20 November 2019 Events

The Print Show: short, sweet and to the point at NEC

The celebrities came, printers came and those exhibitors present gave a thumbs up to the Print Show this year. In an industry bereft of places to gather and meet peers, the need for the exhibition continues.

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. And the result was that the organiser could report a bunch of happy exhibitors, many of whom will be back next year.

So too will one of the key successes from this year. The idea of bringing in celebrities for a book signing on each of the three days worked. Ranulph Fiennes was followed by Greg Wallace and then 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 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 where the supplier had tried to fill with as many devices as possible. It reports “terrific interest” in the SWJ320EA super wide format solvent printer as well as the CJV300Plus printer/cutter which made its UK debut.

The show offered Xeretec space to show off the Xerox DC60 with ability to print white, clear, neon, 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 it 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 amid samples of jobs produced on them. There was a steady flow of printers and designer 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.

On the finishing side, Morgana introduced the BM5050 and BM5035 booklet makers. The sleek appearance is standard for both models, one able to handle 50 sheets, the other limited to 35 sheets. Both will deliver A4 landscape products from printed sheets to 620mm in length. And both can deliver square back stitched products. There are also options on two or four stitching heads, and a corner stapling option.

The unit is fully enclosed when running. It is operated though a touch panel display, which can make adjustments on the fly and can switch the viewing glass on and off. In normal operation the glass is frosted over, when the operator needs to watch the machine working, the glass becomes clear.

The feature prevents sensors being triggered by a source of light inside the factory which can trip the machine.

Morgana is taking orders for first shipments at the end of November from entry level of £13,990, increasing with the addition of two or four IFS stitching heads and styles of feeder.

This has a barcode reader to deliver variable content products without a change in speed. It will cope with a greater range of substrates that can be printed digitally.

Ray Hillhouse, general manager, UK operations for Plockmatic, says: “Customers are demanding more media versatility from digital print, and Morgana needs to be equipped to follow that demand. This latest range of Morgana products have been designed from the ground up to work with today’s coated, uncoated and textured paper stocks.

“Both product ranges incorporate true stapling for high-quality stitching from spooled wire, providing some 50,000 stitches per spool.”

Morgana will badge the models that are for online operation. Versions that run inline with digital presses will be branded as Plockmatic.

The company demonstrated a full range of products at the NEC show, including the Digibook binders, the Mohr guillotines that it has recently taken on, and a standalone trimmer that uses the same core technology as the new booklet maker to deliver side trims and a fore edge trim that is absolutely square.

Print Show regular Vivid Laminating unveiled the Veloblade, a small format cutting and creasing table that is designed to be used for cutting small batches of cartons. “It opens another little niche market in creating personalised and bespoke boxes,” says a Vivid spokesman.

The unit is a clear partner for the Matrix metallic, the laminator with foil application head, cutting out blanks from the printed and foiled sheets. Cameras are used to pick up registration marks and ensure that the cutting head is moved into the correct position for the start of the operation.

The feedback for the £24,000 machine was immediate with first orders taken during the event.

At perhaps the other end of the technological scale, Epson dealer Colorbyte received strong interest in using the com­pany’s SCT 3200 610mm inkjet printer to produce ­separated film that can be used for flexo plate making, producing die plates, screens and even in some applications, news­papers for example, litho plates.

The set up achieves the right optical density, says Bill Tucker, for these applications of around 2.2-2.4 DMax and 1.5 DMax UV density. “There are still a lot of printers who require film separations,” he says. And registration is 0.1mm, well within tight tolerances needed working with options for the Rip, including a stripped down version of one from Harlequin costing £695, says Tucker.

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 Baltoro.

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 were various options on textile printing, choices on trade printing where Solopress had for the first time committed to a stand while Bluetree returned and was able to provide 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. It is taking two halls at the NEC and starting the show on a Sunday, running from 27-29 September. This year exhibitors had little time to moan to each other. There were visitors to talk to.

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The Print Show

The Print Show

Ranulph Fiennes discusses his book on day one of the Print Show, before walking the floor and posing for photos. He was followed by Greg Wallace and Chris Eubank in a highly popular celebrity author spot introduced this year.

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