprise is a scalable PDF-to-InDesign and PDF-to-IDML conversion solution allowing thousands of PDFs to be converted to InDesign and IDML formats by simply targeting a folder. Hybrid Software’s Facelift provides customizable job tickets for offset, digital, packaging and labels, large-format, or any combination therein. Users can create a cross-platform interface for data access and entry “anytime, anywhere and from any platform.”
Konica Minolta’s EngageIT Automation initiative also addresses commercial printers’ needs for fewer touches and steps, improved process integration, better client file prep and tracking key job and operational data. It combines a software package with consulting services.
PUSHING THE ENVELOPE
There are many new wrinkles to good old-fashioned mail. Transformations Inc.’s Uluro is a multichannel delivery suite for print and mail production sites. uSecure provides data protection and compliance reporting, while uDeliver lets recipients choose how they receive transactional documents such as bills and statements, as well as marketing campaigns. Ricoh’s Critical Communications solution suite lets users prove that each critical communication is accurately produced and delivered. AccuZIP Inc.’s Livingmail, a technical demonstration, lets users communicate directly with those they are mailing via SMS, voice and email.
XMPie’s Circle provides a “storyboard in the cloud” to visually articulate the details of a campaign and is aimed at helping designers and marketers work together with all the stakeholders involved in planning and development. There’s also a data-mining element—with which users can extract a variety of useful marketing information.
INDIVIDUALIZED COMMUNICATIONS, ANYONE?
The XMPie toolbox (uDirect VDP software, uImage VDP document creation and StoreFlow) was at the heart of an impressive Xerox demonstration, “The US Open Customer Experience.”
For show visitors, the tour began with an overview of the planning and communication capabilities of XMPie’s Circle. Next came the video/photo-capture element, in which participants first posed with a tennis racquet for a still photo and then “served” the ball for the video.
This end-to-end workflow showed how individual multichannel communications can work. A 7800 Phaser printer produced attendees’ personalized “Tennis 13” magazine covers on one side and a recap of the workflow on the other. An emailed PURL took participants to their individual videos, in which they could see themselves triumphing at the US Open (with some help from Adobe’s After Effects). Finally, via StoreFlow, participants could “order” personalized videos, postcards or publications.