ISA 2017: Wide-Format Innovation Was on Display
LAS VEGAS — The ISA International Sign Expo 2017 ended on a high note at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center here with record numbers: more than 20,500 attendees and nearly 600 exhibitors in the 210,000-sq.-ft. space. According to the association, the show blew past projections for educational events, surpassing previous records by nearly 40%.
“There is no doubt that ISA International Sign Expo is the only trade show that brings together the breadth of the sign, graphics and visual communications industry and those who influence it,” says Lori Anderson, ISA president and CEO. “Every minute of the four-day education and trade show offered opportunities to make valuable connections, learn groundbreaking ideas and see innovative products and services to help businesses grow.”
A number of co-located events also saw record attendance, including the National Sign Research and Education Conference (NSREC), which joined ISA International Sign Expo for the first time. NSREC was completely sold out, with attendance said to be 220% higher than the previous record.
Adding to the excitement on the trade show floor were a number of product introductions, ranging from groundbreaking print innovations to the latest in workflow solutions.
“Getting to see these innovations in action can propel businesses and the industry forward,” Anderson adds. “It is early enough in the year that sign, graphics and visual communications companies can capture these innovations to make 2017 one of their best yet.”
EFI’s technologies at this year’s ISA International Sign Expo included a pair of new LED inkjet printers and the latest version of the company’s Midmarket Print Suite with Pace MIS/ERP software at its core. The EFI Pro 16h wide-format hybrid roll/flatbed LED printer made its North American debut. This new Fiery-driven printer includes white ink and offers some print modes with up to 30% greater throughput compared with other EFI entry-level hybrid production platforms.
The industrial 3-meter EFI VUTEk 3r roll-to-roll LED printer made its worldwide premiere. It offers speeds up to 3,715 sq.ft./hr. and printing resolutions up to 1,200 dpi using EFI UltraDrop Technology 7-picoliter printheads.
HP Inc. unveiled the HP Latex 300 Print and Cut series, a dual-device solution for simultaneous printing and cutting in a single workflow. “HP print and cut reduces total cost and improves workflow, enabling Latex water-based inks to further replace solvent for indoor and outdoor applications,” says Xavier Garcia, GM, Large Format Printing div., HP Inc.
HP also announced an extended media offering for Latex printers with a new series of textiles for soft signage applications that deliver good print quality and durability without the need for any post-processing.
Canon Solutions America showed its new Océ Colorado 1640 printer in public for the first time at ISA 2017. It is the first 64˝, roll-to-roll, wide-format printer built on Canon’s new UVgel technology. “Attendees were impressed by the productivity and automation capabilities of the Colorado, its wide application range and the astonishing quality of its output,” notes Sal Sheikh, VP of marketing, Large Format Solutions (LFS), Canon Solutions America.
Nearly every engine from Agfa Graphics’ portfolio of Jeti printing systems was front and center in the company’s booth. Two new Jeti systems: the Jeti Mira LED and the Jeti Ceres RTR3200 LED made their North American and U.S. debuts, respectively. Jeti Mira HS LED with RTR & Varnish is a 106˝-wide, moving-gantry, flatbed printer. It features speeds up to 2,486 sq.ft./hr., six-color plus white, with optional (3D) varnish or primer.
The Jeti Ceres RTR3200 LED is a 126˝-wide, roll-to-roll LED-UV inkjet printer that runs at speeds to 2,002 sq.ft./hr. Capable of unattended printing, the Jeti Ceres offers six-color plus optional white and/or primer. Additional options include dual roll and backup camera.
Mimaki USA hosted demonstrations and offered tutorials on getting in on the ground floor of the rapidly growing on-demand manufacturing market. “We demonstrated how entrepreneurs and established brands can utilize digital technologies to bridge the gap between the consumer and manufacturer by enabling them to move from concept to final design, and then production to sales, within hours instead of weeks or months,” says Ken VanHorn, VP, marketing and operations, for Mimaki USA.
The theme for the Mimaki Microfactory was ELEV8TE, a fictitious startup sporting goods manufacturer. The Microfactory demonstrated the production of personalized gear, including helmets, cycling apparel, skateboards and other items for “sale” in the company store. Real-time production of personalized manufactured sporting goods provided attendees with a framework to develop their own ideas and products in signage, awards, prototyping and other areas yet to be defined.
ISA International Sign Expo 2018 will be held March 21-24 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Fla. Registration will open in the fall.
Denise Gustavson is the Editorial Director and Special Projects Editor for the Printing & Packaging Group, which includes Printing Impressions, packagePRINTING, In-plant Graphics and Wide-Format Impressions magazines, among other brands. She is also the Editor-in-Chief of Wide-Format Impressions.