Normally I would have written this column and signed off on the November issue long before leaving for SGIA, but this October with Graph Expo and SGIA Expo so close together, I was able to get a few more days in the usual production cycle to finish up once I got back in the office after my trip to Vegas—and the SGIA Expo. And I have to admit, I'm glad I did, especially because SGIA was really rocking this year.
Official numbers—according to SGIA—are topping out at more than 22,000 this year, breaking their previous record of 21,900 attendees during a previously-held Expo. The show floor was sold out, boasting 525 exhibitors, and from the commotion and energy on the show floor, you could tell it was going to be a good exhibition. In talking to exhibitors on Saturday, the final day of the show, the comments were pretty unanimous—they were all very pleased with the traffic and the quality of the leads they were getting. One exhibitor who had set a certain number of leads for the show as a goal discovered that by 3:00 pm on the first day, they'd already surpassed that number.
So what were the highlights? What did I see that stood out at the show? Well, I'm glad you asked because I put together a list just for the occasion.
Crowds of people—It's really been a while since a trade show has been this packed and it really was fantastic to see—and deserves a mention in my list.Printed Electronics & Membrane Switch Symposium—This was the first time it was held in conjunction with the show and I think it was a good move to integrate this educational opportunity with the larger exhibition.Show floor areas—This year the special educational areas on the show floor were hopping! From fabric and textile to color management, digital signage, and installation, attendees really got the chance to delve into some niche areas in the market.
Co-located groups—There were at least five co-located groups at the event this year which was great to see. They included FASTSIGNS, the PDAA, REPROMAX, Signs By Tomorrow, and SignsNow.
And last but not least there were the new products, of course. We had the opportunity to see up close and personal some of the equipment first launched at drupa in May and shown for the first time in the US. A few products you should have been sure to stop and see included Oce's new Arizona 480 printer, Durst's Rho 1000 with its new ¾ automation feature, EFI's VUTEk HS100 Pro and the VUTEk QS3Pro, Polytype's Virtu Quantum, Fujifilm's Acuity Select, Acuity LED 1600, and Uvistar Pro8, Roland's VersaUV LEJ-640 UV-LED, Mutoh's ValueJet new 2638 – 104", Seiko's ColorPainter H2P-104s/H2P-74s and its new neon ink, 3m's new Envision series of products, metallic effects on HP's Scitex FB7600 Industrial Press, and Mimaki's new JFX500-2131 flatbed.
So what does this mean for the industry? I think it’s very positive and shows that PSPs are getting back to business and in many cases have freed up the capital to invest in their future. Hopefully we will see this excitement and optimism usher us right into 2013 and beyond.