Not only was it a very big show, but it was an excellent one too.
Above: The lobby was bustling on the first day of the show, with people registering and picking up badges.
After a two-year COVID-19-related hiatus, PRINTING United Expo returned with a vengeance at the Las Vegas Convention Center October 19-21. Although PRINTING United did not reveal specific attendance figures, they reported that attendance was up 7% from the last live event, PRINTING United Expo in Dallas, in 2019. The scenes in the Convention Center lobby before the show opened on Wednesday morning and across the show floor on Wednesday and Thursday were those of a bustling event.
Buyers and Dealers Welcome
PRINTING United is a buyers’ show, and most attendees were customers there to see what the 701 exhibitors had to offer. I don’t remember seeing many dealers at PRINTING United in 2019, but this show was different. I saw quite a few as I raced from appointment to appointment and confirmed with some key exhibitors that dealers were taking the time to visit their booths. The biggest surprise was seeing Doug Pitassi and his production print team from POA mixing with potential customers at the POA booth. A dealer exhibiting at a show like this, I don’t think that’s ever happened before.
Above: A rare moment of quiet at the POA booth.
Advanced Office, Flex Technology Group, LDI, RJ Young, and Sumner One were some dealerships attending the show. On Wednesday night, I attended a Canon U.S.A. dinner for dealers and customers. At least 150 people attended that dinner at Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse in Las Vegas.
Above: Canon U.S.A.’s Sam Yoshida welcomes dealers and customers to the Canon dealer dinner.
A Crazy Two Days
I spent two hectic days racing between the two halls and the second-floor press conference room. This created a challenge when meetings were scheduled back-to-back in different halls. Despite minor blips, I made it to all my appointments and had time for a few unscheduled visits.
Above: Canon was one of the 701 exhibitors at PRINTING United.
With 701 exhibitors to choose from, including POA, a dealer attending the show must have a game plan to maximize their time and the money it costs to participate in the conference. Even then, you can only scratch the surface. I spent more time than I should have at press conferences and meetings about products that would never be sold through the independent dealer channel. However, those meetings provided education about these companies, their offerings, and where print technology is going.
What I Saw and Heard
The first day of the show began with an early entry to the show floor for the first showing of the HP Latex 2700 Series super wide-format press. The 126-inch-wide press is available in a color-only and a color-plus-white model and prints at speeds of up to 958 square feet an hour. This was followed by the ribbon cutting for the HP PageWide Advantage 2200 Digital Press. This industrial print device handles a wide range of substrates and prints at 150 feet per minute in color. Besides a bevy of HP executives touting the device as a “game changer,” two HP customers shared their experiences with the press. The HP Latex 2700 Series printer is sold through the company’s distribution channels, and HP’s direct sales force sells the PageWide Advantage 2200 Digital Press. It’s a monster of a machine, and as you can see in the photo above, vents had to be installed in the exhibit hall to vent the device.
Above: HP’s Latex 2700 Series super wide-format press.
Above: The HP PageWide Advantage 2200 Digital Press was enormous. Notice the vents venting out of the exhibit hall.
Another high-end machine was unveiled by Scodix, an Israeli company with U.S. offices in New Jersey. The Scodix Ultra 6000 powered by SHD (Smart High Definition) embellishes print at up to 1000 B1 sheets per hour. The new SHD model incorporates algorithm-controlled software for achieving high accuracy and clarity of complicated detailing for visually striking foiling and spot embellishing. This is another product that may never be sold in the dealer channel; however, its variety of embellishments is impressive.
Above left to right: Mark Nixon, vice president and general manager and Eli Grinberg, CEO and co-founder of Scodix stand beside the Scodix Ultra 6000.
I learned about the new Landa S10 nanographic printing press during a Landa Digital Printing press conference. According to the Landa Digital Printing website, nanography is based on nanotechnology – the science of ultra-small particles. Particles that are measured in nanometers – billionths of a meter. Nano-sized pigments have extraordinary qualities: they become amazingly powerful colorants, enabling an entirely new kind of digital printing.
Above: Print industry ICON Benny Landa discusses the company’s nanographic technology at the Landa Digital Printing press conference.
Above: Sample nanographic print output.
The press is designed for mainstream digital printing of folding cartons and POP/POS applications. Multiple customers spoke about its benefits during the press conference. And the print samples on display (see photo above) were impressive. Landa is looking to become the leader in mainstream printing and packaging. Company executives believe this press will allow them to do this at optimum quality for short, medium, and long runs.
Above: The VUTEk FabriVU 340i+ printer with inline fixation.
EFI’s well-attended lunchtime press conference offered a year-end recap and the latest on the EFI VUTEk FabriVU Plus series of soft signage printers, including the VUTEk FabriVU 340i+ printer with inline fixation. Both products were featured prominently in the EFI booth on the show floor. According to EFI, soft signage is the fastest-growing application for many customers.
Agfa unveiled two new inkjets making their global debut at PRINTING United. Among the large-format inkjet printers showcased were the Jeti Tauro H330, Avinci CX3200, and the Inca Onset H3CS. Agfa also offers a variety of software for inkjet printers.
While production print stalwarts Konica Minolta and Xerox opted out of PRINTING United this year, Canon and Ricoh drew nice crowds. One could easily have spent an hour or more in both booths learning about the various hardware and solutions on display. The highlight of the Canon exhibit was the new imagePRESS V1350. One of the new features found on this high-end press is a Productivity Intelligence Mode, which is beneficial for mixed media jobs. It prints on an array of substrates, including media up to 500 gsm.
Above: The Canon booth. Lots to see there.
The Ricoh booth was designed to create an immersive customer experience, allowing them to embrace the digital technologies that complement print. “It’s all around digital technology that we can use to help extend the reach of print,” said Heather Poulin, vice president marketing and campaign strategy, at Ricoh USA.
Above: Hanging out with Heather Poulin and Bill Donnelly at the Ricoh booth.
The RICOH Supervisor™ and RICOH ProcessDirector™ portions of the booth allowed visitors to see how advanced data analytics enhances the value of their information via customizable dashboards. Visitors could also see augmented reality demonstrations, including creating their Holotwin (a holographic representation of themselves). In addition, a color lab offered demonstrations of 5th color gold, the Ricoh Pro TF6251 UVLED flatbed print, wide-format products, and presentations on inkjet technology and trends in production automation.
Bill Donnelly, senior marketing and campaign strategy manager Ricoh Graphic Communications, gave me a tutorial on CMYK embellishment, explaining that it isn’t just a digital transformation story. It’s a profit and margin story. “The story we tell dealers is that we offer Ricoh Professional Services, and we have an engagement strategy where the dealer sells the deal, and it’s transparent to the customer that Ricoh is providing those services. Throughout my conversation with Donnelly, which will appear in a future installment on www.thecannatareport.com, the focus with the equipment on display is not speeds and feeds but applications.
Exhibiting for the first time was Kyocera with its TASKalfa Pro 15000c. The big announcement at the show from Kyocera was the addition of third-party finishing capabilities for the 15000c, including the in-line Duplo Booklet Maker DBM-350. RISO was also back with its many inkjet products, and it was nice to catch up with Andre D’Urbano. He never misses an opportunity to discuss the cost-effective benefits of inkjet printing.
Above: Kyocera made its first PRINTING United appearance this year. Left to right Kyocera Document Solutions’ Jim Smith, Rich Janusz, and Fred Morrone with the TASKalfa 15000c.
Production print software tends to get overlooked in a big show like this, but three software companies worth noting were Crawford Technologies, Rochester Software Associates (RSA), and Solimar Systems. RSA is about to announce the latest version of its QDirect software. The company also showed the latest versions of WebCRD, ReadyPrint, and ImpactVDP.
Above: RSA’s software superstars Ben Parker, Anthony Leccese, and Vince Tutino.
Crawford Technologies has an interesting new product, cSimpl, a web-based program for fixing and repairing problematic PDF files, connecting data files to printers and post-production equipment, and creating advanced workflows for data files in the cloud.
Above left to right: Crawford Technologies’ Gordon Rae, founder Ernie Crawford, and Kevin Thibeault.
Like RSA, it is aggressively reaching out to the independent dealer channel. Look for more about cSimpl in our December/January issue. Solimar Systems was sharing the RISO booth Mary Ann Rowan, chief experience officer, provided me with an overview of the company’s production print software. The company has impressive partnerships in the production print space, including Canon, HP, Kyocera, RISO, and Xerox.
There were several press conferences I would have liked to have attended and booths I would have wanted to visit, but I either had a conflict or ran out of time. I regret not seeing Epson’s new SureColor F6470H and F6470 dye-sublimation printers and Mimaki USA’s CJV330 and JV330 Series printers. My other regret is missing some of the sessions on the schedule. Maybe next year.
Above: So much to see, so much to do at PRINTING United.
Overall, this was a terrific show, and the team behind PRINTING United did a fantastic job of not only encouraging people to attend the show and exhibitors to exhibit, but made it seem like you were attending something special. I look forward to returning next October when the show moves to Atlanta.