SGI Dubai is the first major printer expo each year
FLAAR-REPORTS team have enjoyed attending SGI Dubai every year for many years. Great expo, friendly people, peaceful city. Two members from FLAAR-REPORTS will be at SGI Dubai 2020. So let’s take a look at what you can expect in mid-January at Sign Middle East, SGI Dubai 2020. We of FLAAR-REPORTS would not waste our time going around the world to any expo unless there are lots of products, technologies, software, inks, workflow equipment, and learning opportunities.
The most popular printers at almost every printer expo around the world are UV-curing printers. These come in diverse sizes, from desktop, to mid-size, to large-format and grand-format (more than 2.5 meters).
Applications are important because today it helps to print lots more than just signage. So rotating systems to print customized bottles and glasses help (plenty of these).
Pseudo-three-dimensional prints (“raised relief prints) can be created if you have really capable design software and outstanding UV-curing printer. So a UV-curing printer can do a lot more than basic signage.
It is worth attending a good printer expo to see all the potential applications that you can produce with a UV-curing printer.
Rapid prototyping and other kinds of 3D printers were a fad in past years. But 90% of the printer/signage expos around the world nowadays have at least one or two booths of these printers. They are a helpful technology so we hope to see some 3D printing technology in SGI Dubai 2020.
In many areas of the world solvent printers are no longer used, but in other areas solvent printers are still popular. So we expect to see several brands of solvent printers. Solvent inks produce nice bright colors.
HP has intelligently devoted over a decade and probably literally many millions of dollars improving their latex printers. The latex printers available in 2020 have color that is more accurate (than latex ink a decade ago). And now there are combo transfer belt models (so you can print some kinds of flat materials).
HP has now totally dropped their updates of the ColorSpan UV-printer line; and long ago dropped their NUR and Scitex UV printer lines: HP continues to be focused on latex ink (and still has their water-based printers for fine art giclee, photos, GIS, and CAD plus recent textile printers as well).
Textile printers can print signage, décor, clothing, and lots of other applications. So it helps to keep up with what textile printers and which inks are available.
RIP & Color Management Software
Your photograph will have better color on an inkjet print if your original photograph had better color to begin with: so we highly recommend that photographers use a MacBeth ColorChecker. Now X-rite has a full series of these, now branded under X-rite.
Also essential are the X-Rite spectrophotometers and associated software. All this is helpful in addition to RIP software. So at SGI Dubai 2020 I will be looking for a booth that has X-Rite color management equipment.
It helps to have reliable ink. It helps even more to have a reliable company standing behind the ink. So it is a good idea at a printer expo to meet the company and/or local distributor.
You want an ink that sticks; you want any ink that does not loose color in sunlight (sun comes in windows to most décor prints; so sun factor is more than just outdoor billboards).
Inks and Media are classified as consumables. I also classify them as ESSENTIALS. This is why the FLAAR-REPORTS team visits ink companies: most recently Apollo Ink in China and A.T. Inks in India. We visit their factories, we visit their demo rooms. Plus it also helps to inspect print shops using the brand of ink you are considering (we visited several print shops successfully using A.T. Inks to print on metal, glass, plastics, and décor).
Most print shops print on standard materials because they already know the ICC profiles and they know the ink settings, etc. But if you want to gain new clients it’s worth the effort to experiment with new materials.
Just be sure the factory that produces the media produces consistent quality (or will replace an occasionally unfortunately defective roll). Again, good to know the local distributor.
We recommend looking at innovative media to print on at SGI Dubai 2020.
Awareness of Workflow Software & Equipment
Once you print the image you may still need to use other equipment to cut, engrave, fold, or prepare the sign to be hung (grommets, etc.). So it really helps to know about workflow equipment.
Nowadays software for keeping track of jobs is helpful. EFI has cleverly bought the best software companies in the world for workflow software (and of course they already own efi RIP).
Cutters & Engravers
There are roll-to-roll cutters, flatbed cutters, and many technologies. You can expect each kind at SGI Dubai 2020. There will be a METAL CUTTING & ENGRAVING focus this year.
Knowledge of APPLICATIONS are key to success
Ability to produce innovative applications is key to survival as some printing is handled by electronic digital equipment. So being able to print décor is crucial.
Printing special materials requires not only a printer, it requires an ink. Most printer manufacturers hope you will buy their printer because they claim it can print “on everything.” But ink also “falls off, cracks off, wears off EVERYTHING” unless you know what pre-treatment, what ink, and what post-treatment is recommended.
Signage, posters, POP for retail are still a major aspect of any print shop and every printer
A notable advantage of attending an expo within your part of the world is that here you can meet local distributors. At an expo in another part of the world your local distributors may not be easy to find (or may not be there at all).
It helps to have booths of the main brands but the individuals who will install and maintain your printer, workflow equipment, software, etc. are the local distributors. So by attending SGI Dubai 2020 you can meet the key people.
You can network much better in-person than via telephone, Skype, LinkedIn, WhatsApp. Yes, we at FLAAR-REPORTS use all of those and plenty of social media, but seeing people in-person, speaking with them in-person, is a big difference. In other words, it really helps to attend international expos.
Tradeshows do not tend to have booths of print head brands. But obviously each printer in every booth has one brand or another. There are entry-level print head brands and high-end very expensive but very fast printheads. I must admit my two favorite brands are Konica Minolta printheads and RICOH printheads. At SGIA 2018 and again at SGIA 2019 (now rebranded as PRINTING United 2019), we did test prints on Konica Minolta UV-curing printers. We will do additional printing tests during SGI Dubai 2020, depending on which printer brands and printheads are available.
SGI Dubai is the First International Graphics, Printing, and Visual Communications Expo of the year
2020 is the start of a new decade. It helps to see, hear, and learn about what is going on. For example, Xerox is trying to buy HP; HP intelligently did not accept their first offer. But either way, this is the sort of information that you can learn about by being present at the first expo of the year.
The FLAAR-REPORTS team looks forward to seeing you are January 12, 13, and 14, 2020, in dynamic Dubai. This is an international expo with people and products from countries around the world.