After 27 years in the Paper Industry, I’m getting a first-time look at what was formerly called Graph Expo by attending Print 17. The event is held at McCormick Place, North America’s largest Convention Center. It’s bigger than many of the towns listed in your road atlas. If you are under the age of 40, make that your parent’s road atlas.

General overall impressions of the exhibition floor are that a number of supplemental businesses to the print industry becomes impressive when gathered in one space. The digital print age continues to unfold with the major OEM’s well represented with equipment that puts variable data on paper and equipment that can put variable data on a variety of substrates. It’s opening up new possibilities for companies to promote their brand with more customized packaging.

Print 17

While the advancement of digital printing continues to unfold, there are also developments in other components that give Print Service providers efficiency of operations or enhanced capabilities. Here are a few that were caught my eye while perusing the exhibition hall.

1) Digital Inks Unlimited has developed a product line of inks known as x-nano that can be used for digital printing and surface treatments. INKcrypt Ink is used for ultra-secure, anti-counterfeit inkjet printing. This ink provides documents with a unique DNA-identity that can positively differentiate between original and copy. They have developed another product that produces invisible images only detected by UV or IR light.

2) Press room humidification systems are more affordable than I realized. For those who print in dry climates or experience a change in pressroom conditions when the winter furnace dries out the air, companies like Smart Fog offer direct space humidification. These humidifiers generate fog that moistens the air without creating condensation on surfaces. Systems start at under $2,000 and can allow your press room to maintain recommended relative humidity levels 24/7.

3) Software is available to digitize guillotine cutter to make the finishing piece of a print job more efficient. Scissor Hands offers a cloud based program which converts layouts into cut programs. The highly efficient layout your prepress system generated won’t get bogged down with increased finishing work. It provides automated cut programs directly into the unit bypassing manual adjustments. It also has a video display board to show the operator the next step in the cutting sequence.