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ATPM 8.05
May 2002



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by Chris Ward,

IPEX 2002—Birmingham NEC

IPEX is held every four years and showcase some of the latest advances in the print, imaging, and related technologies from around the globe. Everything from desktop printers and 1-megapixel digital cameras to vast metres-high print presses and professional cameras. This year the show was held at the Birmingham NEC (National Exhibition Centre), perhaps the only exhibition centre large enough left in the UK to hold all the exhibitors at IPEX. IPEX is a ten-day event with visitors and exhibitors attending from all corners of the planet. The event is usually the scene of major product launches and announcements and can always expect a large turnout.


I never realised that the printing industry was so vast. The NEC is a huge venue, and IPEX filled most of its 20 enormous halls. Whilst I make no pretence of having any requisite interest or knowledge in most of the printing world (though I found the machinery quite fascinating), there was still enough at IPEX to interest me and, I hope, you.

Pantone were demonstrating their new Colorvision product line, which aims to streamline and reduce the costs involved in colour workflows. The products include monitor calibration and printer profiling tools for photo, design, and prepress. Products in the Colorvision range include the Spyder for monitor calibration, coupled with the ProfilerPLUS, ProfilerPRO, and DoctorPRO for creating printer profiles. (The prices vary with special deals available.) Also released was Pantone’s Colour Cue, a potentially useful handheld device that identifies the closest Pantone colour to the colour of any flat surface, matching the colour across CYMK, RGB, sRGB, HTML, Lab, and Hex spectrums (#276).

Epson, another company following the trend of trying to specialise in everything, were pushing several of their new products at IPEX. Their rapidly expanding printer range now falls into five categories: pre-press, proofing, fine art, signage, and photography. New models were on display across all of the categories incorporating most of Epson’s usual features, paper sizes, and quality/speed. Due to the nature of the event Epson were exhibiting a lot of large format printers—take a look at Epson’s Web site to find out more information than I can provide here.

Adobe took a different approach to exhibiting at IPEX: instead of maintaining their own stand, Adobe demonstrated their commitment to partner companies by co-exhibiting with Apple, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, and Xerox. Adobe of course has several big product releases at the moment including the increasingly popular InDesign 2, Illustrator 10, FrameMaker 7, PDF Transit, and the newly released Photoshop 7. Apart from these larger software releases Adobe were also promoting new PDF and e-Book technologies. All of this demonstrates Adobe’s continual commitment to ‘network publishing’; all of their new product releases incorporate support for technologies such as PDF, e-Books, and XML, as well as paper-based output.


Whilst Apple had no major products to plug at IPEX, Apple products and Apple’s stand itself provided a major input to the digital branch of the show. Whilst Apple are taking the opportunity to consolidate their current product line, the company were keen to show the coming of age of Mac OS X, showcasing key software and hardware products. Amongst software announcements were the Cinema Tools expansion or Final Cut Pro and DVD Studio Pro 1.5. Apart from the announcement of a 23" LCD addition to the Cinema Display line, perhaps the most exciting and surprisingly quiet announcement was Apple’s official hardware and software support for the Bluetooth wireless standard.

Harlequin solutions specialise in design, multimedia, and Internet training courses. Claiming to be one of the first such providers they remain at the forefront of training, offering courses in Macromedia, Adobe, Apple, and Microsoft software as well as Quark and Internet technologies. Their courses are held on regularly scheduled dates, and they offer voucher and season schemes as well as booking for individual courses.

Vio represents one of the better companies in the ever burgeoning field of harnessing the Internet for file transfer. The Vio Digital workflow suite comprises of a package of applications that support the creative, print, publishing, and packaging processes. The applications offer features such as online job tracking and priority management, Internet backup, and compatibility with non-Vio users. The system is possible through a new file format, JDF, that contains process steps as well as the item itself.

In a similar vein WAM!NET also offers content distribution services with solutions such as Direct! IP, Workspace, Transmission Director, Transmission Manager, and 4Sight. The client software works on Mac and Windows as well as through the Internet


Markzware specialise in preflighting solutions, and their presence at IPEX consolidated their busy year with a bevy of announcements. Flightcheck 5, built exclusively for OS X, incorporates a plethora of new features including scripting, desktop automation, improved PDF integration, support for Quark 5 and InDesign 2, as well as a new GUI. GoodToGo is a new online subscription-based pre-flight solution implementing Markzware’s MarkzNet technology. It supports 42 different file types, uses an ordinary Web browser, and can be configured for all needs, including adding your corporate branding.

Printshop Mail 4, a database print tool from Atlas Software, offers an easy way of creating multiple documents based on a universal template. Utilising a variety of popular database, design, PostScript RIP, and printer solutions it links the systems together taking variable information from the database prior to printing.

• • •

IPEX is a gigantic occasion and my (very) brief summary above is a mere scraping of the surface of products on display. More information on exhibitors is likely to be had on the event’s Web site for some time. If you want to know more, take a look around and discover more about the complex and intriguing print world.

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Reader Comments (2)

amanda o'hara · March 5, 2007 - 08:44 EST #1
did you get any customer feedback on any of the stands above? Which, in your opinion were the most eyecatching and drew the largest crowds?

Many thanks,
01491 684007
Chris Chinchilla · March 5, 2007 - 23:59 EST #2
Blimey.... It was 5 years ago!

Sorry, I can't really remember, the only thing I remember now is that I got on the wrong coach and lost at the airport!

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