posted on October 19, 2012 14:06
It is difficult to compete with the excitement and plethora of announcements unveiled at DRUPA, but as a North American print show GRAPH EXPO remains the center of gravity as a meeting point for document printing equipment and supplies manufacturers. Overall the mood was quite buoyant, with most digital printing equipment manufacturers expecting a year-end slightly ahead of 2011 in terms of unit sales. This is in sharp contrast to Europe, where all decisions on new capital investment appear frozen in time.
While we’ve anticipated this turning point for years, the virtual disappearance of offset presses on the tradeshow floor marked the end of an era. Gone are the loud mechanical clicking and clacking noises, the fumes from solvent cleaning rags, and the need for large amounts of floor space. Even the digital printing equipment suppliers brought little in the way of big iron—most are finding it more cost effective to fly well-qualified prospects to their sales headquarters rather than tying up resources in time and money needed to ship big equipment to the show floor.
Like the 35mm film industry, we all see a transition in revenues from analog to digital production printing. The reality is that the expenditures on digital printing equipment and supplies have already surpassed expenditures on offset printing—despite the fact that offset print still generates 96%+ of all document pages printed. GRAPH EXPO was illustrative of the power and desire for digital printing among commercial printers. In short, it may be a smaller show footprint-wise but it remains the single most important meeting point in the commercial print industry.