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Buzz and Excitement at SGI

sgi l0019By Sabine A Slaughter

The first show 2014 in the worldwide graphic arts calendar has set the bar high in terms of what is to be expected in our industry in the upcoming year.

Although by many considered a regional show, SGI by now is putting themselves onto the worldwide calendar for signage production, large format and textile printing as well as fleet graphics market. More than 400 exhibitors from the region and abroad showcased their product portfolios whereby not only equipment for the whole production cycle but also new and innovative applications could be seen. The expected visitor number of 10,000 was definitely not set too low as the aisles have been bustling with activity during the 3-day-event and quite a lot of equipment was sold directly from the show floor indicating the growing opportunities within this sector of print. No matter whether a visitor was on the outlook for large format printers, finishing equipment, workflow, consumables or further sophisticated machinery – all could be found at the World Trade Center.

EFI Jetrion4900_Definitely_StaticBanner_620x120_GlobalPrintMonitor-US

While the dynamic Middle East market is showing definite signs of recovery, it is also always on the lookout for new applications that can drive innovations further. Not only the recent win of the Expo2020 bid has the market exploding with new ideas and fresh vigour. Print service providers from the region – no matter whether they are active in the analogue or digital world, or both – constantly create new and exciting products that are searching for comparison. Be it the biggest fireworks for a New Year greeting like 2014 at the Burj Khalifa or the world's biggest building wrap – or maybe "just" the world's biggest religious printed book... all is possible!

Let's take a look at the showfloor and all the exciting new applications and products that could be seen. One of the highlights of the show were the Avery Dennison car wrapping sessions that took place daily. These attracted a lot of visitors and there are several print service providers in the region that have specialized themselves towards this application. No wonder the interest has been so high at the show.

Likewise the high interest in textile printing. No matter whether a carpet has been printed such as at the Saga DG booth on the EFI VUTEk presses or t-shirts and other clothing at the Epson booth, Signtrade booth with Mimaki or Brother printers or so many others that were on show. According to J. Notermans from SPGPrints who recently at the IMI conference gave the prediction that the digital textile market is set to grow by 24% per year from a volume of 310 mio sqm in 2013 to 733 mio sqm in 2017, this inkjet printing application is set to experience much growth.

Differentiation and unique applications are one of the many factors that not only make a print service provider successful but also drive the much required growth of business proposals to client bases.

New generations of printers such as "The Beauty" – the ColorPainter M-64 from Seiko Instruments could be seen. Under the theme "Color on Time" the company presented its new low odour eco-solvent SX-ink that creates excellent print results for high quality indoor and long-life outdoor applications.

Epson's new SC-F7000 dye sublimation printer for direct-to-garment prints is the first printer in its category that has each component designed and manufactured by one company to ensure quality, performance and reliability for maximum productivity and lower total cost of ownership. The 64-inch printer enables output of soft signage, sportswear, apparel, accessories, customized promotional items and decorated gadgets among others. Epson's first roll-fed printer in the 64-inch (162.6 cm) range, the 8- or optionally 10-colour SC-S70610 that accommodates apart from CMYK also orange, light black, white and metallic inks was also in action printing photographic images.

Speeds of up to 111sqm/h and prints of up to dual 600dpi or 1,000dpi resolution could be seen at the Saga DG booth. The EFI QS3Pro enables six colour printing plus white and handles rigid and sheet media up to 3.2 m wide and 5.08 cm thickness. The hybrid printing system is especially suited for POP applications and accommodates optionally a second white ink channel for doubling production speeds or premium margin white applications. The first EFI VUTEk GS5000r UV printer in the region, the only 5m printer whose output is covered by the coveted 3M MCS warranty (when using co-branded EFI and 3M inks and 3M flexible media), will find its new home in Dubai, UAE. It has been present at SGI where with print speeds of up to 288sqm/h multi roll printing on two or three rolls simultaneously as well as printing on one roll has been shown.

The fastest printer at the show the Vortex 4200 wide format printer from RTI-Digital Ltd. in Italy could also be experienced at the Saga DG booth. A very interesting solution from EFI for added value has been the SmartSign Analytics (SSA) enabling marketers to understand and measure the effectiveness of their printed signs. Via a webcam at the smart sign, patterns are detected whereby the system logs information on the number of viewers, their gender and age range as well as which content was viewed and how much time was spent viewing a particular signage. The webcam detects the presence of people within viewing range as well as determines which of those people are actually viewing the sign. EFI Smart Sign Analytics delivers a host of data that advertisers did not have before. Data collected from SmartSign Analytics can be aggregated to help analyzing performance, identifying trends and determination of the most effective signage engagements based upon the demography profile of your target audience. By merging the data from many signs a powerful reporting engine delivering valuable data to be used to make timely business decisions can thus be established. Targeting mainly the GIS, CAD but also AEC and POS market, the machine employs the unique memjet technology enabling it to achieve speeds of up to 850 sqm/h. The on-demand thermal inkjet technology features 5 print heads (one for each color: CMYKK) – altogether 352,000 nozzles and a resolution of 1600 x 800 dpi as well as an integrated sheet cutter among others.

The largest booth at SGI has been booked by Signtrade, distributor of Mimaki and other companies. It comprised the whole hall 5 encompassing 950sqm. Here the JV400SUV was on show. It displays the flexibility of solvent printing with the durability of UV cured inks, resulting in smooth, glossy prints, which simulate the appearance of being coated yet retaining the colour brightness expected from a solvent printer. These characteristics, coupled with a high resistance to scratching and weathering are designed to satisfy even the most demanding of customers. The innovative new Mimaki JV400LX latex printer designed for the signage market features higher energy efficiency while at the same time producing high print quality with an even wider colour gamut using more ecologically friendly inks. It is the first latex printer to feature white ink. Other products on show were the range of embroidery machines from ZSK in Germany; T-shirt printers from Brother in Japan; the flatbed applicator from Rolls Roller; lamination, trimmer and vertical cutting machines from the Italian company Neolt as well as the ink and sublimation system from Sawgrass.

At Agfa's booth the Jeti 3020 Titan UV flatbed printer was featured. In addition, the Anapurna M3200 RTR, a 3.2 m wide high quality roll-to-roll UV machine for indoor and outdoor applications could be seen. It employs six KM 1024i 12 pl heads thus enabling printing with a resolution of up to 1,440dpi whereby even 6pt text is reproduced. In terms of workflow the company presented its Asanti solution that entails all prepress functions as well as controls all operations within a single PDF based workflow.

DGI took SGI as the opportunity to honour its distributor Copatra Graphics with the Distributor of the Year Award for 2013. CEO Yasser Zeki Anan from Copatra Graphics received the award from CEO and Chairman Wan-Soo Choi from SGI. Copatra Graphics pointed out that the award is not only purely based on achieved sales numbers but also takes service and performance into account. Founded in 1967 Copatra Graphics has been representing DGI since 2013 and became their sole distributor in the region in 2006. The company had further big news to share at the show as from this year onwards it is also distributing DGI's range of dye-sublimation and transfer paper textile printers. The soft signage Fabrijet Grand Series FG-3206 is available in two sizes and features a maximum speed of up to 120 sqm/h. The roll-to-roll printer accommodates polyester substrates that are mostly used for soft signage and home textiles prints with resolutions of up to 720x1,440dpi in six colours (CMYKLcLm). Furtheron it features mesh printing system, automatic carriage height adjustment and a wireless monitoring system via Smartphone among others. Speeds of up to 50sqm/h, a degassing system as well as an advanced take-up system and integrated drying system are some of the features of the Fabrijet FTII-1804S series that also is on show. On a maximum width of up to 1,880cm (media width) the four-colour machine prints with KonicaMinolta 1024 heads at resolutions of up to 720x720dpi.

Giffin Graphics, one of the most renown distributors in the MEA region and distributor for Durst presented the Rho 512 superwide format printer that got sold to a company in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The machine enables printing of up to 900 dpi with speeds of up to 350 sqm/h whereby the drop size can be as small as 12 pl. Alternatively to using the whole maximum print width of up to 5 m, it can accommodate up to 3 different rolls of up to 1.6 m at the same time. The UV system features a high precision carriage system with linear motor drive technology and enhanced Quadro Array technology. Altogether more than 30,000 nozzles jet the VOC free Rho Roll Ink UV-curable pigment inks suitable for indoor and outdoor applications.

Colourbyte, the Dubai-based distributor for Zund cutting systems, among others, showcased a range of solutions for printers at SGI. The Swiss multi-purpose flatbed cutting systems from Zund Systemtechnik AG enable printers to precisely cut and trim a wide range of products. In addition the company showcased tangential and drag knife cutting plotters as well as cut and print systems from the Belgian manufacturer Summa. The diverse range of high quality laminators from Flexa, an Italian company, could be seen in action as well as Trimalco cut and trim finishing solutions from the UK. Within the prepress arena, the company presented POS stand and packaging design software from Engview, a Bulgarian company.

Operating in Dubai since 1998, Colour Byte L.L.C provides specialist finishing solutions to the graphics industry and associated sectors.Our strategy is to always bring to market products that are best in class to cater to the professionals in the field. Its clients rely on well engineered equipments to provide a high quality finished product to their clients.

System Middle East FZC, distributors of Mutoh in GCC presented the Valuejet 1324/1624, a new generation cco-solvent printer and the Valuejet1638/2638 featuring dual staggered heads high quality output. As a special the company promoted price reductions for other models such as the RJ900X, VJ 1324W, VJ 1624W, VJ 1638W, VJ 2638W (Water based Indoor and Dye Sublimation Textile printers), VJ 1628 & VJ 2628 TD (Direct Textile Printers), Valuecut drag knife cutters and other peripherals and optional accessories.

SME, backed by extensive experience of highly professional team is providing complete solutions to Sign and related industry. Having complete range of Mutoh Large format digital printers for indoor, outdoor, dye sublimation and direct textile applications, supported by wide range of printable and colored vinyl from Hexis and coupled with a high quality CNC Router from VHF Germany, we are capable of catering to a wide range demand.

Megasign, a first time exhibitor within the consumables sector presented its range of PVC coated an laminated fabrics, PVC boards, multi-purpose fabrics and more. Offering a broad range of banner and backlit materials, the company offers widths of up to 5 m whereby customization of widths and lengths are possible according to their clients requirements. Megasign that up to now has been distributing their products in India only is looking for distributors in UAE.

Another show highlight has been at the booth of Universal Products from Bangalore in india that exhibited its range of green substrates, among them Eco-Vinyl, a 100% recyclable PVC and paper free pre-glued media for the digital printing industry. Its light weight (thickness: 90 gsm) can replace PVC vinyl billboards, banners and more the company claims. Likewise 100% recyclable and PVC free, the Eco-Flex product range, a durable replacement substrate for billboards and banners for indoor and outdoor applications was on show. It comes in two thicknesses: 150 and 200 gsm and generated much interest within the visitors.

After having printed the world's biggest cultural and religious book at a size of 5 x 4 m and a weight of 1,500 kg on Seemee media from Verseidag, Veseidag Indutex GmbH-Mena, the Jordanian company arm exhibited the Seemee substrates at SGI. Among them is the Frontlit standard B7943, a recyclable back-to-back substrate that comes with a 3-5 year warranty and in sizes from 1.6 to 5 m. This environmentally friendly substrate is available in different widths and sizes.


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