North America’s latest – and largest – printing show, Printing United took place in Texas in October. We spoke to Ford Bowers, president and CEO of SGIA, the show’s organisers, about this inaugural event while industry veteran Rick Roth shares his takeaways from the event
The 4,000sq ft Printing United Experience Zone was a highlight of the expansive show floor. This physical structure allowed attendees to move through simulated home, retail, restaurant and outdoor environments, and highlighted print’s presence in everyday life.
The new heat press for caps from Stahls’ [www.theinkkitchen.com]
Industry veteran Rick Roth, of The Ink Kitchen Blog and owner of Mirror Image print shop, walked the aisles and visited the booths to share his observations on the show with Images readers.
Two things stood out for me at the Printing United show: the advances in digital printing on every front – a casual attendee might think it was almost an entirely digital print show. To this end, ink and emulsion companies were in short supply. And the realisation by some that, at least in textiles, close to 95% of the printing is still screen printing and not digital printing. So, what was I most excited to see?
Attendees could learn about DTG printers, screen printing equipment and dye sublimation
The OvalJet is a mechanical oval press which utilises heat presses, jets for pre-treat, flash cure units and high speed digital print heads to print full-colour images at a rate of up to 240 pieces an hour with one operator. This is truly revolutionary stuff. Another innovation was their presentation: a gigantic wall projection screen with a live feed from a real factory with a camera crew streaming the press in action doing real jobs. Kudos to Hirsch International for such a novel and dynamic approach to selling the machines.
There are also many new developments in digital printing on shirts. Aeoon has high-speed, high-quality printers, Kornit has a machine printing polyester shirts, and MHM, Roq, and M&R all have machines combining screen printing and digital on the same presses.
Hirsch had a live feed of an OvalJet working in a real factory [www.theinkkitchen.com]
Presentations at three amphitheatres supplemented the Printing United educational sessions
Transfers continue to be on the rise in the States, and FM Expressions had their vintage transfers, which are nearly indistinguishable from a full-front screen print on a shirt. I was also interested to see that Stahls’ has an innovative new heat press for caps which makes it easier to apply transfers to any cap, but particularly unstructured ones.
From wide format to DTG, all print sectors were covered [www.theinkkitchen.com]
Fears of an entire digital takeover at the show were alarmist [www.theinkkitchen.com]
The overall spirit of the show was very positive. Fears of an entire digital takeover are now known to be alarmist and instead it seems that many folks realise they are ‘decorators’. As decorators we have customers that want decoration on their garments – and that might be digital, a transfer, a vast array of screen print inks and techniques, a patch, embroidery, laser etching or some combination of any or all of these. That’s all the more reason to go to shows like this, see all there is to see and to figure out how it all can work together.