And more news from the SGIA expo.
* New players: At least three companies showcased their first badged machines for the wide-format arena. Screen USA showcased its Truepress Jet2500UV 98.4-in. hybrid flatbed/roll-to-roll printer, extending the company’s presence beyond on-demand and transactional printing; Triangle unveiled its new badged solvent-based San Francisco and UV-curable Milano printers (sourced from Anteprima SRL, its European wide-format division); and US Sublimation introduced its first wide-format machine-the Velotex direct-to-textile inkjet printer.
* Old players: Meanwhile, DuPont reported that it is getting out of the heavy-metal end of the market. It will continue to sell Artistri and Cromaprint equipment only until early 2008, but will continue to provide service to the machine’s installed customer base and provide digital inks for textiles and UV graphics.
* UV-curable continues its roll forward: A majority of the new printers introduced at this year’s SGIA were UV printers, and that’s a trend that’s sure to continue as UV technology continues to be modified for specific systems. Gerber introduced its Solara ionx, which uses Cold Fire Cure UV lamps to cold-cure its GerberCat cationic UV inks; the aforementioned Sun printers use LED lamps that produce a unique curing wavelength.
* MEMS: Surely the acronym of the show, MEMS technology-silicon-based Micro Electro Mechanical System-was introduced in conjunction with two manufacturers’ machines: the HP Scitex XL2200 and the L&P Virtu HD8. MEMS is designed to enable high-tolerance manufacturing for uniformity and performance, as well as micron-scale mechanical and electrical components built on a silicon chip. HP first began talking up its MEMS technology in 2006, and it’s likely that MEMS will continue to make fast inroads into wide-format print machines.
* Going green: This trend was in evidence at Chicago’s Graph Expo in September and continued at SGIA, as manufacturers and suppliers move to ensure print providers understand how their products fit into a socially responsible construct. Don’t look for this trend to abate any time soon-at least until interest slows from print providers’ customers or the general public.
While heavy metal developments were hot and heavy in Orlando, the attention to consumables seemed considerably lighter-certainly less so than in recent years. But don’t expect media and inks to remain so static. In fact, by the time the 2008 Specialty Printing and Imaging Expo rolls around-October 15-18, 2008 in Atlanta-it’s a safe bet that consumables will once again be sparking interest as well.