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Graph Expo 2008

(August 2008) posted on Mon Aug 11, 2008

Technology exhibits, educational sessions, and more in Chicago.

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By Peggy Middendorf

Even in a Drupa year, such as this one, Graph Expo is the place to be when it comes to press, pre-press, and post-press technologies and imaging products. Running October 26-29 at McCormick Place in Chicago, Graph Expo features 600-plus exhibitors in more than 450,000 square feet of space; last year more than 20,000 persons attended. The majority of show exhibitors are companies involved with prepress and commercial printing to business management and workflow.

And, as in the past six years, the show will again feature a Wide Format Pavilion, with at least two dozen exhibitors whose focus is on printing large. A mere six years ago, the first Wide Format Pavilion was just a 30 x 40-foot space with five exhibitors. This year, the pavilion will occupy almost four times that area at 40,000 square feet and counting (the space was still growing at press time). Current pavilion participants include Mimaki, Gerber, Zund, Nazdar Source One, Xaar, Island Clean Air, Vidar, The Big Picture (a pavilion sponsor), and others.

"Wide-format imaging has emerged from being a specialty segment to a fully integrated, vital, and growing element of both Graph Expo and the graphic-communications industry," says Ralph Nappi, president of the Graphic Arts Show Company (GASC), owner of Graph Expo. "And with the plethora of cutting-edge wide-format equipment and technology to be found here, the Wide Format Pavilion remains a powerful place for attendees to visit and gather new ideas for business success."

It’s worth noting, however, that not all of the familiar names in wide-format are housed in the pavilion. OEMs such as Gandinnovations, for instance, have outgrown the pavilion: "We began in the Wide Format Pavilion with a 20 x 25-foot booth in 2003 and have grown so much that this year we were forced to leave the Pavilion for a 40 x 110-foot booth on the general show floor," says Cory Brock, marketing director for Gandinnovations.

In the past, visitors to Graph Expo enjoyed the Innovation Gallery and Wide Format Theatre, both components of the Wide Format Pavilion. However, says Sonia O’Donnell, new business development manager for GASC, "For the past couple of years we’ve seen many of our wide-format exhibitors produce galleries of their own which rivaled or surpassed the Innovation Gallery."