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Graph Expo-What a Difference a Few Years Make!

Posted: October 10th, 2010 in

I traveled to Graph Expo last week.  For those of you that don’t know, Graph Expo is the major printing trade show in North America and it is held in Chicago every October.  When I first starting going to Graph Expo 11 years ago I was so enamored with all the “iron” on the show floor.  Everything about the show centered on offset printing.  Digital was a novelty.  There were usually a dozen huge offset presses running that churned out a rhythm of industrial music as they printed thousands of sheet of samples.  It always felt like money was being printed with all the excitement.  I remember talking to the technicians operating the equipment and asking them how long it took to ship the giant presses to Chicago and get them operational.  They told we they started the process months before the show.  Well this year is the first year that there was not one major offset press on the show floor (I think I did see one small 4 color press somewhere).  Heidelberg, the biggest and oldest press manufacture in the world did not even bother to attend the show.  No, this year’s show was all about digital.  HP Indigo occupied the booth that was Heidelberg’s for many years.  Even the sounds of the show floor were different….a lighter digital printing sounds versus the heavy beat of the offset presses.  So here we are 11 years later and digital printing has changed the face of the industry.  And it will continue to change as digital presses continue to evolve.  We are seeing more and more inkjet technology being employed in most of the new presses.  The good news is that in this age of being environmentally responsible, digital printing is much more of “green” than traditional offset printing.  Those giant offset presses I remember at Graph Expo use to have huge waste bins that were constantly being carted off with “make ready” sheets (the paper used to get the press printing up to full speed that were not usable).  Today digital printers have no or very little “make ready” and the inks they use for the most part don’t contain to VOC’s (volatile chemical compounds) found in most offset inks.  So change is good!  Digital printing allows our customers to print only what they need in smaller quantities, with less waste and faster turnaround.  Digital printing also makes variable data printing possible where every printed document contains a personalized message to the recipient.  So whether it’s a postcard, brochure, flyer, booklet, invitation, business cards or any other rush printing product, Influence Graphics digital printing facility can product high quality, overnight printing for customers in the New York City metro area.

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