Print 17, held in Chicago Illinois, spanned five days of education, networking, and an up-close look at the latest innovations and technologies for the graphic communications industry. People from all sectors of the industry and the globe came together at this event for the unveiling of new technology solutions, the latest software, and unique new applications. Elanders’ employees have attended the expo for over 20 years and you can imagine the changes we have seen across that time. Rob Johnson, Digital Color Print Operator, who has been attending the show since the 1990’s expressed, “the square footage of utilized show space has reduced over the years as equipment has become more technologically advanced and processes have become more streamlined and integrated.” Another veteran operator, Beth Sawdey, Digital Color Print Operator, agrees, “I watched a machine demonstration that took five individual steps that used to take hours, and roll them into a single 2-3 minute process on one machine. What a huge savings of time, cost, and effort.” There were many crowded demonstrations of print engines like a fabric screening machine and color printer that utilizes a blending reservoir to achieve a more consistent combination of ink. I think Rob was a bit shocked when the item that caught his eye was not a print engine but a case binding machine that embossed custom one-off books that worked, oddly enough, in the same fashion as the good old typewriter.One group was very impressed with a packaging machine that printed, die-cut, and folded almost any size and color product. “The machines used to produce these packages were fairly simple, but effective and extremely efficient. As a person attending for the first time, the amount of equipment being demonstrated in all facets of printing was striking. It was all so interesting and a wonderful experience,” commented Randi Toft, Logistics Assistant.For a newcomer to Elanders and to the industry, Kelly Green, HR Manager, comments, “It was staggering to see the wide array of products that print impacts. I saw printing applied to a cell phone case and then to a golf ball, huge vibrantly colored posters, and boxes. And then there’s the technology and software that runs all of this. For myself and for our employees, it was eye-opening to see the depth of our industry.”When asked what was the highlight of the show, no one could single out just one item. “It is hard to pick a single highlight because every time I walked by a new exhibit it showed me just how far printing has come” says Dave Hantz, Submitter. “We do impressive things here at Elanders, but attending the show allowed us to see where the industry is heading.”The exciting show-going experience can be summed up best by Raejean Schroeder, Utility Finishing Operator, “as a famous person once said ‘I don’t think we are in Kansas anymore’ pretty much describes how it feels when you first walk onto the exhibit floor. The different technologies, the many countries that were represented, and the nice people who answered all our questions. Wow, what a great time!”
Check out all the great pictures from the show on our Facebook page!