We are experiencing change in the print world! Forces are gathering to enable workflow automation in every segment, including the world of wide format devices, sign and graphic production, Direct-to-Garment printing and textile print. The SGIA 17 show in New Orleans (Oct 10-12) showed another step in the evolution of the workflow story in segments that have traditionally relied on spreadsheets and accounting systems to run their businesses. The growing number of true workflow management and Print Management Information Systems (MIS) shown on the flow, and the great demos available from a wide range of suppliers means that print shop owners who are already in wide format can become more efficient, and commercial printers who are looking toward wide format can likely have conversations about supporting wide format with the same tools they are using for their commercial work.
SGIA 2017 was a well-attended show with more than 19000 attendees despite the threat of Hurricane Nate. The show-stopping news was the birth of a new show, Print United, which will replace the traditional SGIA show after SGIA 2018 in Las Vegas. With Print United, NAPCO Media pairs with SGIA to produce a one-stop show for printers of all types, providing amazing opportunities to find new solutions to grow print businesses in all directions.
During the show there were a few things that caught my eye that are worth noting. One was the EFI Mid-Market Productivity Tool Universal Importer. For all of the folks who work with agencies and their spreadsheets full of sign specs and delivery specs, the Universal Importer lets you pull the spreadsheets into the EFI Pace Print MIS and flow through to production readiness. While we’d love to see it tied in with the EFI Metrix product, this solution by itself can be a huge timesaver and is priced at about a third to half the cost of one employee for a year.
Ricoh introduced the new Ricoh Pro T7210 LED Flatbed printer. While a new product announcement is normal for SGIA, this one caught my attention because they had a cinder block they printed on. In the picture it’s the item above the green Ricoh brochure, and next to wood and laminates they were showing as part of their demonstration. For printers looking to expand, this machine could be as much of a game changer as the Océ Colorado with UV Gel ink.
The Oki Team brought their Color Painter products, which have great footprint and ink cost for any printer looking to get into vehicle wraps and signage. Their Color Painter M64 was also a Buyers Laboratories Award winner at the show. The color it produces across a variety of substrates is remarkable! Click on this press release for more!
Another instantiation of workflow wizardry was the Roland InClix product, a cloud-based design and remote proofing tool, taking online design tools for wide format in a great direction. They call it the Creative Media Maker, and their demonstrations were remarkable.
On a last note, Keypoint Intelligence sponsored the first InfoBreakfast to share wide format and workflow trends, which should become a tradition!
It’s still show season, so watch this space for news from IPEX!
For more on how to keep your work flowing, check out the other blogs in this series and stop by my Workflow Blog for the step by step guide on how to evaluate the workflow you have!
Pat McGrew is the Director and Evangelist for the Production Workflow Service at KeyPoint Intelligence/InfoTrends. As an analyst and industry educator, Pat works with InfoTrends customers and their clients to promote workflow effectiveness. She also has a background in data-driven customer communication, and production printing with offset, inkjet and toner. Co-author of 8 industry books, editor of A Guide to the Electronic Document Body of Knowledge, and regular writer in the industry trade press, Pat won the 2014 #GirlsWhoPrint Girlie Award for dedication to education and communication in the industry, and the 2016 Brian Platte Lifetime Achievement Award from Xplor International. Find Pat on Twitter @PatMcGrew and on LinkedIn.