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The Russians are Coming

(January 2008) posted on Thu Jan 10, 2008

And more news from the SGIA expo.

click an image below to view slideshow

By Gregory Sharpless

In December of 1991, when the Soviet Union dissolved, many felt it was only a matter of time until capitalism and a free-market economy would take off in Russia and the other former Soviet republics.

Skip ahead 16 years to October 2007, and the Specialty Printing and Imaging Technology Expo-aka SGIA show-in Orlando, Florida. As you make your way through all the vehicle wraps and the women dressed up as mermaids, you find in the far back of the hall the first example of Russian capitalism in the wide-format graphics marketplace: the Sun Company. And even though it was tucked so far back into the expo’s 243,500 square feet, it was constantly surrounded by show attendees as well as other exhibitors eager to get a glimpse of the company’s products.

First formed in 1998, Sun started out as a reseller of machines and inks, serving what is now called the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). Today, the up-and-coming company is selling its line of Neo UV printers (see page 14 for full details), which made its world debut at the FESPA show in Berlin in early 2007. This was the company’s first US showing, and Sergey Belokurov, Sun’s development director, reports that he was approached by several US companies interested in distributing the printers in the States, but the company is still evaluating its options as of this writing.

Will Sun find success here in the US? As other international companies have discovered, the answer can be yes-if the machines exhibit solid engineering and performance and if these qualities are then backed up with stateside representation and customer service as well as a marketplace integration of consumables and compatible software.

UV, MEMS, and green

Of course, there was much more going on at SGIA. In all, more than 580 exhibitors plied their wares at the show, which also boasted nearly 21,000 attendees this year. Those on the expo floor were able to see new as well as modified technologies in action, while also upgrading their digital knowledge in an array of seminars and networking.

Let’s hit on just a few of the highlights here, and see pages 10-19 for in-depth information on various new printers that made their debut at SGIA: