New Berlin, WI - Tekra, A Division of EIS, Inc., Attending the SGIA expo in Vegas is never a gamble. There were endless rows of new ideas, media and machinery just waiting to spark the next big idea and provide solutions for all your projects. With 24,000 attendees and 612 exhibitors, the show floor was as active as the strip on a Friday night. Here are some highlights:
Name of the Game: Wide Format
It becomes more obvious each year that a larger portion of the print market is shifting from screen and traditional print methods to wide format printing. With new technologies and reliable curing systems, the digital wave has taken over.
Mimaki, USA discussed their new demo facility in Milwaukee, WI, and touted their new slogan: “We are wide format”. They focused this year’s show less on “new” and more on “improvement” as they showed their UCJV lines, adding smaller printer formats, UCJV300, UCJV300-107 and UCJV 300-130. The UCJV series features four and five layer prints, allowing for ink build, which can create transforming images with varying light sources.
HP’s main focus was their new Latex R Series. They launched their R1000 series press last summer, but the market push was especially focused the last few months. The ‘R” in R-series stands for “rigid” which is a whole new take on Latex printing. HP Latex traditionally focused on flexible materials, with heavy push in the textile printing market. This new machine focuses on rigid substrates with a hybrid approach that allows a flatbed to be attached and thick surfaces to be printed, without eliminating the ability to bring roll to roll. “This will help those customers who are trying to decide between a latex roll printer and a UV Flatbed. With the vibrancy and flexibility of the latex inks, combined with the ability to print on rigid substrates, this machine was definitely a show-stopper,” stated Rebecca Fuhrman, Market Development Manager of Digital Films at Tekra.
EFI had many new products to offer this Expo, from machinery to software. Their new Pro 32r was debuted, which is a roll-to-roll UV inkjet printer offered with LED curing capabilities, white printing, and iPhone application for remote control.
Up the Ante: Limit-Pushing Medias
There are always a healthy number of medias available at SGIA. From fabrics to car wraps and everything in between, finding the best substrate for your application takes little more than walking a few aisles. A few that stood out: LexJet’s ChromaLuxe Aluminum Photo Panels and Tekra’s ProTek®Velet Finish Polyester.
ChormaLuxe Aluminum Photo Panels produce metal prints, which are lightweight and durable. “The images were vibrant and eye-catching,” said Nick Artmann, Insides Sales Representative at Tekra. Chemical, scratch and moisture resistance seemed to be a huge selling feature,” continued Artmann.
Tekra’s ProTek® Velvet Finish was another new addition this year that stood out against other standard graphic medias. “This film offers a tactile finish on the first surface, with the capability to be screen printed on the 2nd surface, or coated for UV or Indigo digital print methods,” said Veronica Chandre, Market Development Manager of Hard Coated Films at Tekra. “Scratch, abrasion and chemical resistance open up the application possibilities, and when combined with the versatility of the processing options, this product is sure to be a new standard in the hardcoat offering for printers,” continued Chandre.
If there was any doubt that attending SGIA was a sure bet, you’ll realize within minutes that your money was well spent on the trip by catching up on the trends alone. “Being ‘in the know’ is incredibly important in the industry today,” stated Andy Danihel, Sr. Director of Sales and Marketing at Tekra. “Understanding the trends and where the market is going is vital in making sure you are on the forefront of the print industry, and not simply trying to catch up. SGIA is one of the main ways Tekra stays up-to-date with the newest technologies and trends, and the EXPO is the best place to really see it all come to life”, continued Danihel. Compared to the last few years, textiles seemed to take a slight back seat to the applications that seemed to have more stringent requirements. The solutions to these requirements seemed to be stronger, more durable materials and machinery that could “do it all”.
SGIA has always been known to be the place to keep on eye on the industry and with this year’s theme: “What’s on the Horizon”, it certainly lived up to its promise.