Goodbye, SGIA Expo. Hello, Printing United.
A recap of the inaugural event.
This article was co-written by Adrienne Palmer, Mark Kissling, and Grant Freking.
SGIA’s first-ever Printing United show headed to Dallas last week and found a home at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center, drawing in attendees with all kinds of printing needs, ideas, and interests. While some may argue the show was keenly designed for major players in all three printing segments – signage and graphics, packaging, and commercial – the theme “convergence” was still being questioned by vendors and printers alike. Will wide-format PSPs purchase a label printer? Will an offset printer get into the business of billboards? We’ll have to continue the conversation in Atlanta in 2020. For now, here are our thoughts, observations, and more from the editorial staffs of Signs of the Times and Big Picture after attending and hosting a range of meetings, interviews, educational sessions, and panel discussions during the three-day tradeshow.
EFI officially introduced its new CEO, Jeff Jacobson, during its customary luncheon. “This is the one company that touches every aspect of print,” Jacobson said. “And with that comes a responsibility.” Ken Hanulec, VP of Worldwide Marketing, highlighted market trends, including the acceleration of changing technology, specialization, sustainability, security and brand protection, and data-driven applications.
During a booth visit, EFI demonstrated both EFI IQ – its new cloud-based management platform that monitors its printers, ink and, substrates, and was a longtime request by EFI customers – as well as ColorGuard, which helps ensure color accuracy on Fiery-driven digital printers. EFI was acquired by private equity firm Siris Capital earlier this year, and David Lindsay, PR manager, noted that though the acquisition allowed EFI to escape the quarterly cycle, the company “still pays the same level attention to sales processes.”
Agfa brought both its Jeti Tauro H3330 LED and Jeti Tauro H2500 LED to the show (among other machines), and Deborah Hutcheson, director of marketing for Agfa, noted that add-ons to those two machines are coming.
Epson has released 10 new printers since April’s ISA Sign Expo, five of which debuted at the show from its SureColor line: the 59470, F9570H, F570 (an entry-level, turnkey solution for dye sub PSPs), S60800L, and S80600L. An Epson spokesperson also said to be on the lookout for more remote control capabilities with the company’s machines, starting with the dye sub printers. Epson’s customers are searching for different ways of ink delivery sans ink cartridges.
Fujifilm highlighted the potential of the packaging sector during both a booth visit and its user panel luncheon. The company’s OnsetX3 HS made its worldwide debut at the show, with the flatbed able to print at 15,500 square feet per hour. Also on display was the J Press 750S, a digital inkjet machine that was announced around a year ago.
INX International noted that direct-to-object printing is an area that will make huge strides. Jim Lambert, VP and GM, said economic concerns both foreign and domestic is a daily topic with their customers. INX was forced to recently raise its prices for the first time in 11 years, though the company noted that its customers were sympathetic because the increase was in part driven by economic complications with China.
Konica Minolta introduced a number of new products, with its focus on color, wide-format, and digital embellishments. The AccurioPress C14000 made its global debut, a new high-volume toner-based production press that prints up to 3600 dpi and will have duplex printing banner printing up to 35 inches starting in 2020.
Mactac has launched a pair of new products: the next generation of its B-Free Window Films, and PermaColor PermaGard SAG 38. The B-Free Window Films are designed for flat or simple, curved, clear and translucent surfaces, and for backlit graphics, with applications including privacy films, decorative window graphics, and window signage. PermaColor PermaGard SAG 38 is an economy laminate for short-term anti-graffiti and perforated window films applications. This 1.5-milimeter, high-gloss, ultra-clear durable polyester facestock is coated with an optically clear, acrylic pressure-sensitive adhesive, and is designed for short-term outdoor installations and indoor installations for up to five years.
Mimaki USA released its new TX300P-1800 MkII, which offers the ability to switch between transfer paper for dye sublimation printing or direct-to-textile printing on one unit, and also offers additional dual-ink possibilities. Mimaki USA also announced a new Metallic UV ink available for its UJF-7151 plus benchtop UV-LED flatbed printer, with the new ink able to directly image a surface without the need for added glitter or a foil transfer process. The company has also enhanced many existing printers, among them the JV300 Plus, CJV300 Plus, and the CG-FXII Plus.
Roland DGA introduced 10 new products, including printers and cutters: TrueVis VG2 Series wide-format printer/cutters, TrueVis SG2 Series wide-format printer/cutters, VersaExpress RF-640 8-color printer, VersaUV LEF2 Series flatbed UV printers, VersaUV LEC2-300 UV printer/cutter, VersaStudio BT-12 direct-to-garment printer, and Texart RT-640M multifunction dye-sublimation printer.
SAi debuted FlexiDyeSub, part of SAi’s flagship Flexi software, offering the dye-sublimation world an all-in-one package for their entire workflow. The solution incorporates a full printer production feature-set, as well as a complete design application, to make dye-sublimation design simple for sign and display businesses. When discussing time and waste that occurs for PSPs, Michelle Johnson, director of worldwide marketing, said “our customers’ hardest and most time-consuming part of their jobs is providing customer service.”
Summa debuted its L3214 laser cutter, which covers a 3.2 meter (125 inch) width, with its designed applications intended for soft signage, home decor, fashion, and sportswear. The L3214’s advanced camera technology allows the machine to scan the material design and automatically convert it into a cutting vector. Gary Buck, Summa America’s recently appointed VP of sales and marketing, conveyed the company’s focus on larger machines and a growing presence in the US. “The roadmap is clear to me [in terms of] where we need to go,” he said.
Ricoh shared its portfolio of products ranging from wide-format flatbed printers to sheet-fed digital presses, a one-stop shop for the shows intended audience. The company’s press conference highlighted this opportunity as well as showcased three current customers, Capitol Blue Print, MAC Specialties and Tri-Win Direct. Ricoh also partnered with Heidelberg to support the Wounded Warrior Project. For every badge scanned at the Ricoh booth, a charitable donation was made to its long-standing partner, which supports wounded military veterans and service members.
Stay tuned for additional coverage from Printing United.