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GRAPH EXPO 14 Provides Stage for Technology Introductions


Held Sept. 28-Oct. 1 at Chicago’s McCormick Place, GRAPH EXPO 14 offered attendees an in-depth look at new technologies for the print finishing industries. From MUST SEE ‘EMS award-winners to newly introduced diecutting systems to machinery sold before it left the show floor, industry suppliers filled the tradeshow with postpress equipment that will make an impact.

Verified attendance for this year’s event totaled more than 19,000, which was an eight-percent decrease from the prior year. However, travel woes may have been to blame for the lower attendance totals after an FAA fire impacted thousands of flights. A frequent topic of conversation, many attendees had tales of delayed or rescheduled travel arrangements. According to Ralph Nappi, president of the Graphic Arts Show Company, which hosts GRAPH EXPO each year: "The show’s success, measured by increased leads and orders over the last GRAPH EXPO, would have been noteworthy, but the number of stories of persistent efforts and the creative ways attendees used to get to Chicago further highlighted the value and significance the show holds for our industry and its leaders."

Exhibitors were equally as pleased with the show. Michael King, president/CEO of Eagle Systems, said, "We got what we wanted: customers! With plenty of high-quality customers and having sold a machine here, we’ve had an excellent show." Ellen Manning, Eagle Systems’ vice president of sales and marketing, agreed, sharing, "We’ve enjoyed solid traffic flow throughout the show, and what was even more interesting was the number of prospects that were seeking us out."

Scodix Marcom Manager Ela Bukshpan echoed the sentiments, saying, the "Scodix booth was crowded with companies seeking new ways to differentiate themselves and take advantage of innovative opportunities in the print marketplace. It was a very good show for us!"

Variable Book Production System is an award-winner

Among the technologies introduced by companies of interest to readers of InsideFinishing were four MUST SEE ‘EMS competition winners. "The MUST SEE ‘EMS competition is an annual highlight at GRAPH EXPO and PRINT," said Nappi. "To make that elite list is a great achievement, and to then be selected as a ‘Best of Category’ winner is an even greater honor." In the Postpress and In-line Finishing division, MBO America brought home the Best of Category distinction for its Variable Book Production System. The system is capable of producing variable page-count books consisting of different signatures printed on the same roll.

Standard Finishing made a splash with its own award-winner, debuting the Horizon RD-4055 diecutter. Also selected as a MUST SEE ‘EM award winner, the RD-4055 creases, perforates, slits, hole punches and round corners various substrates up to 0.019" thick (diecutting only) for digital and offset printed sheets. Feeding, diecutting and separating are achieved in one pass at a speed up to 6,000 cycles/hr. According to George Vergilis, director of sales for Standard Finishing Systems, "A uniquely designed servo motor-controlled ‘Repeat Register’ feature allows multiple-up applications from single-up die to minimize die cost." Vergilis added, "Its simple and easy operation reduces costly labor steps and increases productivity, plus there are no steel rule or mechanical dies." Specially designed to meet the growing demand for short-run diecut products, the system features easy changeover and simple operation via touchscreen controls.

Also winning MUST SEE ‘EMS were MGI USA Inc. for its JETvarnish 3D "T2" and Scodix for the Scodix Ultra Pro Digital Enhancement Press. The JETvarnish 3D Evolution T allows MGI’s UV coater to get more powerful. The new field upgradeable option allows for either the doubling (T2) or the tripling (T3) of production speeds, giving the JETvarnish 3D the ability to digitally emboss up to 300 microns in one pass on formats up to 52x105cm (20x40"). A new barcode reaction camera system will allow JETvarnish 3D users to digitally emboss or spot varnish variable data by reading printed barcodes and recalling the correct images in the workstation to varnish on the fly.

The Scodix Ultra Pro is engineered with the speed of the Scodix Ultra (up to 1,250 B2+ sheets per hour), but additionally is equipped with controls enabling operators to switch between multiple polymers for varying applications and effects. Scodix Ultra Pro also is the first system to feature Scodix Spot™, a polymer that produces a spot varnish for short runs. Scodix Spot digitally recreates the effect of traditional flat varnishes without the setup time or mess. 

Systems for finishing and mailing on display

Rollem International brought excitement to the show floor with the official debut of the Delta Die Cutter. Ideal for labels, gift boxes and personalized packaging products, the Delta Die Cutter performed at the show by cutting and blanking a 13x19" sheet with a two-up layout of a personalized playing card box. This sheet-fed flexo-magnetic rotary diecutter diecuts and creases with 100-percent sheet-to-sheet registration. With quick job changeover, ease of operation and versatility, the equipment now is available in three sizes, including the Delta 5 model for 20x15" sheet size, the new Delta 6 model for 24x24" sheet size and the Delta 7 model for 30x24" sheet size.

From Duplo, the UD-300 On Demand Die Cutter produces a variety of custom-shaped pieces, retail packages, labels and folded boxes on demand. Designed for use with flexible dies, the UD-300 performs multiple cuts, slits, slit-scores, kisscuts, perforations and window punches on a range of paper stock up to 14x20" at 3,000 sheets per hour. Compact in size and easy to use, the UD-300 provides a cost-efficient solution with fast die changeover and set up times – making it a great solution for the graphic arts and packaging market. The new, optional Separator and Conveyor Unit automatically removes the waste of each sheet. The photo-eye sensor ensures only the finished pieces are neatly stacked onto the conveyor for faster productivity.

Masterwork USA displayed its MK21060SER Duopress automatic platen foil stamping and diecutting machine with stripping, which is the latest of six Duopress models. The 1,060x760mm Duopress MK2 1060 SER has the ability to foil, emboss, diecut, strip, blank and handle product collection at 12,000 impressions per hour – all with one operator. It offers increased efficiency through the use of a unified centerline system for diecutting and stripping, while also saving foil and providing precise foil feeding.

Kluge exhibited new features related specifically to package converting with the Kluge ComFold. The ComFold is a completely modular system and the only folder-gluer in its class with a modular alignment system, modular pre-break device, interchangeable bearing bed transports, automatic belt tensioning, modular auto-lock bottom device and interchangeable vacuum transports. Kluge CEO Michael Aumann was quoted as saying "As the digital print market continues to evolve, there is a growing demand for converting equipment that matches digital print formats and workflows. The Kluge products at Graph Expo represent powerful solutions that can address challenges that printers and converters face each day due to the unique nature of digitally printed packaging products."

B&R Moll, Inc. highlighted its Premier 36 System, designed to perform complex folding and gluing tasks on larger-format (36" wide) print media. "Our Premier 36 System enables printers to automate complex folding and gluing processes on large-format pieces with an in-line capability," said Kevin Moll, regional sales manager for B&R Moll, Inc. Also from B&R Moll, the Moll Plus Mailing System and its inline scoring feature with built-in alignment was on display, as was the Vantage 720 in-line folder-gluer system, with its 30,000-piece/minute throughput capacity and quieter, belt-driven operation.

Many other new technologies were showcased as the industry continues to expand and adjust to the potential created by digital printing. The community will come together again for GRAPH EXPO 15, which is set to take place Sept. 13-16, 2015, at Chicago’s McCormick Place.