The Specialty Graphic Imaging Association’s 2018 SGIA Expo was the last before launching its PRINTING United tradeshow with NAPCO Media in 2019. It brought more than 24,000 people to the Las Vegas Convention Center Oct. 18–20. With 612 suppliers on the sold-out exhibit floor, 72 expert-led education sessions and a host of networking events, attendees were inspired by the latest innovations and “what’s on the horizon” for the printing industry.
The promise of inspiration was what spurred Shameka McCloud, owner of Printing on the Fly in College Park, Georgia, to attend. “I am here to get a hands-on feel for the latest technologies available,” says McCloud. “The Expo is an opportunity to compare and contrast products, and it allows me to network with subject matter experts and peers in my industry to hear about their personal experiences.”
The show floor showcased excellence as well as innovation with features like the first-ever PDAA Wrap Team Challenge, where nine teams competed tournament-style to wrap the side of a car in 20 minutes. A panel of PDAA Master Certified Installers judged the jobs based on speed and quality.
“The 2018 SGIA Expo was an incredibly successful show for AnaJet. We debuted the new RICOH Ri 1000 DTG printer and are pleased with the response. We got a lot of quality leads and made a good number of sales,” says Paul Crocker, marketing director, AnaJet, A Ricoh Company.
Nearby, the Golden Image Gallery displayed the best in printing—the submissions for the Golden Image Competition, the ASDPT Tom Frecska Student Printing Competition and the Product of the Year. Winners for the former two were announced on-site, while Product of the Year results were announced in the summer, allowing attendees to learn more about the winning products—from a record-breaking 255 entries—prior to the show.
“The SGIA Expo is an extremely valuable opportunity to connect with customers, partners and vendors face-to-face,” says Sharon Roland, advertising and PR manager, Fisher Textiles. “Winning three Product of the Year Awards for apparel, banner and flag media boosted our presence and enabled us to show off our diverse lineup of fabrics for digital printing.”
In addition to the sold-out exhibit hall, a robust selection of education sessions informed attendees on effective business strategies, the latest trends, industry outlooks and more. The 72 sessions kicked off with the two pre-Expo workshops: “Wide-Format 101” and “Essential Small Business Strategies,” on October 17.
Attendee David Wang of Content Management Corporation in Fremont, California, sat in on the session “SGIA Industry Report: Current Trends and Economic Outlook.” “This session showed me the overall impact of our nation’s economy and how it’s pertinent to our industry,” Wang says. “It offered good insight on what the state of the industry is with regard to wages and hiring trends.”
Also on the agenda were opportunities for peer-to-peer interaction. Community-focused networking events included the FP3: Functional Printing, Process & Products Luncheon with keynote speaker Colby B. Jubenville, Ph.D. and the Garment Decorators Luncheon featuring riCardo | crespo of th13teen. The Women in Print Alliance Breakfast with George Washington University educator and entrepreneur Kathy Korman Frey and Brands Talking Sustainability Luncheon moderated by Top Value Fabrics’ Michael Compton saw interactive discussions that touched on challenges within the industry.
“This was a special year,” says Ford Bowers, president and CEO, SGIA. “We not only celebrated the SGIA Expo’s legacy, but its future as PRINTING United. The Expo has always been about advancing the industry, showcasing new technologies and providing education that helps printers succeed in an ever-changing climate. That same foundation will carry into PRINTING United, which will introduce attendees to even more markets and business opportunities they may not have previously known were possible.”
The opening night reception, which drew more than 1,100 individuals to TAO nightclub at The Venetian, paid homage to the expo and gave attendees a teaser of what to expect at next year’s PRINTING United.
“We could not be transitioning from the SGIA Expo on a higher note,” says Bowers. “The innovations, interactions and inspirations at this year’s event showed us that what’s on the horizon is a bigger, better and bolder show that will make a valuable impact on this industry.”
Pre-show registration for PRINTING United 2019, which is scheduled for Oct. 23–25 in Dallas, has topped 6,000.
The Specialty Graphic Imaging Association owns and produced the 2018 SGIA Expo. It is the trade association of choice for professionals in the industrial, graphic, garment, textile, electronics, packaging and commercial printing communities looking to grow their business into new market segments through the incorporation of the latest printing technologies. SGIA membership comprises these diverse segments, all of which are moving rapidly towards digital adoption. For more info, visit sgia.org.