A Look Back at Five Innovations Showcased at PRINTING United Expo
With PRINTING United Expo now behind us, this is a great chance to look at some of the products launched on the show floor and where they fit into your business future. With more than a million square feet of floor space showcasing more than 800 exhibitors, it’s impossible to highlight all the amazing innovation that was on display. So consider this a great starting point, and use the more comprehensive New Product Reference Guide from the PRINTING United Official Show Guide to find the products and services that make the most sense for your business.
Strategic Partnership for Digital Finishing
First up, Ricoh and Scodix announced a new partnership, where Ricoh USA has become a distributor for Scodix’s line of digital embellishment solutions. The company not only points out that the products allow for variable embellishment to go along with the variable printing technologies Ricoh offers, but also offers a more sustainable finishing solution for those looking to still have high impact pieces without compromising on a brand’s eco-friendly initiatives.
In a statement, Gavin Jordan-Smith, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Head of Global Sales Strategy Division & RICOH Graphic Communications North America Sales, RICOH Graphic Communications, noted, “This partnership is a deliberate step forward in providing maximum value to our customers, empowering them to increase the worth of their printed products. Including Scodix embellishment solutions within our portfolio supports our competitive approach, delivering applications to the market that can catapult printers in their quest for competitive differentiation and heightened brand awareness.”
The two companies note that as many as 90% of commercial printers cite digital embellishments as a technology that will play a vital role in the future of their business, on everything from books, to direct mail, to packaging prototypes, and more. Any printer either already doing any embellishment work, or looking to add digital embellishments to their technology lineup, can get a compelling system from the combined OEMs, with a single distributor streamlining the process of installation, training, and even service.
Printer/Cutters For Entry Level Through Expert
At the Roland DGA booth this year, there were a few great pieces of equipment to check out. The company had their TrueVIS inkjet printer/cutters on display, offering versatility for any print shop looking for equipment that can pull multiple duty, especially for shops where space can be at a premium. The company was also showcasing the new VersaSTUDIO BN2, which is the first update to it’s entry-level desktop wide-format printer/cutter system in a decade. With speeds four times faster than the original, plus a more compact footprint, it is a fantastic option for any shop looking to start dipping proverbial toes into the wide-format space. It can print on a wide variety of substrates, making it a great option for applications such as stickers, labels, small posters, and even heat transfers for those looking to break into the apparel market.
Roland was also showcasing DG Dimense, which had it’s own booth on the show floor. The company was a recent acquisition for Roland DG, and it brings to the portfolio several unique presses that allow shops to create detailed textures in full color with a proprietary system of inks and media. Any shop interested in producing wallcoverings or art reproductions, in particular, should at least check out the technology. They also had a press in the booth that lays down glue and glitter, offering printers a great way to quickly and easily create pieces like banners, retail displays, and more with “blingy” elements that can help a brand stand out.
Moving Into the Cloud
On the software side, Enfocus launched its Review module at PRINTING United Expo. It is just the first of what the company notes will be a series of cloud apps designed to eventually bring the full functionality of everything Enfocus has to offer in a cloud platform that can be accessed anywhere — no servers required.
In a statement, Davy Verstaen, Review product manager, noted, “We're thrilled to introduce Enfocus Review to the global market. The launch of Review marks a pivotal moment where we elevate the proofing process to new heights of efficiency and accuracy. Every feature is designed with the user’s convenience and productivity in mind. And its launch on Enfocus Cloud marks a significant milestone in our journey to redefine this part of the print workflow landscape.”
The module is designed to make the process of creating, sharing, and approving pages and projects much faster and easier for both the printer and the customers. It offers a streamlined user interface that is much easier to navigate, and has deep customization options, so printers can easily tailor what their brands and customers see to match the established workflow and terminology everyone is already used to using. And because it is cloud-based, printers don’t need to set up an on-site server that then must be maintained and kept up to date — it is a fast and simple process to set up in a browser and immediately begin using. There are also no hosting costs — Enfocus notes that the pricing is variable, and can be tailored to fit each shop’s specific needs.
As more and more solutions move online, and more customers expect near-instant access and feedback when they are using a system, Enfocus’ new cloud platform should make for a compelling offering, both with this initial module, and as the functionality grows in the coming months and years.
An Integrated Solution
With convergence remaining a buzzword across the PRINTING United Expo floor, printers of all sizes and specialties were looking for solutions that can do more. Canon USA and Kongsberg collaborated to demonstrate an integrated solution using technology from both companies for the first time at the show.
The partnership between the companies was just announced in spring of this year, so this was a chance for them to show off exactly what they both bring to the table in coming together. Matt Thackray, vice president and general manager – Americas, Kongsberg, noted that it was “the main attraction” for his booth, and he regularly had folks from Canon walking people over to the see the integrated solution as well.
What they were showing off was a turnkey print and cut solution that used a Canon Texas LT/X2 UV flatbed printer in-line with the Kongsberg C64 flatbed cutter, making for a very fast, automated solution that allows shops to create a wide range of applications quickly and efficiently, making it an attractive option for every shop looking to add capacity alongside expanding existing applications and offerings.
Speed and Quality
Durst had its portfolio of products showcased at its booth this year, with the final piece to come to the company’s P5 platform — the new Durst P5 350 HSR — making its debut in Atlanta. Since 2019, the company has slowly been standardizing its presses on a single platform, making it easier for printers to add or upgrade machines without needing to re-train operators or find a way to integrate a new platform into the workflow.
The P5 350 HSR is the latest piece of that puzzle, with the company billing it as the fastest roll-to-roll printer to date, with print widths up to 11.5 ft., and speeds up to 7,212 sq.ft./hr. The press also comes with a host of automation features, allowing shops to run it unattended for long stretches of time, such as overnight production. For any shop producing very large graphics, or needing to run high volumes of jobs, this is an intriguing option to consider.
The company also had Vanguard Digital Printing Systems in the booth with it, which debuted a new look and feel for it’s machines, starting with the VK3220T-HS UV-LED digital flatbed being shown for the first time in the U.S. market. The press is compact at just 10.5 ft. x 6.5 ft., and offers up to 1,800 dpi resolution at speeds up to 3,875 sq.ft./hr.
Finally, for the first time ever, Durst also brought its label printer to PRINTING United Expo, marking the first time it has been shown alongside the company’s wide-format presses at the same event. The Tau 330 RSC runs at speeds up to 262 sq.ft./min., with a native resolution of 1,200 x 1,200 dpi, making it a great option for every shop looking at labels and packaging as a potential growth segment in the months and years to come.
Of course, these five innovations are just the tip of the proverbial iceberg when it came to the amazing hardware, software, systems, platforms, services, and more being introduced at PRINTING United Expo 2023. No matter what your shop needs to be successful and grow in 2024 and beyond, there was something there for you, making it a worthwhile use of time to browse the New Product Reference Guide to find the exact solutions you need to take you to the next level.
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