Innovation Overload at the SGIA Expo
With thousands of people packing the show floor, the 2017 SGIA Expo is off to a great start. The technology advancements since last year’s expo in Las Vegas are impressive, giving attendees plenty of exciting products to check out.
“The SGIA Expo has become the go-to show for new products in the wide-format industry,” remarks Dan Johansen, Marketing Manager for Wide Format Solutions at Ricoh USA (Booth 1351). “That means two things: one, you want to have your new product ready for the SGIA Expo; and two, any debut is up against a lot of competition.”
There are plenty of new products competing for visitors’ attention this year. From the moment they step onto the show floor they are inundated with innovation. Front and center is EFI (Booth 1501), one of the largest exhibits at the SGIA Expo.
“The SGIA Expo is EFI’s largest show this year,” reveals Ken Hanulec, EFI’s VP of Marketing. “For us, this is an ideal opportunity to really show how far the market has come with LED as a production offering of choice to handle high-margin, high-quality rigid substrate projects.
For that reason, EFI’s new Pro 24f LED flatbed printer is making its worldwide debut at the SGIA Expo. With LED inkjet imaging, variable drop grayscale head technology and a multi-zoned vacuum table, the Pro 24f LED is turning a lot of heads at the show. Its built-in EFI Fiery proServer Core digital front end brings many advantages.
“Users can process work faster and they gain RIP and print-on-demand functionality or the ability to print pre-RIPed files at the printer interface,” explains Hanulec.
Another head turner being shown for the first time this year is the 64-inch Océ Colorado 1640 from Canon U.S.A. (Booths 2435 and 2525) With a top speed of 1,710 sqft/hr, the roll-to-roll printer uses Canon’s UVgel ink, which gels on contact with media, resulting in precise dot gain and instantly cured prints.
“Being able to now demonstrate the actual implementation of this technology at our booth with the Océ Colorado 1640 provides us with a fantastic opportunity to showcase this technology with the industry,” says Randy Paar, Manager of Marketing and Display Graphics at Canon Solutions America. “The Océ Colorado 1640 delivers breakthrough productivity, lowest cost of operation, a wide application range and never-before-seen automation.”
Paar notes that the Colorado 1640 can bring 30 to 50 percent ink savings compared to printing with other ink technologies. “The Océ Colorado 1640 can positively impact profitability and will greatly improve turnaround times due to its high productivity of over 1,700 sqft/hr,” he notes.
There are product debuts aplenty at the SGIA Expo. Ricoh unveiled the Ricoh Pro T7210 flatbed printer, which can print on substrates up to 4.3 inches thick with a print size of 6.9 x 10.5 feet.
“We chose SGIA because we are confident the T7210’s capabilities and ease of use will excite people,” says Ricoh’s Johansen. “Its one-touch maintenance switch, its automatic media gap adjustment sensor, its intuitive use - they all add up to a product that printers can onboard and start making money with very quickly and easily. Customers in the décor space can expect tremendous improvements in ink adhesion over competitive products, along with amazing production speeds.”
Another U.S. premiere at the SGIA Expo is Spot-On SynPaper for PageWide XL from Drytac (Booth 3325), a high-quality ink-receptive white synthetic paper. “Drytac’s unique dot pattern adhesive technology allows for an incredibly easy installation,” says Drytac Brand Manager Olga Bates. “It can be hand applied - bubble-free - for window, wall and panel applications, and is removable up to six months residue free, making it essential for retail and food and beverage markets.”
Also being shown for the first time in the Americas is the 64-inch Epson (Booth 1301) SureColor F9370 dye-sublimation printer. It features an integrated new fabric wiping system and advanced roll to-roll media support system.
“It delivers industrial-level production with speeds up to 1,169 sqft/hr - a 75 percent increase from its predecessor,” remarks Tim Check, Product Manager, Professional Imaging, Epson America. “The SureColor F9370 leverages dual PrecisionCore TFP printheads and Epson’s latest dye-sublimation ink technology - Epson UltraChrome DS with High-Density Black - to produce consistent output with exceptional color saturation and high contrast.”
Another system making its North American debut this week at the SGIA Expo is the Inca SpyderX flatbed and roll-to-roll UV inkjet press from Fujifilm North America, Graphic Systems Division (Booth 1529). The 126-inch-wide, 6-color plus white SpyderX is available as either a flatbed or a combination flatbed/roll-fed, and utilizes Fujifilm Dimatix printheads and Fujifilm Uvijet ink. It boasts production speeds of nearly 2,500 sqft/hr and can print on thin films or substrates up to two inches thick. The vacuum table is optically mapped and adjusted to give optimum print quality across the full area of the bed.
“The SpyderX standard configuration also includes two white ink channels,” notes Becky Mc- Connell, Fujifilm’s Product Marketing Manager. “The ability to alter the level of UV improves the adhesion to the most difficult substrates.”
Mimaki USA (Booths 1231 and 1345) is showing its latest cut-and-print devices, the UCJV Series of 64-inch UV-LED printers. They feature white ink to enable four-layer printing. Two models are available: the 4-color UCJV150-160 and the 7-color UCJV300-160.
“UV-LED curing technology enables print service providers to utilize an expanded range of media, including many thin film substrates that may be too sensitive for latex or solvent high heat fixation systems,” explains Kelli Ramirez, Mimaki’s Communications & Content Director. “Four-layer printing ... allows designers to build layered, transformative graphics for backlit applications. It’s a dynamic graphic that ‘changes’ its image or color scheme depending on the light source.”
Durst (Booth 1945) is showing off its Delta 250 Multi-Pass UV printing system, which uses Durst Water Technology to print a range of corrugated packaging and display applications. Christopher Guyett, Durst’s Sales and Marketing Coordinator, points out that the system produces 1,000-dpi print quality using an odorless, water-based ink. “Premium quality, odorless, abrasion-resistant, glossy and lightfast end products can be produced in a single process,” he declares.
For wide-format, automated cutting on vinyl and textile, Colex Finishing (Booths 1209 and 1217) is showing the new Fotoba XLD 320 X/Y 126-inch-wide roll cutter, capable of cutting flexible media up to 126-inch wide and 40-mils thick. “A single cutter is capable of handling the output of several printers,” explains Colex Account Manager Maureen Damato. “Fotoba XLD320 uses Fotoba cutmarks to follow the edge of the image, regardless of any feed misalignment.”
It will always produce square finished images, she adds, even when the printer fails to print parallel to the printed edge or if the printer fails to wind up the rolls squarely.
To address the growing demand for apparel products made from recycled yarns, Fisher Textiles (Booth 2201) is showing its ETP 4310 Uni fabric for dye sublimation printing. “ETP 4310 Uni is soft, comfortable and has a moisture management chemical, which allows perspiration to move away from the body, dries quickly, controls odor and promotes comfort,” says Sharon Roland, Advertising and PR Manager for Fisher Textiles. “A key feature of ETP 4310 Uni is that it has green certification and is made with 100 percent Repreve recycled yarns. Repreve is made from a variety of waste streams, including post-consumer plastics and post-industrial waste.”
Top Value Fabrics (Booth 2155) is showing off its Latex Performance Textiles, created in response to market demand for durable, quality fabric for printing beautiful latex graphics. “Our Latex Performance Textiles are an advanced platform for creating exceptional graphics with HP Latex Technology, says Marketing Director Karen Stuerenberg. “These fabrics are engineered with a proprietary coating for yielding rich colors, exceptional durability and color fastness.
Kornit Digital (Booth 1617) is showcasing the Storm Duo, an industrial direct-to-garment digital printing system designed to optimize light fabric prints. It prints up to 220 light and 160 dark garments per hour.
“Designed for the mass production of garments, Kornit’s Avalanche 1000 R-Series has dual pallet industrial production capability, and is a very robust platform designed for heavy duty use,” says Kornit’s Marketing Event Specialist Stephanie Cardarelle. “Thanks to a unique double bridge architecture, the white and the color print phases can happen in parallel, for optimized and unique dark garment efficiency. With the NeoPigment process, Kornit users benefit from the advantages of state-of-the art pigment ink technology. NeoPigment prints have an excellent hand feel, a wide gamut of bright and intense colors, as well as long-term durability and washfastness.”
Overall, there is an impressive amount of innovation on the show floor this year. No matter what technologies you have come to New Orleans to discover, chances are excellent you’ll find it at the SGIA Expo.
Bob has served as editor of In-plant Impressions since October of 1994. Prior to that he served for three years as managing editor of Printing Impressions, a commercial printing publication. Mr. Neubauer is very active in the U.S. in-plant industry. He attends all the major in-plant conferences and has visited nearly 170 in-plant operations around the world. He has given presentations to numerous in-plant groups in the U.S., Canada and Australia, including the Association of College and University Printers and the In-plant Printing and Mailing Association. He also coordinates the annual In-Print contest, cosponsored by IPMA and In-plant Impressions.