Graphics of the Americas 2002: Business Heats Up in Miami

MIAMI BEACH, FL, USA—The first industry trade show of 2002—not necessarily an enviable position to be in, especially considering all the business and world woes in 2001. It seems, however, with the onset of the new year and its first printing industry trade show, business is heating up. It may not quite be at a rolling boil, but according to companies like Heidelberg, Flint Ink, and Mark Andy, strong attendance and promising sales and sales leads may be a sign of an improving economic situation.

Show sponsor and organizer PAF (Printing Association of Florida) points out several factors that explain the event's strong showing, despite recent economic turmoil in North America and abroad. "As the first major printing, converting, and graphic arts show of the year, many buyers have a brand new budget for purchases and acquisitions," reports Chris Price, VP and GM for GOA 2002. "As a result, we always have strong sales," he adds.

In addition, says PAF, GOA has a unique dual market, reaching buyers in both North and Latin America. "This diversity means a strong market in one region can offset economic turmoil in another, practically guaranteeing that exhibitors reach a large number of qualified buyers." PAF says the show drew 22,101 graphics arts professionals, "in a year when other shows were struggling to find an audience." Adds the association, "Attendees were able to visit 552 exhibitors representing approximately 1,500 different companies, occupying nearly 1,400 booths at the 27th annual show."

Flint Ink at the Show and Beyond
Three weeks out, it's a bit easier to assess the impact and success of attending a trade show. But even during the event, the trade show floor was abuzz with the talk of the strong attendance. PFFC met with Flint Ink on the show floor. "This is a lot of people here. Even better is the fact that everybody that comes here, most of these people are traveling [away from their home country]," says Fernando Távara, VP of sales and marketing, Flint Ink Latin America.

And for Flint Ink Latin America, the opportunities at GOA are just the beginning. "[Latin America has] a growing population, a very young population," says Dominique Marchand, marketing coordinator, Flint Ink Latin America. "In addition, education is starting to become important—therefore there's the need for all the paper and books. Everything is increasing, everything with the [progressing] social life. Like I was saying to someone else, 55 percent of people are 15 years and younger in South America, in Brazil, for example. And the education [level] is increasing by about 20 percent, so these are people are starting to read. Incomes also are growing, so now people can afford to buy magazines, newspapers, etc. When printing goes up, ink usage goes up."

And Marchand says it's not just commercial printing that can benefit from Latin America's budding markets. "It's about 40 years behind North America [in terms of progressive growth]. Up until recently, women did not work, they were at home, and they didn’t have the money to go to the supermarket to buy clothes and products. They grew their vegetables," explains Marchand. "Now, women are adapting because they’re starting work. They go the supermarket where they buy packaged products. Five years ago, ten years ago, the supermarket [as we know it in North America] did not exist in South America." Marchand believes there'll be tremendous growth in Latin America, estimating a 300% increase within the next three years in the packaging realm.

At GOA 2002, Flint Ink Latin America announced an agreement with Tensor Group, Inc., a provider of web offset printing presses, and showcased its Gemini and Matrix UV ink systems as well as its Optimiser ink-dispensing system. More information about Flint Ink and these products can be found by visiting flintink.com.

A Mark of Success
Mark Andy, Inc. (St. Louis, MO), reports a successful show at GOA 2002. According to the company's show release, "[The company] sold three presses during the show alone. With interest in flexographic printing and technology increasing at Graphics of the Americas, signs are evident that sales will continue to be positive and grow for Mark Andy."

At the three-day event, Mark Andy says it featured a 10-in. (254 mm) Scout, the latest addition the Mark Andy product line. "A traffic stopper," reports the mfr., "[the] six-color Scout was printing and converting a champagne label with hot foil stamping, all in line." More information about the Scout and about Mark Andy, Inc./Comco can be found at markandy.com.

Demos All Around
Though the days trade shows full of fully operational hardware may be behind us (at least in recession times), GOA did feature demonstrations of recent industry developments that reveal how software can help your print operation. For example, Creo Products, Inc., demonstrated its Networked Graphic Production system at the show.

Says the company, "This exciting initiative integrates the power of Creo technology, including Prinergy and Brisque workflows with Synapse InSite and Synapse Prepare software, to help printers reduce cycle times, minimize errors on press, and deliver quality printing faster." Says Larry Letteney, Creo Americas president: "This tools of Networked Graphic Production bring together creative professionals, print buyers, and printers and reduce the number of manual steps in production. The process can streamline our customers' workflows and make a positive impact on their business operations." More information about Creo can be found at creo.com.

Man Roland demonstrated its software and hardware at GOA this year. The DICOpress, "a key member" of Man Roland's family of digital printing solutions, and PECOM, the company's command-and-control system, were among the manfacturer's products showcased. In addition, the company says the MAN Roland 500, a new 29-in. packaging press, also was highlighted. More information about Man Roland and its products for the package-printing industry can be found by visiting manroland.com.

PRINT: The Orginal Information Technology
In addition to the strong attendance, beautiful Miami weather, and promising business outlook, Graphics of the Americas also provided the venue for the launch of an mportant industry awareness campaign. PIA (Printing Industries of America), GATF (Graphic Arts Technical Founation), and PAF (Printing Assn. of Florida) say "Print: The Original Information Technology™" campaign is a consolidated effort to unit an industry and champion the value of print among the general public. Following is the information released by the organizations, which can be found at gain.net.

Without print, other revolutionary information technologies (such as the telephone, the television, the computer, or the Internet) could have been invented. Yet a major study by the British Printing Industries Federation of the public's opinion of print confirmed suspicisions—print media is not as well perceived as other media.
"Repositioning print media as an integral part of the information technology—or IT—sector of the US economy wil be a main objective of this campaign," says Ray Roper, president of PIA, at the campaign launch, February 2, 2002, at the Graphics of the Americas show in Miami Beach, Florida. He continues, "It will also focus on positioning print with some specific audiences who are important to our industry, such as our lawmakers. This awareness and positioning will be achieved through the consistent use of the campaign theme and logo by print media companies and the associations that represent them over an extended period of time."
Everyone Aboard
Print: The Original Information Technology, or Print IT, can be supported by every segment of the printing industry—sheet fed or web printers, gravure, flexographic, or digital printers, even textile printers. In the past, numerous specialty niches with differing messages proved to be a challenge in presenting a unified message. Under this campaign, which is applicable to all, the vast numbers and diverse businesses are opportunities to raise the frequency of the message and reach numerous audiences. Initially, PIA has called upon 26 industry organizations to adopt the campaign. "We need everyone's help to provide a consistent, coherent message promoting print media to the average American," says Roper. "Our advantage is having no less than an army of communicators—1.2 million employees in nearly 46,000 facilities nationwide—rather than a handful of large companies only contributing funding toward an awareness campaign."

Companies and national, regional, and local associations affiliated with print media interested in becoming involved with the Print IT campaign can visit gain.net for initial information.

More on this year's 2002 Graphics of the Americas can be found by going to graphicsoftheamericas.com.



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