From the Editor: In-plants at the Expo
Wow, what an Expo! I just returned from Atlanta where I spent three action-packed days on the floor of PRINTING United Expo 2023. There was so much happening I can’t believe I fit it all in.
I moderated panel discussions, did video interviews of managers, visited countless vendor booths, recorded a podcast, and still managed to hit the show floor happy hours to network with in-plants. I even rode the modified golf carts that transported attendees across the vast exhibit hall — and I really needed the rest; my step counter app told me I walked seven miles every day of the show.
I had a lot of great conversations with in-plant managers about their efforts to improve their shops and add services. Frank Oliver, supervisor of print at DCMO BOCES in Norwich, New York, told me his shop added an inkjet press and prints lots of student curriculum materials, newsletters, and even hard cover yearbooks. The in-plant also prints vehicle graphics and has plans to expand its wide-format business. He was at the Expo looking at production color equipment and small-format flatbed printers.
Christopher Donlon of Kohler Co. told me he was looking for automated bindery equipment at the show as well as a perfect binder so his in-plant can bring more high-end perfect-bound marketing materials in-house. He’s also keen to replace his shop’s aging wide-format printer and build a new wide-format business from the ground up.
Al Goranson, director of print and mail at Western Carolina University, said his shop prints and installs vehicle wraps for buses and trucks, a skill his staff learned at a Roland vehicle wrap school. His team handles all graphics installations on campus. He was excited to investigate the numerous new workflow solutions he saw at the Expo.
Michael Czerepak, assistant director of printing at the University of Delaware,
reported a lot of customer excitement over the gold, silver, white, and clear embellishment features of his shop’s Xerox Iridesse.
He said he has been looking closely at inkjet to replace the in-plant’s aging offset press and checked out the Fuji J Press on the Expo floor.
I was pleased to witness John Sarantakos of the University of Oklahoma get inducted into the Ben Franklin Honor Society, the first in-plant manager to achieve this. It honors individuals who have made significant contributions to the printing industry.
Before the show even started, I was out and about in Atlanta visiting in-plants. I toured the facilities at Georgia State University, Georgia Institute of Technology, and Federal Home Loan Bank of Atlanta, and had great conversations with their managers.
The two In-plant Forums IPI organized were quite successful, and brought together dozens of in-plant managers for free breakfast and lunch educational sessions. The first, a luncheon sponsored by Ricoh, featured Del Shankle, director of CHRISTUS Health’s in-plant, who talked about its remarkable expansion from a small shop with slow turnaround times to an award-winning in-plant that doubled in size. He emphasized the importance of having a vision and aligning with the objectives of the organization.
At the breakfast forum sponsored by Canon Solutions, I presented ideas for innovative applications in-plants can produce on the latest generation of equipment, such as packaging, six-panel brochures, labels, double-sided clings, backlit prints, and textured printing. Then I introduced a panel of managers who showed pictures of exciting pieces they had produced.
There was so much more at the show for in-plants too: A VIP breakfast and pre-show Expo tour for a select group of managers; an in-plant luncheon hosted by the In-plant Printing and Mailing Association that packed the room; a VIP reception to which a few dozen in-plants were invited; and many opportunities for managers to catch up with each other at the In-plant Hub that had been set aside for them. No one left the Expo disappointed.
Bob has served as editor of In-plant Impressions since October of 1994. Prior to that he served for three years as managing editor of Printing Impressions, a commercial printing publication. Mr. Neubauer is very active in the U.S. in-plant industry. He attends all the major in-plant conferences and has visited more than 170 in-plant operations around the world. He has given presentations to numerous in-plant groups in the U.S., Canada and Australia, including the Association of College and University Printers and the In-plant Printing and Mailing Association. He also coordinates the annual In-Print contest, co-sponsored by IPMA and In-plant Impressions.