PRINT 19 to Recognize RED HOT Technologies

APTech has announced the the return of the RED HOT Technology Recognition Program at PRINT 19 in Chicago (McCormick Place North, October 3-5). The RED HOT Technology Recognition Program highlights “what’s new” on the show floor, by showcasing publishing and printing technology, equipment, or services that have come to market within the past 12 months.

RED HOT Technologies will be recognized in 10 categories:

  • Analog presses and add-on devices
  • Color management, prepress, and pre-media
  • Consumables and substrates
  • Digital production printing devices
  • Imprinting, mailing, shipping and fulfillment
  • Marketing and multi-channel solutions
  • Post-press, specialty, and finishing
  • Sales and management systems
  • Wide-format digital printing devices

Each of the RED HOT Technologies identified at a show may also be eligible to win one of three RED HOT Vanguard Awards:

  • The RED HOT Vanguard Awards recognize products that may be industry game-changers.
  • The RED HOT Collaboration Awards recognize innovative new products that result from a collaboration among different manufacturers.
  • The RED HOT Pioneer Award will be given to a product that is the first of its kind or entirely new to the industry.

“The RED HOT program showcases ‘what’s new’ without judgement,” explains Thayer Long, president of APTech. “The Vanguard Awards recognize technology that breaks new ground, opening new markets and business opportunities that the industry needs.”

Produced by the Association for PRINT Technologies (APTech), PRINT 19 will feature an array of printing equipment and technology and 80+ educational sessions including hands-on labs,


SGIA Pre-Conference Workshops Focus on Small Business Success

If you are new to the printing business or seeking to expand into wide-format printing, consider attending one of the two half-day education sessions that the Specialty Graphic Imaging Association (SGIA) is offering the day before the 2018 SGIA Expo (October 18-20 in Las Vegas). Both SGIA pre-conference workshops will be offered from 1:30 to 4:00 pm on Wednesday, October 17. One workshop will cover essential skills for success in wide-format printing; the other will cover essential strategies for small businesses.

Wide-Format 101: Essential Skills for Success discusses expanding opportunities in wide-format inkjet printing and some of technology, processes, and business strategies needed for success.

Travis Barcelona of Nazdar will explain how to decide what type of wide-format inkjet printer is best for your business and applications.

Jim Raffel of ColorCasters and Ray Weiss of SGIA will explain why the ability to produce accurate, repeatable color is critical to landing top, quality-driven accounts. They will unlock the secrets or producing great color in wide-format printing.

Chuck Payne of Image 360 will explain why setting up your equipment and getting your process in check is only part of the wide-format path to success. He will discuss strategies for business growth and how to make your wide-format business stand out from others.

The SGIA Expo October 18-20 in Las Vegas will feature more than 550 exhibitors of printing technology, products, and services.

Essential Small Business Strategies includes thought-provoking presentations by five experts in key business functions, including branding, sales, online marketing, employee retention, and meeting regulatory and sustainability requirements. Speakers include Marci Kinter of SGIA,  Brian Adam of Olympus Flag & Banner, and business consultants Dave Fellman, Ryan Sauers, and Aaron Montgomery.

“If you plan to join us in Las Vegas this October, you will not want to miss these exclusive sessions,” said Dan Marx, Director of Content Development, SGIA. “The expert instructors and comprehensive agendas we have assembled will give small business owners and wide-format printing companies the skills needed to take advantage of growth opportunities.”

Tickets for these pre-conference workshops are $49 and are not included with the Expo + Education pass. To learn more about education at the 2018 SGIA Expo and to register, visit

Marketing Guru Seth Godin to Keynote PRINT 18

Best-selling author Seth Godin will be the Opening Keynote speaker at the PRINT® 18 conference and exposition from September 30 through October 2, 2018 in Chicago. PRINT® is the annual printing conference and exhibition sponsored by The Association for Print Technologies (APTech℠).

Godin’s presentation will kick-off The Learning Experience at PRINT 18 on Sunday, September 30. Afterwards, he will sign copies of his best-selling book, What to Do When It’s Your Turn (and It’s Always Your Turn).

During the presentation, Godin will look back (briefly) on a century of marketing, industrialism and print, and paint a picture for how we can each make a dent in the future with the work we do. Godin promises the PRINT 18 audience will leave with actionable takeaways that can shape their personal and professional lives into the future. “If I could put it all in a memo, I would,” he says. “But bullet points just don’t work. If you are in the room, I will be able to help you think differently.”

Godin is the author of 18 books that have been bestsellers around the world and have been translated into more than 35 languages. He writes about the post-industrial revolution, the way ideas spread, marketing, quitting, leadership and most of all, changing everything. His most popular books include LinchpinTribesThe Dip and Purple Cow.

In addition to his writing and speaking, Godin founded both Yoyodyne and Squidoo. His blog (which you can find by typing “seth” into Google) is one of the most popular in the world. In May, he was inducted into the Marketing Hall of Fame.

The keynote session with Seth Godin is included with PRINT 18 registration. For more information about PRINT 18 and to register, visit


Attendance at ISA Sign Expo 2018 in Orlando Topped 20,300

The ISA International Sign Expo is the largest expo for the on-premise sign, graphics and visual communication industry. Held each spring in either Las Vegas or Orlando, the event features hundreds of exhibitors and dozens of education and networking events.

The ISA International Sign Expo 2018 in Orlando in March attracted more than 20,387 attendees, making it the largest ISA Sign Expo in Orlando and one of the largest in ISA Sign Expo history.

At 221,000 square feet, the trade show floor was the largest footprint in ISA International Sign Expo history. Nearly 600 exhibitors were in attendance, many offering tremendous specials and introducing new products.

“Significant weather issues throughout the country affected air travel, but attendees found a way to get here anyway,” said Lori Anderson, ISA president and CEO. “And they came in a mood to buy. Exhibitors reported that sales were outstanding. This reinforces that ISA International Sign Expo is the only industry event connecting sign and print companies with vendors who can help them capitalize on the expansions in the sign, graphics and visual communications industry.”

Throughout the event, attendees learned more about products, innovations and ideas to help them expand and grow their businesses.

More than 54 products nominated for ISA Sign Expo 2018 Innovation Awards. The top three award-winning innovations were: the Mimaki UCJV300-160 UV-LED integrated printer/cutter; Cirrus Sight digital analytics software for digital signage; and the INCISEON Skeletonized 12v replacement for high-voltage glass-tube neon signs.

The Mimaki UCJV300-160 UV-LED integrated printer/cutter is designed to print labels, decals, window clings, and vehicle markings all on one unit. The 64-inch printer uses flexible UV-curable inks, including a white ink.

Its four-layer printing capabilities makes it possible to create transitional graphics that change colors depending on whether the image is frontlit or backlit.

Cirrus Sight digital analytics reporting software allows marketing teams to track and optimize the effectiveness of campaigns on digital displays. Next-gen features such as car counting and facial recognition open new opportunities for measuring success, conducting A/B tests, and attracting new customers.

INCISEON Skeletonized is a 12v direct replacement for high-voltage glass tube neon systems. Offering a 92% reduction in energy consumption, the system is extremely cost-effective. It was used to create a brightly lit logo at the ISA Rocks party for Expo attendees.

Networking Opportunities

The ISA (International Sign Association) excels in organizing game-changing educational sessions and networking events.

At the International Sign Expo 2018 the Networking Reception for National and Custom Sign Companies enabled local sign companies to connect with national companies that need subcontractors.

The Experiential Design Program (XDP) enabled sign fabricators and sign material suppliers to interact with designers, architects, and brand marketers engaged in experiential design.

At the co-located National Sign Research and Education Conference conducted by The Sign Research Foundation, ISA members facilitated dialog with architects, urban planners, code officials, business owners, and designers who share an interest in designing more navigable cities.

About ISA International Sign Expo

ISA International Sign Expo has been named to the Trade Show News Network’s List of Top 250 Trade Shows and ranked in the Top 100 Largest Events by Trade Show Executive three consecutive years

ISA will mark its 75th anniversary as an association at ISA International Sign Expo 2019.

ISA International Sign Expo will be held at the Mandalay Bay Resort and C Convention Center in Las Vegas from April 24-27, 2019. The trade show floor will be open April 25-27. Registration will open this fall at

Executive Boot Camp for Sign Shop Managers Precedes ISA Sign Expo

Leaders of sign, graphics, and visual communications companies who want their businesses to thrive and grow should check out the day-long Executive Boot Camp prior to this year’s ISA Sign Expo. This sign shop management boot camp will be conducted by instructors from the Florida State University College of Business on Wednesday, March 21.  It is one of the in-depth pre-conference workshops that will be held before the start of the ISA International Sign Expo, March 22-24  at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida.

This sign-shop management and leadership boot camp will include expert insight into financial strategies, change management, and organizational performance.

“This exciting pre-conference workshop will give leaders the tools and knowledge to transform their businesses,” said Alison Kent, ISA’s director of workforce development. “We’re excited to partner with Florida State University’s College of Business.”

The Executive Boot Camp is just one of the ways that leaders can get an edge at ISA Sign Expo 2018. The ISA Elite program, now in its fourth year, brings together up-and-coming leaders for networking and targeted education throughout ISA Sign Expo 2018.

Registration for the pre-conference workshops, and the ISA International Sign Expo is now open at

About ISA

The International Sign Association (ISA) supports, promotes, and improves the sign industry through government advocacy, education and training programs, technical resources, stakeholder outreach and industry networking events. The ISA strives to be the leader in shaping and developing the sign, graphics, and visual communications community worldwide.

About ISA International Sign Expo

ISA International Sign Expo is the on-premise sign and visual communication industry’s largest expo. Held each spring, the International Sign Expo features education and networking events, and exhibits from more than 600 vendors. Exhibits feature products for sign fabrication and installation, wide-format graphics production, digital signage, lighting, architectural graphics/ADA signage, and signmaking and printing software.

The event has been named to the Trade Show News Network’s List of Top 250 Trade Shows. ISA International Sign Expo ranked in the Top 100 Largest Events by Trade Show Executive for three consecutive years. Learn more at

New Networking Conference for Wide-Format Printing Providers

WFX: Wide-Format Exchange is a networking-focused, educational conference for top executives from high-volume, wide-format printing companies and printers poised to add wide-format inkjet printing to their businesses. This wide-format business conference takes place May 21-23, 2018 at the Renaissance Minneapolis Hotel, The Depot, in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

The conference is sponsored by two long-time providers of information about wide-format digital printing: the Specialty Graphic Imaging Association (SGIA) and ST Media Group. The WFX Advisory Council includes representatives from 28 leading printing companies and helped steer the development of the program.

“WFX is all about connecting with peers to discuss solutions to common challenges,” said Sarah Perkins, Director of Community Development, SGIA. “At WFX, you’ll learn almost as much from your peers as you do from the conference program.”

“It’s a time of great change in wide-format printing, but also of great possibilities,” said Steve Duccilli, senior VP of content for ST Media Group and the chair of the inaugural WFX. “We’ve worked with leading graphics producers to create a program that will keep them abreast of these changes.”

Sessions at WFX: Wide-Format Exchange will cover topics such as

  • Preserving Customer Loyalty
  • Why the Retail Store is Evolving, Not Disappearing
  • What Single-Pass Printing Means for Your Business
  • The Automated Printing Plant
  • New Opportunities in 3D Printing
  • Why Sustainability and Profitability Go Hand in Hand
  • New Opportunities in Textile Printing
  • Leveraging the Power of Technology and Social Media to Maximize Profit
  • Managing Breakthrough Performance in the New Economy
  • The WFX Buyers’ Panel
  • Meeting  Your Clients’ Color Expectations
  • Becoming a One-Stop Shop

For more information, or to register, visit the WFX: Wide-Format Exchange website.

About the Organizers

SGIA is a trade association for professionals in the industrial, graphic, garment, textile, electronics, packaging, and commercial printing communities. SGIA helps guide members who want to grow their businesses into new market segments by incorporating the latest printing technologies.

ST Media Group International is a Cincinnati-based publisher of seven brands related to visual communications. Publications include: Big Picture, Signs of the Times, Screen Printing, S&S en espanol, Boutique Design, VMSD (Visual Merchandising and Store Design), and BXP (Brand Experience.)

InPrint USA Organizers Release White Paper on Industrial Print Market

The organizers of the InPrint USA Conference have released a white paper about market opportunities for industrial print in North America.

InPrint USA Show LogoInPrint USA defines industrial print as “using print technologies within the process of manufacturing.” It refers to a procedure where by ink or another substance is printed onto a product for either functional or decorative purposes.

The white paper provides a snapshot of industrial print markets in North America. It discusses the size of projects and provides examples of markets beyond office and consumer sectors that adopt digital print technology.

Currently, North America lag behind Europe in the adoption of digital industrial printing technology. According to the report produced by the consulting firm I.T. Strategies, the North American market for industrial digital represents about 30% of the global market while Europe represents about 34% of the global market. But key differences between the markets give America an advantage in terms of growth opportunities and higher volumes of industrial digital print production. By 2020, the industrial printing market in the U.S. may exceed $32 billion.

Here are some other highlights from the white paper:

  • The digital industrial print industry is supplied by fewer than 100 vendors globally. Total revenues for systems, technology, and imaging chemistry is currently about $110 billion.
  • The most important value proposition for adopting digital industrial print are cost reduction, faster response, and creation of new market opportunities.
  • The biggest long-term value proposition for digital industrial printing is in packaging. Digital printing can provide custom content to serve increasingly fragmented demand patterns.
  • Industrial analog printing is expected to grow at about 2 percent a year. Industrial inkjet printing is expected to growth about 9 percent a year.

“There is tremendous opportunity for growth for digital industrial print technology in the U.S. due to the large number of manufacturing companies. While the U.S. market adopts technology differently than Europe, a unified U.S. market attracts larger participants and demand groups,” said Marcus Timson, co-founder of InPrint. Because U.S. companies have access to a unique infrastructure for financing and developing new ventures, vendors that sell industrial print technologies have strong prospects for business and revenue growth.

If you are interested in receiving a complimentary copy of the full white paper, visit:

InPrint USA Show

You can see industrial printing in action at the inaugural InPrint USA show in Orlando, Florida April 25-27, 2017. InPrint is the exhibition for industrial print technology and for advanced packaging and manufacturing. The InPrint Show has become the key marketplace in Europe for state-of-the-art functional, decorative, and packaging printing in industrial production.

InPrint USA will focus on connecting manufacturers who use print as a key component of the manufacturing process with leading brands in the fields of industrial, specialty, screen, digital, inkjet, and 3D technology print solutions.

“InPrint USA is a very specialized, focused show aimed at manufacturers who need complex, customized, cooperatively design system solutions in order to reduce cost and waste, increase supply chain efficiency, and generate new possibilities and revenue in industrial product,” said Melissa Magestro, Executive Vice President of Mack Brooks Exhibitions Inc., the show organizer.

Exhibitors will showcase equipment, tools, and services for printing on metal, plastics, foils, textiles, glass, ceramics, woods, and other substrates. Registrants will have complimentary access to the Global Industrial Inkjet Conference and free access to ICE USA, the co-located International Converting Exhibition. Here, manufacturers will showcase converting equipment and technology, including processes such as web coating, laminating, slitting, rewinding, coating, and pouch making.

Early-bird registration rates are available until April 1, 2017.

SGIA Will Be An Association Partner

The Specialty Graphic Imaging Association (SGIA) recently signed on as an association partner for InPrint USA. SGIA is the leading trade association for imaging professionals in the industrial, packaging, graphic, garment, textile, electronics, and commercial printing communities.

“SGIA has a long history in the industrial printing community, said Ford Bowers, president and CEO of SGIA. “Participating in InPrint USA complements our commitment and is an exciting opportunity to support industrial imagers tackling the challenges they face in their businesses every day.”

“We are very excited that SGIA is a Supporting Association Partner for our inaugural industrial print show in the U.S.” said Magestro. “Our goal with the launch of InPrint USA is to promote the innovative potential of industrial printing technologies and bring this growing segment of of the print industry together in one place. The synergies between the goals of both of our organizations is tremendous.”


Enter Second Annual HP Inkspiration Awards

HP Inc. and Dscoop are partnering for the second annual HP Inkspiration Awards North America. This premier contest celebrates best-in-class print projects created with HP Indigo, PageWide Web Press, Scitex or Latex technology.


Print service providers (PSPs) are invited to submit their most innovative and creative work in the following categories:

HP Indigo: General Commercial Printing

  • Direct mail
  • Collateral
  • Publishing
  • Calendars
  • Photography

HP Indigo: Labels and Packaging

  • Flexible packaging
  • Folding cartons
  • Alcoholic beveraqes
  • Health and beauty
  • Food and beverage
  • Household

HP Latex and Scitex

  • Backlit
  • Textile
  • POP/POS signage and displays
  • Banner
  • Decor-canvas
  • Wallpaper
  • Corrugated boxes and displays

HP Indigo and PageWide Printing

  • Collateral
  • Corrugated boxes
  • Books
  • Publications
  • Transaction/trans-promotional
  • Custom products

Entries will be reviewed by a judging panel of industry experts.

As part of the HP Inkspiration Awards North America, HP and Dscoop will also honor the best in self-promotion with the Rod Key Marketing Excellence Award. Named in memory of industry leader Rod Key, this award is given to the company with the most creative marketing campaign that promotes their business. Awards will be presented for campaigns created on HP Indigo, PageWide Web Press, Latex or Scitex equipment.

“We’re continually inspired by our customers who create beautiful, impactful work with HP digital printing technology,” said Avi Basu, director, marketing and business development, Graphics Solutions Business, Americas, HP Inc. “The HP Inkspiration and Rod Key Marketing Excellence Awards give us a unique opportunity to recognize and celebrate our customers’ accomplishments, while encouraging the industry to continue pushing the boundaries of what’s possible with digital printing.”

“I would encourage printers to participate in the HP Inkspiration Awards. It’s a strategic way to challenge their organizations, inspire their people to do great work, and separate themselves from the competition,” said Bruce L. Myers, Ph.D., assistant professor, School of Media Sciences, Rochester Institute of Technology. “Printers can be confident that if they do well in this competition, they are at the top of their game.”

Entry Deadline

There is no fee to enter, and you may enter as many submissions as you wish.

Submissions are being accepted until January 6, 2017 at the program website:

Winners will be announced during a special ceremony at Dscoop Phoenix March 1-4, 2017.

The winning entries in the HP Inkspiration Awards can be viewed here.

Conference Explains Why Future of Digital Textile Printing is Now

Digitally printed textiles are widely used in retail and event graphics and athletic apparel. But with ongoing advances in inks, fabrics, and equipment, manufacturers are beginning to use digitally print textiles for a much broader range of applications, including fashions, furnishings, and accessories.

To learn what’s next for digital textile printing, check out Digital Textile Printing: The Future is Now. This two-day conference will be held December 6-7, 2016 at the Sheraton Imperial Hotel in Durham, North Carolina.

Sponsored by SGIA and AATCC

The conference is sponsored jointly by the Specialty Graphic Imaging Association (SGIA) and the Association of Textile, Apparel, and Materials Professionals (AATCC). The complementary membership bases of these two associations are helping drive the advancement of digital textile printing technologies.

SGIA serves printing professionals who want to use the latest digital printing technologies to grow their businesses or expand into new market segments. Many SGIA members come from screen-printing businesses that have been involved with textile printing and garment decoration for years.


AATCC originated as the American Association of Textile Chemists and Colorists but has expanded to serve industry professionals from: textile, apparel and home-goods manufacturers; textile testing laboratories; consumer and retail organizations; state and federal government agencies; and colleges and universities. AATCC is internationally recognized for its standard methods of testing fibers and fabrics for performance characteristics such as colorfastness, appearance, soil release, dimensional change, and water resistance.

Conference Speakers

Experts from a variety of backgrounds will explain what’s involved in digitally printing textiles that are beautiful, functional, colorfast, and compliant with regulations for safety and sustainable production. Speakers will include experts involved fabric and ink research, digital textile printing and finishing systems, certifications and standards, color management, design, and surface imaging education.

Johnny Shell of the Specialty Graphic Imaging Association will provide an overview of digital textile printing technology. He will cover existing digital textile printing platforms and their costs, capabilities, and limitations. He will also look at potentially disruptive platforms that are starting to come online.

David Clark of Huntsman Corporation will outline the different ink chemistries used in digital textile printing and the fastness (durability) of colors on textiles.

Dave Brewer, chief technology officer of the Image Options screen-printing firm, will address the basic fundamentals of color and how to consistently achieve the right color on fabric graphics and textiles.

Steve Aranoff of Mikkelsen Converting Technologies will discuss how finishing innovations such as the VersaTech are making it easier to handle heavy rolls of fabric and improve quality and overall throughput.

Ben Mead of Hohenstein Institute USA research and testing lab and OEKO-TEX USA, will discuss how to know if the inks and other chemicals used in digital textile printing will meet the sustainability requirements of your customers.

Diana Wyman of AATCC will explain the importance of quality assurance testing for printed textiles. She will focus on selecting test methods, understanding test methods, and making decisions based on those results.

Harold S. Freeman of the College of Textiles at North Carolina State University will discuss research that will lead to the next generation of disperse dyes for inkjet inks.

Yi Ding of the College of Textiles at North Carolina State University will discuss research that compared the properties of pigment-based and disperse dye-based inksets on a polyester substrate.

Katelyn Lee of Cotton Incorporated will discuss a project that is evaluating the pretreatment formulations to improve the color yield and color development of reactive dyes digitally printed onto 100 percent cotton fabrics.

Xingyu Li of the College of Textiles at North Carolina State University will discuss research that explored best practices in preparing polyester woven fabric for direct digital printing. He will explain fabric factors (processes and materials) that will contribute to the quality and efficiency of digital printing.

Hitoshi Ujiie of The Center of Excellence for Surface Imaging at Philadelphia University will talk about the key role of digital textile printing in the emerging design field of surface imaging.

Carrie Yates of Cotton Incorporated will explain how the product development team at the Cotton Incorporated Research Center is developing fabrics from cotton fiber to the finished product. This presentation will highlight how Cotton Incorporated is taking digital printing to another level by fusing techniques such as laser etching and novel dyeing and finishing methods.

Steve Smith, of the DPInnovations software company will explain how an established textile printing company with a traditional B2B business model developed an online presence that enables all types of customers to submit jobs directly to their digital textile printing equipment.

Gert Davis of the Spoonflower digital textile printing service will discuss how online creative communities, advances in imaging technologies, and on-demand printing can deliver a more collaborative, environmentally sustainable, and diverse textile industry.

Fashion designer Alexander Julian will share some of the lessons he learned since he first began exploring digital printing in 1990. He will explain how technology has shaped his vision and enabled his business.

Mark Sawchak of Expand Systems will explain why companies of all sizes are interested in implementing a digital workflow to bring more printed products to market faster. He will discuss companies moving forward with digital textile printing technologies and how it is re-engineering their supply chains.

View the full program details here. Register before November 21 to qualify for early-bird pricing. For more details and registration information visit:


Why the SGIA Expo Has an Entrepreneurial Vibe

It’s not surprising that the SGIA Expo has become one of the largest printing trade shows in the U.S. This show floor features endless opportunities for print-business entrepreneurs who understand that “printing” today is about much more than putting words and pictures on paper.

SGIA-Expo2016Digital printing is alive and well and enabling the production of all sorts of products, including: customized garments; custom labels and packaging; graphics-wrapped vehicles; fast fashion; print-on-demand wallcoverings; interactive clothing and other objects; photo gifts and merchandise; promotional products; and unique environments for stores, restaurants, hotels, healthcare facilities, schools, and offices.

The 2016 SGIA Expo September 14-16 in Las Vegas attracted more than 24,000 visitors. About 65 percent were currently involved in graphics printing or installation, 25 percent were garment decorators, 9 percent were involved with industrial printing, and 2 percent were working with in the emerging field of printed electronics for the Internet of Things.

Roughly, 46 percent of the 2016 SGIA Expo visitors were first-time attendees. For example Kathy Gonzalez of Dancing Dog Productions said, “I bought my shop four months ago, and I’m completely new.” She said the experts at SGIA education sessions were helpful and knowledgeable: “The wealth of information is amazing.”

What Makes SGIA Expo Different?

The SGIA Expo is organized by an association that began as the Screenprinting and Graphic Imaging Association. When wide-format printing equipment was first introduced, most screen-printing companies were already involved with producing relatively short runs of garments, advertising graphics, vehicle markings, art reproductions, textiles, glassware, ceramics, and promotional products.

In 2003, after merging with the Digital Printing and Imaging (DPI) Association, SGIA rebranded itself as the Specialty Graphics and Imaging Association. Today, SGIA welcomes any business that uses digital and/or analog printing processes to create new products or enhance existing ones.

The leaders of SGIA include entrepreneurs who were among the first to build businesses around wide-format inkjet printing. As early adopters of the first slow, low-resolution color wide-format inkjet printers, SGIA and DPI members dealt with the technical glitches that come with any new technology. They also had to show customers what these early wide-format and superwide-format inkjet printers could do.

With support from the printer and media manufacturers, SGIA members developed the demand for digitally printed large-format graphics in fields as diverse as outdoor advertising, fine art reproduction, retail displays, trade-show graphics, museum exhibitions, interior decor, and staged events. When competition within one market segment intensified, SGIA members simply diversified into a different niche or market segment.

Some long-time SGIA members started out as commercial photo labs or prepress service bureaus. They started producing large-format graphics when the demand for film processing and film-based color separations began to decline.

Now, representatives of commercial printing companies come to SGIA Expo to find large-format graphics printing equipment that can help them offset the declining demand for large print runs of marketing collateral and other documents.

Printing Entrepreneurs Enable Other Entrepreneurs

SGIA Expo also attracts owners of digital printing start-ups that don’t have any previous experience in printing.

Some of these entrepreneurs are using wide-format printing systems and digital presses to fulfill online orders for small runs of customized products, such as custom-designed wallpaper, T-shirts, or gift wrap.  With their web-to-print operations, some start-up printing firms are creating new-business opportunities for photographers, designers, and artists who want to license their images or launch their own brands of products.

In Search of The Next Big Thing

Entrepreneurs understand that a business model that works today might easily be disrupted within a year or two. New businesses must find ways to become efficient and profitable fast while keeping abreast of opportunities to grow and differentiate their companies.

So, you never know what type of technology or materials you might find at SGIA Expo. In the short time I spent in the SGIA Expo aisles, I saw:

—Massivit’s large-format 3D printer for making props and objects for use in visual merchandising, themed environments, and outdoor advertising;

—Durst’s 5-meter Rhotex 500 inkjet fabric printer for companies that want to make gigantic backdrops for theaters, arenas, concert venues, trade shows, and public spaces.

—Digital signs showing 3D content (without requiring the viewer to wear glasses);

—On-demand box-making equipment for shipping print-on-demand products; and

—A preview of Canon’s innovative UVgel printing technology for roll-to-roll printers.

–Automated finishing equipment that can convert printed corrugated boards into three-dimensional displays.

Judging from the number of first-time attendees and diversity of the exhibitors, the SGIA Expo has earned a reputation as a printing show for entrepreneurs and early adopters.

“The SGIA Expo has provided a dramatic increase in new customer opportunities for us,” reports Chris Guyett of Durst Image Technology US LLC. “The attendees we were able to speak with showed great interest and desire to build their business with Durst.”

James Raffel, CEO of ColorMetrix Technologies LLC told SGIA Expo organizers, “You guys are on fire — this marketplace is full of opportunity right now.”

The 2017 SGIA Expo will be held October 10-12 at the New Orleans Morial Convention Center.