Infotrends is updating our global forecasts as I am writing this column. Several things are jumping out at us at the lower-end of the market:
Direct-to-garment (DTG) printers have come a long way since the first models were introduced at the 2004 SGIA Expo. Engineers, software developers, and chemists have made remarkable advances in printheads, equipment design, inks, workflow, and software.
The Onset R40i UV flatbed from Inca Digital, distributed exclusively by Fujifilm (www.fujifilm.com), uses Fujifilm Dimatix Spectra printheads, delivers a 14-pL drop size, and is based on the company’s Onset Scalable Architecture platform. The R40i is available in several color configurations: CMYK, CMYKLcLm, CMYK + White, and CMYKLcLm + White. Users can modify their machine from a four-color configuration to five, six, or seven colors (using up to eight ink channels, two for white ink).
Designed for small and startup screen-printing businesses, the Transformer & Blu-Flash system from M&R allows users to do flash curing and conveyor drying from the same equipment. The system is based around the Blu-Flash flash-curing unit, with an IR panel and a variable-percentage power control (from 1-100%) that provides rapid, consistent curing. Users can combine up to three Blu-Flash units with the Transformer conveyor belt to create an electric IR conveyor dryer, adding or removing Radiant panels simply by moving them.
The new Platinum pure-photopolymer direct emulsion from Ulano (www.ulano.com) is an SBQ-sensitized, ready-to-use system for imprinted sportswear and other textile applications. Designed to expose very quickly, Platinum permits printers to use less costly white mesh without losing fine lines and details in the image, according to Ulano. Platinum is suitable for CTS exposure systems and reportedly offers good wet strength, exposure latitude, and durability. It has a high solids content to allow for better mesh bridging and good edge definition.
The International Sign Association (ISA) and Roland DGA have released a new white paper titled “Dynamic Digital Signage Opportunities for Sign Companies.” The nine-page document includes images, charts, and illustrations, and includes case studies of sign shops that have incorporated this line of business.
According to a new report from Allied Market Research titled "3D Printing Market (Technologies, Materials, Applications and Geography) - Global Opportunity Analysis and Forecast-2013-2020," the global 3-D printing market will reach $8.6 billion by 2020, registering a CAGR of 20.6% from 2014 to 2020. The surge in growth is primarily due to rising demand for faster and more efficient ways to manufacture complex objects using a wide array of materials.
Spartanics and SMAG Graphique announced a new partnership during the Label Expo Americas show that with the goal of merging the companies’ core technologies to develop a best-in-class digital converting solution for the label market. The partnership will combine Spartanics’ laser-cutting technology with SMAG’s traditional roll-fed label converting solutions to create a fully integrated digital line. of converting equipment that will compete through direct sales and a global network of distributors.
We all get caught in the grind of pushing orders through our businesses, and the quality of what we produce can be lost in the shuffle. Since improving a shop’s quality requires more than just a quick attempt, most avoid it and continue to churn out product at the same level.
MHM’s new iQ-Oval garment screen-printing press, distributed in the US exclusively by Hirsch International (www.hic.us), features a modular design that allows for a wide variety of configurations. Designed to provide speed, flexibility, performance, and safety, the iQ-Oval can be purchased with a minimum of 12 stations (an 8-color model) to a maximum of 60 stations.