SGIA: The Aftermath
Most people looked for a specific thing, something they needed to improve their businesses.
New Orleans itself is so over-the-top that many of us had a difficult time concentrating. There was a jester waving a doll, a green lady with painted-on decorations, alligators in everything including your soup, cars being wrapped, educational sessions in progress behind curtains and doors, LEDs lighting up pathways, and pictures piled on every surface after flowing out of inkjets. There were so many press conferences (five to six each day) that the SGIA suggested that members of the press just stay in the press room so that we wouldn’t miss anything innovative. Somewhere in the excitement, a thread of new products and new ideas tied everything together.
Most people looked for a specific thing, something they needed to improve their businesses. At lunch I talked to an attendee who was trying to get a deal on a specific floor model to upgrade his present line, and I spent some time with him just to learn how he approached setting the price. Should he demand free shipment? What would reserve the printer for him over a later offer? We laughed and ate étouffee while trying to speculate how low he could go and still seal the deal.
When people asked what I thought the most innovative products were at SGIA, I’m always cautious. These companies had press conferences: PrintierEvolution, EFI, Spectra Jet, Durst Image Technology, Hewlett Packard, ILFORD, Screen USA, Kornit Digital, Van Son Ink, Mutoh America, Mimaki USA, DYNAMESH, Richmond Graphic Products, and Aurora Specialty Textiles. So they had new products to announce.
HP Scitex FB7600 industrial press debuted at the show. It’s productive on flexible and rigid media with in-line saturation control for backlit applications. And the HP FB225 Scitex inks have been improved for use on corrugated media. They’re green inks, suitable for use indoors. These improvements and enhancements made an impression on attendees.
And then there are completely unexpected turns. One company in particular reserved the press room to announce the start of a new company called Novus Imaging of Moultonboro, NH; a new inkjet printer called Synergia H (hybrid); and a new aqueous-based epoxy ink. Of course the color of Synergia H is green, forest green. The patent-pending 3.2 meter combination flatbed and roll-to-roll printer is designed to print from 1000 to 2000 sq ft per hour in a production environment. The two models are UV curable and AQ.
How can you have an aqueous-based epoxy ink? Good question. If an epoxy is a thermosetting polymer formed from a reaction of an epoxy resin with a polyamine hardener, what part does water have to do with this reaction? Is it an ink or an adhesive or both? You need to have amine groups reacting with an epoxide group to form a covalent, cross-linked bond, I thought. When I visited their booth, I didn’t learn much more about the details, other than that the secrets are in the patent. The innovation of creating a self-hardening image without the need of UV or the volatiles of solvent, yet that isn’t latex remains creative.
I spent some time with Milford, OH-based RH Solutions to see what they were able to achieve in screen printed solutions for membranes, overlays, product labeling, transfers, decals, and other applications. I walked away with a book of unusual effects achieved through UV graphic systems from 3D to abrasive, crystal and lots of other enhancements. The enthusiasm that the screen printers of India have brought to screen printing has added new life to the industry, it seems.
If you want to see panoply of new products from the show floor, don’t miss our Solution Sourcebook December/January issue of Screen Printing. To get an idea of what people think of the future of the industry, there’s an article just for that in the same issue called "The Future for Screen Printing." By the time this issue is published, we will have recovered from SGIA in New Orleans.