GRAPH EXPO 14 Provides Stage for Technology Introductions

by Dianna Brodine
More than 19,000 people attended GRAPH EXPO 14 in Chicago.

From Sept. 28-Oct. 1 at Chicago’s McCormick Place, GRAPH EXPO 14 offered attendees an in-depth look at new technologies for the print finishing industry. From MUST SEE EMS award-winners to newly introduced diecutting systems to machinery sold before it left the show floor, industry suppliers filled the tradeshow with postpress equipment that will make an impact.

Verified attendance for this year’s event totaled more than 19,000, which was an eight-percent decrease from the prior year. However, travel woes may have been to blame for the lower attendance totals after a fire at the Federal Aviation Administration’s Chicago control center impacted thousands of flights. A frequent topic of conversation, many attendees had tales of delayed or rescheduled travel arrangements. According to Ralph Nappi, president of the Graphic Arts Show Company, which hosts GRAPH EXPO each year: “The show’s success, measured by increased leads and orders over the last GRAPH EXPO, would have been noteworthy, but the number of stories of persistent efforts and the creative ways attendees used to get to Chicago further highlighted the value and significance the show holds for our industry and its leaders.”

Variable Book Production System is an award-winner

Among the technologies introduced by companies of interest to readers of The Binding Edge was a MUST SEEEMS competition winner from MBO America. Best of Category honors were announced opening day of GRAPH EXPO 14. Chosen from among all 2014 MUST SEE EMS winners, these technologies represent the cream of this year’s technology crop in the graphic communications industry. “The MUST SEE EMS competition is an annual highlight at GRAPH EXPO and PRINT,” Nappi said. “To make that elite list is a great achievement, and to then be selected as a “Best of Category” winner is an even greater honor.” In the Postpress and In-line Finishing division, MBO America brought home the Best of Category distinction for its Variable Book Production System. The system is capable of producing variable page-count books consisting of different signatures printed on the same roll. Also in the MBO America booth was the IBIS Smart-binder Plus HS, a digital saddlestitching system with new features that included higher booklet production throughput and ISG cold gluing for “stitchless” booklet production.

Many new technologies were showcased at GRAPH EXPO 14 in Chicago.

Standard Finishing made a splash with its own award-winner, debuting the Horizon RD-4055 diecutter. Also selected as a MUST SEE EM award winner, the RD-4055 creases, perforates, slits, hole punches and round corners various substrates up to 0.019″ thick (diecutting only) for digital and offset printed sheets. Feeding, diecutting and separating are achieved in one pass at a speed up to 6,000 cycles/hr. According to George Vergilis, director of sales for Standard Finishing Systems, “A uniquely designed servo motor-controlled “Repeat Register” feature allows multiple-up applications from single-up die to minimize die cost.” Vergilis added, “It’s simple and easy operation reduces costly labor steps and increases productivity, plus there are no steel rule or mechanical dies.” Specially designed to meet the growing demand for short-run diecut products, the system features easy changeover and simple operation via touchscreen controls.

Visitors to the Duplo booth were able to preview the upcoming DFS-1500 Booklet System. Incorporating the slitting and creasing functions of the DC-445 Creaser with the stapling, folding and trimming capabilities of the DBM-150 Bookletmaker, the DFS-1500 provides an all-in-one solution for full-bleed bookletmaking. Equipped with the Isaberg Rapid Stapler and staple cartridge, the DBM-150 Bookletmaker produces high quality, stapled applications. Each cartridge holds 5,000 staples, and wear parts are replaced each time the cartridge is changed out.

Efficiency advances were on the menu in the Muller Martini booth. Two new products were introduced for book production, with both scheduled for availability in 2015. The AMS Adhesive Monitoring System employs a laser to measure how much glue has been applied and whether there are any adhesive application irregularities. This allows the operator to fine-tune glue quantity during actual production. The other new offering, the Dynamic Thickness Stitching Head, offers the ability to adjust to variable product thicknesses on the fly, a significant benefit for those producing personalized or customized products with varying numbers of pages or thicknesses.

C.P. Bourg announced the compact Bourg BB3202 PUR-C binder, with an innovative Nordson gluing system that remains fully closed while dispensing the perfect amount of PUR glue to the milled book block. Isolating the binding process from the work environment prevents vapors from escaping and air from compromising the remaining adhesive. An automatic cleaning cycle makes it easy for the operator to purge old glue just once at startup and quickly resume production. In addition to the savings achieved by eliminating waste, the efficiency of the gluing system reduces operator costs and production time, dramatically reduces the release of harmful volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into the air and eliminates the need for an on-board venting system. The new binder produces perfect-bound volumes at a peak rate of 350bph, depending on press speed, from digitally-printed content and covers.

Systems for finishing and mailing also on display

GRAPH EXPO 14 offered attendees an in-depth look at new technologies, as well as an opportunity to connect with industry professionals.

Rollem International brought excitement to the show floor with the official debut of the Delta Die Cutter. Ideal for labels, gift boxes and personalized packaging products, the Delta Die Cutter performed at the show by cutting and blanking a 13×19″ sheet with a two-up layout of a personalized playing card box. This sheet-fed flexo-magnetic rotary machine diecuts and creases with 100-percent sheet-to-sheet registration. With quick job changeover, ease of operation and versatility, the equipment now is available in three sizes, including the Delta 5 model for 20×15″ sheet size, the new Delta 6 model for 24×24″ sheet size and the Delta 7 model for 30×24″ sheet size.

From Duplo, the UD-300 on demand diecutter produces a variety of custom-shaped pieces, retail packages, labels and folded boxes on demand. Designed for use with flexible dies, the UD-300 performs multiple cuts, slits, slit-scores, kiss cuts, perforations and window punches on a range of paper stock up to 14×20″ at 3,000sph. Compact in size and easy to use, the UD-300 provides a cost-efficient solution with fast die changeover and set up times – making it a great solution for the graphic arts and packaging market. The new, optional Separator and Conveyor Unit automatically removes the waste of each sheet. The photo-eye sensor ensures only the finished pieces are neatly stacked onto the conveyor for faster productivity.

B&R Moll, Inc. highlighted its Premier 36 System, designed to perform complex folding and gluing tasks on larger-format (36″ wide) print media. “Our Premier 36 System enables printers to automate complex folding and gluing processes on large-format pieces with an inline capability,” said Kevin Moll, regional sales manager for B&R Moll, Inc. “Previously, many of these types of jobs could only be accomplished by hand, so the Premier 36 folder/gluer represents a real efficiency boost for finishing shops.” Also from B&R Moll, the Moll Plus Mailing System and its inline scoring feature with built-in alignment was on display, as was the Vantage 720 inline folder-gluer system, with its 30,000-piece/minute throughput capacity and quieter, belt-driven operation.

Rollem’s booth also showed the Mailstream, an all-in-one machine for high-value direct mail finishing. It packs nine finishing functions into one system to deliver cutting, scoring, perforating, gluing, folding and tipping – all in one pass. It’s easily customizable to run inline with digital presses or as a nearline solution.

Cutting through the crowd

Colter & Peterson’s technology offerings found new homes as the Saber® X15 paper cutter that was on display in the booth was sold to a printer in Jacksonville, FL, and a 30″ Prism® paper cutter was committed to a company in Kansas. The Saber X15 paper cutter on the floor at GRAPH EXPO 14 included a Microcut 15″ touchscreen, automatic knife adjustment, a new hydraulic system and cut optimization.

In addition, “We were peppered with a lot of questions about the B-65 paper cutter/clamp control system that we also featured,” said Bruce Peterson, president of Colter & Peterson. “It’s a simple solution that updates any flywheel cyclical paper cutting machine to current standards with new technology, including Microcut PLUS WS.”

Many other new technologies were showcased as the industry continues to expand and adjust to the potential created by digital printing. The community will come together again for GRAPH EXPO 15, which will take place Sept. 13-16, 2015, at Chicago’s McCormick Place.