Technology Raid Ipex-Style

Ipex kicks off next month in the UK. Though she won't be swinging from the rafters, the event's digital emissary, Ipexia, promises a venue filled with a jaw-dropping amount of technology.

Lara Croft meets the graphic arts world equals Ipexia. If you haven't seen this divine digital lady, you have now. And you will again if you're heading to Ipex next month in the U.K.

Ipexia is the digitally created cyber-guide meant to lead you through Ipex, The Intl. Exhibition for Print, Publishing, and Media. Slated for April 9-17 at the National Exhibition Ctr. in Birmingham, Ipex officials report the show is on course to deliver an array of exhibiting companies and products that even tomb-raiding Lara Croft would have a difficult time tackling.

According to show organizer IIR Exhibitions, this year's event is on schedule to occupy two more halls than Ipex 1998. “Ipex 2002 already spans 85,000 square meters, making it 10 percent larger than the previous event. Over 600 stand holders are booked, and more than 1,500 companies are exhibiting,” reports IIR.

In addition to the extensive industry representation confirmed for the event, IIR reports a number of new exhibitor- and visitor-driven initiatives at Ipex 2002, including Converflex@Ipex, a dedicated event for converting and flexo technologies; PrintCity, the strategic cooperation of companies within the graphic arts industry (with more than 40 members); and Xerox's “Future Print Now.”

Attendees looking to expand their career horizons may want to attend “Vision.” Running in conjunction with the main trade show event Monday, April 15, and Tuesday, April 16, Vision is a stand-alone dedicated exhibition and seminar program “designed to introduce the many exciting industry opportunities to students. It also will offer recruitment opportunities and training solutions to those already in the industry who want to move up the career ladder or acquire new skills.”

Wading the Technology Sea
Whether you're planning on attending the show or not, you can check out what Ipex has to offer by visiting; according to IIR Exhibitions, all the major features and exhibitors have been allocated space, and the final schematic of the hall configuration is available on this site.

In the following, PFFC provides our own mini-preview of some of the exciting new developments you can check out while roaming the expanses of the 15-hall show. It's a small sampling, but a good indication of what Ipex 2002 will offer.

Rich Rogals, sales manager at Paper Machine Converting Company (PCMC), Green Bay, WI, reports PCMC (hall 19, stand 415) will be on hand at Ipex to answer questions about its brand of gearless technology, its “state-of-the-art” flexo printing technology, the Infiniti, the Avanti, and the new Infiniti II.

Rogals believes Ipex is important not only for the event's myriad visitors, but, he says, the show acts as a barometer for the North American-based manufacturer. “[Exhibiting at Ipex] is a continued investment in the global marketplace; trade shows are a good way of taking a snapshot of the industry, this one of the European market specifically. It also provides a venue for discussion about the various needs in different countries. Attending gives us a great understanding of what's occurring in the global marketplace, and we want to continue to invest, despite the sluggish economy.”

Rogals does point out, though, that recent developments may be indicative of an economic healing on the short horizon. “There's still that feeling of, ‘We're not out of this yet,’ but we see it picking up, so that's a good sign. We figure our clients are still looking to meet specific needs.”

PCMC, says Rogals, is striving to meet those needs with its gearless press technology as well as its overall progressive machine design.

“We're starting to focus more on a very modular, flexible design package. We're taking some of core technologies, like the gearless Infiniti press, and asking the question, ‘How do we make this machine more palatable to a larger market share?’ In other words, it has to be modular in design, and it has to be flexible enough to meet clients' changing needs. That led us to the Infiniti II. We'll continue on those types of developments.”

Valmet Converting will be showcasing a wide range of technology at Ipex 2002. The company says it plans to have “a major presence within the new Converflexo@Ipex section in hall 19 (stand 217).

Valmet's equipment demos will include the TSK (twin synchronous knife) sheeter and Titan SR7 slitter. In addition, the new Rotomec 700 SL/SB Series laminator for flexible packaging materials will be operating.

For more information on Valmet, visit the company's Web site (listed in supplier information).

A Prepress Perusal
Prepress technologies also will be highlighted at Ipex. Creo Products Inc. (formerly known as CreoScitex) says it will “feature a bold new look” under its revamped name. Creo reports it “will demonstrate how Networked Graphic Production can enhance packaging productivity and on-demand printing.”

Among the components of Creo's Networked Graphic Production is the new Synapse family of software tools. According to Creo, this system connects all participants in a job cycle, which ultimately results in more efficient and effective production.

In addition, Creo says it will unveil its “Value in Print” initiatives, which will benefit European converting operations. These services reportedly will help European Creo users maximize the return on their Creo prepress investments. Creo also says Ipex will mark the debut of its “hottest” new digital imaging technology. Visit Creo at stand 650.

Also showcasing prepress abilities at Ipex will be Presstek, demonstrating technologies in both DI® (direct imaging) and CtP (computer to plate). The company says its DI-enabling capabilities will be displayed at its own stand (hall 4, number 870), but it also will be featured in many of Presstek's partner booths, including Heidelberg (hall 8, stand 110); KBA (hall 12, stand 140); Ryobi (hall 10, stand 430); and Sakuai (hall 9, stand 220.) Presstek says its Dimension CtP and Anthem thermal plate CtP solutions also will be shown in the Presstek, KBA, and Sakuai booths.

Global Graphics will be showcasing a number of its prepress capabilities at Ipex. Flexo converters may want to check out the company's (Global Graphics Hardware) latest hardware — upgrades to the high-performance Photomeca Profile flexo plate-processor line.

Inspection Reflection
Advanced Vision Technology (AVT) will show its full range of new and established solutions in automatic inspection systems (AIS) for web applications. Among AVT's inspection highlights: the PrintVision/Apollo-Label solution. This system, says AVT, delivers 100% inspection for label production. “It inspects narrow web products and labels visually and can be integrated with a rewinder and other finishing equipment to form a combined AIS, or it can be mounted on the press.”

AVT reports Ipex visitors also will be able to examine the company's pRegister solution. “This register pre-setting [function] closes the loop with machine vision capabilities and enables printers to bring presses into register rapidly, while saving time and expensive substrates.”

And that's just the beginning. Ipex attendees will find much more intriguing and cutting-edge technology at the international show. But before you get there, log on to Here, Ipexia can prep you for the event with the site's bounty of information, which includes an A-Z exhibitors' list, floor plans, accommodation listings, and even social suggestions.

PCMC, Green Bay, WI; 920/491-6637;

Valmet, Bedford, U.K.; +44 123 4852553;

Creo Inc., Burnaby, BC, Canada; 604/451-2700;

Presstek Inc., Hudson, NH; 603/595-7000;

Global Graphics Hardware, Waltham, MA; 781/392-1600;

Advanced Vision Technology, Hod-Hasharon, Israel; +09 761 4450/44;

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