IGAS 2015 at the impressive and visitor-friendly Tokyo Big Sight location was a comprehe- nsive technology show with a good mixture of ready-to-buy high technology equipment and live demonstrations of several products that are likely to come into series production and sales in the drupa year – 2016. There was also a good mix of prepress software, hardware, printing, decorating, and converting hardware – all aimed at increasing efficiency and automation.
This was one of the best shows that one has attended for digitally enabled decoration and decoration techniques designed for short-run output from digital presses. Moreover, there was a strong emphasis on packaging with at least four diecutters on show, including the Apressia on the Komori stand (a rebadged version of the Bobst Eterna). The diecutter on the show floor is evidence of Komori’s stated philosophy to provide workflow solutions and consumables in addition to the KM-1digital press from Konica Minolta that it is rebadging as the Komori Impremia S29 and demonstrating live at IGAS. Notably, Komori is also partnering Land a and will show the sheetfed 40-inch packaging press with Landa’s technology at drupa in May 2016.
Three ofthe four corners of IGAS were anchored by Japanese heavyweights – Komori,RMGT (Ryobi-Mitsubishi Group Technology) and Konica Minolta. The fourth corner was well occupied by HP which held its Dscoop event alongside the show. Between these four corners there were major equipment demonstrations by Fuji, Canon, Screen, Miyakoshi, Sakurai, Horizon, Ricoh, Epson, Hell Gravure, Taiyo, Iwasaki, Muller Martini, Yoshino, Uchida and many others including Toyo Ink and Michelman in the inks and coating categories.
For packaging printing the technologies and equipment on show were both flexo and digital label presses from HP and Taiyao and the webfed offset UV flexo press from Miyakoshi printing on flexible packaging. Goss showcased its V-Pak series offset flexible packaging press which has not yet been sold in Japan with samples on substrates as thin as 12 microns. As many flexible packaging runs also require shorter run-lengths, the variable sleeve offset press makes sense although the uptake is slow as printers are reluctant to move from the tested and tried gravure and flexo methods. Nevertheless the offset for flexible packaging concept was echoed at the Miyokishi stand with its live demonstration of an arrow web offset press printing on flexible materials. However, many exhibitors faced the problem of having to be in two places at once with some flying off to Chicago for Graph Expo and others flying off to Mumbai for the Elite flexible packaging conference.
Fuji at its stand showed its flexo digital imager where the output hardware is a rebadged Hell flexo digital system but the company was highlighting its prepress software and workflow and its digital flexo plates.
The sheetfed offset presses demonstrated live at the show were mainly from RMGT, Komori and Sakurai. The RMGT presses at the show included a new 37-inch size to accompany their successful 36-inch press. It also presented a 40-inch packaging press – a 6-color with coater using LED systems for both interdeck and end of press curing. The fully integrated line of Ryobi and Mitsubishi multicolor presses now have a similar look and incorporate the mutually advantageous technology feautures including the large console displays, remote maintenance modules and UVcuring systems of both. The rolling shutter system to enable true non-stop evacuation of piles at the delivery was also demonstrating. The RMGT 40-inchand above sizes will start impacting the Indian monocarton market in the coming months as some serious potential buyers develop their understanding of all the automation
features and gain further confidence in Provin, the company’s distributor in the country.
Komori also highlighted its packaging press at IGAS but the overwhelmingly Japanese visitors at the show seemed at least outwardly, more interested in its ImpremiaS29 inkjet UV press. In addition, Komori exhibited an auto platen diecutter at its stand – an indication that it sees itself as a complete solutions provider from workflow to converting and even consumables for the monocarton packaging segment. Sakurai showed a sheetfed offset press at IGAS and again this 5-color plus coater LED-UV press was aimed not only at decorating commercial print with UV varnishes but also toward the packaging market. Sakurai also showed its automated silk screen press in the decoration segment that it dominates globally.
Packaging was also a prevalent theme for the digital presses at I GAS. Both Komori and Konica Minolta presented packaging print demonstrations as did HP with its web fed digital label press and reel to label converting using the AB Graphics equipment.
The four auto platen diecutters at IGAS were the highly automated Sanwa Exseli, shown with a semi-automatic chase lifting system; the Nikko diecutter; the Komori branded Apressia auto platen and the Masterwork diecutters now distributed by Heidelberg. However, the dominant theme at IGAS, which applies to speciality packaging and converting was about UV varnishing and foil decoration. There were a number of solutions meant to create special effects with UV coatings and cold and hot foil including the MGI 3DS solution at the Konica Minolta stand and the Scodix display which is at the Screen stand.
In-line finishing and automation is a trend that conventional offset printers need to pay attention to. Of course at IGAS, they had to first tear themselves away from the numerous value add decorative and enhancement solutions provided by UV coatings and foiling. Even Heidelberg which with an aval theme was present next to Ricoh, demonstrated a 60-year-old automatic single sheet letterpress decorating coffee filters with gold embossed print.
With an original estimate of 75 Indian visitors to IGAS on the first day, the numbers seemed to increase on each subsequent day. It’s likely that including the Indian distributors, agents and representatives, the Indian numbers may have reached from 250 to 300 at IGAS 2015.