With little more than a week to go until Ipex, final preparations are well underway and details of additional exhibitors and products being shown are coming to light. The amount of equipment that will be running has already caused issues for organiser Informa in terms of ensuring that there is sufficient power available.
This is despite the lack of large energy hungry litho presses but, according to show director Rob Fisher, indicates the amount of equipment that will be running. "And people come to exhibitions to see machines running," he says.
Most of the key product announcements have been known about for some time and details can be found here. Informa has been able to add further companies to the show, and for the first time has published a floor plan on its website. Central in this layout will be the networking bar, somewhere where sales staff from suppliers absent from the show floor are likely to be found.
Much of the new equipment is on the finishing side. Morgana Systems will introduce the DigiBook 300XL Pro single-clamp PUR binder. Its biggest distinguishing feature is the ability to handle a perfect bound bound with a spine up to 450mm long and 50mm thick. It will also cope with A3 landscape pages. “It opens up a another whole range of application for this popular machine,” says Ray Hillhouse, VP offline business for Morgana.
An upgraded laminator with deep feed file along with Morgana’s range of creasers, booklet makers and multi finishers complete the stand.
At the other end of the scale, IFS will unveil the Horizon BQ480, a version of the four-clamp binder that is optimised for book of one production thanks to faster makeready and higher levels of automation. Each book can be measured by hand before dropping into the clamps or can be measured as it moves as a book block along a conveyor. Barcodes match cover and block section while a gentler drop releases the book to an inline trimming unit, generally Horizon’s HT1000V.
IFS will also feature the debut of the Foliant Taurus 530 SF 4x4 double-sided laminator able to deliver the same level of quality on both sides of the sheet. A new system for heating the rollers brings to operating temperature in ten minutes. It runs at 35m/min.
Another British manufacturer, Watkiss, is giving an outing to the square back booklet maker it showed in concept form at Drupa. The PowerSquare 160 will be seen in the version designed to operate inline with Xerox presses.
It was developed as a less powerful version of the successful PowerSquare 224, as one intended to operate inline with mid-volume production printers, such as the Xerox Versant 3100 that Zerographic is bringing to Ipex. The PowerSquare 160 is positioned to meet increasing requirements for integrated print and finishing. It uses cameras to track the position of the book, using belts to move the book into position for stitching and trimming.
The PowerSquare 160 will not be exclusive to Xerox and other manufactures can be expected to offer this as an alternative to simpler booklet making inline with their machines.
It means too that there will be a Xerox digital press in operation during the show. It will not be the only digital press. Apex Digital Graphics plans to demonstrate a Konica Minolta Accurio C6100, the latest in the company’s portfolio, and Ricoh will have space for a C7100x press.
Ricoh is a late comer to the event and plans to demonstrate the impact that neon colours (pink has recently been added to yellow) can have in lifting the impact of a printed sheet. It will also have the direct to garment RI 6000 inkjet printer. This is a simple to use flatbed inkjet printer that can accept an image, perhaps from a mobile phone, and deliver a finished T-shirt, cap or other item within minutes.
Another late comer is the Kama ProFold 74 folder gluer. This has already proved to be a sales success with a 50% increase in sales in the first nine months of 2017 compared to 2016. The German developer has added a new sheet feeder and the ability to handle zigzag folds.
The feeder has quick adjustment on the draw off belts to save considerable time at makeready while adjustable deck reels optimise blank separation. Both updates simplify handling and improve output quality. These and other features will increase the appeal for carton production at a time that digital printing is making inroads into short run carton production.
Another of the industry trends being addressed is the acceptance of UV printing in commercial printing. The flagship for this is the RMGT 928 LED UV shown on the Apex stand, but it is not alone. Bluprint will be discussing the economics and technology behind an AMS LED retrofit. IST in the Picon Pavilion, will be able to do the same with both tuned lamp and LED systems, while Flint, Huber and Sun Chemical in the inks village will have examples and inks and varnishes. Sun Chemical plans to launch SunCure Starlite, an ink for low energy systems such as Heidelberg's LE-UV and Komori’s H-UV, alongside the equivalent LED products.
It is doubtful that the aisles at Ipex 2017 will be as crowded as those in 2010, the industry having changed substantially in that time. However, there is still enough to see at the NEC this year and Informa anticipates that thousands will make the journey.