On Your Mark, Get Set, Print!

While Chicago is hosting its annual marathon, the graphic communications market is experiencing its own “marathon” as GRAPH EXPO 2012 opens today. Over the next four days, there is something for everyone to learn, with more than 50 seminar sessions from which to choose, among some 20 educational categories.

Education takes place at exhibitor booths, too. Staff members are poised to demonstrate the latest technology. For example, EFI (Booth 2000) was awarded a handful of 2012 MUST SEE ’EMS awards—more than any other company—prior to the show’s opening. Its DSFdesign Studio for EFI Digital StoreFront and PrintFlow Dynamic Scheduling are two of the five award-winning products being highlighted.

Digital printing, workflow, and packaging solutions from Kodak (Booth 1221) have been recognized with a trio of MUST SEE ’EMS as well. Its NexPress Gold Dry Ink is a metallic sparkle effect using gold-tinted ink. The Kodak InSite Prepress Portal System, version 6.5, a Web-based management system, makes it easier for print buyers, prepress operators, and service representatives to submit jobs, proof and approve work, track progress, and collaborate on changes. The latest version includes an application that allows users to do so from an Apple iPad tablet. The Flexcel Direct System uses energy-efficient, high-power laser engraving to produce press-ready elastomer sleeves with increased production throughput.


Does your badge look differnt?

The Graphic Arts Show Company (GASC), which produces GRAPH EXPO, is practicing what it preaches. In keeping with this year’s “Print Integrated” theme, GASC is employing RFID technology to track traffic to show floor sections and pavilions, measure attendee duration on the show floor, and assist vendors in determining interest in their booths.

“Printed electronics are being touted as the next big thing, and we plan to put this particular RFID technology to good use,” says GASC President Ralph Nappi. “With the global market for technologies such as RFID expected to reach $24 billion by 2015, this is the perfect venue to both acquaint attendees with the technologies and to use them in a practical application.”

The beta program involves adding small RFID tags to each attendee badge, which allows traffic to be tracked when entering and leaving the show and when attendees visit various sections of the show floor. The RFID data is connected to registration data to provide reports to GASC in real time and to ensure accurate post show data.

The RFID tags, readers, and reports are provided by AllianceTech. Registration data and integration is being furnished by Convention Data Services, which specializes in event registration support and exhibitor lead retrieval services. Other examples of RFID applications and printed electronics, along with a live “Experiential Lab,” can be seen in the Future Print section (Booth 3457) sponsored by FlexTech Alliance.


Vertical market penetration

Agfa Graphics (Booth 627) is demonstrating its storefront product within :Apogee Suite 8.0, its prepress workflow designed to help optimize the production processes in offset, digital printing, and/or hybrid printing environments. It lets firms target various markets with Web-to-print applications, offering the ability to set-up multiple Web-to-print stores targeting specific business customers.

It features other tools created to facilitate interaction with customers. Among the innovations is preflight that offers improved color management, making adjustments should the output target change. A customer profile wizard generates the optimal calibration profiles for any substrate. The end result is consistent color output over different media types, regardless of the output device.


Better package printing

CGS-ORIS (Booth 432) is showing a renewed focus on packaging. “The packaging industry has potential for growth, but it has to deal with critical color issues in an increasingly competitive digital market,” says CEO Trevor Haworth. “Just as we helped publishers and commercial printers thrive in the midst of this kind of change, so too, we are helping every member of the label and packaging supply chain, from designers, to brand managers, and service providers.”

One development from drupa, ORIS XG Inks, are a new, extended-gamut eco-solvent ink set that includes orange and green. XG Inks give design and prepress firms the opportunity to prototype work just the way it will print. Managed by CGS’ ORIS Color Tuner // Web software, the combination of Roland VersaCAMM VS and ORIS XG Inks opens up a world of new possibilities.

CGS’ RealPro Packaging Suite, is an Adobe Illustrator-based workflow system and 3D visualization environment for labeling and packaging PSPs. As part of this suite, the RealPro Toolkit automates the label and packaging production process and reduces costs.

In addition, the booth features CGS’ approach to cross-fleet color management. ORIS technology has achieved success, most recently at Anderson/LA, a Consolidated Graphics company, where it was successfully used to unify color output over multiple devices, including proofing on Epson devices as well as printing on HP Indigo, EFI VUTEk, and offset. Also at the show, CGS partner Xerox (Booth 1200) unveils its Confident Color program, which features ORIS Press Matcher // Web for assuring consistent color on any digital press—even devices in multiple locations or from different manufacturers.


Mail-related services

Pitney Bowes (Booth 1238) is showcasing presort advantages, showing printers who mail how to achieve more by doing less. Its First-Class Mail and Direct Mail services provide postal savings and improved delivery.

Adding Standard Mail Drop Ship capabilities with a Pitney Bowes sorter can expedite direct mail delivery. The combination of lower costs, greater control, and quicker in-home dates can help grow customer business—and yours.


Bringing interactive print to life

Every printed page of this month’s Milwaukee Magazine is interactive, offering engaging reader experiences for editorial and advertising content, thanks to proprietary Actable technology from Quad/Graphics. The “Best of 2012” issue features 146 image recognition and augmented reality experiences that the publication’s more than 200,000 readers can launch on their Actable-enabled smartphones and tablet devices. Readers can go behind the scenes of a music studio, see a 3D gold watch pop off the page, hear the restaurant critic narrate dining listings, and kick extra points on a virtual football field.

“Quad/Graphics is leading the charge to be a technology integrator that will help our clients make print even more powerful in today’s multichannel media world,” says CEO Joel Quadracci. “Our goal was to show the many creative ways that interactive print can be used to produce even more engaging and powerful reader experiences.”

Linda Lundeen, Milwaukee Magazine Associate Publisher, adds: “Advertisers in the magazine showcased a variety of applications, including shopping guides, on-page videos, 3D renderings, social media sharing, photo galleries, and special offers. Advertiser interest was strong with many advertisers making commitments above and beyond their regular insertions. For example, 23% of advertisers purchased additional ad insertions in the issue, and 15% upgraded to full ad pages from partial ad pages.”

A video preview of the interactive issue is posted on the Milwaukee Magazine website. Quad/Graphics also has a video overview of interactive print solutions for publishers on its website.