10 September 2017 Events

US show hopes shift will attract growing audience

Print 17 has opened its doors in Chicago, but what was once one of the world's largest print exhibitions, is struggling to find a reason for its existence.

With the introspection around the future of Ipex and conflict with the Print Show, it is easy to forget that the US industry will be queuing up for Print 17 n Chicago this week.

Once one of the big four global graphic arts exhibitions, alongside Ipex, the show is much reduced, confined to a single hall in Chicago’s McCormick exhibition centre where one it occupied three of the vast halls. Like Ipex, there will be few litho presses in operation (RMGT machines being the exception at both shows) and no presence from Heidelberg.

The largest spaces are filled by Konica Minolta, Canon and Horizon distributor Standard Finishing Systems. Ricoh, Screen followed by Fujifilm and HP comprise the next tier of the 500 exhibitor companies.

The organiser acknowledges the problem declaring that Print 17 is a new type of trade show, one where the educational content is as important and the stands of exhibiting companies. Thayer Long, president of organiser NPES (similar to Picon), declares: Print's theme is ‘Grow your business and that’s our promise to attendees. With all the ROI enhancing resources Print 17 has to offer, many of them free, there’s no way you’ll go home without something of significant value to the future of your business.”

The numbers that attend the annual North American trade show, GraphExpo as well as Print, have been falling in line with print industry exhibitions worldwide (with the exceptions of shows in China and Drupa). Last year the GraphExpo show headed to Florida in search of a new audience. Fortunately it returned to Chicago what is supposed to be a show attracting an international attendance.

The US shows have been at the forefront of educational content, many trade organisations using the exhibition to stage conference sessions and fringe networking events, something that Ipex has been developing for this year’s show.

If Print 17 is largely devoid of litho interest, there is a digital print presence with toner presses, large format inkjet and inkjet for commercial printers.

The Fujifilm JetPress 720 along with the Screen Treupress Jet 520HD, Ricoh ProC4000 and Xerox Trivor underline the progress of inkjet and are machines that are unlikely to be seen at the upcoming UK shows. Trans Atlantic visitors will be few compared to a few years ago when hundreds of Europeans, visitors as well as exhibitors were trapped by the 2001 9/11 terrorist attacks.

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Can Chicago show succeed?

Can Chicago show succeed?

Print 17 is searching for a new identity, not unlike Ipex, as it opens for business this week. Traditional exhibitors have cut their spending and the major product introductions are thin on the ground. Instead the organiser is hoping for success with conference, seminar and networking content.

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2014: Ipex pips Print 17 as visitor attraction

2013: Chicago prepares for low-key Print 13