The Print Show continues to attract a viable audience. Numbers were slightly down at first appearance compared to 2018, but the value of the visitors was up. The tyre kickers simply did not show.
However, the idea of bringing in celebrities for book signing on each of the three days worked. Explorer Ranulph Fiennes was followed by TV personality Greg Wallace and then boxer Chris Eubank, each posing for photos, walking the floor and signing books. The jackets for the books were personalised, printed digitally on a Fuji Jetpress at Emmerson Press and by the large format Acuity that Fujifilm had at the show.
The star launch was that of the HP Stitch 1000, HP's first dye sublimation printer which attracted attention throughout the three days. HP's VIP stand tours ensured a steady flow of interested visitors. The 3.2 metre wide printer uses HP's thermal inkjet heads to print to transfer paper before belong applied to polyester coated substrates. The first of the machines has been installed at Manchester Print Services while a further four UK customers are close behind.
Mimaki introduced a new version of the JFX200 flatbed printer on a stand which the supplier had tried to fill with as many devices as possible. And alongside the entry level Epson dye sublimation printer and Morgana’s new booklet maker, the show offered Xeretec space to show off the Xerox DC60 with ability to print white, clear, gold and silver toners as well as CMYK.
The entry level device sat alongside the Iridesse which had received its first UK outing at the Print Show in 2018. As well as the Xerox digital printers, there were Ricoh machines on the Smart Print stand, but no Canon nor Konica Minolta printers. The latter had an area on the IPIA arena where its demonstrated its AR technology used to bring static print to life through links to video and other web based content. “It’s a means of getting a consumer from A to B without having to go through G – Google,” said a spokesman.
HP had a second stand where it displayed its Vortex 3D printers and samples of jobs produced on them. There was a steady flow of printers and designers intrigued by what is possible in the field of medical appliances, including a vast pile of 3D printed teeth used instead of tram-track braces to help straighten children’s teeth. Of more interest to printers is the ability to print promotional items in four colours using the inkjet heads to colour the plastic powder that is fused to produce the item.
Riso gave prominence to the first showing of the Vazelus T2100, its 320ppm duplex inkjet printer. This is as much a statement of the company’s intent to make its mark in production print as a new name for the flagship ComColor printer. The new machine comes in two versions, one with a Rip for a PDF workflow, the other kitted out for an AFP/IPDS workflow.
This version of the printer will ship to first customers in the first part of next year. Options will include multiple feed and delivery bins and a reel sheeter to exploit the Riso robustness in a dependable production printer. While there is no announced street price, it will, says Riso, “be very well priced against the Xerox alternatives” – the Rialto and Brenva.
The Vazelus is not outwardly flashy. And that applies to the whole event. The Print Show does what it claims: presents a range of equipment and options for printers to help develop their business. There was plenty on the software front, from Tharstern, Imprint, Accura and Keyline MIS, to Workflowz’s range of workflow enhancing applications and VPress and other web to print packages.
There was various options on textile printing, choices on trade printing where Solopress had for the first time committed to a stand while Bluetree returned with updates on progress of its Landa installation.
And there were the multiple small stands offering the sort of services and products that might easily be overlooked in a larger show. It means that the Print Show this year justified its place. Next year, in the wake of Drupa, the organiser may have a tougher job. This year exhibitors had little time to moan to each other. There were visitors to talk to.
By Gareth Ward