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Graph Expo 2008

Technology exhibits, educational sessions, and more in Chicago.

Even in a Drupa year, such as this one, Graph Expo is the place to be when it comes to press, pre-press, and post-press technologies and imaging products. Running October 26-29 at McCormick Place in Chicago, Graph Expo features 600-plus exhibitors in more than 450,000 square feet of space; last year more than 20,000 persons attended. The majority of show exhibitors are companies involved with prepress and commercial printing to business management and workflow.

And, as in the past six years, the show will again feature a Wide Format Pavilion, with at least two dozen exhibitors whose focus is on printing large. A mere six years ago, the first Wide Format Pavilion was just a 30 x 40-foot space with five exhibitors. This year, the pavilion will occupy almost four times that area at 40,000 square feet and counting (the space was still growing at press time). Current pavilion participants include Mimaki, Gerber, Zund, Nazdar Source One, Xaar, Island Clean Air, Vidar, The Big Picture (a pavilion sponsor), and others.

"Wide-format imaging has emerged from being a specialty segment to a fully integrated, vital, and growing element of both Graph Expo and the graphic-communications industry," says Ralph Nappi, president of the Graphic Arts Show Company (GASC), owner of Graph Expo. "And with the plethora of cutting-edge wide-format equipment and technology to be found here, the Wide Format Pavilion remains a powerful place for attendees to visit and gather new ideas for business success."

It’s worth noting, however, that not all of the familiar names in wide-format are housed in the pavilion. OEMs such as Gandinnovations, for instance, have outgrown the pavilion: "We began in the Wide Format Pavilion with a 20 x 25-foot booth in 2003 and have grown so much that this year we were forced to leave the Pavilion for a 40 x 110-foot booth on the general show floor," says Cory Brock, marketing director for Gandinnovations.

In the past, visitors to Graph Expo enjoyed the Innovation Gallery and Wide Format Theatre, both components of the Wide Format Pavilion. However, says Sonia O’Donnell, new business development manager for GASC, "For the past couple of years we’ve seen many of our wide-format exhibitors produce galleries of their own which rivaled or surpassed the Innovation Gallery."

"And our attendees, having been introduced to the technology through the Wide Format Theater, were looking for more in-depth information than we could provide in 45 minute on-the-show-floor sessions," she continues. So resources previously earmarked for the Innovation Gallery and the Wide Format Theater have been redirected to new opportunities for show goers such as the Future Print area (more on this later).

Expo education
Beyond the show floor, Graph Expo offers more than 70 educational sessions for participants. Sessions of interest to print shops focused on wide-format include:

Color Management Tips ‘n Tricks for Digital Printing: Find out if color management is one-size-fits-all, if "standard" ICC profiles for SWOP can be used on digital presses, and how to manage color so it will print on both types of devices. Julie Shaffer, director, Center for Imaging Excellence, PIA/GATF.

A Hard Look at Soft Proofing: Discover benefits and limitations of soft-proofing systems, focusing on how you can: calibrate your monitor, annotate proofs, collaborate with customers, create proofs on your server, enable client sign off, track proofs, and verify the status of the person viewing it. Abhay Sharma, School of Graphic Communications Management, Ryerson University.

Color Measurement Mastery: How to Avoid the Pitfalls: Learn the differences between densitometry and spectrophotometry, common measurement errors that get printers into trouble, and practical procedures that should be routinely followed. Eric Neumann and Greg Radencic, PIA/GATF.

New Dimension in Flatbed Solvent and UV Inkjet Printing: Learn about the solvent and UV-curable machines on the market and how to choose the right printer for your facility, as well as trends in solvent and UV-curable printers. Nicholas Helmuth, FLAAR.

Selling Digital Print at the Corporate Level: Insights into the motivations and decision-making process used by executives as well as tactical and strategic recommendations on selling to this audience, suggested issues to lead with, and hot buttons to avoid. Brad Lena, senior technical consultant, PIA/GATF.

Time-Busting Techniques for Streamlining Digital Photography Workflow: Improve your photographic techniques and workflow, discover tools and techniques to help you work better and faster, and how to setup and maintain your digital camera to avoid avoidable fix-ups in Photoshop. Douglas Ford Rea, professor at RIT.

Lean & Green: A Straight-Talk Tactical Plan: Explore the basics of lean manufacturing and sustainable, green printing to help turn business and environmental challenges into opportunities for improved processes, less waste, better customer service, and enhanced profitability. Gary Jones and Ken Rizzo, PIA/GATF.

Branding Strategies: Nine Dos and 1 Don’t for the Digital Age: The digital age has not only changed the way we do business, but how we market ourselves. Learn how to maximize new marketing techniques such as an effective website to attract customers that are suited for your company. Rhona Bronson, senior vice president of marketing, NAPL.

Note: Most of these are paid sessions. On-site registration: $150 per session; $350 for three sessions; $999 for an all-session pass.

Niche-finding
Beyond the Wide Format Pavilion, the 2008 edition of Graph Expo will offer additional niche areas of special interest, including:

* Future Print: RFID and printed electronics technologies will be the topics of this new booth (4087). The Future Print booth will feature live demonstrations, free training programs, short educational presentations, and opportunities to meet and talk with industry experts. Visitors to the booth will also be able to register to win one of more than 1000 prizes, including the grand prize of a Nintendo Wii Friends Bundle. RFID as well as printed-electronics technologies show the potential to have a major impact on the printing industry. While RFID tags, generally used to track and trace goods in distribution channels, currently comprise of a metal antenna and silicon chip, the technology is now in place to print these tags directly on various items.

* XPS Land Showcase: Will highlight the capabilities of the Microsoft XML Paper (XPS) document format. The showcase is designed to educate the graphic communications industry about what XPS is, inform visitors where they can purchase the technology to implement XPS, and demonstrate how these tools fit into their workflow.

* The Mailing & Fulfillment Center: Showcasing the latest equipment and software in the mail-processing and fulfillment side of the business.

* Print Buyers Forum: Titled "Beyond Survival: How to Thrive in Today’s Business of Print Buying," this is a 2-day event designed specifically for experienced print buyers interested in the latest technology and new media-and how these will impact their company. With morning sessions and time in the afternoon to visit the floor, this forum will focus on new technologies, applications, and trends in print manufacturing. Specific session titles will include: "Technology for the Serious Print Buyer," "Print Buyer Brainstorming," "The State of Graphic Design and Production," "Maximizing the New Media Potential," "Print Buyers Speak Out," and more. Price: $299.

GRAPH EXPO
www.gasc.org

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