Debuts dominate latest Sign & Digital show

By Rhys Handley, Friday 05 April 2019

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Sign & Digital UK 2019 hosted the UK unveilings of a number of new products for the wide-format market.

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More than 185 exhibitors made up the show floor at Sign & Digital UK 2019

With more than 185 exhibitors, the show floor was filled with the latest technology for the sign and display market.

Canon’s stand was headlined by the new Océ Arizona 1300, the company’s first LED flatbed, available in a range of bed sizes and colour configurations. It was made available to market in February and made its first UK showing at the show this week (2-4 April).

“We have had a lot of conversations around the new Océ,” Canon marketing consultant Rita Starcenko told PrintWeek at the show. “It is unique in the Canon portfolio as our first LED machine, but it also has the appeal of our Xpert pre-press software that allows users to upload templates from previous jobs for repeat customers.

“A lot of our chats have been with the usual suspects – signmakers, POS, retail and so on. We await a summary of our leads, but it is looking very good as anything you can do to improve productivity is always welcome in the market.”

Roland DG was on hand with new additions including its second-generation VG2 printer/cutters and the LEF2-200 benchtop flatbed system to address the transitory market of commercial printers considering large-format options for their shop floors.

“Our dealers are taking orders at the show as we speak,” said head of sales Rob Goleniowski. “Visitors love the focused approach of our stand on the machines as we explain and qualify what they can do for their businesses.

“I think the feeling is that customers new to large-format want more bang for their buck and so we are emphasising our kit’s versatility, as well as its ability to reduce turnaround times and quantities.”

Long-time Roland customer and owner of the Vinyl Guys in Dudley Alex Liggett was working the manufacturer’s stand to talk about his own moves towards in-house print production having got his own business off the ground with a TrueVis SG-540 printer/cutter in 2016.

He said: “I was working out of my bedroom and outsourcing print. Everyone I spoke to was very passionate about Roland – I was drawn in by their warranties and customer service and they have never let me down.

“I am talking to a lot of people who are in similar positions to where I was, running eBay stores and independent businesses out of their bedrooms, and it’s great to show them the possibilities of investment in person.”

At the Ricoh stand, the highlight among its host of new machinery was the Ri 1000 direct-to-garment (DTG) printer which has replaced its Ri 3000 device. It also showed the Pro TF6250 UV flatbed and the Latex Pro L5100 series announced last autumn.

“Most of my conversations have been based around DTG,” said senior product marketing manager Beata Ulman. “I have spoken to potential clients like universities and companies supplying things like personalised bags to schools – a lot of interesting possibilities.

“It all goes back to our global strategy of ‘ignite’ and one of the pillars of that is to grow our market share and develop within the signage space, so our machines are helping to do that.”

InkTec was pushing its own new additions, the LXi6 and LXi7 eight-channel roll-to-roll LED-UV flatbed printers which were made commercially available in January.

“There has been a lot of interest from producers of soft signage, banners and indoor graphics,” said head of sales Ben Woodruff. “I think we are filling a void by introducing a product in a market space where some people had been priced out before.

“Our key thing is value for money and it is important to introduce these new possibilities to people who might not have been able to consider them before.”

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