It’s All About the Digital File at SGIA ’07- From Wrapping Gators to Mermaids - The Online Magazine for the Sign Trade.
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It’s All About the Digital File at SGIA ’07- From Wrapping Gators to Mermaids

Whether you’re cutting rubylith, fluted-plastic or vinyl; printing on rigid sheet, t-shirts, tile or fabric; or getting a message across through embroidery, it all comes down to the digital file.

By Sean Scott

As diverse a crowd as the attendees at the SGIA show, this is one element that they all have in common, no matter what.

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  • The show has wrapped up and all the seeds have been planted for new ways to innovate the way we can use new innovations in the specialty imaging realm. With 19,162 attendees and 586 exhibitors, there was much to see October 24th ­ 27th at the SGIA ’07 in Orlando.

    The 54 educational sessions covered a breadth of topics from business sustainability, to the steps ahead in inkjet printing, to all of the latest screen techniques. The sessions were all presented by industry experts in their fields to participants over all four days, giving plenty of real world education sessions and roundtables.

    Printers and sign makers
    In the digital technology outlook, speed is continuing to increase while quality is being maintained or even improved from resolution to color gamut. Also, the show revealed obvious maturity in the UV inks. Gerber and Mimaki both brought new releases to the UV flatbed front. Mimaki with its JF-1631 5’x10’ UV printer, which has white and clear coat giving it the standard 6 plus the white & clear.

    Gerber launched its new Solara ion™ to much buzz. The ion takes a slightly different approach, with the typical 5’x10’ bed, plus a roll-to-roll station at one end of the bed. Its new GerberCAT™ cationic inks bring forth increased flexibility and adhesion to substrates, and a completely new curing, called Cold Fire Cure™ that greatly reduces curing temps providing many new opportunities for $79,995.

    Roland DGA showcased its new faster SOLJET PRO III XJ series of wide-format eco-solvent inkjet printers, offered in 54, 64, and 74-inch models at up to 458 sq ft/hr, for $24,995 - $29,995, as well as the Advanced JET AJ-74 industrial inkjet printer with speeds up to 872 sq ft/hr, for $54,995. The Roland Partner Solutions Program named Splash of Color as the US Distributor for the HeatWave DFP-74 Direct-to-Fabric Printer solution at $89,995.

    Graphtec America put their spotlight on the FC7000MK2 Series which covers 24” up to 64” cutters. The added features of this Series are the ARMS (Advanced Registration Mark System) which helps to enhance tracking up to 50 feet. Another neat feature, the PERF LINE, which allow cutting all the way through the backing without damaging the cutter or blade for pop-out decals, was a bonus treat.

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    In the industrial production machines, EFI and HP brought their finest to the dance too. EFI™ brought the VUTEk® QS3200r, its newest UV printer in the QS Family with 1850 sq ft/hr with 8 color imaging and a detail-oriented and versatile roll-to-roll solution.

    Let’s not forget HP’s HP Scitex XL2200 bringing 4,300 sq ft/hr high-quality results for billboards and outdoor signage with 16’ wide output. Featuring the HP UV221 four-color inks and the new HP Scitex X2 Printheads, all developed and manufactured in-house by HP Scitex, the display was quite impressive spitting out a green movie monster at 16 feet wide to wrap a building without seams.

    In the media segment, air-evacuating solutions are still abounding from every direction. With the wrap marketing taking off like a rocket, there are more and more highly conformable vinyl films that are developing their way out these days. And even Lightning McQueen and Mater from “Cars” made it to the Avery booth for some decoration.

    Alcan Composites showcased their Sintra® Print Optimized, the brightest, whitest PVC, designed for better ink adhesion for increased speed on flatbeds. Also, the Dibond Metal Series, including brushed gold, silver, bronze, copper and stainless finishes, can provide a premium metallic look without the need to combine substrates with laminates.

    Direct to garments and textiles
    Shifting quickly from vinyl and rigid boards, the show highlighted unique processes from custom one-off shirts, to soft signage, to drapes to unique one-off designed materials. If you can name it, or if you can think of an application to have something printed on, it was there somewhere. The constant improvements with ink pigments and application in textile decoration has come a long way through the last few years and has matured most significantly over the last two years. These distinctive new applications continue to improve and evolve.

    Oh, and before I forget, there were actually several mermaids at the show. I’ve never quite figured out who brought the fiberglass alligators that they wrapped though. I guess they do demonstrate vinyl film conformability in trying to wrap a dinosaur.

    So to wrap it up, it was a very educational, busy, and informative show that was guaranteed to wear you out, but grand it was. The “Aha” moment is really simple at the SGIA show with all of its diversity: the core of it all is the digital file, with all of its possibilities and opportunities displayed on the show floor.

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