Welcome to the biggest print-related Expo in North America, and to what is the most robust marketplace for the discovery, consideration and purchase of innovative printing technologies. What’s hot and what are your competitors purchasing to increase their competitiveness?
Graphics and Signage
While much of the focus in the graphics and sign segment is - and should be - focused on wide-format digital printing technology, savvy business owners and production teams know that great opportunity lies in the details. Over the last few years, the segment has experienced a veritable profusion of new media products and finishing technologies that have opened strong opportunities for broader product offerings, and cranked the “possibility” knob to 10. Of particular note this year: Media and textile products, the expansion of dye-sublimation, software solutions to aid workflow and color management and solutions to convert print into sellable product.
The primary technology for garment decoration remains screen printing, where ink manufacturers have developed effects and new looks. But digital printing continues to impact garment decorators allowing for short runs, photographic-look printing and the opportunity to sell decorated garments in new and intriguing ways. Of particular note: Direct-to-garment and hybrid technologies that take advantage of the possibilities of digital, dye-sub and its related inroads into other product areas, and refinements to screen printing workflow.
This is a segment where, while analog technologies comprise a majority of the work done, digital printing technologies are asserting their capabilities and finding increasing adoption. The industrial sector is diverse, and the needs of one printing company may be different from those of another. Of particular note: Custom inkjet solutions for industrial printing, increased solutions for container and printing on 3D objects, inks and materials that expand opportunity.
Packaging and Commercial
Big things are happening in both of these segments, where long-established models based on analog workflow are beginning to yield to digital systems - even at full production speed. And digital printing is changing not only how print is done, but also the nature of print jobs themselves: Versioning, bold color and special effects, short runs and more continue to change the playing field. Of particular note: High-production inkjet systems focused on corrugated printing, labeling and other systems that expand packaging offerings, and wide-format systems that expand commercial printing capabilities.
Regardless of print segment, your equipment choices should be both company-specific and strategically focused. Use the 2017 SGIA Expo as an idea generator for future opportunities, a venue to do capability and cost comparisons and the place to sign the purchase agreement on your next capital investment.