Advancing Digital Printing Knowledge
Industrial printing, décor (decoration of homes, offices), and packaging printing (both prototype (printing samples) and short-run packaging printing: these are the upcoming trends in the world of digital inkjet printing.
Textile printing is still growing and we look forward to all the textile printer brands at SGI 2018. But we will be keeping an eye out on any and every kind of décor, industrial printing, and packaging prototypes (print-and-cut can make packaging concepts).
Décor can be printed with textile inks, latex inks, and UV-curing inks. Décor can also be printed with pigmented ink for fine art giclee (so Canon, HP, and Epson photo and giclee printers). For locations for residual odor is not an issue, solvent printing is also possible though obviously in many parts of the world the preference is to move to at least theoretically less eco-unfriendly inks.
Ceramic floor and wall tiles, glass, and architectural wall panels can all be printed with UV-curing printers and special inks and curing for slippery surfaces.
Thus we feel that wide-format inkjet printer expos should also be announced to architects and interior decorators. Since my Hellmuth family background is architecture (including the HOK office in Dubai), I recognize how much of digital printing could help architects if there was a manner of introducing them to these printers, such as a conference “Wide Format Inkjet for Architects & Interior Designers.” This conference should literally travel the world.
The goal is to help architects and interior designers understand which digital workflow can assist them, and to help distributors and factory brands understand the potential of décor if architects knew more about their printers, inks, finishing, cutters, etc.
It is crucial to attract more architects to “sign” expos, and to suggest that “sign” expos should feature décor in their web pages and gradually in their expo brand name. But first, a traveling conference, continent by continent, is a crucial initial step.
T-shirts can be printed with screen, toner, direct-to-fabric, and dye sub ink via transfer paper. So we will be not only looking at these, but testing our FLAAR T-shirt designs.
On the subject of print-and-cut, at SIGN EXPO ASIA co-located with APPPEXPO 2017 last month we noticed that over 90% of printer booths showed a print-and-cut solution in their booth. So we look forward to seeing print-and-cut solutions at SGI 2018. Nowadays even HP latex ink printers have a print-and-cut solution (with a cutter partner).
Another trend we noticed in the last month was the over 90% of printer booths at an expo were featuring backlit: either with backlit displays or just putting lighting under the printer (so the print sample could be understood to be for backlit). So it helps to learn which media companies offer these backlit materials.
Although signage is appropriately a focus of a sign expo, the trend worldwide is to offer other applications beyond just signs. Even 3D is a lot more than signage: 3D is also useful for museums and displays of comic book heroes, etc.
But of course all signage aspects are still strong at SGI 2018: car wrap, billboard printing, POP for stores, airports, etc. Plus, all this takes more than just a printer: so cutters, laminators: finishing equipment is essential to learn about. And on the subject of signs, LCD and especially LED lighting is crucial. LED is both for traditional signage and for dynamic digital signage.
Screen printing is still a viable workflow, especially for mass production of T-shirts.
Toner printing is also a subject we enjoy writing about: articles all over the Internet still think that only inkjet in a desktop printer provides good color. Yet we at FLAAR Reports begin testing desktop toner printers and the colors were great. Plus, all the surface banding/blurring/ etc of toner printers of 20 years ago were no longer noticeable. So I look forward to doing test prints on desktop toner printers and on short-run digital presses. We bring out own designs (MayanToons.org shows the samples we print to review quality of toner printer brands and models).
SGI is organized by the experienced team of IEC (International Expo Consults). They also organize the important international expo DEAL (Dubai Entertainment Amusement & Leisure Show).
Two of us from FLAAR will attend SGI every day from January 14th to 16th, 2018, in Halls 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8 at the Dubai World Trade Centre, UAE.
Dr Nicholas will be a judge for the annual Wall of Fame, plus on one of the panels for discussion of wide-format inkjet printing.
Dubai is a peaceful location, where people from the Middle East and Africa and Europe can experience both the city, the UAE, and all the equipment and software and solutions available to study at SGI, Sign Middle East, Dubai 2018.