SGIA Expo Celebrates a Triumphant 2018 and Evolves Into PRINTING United
With confetti raining down from the ceiling of the Tao Nightclub amid a brilliant display of lasers and neon lights, SGIA Expo attendees celebrated the opening night of a successful event in Las Vegas on Oct. 18 and toasted to the future with the launch of PRINTING United.
In its final iteration as SGIA Expo, a preliminary report of 24,293 registrants visited the Las Vegas Convention Center to view the largest collection of printing equipment of any North American trade show, attend educational sessions spanning an abundance of topics, and network with industry peers and colleagues.
“Two things about this year’s show stand out,” Ford Bowers, president and CEO of SGIA, said. “From exhibitors, we’ve heard that the leads are better than in prior years. And from the printer side, the range of equipment is unparalleled.”
Attendees Interested in Multiple Adjacent Technologies
Throughout the show floor, SGIA Expo exhibitors lauded the massive crowds that filled the aisles every day. What stood out about this year’s Expo, according to multiple exhibitors, is that attendees were interested in seeing several types of technology, and came to the show armed with questions.
For example, Becky McConnell, product marketing manager for Fujifilm North America, said that that booth traffic has been strong and many visitors even had prior knowledge of new products. Another aspect that stood out about this year’s show, McConnell said, was that attendees were thinking outside the box about how they could expand their capabilities.
“People are searching for high-profit applications,” McConnell noted. “They’re seeking ways to get more creative to add to the bottom line.”
The sentiment was similar in the Ricoh booth, which, in addition to displaying a wide variety of printing equipment, also featured a pop-up store to show just how many applications can benefit from print. Brian Dollard, director, strategic planning and business development for Ricoh’s Commercial and Industrial Printing Business Group, said that he has been impressed with the SGIA Expo’s ability to bring in such a wide array of technology spanning printing, workflow and media.
In a booth featuring print on the floor, walls and even in an augmented reality experience, Dollard said Ricoh has embraced the many ways the printing industry is expanding.
“What’s driven this approach is that the business is changing with technology,” Dollard said. “The burden falls on us to highlight the unique ways to use the technology.”
In the Mimaki booth, Michael Maxwell, senior manager of Mimaki USA, said that this year’s Microfactory demonstration also highlighted the wide variety of printed products.
“This particular one has so many layers to it,” Maxwell acknowledged. “It showcases every product and how they are conceptually connected.”
Deb Hutcheson, director of marketing, Agfa Graphics North America, said the show served as an excellent launching point for a new product.
“We’re having an incredible launch of the award-winning Jeti Tauro H3300 LED,” she pointed out. “This show is the ideal platform for its North America debut. Attendees are well-informed and ready to purchase.”
Another key theme of this year’s Expo was how printers can maximize their equipment to provide the best return on their investments. For example, Christopher Guyett, Durst’s sales and marketing coordinator for its Large Format Printing Business, revealed that Durst’s P5 Series of presses drew a lot of attention, but he said visitors to the Durst booth were eager to learn about the company’s software offerings as well.
“Our software offering is a solution to help customers and drive their workflow and analytics, getting the most out of their printer,” Guyett said.
Beyond the buzzing equipment on the show floor, the 2018 SGIA Expo featured an air of optimism and excitement about the industry’s future and the opportunities it will present.
“We love the SGIA community,” said Ken Hanulec, co-GM and VP of marketing, Inkjet, at EFI. “It is a bunch of passionate, creative people doing big things in the industry. This year was no different. Based on the feedback EFI has received from customers and prospects at the show, people are quite optimistic and the future looks promising.”
PRINTING United Is Now on the Horizon
Even with all of the energy surrounding the immense success of the 2018 SGIA Expo, it was hard to ignore the excitement surrounding the debut of PRINTING United, which will take place Oct. 23-25, 2019, in Dallas. At the conclusion of the 2018 event on Oct. 20, the SGIA Expo name has now been retired, and the event will now be known as PRINTING United, expanding into even more segments of print. The new edition of the show is the result of a partnership between SGIA and NAPCO Media, a leading publisher of printing industry publications spanning the commercial, in-plant, wide-format and packaging segments.
Mark Subers, president of NAPCO Media’s Printing, Packaging and Publishing Group, and president of PRINTING United, explained that the concept for PRINTING United centers on the convergence occurring throughout the printing industry. Convergence, Subers explained, is the act of printers expanding beyond their core segment into adjacent areas of print. Examples of convergence could include commercial printers expanding into wide-format printing, or commercial shops adding packaging capabilities.
“Printers in different segments are reaching across and adopting new technology,” Subers said. “It’s important to provide a one-room approach where all solutions are available for review.”
New Show Reflects Industry Convergence
Subers explained that it became even clearer that PRINTING United would be the right strategic approach to the industry’s needs through research conducted by NAPCO Research, NAPCO Media’s research arm. In conducting this research, NAPCO found that 95% of the 470 printers it surveyed see opportunity for expansion beyond their primary segments.
“It’s going to have value to put these people together in a room to drive community for the greater good of the industry,” Subers said. “PRINTING United will expose them to things to help their businesses and the community, with printers being in the same spot attending sessions together.”
Bowers, meanwhile, said that the printers and suppliers he talks to about PRINTING United are immediately excited by the new direction for the show.
“As someone whose job it is to create community, what better way than to expand the community?” Bowers pointed out. “That’s the goal.”
On the show floor, excitement around PRINTING United was clear among exhibitors, eager to reach a broader range of industry members. For example, Guyett, of Durst, said that he is particularly excited about the opportunity for Durst to open itself up to the industry and gain visibility in new areas.
Similarly, Moses Nuno, VP of Tec Lighting, said that PRINTING United will be a prime opportunity to serve its multiple market segments all at once.
“We are excited to be a part of PRINTING United, a show we believe has created great synergy between the commercial and wide-format sign and graphics markets,” Nuno said. “Our business encompasses both segments and we can’t wait to participate in this event and maximize our reach into these industries.”
McConnell, of Fujifilm, said that the company is looking forward to PRINTING United, as it has also observed convergence occurring in the industry.
“We’re really excited because a lot of shops are not sticking to one thing,” she said. “This will be an opportunity to see more in one place.” That's why they'll most likely display a B2-format, J Press 720S sheetfed inkjet press in Dallas next year.
Similarly, RMGT is planning to be demonstrate an automated five-color, 9 series LED-UV sheetfed offset press during PRINTING United.
PRINTING United’s broad scope, noted Chris Manley, president of Graphco, “makes it more customer-centric” from an attendee’s point of view and therefore “automatically more successful for us” as exhibitors.
That emphasis, Manley believes, spells opportunities for attendees and exhibitors alike. “A trade show ought to be about the customer experience as much as ours as manufacturers,” he said. “Being in a venue with buyers from multiple verticals is very appealing.” He added that the show’s Dallas location, a new site for print trade shows, should spur both attendance and exhibitor participation.
Dollard noted that Ricoh was among the first suppliers to commit to PRINTING United’s debut edition and is looking forward to the impact it will have on the printing industry as a whole.
“This vision will ensure we have a viable gathering of the printing community for years to come,” he said.
Related story: What You Need to Know About PRINTING United