02 October 2016 Events

The Print Show is the industry’s autumn destination

Exhibitions are back in business as the appeal of open houses fade. The Print Show is positioned to benefit.

The Print Show returns to the NEC this month bringing with it a good proportion of repeat exhibitors, a sign that those that participated last year found the experience worthwhile.

A number of others have signed up, possibly because having dropped into the event as visitors last year, they liked the look of the action. It has certainly hit plans for other autumn events: Print Efficiently, the open house shared between IFS and Apex Digital Graphics, has been put on ice this year, and Duplo’s London Calling event will be very much smaller. While this type of open house is very good for engaging with existing customers, few casual visitors will visit regardless of the venue.

As if proof were needed, this year’s Drupa has been described as the best for several iterations, perhaps the best since 2000. Link Exhibitions will be hoping that a little of that glitter will rub off on its very much more boutique event.

None of the larger format litho press suppliers is present. Last year Manroland and KBA used virtual reality to show visitors its technology. This year it reckons that those visitors interested will have made the trip to Dusseldorf. However, there will be litho presses on the show floor, more aligned to the profile of the printers expected to attend.

Apex Digital Graphics will be bringing a Ryobi 524GX with LED curing to the show, shipping it down the M5 to Corsham Print when the show closes. The LED UV technology is proving popular enabling sheets to be processed immediately from the delivery, either printing on the reverse, folding or guillotining. There are also huge advantages in being able to print on uncoated papers and other difficult to handle stock.

It is a press to take on digital, says Apex managing director Bob Usher. Apex offers a package with a Cron platesetter and plates which cost less than £1 each. This slashes the breakeven point between digital and litho with the latter having no upper limit, though in practicality, longer runs may be better suited to a larger format machine.

The automated systems on the press ensure a makeready is completed in four minutes and there is a top speed of 15,000sph. It is a compelling proposition, Usher reckons: “We are looking forward to engaging with both digital and litho printers and to demonstration consistently high quality, instantly dry printing with very fast makereadies at the lowest cost per page on the market.

“We believe that some digital companies are overlooking the power and potential of litho as an effective production system.”

Presstek returns having launched its Eco DI press last year. This uses a tuned lamp UV system to ensure that printed sheets are fully dry. The emphasis will also be on plate developments, introducing the Dimension Pro CTP device to the UK following its launch at Drupa.

Ian Pollock, UK director, reckons that many printers need to upgrade platesetters that having given good service for many years are lagging in throughput and restrictive in terms of environmental footprint.

Presstek has introduced new thermal plates this year which need only a wash in a simple solution to process after imaging with a low energy 830nm laser. “It is very very fast,” says Pollock. “It also offers a wide latitude in the platesetter and on press. We have yet to find a fount solution and inks that are not suitable.” It has been put through its paces in trials in Greece and Italy, with UK testing just starting up.

Presstek has long been associated with image on press plates which need no conventional processing. It GemPlate is imaged in the platesetter, but processed on press, and is reckoned to have a higher post imaging contrast that market leading alternatives.

Sakurai will equally present LED UV as a proven technology. The Japanese press supplier has multiple installations in the UK, some with more than one press. The Printers Superstore handles UK sales for Chinese made Hans Gronhi and Shinohara presses, with LED an option. The Chinese developer has recently introduced laser cutting catching a growing swell of interest in this technology.

The return of Konica Minolta ,/a>includes the AccurioPro C1100 and C71HC, its flagship toner press and the high chroma special machine that exceeds the gamut of four-colour litho and is high suitable for photo product printing.

The Japanese company introduced AccurioPro as the umbrella brand for its production print devices, including the KM-1 B2 inkjet press, during Drupa. It includes a service and support and consultancy packages.

There will be the first view of the SD513 inline stitcher as part if the Bizhub Press 1250e mono machine to deliver finished booklets. “We will talking to visitors about how we can help them to save money, increase profits add new services and improve productivity with our new Digital 1234 business development programme, and we are excited to talk more about how we are engaging with members of our newly launched European user group Prokom,” says UK market development manager Bernard Cassidy.

Xerox will be represented by its main UK dealer Xeretec which will be bringing two Versant machines and will have information and expertise on hand to discuss the iGen products. Ricoh, which attended the inaugural event, has other priorities this autumn.

There will be digital print technology too from Oki with the Pro Series machines. These feature the ability to print a fifth colour, white or clear toner being the most popular options, but a neon toner is also available. This is ideal for printing on transfer paper for garment decoration or other promotion applications where garish design is needed.

The Print Show last year was a first outing for Oki following its acquisition of Seiko’s large format display print division, consequently there were separate stands for the businesses. This time around the large format ColourPainters will be part of the Oki stand. Andrew Hall, Oki Systems UK marketing manager says: “We were very pleased at the success of last year’s show and have no hesitation in returning this year as we know that many professionals will be interested in the opportunities these new Oki printers present. Achieving high resolution full colour plus white is an advantage to any print or graphics business, as is the ability to print on garments and other substrate.”

Large format machines will also feature on Fujifilm’s stand, on Spandex, PrintMax, Colorbyte, and Grafitype. Antalis and Fujifilm will have substrates for inkjet printing while Premier Papers and Denmaur Independent fly the flag as paper merchants.

Developments on the finishing side will also included a number of UK debuts, including for Duplo, Horizon and Watkiss. This company is showing the PowerSquare 160 square backed booklet maker that was previewed at Drupa. Final adjustments, incorporated feedback from visitors have been included in the design which collates, stitches, folds and trims inline with print engines.

It is aimed at a user base that wants to deliver a quality product but which cannot justify the established PowerSquare 224. “The PowerSquare 160 complements our existing range.” explains Paul Attew, Watkiss sales director. “The established PowerSquare 224 may be the best solution for high volume production booklet making; but customers have asked us for a product that utilises the same technology, which is more suited to mid-volume applications.”

Morgana will introduce the latest versions of the best selling DigiFold Pro and AutoCreaser Pro machines. A key development of the DigiFold Pro 385 is a larger file and top sheet feeder together with a greater degree of adjustment. It takes a 450mm pile to match the increasing volume of digital print. “This is exactly what out larger customers have been asking for,” says VP sales and marketing Ray Hillhouse.

The same feeder is deployed on the AutoCreaser Pro 385 with the same benefits associated with a heavier duty machine, running at up to 8,500 sheets an hour.

The Horizon SmartSlitter will be the big draw for visitors to the IFS stand. This will enable IFS to compete head to head with Duplo in the multi finisher sector. The SmartSlitter can slit, gutter cut, edge trim, cross cut, crease and perforate in a single pass. It is a self adjusting system using cameras to pick out barcodes to move position to compensate for any image shift which can occur with digital printing.

The SmartSlitter is suited to both litho and digital work, taking a sheet up to 370x670mm and delivering a cut job of 50mmx50mm. It will take a sheet of 21 standard business cards, leaving these finished in the delivery. The company also promises to bring the AFC566FG folder, BQ470 four clamp binder and ever popular StitchLiner 5500.

For its part Duplo will feature the Multigraf CPC375 finishing unit, pitched to complement Duplo’s DC746/6x6 machines as a machine for less demanding environments.

Friedheim International’s presence will be led by the MBO 635 folder, supported by a Wohlenberg and Schneider Senatora guillotine and a Auditron shrink wrapping machine. Perfect Bindery Solutions will have box cutting as well as perfect binders to discuss among a portfolio that also includes laser cutting.

This leaves MIS, where Imprint MIS will face up to Tharstern, Accura, EFI and Clarity. The latter is expanding beyond its core large format market, targeting both digital and litho printers with an easy to follow system. Tharstern and Imprint are more sophisticated applications in operating in larger companies looking to automate processes.

However, what they have implemented in the large companies is of use to smaller print companies looking to increase productivity and cope with a growing number of smaller value jobs. Imprint will be linked to Ryobi and IFS stands to show how job tracking works in practice, while Tharstern will feature its imposition tool for coping with multiple jobs on a sheet.

Speaking for all exhibitors, Tharstern managing director Keith McMurtrie says: “The Print Show is going to be a great opportunity to catch up with our UK customers as well as make important new connections. We recognise the importance of supporting UK events and the printing and associated industries in general.”

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