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Going Wide in the Windy City

Graph Expo's Wide Format Pavilion exposes attendees to the largest output opportunities



In the midst of the all-encompassing 2007 Graph Expo will again be a familiar haven devoted to the ever-growing wide-format community: the Wide Format Pavilion. From print providers to software savants, the fifth-annual Pavilion will be serving up an impressive selection of exhibitors promoting large-format output.

This year’s show, held in Chicago September 9-12 and encompassing 460,000 sq ft, includes Graph Expo’s traditional components from prepress and commercial printing to business management, workflow, and more. The Wide-Format Pavilion itself will house about 24 companies, including some of the larger players in wide-format printers, inks, media, color-management solutions, RIPs, and finishing products.

If you pull out a map of the Graph Expo floor plan, you may be hard pressed to find the Wide Format Pavilion-it’s seemingly dwarfed by the rest of the show floor. But appearances can be deceiving: The relatively small space drew more than its share of traffic last year-and is expected to do so again. According to Sonia O’Donnell, business development manager for the Graphic Arts Show Company (GASC, which produces Graph Expo), audience-movement videos from last year’s show verifies that the Pavilion attracted attention: “The Wide Format Pavilion, even though it’s in the back of the hall, got higher numbers than the show’s other areas,” she says.

Some wide-format exhibitors are so confident from previous years’ Pavilion success that they are venturing awayfrom the Pavilion, instead setting up booths on the general Graph Expo floor, or double booking within and outside of the Pavilion. According to O’Donnell, it’s a mark of the Pavilion’s success that some exhibitors are moving onto the main floor, indicating that wide-format is integrating with other printing operations and attracting wide-format-based newcomers to the show. Other companies, such as Gerber Scientific, will be first-time exhibitors within the Pavilion.

Valuable ideas for expanding services


Juxtaposing the Pavilion are the Innovation Gallery and Wide-Format Theatre. The Gallery is a special section devoted to displaying final output from a variety of wide-format printers, as well as fine-art applications from artist Jackson Collins. Collins’ displays will include his colorful, musicallyinspired original paintings as well as digital- inkjet print editions of his fine art (see “The Self-Made Giclee,” p. 8).

For the novice wide-format print provider as well as shops that have previously delved into the market, the Wide-Format Theatre again will house free 45-minute seminars designed to educate attendees on the array of ever-changing wide-format issues. Newcomers to wide-format arena especially will benefit from the information provided in the theatre session, says O’Donnell: “They know how to capture, manipulate, color manage, design, and create a piece. They may not be familiar with the output device and the bigger problem of how to sell it [wide-format printing],” she says. Attendees will learn how to price and profit from their work, as well as educate themselves on the printers, inks, and media required for specific jobs.

And those attendees who already have experience in the wide-format arena will not lose out, says O’Donnell: “Initially we had a lot of sales and marketing, now it’s getting into a little more meaty subjects. I think anyone can sit down in the theatre and take away something, whether they’re new or have been doing this for a while.”

Here are just a few of the presentations that will be available to attendees; for the complete listing, including dates, times, and presenters, visit the show’s website. O’Donnell emphasizes that the presenters-comprising presidents and CEOs of printer OEMs and others in the wide-format field-will not be commercializing their products, but rather offering valuable ideas for expanding services.

Aqueous, Solvent, Eco-Solvent or UV Curable-Which is Right for You?: How to identify the proper ink type based on price, quality, durability, and final output; taking into consideration calibration, color matching, and on-screen color-tools. Kent Villarreal, director, workflow and wide-format analysis, BERTL.

Learn about UV Printers at the Source: Why You Should Visit Factory Demo Sites: The basic need-to-know information behind a wide-format printer purchase and how to obtain that information. Dr. Nicholas Hellmuth, director, FLAAR at Bowling Green State University.


Great Technology is Implemented by a Great Staff: Hiring and Retaining the Best: Discerning the best potential personnel for your business and how to obtain and retain those critical employees; presentation and interactive conversations with the audience. Arnold Kahn, president, PrintLink and Myrna Penny, managing director, PrintLink Canada.Opportunities in New and Unusual Textile Graphic Markets: A non-technical explanation of the widening array of print-worthy textiles. Mary Hennessy, vice president and publisher, Industrial Fabrics Association International (IFAI).

Evolution in Ink Jet Technology: Extensive coverage of the ink and curing technologies; trends in ink development. John LaFleche, executive director of advanced technology, Gerber Scientific Products.

The Role of Cutting/Routing Systems in the Digital Workflow: An overview of cutters and routers and why they are necessary; the hardware and software required for finishing. Pete Alsten, product manager, cutting systems, Zund America.

Maintaining Accuracy When Using Vision Registration to Cut Digital Graphics: How to recognize potential register errors; compensating for unanticipated errors. Stephen Aranoff, business development manager, Mikkelsen Graphic Engineering.

Beyond the pavilion

Keep in mind the Wide Format Pavilion is just one part of Graph Expo. The showalso has areas devoted to prepress, postpress, converting, mailing and fulfillment, and much, much more. Plus, keep these special areas and offerings in mind:


* Microsoft XPSLand will showcase the capabilities of the new XPS document format (see “Microsoft’s XPS File Format,” by Stephen Beals, June, p. 31). The showcase will include a run-live production of a Show Daily insert as well as on-demand applications using XPS. For more information, visit

* The Color Management Group (CMG), the San Jose, CA-based consortium of color-management consultants and integrators will debut its “Test Drive a RIP” program as well as “Ask the Expert” sessions. The “Test Drive a RIP” program will be led by Ron Ellis of Ron Ellis Consulting; “Ask the Expert” sessions will follow each Test Drive, providing an opportunity for the audience to query a panel of CMG members about specific technologies.

* A special “Books & Bound Documents Day” on Sunday, September 9, will showcase applications that demonstratehow digitally printed books and bound documents-from manuals and directories to training materials and consumer titles-can deliver new opportunities for print shops. Demonstrations will be supplemented by a series of interactive and hands-on educational seminars plus market-research presentations.

* Other educational opportunities are available through the Graph Expo site itself, outside of the Wide Format Pavilion. Most of these are paid seminars, and include: “Diversifying into Packaging,” “Disaster Planning for your Business,” “How to Set Up an In-house Design Area,” “Responding to Environmentaland Safety Compliance Requirements,” “Fulfillment: How to Get Started,” “Justifying Your Next Investment,” and others. Price: $125/seminar; $325/three seminars, $900/all-seminar pass (on-site registration).




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