Organisers of last week’s Real Print and Finish open house have praised the second edition of the three-day event, which attracted visitors from more than 100 companies.
The event, which was jointly hosted by Apex Digital Graphics and Intelligent Finishing Systems (IFS) in Hemel Hempstead, showcased a range of real-life production and performance benefits.
Apex demonstrated a five-colour Ryobi B2 offset press equipped with LED-UV curing and a range of Cron CTP equipment while IFS showed a range of Horizon finishing systems.
Partners included KAS Paper Systems, Renz, TSS, Vpress, Imprint, Premier Paper and the IPIA.
Additionally, Graphic Arts Supplies joined the event for the first time and showed its Foilco metalised foils, including gold, silver and several colours, which were digitally imprinted using a Foliant Taurus 530SF B2 laminator with sheets digitally printed on a Konica Minolta C1060.
Visitors who pre-registered for the open house were given the option of having 'real' digitally foiled business cards produced in a choice of designs.
Apex managing director Bob Usher told PrintWeek: “We were all very pleased, it seems to be a good time of the year to run an event of this type as it avoids the busy autumn calendar of other events.
“We were concerned with it being close to Drupa but around 105 companies visited, which is similar to the numbers we saw last year.”
He added: “We signed deals for two Cron CTP machines. In terms of press sales, events like these are used to continue progress. When you’re spending more than half a million pounds, it’s always a long consideration process that involves demonstrations and meeting people and may involve journeys overseas or to UK customers.
“Everybody is working off much smaller margins these days so an event like this enables exhibitors to showcase something at a low cost. Pound for pound the exhibitors all got a very good return on investment, Imprint in particular made some very good MIS sales.
“The last 18 months have been quite a turnaround and suddenly people are looking to buy new equipment. There’s still some Regional Growth Fund (RGF) money around and there’s a greater air of confidence. In January we saw the biggest number of enquiries and did the most demos we’ve done since 2006.”
Usher said Apex's other joint annual event with IFS, Print Efficiently, will not happen this year because both firms will instead exhibit at The Print Show in October. However, he said Real Print and Finish would return for a third outing next year.