It is against this backdrop that Igas 2003 will take place next month under the slogan, "Towards the Future of the Print Media." Organisers are encouraging companies which are developing new technology for the next generation of the graphic arts industry to contribute to the event’s ’new technology’ flavour.
Along with the development of digital technology within the graphic arts industry, print is expanding its domain and is starting to overlap and merge with information technology.
According to Igas organisers, this has encouraged the growth of new buds on the graphic arts tree and it is these new buds that are being encouraged to blossom at the show.
Igas 2003 takes place from September 22 to 28 2003, and will be open between 8am to 5pm daily at Tokyo Big Sight, Tokyo, Japan.
Organisers are expecting 150,000 visitors to attend Igas this year amid more international promotion than ever of what used to be an event for mainly Japanese. Igas (which stands for International Graphic Arts Show) has invested heavily into making the event more international and is expected to attract 20,000 overseas visitors this year, four times more than attended the 1999 event. Many of those international visitors are expected to come from the Asia Pacific region.
In addition to demonstrations of new and powerful solutions for printer, Igas will present a series of keynote lectures on the future of the printing industry. A special exhibition zone and seminar programme will address the issues of "Standardisation of Color and Technology", "Ecology in the Graphic Arts Industry" and "New Technology for the Print Media".
Also taking place for the first time during Igas this year will be the 1st World Printing Technicians’ Conference (WPTC). Organised by the Japan Federation of Printing Industries (JFPI), WPTC will also be held at Tokyo Big Sight from September 24
Igas has attracted more than 370 exhibitors, not only from Japan, but also some of the world’s best-known printing technology vendors. Australian Printer talked to a number of suppliers about Igas and some of the strengths of Japanese technology which will be demonstrated in Tokyo next month.
The Currie group has long been associated with a wide range of Japanese companies, supplying almost two generations of Australian printers with productive and profitable printing technology from companies like Shinohara, Akiyama and Hamada (offset and small offset presses), Horizon (finishing equipment), Shoei (folding machines), Itoh (guillotines), Akira (forms presses) and more.
One of the stars of the Horizon line-up, the Stitchliner 5500, will be on show at Igas. The 5500 was demonstrated on the Currie booth at PrintEx 03 and introduced a new concept in booklet production, merging the simplicity of flat sheet collating with the high productivity and quality finish of saddle stitching and three knife trimming.
With an output of 5500 booklets per hour, the StitchLiner is ideal for short- to mid-range production runs. Its simple, icon-based touch screen provides for quick and easy set-up of the finishing sections with full automation and its scoring and plow-folding capabilities ensure tight folds and booklets finished flat.
Off-line signature folding is completely eliminated and the 5500’s space efficient U-shaped system allows for easy running and monitoring of the complete system by a single operator.
Currie general manager, Bernie Robinson, believes that Japanese manufacturers have been very responsive to the input of end-users and agents. "Senior executives including equipment designers from both Shinohara and Horizon visit Australia at least once a year," says Robinson. "They come to talk to us and especially to our customers about how their technology is being received and how it can be improved."
Supported by responsive Japanese principals, the Currie group lays claim to having achieved virtual dominance in the lucrative A3 market, with a variety of solutions from prepress, through the pressroom to the bindery.
Being in a position to offer its customers a host of complimentary printing solutions, the company has become ’supplier of choice’ for many Australian printing companies, to the extent that the production areas of some printers look like a de-facto Currie showroom with virtually every machine bearing the distinctive blue and white Currie badge.
CPI Graphics represents a number of Japanese manufacturers including Komori which, since its establishment in 1923, has specialised in the development of printing presses. Responsible for many innovations in press design, Komori celebrates its eightieth birthday this year and recently opened of its fourth major production facility, in the city of Tsukuba.
"Our concepts begin with the ideas of our users, and all our efforts are aimed to satisfy our customers," says president, Yoshiharu Komori, explaining his company’s philosophy.
In Australia where Komori is well known for the efficiency and reliability of its presses, the Lithrone L26/28 series is recognised as a benchmark automated half-size press, with more than 550 print units with automatic plate changer having been installed by CPI during the last ten years.
Komori’s recently released LS series is a completely new 40 inch press design which is now setting a standard for performance in the A1 size.
Also represented by CPI, Osako was founded in Tokyo early last century, as a manufacturer of book-making machines, specialising in wire stitching equipment. Fifty years ago it began developing automatic saddle-stitching machines and the company has grown to be one of the world’s largest manufacturers of saddlebinders.
Renowned for its reliability, derived from solid build quality and careful design Osako has been a pioneer in the introduction of automated set-up functions operated from a touch screen panel. But whilst introducing new technology, Osako has retained popular features from previous models, such as tilt-back feeders which allow hand feeding of very difficult sections at any position on the gatherer.
Japanese products have always been an important part of the range of pressroom consumables stocked by J L Lennard since the establishment of the company’s Graphics Division in 1976. In its early days, the Graphics Division was built around two very successful Japanese companies, Fujikura and Katsura.
Fujikura was the largest blanket manufacturer in Japan with a reputation for quality and consistency brought about by its substantial investment in R & D facilities for continuous product development and improvement in products for the sheetfed, heatset and newspaper segments. At PrintEx 03 during May, Lennard launched Fujikura’s latest sheetfed blanket technology, Supaprint SF-50.
Katsura, once the largest roller manufacturer in Japan, also manufactures New Mol dampener covers, wash-up blades and some specialised press chemicals including Maticlean, the first product developed specifically for the cleaning of continuous dampening systems.
J L Lennard has continued to add to its range of quality Japanese products. In 1987 ICP Film from Shinoda was launched with a classic half page black and white ad in this magazine which stated simply, "At last... bye, bye, ink smears". The latest version of this very successful product, Super ICP Film was released in 2002.
During the late 1990s, J L Lennard became the agent for Osaki’s Dryup range of patented spray powders from Osaki. Osaki is dedicated to the manufacture of vegetable-based spray powders which are friendly to people, the working environment and the press.
Notably, Osaki is run by a woman, Mrs Osaki, which is rather unusual in Japan where males have traditionally dominated at most levels of management.
In 1991 the Graphics Division of J.L.Lennard was formed into a separate company, J L Lennard Graphics and six months later a joint venture was started with Katsura for the purpose of marketing and selling Katsura rollers in Australia. In August 2000, an agreement was reached between Katsura, J L Lennard Graphics and Brissett Rollers for the manufacture and marketing of Katsura rollers in Australia by Brissett.
In 1995 Lennard Graphics moved into the plate market with a dealership for the Toray Waterless offset plate and the long awaited launch of Toray’s CTP waterless plate in Australia took place at PrintEx 03.
J L Lennard general manager, Norm Fizell, has a great admiration for the vision and ingenuity of the Japanese companies his company represents and credits much of Lennard’s recent growth to the strong relationships built over many years with those progressive companies.
Not all exhibitors at Igas are Japanese companies, and many international suppliers, such as Agfa, Creo, Esko-Graphics, Heidelberg and Goss Graphics built up strong market positions in Japan.
On Booth E-3-09 at Igas, Agfa will showcase some of its solutions including the new :Sublima cross-modulation screening technology, and the 8-up :Xcalibur45 and large format :XcaliburVLF thermal platesetters, both of which feature the advanced Grating Light Valve high-definition imaging system for improved press performance.
"As a world leader in CtP, CtF, film and plates, digital proofing and workflow productivity, Agfa has the experience and breadth of technology to help printers, whether commercial, packaging or newspaper, to achieve their goals," says Agfa’s Australian marketing manager, Garry Muratore. "With solutions for small, single operations, or companies with multiple production sites, Agfa can offer the right solution to meet current and future needs, whatever they may be."
Visit www.i-grafix.com/igas for more information about the exhibition including a list of exhibitors and a programme of events.