A Time of Change
With confetti raining down from the ceiling of the Tao Nightclub amid a brilliant display of lasers and neon lights, 2018 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 Dallas next October.
In its final iteration as SGIA Expo, more than 24,000 registrants visited the Las Vegas Convention Center to view the largest collection of printing equipment — with 612 exhibitors filling 290,150 sq.ft. of booth space — of any North American trade show, attend 72 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.”
Attendee Interest in 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, was that attendees were interested in seeing several types of technologies and they came to the show armed with questions.
For example, Becky McConnell, product marketing manager for Fujifilm North America, reported that booth traffic was 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 their bottom lines.”
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 of strategic planning and business development for Ricoh’s Commercial and Industrial Printing Business Group, said he was impressed with the SGIA Expo’s ability to bring in such a wide array of technology spanning printing, workflow and media.
In a booth that featured printed applications on the floor, walls and even in an augmented reality experience, Ricoh has embraced the many ways the printing industry is expanding, according to Dollard.
“What’s driven this approach is that the business is changing with technology,” he said. “So, 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, pointed out that the Microfactory demonstration at this year’s show also highlighted the wide variety of printed products. “This particular one had so many layers to it,” he acknowledged. “It showcased every product and how they are conceptually connected.”
Deborah Hutcheson, director of marketing for Agfa Graphics North America, viewed the SGIA Expo as an excellent launching point for a new product. “We’ve had an incredible launch of the Jeti Tauro H3300 LED,” she pointed out. “This show is the ideal platform for its North America debut. Attendees are well-informed and came 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, sales and marketing coordinator for Durst’s 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 drive their workflow and analytics, in order to get the most out of their printers,” Guyett said.
Beyond the buzzing equipment throughout the show floor, the 2018 SGIA Expo also 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 received from customers and prospects during the show, people are quite optimistic and the future looks promising.”
PRINTING United Is Now on the Near 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. The SGIA Expo name has now been retired, and the event will be known as PRINTING United, expanding into even more printing segments and applications.
Remaining 100% owned by SGIA, the new event will focus on the opportunities presented by the convergence and integration of printing technologies and markets. As such, PRINTING United will cover print and finishing technologies in industry segments ranging from garment to graphic, packaging to commercial, and industrial to in-plant. NAPCO Media is also a key partner of the event.
Mark Subers, president of NAPCO Media’s Printing, Packaging and Publishing Group, and president of PRINTING United, reinforced that the key concept for PRINTING United centers on the convergence occurring throughout the printing industry.
Convergence, he explained, is the act of printers expanding beyond their core segment(s) into adjacent areas of print. Examples of convergence could include commercial printers expanding into wide-format digital printing applications, or commercial shops adding packaging capabilities.
“Printers in different segments are reaching across and adopting new technology,” Subers added. “It’s important to provide a one-room approach where all solutions are available for review.”
New Show Reflects Industry Convergence
It became even clearer that PRINTING United would be the right strategic approach to the industry’s overall needs through research conducted by NAPCO Research, NAPCO Media’s research arm. The research found that a whopping 95% of the 470 printers who participated in the survey see opportunity for expansion beyond their primary segments.
“It’s going to have immense value to put these people together at a single venue to drive community for the greater good of the industry,” Subers said. “PRINTING United will expose printers — representing a wide range of segments — to new market applications and the opportunity to create new peer-to-peer connections that can help further their individual businesses and the print community overall.”
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 ultimate goal.”
On the SGIA Expo show floor, excitement around the launch of PRINTING United in 2019 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, contended that PRINTING United will be a prime opportunity to serve the company’s multiple market segments all at once.
“We are excited to be part of PRINTING United — a show we believe will create great synergy between the commercial and wide-format signage and graphics markets,” Nuno said. “Our business encompasses both segments and we can’t wait to participate in that event and maximize our reach into these industries.”
Likewise, McConnell, of Fujifilm, said her company is looking forward to PRINTING United, as it has also observed the convergence that’s occurring in the industry.
“We’re really excited because a lot of shops are not sticking to one thing,” she noted. “[PRINTING United] will be an opportunity to see more, all in one place.” That’s why Fujifilm will most likely opt to display a B2-format, J Press 720S sheetfed inkjet press in Dallas next year.
Similarly, 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.
At the conclusion of the 2018 SGIA Expo, preliminary figures for PRINTING United provided evidence of the upcoming show’s magnitude. With approximately 78% of the expected exhibitor space for PRINTING United already booked, the total square footage for the 2019 show YTD exceeds that of 2018. Expectations are that booth space for PRINTING United will be sold out before the end of the year which will occupy the entire Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center. Additionally, approximately 6,300 attendees have already registered for the 2019 Expo.
A Note from Denise M. Gustvson :
What You Need to Know About PRINTING United
You’ve probably heard a lot about PRINTING United. From the various press releases, announcements, signs, banners and videos that appeared throughout the SGIA Expo show floor, PRINTING United has been front and center. But you probably still have questions about what’s happening to the SGIA Expo in 2019 and what you can expect from PRINTING United.
In a nutshell, PRINTING United is a new trade show and educational event 100% owned by SGIA that launches next year from Oct. 23-25 at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center in Dallas. Focusing on the opportunities presented by the convergence of printing technologies and markets, PRINTING United will cover print and finishing technologies in industry segments from garment to graphic, packaging to commercial, and industrial to in-plant.
Its objective is to bring together all segments of the printing industry — from graphics and signage to commercial and packaging — to provide a comprehensive view of all the components of integrated solutions and to satisfy virtually any client need. NAPCO Media, publisher of Wide-Format Impressions and several related printing industry titles, is a proud partner of the event.
Why PRINTING United?
Printers are faced with an ongoing challenge to maintain and grow their businesses in the face of new and competing technologies, new competitors, changing market dynamics, shifting customer demands and other factors. These realities are impacting the types and run lengths of the printed products and related services they offer and have pushed the industry to evolve in new ways.
To address these challenges, printers not only add new technologies to enhance their competitiveness with existing customers, but can also extend their overall offerings to both new and existing clients by migrating into other print segments that expand their overall capability.
This active migration process — e.g., a commercial printer looking for opportunities in the wide-format graphics space or a graphics shop looking to expand into garment printing — is occurring throughout the printing industry. According to a recent survey by NAPCO Media and SGIA called “Convergence in the Print Industry: Understanding Growth Opportunities and Competition,” 95% of printers see opportunity for their own expansion.
SGIA, in partnership with NAPCO Media, created PRINTING United in response to how the marketplace is evolving. Widening the trade show’s reach into other segments of the printing and visual communications industries ultimately means it will be a stronger, more comprehensive show that better serves all facets of the graphic arts universe, which is something that the industry has been asking for and needs.
For printers who want to expand into adjacent markets, add new product lines and increase revenue — and for exhibitors that want to serve their needs — PRINTING United brings everything under one roof.
PRINTING United is where printers will be able to explore adjacent market opportunities, so you can decide what your commercial printing business will look like not just today, but also in a year or five years from now.
Bigger. Better. Bolder.
PRINTING United is bigger, better and bolder. Bigger, because it will bring together the widest array of printing technologies and market segments under one roof.
It’s better, because it will deliver a greater ROI for printers and suppliers. Printer attendees will get more out of their investment of time away from their shops. They will be able to investigate new business opportunities in one place as exhibitors showcase their full range of equipment to the widest possible audience.
For exhibitors, PRINTING United makes it easy to sell outside their traditional pipeline. Increasingly, printers are growing their businesses by adopting technologies in adjacent markets, giving vendors the opportunity to sell to customers they didn’t even know existed.
PRINTING United is bolder, because it’s all about the connections, community, knowledge and solutions you need to increase your revenue and profits, and to catapult your business to new levels. It’s also all about being a pioneer, because you’ll be part of the inaugural event that will showcase where the industry is heading.
Most trade shows in the printing industry serve only a slice or two of the industry — such as commercial printing, wide-format graphics, garment decoration, industrial printing/printed electronics, package printing — but that’s not the way the industry is moving, so it’s not the way PRINTING United is built.
Hope to see you in Dallas next October!
—Denise M. Gustavson
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.