News | New Products

Renewing CMM Enthusiasm


Renewing the enthusiasm the Converting Machinery/Materials Conference & Exposition once generated in years past was definitely an objective the show’s new owners tackled with its first edition under Pennwell management. Certainly the organizers took this task seriously, and for the most part, they were successful. Held June 4–7, the show was staged for the first time at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Ctr. in Rosemont, IL.

Let’s be honest though. With only a few exceptions, many exhibitions in the printing and converting industry have experienced an attendance downturn. As well, the converting exhibition that once was the “only show in town” has since been fractionalized into several shows—some into niche shows and others that directly compete.

Some argue there are too many exhibitions for an industry that continues to consolidate. One new show, called PackPrint, had been planned in conjunction with Graph Expo. Many breathed a sigh of relief when the organizers pulled the plug. When you consider how each of these shows has pulled away attendance from CMM, is it a surprise that the parent show numbers have decreased?

As well, to a degree, the Internet has changed the way people gather information. While an exhibition typically represents the best way to view working equipment, it is unfortunate some exhibitors that have complained for lack of traffic at the shows frequently are the very ones that also do not bring working equipment. In their defense, since the cost is so high to ship equipment, set up, and operate at a show that experiences less visitors with each succeeding edition, it can be described as a losing proposition—a vicious circle.

Conversely, why would a prospective attendee spend time and money to come to a show to see pictures, brochures, or videos of working equipment when they can find this information on a website? No, working equipment is key.

So I must give Pennwell credit for the effort expended to create a working atmosphere at this year’s CMM. The two new demo centers—one for flexible packaging and another for narrow and mid-web converting—unquestionably drew the crowds.

At the next show (slated for June 1–4, 2009, in Rosemont), I’m hoping both Pennwell and exhibitors expand the concept. Why not several flexible packaging and narrow to mid-web demo centers? While we’re at it, why not a folding carton and/or corrugated demo center with sheeters, die-cutters, hot-stamping presses, and all? Why not an RFID or heat shrink label demo center? What about an adhesive coating and laminating or extrusion coating demo center and more?

There were, of course, exhibitors that felt the show would have benefitted from more traffic. With an official tally of just under 7,000 attendees, however, according to CMM 20 of the top 25 converters were present at the show. Ken Fontaine of Amgraph Packaging, Versailles, CT, attended the show all four days and described it as “fantastic.” He literally went on a shopping spree, investing in a new Rotomec short-run gravure press at the show, a core cutter, viscosity measuring equipment, an adhesive laminator, and slitter. Michelle Fontaine, manager of continuous improvement, added the conference program helped them decide which equipment to purchase. What will the show offer in 2009? My guess is converters will renew their enthusiasm.

E-mail your feedback to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
To read more editorials by Yolanda Simonsis, visit our Editorial Archives.

Rollem Insignia6 Flexo-Magnetic Die Cutter runs inline w/ Chameleon folder/gluer

Message Board